“I Want to Write Video Games”
David Gaider

Thank you for writing this, as it reinforces my view of game writing and my motivation and approach to be involved with it. No, it didn’t discourage me; I think I’ve had a realistically harsh view of this effort, and it even offered some encouragement (I’m glad I’ve started stringing Twine).

I particularly appreciated how you delineated “narrative design” and “writing”. I’ve been a consumer software UX designer for years, and everything I hear about narrative design just sounds like “story UX” to me: get the user to a desired outcome in a coherent and satisfying manner, plus deal with changing technical and business requirements. Unfortunately, it seems harder to demonstrate narrative design than it is for writing dialogue, and then still more difficult to find a studio that wants it.

The big fog o’ war is that there isn’t much of a career path outlined for game writing roles. If you want to, say, make textures, then you get some good basic art skills, start learning the tools, take a class or work on some mods for your portfolio, then start shopping around for small projects. The most common threads I can find for writers and narrative designers are that they either (a) wrote for something else, like comic books or short stories, or (b) started out in development and moved into directing or producing, and then writing tasks fell in their lap (which is probably why so many games have mediocre writing).

For now, I’m working on outlining and writing, plus whatever industry networking I can rustle up for tips and contacts. One of the challenges is to not get too caught up in a great idea, but keep moving and writing different things to stay nimble. That said, if anyone is looking for the next Fallout story, give me a holler...