Storygame Creating 101
One of the greatest contributions to the site you can do is make a game. Hopefully, by the end of this article you will know how to do just that.
This article will be split into 2 sections, The Technical Side and the Creative Side. First i want to talk to you about the Technical side. Since this is the easiest to do.
The first part of the Technical Side of the story making process is to understand the Links. Links are simply the pathways of that story that you are taking. When writing an adventure story, links are the most important aspect of the process. The links need to be clear and relevant choices for the reader. And in order for it to be an adventure story, you need to have multiple links at any given time. To add a link to your game you just have to click the button that says "Add a new link" or "Create a new page." Once you do that you can give the link a name and a destination. Its important that you try to mix up the choices for adventure purposes. More on that in the Creative Side.
The next part on the Technical Side is the statistics in the game. This refers to the game difficulty, category the story belongs in, and maturity level. Game difficulty is hard to pick. There are 8 choices to pick from. Most games are around the 3-5 range in difficulty. Keep that in mind when choosing a rating for it. The next one is Category. If your game is about Mystery, then it is clear that it belongs in the Mystery category. But let's just say that you create a game about your own life. It has love, adventure, school, and even some possible fantasy. This kind of game is hard to categorize. Most games like this would fall into either Modern or School. The best way to determine the category it belongs in is by asking "What is the main theme of the game?". This will most always help in determining the best place to put it. Maturity is highly misunderstood. Most think that if it contains a cuss word or violence it should get an 8. This isn't always true. Think about who you are writing this for. If you are writing it for your child then you need to give it a low rating to show that it is playable by all ages. However, if you are writing a game that has language, violence, and anything else deemed unsuitable for kids then its important to give it a higher rating. Please refer to the name of each category if you are having trouble figuring it out.
Chapters are another category that needs mentioning in this article. Although the Basic Editor doesn't have them you need to understand the importance of them. Chapters, found only in the Advanced Editor, can be used to separate adventures within the whole adventure. Side quests, hidden levels, and even hidden characters can be placed in a different chapter. By clicking on Chapters and Pages, found at the top of the Advanced Editor page, you can add chapters, delete whole chapters, create pages within that chapter, and even rename chapters. I can't give complete walkthroughs on how to maximize chapters. This is something that you will have to learn on your own time and speed.
Grammar is the final thing that needs to be discussed in the Technical Side of the story making process. Grammar is vital. I can't stress that enough. What that means: Punctuation, Spelling correctly, Proper Sentence Structure. What it doesn't mean: Flawless writing, Big words, College degree in Manuscript Publishing. You are responsible for delivering a readable story that shows effort. I have seen great stories that just had pitiful grammar and even worse punctuation and they were deleted for those very reasons. Please take the time to proofread your stories before you publish them. If you don't want to do that then ask someone else to do so. They will be happy to help you as much as you can.
The first obstacle you come across when writing a story is What to Write About? The best way to overcome this difficult question is simple. What do you know most about? This can be most easily observed by looking at the first games from other users. What is their first game mostly about? Themselves! While it is important to branch out and learn other things in the world. It is ok to write a game about your own life. This can be a building block to a bigger and better story that you have locked away in your mind. Just writing will get you willing to write more.
Now, you have an idea. A story about you. Now, what do you call it? Titles are always a difficult thing to come up with. You want something that will capture what your game is about, but you don't want to be so boring that people overlook it. ME would not be a good title for your game. It does capture what it is about, but it misses on the creativity side. What about ME makes it unique? You of course. I wouldn't advise naming a game after your real name. but come up with something interesting that catches the eye. Long titles don't usually work and neither do short titles usually. Therefore, something in the middle. Life In My World could work. So let's run with that.
Next you need to work on the description. This is the most opportune time to write out all the background of the story. Try to answer the 6 major questions here. Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How?
Who? Who is the main character?
What? What's going on. Don't give away the plot, just give some information on why they are playing the game.
Where? Where are you? Home? School? The park? In a jungle? Field trip?
When? Try to give hints as to the time period. That way people know not to look for a rocket launcher if they are in the 1500's.
Why? Why are things happening? Why is there an adventure in the first place?
How? This can refer to how do you get over the obstacles in your way? You could even tell the objectives in the game and have them try to accomplish them by giving them hints on how to do it? Not recommended but could be done.
After you answer those questions you should be coming a bit closer to the next step which is plot. Plot needs to be "plotted out" before you start writing. Never try to just randomly write things. This is not only annoying to the reader, it is also not worth the effort. Most games like that get deleted, you have been warned. Therefore, Life in My World, should have a plot. What do you want to accomplish? What goals do you want the reader to accomplish. This will test your creative side possibly the most but once you figure that out you have a great start. Let's just say for the example that your goal is to get the reader to school on time. The main theme, or plot, becomes "getting to school on time." This is definitely a weak plot but it has been done successfully so don't get discouraged. To go back to Links that were mentioned earlier, it is important that you mix your links up so that the first link doesn't always go with every other corresponding link. It isn't much of an adventure if you only have to click the first link to win.
Ok, Now you have your plot. It's finally time to start writing. Things to keep in mind when writing are continuity and fluidity. While they both sound similar they are distinctly different. Continuity refers to making sure your story adds up. If on page one you pick up your books for school, you should still have your books on the following links from those pages. This is easily overlooked so be sure to look your game over before you push the "Publish" button at the end. Fluidity is similar but refers more to story content. If at the end of page 1 you wake up, and on the next link it starts with "Ok, now you are at school..." the fluidity of the story is messed up. Think of the action in your story as steps, step 1. wake up, step 2. get dressed and eat, step 3. collect books and other supplies... etc. This can get extremely difficult if you don't have a "plotted out" game beforehand. You have been warned.
Fun Factor is another vital part of your story. If you want to succeed in writing a story, you need to understand that everyone has their own style that they like to read. If you start your stories like Lord of the Rings, people are most likely going to get bored to sleep before you give them any choices. (If you haven't read LOTR, there is a ton of detail and little action in the beginning.) However, starting a game with "You are a warrior, what do you do now?" Is never a good idea. These games usually get deleted as well. Therefore, which is better? It is best to find a fine balance between detail and choices. It is better, in my humble opinion, to err on the side of Detail. That is to say, I'd rather know where I am and who I am and have no choices than to have 90 choices and have no clue as to what is going on.