Script Lock

Script Lock

Writers Max and Nick Folkman sit down with other writers and developers for an informal discussion about storytelling in video games.

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    Episode 19: Josh Scherr & Sarah Elmaleh

    Uncharted 4 spoilers abound as we've got Josh and Sarah in to talk performance, can you know too much about a character, the writing process at Naughty Dog, what you accomplish in level dialogue vs cutscene dialogue, why there isn’t an open world Uncharted, was Sam ever Samantha, structure, taking the time to develop characters in-game and spend time with them, where do you start when creating mysteries/puzzles, serious pirate history, making the main character an asshole, ghost pirates, and can you enjoy the games you’ve worked on.

    Again, SPOILERS FOR UNCHARTED 4 IN THIS EPISODE.

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    Episode 18: Laura E. Hall & Ian Thomas

    The wait is over! Laura and Ian join us this week to talk about moment-driven story design, designing escape rooms and narrative live action experiences, relying on people's subconscious' to do the heavy lifting, Punchdrunk's immersive theatre, environmental storytelling, breaking games, how to write for experiences where you can't control what the player will do, puzzle design, VR shorthands, and much more!

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    Episode 17: Jolie Menzel & Teddy Diefenbach

    Talking all about design this week with Jolie and Teddy! We also chat about the story and lack of text in Hyperlight Drifter, games being different based on what department heads the studio, breaking design down into systems/levels/narratives, narrative puzzle design, iteration, having intimate conversations with developers by playing their game, giving players choice when they don’t expect it, the balance of showing how much a game is listening to players, subtlety in design, storytelling through level design, games withholding their payoffs for too long, and the need to not be precious with your work.

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    Episode 16: Drew McGee & Greg Kasavin

    Drew and Greg call in to talk with us about the importance of being involved with the development process when you're a writer, worldbuilding, the writing process on Banner Saga 1 & 2, subtlety in games, how Supergiant decides on which game they're gonna make, writing as the most disposable of the creative disciplines, the divide between thinking something is good and what ends up shipping, storytelling structures, revising and never being comfortable in knowing how close you are from the finish line, the phrase 'We made the game we wanna play,' dealing with branching narratives, and the storytelling potential in fighting games.

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    Episode 15: Rob Morgan & Emily Short

    NPCs! VR! AR! Rob and Emily are here to talk about the importance of streamlining the implementation of your script, looting silos of information and the problem of them not being widely accessible, the value of knowing programming, the storytelling possibilities of VR and who you “are,” disempowered experiences in VR, interactive theater’s influence on games, different solutions for offering branching narratives to players, writing for augmented reality, and the lack of games about maintaining relationships.

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    Episode 14: Ian Gil & Anna Kipnis

    Ian and Anna join us to discuss falling into the industry, the benefits of an education that doesn't just focus on programming/computer science, the work involved with implementing dialogue, planning for localization, Never Alone's development, cultural expression in games, dialogue systems, why text to speech isn't the future (for now), the costs of voiced dynamic dialogue, authored vs simulationist vs player-centric approaches to story in games, and a couple of other rad topics!

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    Episode 13: Matthew Burns & Carrie Patel

    Matthew and Carrie join us this week to talk about maintaining your writing momentum, outlining, the writing process at Obsidian, Large Teams and the Problems they Cause, creating a Total Work of Art in video games, offering decisions that lead to chokepoints, motivating players with different play styles, the negative space that defines players’ experiences, how The Writer Will Do Something came about, that part of the meeting when everybody turns to look at you, when gameplay doesn't trump story, the linearity of relationship portrayals in games today, and should creators ever be involved in the post-release discussion.

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    Episode 12: Karla Zimonja & Eric Stirpe

    This week's coming in hot with Karla and Eric joining us to talk about writing and editing processes, writing at Telltale and working with design, player trust, gaming literacy, the importance of Minecraft, trying to balance giving the player an experience that feels unique and tailored to them with the desire to tell a coherent story, ludonarrative dissonance, whether there's a place for cutscenes, how to handle pacing, things you can and can't do with a first person narrative, and so much more!

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    Episode 11: Meg Jayanth & Richard Lemarchand

    We're captivated by our guests this week, as Meg and Richard talk about the cultural influences of tabletop, LARPing and interactive theatre on games, the woes of being a freelance writer, finding work-life balance, the importance and need for editors, the propensity for systemic thinking, unfairness in games, following the rules of fiction vs the rules of games, systemizing choice, the structure of 80 Days, research giving safety to the player, whether genres are useful, the generic influences of The Velvet Underground and The Doors, games confident enough to not explode all over your face when you start them up, and taking responsibility for the stories and games we put out into the world.

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    Episode 10: Mitu Khandaker-Kokoris & Jerry Belich

    Social simulations and the storytelling potential of hardware-based games are the main topics in today's discussion with Mitu and Jerry! We talk about the importance of player choice, The Witness and the dialogue that happens between a creator and the player, why freedom in games isn't always a good thing, how controllers and interfaces affect the way we think about games, why Animal Crossing is an amazing social simulator, how fleshing out a game's world can influence the design, the problems with making a social simulation, what happens to our engagement with games as interfaces become more mimetic, slaying Chris Crawford's Dragon, and man, that's just the stuff that's off the top of our heads!

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