Friday, July 29, 2011

How to write a gamebook part 1a - the map method

You could turn this map into a
If you have not yet read the introduction, it will help you if you do.  You can find it here.

The map method does exactly what it says on the tin.  You draw all the possible locations you could go to and then link them up.  You can also write descriptions of the places, who lives there, what items you could get from there and what might happen there.

Here are my answers to where I went, why I went there and how the journey was.

Where did you go?  I cycled to a little nearby village.
What route did you take to get there?  I cycled via a farm.
How was your journey?  It was very pleasant as it was a lovely summer's day. 

Where did you go?  I cycled to a little nearby village.
What route did you take to get there?  I cycled via a main road.
How was your journey?  It was a nice day, but the journey was noisy.

And here is my map (I made it using text boxes, arrows and lines in powerpoint and then copying the images onto Paint):

Both routes end up at the same place although I go via two very different places.  I could have also decided to go to a friend's house via a pleasant country lane.  If I did that, I my map would look like this:

My maps are quite basic and look a bit like flow diagrams, but when we start to write larger gamebooks with big sites to explore, maps will be important.  

If you would like to look at maps for existing gamebooks, you will find maps of dungeons from several Fighting Fantasy books here.

Maps only show us decisions we make to go to certain locations and give us brief descriptions of locations.  They are good for gamebooks where you have to explore a particular area but eventually, you will have to take into account other decisions that the player will make.  You can draw these diagrams like maps but they also contain other information such as what the player eats for lunch.  You can find examples of such diagrams for existing gamebooks here (however, you will need a copy of the gamebooks mentioned as these diagrams only contain paragraph numbers.)

Here is a map of part of the dungeon from War of Deities part 1.  

And here it is in a nice tidy digital format

I did not use all of the ideas from this map in my book.  I thought that the gorgon was too easy to do, so I did a twist on the classic gorgon idea.  I also left out the magic dagger, the cliff and the orc caves as I wanted to keep the book to within 400 paragraphs.  By the time it got to the book, it became an encounter with an some orcs fighting a dwarf.

However, this is OK as I have the ideas stored away for when I may need them in future.

If you want to see more maps, check out the 1 page dungeon competition or the Fantastic Maps blog.

Once you have tried all three methods, we will write them up in gamebook format next week.  


For the main page, go here.

For the flow diagram method of planning, go here.

For the just write it!  method, go here.

For a list of ideas for your gamebook, go here.

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