The Illinois Institute of Art, Chicago



Course Title: Scriptwriting for Games



Course Number and Section: GAD116

Term: Summer


Year: 2004



Number of Contact Hours: 6

Time: Monday / Wednesday 3:00 – 5:50 pm


Place: 180 N. Wabash (Loop)



Instructor: Lindsay D. Grace




Office Phone / E-mail:,

Office Hours: As needed



Course Description:

Good games are engaging. They are interactive experiences that encourage players to invest time, energy and emotion. The traditional techniques of scriptwriting employed by fiction and film fall short of the requirements for games. This course endeavors to teach the fundamentals of writing good video game scripts.


Students will learn the techniques of traditional storytelling as they relate to the particulars of writing game scripts. The class will complete exercises in analyzing video game storytelling, creative writing, and the process of turning good ideas into a great script.


Although this is mainly a writing class, students will have opportunities to produce supporting visual material, including character sketches, environments, and storyboards.



No required textbook.


Suggested reading

Creating Emotion in Games, 1-5927-3007-8

Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative, 0735711712

Labyrinths: The of Interactive Writing, 0-534-51948-2

Required Materials

Three-Ring Binder (2)

Notebook with Perforated Edge (1)

Pocket-sized notebook (1)

8.5” x 11” sketchpad (1)

Pens, Pencils, Markers (as needed for artwork)



Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:









Course Requirements and Policies


There will be a lecture and discussion for every class session.


Many classes will involve workshop activities that seek to enhance your writing abilities through practice and guidance. Some workshop activities evolve into homework assignments.


All assignments must be handed in at the beginning of class on the following week. A project assigned on a Monday, for example, will be due the following Monday. Each student should use this time to refine ideas and edit your writing in a word processor.


Students should always keep a backup copy of their work.


No late assignments are accepted . Every working professional is expected to provide their work on time. Failing to do so reflects poorly on that person’s performance. Repeated failure to meet deadlines often results in firing. It is best to learn to meet deadlines now.


In this course, each assignment will build on the previous. Failure to complete the prior week’s assignment will make each subsequent week more difficult. It is in your best interest to complete each assignment on time and to the best of your ability. Always hand in what you have, even if you want to revise it. Partial credit is better than no credit at all.



Grading System:


Point Score range

Letter Grade

93 and above






















Below 60






Score Breakdown:


Assignments and Workshops: 70%

Participation and Preparedness: 5%

Final Project: 25%



Attendance / Absences:


Students are expected to attend each class and arrive on time. It is a student’s responsibility to contact the instructor when they know they will be absent or have missed a class session. Students should notify the instructor of their planned absence as soon as they are capable. It is best to send an email.


Makeup exams and acceptance of late assignments will only be granted in the following circumstances; Medical excuse, emergencies, campus-sponsored activities.


All issues of attendance and tardiness will be handled as school policy dictates and at the discretion of the instructor.


Cheating and Plagiarism:


Any student that cheats or plagiarizes will be reported to the academic standards committee and may be dismissed from the course.


All homework is to be completed independently (except when instructed otherwise). Any student who is caught or suspected of working in conjunction with any other student will be penalized.





Weekly Schedule*


Week 1 :

Overview of Storytelling

Analyzing Storytelling in Games

Week 2 :

Writing Workshop: Turning your ideas to writing

Basics of Plot, Character, Perspective, Setting, Style and Theme

Assignment: Outline a Game

Week 3 :

Developing Character and Non-Player characters

Writing Dialogue and Dialogue Script

Assignment: Create Character Sketches and One Scene Dialogue

Week 4:

Scriptwriting Character

Advanced Character Technique

Assignment: Revise Character Sketches and one Scene Dialogue

Assignment: Create NPC dialogue list

Week 5:

Plot Synopsis (Away from Cliché)

Plot Scripting and Scenario Scripting

Assignment: Script a Simple Plot


Midterm (No Exam)


Week 6:

Cut Scenes/Cinematic Sequences and the Language of Camera

Cut Scene Scriptwriting Continued

Assignment: Script a Cinematic Sequence

Week 7 :

Interactive Scriptwriting

Developing an Interactive Script

Assignment: Script 2 Levels of Branching

Week 8:

Communicating Setting and Style

Final Projects Introduced

Assignment: Create an Introductory Treatment for Final

Week 9:

Treatment Presentations and Peer Review

Week 10 :

Studio Work Week


Week 11 :

Final Presentations

Final Projects Due (complete and with full documentation)


*Schedule subject to change at the instructor’s discretion.