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Slay the Dragon: Writing Great Video Games

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Writing for the multibillion-dollar video-game industry is unlike writing for any other medium. "Slay the Dragon" will help you understand the challenges and offer creative solutions to writing for a medium where the audience not only demands a great story, but to be a driving force within it. Aimed at traditional writers who want to learn interactive narrative as well as Writing for the multibillion-dollar video-game industry is unlike writing for any other medium. "Slay the Dragon" will help you understand the challenges and offer creative solutions to writing for a medium where the audience not only demands a great story, but to be a driving force within it. Aimed at traditional writers who want to learn interactive narrative as well as game creators who want to tell better, more emotionally involving stories, the book is written by two creative veterans of both Hollywood and "Nerdyhood." Through lively discussions and self-paced-exercises, Bryant and Giglio step you such topics as: the "no-act" structure of video games; writing great game characters; making gameplay emotionally meaningful; and bringing your game world alive.


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Writing for the multibillion-dollar video-game industry is unlike writing for any other medium. "Slay the Dragon" will help you understand the challenges and offer creative solutions to writing for a medium where the audience not only demands a great story, but to be a driving force within it. Aimed at traditional writers who want to learn interactive narrative as well as Writing for the multibillion-dollar video-game industry is unlike writing for any other medium. "Slay the Dragon" will help you understand the challenges and offer creative solutions to writing for a medium where the audience not only demands a great story, but to be a driving force within it. Aimed at traditional writers who want to learn interactive narrative as well as game creators who want to tell better, more emotionally involving stories, the book is written by two creative veterans of both Hollywood and "Nerdyhood." Through lively discussions and self-paced-exercises, Bryant and Giglio step you such topics as: the "no-act" structure of video games; writing great game characters; making gameplay emotionally meaningful; and bringing your game world alive.

30 review for Slay the Dragon: Writing Great Video Games

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jane Night

    I was really excited to read this book. I knew video games needed writers but I did not know much about getting into the industry. I am a casual gamer but my boyfriend is a hard core gamer. I feel like having some background in gaming is useful when reading this book. Also, be prepared for game plot spoilers. This book has lots or really amazing points. Some are relevant to writing in general and some are very specific to creating video games. One of my favorite sections talked about creating comp I was really excited to read this book. I knew video games needed writers but I did not know much about getting into the industry. I am a casual gamer but my boyfriend is a hard core gamer. I feel like having some background in gaming is useful when reading this book. Also, be prepared for game plot spoilers. This book has lots or really amazing points. Some are relevant to writing in general and some are very specific to creating video games. One of my favorite sections talked about creating compelling characters. It used the examples of Superman and Batman to talk about what makes for an interesting character. No big surprise that Batman prize for more interesting hands down. He is human. He has flaws. He has many more weaknesses than Superman. Basically, Superman is a boy scout. Generally speaking, complete do gooders with almost no weaknesses make for boring stories. Especially in video games. There is little challenge playing a video game in “God Mode.” Believe me, I used to play the first Warcraft game with that cheat. It was fun for a minute but there was no challenge there. Another thing I really enjoyed about this book was the explanation for how different writing for games is. For instance, players care about movements that make the story progress. They need things to be active. Spacing a story out and adding lots of things for the character to do is super important. I think this book is a valuable read for writers even if they have never thought about video game writing. One never knows where the information might take them.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel

    I really enjoyed reading this. Let me just put that out there. While some of the material may have been a bit basic, I didn’t go in expecting a thorough research analysis of what is expected in writing for video games. This book is great for what it is: a book explaining the essential foundational components needed for all successful, story-driven video games. Some of my favorite highlights of the book include: - Games are interactive whereas movies aren’t. Thus, the player must always be advanci I really enjoyed reading this. Let me just put that out there. While some of the material may have been a bit basic, I didn’t go in expecting a thorough research analysis of what is expected in writing for video games. This book is great for what it is: a book explaining the essential foundational components needed for all successful, story-driven video games. Some of my favorite highlights of the book include: - Games are interactive whereas movies aren’t. Thus, the player must always be advancing the story, meaning the stories normally are much longer than in movies to account for more gameplay. Where movies are around 3 acts long on average, a video game may include 4 acts with 2 sequences in each. - At each “level”, the goal of the protagonist must be explicitly noted and must advance the story in some way. - Characters must be compelling and each have an arc throughout the story. Compelling characters have flaws they must overcome (which is why it is argued that Batman is a better character than Superman, because of his flaws). The book continues with information similar to this, with a lot of video games/movies comparisons. If you go into this expecting to become an expert on the matter, then you will be disappointed (but really no one book can make anyone a master at anything, so if that’s your thought process then stop it). I recommend anyone interested in writing and/or video games to read this.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Rawlings

    The information is pretty basic, generally only giving the 'what' rather than the 'why' or 'how', which you'd think this books would be particularly geared towards. The tone and style of writing are relentlessly enthusiastic, at the expense of actually conveying information. A bit tacky in its focus on making money. If you want a primer on the subject, look elsewhere.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kristijan Trajkovski

    Perfect book for getting started with writing video games. Gives you the right tools and a reference to good practices to writing great games, how to seamlessly integrate the story with the gameplay, and what to pay attention to when writing.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dan Guajars

    Lo terminé hace tiempo. Fue una lectura muy informativa y tuve varias ideas. Pero aún es muy pronto para mí. Tal vez en 2020 ó 2021 piense en desarrollar un juego narrativo.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ido Reshef

    A step by step recipe for building your game concept Read this book twice. I am an indie dev working on its debut title. This book caught my attention as I was looking on ways to craft an interesting story for my game. I also really liked the title. The authors take great strides at providing many examples to clarify their philosophy about story and games and it seems they’re passionate about it. This book gives you a notion of how a good scene is built and how a story should be structured. There A step by step recipe for building your game concept Read this book twice. I am an indie dev working on its debut title. This book caught my attention as I was looking on ways to craft an interesting story for my game. I also really liked the title. The authors take great strides at providing many examples to clarify their philosophy about story and games and it seems they’re passionate about it. This book gives you a notion of how a good scene is built and how a story should be structured. There are exercises at the end of each chapter as well to explore the ideas in the chapter. If you follow through all the exercises you will probably end up with a GCD which is a Game concept document for your game. I wish this book had some forum so someone could critique my work. A Facebook group could be a great start. In addition This book was written in early 2015... so it would have been nice if the examples were to more up date games like “The witcher 3”, “Undertale”,”GTA 5”, “Spider-Man (2018)”, “God of war 4” and others. There references to previous games of some of the game series I mentioned. Having said that, I do think the information in this book is highly relevant to craft your game story and build convincing character arcs. The authors take the liberty to make some bold statements about the status and creativity of the game industry. While generally speaking I like their thought direction I did find myself wrestling with some of their ideas. But all in all a highly recommended read for the aspiring writer who wants to write for games or the developer who seeks to craft a most memorable experience for his audience. It’s a 5/5 from me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Zacharewicz

    Despite some of the jokes getting more of an eye roll than a laugh, and despite various sections looking like they could've used another copy-editor's eyes, the information in this book seems quite useful. Though, since it's from 2014, expect the references to be a bit dated and some of the more specific information (websites and the like) to have changed. Those caveats aside, what the authors have to say about game design at a basic level and storytelling up to a more advanced level and how the Despite some of the jokes getting more of an eye roll than a laugh, and despite various sections looking like they could've used another copy-editor's eyes, the information in this book seems quite useful. Though, since it's from 2014, expect the references to be a bit dated and some of the more specific information (websites and the like) to have changed. Those caveats aside, what the authors have to say about game design at a basic level and storytelling up to a more advanced level and how the two can work together is worth the asking price. Especially if you're looking for a book to reveal the basics of writing as they apply to writing video games. The exercises Bryant and Giglio outline also seem to offer a decent level of practical depth both for those looking to make a game and those looking just to stretch their interactive fiction writing muscle.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Eric Dicarlo

    If you're looking to learn some storytelling fundamentals (and want to learn those through the lens of video games), this is the book for you! Unfortunately, if you already have that basis and are looking to expand your games writing skillset, you might find yourself a bit disappointed here. It's really good at saying "here are things you'll need to prepare yourself for," when I was hoping it would... help me prepare for those very things.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Roger B Gorham

    Awesome read / handbook I learned a lot about how the gaming industry operates as well as how to incorporate good storytelling into an interactive medium. Could have used a bit more intel on how to get your foot in the door.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    Pretty basic, but good stuff. If you were a writer who didn't know much about video games, or a gamer who didn't know much about writing, it might be helpful.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Eric Hultgren

    Super helpful with a project I am working on.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Excellent It really is a must read for any gamer. It talks about stories in gamed and how to make them work.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Robert Dunlap

    Great, easy read that can push you to do the simplest things to get started in writing for video games.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Schroeder

    I'm not a writer or a game designer, I'm just an avid gamer and I still loved this book. It really made me think about the game design process. I find myself thinking about that a lot now when I'm playing something. I liked the activity sections, and the resource listings.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Anderson

    It's good for not just readers interested in writing for video games, but it's also good for people who want to understand the video game making process, and for aspiring writers who want to discover creative ways to help improve their writing.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Adam

  17. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

  18. 4 out of 5

    G.R.S. Hjelm

  19. 4 out of 5

    Patryk

  20. 4 out of 5

    Habib

  21. 4 out of 5

    b groen

  22. 5 out of 5

    Riley Campbell

  23. 4 out of 5

    Winston Bribach

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marcelo Galvão

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jason

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  28. 5 out of 5

    Guillermo Crespi

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rubén Soler Ferrer

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alejandro Felix

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