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LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE

BECOME A GAME WRITER

Dates: 28 AUG 2024 - 14 OCT 2024
Duration: 6 WEEKS
MONDAYS & WEDNESDAYS
5:30 PM PST / 8:30 PM EST
ADAM DOLIN
EX-SANTA MONICA
land-preview-gw
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
ON GAME WRITING
DATES:
28 AUG 2024 - 14 OCT 2024
DURATION:
6 WEEKS
MONDAYS & WEDNESDAYS
5:30 PM PST / 8:30 PM EST

Learn to design emotionally powerful game stories, featuring memorable characters, diverse choices, and impactful dialogues that engage players on unprecedented levels.

Let Adam Dolin, who won The Game Awards’ Best Narrative for God of War: Ragnarok, share his secrets with you.

THIS COURSE IS FOR YOU, IF...

  • YOU WANT TO SWITCH TO THE GAME INDUSTRY

     

    Our course is designed for industry newcomers. Learn all the fundamentals to navigate the game development process, master narrative design, and learn to communicate effectively with interdisciplinary teams.

  • YOU HAVE WRITING EXPERIENCE AND A PASSION FOR GAMES

     

    Unlock your potential for game writing, whether you’re a seasoned copywriter, tech writer, journalist, or creative writer. Dive into the game development world and gain industry-specific skills.

  • YOU ARE AN ENTRY-LEVEL GAME WRITER OR A NARRATIVE DESIGNER

     

    Elevate your knowledge & boost your career as you craft compelling game narratives using diverse structures, create multi-dimensional characters, and write game dialogues that emotionally engage.

YOUR ASCENT STARTS HERE

Ensure a lasting player experience.

Transform your passion for storytelling into high-impact game narratives that leave players on the edge of their seats. Start designing complex, interactive storylines with unique characters and choices.

You're just a click away from a dynamic career.

In the world of game writing, your imagination knows no bounds. Our live online course brings the classroom to you, so you can write the adventure of a lifetime from your own living room.

 
ABOUT THE COURSE / WHAT YOU'LL DO
01
HANDS-ON PRACTICE

There’ll be a lot of work done and experience gained through hands-on assignments, including critiquing game narratives, crafting character sheets, building immersive game worlds through lore text, and so much more.

02
CASE STUDIES & WORKSHOPS

We have 20 case studies in store for you: explore the narrative magic of games like God of War, Baldur’s Gate 3, The Last of Us Part II, League of Legends, Detroit: Become Human, and more. Sharpen your skills in workshops featuring a Miro brainstorm session and character creation speed-run.

03
FINAL COURSE PROJECT

Your ultimate challenge? You'll become the architect of an interactive narrative piece that will shine in your portfolio. It's your chance to infuse your voice into a captivating story, combining the art of writing with the complexity of interactive storytelling.

INSTRUCTOR
  • Senior Writer & Lead Narrative Designer,
    ex-Santa Monica & Netflix Games
  • A seasoned professional with 12+ years of game industry experience
  • Achieved WGA Award for Excellence in Video Game Writing for the acclaimed title, God of War (2018)
  • Contributed to projects such as God of War: Ragnarok, earning recognition with the Best Narrative award at The Game Awards
  • Contributed to the gaming world's narrative excellence with involvement in Horizon: Forbidden West
ADAM DOLIN
COURSE INTRODUCTION
syllabus
00
TUE (8/27), 5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Meet Your Instructor & Course Overview
  • Instructor introduction & goals
  • The current state of the industry
  • Course objectives & flow
  • Q & A
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01
WED (8/28), 5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Decoding Game Development

Game development is complex. Get an overview of the structures and workflows of different studios to learn how to be adaptable. Throughout the development process, the role of a writer shifts, twists, and changes. Let’s talk about what to expect!

 

  • Team sizes and org charts
  • Role of narrative in game development
  • The role of a game writer
  • Case study: Video game success rates & critiques

Assignment #1: Efficient Critique of a Game’s Narrative (Optional)
Pick any two games you played recently (or are currently playing). Describe where one game succeeds and the other fails in the execution of its narrative. Use both subjectivity and objectivity in your critique.

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02
WED (9/4), 5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Writing vs. Narrative Design

Yup, there’s a difference. Even though these terms are used interchangeably, they are two separate fields that support each other. Today we’ll examine games with great narrative design to highlight the differences.

 

  • The symbiotic relationship between writing and narrative design
  • How to support any type of gameplay with narrative
  • Writing for player agency
  • Case study: Games that demonstrate excellence in narrative design

Assignment #2: Identifying Strong Narrative Design
Students will choose two pieces of short, interactive fiction (provided by the instructor) and identify a beat of successful narrative design for each.

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03
MON (9/9), 5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Themes, Outlines, and the Writer’s Room

It’s time to start pushing that pen and get writing! Well…actually…get typing! Navigate through the different themes and outlines, and find the best way to unveil your next big idea.

 

  • What we can (and can’t) steal from screenwriters
  • Ludonarrative Resonance
  • How to find your next big idea
  • Workshop: Brainstorming Exercises and Writer’s Rooms

Assignment #3: World Building through Lore Text
Write 3-5 lore entries, 450 characters or less (per item) that expands the world of the final project and/or its characters in an engaging way.

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04
MON (9/16), 5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Character Creation

What’s more important: the plot or the character? How do you create a memorable character? Does your main character need to be likable? We’ll dig into all these questions and more!

 

  • Character archetypes
  • Character arcs
  • Slide Presentations, Mood Boards and Comps
  • Workshop: Character Creation

Assignment #4: Character Sheet
Create a character for your final project using the provided template.

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05
WED (9/18), 5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Scene Composition

Every great scene is supported by great wordcraft. Learn to adapt basic screenwriting techniques to games and dissect successful scenes to understand the formula for writing well.

 

  • The anatomy of a strong scene (or quest)
  • The importance of subtext
  • How to ace a game studio’s writing test
  • Case studies: Compelling scenes in Film, TV, and Games

Assignment #5: Cinematic Script
Write a 2-3 page scene that could take place in your final project.

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06
MON (9/23), 5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
The Dialogue Breakdown

Explore the diverse forms of dialogue, including combat banter, gameplay interaction, and hints, while recognizing that crafting effective dialogue can be a challenging skill to teach. Yet we'll uncover tips & tricks for improvement, catering to those with a natural aptitude and those seeking to adapt their style to the specific game they are working on.

 

  • Types of dialogue
  • Writing for different character personalities & voices
  • Dialogue options for player choice
  • Supporting level design iteration by staying flexible
  • Workshop: Table Reads

Assignment #6: Great Scenes in Games (Optional)
Find a scene in a game that demonstrates at least one of the concepts we covered in class.

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07
WED (9/25), 5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Collaboration, Iteration, and the Art of Feedback

Writing is rewriting. As a future game writer, you’ll be tasked with rewriting your texts until they’re perfect. You’ll learn how to emotionally prepare yourself to give & receive feedback while understanding how to maximize critiques.

 

  • The work-self conundrum
  • Balancing emotional investment
  • Collaboration with other departments
  • Workshop: Group feedback

Assignment #7: Peer Review
You will be sent one of your fellow students’ scripts and must give thoughtful feedback on it.

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08
MON (9/30), 5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Narrative Design Tools

In this lesson, you’ll get familiar with industry-standard software. Find out which tools accelerate collaboration. From Google Docs and whiteboard software to game engines, we’ll touch on various means used throughout development.

 

  • Programming Languages for non-programmers
  • Working with Collaborative Documentation
  • The Most Important Non-Technical Skill in Game Development
  • What’s the best Game Engine?

Assignment #8: Twine or ink game (Optional)
Students will make a short interactive game based off a template from the instructor.

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09
WED (10/2), 5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Storytelling Through Systems

Let’s dive deeper into the narrative design! Identify how you, as a writer, can utilize gameplay to craft unforgettable narrative beats.

 

  • How systems can tell stories
  • Case study: Celeste
  • Environmental storytelling
  • Workshop: Design and pitch a system
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10
MON (10/7), 5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Game Narrative Theory

Unearth methods of storytelling through interactivity, delving into the various narrative forms within games. Uncover the diverse ways games introduce narrative and engage in philosophical discussions about how the narrative differs from the games.

 

  • Linear, branching, emergent, and non-traditional narrative
  • The advantages and challenges for each of the above
  • Case studies: God of War and God of War: Ragnarok
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11
WED (10/9), 5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Dual Perspectives: AAA vs. Indie Games (+ Guest Speakers)

Two guest speakers are better than one. Prepare to chat with industry experts who have worked with your instructor on God of War and analyze the different paths to success. Learn how each of them approaches working with narrative to help secure your future.

 

  • AAA dev perspective
  • Indie dev perspective
  • Comparison
  • Q & A
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12
MON (10/14), 5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Career Guidance (+ Guest Speakers)

You’re about to enter your next game writing position, so let’s discuss predictions for the game industry for the next year. Take time to get multiple perspectives on finding work in the future, learn how to be persistent, and take notes on career guidance.

 

  • Key skills required to be a successful game writer
  • Industry trends of 2023, and the landscape of 2024
  • Career possibilities
  • Portfolio & interview tips
  • How not to get discouraged

Assignment #9: Course Project
Create an interactive narrative piece or video game pitch deck that you will be able to add to your portfolio.

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What our students say

Carlos Andres
BECOME AN ART DIRECTOR
"The group activities, they allow us to interact and exchange ideas, plus the way it is structured is challenging and mind twisting as we collaborate in different parts of the ideation."
Hayley Smith
BRANDING 101
"Overall I'm impressed with the level of detail and explanation around particular topics and subjects. There's a real depth to each module which for learning allows the information to stay in your brain."
Rebecca Kouwe
HUMAN RESOURCES ANALYTICS
"I really enjoy the format of the course. Lectures with real life examples and an ongoing case study. Also built in 20 minutes at the end of each class for questions is helpful."
Courtney Fulton
WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP
"I enjoyed the structure of the class. I like how we learned about a topic and practiced it in the workshops. It’s helped me to apply what I learned!"
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