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Creating Emotion in Games: The Art and Craft of Emotioneering (New Riders Games) [Paperback]

David E. Freeman
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Oct 2003 1592730078 978-1592730070 1

David Freeman brings you the inside scoop on how to apply the Emotioneering™ techniques he's so well known for. These powerful techniques create a breadth and depth of emotion in a game, and induce a player to identify with the role he or she is playing. Mr. Freeman's techniques are so highly sought after because they're the key to mass market success in today's competitive game market. The over 300 distinct Emotioneering techniques in this book include (to name but a few): ways to give emotional depth to an NPC (non-player character), even if the NPC has just one line of dialogue; techniques to bond a player to a game's NPCs; and techniques to transform a game into an intense emotional journey. In a warm and crystal-clear style, Mr. Freeman provides examples which demonstrate exactly how to apply the techniques. He also shows how some of these techniques were utilized in, and contributed greatly to the success of such games as "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City"; "Deus Ex"; and "Thief" I & II, among others. The book is packed with striking art by some of today's top concept artists and illustrators, including an eight-page color section and a four-color, fold-out cover. When you've finished this book, you'll be equipped to apply Mr. Freeman's powerful Emotioneering techniques to artfully create emotion in the games you design, build, or produce.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (1 Oct 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592730078
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592730070
  • Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 20.2 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 879,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

David Freeman brings you the inside scoop on how to apply the Emotioneering™ techniques he's so well known for. These powerful techniques create a breadth and depth of emotion in a game, and induce a player to identify with the role he or she is playing. Mr. Freeman's techniques are so highly sought after because they're the key to mass market success in today's competitive game market. The over 300 distinct Emotioneering techniques in this book include (to name but a few): ways to give emotional depth to an NPC (non-player character), even if the NPC has just one line of dialogue; techniques to bond a player to a game's NPCs; and techniques to transform a game into an intense emotional journey. In a warm and crystal-clear style, Mr. Freeman provides examples which demonstrate exactly how to apply the techniques. He also shows how some of these techniques were utilized in, and contributed greatly to the success of such games as "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City"; "Deus Ex"; and "Thief" I & II, among others. The book is packed with striking art by some of today's top concept artists and illustrators, including an eight-page color section and a four-color, fold-out cover. When you've finished this book, you'll be equipped to apply Mr. Freeman's powerful Emotioneering techniques to artfully create emotion in the games you design, build, or produce.

About the Author

Coming from a background as a Hollywood screenwriter and screenwriting teacher, David Freeman has become one of the world¹s authorities on bringing emotion into games. David, along with his game design and writing consultancy The Freeman Group, is currently working, or has worked, as a designer and/or writer on games for Electronic Arts, Vivendi Universal Games, Atari, Activision, Microsoft Game Studios, Ubi Soft, 3D Realms, and others. In "Beyond Structure," his renown writing course, he has taught executives and game designers from many of the world's top game publishers and development studios--as well as the writers, producers, and key players behind such films and TV shows as "Lord of the Rings," "Austin Powers," "Good Will Hunting," "Minority Report," "The X-Files" and many others. As a writer and producer, David has had scripts and ideas bought or optioned by MGM, Paramount, Columbia Pictures, Castle Rock, and many other film and television companies.


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book for any game writer 1 Jun 2005
Format:Paperback
In the world of gaming, there are few examples of well executed storytelling. David Freeman seeks to buck this trend, and his book is very helpful to anyone who would write for games, clearly outlining the techniques that should be used to result in deep interesting game scripts. If you are interested in writing for games, there is no book that deserves your attention more, and the book outlines numerous very useful techniques to enhance your writing.
However, the author's writing is, more often than not, arrogant. He seems full to bursting with boasts, that can sometimes make the book a little uncomfortable to read. He is often very self-indulgent, dedicating an entire section of the book (Gatherings) to his own random creative musings. He continually insists on using anecdotes - anecdotes that frequently cloud his meaning, rather than revealing it.
Despite his faults, this book is very useful, and is a highly recommended buy. And at times, it is enjoyable to read, though this is not a book that should be bought if you are not entirely sure you want to write for games. It may put you off in its arrogant style, but the content in the book is more than worth the price of admission.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a look 20 Feb 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is well worth the shelf space, i bought this during university on my Computer Arts course. Anyone interested in game, and the creation of games should enjoy this. Going forward from Uni, i now have a job in the games industry, this book helped me with my dissertation and final project, creating compelling games experiences. Has also probably helped to shape my thoughts and expand my knowledge and any work i now go onto undertake.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent stuff 30 Jun 2004
By Ed Fear
Format:Paperback
This book is, essentially, a comprehensive list of techniques divided into categories. Whilst that may not seem impressive, and whilst you may read it thinking "well I've thought of that before", nothing is so handy as to have (at the author's count) 300 written out in front of you.
The book also states very clearly the differences between writing for Hollywood/TV and writing for interactive media - and how current gamedevs are falling into traps by striving to be like Hollywood by hiring professional writers with no gaming experience.
If you intend to write a screenplay for a game, interested in getting someone else to make your game an emotional and engaging experience, or simply interested in the field of emotional gaming, then you simply CANNOT be without this book. This guy knows what he is talking about, and it's our duty to listen.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Deep & Thought Provoking 7 May 2006
Format:Paperback
The book tries to shift your understanding of linear writing into the not-necessarily linear writing that only the medium of computer games and the like enjoy. It is very good for beginners - and if you wish to spice up your techniques for writing in games or want to learn to write for them from scratch this is the book to start from.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  35 reviews
40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disturbed by the reviews here 18 Feb 2005
By Stephen Ebrey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book has about 10 anonymous, 5 star reviews that all sound the same. I'm VERY suspicious that these are fake reviews.

I've read parts of this book and I understand why most of the non-anonymous reviewers have problems with it. While it has some interesting aspects, it doesn't go very in depth and the amount of ridiculous buzzwords (like Emotioneering) make it hard to swallow.
28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mostly Useless 6 Oct 2006
By M. Breault - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I'm surprised by the reviews from people claiming to be game industry veterans who say they've found this book to be useful. Either they're not really in the game industry (possibly PR flaks?) or they haven't learned much in their time here.

General comment on content: Between the massive amounts of interior artwork, the big body type, the big (and frequent) headers, unusually wide margins, and lots of white space, there's probably only about 75 pages of actual information in this "500-page" book. Think of it as more of a booklet.

Mr. Freeman's credits are hard for me to verify. Web searches turn up some titles he's gotten credit for contributing to, but none of them were AAA titles. And there's no way to know for sure how much he actually contributed to them. Having been both a freelancer and internal writer/designer, I know outside writers who've been completely useless to games' development, so a claim of credit doesn't mean much, IMO. I have no clue what expertise he has with movies or other media, but I'm not too hopeful after reading his book on game writing.

One big problem I have with his book is the jargon he insists on excreting everywhere. This isn't game industry jargon, movie jargon, or any sensible jargon that I know of. It's jargon he seems to have made up to try to claim writing techniques and mechanics as his own. And he really, really likes to capitalize the (sometimes excruciatingly long) names of "his" techniques. A sense of impending doom approaches when you first see the word "Emotioneering" (capitalized, of course), looms high overhead when you see such phrases as "Plot Deepening Technique" and "Dialogue Interesting Technique," and crashes down with skull-crushing force upon reading the phrase "Player Toward NPC Relationship Deepening Technique." Ouch. Lack brilliance? Try BS!

How can anyone read a sentence such as "A Character Being Genuine is an NPC Rooting Interest Technique, but not a Character Deepening Technique" without laughing? (And, yes, the capitalization and comma fault are the author's.)

The bottom line is that this book doesn't seem (to me) to have much of value to offer anyone who's been in the industry for any length of time. If you're trying to break into the industry, however, you could be deluded into thinking that you're learning something useful here. FWIW, that's the opinion of someone who's actually been in the games industry since 1984. I keep trying to read this book, hoping to get something out of it, but can't get more than 20% into it before giving up.
68 of 86 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Meant to Impress, not to Educate 28 Feb 2005
By Jonathan Beyrak Lev - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If books had a dressing contest, this one would surely take first place. It applies every imaginable gimmick for the sole purpose of impressing the reader. There are many pictures in it, all of which are sensational adolescent fantasy material, many filling a full page and sometimes in color. The text is broken up in various ways, with intervening boxes and sidebars in incosistent shapes and sizes, as if designed specifically to distract you. Its "techniques" are trademarked under the bombastic name "Emotioneering", and worst of all, the author makes a point of repeatedly flaunting his screen(game)writing prowess.

But what are these "Emotioneering" techniques? has freeman actually invented a set of technical rules which applies to drama? No, that would be Aristotle. If you're really interested in the rules of drama, that's whom you should read. What Freeman refers to as "Emotioneering" are nothing more than a pile of bad screenwrting practices you can pick up in any second rate screenwriting book - except for two differences; first, in this sorry book they are given mind-blowing names like "technique stacking" and "Emotionally Complex Moments and Situations Techniques", and second, the examples used are said to be taken "from games" instead of from films, but, of course, all of these "games" have been imagined by Freeman for the purpose of the book (which he expressly admits), because there IS no real world game that would serve his purpose - he is really talking about films.

But when it comes to films, Freeman seems to think the The Lord of the Rings trilogy is about the best you can get. Ask any amateur screenwriter and they'll tell you that the one award these films honestly deserve is Worst Screenplay. The Lord of the Rings, like Freeman's book, is all spectacle and no content.

What kept me trudging through the morass of simpleton notions and overflowing filler text was the hope that, as a man who has some experience with writing for games, Freeman would have a few words to say about the intersection of stories with interactivity - the most alluring aspect of combining games with stories. Although he doesn't take up the subject directly, he does mention at some point that writing for games is complicated by the need to accommodate for the actions of the player. He says that he uses branching statements in his scripts for this, and that this is a very tough problem. Other than that, there are some minor points like how to allow the player to experience the events of your computerized screenplay in several different orders (which is made possible only by the ridicules simplicity of the story proposed as an example), but nothing which actually deals with letting a human have a meaningful interaction with a story.

To summarize, except for the pictures (if that's your cup of tea) I really can't see any reason to buy this book over any other random heap of text. If you want spectacle, you got it. If you want knowledge, you do yourself a favor and read three books: The Poetics by Aristotle, for the real "Emotioneering" techniques, Chris Crawford on Game Design, for an understanding of why the problem is not nearly as simple as Freeman pretends it to be, and Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling for the best solutions to the problem currently available.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, but lacks focus 10 Feb 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've had a handful of screenwriting classes, and some limited practical experience with making games. I thought this book delivered on what it promised, yet at the same time I felt there are many problems with the way its written.
Freeman uses what seems to be a highly methodological way of dealing with the 'soft' issue of emotion in games. You'll find countless references to elaborate terms such as "NPC Toward Player Relationship Deepening Techniques", "Emotionally Complex and Situation Techniques" and so on. Some very specific examples even get their own designated capitalized label. Structured as this seems, it actually only helps to make things confusing. A lot of the "hundreds" of techniques are quite similar, and without a clear overarching framework, things get very convoluted.
Some great knowledge and insights are contained in this book, mind you. I personally found some of the hypothetical games and game scenarios that are presented valuable. However, the knowledge is fragmented and disorganized. Freeman quickly jumps from one thing to the next, without a clear underlying logic as to how all the information is distributed among the chapters. The book especially emphasizes quantity - Freeman even refers to things beyond the scope of the book, i.e. "this would take way too long to explain, but let me give you the short version". I think the book would be a lot better if the information were better organized.
The book leaves a lot to be wanted in terms of focus and clarity. This book needs a new edition, or someone else needs to come along and tackle this (very important) subject from a different angle.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fake reviews? 16 Feb 2004
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've worked in the game industry, and like many other recent reviewers, I have doubts about many of the positive reviews for this book. Too many of them 1. are written by someone who gives his job title but not a name, 2. are written by someone has written no other reviews, 3. are written in the same gee-whizz-buy-this style. Interestingly, none of them show the insight into the games industry an insider would have (the book's author is a consultant with very limited experience) and none of them refer to the books considerable faults, which have made it rather more disliked than otherwise by professionals.
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