Sat. Jan 21st, 2023

The story

Getting started – from idea to story

Before you code anything, you need to turn your initial idea into a short story – at the very least, you need to know:

  • Who will the player be controlling?
  • What are they trying to achieve?
  • Why are they trying to achieve this?

Who will the player be controlling?

The way in which the player-controlled character interacts with the game world will define how the game is played. At a bare minimum, you should identify and define:

  • What control does the player have over the character?
  • How much do the laws of physics affect the character?
  • How is the character controlled?

This is important information, because it will help inform and shape the goals of the game, and the gameplay itself. It is worth taking cues from currently available games when you consider the controls – whilst it is possible to design entirely novel control systems, successful ones are few and far between (just think how many similarities there are between iOS and Android – it isn’t because they want to copy each other; rather, it is because there are very few intuitive and usable control mechanisms).

What are they trying to achieve?

You need an objective with which to engage your target audience. They need to know that you are trying to save an endangered breed of comedy dog from extinction. Or that your character will only ever be truly happy once they have freed every captive candy bar in the world and become the centrepiece of a giant chocolate feast. Whatever it is that you need to achieve, this will include the detail of how you are going to achieve it. Almost all successful games have set goals and targets (either one giant end objective, or a set of smaller, closely spaced intermediate targets).

Why are they trying to achieve this?

This picks up from above – it consists of the background to the game. The story of what led to the position you are in at the start. Successful game design more often than not includes a good story. The better the story is, the easier you will find it to characterise and design (for example, the graphics will be key to setting the mood in the game, and you will want the style to be consistent: if the story is detailed enough, it will be easier to achieve this goal).