Author Topic: Good authors for adventure game  (Read 684 times)

Good authors for adventure game
« on: 14 Jun 2019, 19:18 »

"To write a good book you have to read good books first", to say the obvious. And it's true also for the videogames, at least for adventure games.

So I'm asking you about authors (classic or modern) useful to inspire adventure games.

I don't mean your personal tastes in literature,  but writers whose prose is good for a game. For example: I really hate Tom Clancy, but his novel fits well for a spy game.


Here's my "list" by theme:

espionage: Tom Clancy (as said before)
drama: Anton Čechov
comedy: Richard Matheson (I know is famous for horror/sci-fi works, but his humour tales are cheesy)
sci-fi: Michael Moorcock
horror: Seabury Queen
fantasy: Licia Troisi (well, I'm italiano)
mistery: Jean-Claude Izzo


Any other suggestions?

_

KyriakosCH

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Re: Good authors for adventure game
« Reply #1 on: 14 Jun 2019, 19:32 »
Well, I think Kafka's The Trial could work as an adventure game.
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Re: Good authors for adventure game
« Reply #2 on: 15 Jun 2019, 18:17 »

No KyriakosCH, I was not meaning single works. I'm asking for authors for specific themes.  :P

_

Jojo_the_monkey

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Re: Good authors for adventure game
« Reply #3 on: 15 Jun 2019, 19:16 »
I do not fully understand your point. But If I got your question correct; many developers have used Lovecraft as inspiration for horror adventure games.
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KyriakosCH

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Re: Good authors for adventure game
« Reply #4 on: 16 Jun 2019, 14:11 »
Indeed :)
+1 @JoJo
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Re: Good authors for adventure game
« Reply #5 on: 16 Jun 2019, 14:54 »
I'd say it depends on the game you're wanting to make.
The short story I Have No Mouth And Must Scream was adapted (with the author's help) into an adventure game. And there was a novelization of The Dig. And the book On Stranger Tides was at least somewhat of an influence on The Secret of Monkey Island.
So, really almost any published author could be useful. Every author has strengths or weaknesses. So it really depends on what you're wanting to learn.
Even Goosebumps books could be useful reading depending on the game you're wanting to make.
I'd even go as far to say that the Twlight books could have their uses...

Re: Good authors for adventure game
« Reply #6 on: 16 Jun 2019, 18:52 »

Mumble, how I can explain it...

Stephen King's works are often adapted in movies and tv-series, more than other good and best-selling authors. Because is succesful, ok. But also 'cause his style of writing is... "ready for the filming", that means similar to a screenplay.

A videogame is slighty different, and even more adventure games (graphic adventure, point-and-click, puzzle adventure). Them involve interaction, reflection and other elements absent in a movie.
That's why in my list I said Seabury Queen for the horror instead of Stephen King. When I read Queen's novel I found his style of writing it more close to a graphic adventure than King's.

_

KyriakosCH

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Re: Good authors for adventure game
« Reply #7 on: 16 Jun 2019, 19:32 »

Mumble, how I can explain it...

Stephen King's works are often adapted in movies and tv-series, more than other good and best-selling authors. Because is succesful, ok. But also 'cause his style of writing is... "ready for the filming", that means similar to a screenplay.

A videogame is slighty different, and even more adventure games (graphic adventure, point-and-click, puzzle adventure). Them involve interaction, reflection and other elements absent in a movie.
That's why in my list I said Seabury Queen for the horror instead of Stephen King. When I read Queen's novel I found his style of writing it more close to a graphic adventure than King's.

_

I think some interaction works in horror, if it is done by way of "i am too nervous to try this, so i will first try to go around it" etc. I sometimes do that in my own work  :cool:
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Re: Good authors for adventure game
« Reply #8 on: 16 Jun 2019, 21:03 »
For me personally, The unwomanly face of War by nobel prize winner Svetlana Aleksijevitj has been a huge inspiration source, as it contains countless interviews with a wide number of women who participated in WW2 and many of their accounts were very fascinating and inspiring, but I'd strongly recommend looking up non-fiction and historical/science books in general, for while there are lots of inspiring fiction out there the risk is always that in trying to emulate what made the original work, you instead end up with a derivative lesser copy. Probably the worst offender in this regard is the works of Tolkien, for even though The Lord of the Rings are rightfully regarded as a timeless masterpiece, so much bad and cliched fantasy has been created by people trying to copy him, and in some cases taking things that were bad in the original, like racist stereotypes or long-winded exposition dumps, and doubled down on them instead of trying to improve it in their own version.

So for anyone looking for creative inspiration, I'd advice you not to take direct inspiration from fiction in the same genre for risk of making it cliched and derivative, but instead to browse places like wikipedia and look up things from the real world that could serve as the basis for a story and then add fantastic elements onto it if you're writing sci-fi or fantasy. While I'm at it, I'd recommend Rejected Princesses for some cool facts on real-life historical women.

I'd also recommend another non-fiction book called Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, which is a graphic novel where the author's cartoon version of himself explains the nature of comics, but a lot of the things he brings up,
like stylization versus realism and the pacing of a story, which are just as applicable to Adventure games as comics, and the reason my teachers made my class read it when I studied game design at university. It's a fun delight
to read, and you can easily find a free pdf version if you Google it, so I can't recommend this book enough for anyone seeking inspiration for writing and how to present their visuals. Yes, it's really that good.

Re: Good authors for adventure game
« Reply #9 on: 17 Jun 2019, 09:01 »
Jules Verne could be a great inspiration for pretty much any kind of adventure games. I say "could" because it just occurred to me and I'm going only on vague memories of the comic book adaptations of his novels I read as a kid, but I remember his worlds being super imaginative and filled with details and... well, adventures  :-D

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Re: Good authors for adventure game
« Reply #10 on: 17 Jun 2019, 09:56 »
Jules Verne could be a great inspiration for pretty much any kind of adventure games.

+1
The Brodebund guys turned it into Myst, but I'm sure it could work for simpler, ore conventional games. Especially if you combine the two separate prequels that are "20,000 leagues under the seas" and "The children of Captain Grant" with the double resolution story/conclusion "Mysterious island" (which has uncanny resemblance with the first seasons of Lost, by the way). Boom: 3 steampunk books, one game.
 

KyriakosCH

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Re: Good authors for adventure game
« Reply #11 on: 17 Jun 2019, 10:24 »
Most high literature (Verne isn't really that, imo) isn't compatible with actual adventure games, though it could work as fictional novel/interactive fiction.

Some individual stories can work better as adventure games (eg Poe's Murders in the Rue Morgue or even Lovecraft's The Music of Erich Zann).
I agree that Lovecraft is good to adapt for computer games, because most of his creatures are inferred and suggested.
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Re: Good authors for adventure game
« Reply #12 on: 17 Jun 2019, 18:20 »

For me personally, The unwomanly face of War by nobel prize winner Svetlana Aleksijevitj has been a huge inspiration source, as it contains countless interviews with a wide number of women who participated in WW2 and many of their accounts were very fascinating and inspiring, but I'd strongly recommend looking up non-fiction and historical/science books in general, for while there are lots of inspiring fiction out there the risk is always that in trying to emulate what made the original work, you instead end up with a derivative lesser copy. Probably the worst offender in this regard is the works of Tolkien, for even though The Lord of the Rings are rightfully regarded as a timeless masterpiece, so much bad and cliched fantasy has been created by people trying to copy him, and in some cases taking things that were bad in the original, like racist stereotypes or long-winded exposition dumps, and doubled down on them instead of trying to improve it in their own version.

So for anyone looking for creative inspiration, I'd advice you not to take direct inspiration from fiction in the same genre for risk of making it cliched and derivative, but instead to browse places like wikipedia and look up things from the real world that could serve as the basis for a story and then add fantastic elements onto it if you're writing sci-fi or fantasy. While I'm at it, I'd recommend Rejected Princesses for some cool facts on real-life historical women.

I'd also recommend another non-fiction book called Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, which is a graphic novel where the author's cartoon version of himself explains the nature of comics, but a lot of the things he brings up,
like stylization versus realism and the pacing of a story, which are just as applicable to Adventure games as comics, and the reason my teachers made my class read it when I studied game design at university. It's a fun delight
to read, and you can easily find a free pdf version if you Google it, so I can't recommend this book enough for anyone seeking inspiration for writing and how to present their visuals. Yes, it's really that good.



You're right Blondbraid, I am aware of the risk of becoming just a copycat of famous writer.   8-)



I agree that Lovecraft is good to adapt for computer games, because most of his creatures are inferred and suggested.


Hmm, interesting point.   :-\

_
« Last Edit: 17 Jun 2019, 18:27 by TheFrighter »

KyriakosCH

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Re: Good authors for adventure game
« Reply #13 on: 17 Jun 2019, 20:01 »
Why the long face? :)

When something is inferred then you have more freedom to present whatever you want to. It was already done by Lovecraft's own writer-followers :)
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Re: Good authors for adventure game
« Reply #14 on: 18 Jun 2019, 13:39 »
I imagine the works of Robert Heinlein would adapt well, or serve as good inspiration for adventure games.  I'm thinking mostly of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and The Cat Who Walks Through Walls.

Re: Good authors for adventure game
« Reply #15 on: 19 Jun 2019, 09:35 »
If there is one story I'd want to see adapted into an adventure game, it's definitively the story of prince Setna and the book of Toth.
It's an ancient Egyptian adventure story about a search for the lost book of Toth, but also a moral tale about responsibility and redemption, and what's so amazing about it is just how timeless it feels,
because despite being several millennia old it still feels like a fresh and intriguing take on the genre and the story bears clear parallels and similarities to various modern stories like A Christmas Carol,
Indiana Jones and the raiders of the Lost Ark, Tomb Raider: The last Revelation, and Pirates of the Carribean: Curse of the Black Pearl, and I myself have been greatly inspired by it when writing the stories for my games.

As this story is centered around the protagonist exploring an ancient tomb, it also provides ample opportunity for any game adaption to integrate various puzzles organically, and there's even a scene
within the story where the protagonist is challenged to a game of senet. Plus there being multiple translations and interpretations, just as with KyriakosCH's Lovecraft example, this gives anyone
wanting to make an adaption a lot of leeway in making their own take on the characters.

It's not a very long story, and could be easily summarized in just one page, so I strongly urge anyone to read it and see for yourself:
http://www.touregypt.net/godsofegypt/thebookofthoth.htm
And here is a different version with more background explanations:
https://www.ancient.eu/article/1056/setna-i-a-detailed-summary--commentary/
« Last Edit: 19 Jun 2019, 10:20 by Blondbraid »

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Re: Good authors for adventure game
« Reply #16 on: 19 Jun 2019, 13:09 »
I'll be the first to follow the intended format of the thread with:

Espionage: Matthew Reilly (A terrible writer, but the Scarecrow novels are all video games in print form so perfect)
Drama: Raquel Jaramillo , pen name R. J. Palacio (Wonder is one of the best books ever, would work well as a game)
Comedy: Douglas Adams (Particularly the Dirk Gently books...So much potential)
Sci-fi: John Varley (Steel Beach would be awesome as a game)
Horror: Dean Koontz (Lightning or Phantoms would be the ones I would want to play)
Fantasy: Neil Gaiman
Mystery: Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl etc. Enough said.)

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Re: Good authors for adventure game
« Reply #17 on: 19 Jun 2019, 15:07 »
I think inspiration is so fundamentally individual that it's impossible to make specific recommendations that are very helpful generally.

Personally I find great inspiration in Joseph Conrad. His books offer great adventure yarns (jungle expedition! South American coup! spies! shipwrecks!), but I find I most often come back to how his stories are built around the distinct psychology of his characters. He'll take a character flaw and explore how it affects someone's actions, or a perceived strength and set up situations that challenge it. Or sometimes he'll show the ways in which a strength in one context can be a weakness in another.

Conversely, I've long been a fan of P.G. Wodehouse, and have tried to take inspiration from his books. But I find that comedy is really difficult to replicate. Even direct adaptations, such as the Discworld games, usually don't really capture the humor of the original, and if you're taking inspiration more loosely, whether it's actually funny really comes down to the quality of the execution rather than a superficial imitation of the style. If you want your writing to be as funny as a Wodehouse book you can't just sprinkle "toodle pip!" and "what rot!" throughout the dialog, you have to come up with a use of language that is as offbeat and playful as his was in its time.

Re: Good authors for adventure game
« Reply #18 on: 19 Jun 2019, 17:34 »

Thank you Snarky for moving the thread, I opened in the wrong place!  :-[

I'll be the first to follow the intended format of the thread with:
Thank you Mandle!  ;)

_

Re: Good authors for adventure game
« Reply #19 on: 19 Jun 2019, 19:33 »
Conversely, I've long been a fan of P.G. Wodehouse, and have tried to take inspiration from his books. But I find that comedy is really difficult to replicate. Even direct adaptations, such as the Discworld games, usually don't really capture the humor of the original, and if you're taking inspiration more loosely, whether it's actually funny really comes down to the quality of the execution rather than a superficial imitation of the style. If you want your writing to be as funny as a Wodehouse book you can't just sprinkle "toodle pip!" and "what rot!" throughout the dialog, you have to come up with a use of language that is as offbeat and playful as his was in its time.
That's a great point, I've personally taken a lot of inspiration from the Blackadder TV-series, but what I think one should look for in comedy is the character dynamics and story structure rather than the jokes themselves,
and especially in Blackadder the humor comes from the contrast between the snarky and cynical Blackadder and his naive and ditzy friends/servants. But with comedy, I think it's just as important to look at failed comedy and
what doesn't work in order to understand it, and the most common pitfall of all is just making random pop-culture references that make no sense if you haven't seen the original thing being referenced, or is just a random name-drop
in case you have heard of the thing before, so in this case it's probably the only time I'd actually recommend someone to see a recent Adam Sandler comedy, but it's a great example of what to avoid when trying to write humor.