You Need an Editor!
Cameron Harris
Senior Editor, BioWare Montréal
Welcome
● What is this talk about?
● What editors do
● How editors make games better
● Why the game industry needs editors...
About me
● Technical writer & editor in software
● Editor, producer, & managing editor in games
What can editors do?
● Make games better while saving money
● Smooth out production for better content
● Provide support i...
What is (game) editing?
● Not traditional editing (books, newspapers, etc.)
● The same principles in an interactive medium...
Editing: a definition
● The art of invisibly refining the author's
intentions
● Art: not a science
● Invisibly: unnoticed ...
Editing: an example
Editing in narrative
● An edited story is a better story
● World-building, tone, theme, plot, character, dialogue,
present...
What else can editors do?
● No story? No problem!
● Editors add value with:
● Non-narrative editing
● Content management
●...
Non-narrative editing
● UI text
● Clear, consistent, & coherent = consumable
● Less confusion for players and developers
●...
Content management
● Organization
● Wikis (design)
● Checklists (production)
● Downstream pipelines and tasks
● Voiceover:...
IP branding
● Marketing and PR
● Consistency of terms, fiction, and presentation
● Web and community
● Transmedia developm...
Why use editors?
● Producers & PMs have (more than) enough to do
● Everyone can focus on their own, best work
● Editing wo...
Building an editing culture
● Iterative improvement of writing
● Valued & scheduled, not optional
● Management as editing'...
What editing gives you
● Clear, consistent, & coherent = consumable
● Smoother pipelines & teamwork
● Significant project ...
Editing saves money!
● Star Wars: The Old Republic script
● Two characters, one actor: $1000
● BioWare Edmonton team
● Dra...
Editing in the game industry
● Matching standards held in other forms of
entertainment media
● Treating art as art and sup...
And finally…
● Talk to me anytime!
● Twitter: @camharr
● LinkedIn: cameroneharris
● IGDA SIGs: Game Writers, Editing
Thank...
[GDC 2014] You Need an Editor!
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[GDC 2014] You Need an Editor!

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[GDC 2014] You Need an Editor!

  1. 1. You Need an Editor! Cameron Harris Senior Editor, BioWare Montréal
  2. 2. Welcome ● What is this talk about? ● What editors do ● How editors make games better ● Why the game industry needs editors ● Who am I?
  3. 3. About me ● Technical writer & editor in software ● Editor, producer, & managing editor in games
  4. 4. What can editors do? ● Make games better while saving money ● Smooth out production for better content ● Provide support in three areas: ● Editing ● Content management ● IP branding
  5. 5. What is (game) editing? ● Not traditional editing (books, newspapers, etc.) ● The same principles in an interactive medium ● Multiple levels of editing, but one definition
  6. 6. Editing: a definition ● The art of invisibly refining the author's intentions ● Art: not a science ● Invisibly: unnoticed and seamless ● Refining: shaping what's already there ● Author: collaborate and support ● Intentions: working with subtext & higher-level needs
  7. 7. Editing: an example
  8. 8. Editing in narrative ● An edited story is a better story ● World-building, tone, theme, plot, character, dialogue, presentation… everything! ● The editor as player surrogate ● Clear, consistent, & coherent = consumable ● Internal teams & external partners ● Players & media ● Profit!
  9. 9. What else can editors do? ● No story? No problem! ● Editors add value with: ● Non-narrative editing ● Content management ● IP branding
  10. 10. Non-narrative editing ● UI text ● Clear, consistent, & coherent = consumable ● Less confusion for players and developers ● Free UX testing along the way ● Geopolitical & legal review ● Language, art, maps, music, etc. ● Avoid offense, lawsuits, & bad PR
  11. 11. Content management ● Organization ● Wikis (design) ● Checklists (production) ● Downstream pipelines and tasks ● Voiceover: before, during, and after recording ● Localization: geops, handoffs, queries ● Publishing: TCRs, rating submissions
  12. 12. IP branding ● Marketing and PR ● Consistency of terms, fiction, and presentation ● Web and community ● Transmedia development ● Sequels and side projects ● Non-game products
  13. 13. Why use editors? ● Producers & PMs have (more than) enough to do ● Everyone can focus on their own, best work ● Editing won't fall off the schedule
  14. 14. Building an editing culture ● Iterative improvement of writing ● Valued & scheduled, not optional ● Management as editing's champion
  15. 15. What editing gives you ● Clear, consistent, & coherent = consumable ● Smoother pipelines & teamwork ● Significant project savings
  16. 16. Editing saves money! ● Star Wars: The Old Republic script ● Two characters, one actor: $1000 ● BioWare Edmonton team ● Dragon Age II edits: $100,000+ ● Mass Effect 2 text exports: $450,000+ ● ME1-ME3 text exports: $1,000,000+
  17. 17. Editing in the game industry ● Matching standards held in other forms of entertainment media ● Treating art as art and supporting the artists ● A rising tide lifts all boats… and we need to lift some boats
  18. 18. And finally… ● Talk to me anytime! ● Twitter: @camharr ● LinkedIn: cameroneharris ● IGDA SIGs: Game Writers, Editing Thanks to EA BioWare, GDC & the Game Narrative Summit, my test audiences… and you!
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