Creating Emotion in Games: The Craft and Art of Emotioneering

Author: David Freeman
List Price: $49.99
Our Price: Click to see the latest and low price
ISBN: 1592730078
Publisher: New Riders (15 September, 2003)
Edition: Paperback
Sales Rank: 27,350
Average Customer Rating: 3.83 out of 5

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Customer Reviews

Rating: 4 out of 5
Want pointers for game writing/design? Get this book
Good book. A good book indeed.
For those of us interested in writing/designing pc and videogames, a book like this one really comes in handy.
But before I ramble with the good side of it, I'll mention the three aspects I disliked about it:
First, I was a bit annoyed with the cocky attitude. Most of the time it sounded as if, either you use emotioneering techniques (term created by David Freeman) or your game will never have emotion or be any good at all. This might sound like a big deal, but I have to accept it, after reading the explanation of what emotioneering is and why it is better than simple writing, well, he does make some very good points... nonetheless, the attitude bothered me a bit so you might want to be ready for it.

The second thing that bothered me is that the author teases TOO much about the hundreds of other techniques that exist... but that is it. I do understand that there had to be a limit as to how long the book would be and mentioning all the techniques and explaining them in a proper way would take way too much, but still, where am I supposed to learn about the rest? I WANT MORE!

The last issue doesn't really have to do with content as it does with form. And is definitely not a very big issue, as a matter of fact, I only mention it because I thought that, in order to stay as objective as possible, I needed more "bad points".
The thing is there are many typing mistakes. They aren't orthographic mistakes, they definitely look just like typos, but still they hinder a bit the quality of the book.

And that is it, as far as I am concerned, the rest of the book is just good stuff.
For starters I have to praise the great pointers on creating characters. The ideas for both the physical and internal aspects of an NPC and PC opened my eyes to a whole new way of giving life to characters. And the goodness doesn't stop there. You also get techniques for plot, dialogue, relationship between NPCs and PCs, ways to make the game more immersive, pointers on cinematics, etc.
Trust me, even when David Freeman cuts back on the list of techniques available (and if you are like me, you'll also be left craving for more), there are many more than the ones I mentioned, and most of them have subdivisions with great explanations and examples of how to use them or how they have been used.

I am sure you'll also enjoy the foreword by Will Wright (The Sims guy) and the lovely art scattered throughout the book. Another point in favor of Mr. Freeman is the fact that he gives credit where credit is due. There is even a section at the end of the book that mentions every artist, where you can find more about them and comments on most of them.
The last tidbits of ideas are very interesting, very fun to read because they seem like the ramblings most of us write in that old notebook, the scattered ideas that someday might find their way into a book and/or game.

Now I think I've written too much, so I'll wrap this up by saying that if you are interested in game designing/writing, this book is a must for you. You won't regret buying it and if you do... nah, that won't happen if you are interested in games , I'm confident about that =)


Rating: 1 out of 5
Lazy and self serving
David Freeman is a third string TV writer in LA who supplements his income with consulting work in the videogame industry. (He's one of the people who wrote those awful seventh season episodes of the X-Files.) Unamazingly, he's written a book that proves that hiring a thrid string TV writer is always the best thing you can possibly do to help with a videogame. The book's highlight is an unintentionally funny chapter where he explains that hiring any other sort of writer (including a *successful* TV writer) just won't do the job...

As for any intelligent discussion of the real difficulties of integrating narative with a flow state experience - forget it.


Rating: 3 out of 5
Insightful, but lacks focus
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.

A lot of knowledge and great insights are contained in this book, mind you. I personally found the hypothetical games and game scenarios that are presented quite 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.

I can certainly see why most reviewers have given this book 5 stars. I can't think of any other book that takes this approach, and it's clearly a vital aspect to making games that tell stories. However, it leaves a lot to be wanted in terms of focus and clarity. Basically, *what* the book says deserves 5 stars, but I think *how* it's said deserves less.

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