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Designing and Scripting Videogames Using Celtx

June 8, 2011

With E3 (an event I’ve spent countless hours at over the last 15+ years) underway, it’s worth discussing how Celtx can aid in designing and scripting videogames and other interactive media.

Videogames are notoriously difficult to design and script using contemporary content creation tools.To begin with, every videogame is different when it comes to user interface, style, pace and gameplay. Think of how different World of Goo is from L.A. Noire, just to begin to wrap your mind around this.

(Films and television episodes, of course, all have the same interface — and I would argue that the distance from The Sopranos to Seinfeld is less than the distance from Portal to Uncharted.)

In my years working on videogames, I’ve seen design documents and scripts authored in Word, Excel (!), Powerpoint (!!), and Visio (!!!), along with Movie Magic Screenwriter, Final Draft, HTML hypertext, and various proprietary tools.

All of these tools had their drawbacks. I won’t tell you that Celtx has solved every problem. But Celtx — being a sort of Swiss Army knife of preproduction — does offer some unique solutions to problems.

In previous posts such as Building Documentaries in Celtx, I discussed the “portmanteau” element of a Celtx project file. This can serve a videogame project very well — where it’s very common to have numerous short scripts for cut scenes and sequences; catalogs for NPC “barks”, weapons, inventory, characters and more; research materials; and one or more concept documents and design documents (including technical design and marketing design).

(Some of this is discussed in Story and Simulations for Serious Games, which I co-authored with Nick Iuppa.)

Using a Celtx Studio (which I’ll discuss more in a future post) can make it very easy for the content/preproduction team to share documents and collaborate on their development and revisions.

Celtx’s ability to create very simple animatics from storyboards is yet one more invaluable feature in the interactive media arena.

I would love to hear more from anyone who’s used Celtx to development content for interactive media projects. Share your knowledge and your tips and tricks to the greater Celtx community, and readers of Mastering Celtx.

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