Game Writers on Game Writing: Part One

For those of you considering what writing for a video game would be like, it might be best to hear from people who actually do it for a living. This first instalment will look at two different, experienced game writers from different backgrounds on how they believe writing for the video game medium is fundamentally different from film or television. However, as our guest contributors will explain, writing for games is merely the other side of the coin, with different obstacles to work around but with different tools to work with.

First up is Anne Toole, with a tonne of experience in both the television and video game industries her piece explains one of the most significant differences when writing for a video game, that the audience is constantly interacting with the narrative. This concept is often called ‘Player Agency’.

Story creation is more of a partnership between creator and player, rather than a dictatorship of the writer

"Unlike other media, a game's story ideally should move forward based on player action and decisions, rather than a dramatic scripted scene the player has no control over.  Often, this is where more traditional writers stumble.  

Furthermore, although there are plenty of linear games out there, games provide a unique opportunity to give players choice and branching narrative.  Thus, story creation is more of a partnership between creator and player, rather than a dictatorship of the writer.  While some writers might feel that they are abdicating their role by writing a game, in fact, you have more opportunity to get all your ideas on the page.  What would happen if Luke had joined Darth Vader? What if Darth Vader had lived?  Rather than writing only one ending, you can write them all.  The other stories you have in mind — and their interesting implications — still have a place and can be experienced… if the player chooses."

Find out more about Anne’s work here and her twitter @amely

Mez Breeze is a fantastic independent games developer and writer known for her intense and subversive games and digital art. Mez’s contribution goes into a little detail on what kind of things can be achieved within the medium of games.

Hi. I'm Mez Breeze, and I run Mez Breeze Design (which provides boutique digital design and consultancy services, including games). In the gaming sphere, I'm probably best known for writing subversive games alongside my fellow game developer buddy Andy Campbell (who runs Dreaming Methods). Andy and I regularly pool our collective talents to create art and literary games that challenge traditional definitions and can be considered subversive. Examples of our work include The Dead Tower#PRISOMCarnivast and Pluto (currently in development). 

In relation to writing for games, I've found that it's never as simple as just writing a game "script" or game "screenplay". In the games spaces I've worked on – whether that be Alternate Reality Games or in 3D spaces – the writing process is finely integrated from the outset, with both the game mechanics and the storyworld (or gameworld) being constructed alongside the writing. As a games writer, you write primarily to cater for interactivity and direct engagement, as well as accounting for other more traditional literary concerns (like structure, plot, narrative development and so on). 
As I've said in this article about game writing: "If you finely balance the writing alongside other subversive game variables/assets, you’ll create strong narrative(s) without sacrificing a player’s sense of agency (or reducing the likelihood of emergent gameplay instances), resulting in a world that successfully caters for a general sense of player fulfilment." I'm always extremely aware that the end result of what I'm writing is actually intended to be *played* as opposed to passively watched/absorbed, which allows a writer to work in some really lovely touches. For instance, in our #PRISOM game (a player is set loose in a Glass City/Prison under infinite surveillance) I thoroughly enjoyed constructing the 3 alternate endings: players encounter one of the three according to the choices they make in-game. I also found drafting the #Tips" screen text an absolute  blast  (which forms part of the Help Menu), as I managed to work in an ethical angle, some metacritique and also a well-known pop cultural reference – see if you can pick it – which reads:















 Find more about Mez Breeze's work in the links above or her twitter @MezBreezeDesign

Huge thanks to Anne and Mez for their contribution, be sure to look out for part two coming out soon with other guest contributors.

Previous Article: The 100 Billion Dollar Industry: Why You Should Write For Games

Primary1:37 - 17.2.2017

And with a screenplay from an Australian writer, the film was able to keep that homegrown element. “I love that the film industry is an international collection of talent,” Davies says. “This year’s diverse selection of nominees speaks to the beautiful stories being told and the world’s appetite for meaningful cinema.”

Primary1:29 - 17.2.2017

Content industry organisations unite against proposed copyright changes

Primary19:33 - 16.2.2017

Did you know that there are over 15000 known varieties of tomatoes 🍅 and some 3000 varieties of heirloom ones that are in cultivation ? Tomatoes are such an internationally recognised fruit and this weekend I am stoked to be ambassador for the The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney Tomato Festival for the 4th year in a row. It's a great opportunity to taste what has usually been around 20-30 + varieties ranging from tigerella to black krim, green zebra and last years people's winner which was wapsipinnicom peach an orange variety that packs a flavour hit. I'll be there both Saturday and Sunday, you can catch workshops on how to grow tomatoes, how to pickle and preserve and make salsa, and there is the judging of the home grown tomato competition 🍅 as well as the long table lunch that anyone can be a part of. It's great to see an event like this bringing awareness to the width and breadth of the tomato world. Come up and say hi on the day. City of Sydney ABC Sydney City Farm Lovers Sydney Sydney Opera House 1 Million Women Sydney Bee Club Inc Sydney Sustainable Living Sydney TAFE Field to Feast, Sydney NSW Sydney Food Fairness AllianceSydneyCycleways Sydney Writers' Festival Australian Writers' Guild ABC Canberra The Canberra Times Newcastle Herald Transition Newcastle Blue Mountain Eagle City of Parramatta South Coast Times and Wollongong Argus A Mighty Girl ACT for Bees Bushcare's Major Day Out Australian Association for Environmental Education Inc. ABC Friends Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens

Nice write-up of the @AWG_1 #PrimeTime competition here, with a bit of detail about all the finalists

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A whopping nine Australian films are at Berlinale this year. Find out how they're faring @berlinale #Berlinale

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Primary0:31 - 16.2.2017

Busting a Pen Syndicate: Discovering a Pen Pact I'm convinced I have broken a pen conspiracy , their plot has been uncovered without the help of ASIO or any other international security agency. For the last month or so I have not been able to find a pen in any bag, on any desk and of course not a trace of one in my car when I need one. This is a phenomena that is not new to you I'm sure. Found in the bottom of my basket no fewer than 10 pens planning. They had money and they had seeds . A spokesperson from the Australian Writers' Guild believes they were planning an escape back in time , pre keyboard, pre typewriter to a place where hand writing had a signature not a font, where lines on the page were a guide and ink caught the thought. Not sure which mode of transport they were planning to use to get back there. Do you have a void where pens go and hide, and plan? Australian Writers' Centre Australian Writers' Guild Australian Writers Mentoring Program Fellowship of Australian Writers NSW Fairfield Writers Group Qld - Third Anthology Writers Victoria SA Writers Centre Fellowship of Australian Writers Western Australia NT Writers' Centre ACT Writers Centre ACT Writers Editors & Artists Network

Open Letter: leading Indigenous artists reject Productivity Commission report @ozprodcom

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Copyright changes would turn film and TV into a 'cottage industry': SPA

Australian games writers - don't forget to apply for the AWGIES - interactive media category! Games industry repres…

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Want to know more about #copyright? @AusCopyright seminars will be in #Canberra next week - not too late to register! #ACCSeminars

Eight films are common to the top 20 Aussie films of all time across the US, UK and here at home:…

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A great initiative from our affiliate @AWG_1 Submissions close 08/03/2017 at 5:00 PM don't miss out! #AWGIE #Awards

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Hear Vicki Madden talk her new project in development, The Gloaming at the 26 minute mark @abchobart @sweetpotato12

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Submission deadline for the ADG Awards extended to Friday March 3 @ADGdirectors

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From 526 to one, Writers Guild sifts hopes to find a Shining Light | ArtsHub Australia

Congratulations Luke Davies #EEBAFTAs winner of the Best Adapted Screenplay Awarf for LION. #LionMovie

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Primary0:56 - 10.2.2017

REMINDER! Australian Directors' Guild Awards submissions close tomorrow, 11 February! Find out more here:

Primary23:19 - 9.2.2017

Matt Ford, frontman of 90s rock band Machine Gun Fellatio and an AFI-nominated screenwriter, has won the Australian Writers’ Guild’s Prime Time Television Screenwriting Competition. Ford was awarded the top prize for his television project Shining Light, a drama about a newly ordained Catholic Priest who is no longer sure he believes in God. Prime Time comes with a $10,000 prize donated by Scripted Ink. and an invitation for Ford and the shortlist to join AWG’s prestigious Pathways Program, where their projects will be showcased to industry professionals and be in consideration for Scripted Ink. development funding.

Primary12:15 - 9.2.2017

Entries are now open for the 50th Australian Writers' Guild (AWGIE) Awards. Celebrating the very best in Australian stage and screen writing, the AWGIE Awards will be held on Friday 25 August 2017 in Sydney. Entries close 8 March 2017

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Hurry - a few days left to enter the scholarship You will learn tools and processes used for writing and making games, including an introduction to Twine, the open-source program for creating interactive stories..

Primary1:30 - 3.2.2017

If you are looking for a marketing edge for your next film project -on Feb 11th Andrew Jobling & Rebecca Dorothy come together in Melbourne to show you how to get your idea published. Andrew has helped many authors write their first book, while Rebecca is an author/screenwriter, producing movies for UPL Productions. Together they will clear away some of the smoke and mirrors, helping you on your journey from best seller to box office! More information here

Primary6:14 - 2.2.2017

The 50th Annual AWGIE Awards are now open for entries!

The amazing journey to the Oscars for Lion screenwriter Luke Davies by @gmaddox

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Congratulations Leah!

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Don't miss out- The Panther Within will broadcast on NITV Wednesday, March 15th @ 8pm - by AWG member Edoardo Crismani

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WA: FTI and AWG present a Script Development workshop with Charlie Carman FTI and the Australian Writers' Guild are delighted to present a one day workshop with Charlie Carman, one of Australia’s most experienced script developers. In this workshop, Charlie will explain the script development process, the most productive way for writers to work with script developers, show examples of useful development documents and give tips for how to get the most out of this stage, and take your project from something good to something great. When: Sunday 15 January 2017 Time: 10 am–5.30 pm Where: FTI Training Lab Find out more and book tickets here:

Primary21:31 - 6.1.2017

Call for Submissions About Love: Festival of Short Plays is seeking submissions of short plays between 8 and 15 minutes. Topics are not limited. If you can imagine it, we can play with it. Submission dates January 15th to March 18th 2017 A $10CAD fee is required for one submission, or $15CAD for two scripts. The winning play will receive $150CAD. Submission information is here International submissions are welcome. Plays must be in English. Performances are from June 13th to 18th at The Havana theatre in Vancouver, BC. For more information please contact

Primary3:33 - 19.12.2016

WINNERS OF AWG / OPEN CHANNEL NEW WRITERS' SCRIPT COMPETITION After an exhaustive judging process, the winners of the Australian Writers' Guild and Open Channel’s New Writers’ Script Competition have been decided. From an impressive 215 entries from Victorian writers, our panel of expert judges had the difficult task of selecting four finalists, then two winners from the shortlist. Read more, including the finalists and winners, here:

Primary22:30 - 12.12.2016

AWG Report: More Australian plays being staged, but female writers continue to miss out The National Voice, a major survey of Australia’s 10 largest theatre companies, has concluded that while more original Australian plays are being produced than three years ago, there is still a shortfall when it comes to balance between male and female Australian playwrights. The Australian Writers’ Guild’s The National Voice is an annual survey of programming trends, which looks specifically at the number of Australian works being produced and the gender split of their authors. The research, which focuses on the 10 theatre companies’ main stage programs, found that of the 95 plays to be staged across Australia in 2017, 52 (55%) are written by an Australian writer, up from 50% in 2016, but down from 63% in 2015. Read more here:

Primary23:20 - 7.12.2016

My article published in The Conversation. 😄 I've a keen interest in science in performance. Might be time to do a similar analysis for theatre although we wouldn't have the GD-IQ app to help... Thanks to the recent and very interesting #EquitySummit for the chance to discuss diversity in Australian performance media.

Primary21:30 - 7.12.2016

2016 VIC CHRISTMAS PARTY Need a stiff drink and some intelligent conversation? Try for both at the AWG and ADG Vic Christmas Party! $15 members, $20 non-members (first drink + nibbles included) Buy your tix online or just show up – there’s plenty of room for all! WHEN: Tuesday 13 December 2016 WHERE: The Water Rat Hotel, 256 Moray Street , South Melbourne

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