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UBCx: Worldbuilding for Video Games

Learn the fundamentals of building video game worlds, from a writer’s perspective.

Worldbuilding for Video Games
5 weeks
4–6 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Optional upgrade available

There is one session available:

After a course session ends, it will be archivedOpens in a new tab.
Starts Feb 21
Ends Dec 31

About this course

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A game’s setting is second in importance only to the game’s player character - and some say it’s more important. Game designers must create a compelling new world that players will want to explore and inhabit for many, many hours.

Game writing is a collaborative process, and worlds are designed with input from art directors, level designers, and even marketing teams. But writers have an integral role in making these worlds feel rich, deep and believable.

In this course you’ll learn to use the tools of environmental storytelling, lore, readables and audio/video logs to help create a memorable game setting.

Verified learners will access additional game industry interviews, assignments and discussion topics, connecting with a community of other writers and game enthusiasts.

At a glance

  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Associated programs:
  • Associated skills:Marketing, Writing

What you'll learn

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  • How level designers and the art team approach the game world, and how the narrative designer works with them
  • Environmental storytelling: how the setting creates mystery, reveals history and furthers the game’s story
  • Learn how to create compelling found narrative
  • How writers of lore and backstory can learn from real-world research and history
  • Tools and techniques for creating compelling audio and video logs

Module 1: Creating a Compelling Game World

  • The imagination space - from the game map to player POV to game economies
  • Getting started: what's the hook, and how do you find inspiration?

Module 2: Creating Fictional Worlds

  • Defining scope and producing the illusion of a larger world
  • Collaborative worldbuilding
  • How to create mystery and shape player decisions
  • Working with established worlds

Module 3: Populating Your World

  • Fictional races, cultures and languages
  • Fictional places and historical research
  • Fictional beasts
  • Weapons, equipment, technology and vehicles

Module 4: Animating Your World

  • Depicting day-to-day life
  • Using environment to motivate exploration
  • Soundscapes and audio/video logs
  • Found narrative

Module 5: Finessing Your World

  • Genre considerations - how the genre (SF, Horror, etc) influences setting
  • Common challenges
  • Getting players invested in your world

This course is part ofWriting for Video Games Professional Certificate Program

Learn more 
Expert instruction
6 skill-building courses
Progress at your own speed
8 months
4 - 6 hours per week

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