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VWN Product Reviews: Character Development and Storytelling for Games

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Written by Lee Sheldon, a professional entertainment writer, with such credits as Star Trek: The Next Generation", "Charlie's Angels", and "Edge of Night" to his name, this book is all about writing good, solid, sweeping plots for interactive entertainment.

Sheldon may be a screenwriter by trade, but in 1994, he expanded his direction to include computer game scriptwriting For the last seven years, he has been giving tutorials at the Game Developers Conference on writing and designing games of all types and sizes, from stand alone to the largest MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Gameworld).

Indeed, his focus on MMOs can be seen all throughout the book, with two chapters dedicated to them, and liberal use all throughout.

You might ask what all the fus is about. Telnet worlds have been creating story arcs for decades, what's the problem? Well, for one, Telnet worlds usually only have a few hundred players maximum - there are exceptions, of course - and are a totally different model to MMOs which may have 100,000 or 1,000,000 players at any time.

Still, this book is not about teaching you. Good story telling like any good writing, cannot be taught. You can be shown the basics, and the possibilities, the path is up to you. Within the nearly five hundred pages of this book, you will find ideas, histories, concepts, suggestions aplenty, but its not there to ram them down your throat, it there to show, and enlighten, not to teach.

Even so, its twenty chapters cover everything you need to create the basics of truly stunning story arcs. This is definitely a must for every developer's shelf.

 

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