20 Feb

Plotting with Pain – Who’d be the Most Hurt?

How to Plot using Pain

How to Plot using PainLet’s say you have an idea for a setting, or an event, or a new type of technology, but you can’t transform it into a plot. There’s simply no action there, no conflict. All you’ve got is a “what if…”

How about you take one of those what ifs and ask “who would be the most hurt by this?” I.e.:

“What if all people could suddenly fly? Who would be the most hurt by this?”

Airlines. Airline pilots. Airline maintenance workers. What if it’s a airplane mechanic who really loves his planes, but now they’re all worthless and nobody wants them? “The Airplane Whisperer, coming soon to a theater near you…”

Second point would be to see how badly you can make the person hurt. Read More

06 Jun

Rapid Idea Generation with “If … Then … Why”

Rapid Idea Generation with If ... Then ... Why

Rapid Idea Generation with If ... Then ... WhyI used to have troubles coming up with writing ideas. Nothing I did felt interesting, or if I managed to come up with something it would fail in practice – the ogre in the musketeer uniform would be just that, a dressed up ogre, and nothing more.

A dressed up ogre is boring. Just mashing together two concepts isn’t enough. You need something more.

That’s where the double whammy of “if … then” and “why” works wonders. Read More

16 Nov

4 Easy Steps to Plotting any Adventure Game

Plot any adventure game quote

Plot any adventure game quoteYes, But, No, And.

There. Now you’ve got all the tools you need to plot any adventure game in the world. Or write any book in the world, since that’s where these tools come from.

Ok, I’ll stop being a Cornholio and unpack it a bit for you. These words (Yes, But, No, And in case you’ve forgotten) are a progression of plot point outcomes. Basically it’s asking yourself: our player needs to achive X, does she? Yes, But, No, And.

All right, all right, I’ll explain it better. Enough with the arm twisting already. But let’s start with an example.

Our hero, an intrepid fighter known only as the Vault Dweller, has to exit the Vault in order to begin his real adventure. That’s what he wants to accomplish: exit the Vault. Does he succeed?

Read More

11 May

An Introduction to Story Structure for Game Designers

Death Star goes Booom!

Death Star goes Booom!In writing there’s this thing called the story structure (or plot structure). Basically it’s a formula for taking a story from beginning to end via a set of key points through which a story should pass in order to give the reader the maximum reading pleasure.

Yeah, there are different readers, and there are different writers and there are definitely different stories. And yet, with most stories you will see a story structure (except in literary fiction where you can read for 250 000 words about a guy going to a funeral) since to keep tension high and reading pleasurable you need something to happen, a rise and fall, turns and twists.

The same is true for games.

So what happens when we try to use a fiction story structure to analyze games? Read More