Storyboarding: What is it and Why is it Important?
June 14, 2013
•IADT General, Game Design and Production
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Storyboarding refers to the creation of a sequence of drawings that illustrates the levels of the game or its different scenes and goals. Each image includes a paragraph or two describing what is going on in the scene.
Storyboarding is the second step in the basic sequence of game design and production. It is the planning prior to the building of your game and your storyboards that can be included in your design document, which is basically a script detailing your game. The design document is important, as it is typically used to pitch your concept to designers and producers.
When you create a storyboard, you create a visual map of your game. This can help you shape the vision and flow of your game. If you do not spend time on these important elements of design, you risk losing potential gamers in a directionless game.
The most successful games have clear narrative arcs. Gamers play video games because they want to achieve something; they must be able to identify the task and accomplish the goal. Storyboarding ensures your game has an arc that you can describe and – if questioned about it by designers or producers – you can defend or revise.
It is very similar to the first steps of the writing process. Though you have an idea for a game in mind, remember that this is just the beginning. Your idea needs to be fleshed out. Storyboarding allows you to be critical, to focus on the details and to refine the storyline.
Storyboards can include sketches of levels, of the end goal and even of the characters.
Do not be intimidated by storyboarding. The frames should be rough sketches. The artwork can be simple and even messy. Remember: you are only brainstorming your main ideas.