How to read LitRPG like an ARPG designer

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.

What is LitRPG?

The New Zealand Book Council interviews author Edwin McRae about LitRPG.

NOT a LitRPG Book: 4 Lessons Learned from Stormbane

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”.

What is the difference between a game writer and a writer of films or books?

In a short interview with Liliana Marin of UHCL, Edwin McRae how writing for games differs from writing for films or books.

What is a Narrative Designer? (Revised 2018)

An explanation from Narrative Designer and Game Writer, Edwin McRae, of what Narrative Design is and what a Narrative Designer does.

Learning Ink Script - Tutorial Six

In this tutorial we're taking Delayed Consequence to the next level by introducing you to Conditional Options!

Tips for writing a game trailer #1

Edwin reflects on his first trailer script for Path of Exile: The Duelist.

Edwin on The Game Design Roundtable

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.

Learning Ink Script - Tutorial Five

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.

Learning Ink Script - Tutorial Four

In this lesson we use Stitches, Gathers and Glues to better organize your Interactive Fiction story and avoid the dreaded 'Wall of Text'.

Learning Ink Script - Tutorial Three

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.

Story for Platformer Games: Visual Evolution

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.

Story for Platformer Games: Emotes

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.

Narrative Design with Ink Script

Edwin McRae discusses how Ink Script can be a great introduction for writers hoping to enter the field of Narrative Design for video games.

Story for Platformer Games: Reactive Dialogue

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.

Story for Platformer Games: Introduction

A series of short articles by Edwin McRae about how to festoon platformer games with story goodness.

Learning Ink Script - Tutorial Two

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.

Learning Ink Script - Tutorial One

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.

Procedural Narrative: The Future of Video Games

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.

Narrative Design for Indies: Getting Started

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.

Playing games can help with cravings

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.

Choice of Robots

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: Preparing us for the future

Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari is one of those 'must reads' if you want to survive our cyberpunk near-future intact.

Designing game environments that are rich with story

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.

Writing Tomes that your Player will Read

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!

Writing Flavour Text for your Game

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.

Being a Realist at the dawn of VR

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.

Living in Skyrim

When you spend two to three thousand hours playing Skyrim, what does that do to you?

Designing narratives for games: An interview for Classically Trained

An interview with Jon Harrison of where I give some of my perspectives on designing stories for games.

Boss Fight Story

Edwin McRae, Narrative Designer and Game Writer, talks about how you can make a game story out of a basic series of boss fights.

Losing the Plot with Game Narrative

An article by Narrative Designer, Edwin McRae, addressing why a game writer needs to clearly understand the difference between Plot and Narrative.