Video Game Storytelling

Video Game Storytelling : What Every Developer Needs to Know about Narrative Techniques

4.01 (284 ratings by Goodreads)
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This is a guide to the basic storytelling principles essential for producing truly memorable video games. It provides developers with comprehensive, but easy-to-follow advice. It comes from video game writer and game writing instructor Evan Skolnick. Video Game Storytelling provides developers with comprehensive, but easy-to-follow advice for facilitating the creation of compelling storylines in today's most popular and narratively successful video games. Video game writer and game writing instructor Evan Skolnick offers a clear and concise development reference guide for aspiring and professional developers, showing how each role (from character designer to animator to audio engineer and more) is impacted by and can affect the story/narrative of a game. This book aims to instill an understanding and appreciation of the basic storytelling principles that are essential for producing truly memorable video games that will bring today's savvy gamers back time and time again.
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Pearson Programming and Web Development

Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 155 x 231 x 13mm | 249g
  • Potter Craft
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0385345828
  • 9780385345828
  • 84,178

Table of contents

Part I - Basic Training
1. Conflict: The Fuel of Story
2. The Three-Act Structure
3. The Monomyth
4. Characters and Arcs
5. Exposition
6. Believability
7. Dialogue

Part II - In the Trenches
8. Team Leadership
9. Overall Game Design
10. Game Character Development
11. Level and Mission Development
12. Environments
13. Engineering the Story
14. Audio
15. Quality Assurance (QA)

Afterword Return with the Elixir
Appendix I Sample Character Description Document
Appendix II Sample Environment Description Document
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Review quote

Every once in a while I end up reading a book that should be read by almost everyone that I know - whether they actually need to or not. Video Game Storytelling: What Every Developer Needs to Know About Narrative Techniques (published by Watson-Guptill) is one of those books. [It] is a great resource not only for budding writers, but it should also serve as a very important reference for everyone who holds a position in the ever-expanding videogame industry.
-- Toronto Thumbs

[This] book piqued our interest to an exceptional degree. 'Video Game Storytelling: What Every Developer Needs To Know About Narrative Techniques' is perfect for anyone who is a Developer, wants to get into game development, anyone who is a fiction writer, or anyone who wants to have a greater understanding and appreciation of the fictional game worlds we so much enjoy.
-- Digital Mayhem Radio

I found it to be both interesting and entertaining, using real-life examples taken from very popular movies and games that most people will be readily familiar with. I feel that Evan Skolnick has a lot to share and I really wish I had the opportunity to attend one of his talks. I would recommend Video Game Storytelling to anyone involved in the game development process - or anyone hoping to get into game development.
-- Game Vortex

If you're the kind of gamer who likes to peek behind the curtain of video game development - and you don't mind picking up a book once in a while - I recommend the new Video Game Storytelling by industry veteran Evan Skolnick. The book is aimed primarily at game developers, but it's fascinating stuff for anyone interested in games as a storytelling medium.
-- News & Observer

Skolnick broke down the basic structure of video game storytelling into various parts that highlighted the importance of each and how they could be applied to video games. There's a lot of information that's covered, but presented straight-forwardly with plenty of examples of how it was all used previously. Overall, I enjoyed this book and I recommend it to anyone who wants to read it.
-- Our Thoughts Precisely

The reader is also introduced to the term ludology, or the study of games. Taken from the Latin verb ludere 'to play' it is used and expanded on to introduce even the more erudite terminology of, "ludonarrative harmony/dissonance." Simply put, it describes how story can make or break the player's gaming experience. It is worth buying the book just to read how Skolnick defines this with concrete examples from past and existing games.
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About Evan Skolnick

Evan Skolnick is a comic book and video game writer who has worked on dozens of major titles for game publishers such as Activision, Take Two, and THQ, for franchises such as Guitar Hero, Spider-Man, Shrek, Batman, Over the Hedge, and Transformers. Recently, he worked as lead narrative designer for LucasArts. He is best known for his long-running, intensive, and highly rated full-day game-writing tutorial at the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, which has had more than a thousand attendees and counting.
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Rating details

284 ratings
4.01 out of 5 stars
5 33% (93)
4 43% (121)
3 20% (56)
2 3% (9)
1 2% (5)
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