SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MHI622936
Module Leader Karen Shanks
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject Applied Computer Games
  • A (September start)

Summary of Content

This module aims to equip students with a good understanding of narrative in games. This module introduces the theory and practice of storytelling and its application to interactive gaming. Coverage includes: the traditional linear three-act structure and complex interactive narrative structures. This module also covers the development of game characters, including the introduction to the archetypal heroic personality types. It will enable students to develop game characters and interactive narratives.


Overview and history of Storytelling in Games. - The evolution of stories. - Interactive stories vs. Traditional Stories Hero's Journey and Structuring Stories -359 - Defining the Hero's Journey. - Structure of the Hero's Journey. - Story types for Games. - Themes and cliche9s, and tropes in Game Storytelling. Characters and Story -359 - Flow and Pacing. - Character Development. - Story flow, backstory and progression. - Creating emotional stories. Interactive Storytelling -359 - What is an interactive story? - Player-Driven stories. - Games without stories. Multiple Ending vs. Branching Path vs. Open-Ended Stories -359 - Creating multiple ending stories (strengths and weaknesses). - Creating branching path stories (strengths and weaknesses). - Creating open-ended stories (strengths and weaknesses). Future of Storytelling in Games - Past, Present and Future.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:-Demonstrate a competent working knowledge of narrative for gamesDevelop and design novel and integrated storylines and game charactersDevelop and expand interactive narrativesCritically evaluate narrative structure and approach in existing games

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The university 'Strategy for Learning' documentation has informed the learning and teaching strategy for this module. The module's material will be introduced through lectures, while practical exercises, based on the lecture material, will be given to students for their laboratory sessions. Tutorials will be used to help explain and elaborate on both the lecture material and the laboratory exercises. All lecture, laboratory and tutorial material will be made available on GCU Learn and links will be provided to appropriate external material such as podcasts, videos and literature. During all lab and tutorial sessions students will receive formative feedback on their performance in undertaking the laboratory and tutorial exercises. Summative feedback and grades will also be provided for the coursework assignment undertaken as part of the module using GCU Learn. GCU Learn will also be used to provide the students with module specific forums and Wikis to stimulate student and lecturer interaction outwith the normal lecture, laboratory and tutorial sessions.

Indicative Reading

Lebowitz. J., & Klug, C. (2011) Interactive Storytelling for Video Games, Focal Press. Sheldon, L. (2013) Character Development and Storytelling for Games 2nd Edition, Course Technology PTR.. Glassner, A. (2004). Interactive Storytelling: Techniques for 21 st Century Fiction. AK Peters, Ltd.. Bateman, C. (2006). Game Writing: Narrative Skills for Videogames. Charles River Media.

Transferrable Skills

D1 Specialist knowledge and application D2 Critical thinking and problem solving D4 Communication skills, written, oral and listening D6 Team working and Interpersonal skills D8 Self confidence, self discipline & self reliance (independent working) D10 Creativity, innovation & independent thinking D15 Ability to prioritise tasks and time management

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Independent Learning (FT) 122.00
Tutorials (FT) 12.00
Practicals (FT) 24.00
Assessment (FT) 18.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 50.00 n/a Individual Coursework
Coursework 2 n/a 50.00 n/a Group Project