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Character Development and Storytelling for Games, Second Edition

Book Description

Written by a professional game writers who also teaches his craft, Lee Sheldon combines his experience and expertise in this updated edition of CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT AND STORYTELLING FOR GAMES. New examples, new game types, and new challenges throughout the text highlight the fundamental importance of characters and storytelling in every type of game. Sheldon emphasizes the importance of creative instinct and listening to the inner voice that guides successful game designers and writers. Join him on his quest to instruct, inform, and maybe even inspire your next great game.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Copyright Page
  3. PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION
    1. THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’
    2. COME THE REVOLUTION
    3. MEET THE REVOLUTIONARIES
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  5. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
  6. CONTENTS
  7. INTRODUCTION
  8. PART I BACKGROUND
    1. PRELUDE IN A FIRE-LIT CAVE
    2. CHAPTER 1 MYTHS AND EQUATIONS
      1. WHY MAKE GAMES?
      2. WHY TELL STORIES IN GAMES?
      3. Myth #1: Interactive Storytelling First Appeared in Computer Games
      4. Myth #2: Games and Stories Don’t Mix
      5. Myth #3: Life Equals Drama
      6. ONE LAST EQUATION
      7. WE’LL TAKE SOME REQUESTS FROM OUR AUDIENCE
    3. CHAPTER 2 THE STORY REMAINS THE SAME
      1. ARISTOTLE AND THOSE OTHER GREEKS
      2. Aristotle
      3. Homer
      4. Sophocles
      5. Aristophanes
      6. JUNG’S COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS
      7. CAMPBELL’S THE HERO’S JOURNEY
      8. PRIMARY SOURCES
      9. From The Great Train Robbery to Birth of a Nation
      10. THE LANGUAGE OF DRAMA AND FILM
      11. Universal Themes
      12. Drama
      13. Conflict
      14. Character
      15. Cut Scenes
  9. PART II CREATING CHARACTERS
    1. INTERLUDE WITH A MAN ON A STAIR
    2. CHAPTER 3 RESPECTING CHARACTERS
      1. THREE DIMENSIONS
      2. The Physical Character
      3. The Sociological Character
      4. The Psychological Character
      5. CHARACTER PROGRESSION
      6. Growth
      7. Development
      8. THE PIVOTAL CHARACTER
      9. THE PLAYER-CHARACTER
      10. Is the PC Meant Only to Be Controlled by the Player, or Is It Meant to Be the Player?
      11. Is the PC Original, or Based on a Character from Another Medium?
      12. How Much Does the Player Know About the Character?
      13. How Much Does the Character Know About the Player?
      14. If the Player-Character Needs Certain Skills, Must the Player Have Them, Too?
      15. If the Player Can Control More Than One Character, How Does This Affect the NPCs and Storytelling?
      16. AVOIDING STEREOTYPES
    3. CHAPTER 4 CHARACTER ROLES
      1. THE CHARACTER’S ROLE IN STORY
      2. POPULATING THE WORLD
      3. COMMENTARY AND GOSSIP
      4. LIVING USEFUL LIVES
      5. THE PLAYER-CHARACTER REVISITED (PROTAGONIST)
      6. DEATH OF A PLAYER-CHARACTER
      7. VILLAINS (ANTAGONISTS)
      8. MENTORS
      9. SIDEKICKS
      10. SERVANTS AND PETS
      11. MERCHANTS
      12. TRAINERS
      13. QUEST GIVERS
    4. CHAPTER 5 CHARACTER TRAITS
      1. MOBILITY
      2. CONTROLLING THE SPACE
      3. LEAVING THE SPACE
      4. PHYSICAL SKILLS
      5. PROFESSIONS
      6. RACE
      7. SEX
      8. CHARACTER EMOTION
      9. CHARACTERS IN OPPOSITION
      10. Conflict
      11. Orchestration
      12. Memory
      13. REVEALING CHARACTER THROUGH ACTION
    5. CHAPTER 6 CHARACTER ENCOUNTERS
      1. PERCEPTION
      2. PERSPECTIVE (FIRST PERSON VS. THIRD PERSON)
      3. DIALOGUE
      4. DIALOGUE SYSTEMS
      5. Canned Speeches
      6. Canned Conversations
      7. Natural Language/AI-Based Conversations
      8. ENTRANCES AND EXITS
      9. Time
      10. Place
      11. Action
      12. Return Visits
      13. RELATIONSHIPS
      14. Factions
      15. The Player-Character and NPCs
      16. TGT Full System
      17. TGT Simplified System
  10. PART III TELLING THE STORY
    1. INTERLUDE ON THE WAY TO SAN FRANCISCO
    2. CHAPTER 7 ONCE UPON A TIME
      1. BUILDING A HOME FOR CHARACTERS
      2. STORY OR GAME: WHICH COMES FIRST?
      3. ORIGINAL MATERIAL
      4. ADAPTATIONS FROM OTHER MEDIA
      5. SEQUELS
      6. FINDING A STYLE THAT FITS
      7. LINEAR VERSUS NON-LINEAR
      8. AVOIDING CLICHÉS
    3. CHAPTER 8 RESPECTING STORY
      1. WILLING SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF
      2. THE FOURTH WALL
      3. THE TRAP OF CUT SCENES
      4. THE TRAP OF TOO MUCH BACKSTORY
      5. THE TRAP OF LETTING PLAYERS “DISCOVER” THE STORY
      6. VERISIMILITUDE
      7. EXPRESSIONISM
      8. SYMBOLISM
      9. CONSISTENCY OF THE WORLD
      10. SETTING
      11. WEATHER
      12. SCOPE AND SCALE
    4. CHAPTER 9 BRINGING THE STORY TO LIFE
      1. FORESHADOWING
      2. POINT OF ATTACK
      3. THE OBLIGATORY SCENE
      4. CRISIS, CLIMAX, AND RESOLUTION
      5. REVERSALS
      6. ARCS
      7. EXPOSITION IN ACTION
    5. CHAPTER 10 GAMES: CHARTING NEW TERRITORY
      1. CHARACTERS REVISITED
      2. PUZZLING DEVELOPMENTS
      3. QUESTS
      4. Tasks and Errands
      5. Matrix Quests
      6. QUESTS AND MISSIONS
      7. Types of Quests
      8. REWARDS
      9. THE STORY UP TILL NOW
    6. CHAPTER 11 STORY ANATOMY
      1. HEART: PLAYER EMOTION
      2. MIND: SHARING THE THEME
      3. FUNNY BONE: ROTFLMAO!
    7. CHAPTER 12 EDITING
      1. COLLABORATION
      2. ADAPTING TO THE ENGINE YOU END UP WITH
      3. STOPPING THE BLEEDING WHEN YOU CUT LEVELS AND AREAS
      4. POLISHING DIALOGUE
      5. COPY EDITING
    8. CHAPTER 13 THE ROOTS OF A NEW STORYTELLING
      1. THE ODYSSEY
      2. THE CANTERBURY TALES
      3. DON QUIXOTE DE LA MANCHA
      4. MOZART, GAME DESIGNER
      5. CHARLES DICKENS AND PUBLISHING IN PARTS
      6. SATURDAY MORNING AT THE MOVIES (MOVIE SERIALS)
      7. DENNIS WHEATLEY’S CRIME DOSSIERS
      8. DAYTIME SOAP OPERAS
      9. EPISODIC TELEVISION
    9. CHAPTER 14 MODULAR STORYTELLING
      1. THE YOKE OF NARRATIVE
      2. TRADITIONAL STORY FORMS IN GAMES
      3. Traditional (Linear)
      4. Branching (Linear-Thinking)
      5. Web (Simple Non-Linear)
      6. RELINQUISHING CONTROL
      7. Modular (Non-Linear)
      8. NESTING MODULES
      9. SYSTEMIC STORYTELLING
      10. STRUCTURING CHAOS
      11. ADVENTURES IN A NON-LINEAR WORLD
  11. PART IV GAMES PEOPLE PLAY TODAY
    1. INTERLUDE IN A TWISTY MAZE OF PASSAGEWAYS
    2. CHAPTER 15 GAME TYPES
      1. ACTION
      2. ADVENTURE
      3. ROLE-PLAYING
      4. SIMULATIONS
      5. STRATEGY
      6. MULTIPLAYER
      7. MODS
    3. CHAPTER 16 GAME GENRES
      1. MELODRAMA
      2. FANTASY
      3. SCIENCE FICTION
      4. WAR
      5. ESPIONAGE
      6. CRIME
      7. MYSTERY
      8. HORROR
      9. ROMANCE
      10. WESTERN
    4. CHAPTER 17 BRINGING MMOS TO LIFE
      1. PERSISTENCE
      2. HISTORY
      3. COMPUTER AS GAME MASTER
      4. STORIES IN MMOS?
      5. SCOPE AND SCALE
      6. DEATH OF A PLAYER-CHARACTER REVISITED
      7. THE SOCIAL WORLD
      8. Factions
      9. Guilds
      10. POLITICS
      11. FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND
      12. THE TRAP OF EPISODIC STRUCTURE
    5. CHAPTER 18 ENABLING STORY IN VIRTUAL WORLDS
      1. THOUSANDS OF HEROES
      2. ONGOING STORY
      3. REVEALING STORY
      4. TRUE MULTIPLAYER QUESTS
      5. CROWD CONTROL
      6. VARIETY
      7. HIDING THE NUMBERS
      8. EMPOWERING EMERGENT STORYTELLING
    6. CHAPTER 19 GAME PLATFORMS
      1. CONSOLES
      2. PUSH THE BUTTON, GET THE STORY
      3. INTEGRATION VERSUS CUT SCENES
      4. HOW STORY ENHANCES GAMEPLAY
      5. HANDHELDS
      6. MOBILE DEVICES
      7. CASUAL INTERNET
      8. SOCIAL NETWORK GAMES
    7. CHAPTER 20 GAMES WITHOUT PLATFORMS
      1. PLAYERS
      2. WEATHER
      3. MEDIA
      4. Websites
      5. Email
      6. Tweets and Texting
      7. Phone Calls
      8. Photographs and Video
      9. Physical Objects
      10. Actors
      11. REAL FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND
    8. CHAPTER 21 APPLIED GAMES
      1. BALANCE
      2. ABSTRACTION
      3. STORY STRUCTURE
      4. SUSTAINED NARRATIVE
      5. Culture Clash
      6. Footprints on the Page
      7. The Chinese Language Project
      8. THE SKY’S THE LIMIT
  12. PART V REFLECTIONS
    1. POSTLUDE: ENDGAME
    2. CHAPTER 22 THE RESPONSIBLE WRITER
  13. PART VI APPENDIX (ONLINE)
    1. APPENDIX OPINIONATED BIBLIOGRAPHY
  14. INDEX