Jeff Spock's Blog
Game and fiction writer
- Kicked around three continents in three languages in the computer industry, doing everything from development to sales to management.
- In 2002 changed careers to writing.
- Has been lead or assistant writer on eighteen published titles across pretty much every platform and genre: two more titles are coming in late 2013 and the first half of 2014.
- Currently Lead Writer/Narrative Director at Amplitude Studios
Obsessions include storytelling and player experience in games, narrative design and delivery, character development, and the impact of genre (game and literary) on storytelling.
Another annual survey is up, and I can only congratulate DEVELOP magazine for their bold decision to exclude any role that includes the title "writer" or "narrative" from the survey.
This is a link to a an article I did for the IGDA Newsletter about writing for casual games. Its goal is to suggest some of the shortcuts that might be helpful to transmit a fairly rich story in a limited space.
Non-linearity is generally trumpeted as the biggest problem for a game writer or narrative designer. This is not always the case -- after all, there are relatively linear games. In my opinion the real complexity lies in the nature of game design itself.
A recent article in the L.A. Times dealt with voice actors in games and their working conditions. Having spent a lot of time in the studio, I wanted to point out a few errors in the article and present the game developer's point of view.
It occasionally happens that designers are frustrated by a writer who imposes 'his' story on 'their' level or game design. Here are five reasons why this might happen, and why the writer may not be the guilty party.
Are the fundamentals of a good story medium-dependent, or is there such a thing as a universally 'good' story regardless of delivery? This is a question that I would like to address during the next few posts; it may or may not be answerable.
Jeff Spock's Comments
[News - 07/23/2014 - 02:57]
This is why the guys ...
This is why the guys who founded Amplitude Studios Endless Space, Endless Legend had to leave Ubi - they wanted to make strategy games worse yet, turn-based and those don 't hit the numbers that Ubi wants to see. Ubi knows how to make great games, but strategy is just ...
[Blog - 06/21/2014 - 02:50]
I would say that the ...
I would say that the classic bit of game writing advice is to use a stereotype - be it a character, a language, a culture, a monster, etc. - in order to have something that a player / reader / viewer can quickly relate to. Oh, they 're Elves. It ...
[Blog - 06/09/2014 - 09:04]
Speaking as a game writer ...
Speaking as a game writer I err to the writing side of narrative design, rather than to the design side , I think that this is more representative of the state of game design five or ten years ago. r n r n Especially in video games, many designers conceive ...
[News - 09/06/2012 - 11:47]
Atypically for BioWare, I wouldn ...
Atypically for BioWare, I wouldn 't trot out ME3 as an example of a good but tragic ending that fans refused to accept. I would trot it out as an atrocious, satan-ex-machina ending that in many ways recursively ruined the excellent storytelling in much of the trilogy. r n r ...
[News - 06/08/2012 - 11:49]
Answer: Indie studios. Kickstarter. Self-funding. ...
Answer: Indie studios. Kickstarter. Self-funding. r n r nE3 isn 't any more about game design and gameplay than the MTV movie awards are about the art of cinema. So it gives us a bad image Horrors. Like we 've never dealt with that before :
[Feature - 03/12/2012 - 04:55]
I dunno. r n r ...
I dunno. r n r nI feel like I walked into a room of virulent carpenters, angrily denouncing the table saw as a crutch for the incompetent because true carpentry uses a bandsaw. r n r nThe only rule is whatever works, use it. r n r nIt 's true ...