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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    Ep 33: Halley Gross & Graham Reznick

    2017's coming to a close and who better to spend it with than Halley and Graham! They join us to talk moving from TV to games, writing solo vs with a partner, staring at the ceiling being work, pacing for the player’s time, garbage passes, Steven Soderbergh’s Mosaic and his thoughts on video games, what makes something a game vs an interactive experience, how everyone is gaming literate now, lining up performances in a modular narrative, writing and recording out of order, trusting your actors and going easy on those parentheticals (unless you’re making a modular narrative), fan expectations, fan fiction, getting the audience to trust you, writing exposition, story burritos, characters saying their feelings, and challenging your audience.


    • This episode has spoilers for Inside
    • Halley said she played a Game Gear game called Gems, but she wants you to know that she actually meant to say Columns.
    • Halley was right about Playwright’s Horizons.
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    Ep 32: Samantha Wallschlaeger & Brooke Maggs

    Samantha and Brooke call in to talk about breaking into the industry, binging the Mass Effect trilogy, writing processes, why character should be the plot, trying to get a story across without using text or speech, creating well-rounded characters, transitioning from a literary writer to a narrative designer, writing for MMOs and the writing process working on The Old Republic, episodic and 100+ hour narratives, special difficulty modes for people who just want to experience the story in a game, NOT being able to kiss Nick Valentine in Fallout 4, different approaches to storytelling within Bioware, career advice and tips for breaking into the industry, and oh man so much more it's crazy.

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    Ep 31: Michael Choung & Laura Jacqmin

    Michael and Laura join us to talk about moving between theatre, TV, and video games, switching fonts and other strategies when you're narratively stuck, the best times to write, jumping from selling shoes to Telltale, player agency, approaching storytelling differently for different IP, Night School’s storytelling philosophy, story being an endlessly renewable resource, work-life balance, giving the illusion of choice to players, making choices feel big, responding to players while making episodic content, and the need for more character moments in AAA.

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    Ep 30: Ashly Burch & Kate Dollarhyde

    Ashly and Kate are here to talk fan fiction, writing processes, letting your work breathe vs brute forcing it, whether games need their stories to be great or not, dealing with bad notes, voice acting and having too much or too little info to work with when you go into the booth, staying true to an IPs voice while also bringing your own, writing as a fan, ways to handle the problem of crafting stories when players might not be paying attention to/remembering key information, making players feel helpless, and much more!

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    Ep 29: Kim Belair & Harrison G. Pink

    Kim and Harrison are here to talk about whether modern games leave enough to the player’s imagination, introducing a New Game Minus feature, if you have a lot of money, you can’t afford faith (from a corporate level), the weirdness of Earthbound, feeling obligated to share lore because you have it instead of holding it back, studios valuing plot logic over emotional logic between characters, open world design problems, giving players more verbs, being able to ask for help more in games, making choices explicit to players, too many twists, and the need for lower stakes.

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    Ep 28: Josh Mosqueira & Darby McDevitt

    Josh and Darby call in to discuss tabletop gaming, the benefits of an english degree, being a game director at Blizzard, the business realities of game development, the relationship between narrative design and game design, the importance of the player's story, the problem with plot in video games and how to deal with it, the storytelling of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, whether games will ever be remembered for their stories, bad writing, working with established franchises, dealing with the expectations of players, and much more!

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    Ep 27: Sean Vanaman & Jesse Stern

    We've got Sean and Jesse in to talk about joining the industry with no preconceived notions, the importance of having somebody with strong storytelling sensibilities in a senior leadership role, how building scenes first and then finding a writer NEVER works, generating trust with your team, trusting the process, the skills you improve over making games, staying usefully ignorant of the process, the hardest scene to write in games being two people talking to each other, maintaining a professional curiosity, when is the right time to share ideas with your team, the problem of people mortgaging fun and entertainment for subtlety, and Sean’s experience working on Mickey Epic.

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    Ep 26: Aleissia Laidacker & Rob Morgan

    Straight outta GDC, Aleissia and Rob join us to discuss augmented and mixed reality experiences, interactive immersive theater, how to get players to not break experiences, whether AI is the future for making games accessible or not, Sleep No More (as always), should players be aware of a narrative changing around them, managing the user experience, having stories where the player isn't the hero, participation through implication as a storytelling conceit, using AI tracking and Machine Learning to help systemic games, attuning players to treat the world around them as if it's not devoid of social consequences, the player's self-importance about their own experience, advancements in systemic design, our collective excitement at the prospect of a wrestling game using the nemesis system, parallels between wrestling and storytelling, how do you make a believable NPC, and sooooo much more!

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    Ep 25: Émilie Poissenot & Brie Code

    We're starting 2017 off right with our guests Émilie and Brie! Topics include making games with people who don't like video games, modular narratives, integrating positive psychology into game design, story emerging from systems, the storytelling challenges of being free to play, updating a game every three weeks and the challenges therein, emotional triggers that create engagement, player ownership in games, the importance of giving space to the audience, and games as a personal growth tool.

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    Ep 24: Emily Garrison & Julie Marchiori

    It's our last episode of the year! Emily Garrison and Julie Marchiori drop in to talk about using agency to empower players to build their own stories, gameplay verbs, the narrative potential of systems, environmental storytelling, level design, the research phase, design processes, subtext in games, the importance of downtime with your characters and why it's difficult for studios, minority content, examining the choices of players, and a heck of a lot more!

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