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Sean: Story Structure

I thought that this week I would share a bit of what I have learned while researching how to tell a good story. During the past couple weeks, I managed to read Invisible Ink by Brian McDonald, Save The Cat by Blake Snyder and Dan Harmon’s Story Circles, the two most recommended sources and which I highly recommend. While scouring the web I came across a useful little PDF that contains Harmon’s breakdown and Synder’s beat sheet along with other useful anecdotes.

McDonald’s main point in his book is the idea of creating an armature, that is defining the idea that you wish to convey and then using everything within your story to support this idea. McDonald uses the analogy of the wooden skeletons used to support clay models to show how the underlying structure is important but invisible at the end.

Snyder’s book revolves around his 14 point beat sheet that I have found incredibly helpful for structuring our story and which I will not reiterate here as it can be found in the pdf. Synder also talks about “the grid”, which is physical arrangement of all beats into three rows (three acts) on note cards.

Usually I work everything out digitally, but having just finished Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon, in which Kleon advocates for the use of analog means while brainstorming, I decided to deviate from my traditional Trello, Evernote and Google Doc routine and get some notecards. Am I actually being more creative? I honestly don’t know, but it is immensely more satisfying to pin note cards to a board and rearrange them.

Until Next Week,

Sean

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Hadi: Loose Ends

Hi guys,

My apologies for missing last week’s journal entry. I’d like to say that I forgot, but I’d be lying.

The reason I missed it was because I was distracted with other aspects of our project.

This past week I’ve been assembling the first part of our slice which we are calling “Episode 1” (for now) by converting the awesome concept art for world’s end that dre drew up into a functioning in-game pixel art asset. I have also been trying to bring all of the work we’ve done so far to make sure that all the pieces are fitted nicely together into a fun (and hopefully interesting) experience for the player. This includes updating our game design document and chipping away at our slice’s character and environment document. I’ve also have had the pleasure of meeting up with our artist to brainstorm ideas, which is always fun to do. The story for the slice is getting close to completion and slowly but surely we can see a game emerge from the chaotic dust of concepting.

Somewhat relating to our game’s story, we’ve figured out a name! I won’t go into too much detail as to not ruin the big reveal; however I will admit that it is nice to have a “proper” name for our dear Project Nibiru.

One of the more difficult things that I’ve had to fac as a designer on this project is trying to “predict” what mechanics and systems work well with one another without necessarily having it implemented and tested out in game. Through researching similar games and having an elementary understating of core game design principles we try to make out our best educated guess as to what the solution for the problem presented can be. Now more times than not, when you get to implementing these designs, it will no doubtably have to go through it’s own changes and updates which are based on practicality and game-play testing. So by knowing this, as a designer you need to make sure that you have a solid “foundation” for the game so that when you have to make these changes and updates it does not break what you’ve been trying to build. I suppose it’s very similar to predicting the future; you don’t know how wrong you are until you’ve tried it out. 😀

So on that note, back to work!

Till next time,

-Hadi

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Hadi: Bringing Things Together

Hey guys,

Apologies for my late journal, I haven’t had much time since Monday to get on my computer.

Since my last entry I have begun reworking our design and story documents. Mostly it’s been some updating, cleaning up, and setting up so that once August rolls out I’ll have an easier time finding some potential team members for the production phase of the project. So far, the concept art has been steadily capturing the feel that jives best with our team. We have definitely come a long ways since our original design so I’m looking forward to what we’ll have at the end of this concepting period.

So on that note, till next week;

Hadi