Game screenwriting format


#1

As we’re all aware there’s not any really rock-solid screenplay format for making game stories and scripts. I’m developing a format of my own as part of my research, and I was wondering if anybody had any kind of suggestions as to what sort of things ought to be included in a game script? This is specifically designed as a way to coordinate gameplay and story with equal weight. Whichever was conceptualized first on the project, it is assumed that both the basic story and the core mechanics of the game as well as the basic controls have been thought out, preferably already prototyped on some basic level, and are being developed simultaneously through a script. Such a format allows both an emotional, story-based perspective and a perspective on the challenges and setpieces that one would like to incorporate in a game–arguably important as it is a game–while developing the complete overview.

The current format can be summarized as follows: Cutscenes are detailed in full as in a regular screenplay. Following the cutscene a brief summary of a gameplay scenario is provided-usually one or two paragraphs-detailing, not in any particular order of importance here mind you, 1 - the transition from the current story element to the next, 2 - the psychological or emotional stresses that should be put on the character and subsequently the player, 3 - a general idea of the overall flow of gameplay with reference to enemies, obstacles, and level design.

I’ve found that this format has a great deal of potential and seeds more creative ideas, especially in terms of enemy design, than just sitting down and trying to typecast out a series of bad guys like “large, slow, but hard-hitting enemy,” and “small, weak, but fast enemy.” They tend to have more inventive behaviors this way. There are a few things, though, that I haven’t been able to cover, such as in-gameplay dialogues and voluntary interactions that the player might decide to experience, which I suppose should be planned in later stages. This really seems like a pre-production tool right now, covering the most essential parts of a story-centric game.

Still, I’m looking for input, particularly from those who have previously worked on games, as to what kinds of things you would find useful in a game-centric screenwriting format. A sample can be made available upon request.


#2

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