I am a Narrative Designer for casual games, browser and mobile. After having worked for 6 year as an in-house employee, I became a freelancer and began writing my experiences in working with game programmers and illustrators, the means I used to communicate with them in terms of work content and how my writing role gradually became important for the game mechanics and graphics. AMA!

Irini Vikentiou
Mar 3, 2018

Creating stories and writing in-game texts, microcopy and content for promotional material is what a Narrative Designer does. That was my understanding of the job description when I first started working for the gaming industry, and early on I realized that this was also my colleagues' understanding of my job. After 1 year in the industry, and having worked very closely with a team of programmers and illustrators, I began to realize that apart from writing, I was creating concepts for images and inspiring actions for game mechanics. Gradually, I became responsible for generating art ideas and directing creatively my illustrator colleagues in the process of visualizing my stories and concepts, while having a full understanding of how their images and my words would apply within the games' UI and mechanics. 

In this game, I created the UI prototype as seen below, story and in-game texts 

I would be glad to hear your ideas on the subject and answer any questions that you might have! My articles are now being written, and I hope to be able to publish them very soon - in the meantime, you can check out my work through these games!


friendsbroker.com/  play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tamasenco.wildwestsaga&hl=en


Irini Vikentiou says:

This AMA will end Jun 3, 2018 9AM EDT

Irini Vikentiou says:

This AMA will end Apr 3, 2018 9AM EDT

Conversation (67)

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Do you think that games are an important medium for creative writing and storytelling?
Mar 23, 2:23PM EDT0 Reply
What do you think is the important part of nailing the voice of a character, especially for an existing story?
Mar 23, 12:59PM EDT0 Reply
What video games have been the biggest inspirations to you from a narrative perspective?
Mar 23, 6:47AM EDT0 Reply

Which is your memorable experience?

Mar 21, 10:24AM EDT0 Reply
As a narrative designer, what does your day-to-day work look like?
Mar 21, 5:16AM EDT0 Reply
What's your biggest piece of advice for someone who wants to pursue narrative designing dreams?
Mar 21, 3:07AM EDT0 Reply
How much of your work actually involves sitting down and playing the game?
Mar 20, 2:32PM EDT1 Reply
How does the hardware or platform you are designing for change your design and does your work conform to its container, or do you find the right container for your work?
Mar 20, 8:07AM EDT0 Reply
Which are you more partial to: simplicity or complexity and why?
Mar 17, 1:54PM EDT0 Reply
What games are you playing right now? Can you share them?
Mar 5, 5:09PM EST0 Reply

I'm more of a casual-game fan, and recently I got addicted with Playrix's "Homescapes" (great graphics, interesting story and nice combination of the match-3 and decoration genre), and Monstronauts' "Potion Punch" (a time-management game with great UI and sureal world/ characters)! 

Mar 7, 11:55AM EST0
What's the trick to write a story entertaining, simple and that is not tedious for people?
Mar 5, 1:28PM EST0 Reply

I usually stick to clear narratives that follow a sort of comic-book story structure, to make the story relatable to a wider audience. Some might see this as too simplistic, but it works for the stories I like to share! As for entertaining, I would say it depends on your sense of humor and how you present it, but it also depends on how the reader / user perceives it. After I write something, I usually show it to some friends and relatives – if one of them likes it, I go for it, and from then onward I ask for reviews from players or readers so I can improve my future stories. I try to keep in mind that I can’t please everyone, and that that is ok!

Mar 7, 12:05PM EST0
In your opinion, what are the most important aspects in a game's narrative?
Mar 5, 1:11PM EST0 Reply

Clarity and consistency! Whether it's a world or a character I'm presenting to the audience, I try to give it as much depth as possible - this can be also conveyed through visuals or game mechanics - so the player can understand where I'm trying to take them! Consistency applies to the further development of the story - for as long as the game remains open, new ideas will have to be applied, and these -in my opinion-  have to complete the narrative pattern of the existing story the best way possible.

Mar 7, 12:16PM EST0
What have been the games in which you have enjoyed working the most and why?
Mar 5, 12:44AM EST0 Reply

My top two would be the first game I ever worked on and the last project that I recently joined! The first one (Friend$broker) included, among other things, a series of annual events, for which I had to create a big story (each story was about building a unique landmark on a dream island) and then break it into 100 levels. I really enjoyed this project, as I got to visualize and create an entire world of weird characters and events and keep it alive for 5 years! My other favorite project (Rocket Valley Tycoon) gave me the chance to create a story inspired by the 1950's - an era that I love in terms of aesthetics and history! - and work closely with the developing team to incorporate my ideas within the game.

Mar 7, 12:29PM EST0
Before working in the gaming industry, what was your job like? Have you always been a writer?
Mar 4, 12:59AM EST0 Reply

I was writing, but I was not within the field of creative writing! Before entering gaming, I was working as a music journalist and event photographer for online magazines. 

Mar 7, 12:32PM EST0
How do you ensure that you get a steady amount of jobs to work on as a freelancer?
Mar 4, 12:38AM EST0 Reply

I think it's important to maintain your presence on websites/social media and forums/groups related to your work and promote everything you make as much as possible and on a regular basis. I've started freelancing about two months ago so I can't say I have a standard strategy yet, but for what I do the places to check in are Facebook (with a personal Page and advertising), Pinterest, Behance and Instagram. I’ve found that Facebook is a great place for networking, as there are many groups and pages related to gaming with communities that promote their members and showcase their work to lots of companies in the gaming industry.

Mar 7, 12:46PM EST0

I've heard writing for games presents unique pacing challenges compared to writing a non-interactive work like a novel or film script. What are some writing techniques you had to learn (or unlearn) to be successful in this field?

Mar 3, 9:36PM EST0 Reply

How long it takes to creating a game: from the scratch, concepting, storytelling and producing?

Mar 3, 7:47PM EST0 Reply

I think it depends on the complexity of each project, how many people are working on it, their skill level and last but not least on the project manager! I personally have participated in casual game projects that took from 6 months to almost 2 years to become completed. My work usually breaks down to 2 or 3 weeks of concepting/researching, 1 month of storytelling and 1 month of producing in-game dialogue (during the two last stages I work together with programmers and illustrators to apply the narrative on game mechanics and find the illustrative aesthetics that best match the story).

Mar 8, 3:57AM EST0
Would you say that you are earning more as a freelancer than when you were employed by a company full time?
Mar 3, 3:26PM EST0 Reply
How did you land a job in the gaming industry? How did you find out there’s a room for writers when creating games?
Mar 3, 3:18PM EST0 Reply
Would you say that there are games that you have fully conceptualized and designed?
Mar 3, 2:03PM EST0 Reply
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