Monday, 28 February 2011

This Month I Have Mostly Been...

...doing lots of work, and getting interviewed.

Moviescope magazine (the film industry's Edge) got in touch to discuss the relationship between the two mediums, and I'm quoted extensively along with industry cohorts Andy Walsh and Alex Garland, and my agency's (Side / Sidelines) Creative Director, Andy Emery. There's a whole paragraph about this very blog, and I say intelligent things like,
"Any time a game is released and is successful and doesn't involve ninja bitches with tits the size of this room it's a good thing."
Go read.

There are only a couple of points that sound a touch out of context, and that's probably down to me getting overexcited rather than any quoting tomfoolery on the part of the mag. My discussion of celebrity voice talent sounds like I'm more down on it than I am because I was following up on a positive point; good thing there's no connection made between me and Side in the article because they have a lot of big names come through their recording studios.

There's also a bit where I say programmers and artists see writers as a threat. What I meant was that a dev team can see a writer as a threat if they come into the studio and start trying to dictate design. It's more a point about understanding the limits of your role as a games writer than it is about programmers hating me. In fact they've always been completely lovely.

You can catch up on all my latest interviews at

Between blogging, and networking, and filing tax returns, I also do a bit of writing, and I've been filling my time with a bunch of smaller jobs recently. I've been working as part of a team on the English version of Sega's Binary Domain, interesting for its voice control mechanics; and on dialogue for a sports personality in an upcoming wii / kinect / move training game. In the latter I was researching the sportsperson in question and adapting the text around their personality, but that's fairly familiar stuff for a games writer who's often working with someone else's IP.

As far as the Ice-Pick Lodge stuff goes, I've had the full script through and the last I heard was that they were hoping to deliver by the end of the month. Of course, since I got the script they've stopped replying to my emails.

Finally, I've just started work on a more significant project that'll keep me busy for the next few months. It's still closely under wraps, but I can say that it's a Facebook RPG of a very different nature to what you'd probably expect. I can't say in all honesty that this is a game that's likely to see a lot of crossover with my Penumbra audience, but I'm hoping I'll be able to bring some level of edge to proceedings. Casual and social games obviously are often antithesis to what I believe makes games exciting, but as a platform through which to introduce a far broader audience to interactive narrative I couldn't be more passionate about them.


  1. Of course, it goes without saying that anyone with either professional work or a fantastically exciting indie project should get in touch for a natter :-)

    I know I have lots of talented pro and amateur developers reading the blog - anyone working on anything exciting lately?

  2. Unless you count my script for Screenwriting II and my senior seminar animation, not really.

    I've been curious about this for a while- what's a good source for sample game scripts and the like, Tom? I've been interested in getting some practice in the form and haven't a clue where to start without either making an entire game outright or hassling indie devs.

  3. There's no hard and fast format for scripts. They come in screenplay format, in excel spreadsheets, in HTML...

    You could check out an example of an interactive dialogue tree format in Word from the very first post on this blog:

    There are also devs who put up their design documentation.

    For other sources, there are games writing books that include samples.

    I've been toying with the idea of producing a reference source for aspriing games writers / people looking to hire a writer. I've got loads of script samples I could put up if there was an audience, and links to other places. I could include some stories from other writers about how they got their first jobs, and some other bits and pieces.

    Is that something that sounds useful?

  4. That sounds GLORIOUSLY useful. Especially if there's a format that lets you practice without working on top of an existing game* or alongside a developing one.

    *Though replacing dialogue in a game that's weak in that department might be an interesting exercise in its own right.

  5. Absolutely. When I first got in touch with the guys at Frictional I was playing with their text file, it was really easy to edit it and therefore improve the in-game dialogues and descriptions. Not a bad way to start learning.

  6. This = Exciting. Three cheers for you, sir.