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10 Tips for Crafting Narratives in Story Based Games

Do you create story based games and want to create compelling narratives that hook players from the beginning? Try these tips.

For many people, video games are used as an escape from the real world and the problems that surround them. The stories in video games are essential, so the player can dive into a new world and forget their own problems.

Sometimes, mindless video games are fun but they don’t get the player as hooked as a video game with new worlds, characters, problems, and plot.

If you’re trying to create a story based game with a compelling narrative, then you’ve come to the right place.

Keep reading for our ten tips on how to craft an interesting narrative in story based games.

1. Decide on the Type of Game

Deciding on what type your game is going to be will help you greatly when crafting your narrative. You may think that to create the story the game mechanics don’t matter but they are a huge part. You have options when it comes to deciding the type of game and they can also combine any of the types listed below.

  • Action-adventure
  • Role-playing game (RPG)
  • First-person shooter (FPS)
  • Puzzles

You can craft an interesting narrative around all of these types of games but choosing the type is very important.

2. Start With the World

Once you’ve decided on the type of game now you must start building the world that the game will take place. This can be as true to life as you want or you can create a totally fictional world. The world is such an important part of your narrative because the players will be viewing it more than the characters.

In your world, you will want to set up the rules, culture, lore, and more before getting started with anything else. For example, in a game like Skyrim players are in a fictional world called Tamriel. This world does borrow some aspects from the Nordic culture but everything else is made up.

3. Introduce Your Characters

After creating your world, you will want to start building your characters and see how they fit in. People like characters who they can relate to meaning that your characters should have flaws, a back story, and some good intentions even if they’re way beneath the surface.

Make sure that your characters are well rounded. Give them some emotions, likes, dislikes, goals, friends, and especially enemies. Don’t focus on how your characters look before giving them depth to their personality. You may also want to consider how your characters will grow throughout the game.

4. Storyboards Will Help

So now you’re ready to dive into creating the story. Creating a storyboard is going to be a huge help in your narrative. When creating your storyboard try plugging in rough ideas and see where they will fit.

At this point in the process don’t go overboard with your storyboard. Keep it simple! Use words and rough drawings to get your point across.

Filling in your storyboard will help you find the overall plot of your video game. You can also find places where you can add a side quest for players. A storyboard is a good way to get a rough draft of how you want your narrative to play out.

5. Write the Story

Now you’re going to want to zoom into each box on your storyboard and get to writing. Make sure that each scene in your game is moving the story along in some way. This can be by going to a new place or revealing something about a character.

One rule you should follow is to keep it simple. Video games can be very fast pasted so don’t use big words that would require a dictionary. Stick to simple sentence structures and things they can understand at a glance. Some people are impatient and want to skip through dialogue so make sure you can create a story without relying on dialogue.

6. Add-in the Extras

When it comes to video games, there are tons of tiny details that are always being added in to make the game seem more real. This is where you’ll put NPCs, side quests, and even items that the main character may need to find.

7. Analyze Your Story

Your video game should have a good narrative, interesting characters, and dialogue that moves the story along. At this point in your process, you may want to analyze your story a bit more to see if more action is needed to drive the story along.

StoryFit can analyze that for you! They will break your story down and give you side-by-side comparisons so you know what it looks like to an outsider. Find out more about StoryFit and see how they can help you create your narrative.

8. Get to Drawing

Now is time to get that storyboard back out and start on the visuals. You may not be the one who is doing the actual animation but as the writer of the game, you play a big role in how the story should look visually.

Figure out how you want the world to be portrayed in your video games. Sometimes vibrant colors make an awesome world, but your story may require the world to look a bit dark and dreary. Try to make a simple rough draft of how you want each of the characters to look as this can play a huge part in their personality.

9. Play Your Game

At this point, you may not actually have the physical game in front of you but go through your story as if you are playing the game. This is the best way to re-think any characters or scenes that just might not fit. Or you could add something that you think the game is missing.

Going through your game as if you’re the player will help to make the story come alive for yourself. Make sure that you don’t hit any walls and find that the story isn’t progressing because these are parts you will want to rewrite.

10. Don’t Give Up

The last tip that we can give when it comes to writing your own video game narrative is to never get up. A finished video game is much better than an unfinished one. So no matter how many drafts and revisions it takes, just make sure that you complete it!

Create Better Story Based Games

Crafting your narrative in story based games should be fun and help to open a new outlet for you. Make sure to think about everything as a whole but also focus on the details that make the game fun.

If you’re interested in learning more about technology, then make sure to check out our blog for more tips.

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