Working Without a Script

If I, alone, were making a video game, I’d have everything planned out to a T. Like I said before, I’m a very deliberate person. I choose just about everything in my creations really purposefully. I’d have timelines of events, plot outlines, dialog. I’d have the entire thing, or at least the major parts, scripted and the characters developed in my head. And I would never get it done. How do I know this? Ohhhh… I’ve done it many, many times before. Come to my place and check out all my used sketchbooks if you don’t believe me. (No, don’t really come to my place.)

This project is different. I’m working with Justin and that adds a layer I’ve never dealt with before: working with a partner. Back when I was in Comix and Animation club, we were printing our own collections of comics, and everyone was to work in groups. Except me. Because I made my comics long enough to take up a full-sized book, and this wasn’t one of those classes that all your friends wanted to be in. This was one of those classes people (except me) got into to get an easy A (it was a bad choice for them. The AP Lit teacher taught the course). I was just too serious about my own crap.

Okay, back to the main point: I don’t really work with groups beyond a one-shot project. My other friend that liked to draw/liked anime and I would come up with little stories and stuff… except that I would take “my” characters and make their story, and she would take hers and make her story, and sometimes they would intersect. That was the extent. Again: I was just too serious about my own crap.

So it’s weird not having full control. And since Justin’s doing the world building, inserting NPCs, and creating events, I have had little say in dialog. I’ll play it when he’s done with an event and I’ll tell him, “Taya’s supposed to be kind of shy,” or “I think Ren should have more response choices.” Once in a while, I’ll write out a big rant about a character’s or group’s mindset, as I envision it and to be honest… I’m not sure he reads it all. I’ll say “What did you think about my email about the elves?”

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know? Did you read it?”

“Yes, I read it. I don’t know. It’s a lot.”

It’s a little nerve-wracking for me to not have full control. On the other hand, I know I’d normally write out huge, long scripts, and then start drawing or writing… and my characters would take on a life of their own and just… wildly depart from that. It’s happened several times before. Usually, I have a goal in mind for the character, and often they make it to that goal, but it’s almost always in a way I did not plan from the beginning.

So maybe it’s okay to work without a script. Maybe it’s okay to take the backseat and just help fine-tune things. After all… this looks like a project that might actually get finished.

What about you? How do you handle projects?

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