Video Game Storyline Theory and Development

Hi, my question isn't strictly a technical one, but rather a design theory based question. -- Putting aside all the different technologies offered by the many game development engines of today, game design basically boils down to - storytelling. If you can capture the players attention and immerse them into your game, you accomplished a - huge - part of making your game successful. If you can capture their emotions, you've done something that many game developers only dream about doing.

I've been doing a lot of research into the storyline aspect of game development and find a tremendous lack of good resources on such an important subject. I'm not looking for game story topic ideas, but rather material discussing the theory behind developing a good storyline. In other words, how does one go about determining how many side quests your game is going to have? What are the purpose of those quests and how do they affect the game's main storyline?  How to you plan out the puzzles in the game? Where do you place your puzzles to make them more effective and relevant to your story?

Clearly, much of this comes with years and years of experience, but in today's world where there is a "How To" video or article on just about any topic imaginable, I find there to be a lack of resources in this very important topic.

Does anyone here have any good resources (articles, video tutorials, books or white papers) on this subject? Or, can you offer some good advice regarding the subject?

Again, I'm not asking whether a space alien storyline is better than an zombie storyline. I'm asking, regardless of genre, how does one develop a game storyline with interesting quests, puzzles, challenges and suspense, rather than a story where... you have a zombie and a gun and you have only one basic challenge...to shoot the zombie, before he eats you - over and over again?

Thank you,
Fulano
Mr_FulanoAsked:
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
Great question! Two suggestions:
1) Anything by Jeannie Novak but especially:

Game Development Essentials (3rd Edition) Jeannie Novak Published (2001)
 ISBN-13: 978-1111307653   ISBN-10: 1111307652
See if you can get a library copy it's about $70!
or
Game Development Essentials: Game Story & Character Development 1st Edition (2006)
Marianne Krawczyk & Jeannie Novak
ISBN-13: 978-1401878856 ISBN-10: 1401878857
(included as a section in the first book)

2) This site on the psychology of game design
http://www.psychologyofgames.com/ 
They push their own book a bit but you should find some of the podcasts there helpful

The books are a bit dated but the principles you'll still recognize in state of the art games currently being launched and the big subscription games like WoW.

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Mr_FulanoAuthor Commented:
Hi MASQ, thank you for the suggestions. I ordered the second book, given that its more specific to the subject I'm seeking. I reviewed the first book online and found it to be more of a career tutorial type of book. I'm simply interested in the storyline aspect of the book. Thank you for your suggestions, which were ALL very good.

I'd like to leave the question open for a couple of days to see what others have to say...if that OK with you. Regardless, your suggestions were GREAT!!!

Thanks,
Fulano
Mr_FulanoAuthor Commented:
Hi MASQ, I don't want to leave this question open any longer. I think you answered it completely and deserver ALL the points. I did order the second book and am looking forward to its arrival.

Thank you very much for your help!
Fulano
Mr_FulanoAuthor Commented:
EXCELLENT!!!
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