Galatea 3.0 – Writing Great Game Characters AGDC08 – The Narrative Design Exploratorium™

Galatea 3.0 – Writing Great Game Characters AGDC08

Tom-Abernathy-AGDC08.jpgTom Abernathy gave a stellar talk at the Austin Game
Developers Conference entitled “Galatea 3.0: Designing and Writing the Great
Game Characters of the Future”. His focus was on how the symbiosis between
writing and design can create richer experiences and help play designers
better do their job. His fundamental thesis: Good characters, and subsequently
story, make good design better. It is his belief that a tighter integration of
writing and design will create better experiences for future players.

Story is derived from characters. It emerges from the
internal desires of a character.

When a character acts to achieve an object of
desire, hence externalizing internal desires, those desires come in conflict
with the outer world. It is here in this conflict that story emerges. This is
truly a classical Aristotelian approach, emphasized by Tom’s references to the
Iliad and Casablanca.
It is also very reminiscent of Robert Mckee’s screenwriting techniques, which
too are derived from Aristotle’s Poetics.

Tom took it a step further and suggested that characters not
only make a story, they sell a franchise, creating hot intellectual property
(IP) and marketing hooks. It’s true, and as storytellers we must remind the
pockets and purses that our craft drives sales and deserves development
dollars. It is only through emphasizing the fiscal prudence of investing in
story that we can convince producers and investors that we deserve just as many
dollars as the art or play design pipelines. As too many of us are familiar
with the opposite and clearly see the detriment in product quality, and
subsequent sales, which results from a lack of investment in story development.

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This page contains a single article by Stephen E. Dinehart published on September 17, 2008 4:57 PM.

The Future of Interactive Entertainment AGDC08 was the previous entry in this blog.

Game Writers in the Trenches™ 3: Sande Chen is the next entry in this blog.

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