Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Development Info Josh Sawyer on the importance of real-world knowledge for game design

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. Curious_Tonguegender: ⚧ Larpfest Patron

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    Hasn't the link between creativity and range of influences been established already?
     
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  2. Dangersaurusgender: ⚧ Novice

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    This is the stupidest thing I've read all week.
     
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  3. draegender: ⚧ Learned

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    Seconded. Writers are encouraged to read fiction to open themselves up to different writing styles, get an idea of what works and what doesn't, get a sense of where genres are at... steal ideas.

    You can't write believable things without the tools to pull it off, and to assemble the tools you read and you write.
     
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  4. cruftygender: ⚧ Arcane

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    for character inspiration the DMV is a goldmine
     
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  5. Gozmagender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    The Legion is a good example of too much research, not enough fiction. Sawyer set himself to work out how an autocrat's slave army would work. Except the product of the research works very poorly in terms of what the game needed. The Legion doesn't work as a sympathetic, human faction a player would join - not a fatal problem, but it doesn't work as a video game antagonist faction either (this is supposed to be a huge slave army but you're implementing it in a game engine that can only show three dudes at a time on consoles before it starts chugging, so complete narrative abortions like that town where you rescue the crucified NCR guys by shooting two Legion recruits and a dog happen). Being called "Caesar's Legion" and dressing everyone up in centurion costumes is just confusing for players when you aren't supposed to consider this stuff parallel to historical Rome or Caesar. Having fiction as a secondary consideration also causes fucked up shit like the terribly plotted Securitron bunker part of New Vegas because you are just spot-welding the plot together at the last second from bits of the false world you have in your head.

    The whole thing ended up awful when no individual step in the process was obviously stupid the way like a Bethesda would do it; it just had no skilled fiction in it. I worry that they are gonna end up with the same problem when I see Sawyer rattling off his amateur philology Gaelic O'postrophe names for P:E.
     
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  6. Make America Great Again Rogueygender: ⚧ Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

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    Non-fiction is better for this.
    http://spring.me/JESawyer/q/630353454
    http://spring.me/JESawyer/q/789302096
     
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  7. draegender: ⚧ Learned

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  8. tulusegender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    He specifies genre fiction, which is indeed awful by and large.
     
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  9. Dangersaurusgender: ⚧ Novice

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    Elmore Leonard is (was :( ) a genre fiction writer.

    If you mean mass-market pulp fiction churned out as tie-ins for toys/games/TV/movies, then sure, vidya game writers are almost on par. High bar there. Still, Sawyer is no R.L. Stine or Ann Martin - or even a Dan Abnett or Peter David. That's got to hurt at his age.
     
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  10. Azrael the catgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Reading non-fiction won't teach you story structure, thematic development, how to connect the plot the characters and themes together (nor the importance of doing so, nor that of ruthlessly cutting those characters and plotpoints that you think are 'cool' but have no connection to the thematic elements, or vice-versa), good v bad methods of characterisation, different forms of narrative and their effects, the history of theatre/literature/film (is this idea actually original, or am I just repeating X? If I'm repeating X, what can I explore that would be interesting counter to the take that X made on that idea?) or most of what you need to know to actually be a good writer, as opposed to someone who merely has some good ideas.

    Neither will reading pulp, for that matter, though I certainly wouldn't rule out getting a decent knowledge of genre works (given that most writing is genre writing, you should at least know the standouts in the genre, and what makes them work). But there's a reason why literature is still taught at both school and university levels, though it seems to be wasted on someone who can't appreciate the difference between having an interesting idea and turning that idea into an interesting piece of writing.
     
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  11. visionsgender: ⚧ Magister

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    Fuck you I wanted to make this joke, only with Russians instead of niggers. :(
     
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  12. Chaotic_Hereticgender: ⚧ Magister

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  13. Zerielgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Sawyer's views on writing (and hence Roguey's) reflect his level of writing accurately, so there's that.
     
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  14. Rakegender: ⚧ Arcane

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    In Sawyer's defence, he is talking about design and not about writing. He knows his writing sucks (or at least is not appealing to the majority of people), and that's why he does very limited writing in games.
    i don't think he considers himself a competent writer.
     
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  15. Zerielgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Yeah, Sawyer's a pretty cool guy, he's just wronged by having someone worship the ground he walks on 24/7 on the Codex.
     
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  16. Gozmagender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    I thought he did a good job with awkward source material on the Mormon stuff in Honest Hearts, at least in the idiom of the short-dialog-tree fully voiced era of RPGs. I'd give anyone some respect for making a religious character in the last 20 years that isn't either the Love and Hate guy from Night of the Hunter or Elmer Gantry.
     
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  17. Rakegender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Roguey is Sawyer on steroids. Her opinions are way more extreem than Sawyer's,even if they are on the same vein. A big part of the "Sawyer anti-group" are in fact opposed more to Roguey's posts than Sawyer's
     
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  18. Make America Great Again The Brazilian Slaughtergender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Must be hard to, working with MCA every day, all the time.
     
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    God sure sucks at Arcanum...
     
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  21. Smejkigender: ⚧ Warhorse Studios Developer

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    He has written it several times already.
     
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