The Round Tables

After my pass delays, I came late to Evan Skolnick’s Learn Better Game Writing In A Day, and tried to slip quietly into the room. Oddly, the room for this  all-day lesson was laid out not in lecture-hall rows, but in round tables of about eight people each. It seemed fairly awkward to squeeze in, late and trying to be silent, with my back almost to the lecturer.

There was a great mix of confirming how I see storytelling in games, introducing new ways to present interactive content, and tying the expected narrative flow in games to the narrative flow in other media.

We were assigned several individual writing pieces, and several projects with the group around our table. In college, I hated group projects, because there was always one student who hadn’t done the reading or wasn’t really understanding the material, and the rest of the group would have to float this person. (I am, ahem, not the most patient person in the world.) This was entirely different, the group work was one of the most interesting parts of the day.  Everyone in the room works in the creative side of the games industry, and every one of us thought we could stand to get better at it.

Sometimes I think that I’m working in my dream industry, so I shouldn’t be complaining about any work struggles. You work in videogames, jerk, how can you ever be stressed out by work? But it was amazing to talk with so many others who have that same struggles I do with the gap between the work in your mind and the work on paper, with the gap between the work on paper and the finished project.

These are my people, I thought, looking around the round table. These are my people.

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5 Responses to The Round Tables

  1. threegee says:

    Skolnick seems like a cool guy, but do I dare ask if he gets beyond unilateral Lit 101 junk and preaches truly interactive storytelling? I neither want nor expect every MMO to be A Tale in the Desert, but it’s high time we moved beyond the “Push ‘A’ for Adventure” Diku model. Let’s face it, SWTOR feels like a breath of fresh air because, on a scale of 1 to 10, the interplay between you, the protagonist, and the story, doesn’t sit in the negatives. (Obviously, the interplay between you and the so-called “persistent” world is a different matter.)

  2. Tim Feng says:

    Working in a group at a round table is way better than refilling their waters.

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