Skillset Industry Standards – Creating Narrative Scripts For Interactive Media Products

Skillset is the industry body which supports skills and training for people and businesses to ensure the UK audio visual and publishing industries maintain their world class position.”

If you root around their website, you should be able to find the National Occupational Standards for Interactive Media and Computer Games.

As I’m posting quite a bit about storylines and narrative at the moment, I thought it might be useful to mention the Skillset standards relating to “Creating Narrative Scripts For Interactive Media Products (IM23)”.

Example job titles: Scriptwriter, Storyline Author

This unit is about your ability to help create an immersive experience for users by creating narrative scripts for interactive media products. You might be creating stories for games, interactive television or other interactive media product. While many of the skills required are the same as for creative writing generally,you will need to anticipate and account for the way interactivity and non-linearity can affect the user’s experience of a story.

Knowledge and Understanding
This is what you must know
a. Relevant theories and principles of narrative structure;
b. The characteristics and appeal of different genres of story;
c. Relevant theories relating to the wider cultural impact of stories;
d. Different types of interactive narrative structure (for example,tree and web);
e. User perspectives and points of view in relation to narratives in interactive products;
f. Principles of interaction design;
g. How to create an immersive experience for the target audience;
h. The broad technical constraints applicable to combining narrative with interactivity;
i. How user interaction and non-linearity can affect the user’s experience of the narrative or indeed the
narrative itself;
j. How to obtain and analyse product information to determine relevant creative or technical parameters that will affect your writing.

This is what you must be aware of
i. Project parameters and constraints including target platforms and their capabilities;
ii. The overall product purpose,mood and target audiences;
iii. The types of interaction that will be available to users and which might influence the structure or style of your narrative;
iv. Any requirement for the storyline,events, perspectives or other aspects of the narrative to change in response to events or user interactions;
v. The resource and time implications of using different types of interactive narrative structure;
vi. Who you need to liase with from other specialisms to ensure your narratives will work in the intended
interactive product.

Performance Statements
This is what you must be able to [do]
1. Create narratives that are engaging for the intended audience and appropriate for the target platform(s) or technologies being used;
2. Define story worlds and characters in sufficient detail;
3. Write narratives that are consistent and congruent with the story world and the characters’ backgrounds,agendas,personalities and abilities;
4. Organise the narrative flow so that it is congruent with the story;
5. Provide clear instructions for programmers and designers regarding how and when user interactions or other events should affect the narrative (for example by indicating when a user interaction should cause the narrative to jump to a particular scene);
6. Liaise with colleagues,such as designers and developers,as appropriate to ensure that the narrative is appropriate and fit for purpose.

If you are considering working in the games or interactive media industry, then using the Skillset standards as a way of organising your own personal portfolio might well be a good idea.

This being an uncourse, there isn’t a syllabus as such (though I do keep referring to my interactive mindmap overview of the course we originally had in mind…), but hopefully the Digital Worlds blog will at least introduce many, if not all, of the issues identified in the Skillset standards (I’ll post more of them as and when appropriate).

To this end, if anyone fancies using a collaborative online mindmapping tool (such as Mindmeister for example) to outline the Skillset standards and maybe relate individual Digital Worlds posts to the appropriate items, feel free to invite the rest of us to help via a comment… or blog about it and link back here…

See also: getting into the games industry

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, by truna aka j.turner.


3 Responses to “Skillset Industry Standards – Creating Narrative Scripts For Interactive Media Products”

  1. 1 Tony Hirst April 16, 2008 at 9:43 am

    Sort of related to Skillset, the trade publication Game Developer magazine [ ] have just published a list of average salaries (US focus) for people working in the games industry. Brief highlights are posted on the GameSetWatch blog – “Game Developer Magazine Debuts 2007 Salary Survey”

    It’s worth reading through the highlights post if only to see the list of general job categories that are described there: (programming, art and animation, game design, production, quality assurance, audio, business and marketing).

  2. 2 Matthew May 16, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    I’m guessing that you do need to just pray that a company doesn’t steal your ideas, im sure if they did you could take them to court, if you can prove that the ideas and design document are yours you should be of. Don’t for get though that you would be up against a major company with lots of legal backing and it could get very expensive

  1. 1 The Process of Game Creation - the Game Design Document « Digital Worlds - Interactive Media and Game Design Trackback on April 10, 2008 at 2:50 pm

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