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Feature: 'Organizing And Formatting Game Dialogue'

In today's main Gamasutra feature, Red Storm Entertainment writer/designer Rafael Chandler (Rainbow Six: Lockdown) discusses processes and systems that will help a...
In today's main Gamasutra feature, Red Storm Entertainment writer/designer Rafael Chandler (Rainbow Six: Lockdown) discusses processes and systems that will help a game writer minimize dialogue change during production, and discusses some of the dependencies that a writer can account for along the way. In his introduction, Chandler discusses some common possible problems: "Here's the deal: two weeks before your game hits beta, the lead designer on your project adds some new functionality to the game. In addition, some of the pre-rendered cinematics are changed. Nothing major, just a few cuts and additions here and there. All this requires you, the writer, to create some new dialogue for various characters in the game, including the protagonist, some of the bad guys, and some allies. No problem. You hammer out the dialogue... Problem: You created a new document for this additional dialogue. But you didn't add the text to the master spreadsheet that Quality Assurance has been using, so they cite these new lines of voice-over as bugs. Because the producer also uses the master spreadsheet (which you didn't update), these new lines aren't sent to the localization company, so they don't get translated on time..." Chandler goes on to suggest a number of other negative scenarios, before asking: "Could any of this have been averted? More and more developers are formalizing their processes in an effort to mitigate the crises that arise during production. Game writing is a technical discipline as well as a creative one, and it is vital for a writer on a project to focus on how his or her work will impact the rest of the development cycle." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject, including much more practical information on how to manage game dialogue writing and recording (no registration required, please feel free to link to the article from external websites).

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