May 17, 2011

Book review: Writing for Video Games

Steve Ince, a truly experienced game designer, indie developer, artist and writer and a man who has worked on such classics as the Broken Sword series, Beneath a Steel Sky, In Cold Blood and The Witcher, also happens to be the author of Writing for Video Games. A book that -happily and among other things- does exactly what it says on the tin; excellently so.

Writing for Video Games, you see, is mainly focused on its intended audience of actual, professional writers that are interested in working in the games industry. Writers that most probably had, up to a point obviously, only a passing interest in gaming or writers that, despite being gamers themselves, have never worked on such a project as a full blown modern game. That's the reason Steven Ince goes into great pains in order to successfully provide them with an extensive review of the industry, its history, its logic, its inner workings, its demands and its genres.

He then goes on to describe the game creation process itself, while making sure the role of the writer and the particularities of game plot, point of view and dialogue take center stage. He actually goes as far as providing example dialog scripts (in something resembling your average scripting C-like logic), explaining the concept of interactive storytelling and even detailing the voice recording process of a contemporary AAA title. What's more, the book also covers a few basics of narrative as employed in video games, localisation issues, technical writing and even the ways an author should approach publishers and developers.

What Writing for Video Games doesn't attempt to do, is teach you how to actually write. You are, after all, supposed to be a writer. Then again, even if you aren't, but are actually working in video games, it should help you understand how to cooperate with the more literate among us and also provide more than a few valuable tips for indie and less experienced developers. 

Writing for Video Games is available both in the more traditional printed format and for your (well, my) Kindle. Find out more about it here.

Verdict: A must read for all gaming's professionals; especially writers and inexperienced developers.

Related @ Gnome's Lair:


  1. It's a great book, indeed. I love the programming-like format he uses for the dialogues

  2. I hope to actually one day do this. Game writing, that is. Still, not buying this kind of books 'till I actually start doing that.

  3. @ Uriele: That was the main reason I grabbed. And the complete dialog scripting example at the end is very useful indeed.

    @ Barts: Well, mt friend, it never hurts to plan ahead :)

  4. Yes, well, that's understandable, that is...

  5. What? book work fur me. ME already no how to use words to give to others.

    LOOK at my words, me see your looking at word, now look harder till make it sense to you.

  6. Sense has been accomplished!