Scrivener for Games Design

Just wondering if anyone else is abusing Scrivener for the making of game design docs?

I find it ideal, games design are often lots of little chunks of information in a hierarchal format. I liberally throw folders around and give each chunk a sub-category. Easy to add pictures into the correct places, all the good things that work for stories and scripts work for game design docs, though perhaps even more because the art form itself is non-linear so the game design doc will undergo a lot of moving and editing that Scrivener excels at.

We also need to track a lot research and reference info, so the research folder works well.

The only problem I have is export, but thats more of creating a template I think. At the moment I tend to just get it to export everything including formatting and tidy up in Word or html/wiki whatever its being exported too.

I have used it to produce two of the books for the future nexus world. Right now using Open Office for the next one, mostly because a bad back means even the light lappie is staying home…

But yes, I have used it for those goals, and as you said, export can be a little problematic. Oh and shhh… don’t let MS know this, but WORD 7 is an excellent DTP light engine… so is Pages by the by.

<---------- power user…

But be aware word 7 can and will eat documents NOT originally created in it… at times…


It’s great to hear about Scrivener being used for different purposes - especially for another of my great loves, video games…

It should definitely be possible to set up a template for a game design document (it should be even easier in 2.0 which allows much more flexibility in controlling the compile process). If you lay out exactly what you think should go into a template for a design document of this sort, I may even be interested in including a template in the basic install of version 2.0.

All the best,

Me I use it for paper and pencil not computer games.

Yes, here. :slight_smile: I’ve written a full Game Design document for a Nintendo DS title and lot of story documents for games in Scrivener. Furthermore, I set up a Scrivener file for every game project I’m working on - therein I import all files I receive, archive compiled files I sent out and import the most relevant mails. In this case I don’t use the binder with hierarchical folders, but rather follow the rule: the latest files and communication is at the bottom. Works well for me.

A great aspect is the chance to change into scriptwriting mode within the app and have an easy to use environment in which to write dialogue for a game.

Concerning templates for games … I doubt there really is one. Game Design docs are very different for every game and genre. A doc for a real-time strategy game is totally different from an adventure. And as far as I can tell more and more companies tend to work in wikis.

My biggest wish as writer for games would be: save me from Excel! Sadly, this is the tool that’s used for dialogue assets. To write creatively in Excel feels … wrong. But with game dialogue you have lots of parameters for every line (and possibly many languagues to localize into), so you need columns, of which many are user-defined.

But it can be worse - when a company decides to develop their own text tool … that’s when the fun begins.

To write dialogue for a game in Scrivener, with all benefits of the binder, the notecards, full screen etc - that would be dream come true.