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3 Steps For Creating A Storyboard

July 17, 2013 IADT General, Game Design and Production 0 Comments

Creating a StoryboardSo, you have an idea for a video game. Now you just have to create it. But where do you start?

Storyboarding is the second step in the basic sequence of Game Design and Production. After you have completed your design document, you might want to construct a storyboard – and it doesn't have to be as hard as it sounds. Just follow our three steps for creating your own storyboard:

1. Break down Your Design Document

A design document is essentially a script detailing all aspects of the game design and production. Storyboards allow you to create a visual map of your game, so having your design document on hand could provide you with important details and an outline of the story.

You might want to use your storyboard to break down the progress of the game level-by-level. Or, you can even break down the progression of a single level with a storyboard. To decide how detailed your storyboards should be, ask yourself

  • Is it necessary to draw each level?
  • Will this make the information clearer?
  • Do the drawings communicate the structure?
  • Does the storyboard contain all the information you have?

You should also consider the point of view of your character or player, the aesthetics of the design, the pace of the game, and any potential problems.

Take this time to decide what kind of storyboard suits you need. There are three basic types:

  • Rough: basic illustrations of action, in a crude sketched form
  • Working: includes all the information needed for production, such as dialogue, movement, lighting, soundtrack and a brief action summary
  • Presentation: fully developed version of the working storyboard, including key panels that are completely rendered

After your storyboards are complete, you can add them to your design document for future reference.

2. Construct Your Panels

After deciding what your storyboards should contain, you must choose the dimensions of your panels. Consider how your game will be played: on a computer or on a gaming console that's hooked up to a television? Screen sizes differ, which means your dimensions must fit a variety. Choosing the right screen size means no picture information will be lost.

Next, draw the shape of your panel. Add a black border approximately ½ of an inch wide. The border helps you see each panel as a definitive separate shot, which could help you see how the levels transition and work together.

You should also to add a description panel at the bottom of the frame. It's typical for designers to include a paragraph or two at the bottom of each panel to describe the action in the shot. This is especially important if you are creating a rough storyboard.

3. Present

Your storyboard is complete when your ideas are clearly defined and there is enough information for the design and production teams.

At this point, you might present your storyboard to your teams. Presenting allows you to work together to consider every possible detail for each panel. Each detail must be programmed, so it must be thought-through. When presenting panels, ask your teams:

  • What can the character do? In this level? Throughout the game?
  • What is the goal of this level? What is the goal of the game?
  • Who is the enemy? In this level? Throughout the game?
  • Which weapons are available?
  • Can more than one player participate at once? If so, what does the level look like? What would a particular panel look like?

Answering these questions might force you to revise your storyboard. Reviewing the boards with your design and production teams also allows you to decide what is feasible.

Whether you are working on a storyboard for class or drafting storyboards for an idea you can't let go, these steps might be helpful. Talk to your Game Design and Production program adviser about other useful tips regarding game design, production and the storyboarding process.

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