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View Full Version : Writing for games (Or, how I think you can get into the indusry. Kinda)



Zoombie
04-12-2009, 12:20 PM
Firstly, we have this Bioware offer I found a year ago. I don't know if its still open, but it provides some pointers.

Okay, I checked and I can't find the link, but the basic idea was that you would turn in an Adventure made from their Modding Tool Kit for Neverwinter Nights 1 or 2. The adventure had to be at least an hour long, have multiple paths through it, and show that you had the talent to write FOR GAMES.


http://www.bioware.com/bioware_info/jobs/

Now, another way to get into the "writing for games" jig is to follow the path a lot of early game writers followed: Make an adventure game!

There is fortunately an entire engine built around doing just such a thing and its already generated some of the best adventure games I had played in quite a while.

Warning: Requires the ability to either draw or brow beat someone else into drawing for you.

The Engine Homepage: http://www.bigbluecup.com/ac.shtml

The Tutorials: http://www.bigbluecup.com/acintro.htm

Games Made BY the Engine (Created by Gaming Pundit and All Around Handsome Bloke, Yhatzee): http://www.fullyramblomatic.com/5days/ and its squeal, http://www.fullyramblomatic.com/7days/

Warning, both games are gory, disturbing, and creeeeeepy!


Anyone else who has broken into, is planning to break into, or knows HOW to break into the gaming writing market, step up and share your bits!

And if anyone wants to collaborate on making an adventure game...I bet we could whip up something fantastic to share with the whole AW forums!

Or something. I dunnkow, it was just an idea I had a few seconds ago.

Also, as a way to see how to tell an effective story with a minimum of writing, play ANY VALVE GAME MADE EVER!

More specifically, Portal, Half Life 2, and PORTAL AGAIN!

Though one could say Portal is half told with dialoug, which is a lot of writing...but then again, there is an almost absurd amount of storytelling done with level design, throwaway quotes, and one bitchen song.

Never before had I seen so much said with so little being spoken.

whistlelock
04-13-2009, 04:37 AM
Breaking into writing for games is one of my goals, and it's my primary focus write now, since I live in a game city.

And, in every interview I've read about breaking in, they have all said the same thing, "Be published in something else. Prove that other people think you can write an interesting story."

So, not only should you be up on all the latest game trends, you need to be producing work that is being published somewhere.

Adam
04-13-2009, 05:21 AM
Must... Restrain.... Self...

This was a triumph,
I'm making a note here, huge success;

Argh!

William Haskins
04-13-2009, 06:32 AM
Breaking into writing for games is one of my goals, and it's my primary focus write now, since I live in a game city.

And, in every interview I've read about breaking in, they have all said the same thing, "Be published in something else. Prove that other people think you can write an interesting story."

So, not only should you be up on all the latest game trends, you need to be producing work that is being published somewhere.

yep.

Zoombie
04-13-2009, 11:13 AM
Sounds good to me!

Silly, Modeus...we all know the cake is a lie!

SPMiller
04-13-2009, 05:56 PM
We should stress that game writing is primarily dialog. If you can't write snappy dialog in a variety of different voices, don't even bother with the industry.

Of course, you need many other skills. Writing and level design often go hand-in-hand, as that Bioware posting demonstrates.

Worse, the tools usually suck. For example, the first app you mentioned (Bioware's Aurora) was clunky as hell.

jst5150
04-13-2009, 06:16 PM
Ah. William has spoken. Good.

SPMiller
04-13-2009, 07:06 PM
And regarding how to break into gaming companies, QA is the equivalent of the mail room.

Ensure you have skills they need, and they'll find you on their own.

scottishpunk
04-14-2009, 07:08 AM
Portal does rank as one of my favorite games of all time, for the storytelling element.
Other games that do storytelling well are the Grend Theft Auto titles (Vice City is the only one I've played all the way through-- but it is loaded from beginning to end with sharp satire) and the Final Fantasy games.

whistlelock
04-14-2009, 06:56 PM
http://www.gamedevmap.com/

Is a great way to find out if there are game studios in your city or near your city. Once you click on the red dot corresponding to a city, all the developers currently active and participating in the game map are listed with links to their websites.

Which, if you are canny, then you click on Jobs and see what they're looking for.

Grandmaster
04-20-2009, 11:20 PM
Coders. I've checked out a ton of these companies' sites and nobody ever asks for writers.

EDIT: Somebody mind telling me why I have a misplaced comma under my name?

whistlelock
04-21-2009, 03:32 AM
Coders. I've checked out a ton of these companies' sites and nobody ever asks for writers.

Did you check SOE's site?
http://www.station.sony.com/sonyonline/careers.vm

'Cause they're looking for writers. Cryptic just hired up on writers, as well as Bioware (however Bioware's Candanian branches are looking for writers currently). Funcom just finished hiring their writers a few months back.


EDIT: Somebody mind telling me why I have a misplaced comma under my name? And, at a guess, because you put it there?

SPMiller
04-21-2009, 04:58 AM
Programmers of the sort they're looking for aren't common, to say the least. You have to be skilled and intelligent, but you can't mind long hours or comparatively low pay!

/snicker

The writing jobs fill up much more quickly.

Grandmaster
04-21-2009, 10:57 PM
Did you check SOE's site?
http://www.station.sony.com/sonyonline/careers.vm

'Cause they're looking for writers. Cryptic just hired up on writers, as well as Bioware (however Bioware's Candanian branches are looking for writers currently). Funcom just finished hiring their writers a few months back.

And, at a guess, because you put it there?

Thanks, I looked at Bioware before but they weren't hiring, then I recently went through a whole load of companies here in Finland (saves relocating) but not a single company replied.

whistlelock
04-22-2009, 03:06 AM
and I forgot: www.gamejobs.com (http://www.gamejobs.com)

I don't know how good they are for outside the US, but for inside they're okay. Some of their links aren't updated so quickly.

Grandmaster
04-22-2009, 01:38 PM
Bioware's application process is a farce: writers who don't submit a sample using the Neverwinter Nights Toolset will not be acknowledged and the Neverwinter Nights Toolset has to be purchased.

WTF kind of "application" process is that? It's more like they want wannabes buy their "game" before they can even begin to hope.
Can you imagine going for a job interview in a restaurant and being told by the manager that firstly you need to buy every dish on the menu?

badducky
04-23-2009, 03:27 AM
The IGDA Writer's SiG has some books of interest that certainly helped me make my transition:

http://www.amazon.com/Professional-Techniques-Video-Game-Writing/dp/156881416X/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240442732&sr=8-4

and

http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Video-Game-Genres-FPS/dp/1568814178/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240442732&sr=8-1

Best of luck, all.

jmascia
04-29-2009, 04:00 PM
I honestly hate to say this, but breaking into writing for video games sound exactly like breaking into writing everywhere else. An agent doesn't want to work with a new writer unless they've been published elsewhere. A magazine doesn't want your articles unless you can prove their quality. A book publisher won't publish you without an agent. It's always the runaround to weed out the weak. Show your determination, and keep pushing it everywhere you can, small companies and big companies alike.
The first thing I think you are forgetting is that before you can sell yourself to one of these companies, you need a story to sell them as well. I don't mean having something published, I mean a script for a story for a game that is worthwhile and makes them think "Oh my God, that would be awesome!" Write that, and push it until they tell you to leave them alone, then push it some more. That honestly is your best chance.

badducky
04-30-2009, 08:32 PM
jmascia, I think you are being unnecessarily cynical.

I've heard very good things from many fronts about people getting hired out of the Modding community, who are always in need of good writers.

Still, I'm hardly an expert. I'm still new to game writing.

SPMiller
04-30-2009, 08:57 PM
Bioware's application process is a farce: writers who don't submit a sample using the Neverwinter Nights Toolset will not be acknowledged and the Neverwinter Nights Toolset has to be purchased.

WTF kind of "application" process is that? It's more like they want wannabes buy their "game" before they can even begin to hope.
Can you imagine going for a job interview in a restaurant and being told by the manager that firstly you need to buy every dish on the menu?Er, no. Although I personally despise the NWN Aurora toolset, I think you're being more than a little unfair to Bioware.

This less like a restaurant asking you to order every dish on the menu and more like, say, a lit mag asking you to buy a sample copy before submitting. They aren't asking you to buy their entire back catalog.

The idea is that, by producing a small mod with their tools, you can prove to Bioware that 1) you have at least some skill, and 2) you're at least passingly familiar with their tools. Both of which, I'm sure, they want in an employee. Besides, you can get one of various versions of NWN for dirt-cheap these days.

On the other hand, they're almost certainly willing to give you a pass on those guidelines if you have a strong portfolio.

mario_c
05-11-2009, 07:12 AM
Bioware's application process is a farce: writers who don't submit a sample using the Neverwinter Nights Toolset will not be acknowledged and the Neverwinter Nights Toolset has to be purchased.

WTF kind of "application" process is that? It's more like they want wannabes buy their "game" before they can even begin to hope.
Can you imagine going for a job interview in a restaurant and being told by the manager that firstly you need to buy every dish on the menu?
Or being charged by a producer (http://www.pitchnehst.com/) to pitch your movie (http://www.fadeinonline.com/events/hollywood_pitchfest/), or a publisher to pitch your book, graphic novel, etc. When they say time is money, that ain't no expression anymore.

jmascia isn't being cynical, he's being realistic. But don't let it bring you down - if you really want it, you'll keep working at it and eventually get it.

Hope I didn't give anyone ideas to raise revenue for their budding studio or anything. ;)

herdon
05-12-2009, 06:10 PM
Er, no. Although I personally despise the NWN Aurora toolset, I think you're being more than a little unfair to Bioware.


The NWN toolset is awesome. Definitely one of the best toolsets released with a game. I hope Dragon Age's toolset is as good and as expandable. The only thing I didn't like about the NWN toolset was the lack of real database support.

badducky
05-18-2009, 08:26 PM
*Cough* Seriously, guys, if you don't already own a copy of one of the most popular Bioware titles on the market, with one of the most powerful game design tools released to the general public, maybe you probably shouldn't be trying to be a game writer/designer for Bioware.

I mean, if you don't like their games enough to pick them up, why would you want to work for them? Just because they're a video game company?

I can think of a few video game companies I wouldn't work for. It's nothing against them. I just don't care to play their games. I don't think I'd be, creatively, useful to their process anymore than I would enjoy suppressing my own natural creative drive.

whistlelock
05-18-2009, 10:23 PM
Bioware consistantly puts out good game. And, I like the nwn tool set. Sure, it could be a litte more intuitive on setting up dialog but laying out the board is nice and easy.