How To Start Your Game Narrative - Design Mechanics First - Extra Credits | Summary and Q&A

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February 8, 2013
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How To Start Your Game Narrative - Design Mechanics First - Extra Credits

TL;DR

Starting a game with a pre-determined story can lead to limitations in mechanics, characters, and scope.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why is starting with the story in game design often problematic?

Starting with the story can limit the potential mechanics, lead to unengaging characters or settings, and result in an unrealistic scope for the game.

Q: What is an alternative approach to creating a game's narrative?

Instead of starting with a pre-determined story, designers should focus on exploring emotions and ideas through gameplay mechanics and then build a narrative around them.

Q: How can starting with the story affect the overall scope of a game?

Starting with the story often leads to an unreasonable scope as designers may try to include scenes and assets that are difficult to create within the game, resulting in bloated development and potential failure.

Q: What are the advantages of focusing on emotions and ideas before developing a story?

Focusing on emotions and ideas allows designers to create a gameplay experience that truly conveys the intended message, and it also helps them understand how to deliver the story within the limitations of production.

Q: Why is it important for designers to be flexible with their story elements during game development?

Game development often involves changes and adaptations, and being flexible with story elements allows for smoother integration of new ideas and ensures the narrative can evolve without breaking the overall game design.

Q: Can any story work in different settings and with different characters?

Yes, many stories have universal themes and can be molded to fit various settings and characters, emphasizing the importance of focusing on core emotions and ideas rather than specific details.

Q: What is the potential consequence of starting with a fully developed story?

Starting with a fully developed story may lead to a struggle to deliver the narrative effectively within the constraints of gameplay, resulting in a disjointed or incomplete storytelling experience.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Starting a game with a pre-determined story can limit the mechanics that can be implemented, leading to a disjointed gameplay experience.

  • It may also result in characters and settings that do not align with the art team's expertise or fail to engage players.

  • Designers should focus on exploring emotions and ideas through gameplay mechanics first, and then build a narrative that supports and enhances the core experience.

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