“Designing Episode’s Interactive Fiction in Three Phases”
This is an outline of a polarizing GDC talk by Michael Dawson.
- The mobile audience is an interrupted audience.
- It wants bite-sized stories.
- Five-minute episodes.
- Pick a concept that your audience will love.
- Ask what they already like and analyze it.
- Use the best practices from Hollywood screenwriting (Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder, Story by Robert McKee).
- Three-act structure.
- Story outlines.
- How is mobile different?
- Change the pacing. The setup, the first act, should be in the first five-minute episode.
- Design in portrait. Have fewer characters.
- Have interactivity in mind from the start.
- Go from script to playable ASAP.
- Have authoring tools with stock art.
- The comic timing may not translate.
- Internal review loop.
- Pilot/soft-launch -> iteration.
- Ratings (feedback scores).
- Look for 50%/50% choices.
- Dollars earned per story start.
- Premium choices (like bonus outfits). Emphasize the pay-off of the choice. Choices about the player character work better.
- Cover design.
- Face close-ups are good.
- Two guys in a picture does better than two girls for the Episode audience.
- Support agency and identity across stories.
- One avatar across stories.
- Nothing about the story should feel sacred. You can change anything to make it better.
Back to index: Notes.
Tags: game design, notes, video games.