The importance of tools when writing Reigns: Her Majesty
When people ask, ‘What did you do on this game?’ I say, ‘I wrote the words and then I also helped decide how the words behave.’
- Writer of Reigns: Her Majesty Leigh Alexander on her role as narrative designer
In an interview with Kotaku published earlier today, writer (and former Gamasutra staffer) Leigh Alexander shared some useful insight on the importance of tools when it came to writing and designing specific cards for Reigns: Her Majesty.
When asked what the biggest challenge working on the game was, Alexander admits that most game developers don't understand that story isn't told from point A to point B.
"Not a lot of people, even game developers don’t always understand that the story isn’t always a beginning to end thing," she explains. "On a lot of the projects I’m on, people are like, ‘Well what’s the ending?’ and I’m like, ‘Well I want to explore it through the systems, I guess.'"
Alexander also confirms she wrote Reigns: Her Majesty's script inside of a spreadsheet, noting however, that other tools were utilized to iterate on ideas quickly and more efficiently.
She needed to get a feel for how the game flowed early on, and that meant playing through the game constantly.
Creating new tools helped speed that process along. "Luckily [lead designer] Francois [Alliot] who’s a technical genius was able to create a plug-in whereby I could update Unity directly from my Google Docs in real-time," Alexander says. "Every time I could play the game, rather than have to put together a whole new build every time I changed something, I could look at stuff on the fly which was really convenient."
Be sure to check out the entire interview with Alexander over at Kotaku.