• Vivek Chakraverty

  • Let's Create

3 Key Terms for a Narrative Designer of Video Games

A narrative designer of video games must at least be aware of basic game design terms and concepts. This is true even for the very initial stages of the development of a game. In the conception phase, before you start art and code development, you need to pitch first. Though the narrative designer has plenty of work roles to fulfill when pitching he must know key game design terms and effectively convey his or her idea.

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Pitching for Games is Unique

Unlike most other narrative forms pitching a game is not just about presenting a story and content. When pitching a game, you are submitting an interactive experience proposal. The nature of the task of pitching a game makes it necessary for people developing the narrative in video games to be aware of specific key game design terms. Narrative developers must work at tandem with designers and coders. This means that ultimately, the team will develop pitch-related documents as a collective.

Critical path– This refers to the collective set of game elements that the player must necessarily complete. These elements may be present in the form of missions. The items may also be narrative components of the game.

Mechanics- In development for video games, game mechanics refer to the rules governing the particular game. Mostly, they are the things that a player is allowed to do in the game world. The mechanism of a game may be as simple as doing mundane tasks like jumping, running. Game mechanics refer to these activities that a player can carry out.

Dynamics- By game dynamics, we refer to the game mechanics results that are driving video gameplay forward. It is basically how the players use the mechanics. Through game dynamics, the gameplay is optimized further. In a game like Mario, this might simply refer to how people carried out jumps where they hit new blocks and bounced back to kill an enemy. This move allowed the players to minimize their level times and thus earn higher points. Game dynamics are especially important in today’s multiplayer and social gaming world. They help to open up numerous possibilities that were not charted before.

Mario Dynamics


The Unique Work of a Narrative Designer of Video Games

The task of writing a video game is quite unique. The phrase “Play, not tell” is very appropriate in this context. Now, the concept of “Show, not tell” is common knowledge to most storytellers. In the gaming business, the same rule holds true only in the form of an interacting experience. Here you need to examine how storytelling acts as a playable immersive experience. It is essential to understand what the gameplay is going to be all about and how it is related to the narrative.

A great story, no matter how good won’t convince the relevant person to authorize the project. They want to know how interactivity will serve to tell the story. In most cases, it is the gameplay that makes the authority give a go-ahead. This, of course, varies from project to project. Some games have a more robust storyline, while some are lacking in the story aspect. The story also helps to decide on the actual game mechanics or rules.

It is in a narrative-driven game where narrative designers really come into their own. Narrative designers are most likely to be involved deeply in narrativedriven games. Heck, They might have to design some of the systems themselves. The feedback of narrative designers is crucial to other game systems developer as well. The system designer will be needing your help to make the best playing experience possible.

It is not your job to design games mind you. You need to understand what you will be doing and what a game designer will be doing. You can have the best ideas, but they are pretty limited unless you can convey them.

Best Foot Forward

It is best not to depend on game designers to understand your way of presenting an idea. Instead, try your personal best to convey your ideas in manners game designers understand well. It should be evident to game designers that you know and respect the work they do.

Designers are there to assess and provide feedback on your ideas. If you successfully convey the idea and the designer likes it then only will it be given the green light. You want to grasp at least the basics of their work(game?) world. It will not only give you better results in seeing your ideas realized but will also make you a better narrative designer!


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