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I'm 18 and am very good a reading writing and storytelling. I would like to write out the concept script and scenes for a vdeogame. I have a High School diploma but at the moment no other formal schooling. I would like my dream to become a reality, a game I wrote that gets created by a big name developer and published for everyone to enjoy. Before I start writing though I want to know is this achievable from the position I stand in now?

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closed as off topic by Byte56, Nicol Bolas, Josh Petrie, David Gouveia, bummzack Apr 30 '12 at 7:22

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Welcome to GDSE Brendan. While your question is a good one, it's not a fit for this site. See the FAQ about what kind of questions we're looking for here. Your question is fairly open ended and kind of a discussion question instead of a question with a factual answer. That being said, yes it's totally achievable. Shoot for the stars. –  Byte56 Apr 28 '12 at 20:45
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"very good a reading writing and storytelling" but this question hints otherwise. –  Matt Ball Apr 28 '12 at 20:49
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You should also reconsider the "I'm only going to try if I know I can succeed" position. Since you want to know this before you start writing. Write your story if that's what you really want to do. –  Byte56 Apr 28 '12 at 21:15
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Game development doesn't work this way. They don't hire someone to just write some text that they go turn into a game. The people who do writing for games are also the people who actually put that writing into the game. And they generally build the in-game scenarios and so forth. –  Nicol Bolas Apr 29 '12 at 1:21
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Start writing! Pitch for indie games and keep practicing, you will only 'break into the industry' if you have some accomplishments to show already. –  Roy T. Apr 29 '12 at 6:33

5 Answers 5

This question will eventually get closed but I can leave a few notes behind before then.

Bear with me, I am in love with writing using colons and lists today.

Everyone in games has both: A) a million ideas and B) sure knowledge that they would be a great writer. Be prepared for blatant skepticism and much eye-rolling when you present yourself as a writer with great story telling skills.

No, you do not necessarily need a college degree but the experience is not something to be scoffed at. Even a community college can introduce you to ideas and modes of expression you might not have known to look for otherwise.

You have three avenues of approach: the first being to create a body of literary work to highlight your talents, preferably published and with many examples clearly designed to drive a game; the second avenue is to enter as a designer or producer and let your work become your example of your writing skills; finally, start your own company and you can do whatever you want. Any path will be a ton of work but to have an entire team trust you with 1-3 years of their blood, sweat and tears you need to earn your stripes.

Be prepared for a lot of work, re-work and rejection, just like in the real world of trying to get published =) If writing is what you love, and the game designers I know who write all absolutely love what they do, don't give up and never stop learning new things and stretching your skills.

In summation, yes you can reach your goal from where you stand now. Your path there will take time, effort, proofreading and unless you already have a best selling series of books published it won't happen right away. But it can happen if you do the work and build your talents.

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I would suggest to instead of just writing, try to turn these ideas into real games. Even if you don't like programming, try options like Multimedia Fusion, Game Maker, or even Unity. Will give you experience, a portfolio somewhat small but with at least something. And even better, you may start liking to make games, what can lead you direct to programming, that is a really nice way too :) –  Gustavo Maciel Apr 29 '12 at 21:17

I'm not a recruiter so I can't speak officially, but here's my take on it, coming from a programmer with at least 1 years experience.

With just a high school diploma, it's going to be very hard for you to break into the industry. You need to try to get a college degree and/or get some experience by lending your support to indie games. Your best bet if you want to get in at this point without the college degree, is to see if you can get an internship at a small studio, if you're good enough already. Now, even if you aren't good enough as it is, it doesn't mean you're not going to achieve your dream, you just have more work ahead of you to get where you want, which is normal.

Now, since writing isn't as important as it should be at some studios, you might not be able to get hired at first as a writer, you might have to break your way in as a tester in QA or something. Don't be shy, express your passion and it should be much easier to find a job, and this helps when trying to get into college too. Since you have a specific focus on what you want to do, you might find it easier to get into college than if you just wanted to be a writer, not sure what field you wanted to go into.

So, keep your head up, don't forget what you love to do and let others see it. Good luck to you sir!

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I will not downplay the knowledge you would earn in college earning a degree even as a general developer/storyteller/etc.., but it depends on more then just these specific things many even small studios might not be to kind to a person who only wants to write stories for games they typically want someone who can follow the development process from story to gold, but this is more the job of the producer (many companies don't hand this out), but I would suggest maybe picking up some programming experience (game make can be a good jumping off point), or maybe some level design work (UDK can be a good tool for someone just learning)

that being said I would say still right up a brief/treatment/script (sometimes when lumped together are called just the GameDoc, or script) for your game idea, and then send it in to companies (remembering to express confidentiality, and ownership of the idea). another possible rout is sites like http://forums.epicgames.com/forum.php have a place where you can post game ideas, and if you follow through with it then you might be able to get a team together, and get it made, and even sent to retail (at least steam). but the first question that anyone is going to ask is "have you written the documents that define your game" (brief/treatment/script)

you should be able to find the information that belongs in these documents, but if asked I could provide an outline (keep in mind it would be like an outline to a book which is unique to each book)

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Most companies have a blanket policy of destroying uninvited submissions for legal reasons. On the other hand if you ask the original question of companies directly in a letter I know of a few where a lead producer or designer will take a little time to explain how things work at their office. I really like your idea of using game SDK forums like Epic, he'll stand a good chance of getting some practical answers from people already doing the same thing. –  Patrick Hughes Apr 29 '12 at 6:25
    
@PatrickHughes I thought that I have heard of studios giving at the bare minimum a read through the high concept, and then making a decision from there. as the primary purpose of the GameDoc is to present the idea to a company to either be developed, or financed –  gardian06 Apr 29 '12 at 6:59
    
Unfortunately the primary purpose of the legal beagles is to stop this scenario: I send in a design document that has some similar elements to a game already in development, later that game comes out and I sue you for stealing my copyrighted ideas. Happens all the time in the movie business. Plus, you can follow this thread on just how valuable ideas really are: gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/17663/1-idea-99-execution (tl;dr ideas are worth nothing, everyone has ideas, execution is king). It's a cold view of the creative process, unfortunately. –  Patrick Hughes Apr 29 '12 at 15:32

I would direct you to an answer I gave to a similar question: How do I turn a game idea, into a game?

To summarise, there are 3 routes:

  1. have a concrete game-making skill (programming, 3d or 2d art, level design, scripting) and join a team;
  2. spend money to pay people to make it for you;
  3. join an existing company, again with a game-making skill, and work up to a decision making position.

The game industry doesn't run a 'slush pile' in general so the hope of submitting a script or a design to a company to have it made is almost certainly futile.

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I remember being in your shoes, and figured I'd encourage you, as the industry is branching out in so many different directions. I have a personal philosophy that any goal is attainable, with proper planning, discipline, and research. If you set your mind to it ANYTHING is possible, which is why videogames in general are unbelievable. Now to answer your question (though as the first answer states we shouldn't get into it on this forum so I'll be brief).. Your current position tells me cracking into the big leagues without degrees and and portfolio is not something that will happen now. My advice is to break into the mobile scene (iOS, Android), by researching and contacting some smaller startups (like myself!) Your a lot more likely to get a chance and if your work is good, you have your first project in your portfolio. Mobile gaming is getting big and indie developers are on the rise, get out your surfboard and surf the dream man.

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