Topic : Game Design
Author : Geoff Howland
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from the classics, since that is where most of modern literary writers borrow from and recycled-recycled work is bound to lose some things in the translation.

I donít want to read a ton of things right now

If you haven't already read some classic material that will help you then you can try to make a list of people you know. Write down traits about them. Are they selfish? Are they vain? Do they work out obsessively? Find things that stick out in personalities of people you know and magnify those. Make them controlling aspects in their lives and you could possibly end up with a good dramatic character on your own.

Drama is about magnifying things. It's about taking a magnifying glass and putting it over an aspect of life. By seeing things in an overblown context it's easier to deal with them and on top of that mild things are not nearly as exciting.


Player's like to feel like their accomplishing something. If you can give them a goal such as saving the world, gaining some great artifact or piece of information or just saving their own lives they feel like they've accomplished something when their done.

Often the plots of games come across as corny or half-baked. This is usually from the implementation and not the story itself. Many stories that have been given public acceptance are basically the same as stories that are laughed at. The difference is in the subtleties of the story, how it is delivered to the player.

Try to make your story so that the extreme things do not stand out too far from anything else. Make sure that you could believe the series of events that happen after your normally unbelievable event. It can be assumed that tomorrow Dog Men from outer space will not invade Earth, but if that is your game's premise following it up with them doing the cha-cha with Clint Eastwood is not going to make any player more receptive to your story.

Attention to detail is one of the other keys of developing a story, do not leave any holes in it, as your player will notice them and they will bother him. If in your story the villain recovers the lost artifact and locks it away in his fortress which is then destroyed the next scene should not contain you finding the artifact in a tree. If this does happen your story then you need an explanation, such as it was blown out of the fortress with the destruction and must have landed there. Highly unlikely, but at least you have covered a plot hole.


The point of this article is not so much to define how to create a good game as it is to show the basic elements and essential keys of computer games. With these you can explore how games work for yourself and come up with your own styles and theory's about how and why things work.

Good luck.

-Geoff Howland

Game Theorist

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