- Tapa blanda: 176 páginas
- Editor: Random House USA Inc (15 de diciembre de 2014)
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 0385345828
- ISBN-13: 978-0385345828
- Valoración media de los clientes: 1 opinión de cliente
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Video Game Storytelling: What Every Developer Needs to Know About Narrative Techniques (Inglés) Tapa blanda – 15 dic 2014
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Every once in a while I end up reading a book that should be read by almost everyone that I know - whether they actually need to or not. Video Game Storytelling: What Every Developer Needs to Know About Narrative Techniques (published by Watson-Guptill) is one of those books. [It] is a great resource not only for budding writers, but it should also serve as a very important reference for everyone who holds a position in the ever-expanding videogame industry. -- Toronto Thumbs [This] book piqued our interest to an exceptional degree. 'Video Game Storytelling: What Every Developer Needs To Know About Narrative Techniques' is perfect for anyone who is a Developer, wants to get into game development, anyone who is a fiction writer, or anyone who wants to have a greater understanding and appreciation of the fictional game worlds we so much enjoy. -- Digital Mayhem Radio I found it to be both interesting and entertaining, using real-life examples taken from very popular movies and games that most people will be readily familiar with. I feel that Evan Skolnick has a lot to share and I really wish I had the opportunity to attend one of his talks. I would recommend Video Game Storytelling to anyone involved in the game development process - or anyone hoping to get into game development. -- Game Vortex If you're the kind of gamer who likes to peek behind the curtain of video game development - and you don't mind picking up a book once in a while - I recommend the new Video Game Storytelling by industry veteran Evan Skolnick. The book is aimed primarily at game developers, but it's fascinating stuff for anyone interested in games as a storytelling medium. -- News & Observer Skolnick broke down the basic structure of video game storytelling into various parts that highlighted the importance of each and how they could be applied to video games. There's a lot of information that's covered, but presented straight-forwardly with plenty of examples of how it was all used previously. Overall, I enjoyed this book and I recommend it to anyone who wants to read it. -- Our Thoughts Precisely The reader is also introduced to the term ludology, or the study of games. Taken from the Latin verb ludere 'to play' it is used and expanded on to introduce even the more erudite terminology of, "ludonarrative harmony/dissonance." Simply put, it describes how story can make or break the player's gaming experience. It is worth buying the book just to read how Skolnick defines this with concrete examples from past and existing games. -- Gameindustry.com
Reseña del editor
This is a guide to the basic storytelling principles essential for producing truly memorable video games. It provides developers with comprehensive, but easy-to-follow advice. It comes from video game writer and game writing instructor Evan Skolnick. Video Game Storytelling provides developers with comprehensive, but easy-to-follow advice for facilitating the creation of compelling storylines in today's most popular and narratively successful video games. Video game writer and game writing instructor Evan Skolnick offers a clear and concise development reference guide for aspiring and professional developers, showing how each role (from character designer to animator to audio engineer and more) is impacted by and can affect the story/narrative of a game. This book aims to instill an understanding and appreciation of the basic storytelling principles that are essential for producing truly memorable video games that will bring today's savvy gamers back time and time again.Ver Descripción del producto
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Before I go any further, I should to let you know where I’m coming from. I have been playing games for decades, both board games and computer games. I’m not one to spend all my time gaming, but I have spent months trying to get to the end of a computer game. “Riven,” the second of the “Myst” series, comes to mind. Also “BioShock.” I am not a game developer. I am an author. I write fiction, screenplays and non-fiction, but mostly novels and books on how to write novels. I have written on storytelling as a subject independent of genre.
So I’m an author and a gamer, while Evan Skolnick is a gamer and has been a game developer for decades. He gives seminars at the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Game creators struggle with how to integrate narrative storytelling into the action of a game so that it provides a richer and more complete experience for the player. Skolnick wrote this book to help developers more fully understand the art of narrative storytelling in video games. I read his book not to critique it but to learn something about storytelling in games. And it taught me quite a lot. I was not disappointed. The book’s subtitle is “What every Developer Needs to Know About Narrative Techniques.” This is the heart of the matter: how to integrate games and storytelling.
The book is divided into two parts, the first titled “Basic Training” is more about storytelling elements themselves: conflict, structure, character and arcs, etc. These are the elements of storytelling as applied to game creation. The second part is titled “In the Trenches.” Here Skolnick gets down to describing the mechanics of actual game development, including the composition and function of the team, all the while paying particular attention to how the story comes together as the game progresses, and how each element of the team makes that happen. This is great stuff.
But here come my quibbles. The good news is that Skolnick fully understands that the engine that drives any story is conflict. Without conflict, you have no story. Hollywood screenwriters understand this better than do novelists, but game creators revel in open unabashed conflict, sometimes to its detriment. The problem comes in Chapter 2 when Skolnick discusses “The Three-Act Structure,” (page 15) which was first identified by Aristotle. Skolnick interprets the first plot point as the beginning of confrontation, i.e., the beginning of the conflict. Here’s how he describes the first act:
“The audiences of other story-based media — novels, movies, comic books, and plays — come into the experience with a certain degree of patience. They’re willing to spend some time up front getting familiar with the world and characters before the main conflict is introduced and the story really gets going.” [page 21]
This just quite simply is not true. Skolnick goes on:
“While traditional story audiences regularly tolerate 25 percent or more of the total story time being devoted to initial setup…” [page 21]
How he could be so wrong about this and it could escape the attention of his editors is beyond me. In traditional story structure, the conflict is locked as soon as possible, very close to the beginning. The first plot point is when the central conflict takes off in a new direction, perhaps a dramatic escalation or an expansion of the scope of the conflict. So the central conflict is actually locked at the beginning of Act I and is dramatically escalated at the beginning of Act II. No one would wait until 1/4 of the way through the story to start the confrontation. Here’s the opening on E.B. White’s “Charlotte’s Webb,” a children’s book:
"Where's Papa going with that ax?" said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.
"Out to the hoghouse," replied Mrs. Arable. "Some pigs were born last night."
Fern is out the door in a flash to stop her papa, and the story is off at a dead run. Furthermore, in the opening three pages of Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code,” an albino murders the curator of the Louvre Museum in Paris locking the conflict that unfolds at a break-neck pace that is only resolved at the end. I realize that not all novels are structured this way, but neither are all video games. And as for movies, here’s what Irwin R. Blacker says in his book, “The Elements of Screenwriting”:
“Conflict is the essence of narrative film. In the opening minutes of a film, two or more forces come into opposition. In film terms, the conflict is ‘locked’ as quickly as possible. So urgent is the need to lock the conflict that many films do so in the tease before the title and credits.” [page 7]
Skolnick has not done his homework on narrative storytelling.
Whatever Skolnick’s misconceptions about plot point 1, he fully understands plot point 2, which occurs 3/4 of the way through the story. Here’s what he says about it:
“Plot Point 2 separates Acts II and III, and is sometimes a bit fuzzier. Generally it’s the moment in which the Hero, battered by the effort of already overcoming so many challenging obstacles, finally sees the path to victory. She hasn’t achieved it yet, and the outcome could still go either way, but the Hero has had some kind of epiphany and at last knows what she needs to do — if she can only pull it off!” [page 16]
This is a profound statement about plot point 2, and this paragraph alone makes the book worth reading. To his credit, Skolnick also understands the biggest problem with the three-act structure: mid-story sag. Here is his comment on the subject and his solution:
“Act II is usually about twice the length of either of the other acts — it’s big! So big, in fact, that it sometimes gets hard to handle when it comes to structure, planning, and pacing. A writer can start wandering in Act II and lose momentum quite easily. Because of this, many writing gurus split Act II into halves, separated by a Midpoint — the halfway point not only of the act, but also of the overall story — at which time things will often spin in a new direction.” [page 14]
This is extraordinarily insightful, and you can see this midpoint as a “reversal of action” in many movies. For example, in “Jaws” the shark hunts the people for the first half of the movie, and the people hunt the shark in the second half. In Cameron’s “Titanic,” the ship floats in the first half, hits the iceberg in the midpoint and sinks during the second half. Many novelists and movie makers don’t have this insight, but Skolnick nails it.
My other problem with Skolnick’s discussion in Chapter 2 is that he seems to believe that the protagonist (generally the player of the game) is always there to resolve a conflict that was locked long before the player arrived. Granted, many stories are of this nature. “Star Wars” is one. “Riven” is another. Even “BioShock” fits that format. But what Skolnick is suggesting is that it’s always the same setup. This may be true of current video game development, but it doesn’t have to be that way in the future. The conflict doesn’t have to have a backstory. The relationship between the protagonist and the antagonist can be simpatico at first but rapidly deteriorate into a prolonged conflict. All authors know this. I’m not sure why the gaming community would have such a narrow view of the central conflict.
Skolnick focuses on what storytellers from other disciplines (novel writing, screenwriting, playwrighting) can tell game developers, but it’s also obvious that game developers have a lot to offer authors. What I’m thinking of has to do with environments and how they can help tell the story, particularly the backstory. It isn’t something that authors don’t already know, but the degree to which game developers concentrate on letting the environment tell part of the story really is an eyeopener. After all, game developers can’t get away with sketching a few images of a setting. They have to present it in all its glory as continuous visual images from many different angles. They expect the player to spend time roaming the landscape viewing the scenery and perhaps solving a puzzle or two. The environment must be interactive. An author can get away with only describing the salient features of a character’s appearance, but a game developer has to show the complete character, plus the way the characters move. This is pure choreography.
I could write a book about this book. It’s that interesting. As I’ve already stated, it isn’t perfect, but it goes a long ways down the road to explaining narrative technique in video game storytelling. A lot of people could benefit from reading it, and they aren’t all game developers.
I'm glad I did.
As an indie game developer I wear many hats, and one Evan has helped me to see more clearly is that I'm Chief Narrative Officer.
This book achieves it's stated goal: to provide a quick firm foundation of storytelling principles so game developers can appreciate the actions they take which help or hinder story.
I have read books on character design, screenplay writing, and how to write fiction. Yet remarkably this smaller, more precise book was more useful.
Please, do yourself a favor and buy this. Even if you already have a firm grip on the three act structure, or how to write good dialogue, its worth taking the time to read.