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How To Start Your Game Narrative – Design Mechanics First – Extra Credits



Game writing isn’t about making up a story and then attaching gameplay to it. To be a great game writer, you have to also be a good game designer, and recognize how the gameplay is inseparable from the narrative design process.
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(Original air date: January 23, 2013)
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♪ Intro Music: “Penguin Cap” by CarboHydroM

♪ Outro Music: “K’remispheric Pressure” by halc

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39 Comments
  1. NeosCity 2 months ago
    Reply

    How i personally saw this video was have your idea first wether thats a emotion you want to convey a cool idea for a game mechanic or a message you wanna send or basic story you wanna tell like 2 lovers that arent supposed to love eachother (i dont think they meant literally make it so your story can have a different set of characters or be detached from the setting but that the basic idea can so you can easily change the specifics and be flexible if need be) then make your basic mechanics not your entire game and either make or implement your story with your mechanics or just go full mechanics bare minumum story like mario sonic 1 mario party mechanics are your tools you need to make them first then use them to make and have the player interact with the rest of the game wether it be a gripping narrative a pure mechanic game or something inbetween

  2. Cordelia Maynard 2 months ago
    Reply

    My game's title is most of the exposition you need. You just need to tell the story WITH mechanics.

  3. Snowka 2 months ago
    Reply

    kill MEE EEE

  4. Darren G 2 months ago
    Reply

    This logic is questionable. Games are a lot like movies. Are you recommendation a studio not start with a good script? And doing so will "doom you to failure"? Ridiculous.

  5. Aieris Frost 2 months ago
    Reply

    yOu CaNt HaVe A sToRy PlAnNeD oUt BeFoRe YoU mAkE tHe GaMe

    Try me bitch

  6. RanStuff 2 months ago
    Reply

    But what if the game is supposed to be like a Visual Novel? Does the same idea work?

  7. Saltyboi 243 2 months ago
    Reply

    e

  8. Cole R 2 months ago
    Reply

    I’d say this isn’t necessarily true, take Final Fantasy 7 Remake for a recent example.
    Unless you are trying to create a new style/genre of game, you prbly have a general idea of the mechanics it uses and you can design your story around this accordingly. So imo, it’s not unreasonable to have a solid story before mechanics are fully developed as long as you understand the genre you’re making it for.
    Of course, both story and gameplay are subject to changes during the development process. Games are complicated and difficult to make so developing one has to be an organic process, with each part feeding into the other parts.

  9. Kromiball 2 months ago
    Reply

    2:28 That gear won't work.

  10. Ashton Snapp 2 months ago
    Reply

    I don’t really have a story in mind, just a general setting.

  11. ratbutcher 2 months ago
    Reply

    Episode: Mechanics as Metaphors II ~1:30 : "don't start with a mechanic."

    This episode : "start with a mechanic."

    Am learning

  12. Roselia's Sanctuary 2 months ago
    Reply

    thank you

  13. Chris Sanders 2 months ago
    Reply

    well said

  14. Emerald player 2 months ago
    Reply

    What if we just star with a page of plot structure

  15. CRVXMXND 2 months ago
    Reply

    As an rpg fan, If your gameplay is ass, I couldn't care less about the story. I will have no insentive to continue if all I can do is level up and buy items from a shop.

    Characters and story enhance games, but gameplay is in definition, playing a game.

    If I don't have fun playing an rpg game, I might as well read a book.

    Both mediums require a bit of storytelling 🤷🏻‍♂️

  16. OverRatedProgrammer 2 months ago
    Reply

    I disagree. The gameplay should compliment the story. The story shouldn't be built off of the gameplay mechanics

  17. Robbie Garber 2 months ago
    Reply

    Sounds kind of like the theatre theory of moment work, as applied to games. I like it.

  18. Daniel Gould 2 months ago
    Reply

    I'm feeling a bit stuck now. I had an idea a few years ago for a game, mechanics not story. But then I thought "surely this game would need some sort of context", and since then I went on down the rabbit hole on worldbuilding and character writing, creating a plot for it, etc. It's become a bit of a monster at this point, and it's not even finished. However… I've since realized that the mechanics I originally had in mind could work just fine with a minimal amount of story elements, and that what I've created has vastly outgrown the mechanics…

    So now my options are; (1) do it anyway, probably not the best idea; (2) come up with brand new (maybe similar?) mechanics, which you guys are warning against; (3) abandon the entire thing, I'm a bit too emotionally invested to do that at this point, or (4) tell it using a different medium, write a book or something.

  19. Anonymous Wolf 2 months ago
    Reply

    I'm not sure I 100% agree here, if you are coming up with a game idea a story can bring direction and it's setting can bring on mechanics where otherwise you might be struggling to even think of mechanics because you have no clue where to start.

  20. Pawel Vmly 2 months ago
    Reply

    You're making that statement based on what? Experience?

  21. Happy Wigglesworth 2 months ago
    Reply

    This video was incredibly helpful for me. When I first started making a game, I had an entire universe and story plotted out in my head that I had been coming up with for ages. After watching this video, I decided to play some other video games and was hit with the realization of how fun grenades could be, and immediately started making a game with the mechanics of the grenades coming first to the idea of a fully fleshed story on the outset!

  22. James Smyth 2 months ago
    Reply

    that was wank

  23. DGonzalez Tutoriales Unity en Español 2 months ago
    Reply

    It's just me, or your videos are WAY to fast? I have to play them at 75% speed, otherwise part of the meaning doesn't sink

  24. giuseppe villella 2 months ago
    Reply

    Game writing IS about making up a GREAT story and then attaching gameplay to it. To be a great game writer, you DO NOT have to be a good game designer, and recognize how the gameplay is QUITE SEPARATE from the narrative design process. You are contradicting yourself when you are telling story artists to forget about creativity and just stick to what is possible in the "Gameplay" rules. I say forget about gameplay and just let the imagination run wild. You can always cut out and edit later. But if you dont even try to be unique in your thoughts, then you are just going to be one of a million other gamer stories out there who just do the same thing over and over.

  25. Paul Robinson 2 months ago
    Reply

    Thanks this was really helpful

  26. Mukul Kataria 2 months ago
    Reply

    Story is important. You can't start game design without a proper storyline to follow. If you don't have a storyline then you won't know what is an appropriate place to place that prop or the environment.

  27. Alex Sudati 2 months ago
    Reply

    I want a banana-dog game 🙁

  28. Derek Weselake 2 months ago
    Reply

    What if it's a game like Kojima's snatcher? like a Visual Novel game?

  29. Sir Nesbit 2 months ago
    Reply

    So basically me having a general idea on what story I want to tell (and what feeling I want players to get) instead of a thought out plan is a good thing?

    Holy hell being a Game Designer becomes more and more appealing as I look more and more into it.

  30. Juniper Lee 2 months ago
    Reply

    I'm assuming this is less relevant for building a visual novel, since a visual novel is a novel just as much as it is a game and the mechanics of a vn tends to be dialogue tree's

  31. girafen 2 months ago
    Reply

    This was actually very helpfull

  32. Mutsu Hanma 2 months ago
    Reply

    5 minutes of just don't write a fucking story for a game lmao

  33. Uhfgood 2 months ago
    Reply

    This is kind of dumb "don't start out with a story". It depends on the type of game you make. There are also a bunch of different approaches. You don't need a story to make a great game. You need a story to make a great 'story-based' game, such as an rpg or adventure game. It's not wrong to start out with mechanics first, but if you do that you may not need or want a story, which is fine, but to say you shouldn't start out any game narrative with a story is just incorrect.

  34. The Emperor 2 months ago
    Reply

    EC: Don't try to build some type of story or narrative before you've an idea of what your game is.
    Bethesda: HOW ABOUT I DO, ANYWAY?

  35. Godel Escher Bach 2 months ago
    Reply

    I expected a video describing what mechanics are, etc. Instead it's a video of someone saying why they shouldn't start with a story; completely different title to the video.

  36. Chris Jackson 2 months ago
    Reply

    Undying praise

  37. Fawntox : 2 months ago
    Reply

    3:11 or it could be gnomes

  38. redfoxbennaton77 2 months ago
    Reply

    How do I come up with locations for a story?

  39. O 2 months ago
    Reply

    The emotion… While I am sure it can work for some people, I think it is too abstract for other to start with this.
    I think creating a "world" would be a great start. Everything you will think of, you will conforme to the universe you created. It will give coherance and depth to you're story.

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