Writing Quests for Video Games
And... Quests can be a very important part of a game. For some games most of the time a player spends is on the quests. So, be creative and try to make it fun for the player!
There are a couple of basic rules that you should follow when it comes to writing quests.
There are a couple of qualifications that your quest should meet. First off it should be fun and interesting. The player should enjoy doing the quest. Secondly there should be some kind of a reward upon completion of the quest.
The Storyline and the quest
Sometimes a quest is part of the main storyline of the game and sometimes it isn't. If you are just beginning your game writing you probably should start with non storyline quests. They are easier because they stand alone.
How to start the quest
Starting the quest is something you have to consider. And sometimes this is affected by what the quest and what the reward is. Some of the ways you can start a quest are:
Some of the types of quests
One thing to note about quests is that sometimes a quest can branch giving the player several options. A good example of this is a quest for a weapon. The player is sent on a quest to get a powerful weapon and rather than return it to the quest giver the player could choose to keep it. And in modern video games there are a lot of various stats that can be affected by the players actions. Ethics is a good example of this. The player, during the quest, can be given the opportunity to make decisions. These decisions could be based on ethics which can affect a players stats. For example the player could be asked to kill an NPC or let the NPC live. This choice has an effect one way or the other.
The quest within a quest
You should also consider that a quest can have a quest embedded in it. For example: the player is given the task of visiting a wizard and gettting a scroll from him. That is the quest. Upon finding the wizard and talking to him the player is given another quest. The wizard says: "I will give you that scroll but first you have to do something for me.."
An example quest - Ok, let's have some fun!
Scene: Our player stumbles upon a small cottage nestled deep in the woods. Player enters to discover a typical single room cottage with a man inside. The player engages a conversation with the man.
Ok, you can see that this quest is a lot of fun and it gives some unexpected twists and turns. And you could go ahead and modify it in a lot of ways. Matilda could turn on the alchemist chiding him for killing her; the alchemist could scream in horror at what the player has done " A corpse!" Or any number of other things along the way. You could even discover that the alchemist himself is an animated corpse and the two of them will rot together happily ever after!
SO, go ahead and have some fun with this. Be creative and remember it is always about giving the game player a great gaming experience!!
This is a book of ideas and of choices. Knowing which choices to make is not teachable. It's part of that creative instinct we call talent whose secret voice guides us every time we sit down at the keyboard. All stories are not identical. They are shaped by all those unique facets of the human beings who write them. All any writer can do when he wants to share his knowledge with others is be as open and giving as possible; and hope others can learn from that. You hold in your hands most of what I know about writing for games and much of what I believe and practice no matter what kind of writing I'm doing. It is meant to inform, to instruct, and maybe even inspire. It is as much about game design as it is writing for games. The two are virtually inseparable. The book itself has been designed as a quest. We are all of us on a journey toward a destination for which there is no single road. --Lee Sheldon, Author
This book by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Game Writing Special Interest Group focuses on various aspects of working as a professional game writer, including how to break in to game writing, writing manuals, narrative design, writing in a team, working as a freelancer, working with new intellectual property, and more. It includes exercises and writing samples; additional writing samples are available from the book's website.
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