A Game Design Degree or certificate programs have several courses. A Storytelling course for Game Design is just one out of several courses available in game design. Some schools call it Interactive Storytelling in computer game designs.
Your creativity can be most felt from the story line of your designed game not just from the characters, sounds or graphics. Storytelling courses in game design usually include reading, imaginative thinking, writing, design concepts, prototypes and design document activities trainings. You may also learn how to develop characters, come up with narrative strategies, and learn about dialogue patterns*.
Plagiarism or copying of another person’s story or design work is seriously frowned upon during a storytelling course, so it can be important to come up with your own unique and creative ideas. After you have passed a storytelling training course, your creative ability has the potential to juice out at its best.
Aspects of Storytelling in Game Design
The storyline of a game design is what really sells the game. The purpose of storytelling in game design is to involve your audience or players in the art by connecting their emotions and expressions with your story, leaving them with the point or something that you, the game designer, want to pass across with your story.
A good story line should have the following aspects:
1. The Catalyst
The catalyst is the central point or issues that the story or games revolve round. It’s what makes the main character (protagonist) into action**. It is the main triggering part of the games that sets every other thing in place. Most times in game design storytelling, the catalyst is the ideas that inspired your story, the lesson or point that you want to pass to the player. This catalyst or theme sets the tone and nature of the game.
2. The Beginning
Understanding your story catalyst will help you design a clear beginning for the game in line with what the story is about without losing focus. The start of a game is an important part of the storyline. A good introduction is one that pulls your audience into the game more and more. This should be what you keep in mind when designing a game. This way, your audience or players will catch up with the idea of game more easily when it is presented to them.
3. The Middle
The middle of a game play should be where the twists, challenges and turns are seen. It is a time in the game when the players’ or audience’s senses should stand with heated stride to hit the mark or give a winning move. The middle is usually the climax and best part of game play. So, you may want to factor this into the game design storyline.
4. The End
The end is the close of the game that leaves a thought in the mind of the audience or players. Think about the thought that you would love to remain in the mind of the players or audience, and tailor the end of your game storytelling towards this in the game design. The impact of a game is in the way the game ends and the goal it achieves upon completion.
5. Character Development
Once you can articulate the catalyst, start, middle and end of game design, the next important aspect to consider is the characters. The audience or players may connect easily to the game characters before taking time to catch the storyline in some cases. The empathetic response of the audience can be critical to the success of a game***.
Therefore, the characters are one of the most crucial aspects of storytelling in a game design course. Your characters should be such that will help your audience connect easily with the game storyline. It gives the idea of what the game is about and creates the interest to play or view in the audience.
Everything from the colors and clothing, to gestures and dramatic poses, should create the imagery that your game design is out to sell.
6. Thematic Value
The thematic value in game design is what the game is about. It is the catalyst presented in simple words or sentences with values (game rules) that the players or audience keeps in mind. Careful thought about the catalyst of your story may help you define your game thematic values easily.
Following these aspects of storytelling discussed above to build any kind of game, and spending time to study and perfect the art, have the potential to take your game design experience to the next level. When choosing to take a storytelling course in game design, you may want to do your research to find the right fit for you.
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*For more information, please visit: http://digitalworlds.ufl.edu/programs/ba-in-das/ba-das-course/ist/
**For more information, please visit: http://webdocs.cs.ualberta.ca/~dthue/papers/thue07-aiide.pdf
***For more information, please visit: http://www.jamietelford.com/wiki3d/index.php?title=InteractiveStorytelling