We already know that Scrivener is a wonderful writing tool. It has been a reference for years when you want to write a novel, a script or a blog. It is fast and has many options to deepen machining or workflows. I've been using it for Mac for years and, although I also love writing in Markdown, when I have to write large text Scrivener is my preferred option, also for writing a videogame script.

But maybe it’s not such a well-known tool for writing videogame scripts, I’ve already written several but I will use my recent experience with the script of Allan Poe's Nightmare Videogame, based on the stories of Edgar Allan Poe, to show the versatility offered by Scrivener. Although it is a video game for mobile devices and therefore has a simple script, Scrivener makes our work much easier.

How to write a video game script with Scrivener

Screenplay of the video game Allan Poe's Nightmare written in Scrivener

Workflow with Scrivener

A videogame script has a document with the development of the missions, with a movie script structure, which is accompanied by several additional files. From those who compose the Bible as the characters, scenarios, weapons, etc., to the various options that the player is choosing: interactive dialogues, secondary missions, decisions, paths ... a wide range of possibilities.

The Scrivener editor is very powerful and offers many possibilities.

Being able to have all these documents centralized in a single workspace and easy to link to jump from one to another, allows you to easily build a story in the style of classic children's books of choosing your own adventure.

Although we can achieve this by writing in Google Docs, it is not the same. For starters, the Scrivener editor is very powerful and its ability to write in script format makes it much faster. The possibility of immediately accessing all the files and having them in 2 windows, of marking length targets in the texts and the possibility of being able to export to different formats make it much more efficient than Google Drive.

Workflow with Scrivener to write a video game script

In a panel you have the script of an intro, in our game in comic format, and in the other the character tab.

One way to work efficiently is with labels. You add different labels to each file because an item can be a narrative element or it can be a tool to unlock a mission. With labels the organization is much easier.

In addition, being able to write in a distraction-free mode with the screen completely clean helps focus and be much more productive. I use to do sprints of 45 minutes where I disconnect the mobile and any element that can distract me and write as fast as I can.

With Scrivener you have all the documentation in the same workspace which makes writing much easier

Write and consult the documentation

Writing a videogame script requires a lot of research and documentation time. It is fundamental to know very well what you are writing to be able to add many details to the structure of the missions. A game like Allan Poe's Nightmare that is set in the universe of Edgar Allan Poe, forced me to make very exhaustive documentation of both his works and the writer himself.With Scrivener you have all the documentation in the same workspace, which allows a continuous flow between writing and consulting the references. Being able to have images and documents open in a window while you write allows you to be much more efficient.

Non-linear writing

I can write first the missions that are developed in the same scenario so that the development team has the script quickly and can create the prototype.

 Non-linear writing in a video game script

Vision of the mission of Allan Poe's Nightmare

Having a vision of your history with cards and jumping from one to another is a feeling of enormous freedom. Doing that with word is crazy.

Collaboration with Google Drive

S an excellent solo work experience that helps you in the long nights of writing but lacks a collaboration zone. In Gametopia, we have half of the workforce in Madrid (Spain) and the other in Popayán (Colombia), with which distance collaboration is vital. In order for everyone to have access to the documents to work, I export them in RTF to a folder synchronized with Google Drive. Once the feedback has been received, the changes in Scrivener must be made again, an additional effort that is worthwhile for having everything centralized and well organized.

If I had to rewrite a videogame script without scrivener I think it would drive me crazy. I hope this article will help you start writing your stories in a more organized and productive way. Have a nice writing!


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Daniel González

Daniel González

Screenwriter, video game designer and CEO of Gametopia. Creative in the advertising agency Flas Marketing and professor of write and game design in the Master of Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.

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