We explore the stimulation - imagination continuum of player engagement and look at how indie game devs can strike a balance between the two.
Edwin embarks on his learning Unity journey with Future Games.
Why you should never 'dumb down' your game narrative.
A short experiment in interactive audio using the TWIST interactive audio platform and Replica's AI voice synth technology.
A warning about game writing based on what you 'Like' versus what's actually going to work for the player.
Narrative Designer, Tim Schuchert, suggests some methods for how you can maintain consistency when designing your game’s protagonist and avoid those damaging moments where a protagonist acts in a way that makes no sense to the player.
Narrative Designer, Tim Schuchert, explains the different types of video game protagonist and how choosing the right one is vital to your player's experience.
Marketing yourself as a freelance narrative designer for video games.
The financial facts of freelance narrative design laid bare.
We talk about the profession, working remotely, and integrating writers into your team. Enjoy!
How we could use procedural narrative design in digital collectible card games to create dynamic character banter?
How to consider Pace in a video game narrative when you're creating a story-driven game... and when you're not.
You've put 200 hundred hours into that RPG and now your character is amazing. But have you, the gamer, become amazing too?
Play as Māia te Kaitiaki (Māia the Guardian) as she battles two vicious mangā warriors in this interactive sample of Guardian Māia: Episode 2!
A 40 min interview about narrative design for video games with JP Podlasek, host of the Game Dev Advice podcast.
In this Ink script tutorial you'll learn how to track multiple Variables in your interactive fiction.
A Falconers side story set on the outskirts of Moonlight, setting for the visual novel "The Falconers: Moonlight". Very short. 5-10 min read.
In this Ink script tutorial you'll learn how to track Variables like Magic Points in your interactive fiction.
The systems are in place. Now storytellers need to step in and turn those procedurally generated facts into powerfully expressed fictions.
For writers, the games industry is a much friendlier and more welcoming place now than it was ten years ago. It’s also a much bigger industry than it was ten years ago, meaning there are so many more games in need of stories and writing.
These are my working definitions for Procedural and Emergent, what I use when creating game narratives for my clients.
Fiction is a cool oasis in a desert of delusion.
The RPG Insight Quest: Delve into this article and shine some light on your beshadowed gamer soul. Do you accept this quest? Y/N
A recap of the story of Warlock: Reign of Blood, book one in the Chasms of Corruption duology. DO NOT READ if you have not yet finished Warlock. CONTAINS SPOILERS!
The New Zealand Book Council interviews author Edwin McRae about LitRPG.
The short answer is "character build". For the long answer, read on!
Detox done and here's my conclusion. Beware of manipulative game design!
A curated list of games that won't overtax your dopamine.
Working on a plan for my gaming future.
Gaming is part of my cultural DNA.
Skinner's Box, Benign Envy and the science behind loot drops.
Yes, I stumbled over another hurdle but I'm still in the race.
Why do we love RPGs?
If only life was a matter of understanding ‘the system’.
Perhaps reading LitRPG offers me something that RPGs can’t?
Does reading a LitRPG press the same buttons as playing an RPG?
Pooches, pirates and prose.
Them game cravings plundered me like pirates on the open sea!
Compulsion loops and how they work in video games.
Not all RPGs are made evil… I mean, equal. ;-)
Perhaps 12 is the ‘magic number’ went it comes to video game cravings?
It’s easier for me to detox from video games than 1999 out of 2000 people. Want to know why?
There’s a very dark side to RPG mechanics and it’s no coincidence that some of the biggest time-sink games are Open World RPGs.
Sometimes its better if you don’t have an escape. Sometimes RL needs your back to the wall, your eyes front and center.
My cravings had me searching for meaning in gaming, and then I found it, in an article about the meaninglessness of Assassin's Creed: Odyssey.
What do you do when those video game cravings grow even stronger?
I’m missing my video games, but enough to crack my detox run?
Looks like I’m suffering from Dopamine Deficiency. Know what that is?
Computer Work + Computer Games = Maybe not such a great combination?
Gaming self-efficacy versus life self-efficacy. Gaming left me feeling more alert but it didn't motivate me to get my work done.
I rage-deleted Assassin's Creed: Odyssey yesterday and now I'm going to tell you why.
After rage-deleting Assassin's Creed: Odyssey I've decided it's time I took a little break from video games. I'll be doing a quick diary entry each day for the next 30 days to share how I'm feeling and what I'm doing to cope without my beloved video games.
My Five Step Method for Making Monsters. Step 1 = Which fear do you want your player/reader to experience? Step 2 = Icky and gooey. The Biological profile. Step 3 = Establish the Danger. The Behavior profile. Step 4 = Monsters must Die! Establish the weakness. Step 5 = Beware the corporate Elder Gods and do your due diligence. Read on to grab the details for these steps. :-)
When I read LitRPG, I’m there for the story. Yes, the mechanics are a vital part of the story in any LitRPG, but they should never overwhelm the plot or characters. The key to getting the right balance between Story and Mechanics in LitRPG is SIMPLICITY. Read on and I'll explain why.
I’m Edwin McRae, former lead writer of Path of Exile and author of Warlock: Reign of Blood - A LitRPG Novel. Below I outline three RPG narrative design techniques that you can be watching out for when you read your next LitRPG novel. NPC design, Story Glyphs and Boss fight buildup.
Writer, Edwin McRae, discusses the valuable lessons he’s learned from writing and trying to sell a novella that’s turned out to be a “qualified failure”.
In a short interview with Liliana Marin of UHCL, Edwin McRae how writing for games differs from writing for films or books.
An explanation from Narrative Designer and Game Writer, Edwin McRae, of what Narrative Design is and what a Narrative Designer does.
In this tutorial we're taking Delayed Consequence to the next level by introducing you to Conditional Options!
Edwin reflects on his first trailer script for Path of Exile: The Duelist.
Harrison, Dirk and Edwin discuss the importance of the narrative line in game design and how it can keep game players engaged throughout a game with immersive details.
In this tutorial, we’re going to start down the track of making your interactive fiction more responsive to your reader. And how are we going to do that? By giving you the power of Delayed Consequence through the application of Conditional Text.
In this lesson we use Stitches, Gathers and Glues to better organize your Interactive Fiction story and avoid the dreaded 'Wall of Text'.
In this tutorial we look at how to create Options within Options in Ink script. Once you've mastered these multiple layers of options, you have everything you need to create a classic Choose You Own Adventure story with Ink script.
The fourth and final article in a series by Edwin McRae about how to festoon platformer games with story goodness. In this article we look at visual evolution, gradual changes to the PC's appearance that can be the direct result of the player's progress through the game.
The third in a series of short articles by Edwin McRae about how to festoon platformer games with story goodness. In this article we look at Emotes, changes of physical expression or simple symbols that show how the player character is feeling in that moment.
Edwin McRae discusses how Ink Script can be a great introduction for writers hoping to enter the field of Narrative Design for video games.
The second in a series of short articles by Edwin McRae about how to festoon platformer games with story goodness. In this article we look at Reactive Dialogue, punchy jabs of dialogue that are triggered by the player's actions.
A series of short articles by Edwin McRae about how to festoon platformer games with story goodness.
In this tutorial you learn how to use Knots and Diverts to make your Ink Script more playable, different types of Options, and how to hide text that you don't want hanging about like a bad smell.
Narrative Designer, Edwin McRae, gives you a short and snappy intro to Inkle's 'Ink Script'. Why learn Ink Script? Because it allows writers to actually WRITE interactive fiction rather than linking lots of little boxes together or pressing innumerable buttons. Plus it's open source and compatible with Unity. Come on...let's get into Tutorial One already.
Bryan Cohen asked me "what role do you see procedural and emergent narrative taking in the future"? A big role, if not the starring role. Let me explain.
Coming out in October 2017, this short, sharp book is aimed to give Indie Game Devs a strong start when it comes to thinking about narrative for their games.
Games and addiction are usually considered a match made in Hell. It turns out, quite the opposite could be true. Certain games, like Tetris and Nightgate can help you combat the cravings that inevitably torment those fighting an addiction.
An interactive novel by Kevin Gold, the scope of Choice of Robots is astounding. And it poses some damn good questions about the role of robots and AI in our near future.
Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari is one of those 'must reads' if you want to survive our cyberpunk near-future intact.
Your writer can ensure that your environmental visualisation process is steeped in story. Rich narrative that your artist can then mould into stunning eye candy.
Players will read, and it's still one of the the cheapest and most efficient ways of delivering story within your Indie game. Tomes are those pieces of text that a player can read in the quiet moments of your game. But they need to be done well and they need to be done right!
Flavour text is flavoursome. It’s there to whet your player’s appetite and make them hungry to understand your game world. Be sure it’s on the menu and please make it tasty! Here's some advice on how to tell a lot of story with just a few, flavourful lines.
As a kid, I used to dream of finding a secret portal to Narnia somewhere on the farm. The portal is there now but I'm not sure I want to step through it.
When you spend two to three thousand hours playing Skyrim, what does that do to you?
An interview with Jon Harrison of classiclytrained.net where I give some of my perspectives on designing stories for games.
Edwin McRae, Narrative Designer and Game Writer, talks about how you can make a game story out of a basic series of boss fights.
An article by Narrative Designer, Edwin McRae, addressing why a game writer needs to clearly understand the difference between Plot and Narrative.