©2019 Alexander Swords

Project: Forest Paths

There are many ways of writing good stories, and making them interactive. This project is about helping developers understand the power of their own narratives in reaching their audiences outside of restrictive conventions and norms. 


I will undertake research over five months to develop a framework for designing and writing games narratives. He will work with practitioners from a range of game genres to develop and test the framework which will ultimately be made available to any creative wishing to work in this emerging interactive space.


The framework has come from combining theory picked up from my work in the arts, film, television, interactive art and games. With a strong influence from other screen disciplines it has major part. 

  • Formulating an internal pitch: The <player/protagonist> performs <activities> to gain <resources>, overcome <obstacles>, and achieve <goals>. 

  • Turning this into a Dramatic Question, and then using the changing fortunes of the player/character to plot the first layer of drama across the sequences of the game. 

  • Using a matrix for the story, design pillars and functional considerations of development across the sequences to understand their relationships, or fill gaps as required. 

  • Analyse or impose dramatic forces on the trajectory of each element across the sequences to help understand how the player might feel from moment to moment. 

This approach embraces iterative design as each element's development is understood in the context of every other part of the game. It can also be used at any level from whole-of-game down to individual conversations. It's also able to be used for creation as well as management.  


Based at The Arcade I'll be consulting with a range of developers from a diverse range of game types to see how it might accommodate their processes and see if we can break it. It's my hope at the end to put together resources that can then be distributed to the development community. If you're a developer based in Victoria, Australia and would like to know more, then please get in touch. 


Project Forest Paths is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.

Background photo by Jens Lelie on Unsplash