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Interactive Storytelling for Video Games

Book Description

What really makes a video game story interactive?
What's the best way to create an interactive story?
How much control should players be given?
Do they really want that control in the first place?
Do they even know what they want-or are their stated desires at odds with the unconscious preferences?

All of these questions and more are examined in this definitive book on interactive storytelling for video games. You'll get detailed descriptions of all major types of interactive stories, case studies of popular games (including Bioshock, Fallout 3, Final Fantasy XIII, Heavy Rain, and Metal Gear Solid), and how players interact with them, and an in-depth analysis of the results of a national survey on player storytelling preferences in games. You'll get the expert advice you need to generate compelling and original game concepts and narratives.With Interactive Storytelling for Video Games, you'll:

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Halftitle
  3. Title
  4. Copyright
  5. Contents
  6. Special Thanks
  7. Chapter 1: Game Stories, Interactivity, and What Players Want
    1. The Importance of Stories
    2. Stories in Video Games
    3. Interactive Stories vs. Traditional Stories: The Great Debate
    4. Summary
      1. Things to Consider
  8. Chapter 2: A Brief History of Storytelling in Games
    1. The Beginnings of Game Stories
    2. Text Adventures and Interactive Fiction
    3. RPGs, Adventure Games, and the Growing Importance of Stories
    4. The Cinematic Evolution of Game Stories
    5. Game Stories Today
    6. The Limits of Storytelling in Games
    7. Summary
      1. Things to Consider
  9. Chapter 3: The Hero’s Journey and the Structure of Game Stories
    1. Types of Stories Best Suited for Games
      1. The “Best” Story Types
      2. Using Nonideal Stories
    2. The Hero’s Journey
      1. What Is the Hero’s Journey?
      2. Structure of the Hero’s Journey
      3. Modifying the Structure
    3. Common Themes and Clichés in Game Storytelling
      1. Common Clichés and Themes
      2. Why Clichés Are Used
      3. When to Use and When to Avoid Story Clichés
    4. Summary
      1. Things to Consider
  10. Chapter 4: The Story and the Characters
    1. Story Flow and Progression
    2. The Importance of Proper Flow and Pacing
    3. Don’t Neglect the Little Things
    4. Keeping the Player Engaged
      1. General Pacing Do’s and Don’ts
    5. Character Development
      1. Common Character Archetypes
      2. Advantages of Using Archetypes
      3. Disadvantages of Using Archetypes
      4. Making Characters Believable
      5. Character Actions and Decisions
    6. How Much to Tell and Not Tell Players
    7. The Importance of Backstory
    8. How to Tell the Backstory
    9. Deciding What to Tell
    10. Sometimes a Mystery Is Best
    11. Summary
      1. Things to Consider
  11. Chapter 5: Making Stories Emotional
    1. Connecting with the Characters
    2. The Fine Line Between Drama and Melodrama
    3. Making the Player Cry
    4. Summary
      1. Things to Consider
  12. Chapter 6: Defining Interactive and Player-Driven Storytelling
    1. What Makes a Story Interactive?
    2. What Makes a Story Player-Driven?
    3. Interactive Storytelling as a Spectrum
      1. Fully Traditional Stories
      2. Interactive Traditional Stories
      3. Multiple-Ending Stories
      4. Branching Path Stories
      5. Open-Ended Stories
      6. Fully Player-Driven Stories
      7. How Stories Are Classified
    4. Games Without Stories
    5. Summary
      1. Things to Consider
  13. Chapter 7: Fully Traditional and Interactive Traditional Stories
    1. Fully Traditional Stories
      1. Fully Traditional Stories, Video Games, and Why They Don’t Mix
    2. Interactive Traditional Stories
    3. Creating Interactive Traditional Stories
      1. The Strengths of Interactive Traditional Stories
      2. The Weaknesses of Interactive Traditional Stories
    4. Summary
      1. Things to Consider
  14. Chapter 8: Multiple-Ending Stories
    1. Creating Multiple-Ending Stories
      1. What Types of Endings Should a Game Have?
      2. Choosing Where to End the Game
      3. How Many Endings Does a Game Need?
      4. Determining Which Ending the Player Sees
      5. Multiple-Ending Stories and Sequels
    2. The Strengths of Multiple-Ending Stories
    3. The Weaknesses of Multiple-Ending Stories
    4. Summary
      1. Things to Consider
  15. Chapter 9: Branching Path Stories
    1. Creating Branching Path Stories
      1. Types of Branches
      2. Deciding Where to Place Branches
      3. How Many Branches Should a Story Have?
    2. Japanese Visual Novel Games
    3. The Strengths of Branching Path Stories
    4. The Weaknesses of Branching Path Stories
    5. Summary
      1. Things to Consider
  16. Chapter 10: Open-Ended Stories
    1. Creating Open-Ended Stories
      1. The Main Plot
      2. The Branches
      3. The Distractions
    2. The Strengths of Open-Ended Stories
    3. The Weaknesses of Open-Ended Stories
    4. Summary
      1. Things to Consider
  17. Chapter 11: Fully Player-Driven Stories
    1. Creating Fully Player-Driven Stories
      1. Creating a Setting
      2. Creating Rules of Interaction
    2. The Problem with Fully Player-Driven Stories in Video Games
    3. Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOs)
    4. The Strengths of Fully Player-Driven Stories
    5. The Weaknesses of Fully Player-Driven Stories
    6. Summary
      1. Things to Consider
  18. Chapter 12: The Argument for the Supremacy of Player-Driven Storytelling
    1. The Evolution of the Art Form
    2. Giving the Writer Greater Freedom
    3. Strengthening the Player–Character Bond
    4. Giving the Players What They Want
    5. Summary
      1. Things to Consider
  19. Chapter 13: The Argument Against the Supremacy of Player-Driven Storytelling
    1. The Fine Art of Storytelling
    2. Time, Money, and Player Interest
      1. The Added Time and Expense of Creating Player-Driven Stories
      2. Adding Interaction at the Expense of Other Elements
      3. Who Is Going to See It All?
    3. Keeping the Story Interesting
      1. Story Structure and the “Ideal” Chain of Events
      2. The Problem with How We Think
      3. Trying to Correct a Mistake
      4. Loss of Impact
    4. The Illusion of Control
    5. Giving the Players What They Want
    6. Summary
      1. Things to Consider
  20. Chapter 14: What Players Really Want: The Most Important Issue
    1. Do Players Know What They Really Want?
    2. The Survey
      1. How Important Are Game Stories to Players?
      2. What Players Say They Want
      3. Story Preferences by the Numbers
      4. What Players Really Want
      5. Further Analysis
      6. Do Stories Sell Games?
    3. Summary
      1. Things to Consider
  21. Chapter 15: The Future of Storytelling in Games
    1. Stories Then and Now
    2. The Key Arguments
    3. What Players Want
    4. Looking Toward the Future
      1. The Most Popular Types of Storytelling
    5. A Future for Everyone
      1. Things to Consider
  22. Glossary
  23. Appendix A: Game Writing Groups and Other Useful Resources
  24. Appendix B: Survey Data
  25. Bibliography and References
  26. Index