I’ve had a number of questions about being a professional writer, and listing “creative writing” as a skill, hoping that this will somehow be something attractive to the hiring managers.
Let me begin by saying “Pure writers are a rarity in the industry” - most game writers are also designers of no small amount of skill because they need to be able to do things like script quests, set up triggers, handle spawning of enemies, and so on and so forth. The writing they do is only a fraction of their overall responsibilities. There are only a handful of studios that employ full-time writers, and most of those positions are already filled. You won’t see many writers for large genres of games - sports, multiplayer shooters, fighters, MOBAs, puzzle games, platformers, and the like rarely have room for full-time writers on the team.
In general, writing for games has very little in common with writing a novel, a short story, or even a TV script or screenplay. The difference between games and the rest of these is the sense of player agency - the player is the one choosing how to play the game. In all other forms of media, the player is a passive observer who follows the beats of the medium at the medium’s pace. You don’t get that luxury in games, and that sense of player agency makes a huge difference. If the story unfolds in a linear fashion, you absolutely must minimize the amount of time the player relinquishes control of the game to the plot. Even in a story-driven game, a huge amount of the writing exists to serve the gameplay. The gameplay is generally how the majority of the story will be told to the player, not just cutscenes or conversations.
Furthermore, what a lot of writing hopefuls don’t understand is that game writers don’t actually get to dictate what happens in the plot. The plot, for the most part, has already been established by the leadership on the game. It is the responsibility of the writers to handle the individual bits connecting the major plot points from A to B. It is directed every step of the way, because there needs to be gameplay here and there needs to be overall story movement there, and all of these things are hard and fast constraints on your work that will be assigned to you. As an entry-level writer, you’ll be the one who’s told the outline of will happen, and then you have to write the specifics.
An entry-level writer will most likely be writing quest log text, blurbs for marketing, tooltips, tutorial text, and codex/lore entries. All of that stuff has to come from somewhere, and it has to adhere to certain regulations - you’ll have a word budget for all of the text you write, and you’ll absolutely need to stick to it. You’ll learn to write a cohesive and self-contained story in seven sentences or less, and you’ll learn all about writing with localization requirements in mind. As you improve, you’ll learn to trim down your conversations, streamline your storytelling, and improve the density of meaningful content conveyed to the player per word. Once you’ve actually gotten some experience writing the small stuff and proven your ability to handle the job, you will be entrusted with larger responsibilities, characters, and actual story arcs.
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“I Tried”: My Not-So Epic Guide to Drawing Folds in Clothes
So, I’ll be the first to say there are thousands of tutorials on this subject on tumblr and other sites. Because of that, I’m only going to give a really simplistic folds guide.
Confession: I’m typically VERY lazy in drawing folds except for in polished pieces, so I may not be the best person to ask, but I can give you a few pointers. I’m also rather long-winded because I want to be clear. Sorry.
First off, there’s no better teacher than real life. Train yourself to look at wrinkles as they occur in life – try to notice the folds in people’s clothing, how curtains drape, how mussed up sheets bunch, even how the fabric used in furniture stretches. Try to draw these things from life (or photos), too. You’ll start to get used to the “language of folds” that way.
To me, this language has two main patterns: Push and Pull, or Compression and Tension.
I've been a high school teacher for several years. Lately I've been thinking about a career as a villain. Does crushing the souls of my students and destroying their hopes and dreams count as "previous experience"?
I don’t understand the question as I cannot get past why a teacher has any desire to crush their students hopes and dreams. Why teach? The pay is terrible, the risk is high, the support is questionable.
It is reasonable to understand teachers growing frustrated at decreasing support, and students growing frustrated at increasing levels of competition and performance demands while suffering at this lack of support.
Add in politician’s motives, shifts in parenting styles, generation gaps that neither side has the time or energy (or in many cases legal ability) to tackle. Quagmire.
The most confusing aspect to all of this comes at the crossroads of (in general) increasing populations and therefore number of tax payers, exponentially increasing levels of technology in all areas (education and beyond) that increase productivity and decrease costs, and yet every year it feels that programs are being cut or shrunk or merged together to save money.
Teachers aren’t suddenly getting wealthy, so where is the money and support going? Why are educators needing to do more with less, constantly?
It feels like there is a hole somewhere draining away profit and potential.
And the market of tutorials (free or inexpensive) is exploding. The entire system is changing.
We don’t know what will happen next, but it will be interesting to watch.