Publish at December 06 2021 Updated December 07 2021

Worldbuilding for Video Games

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

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.

What you'll learn

  • 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

To enroll, click here

Photo : Pan Yunbo on Unsplash

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