I use role-playing game development as a way to build setting. A shared world needs setting – locations, landscapes, and institutions that characters can interact with, that can ignite and illuminate their stories. When you’re writing a story, setting elements can arise naturally, as the story proceeds, but developing these attributes without the engine of a plot can be challenging. By taking a queue from role-playing game development, you can more easily craft elements that draw players/readers in, and in turn inspire their stories and contributions.
After posting several entries on SSW design here, I had the chance to expand on them at DIY Days L.A. 2011. Although I had about an hour to make the presentation, I barely had time to cover the absolute basics (I hope to go into more detail in future posts).
Still, the exercise of bringing together some of the things I’ve discussed in isolation about SSWs was extremely helpful, and I was humbled by the reaction of the audience and the great questions they posed. If I can make the time, perhaps I’ll do what a few of them suggested and write a book…!
In addition to the presentation, I handed out copies of the design questions to help people follow along and perhaps even make notes. Below is the presentation and a link to download the .pdf of design questions.