Unit of competency details

ICAGAM405A - Write story and content for digital games (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to ICTGAM405 - Write story and content for digital gamesUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages 24/Mar/2015

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 18/Jul/2011


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 100705 Written Communication 

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 100705 Written Communication 04/Nov/2011 
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Modification History



Release 1

This Unit first released with ICA11 Information and Communications Technology Training Package version 1.0

Unit Descriptor

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to develop stories and related content for interactive digital games.

Application of the Unit

This unit applies to game concept developers, script writers, storyboard artists, game designers and other personnel working in the game development industry.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement but users should confirm requirements with the relevant federal, state or territory authority.


Not applicable.

Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content


Performance Criteria 

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria

1. Identify and develop storylines with game potential

1.1 Identify potential storylines  for game development

1.2 Modify and enhance storyline  to suit game environment

1.3 Determine appropriate game genre 

2. Write plot synopsis and background story

2.1 Determine character profiles 

2.2 Develop environment profiles  consistent with storyline

2.3 Develop background story 

2.4 Develop initial plot profile 

2.5 Develop plot synopsis and options  and link to specific game levels

3. Develop story components

3.1 Source initial concept artwork 

3.2 Develop level specifications  and storylines

3.3 Initiate development of storyboards  showing plot development, cinematic and level outlines

4. Finalise story components for inclusion in the game design brief

4.1 Seek feedback  on story and concept

4.2 Finalise story concept, profiles and other specifications for inclusion in the game design brief

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • communication skills to:
  • communicate narrative concepts and related design requirements to designers and concept artists
  • seek and respond to feedback from target audience representatives, clients and colleagues
  • planning and organisational skills to:
  • meet project deadlines
  • organise own time to meet milestones
  • research skills to:
  • research and identify appropriate game genres
  • source appropriate textual and visual data to inform storylines
  • source concept artwork
  • writing skills to develop:
  • background story, storyline and plot elements for levels
  • character, environment and plot profiles.

Required knowledge 

  • budgeting and scheduling considerations for game development
  • copyright and intellectual property protection for written narrative and concept graphics
  • different story requirements for particular game genres
  • role of story writing in game development and the quality of the final product
  • research methods used to stay abreast of the latest changes and developments in narrative development for games
  • tools and techniques for developing game narrative.

Evidence Guide

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

Evidence of the ability to:

  • develop storylines for games according to current industry standards
  • develop storylines that are innovative, competitive and apply processes and procedures to facilitate quality script writing
  • identify the role of narrative development in game development and what this brings to the quality of the final product
  • seek and respond professionally to feedback on concept and storylines.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure access to:

  • range of current computer games across all platforms and genres
  • range of the latest consoles and hand-held game devices
  • internet access for research purposes
  • computer hardware, software, games engines and file storage
  • copyright and intellectual property legislation
  • OHS legislation and enterprise policy
  • appropriate learning and assessment support when required
  • modified equipment for people with special needs.

Method of assessment 

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:

  • work samples or simulated workplace activities
  • observation of storyline development activities
  • verbal questioning concerning aspects of narrative development for games, including:
  • game genres
  • sources of stories and narrative
  • sourcing concept graphics
  • respecting the intellectual property rights of other writers.

Guidance information for assessment 

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, where appropriate.

Assessment processes and techniques must be culturally appropriate, and suitable to the communication skill level, language, literacy and numeracy capacity of the candidate and the work being performed.

Indigenous people and other people from a non-English speaking background may need additional support.

In cases where practical assessment is used it should be combined with targeted questioning to assess required knowledge.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Storylines  may originate from:

  • celebrity activities
  • comics and graphic novels
  • cultural traditions
  • fairytales
  • film and television
  • historical events
  • novels and short stories
  • performing arts:
  • ballet
  • dance
  • opera
  • sporting activities
  • ‘what if’ scenarios.

Modify and enhance storyline  may involve:

  • background story concept development
  • creating new stories featuring existing characters
  • developing storyline from first, second or third person perspective
  • introducing new characters and settings
  • modification of plot outcomes
  • reducing the number of characters
  • relating the narrative from another point of view.

Game genre  may include:

  • adventure
  • alternative reality
  • ancient
  • casino
  • cyberpunk
  • educational
  • edutainment
  • fantasy
  • first person shooter
  • flight shooter
  • flight simulation
  • futuristic
  • god simulation
  • massively multi-player online game
  • massively multi-player online role-playing game
  • medieval
  • modern
  • multi-player
  • post-apocalyptic
  • puzzle
  • racing shooter
  • racing simulation
  • real-time strategy
  • role-playing game
  • science fiction
  • side-scrolling shooter
  • single player
  • sports
  • strategy, including:
  • action strategy
  • turn-based strategy
  • tactical combat.

Character profiles  may include:

  • basic details:
  • age
  • appearance
  • clothing and accessory preferences
  • colour of eyes
  • gender
  • hair
  • languages spoken
  • location
  • motivation
  • names
  • nationality and race
  • occupation
  • preferences for day or night missions
  • target demographic the character appeals to
  • weapon choices
  • biographies
  • characteristics of associates and enemies
  • heroes
  • main characters
  • non-player characters
  • protagonists
  • secondary characters
  • villains.

Environment profiles  may include:

  • alien environments
  • fantasy environments
  • foreign environments
  • historical environments
  • natural environments, for example:
  • arctic
  • desert
  • jungle
  • mountainous
  • post-apocalyptic environments
  • urban environments.

Background story  may include:

  • cinematics (cut scenes)
  • experiences, events and missions occurring prior to game action that have a bearing on the proposed game narrative.

Plot profile  may involve:

  • action
  • adventure
  • combat
  • crime
  • fantasy
  • history and background of the environment
  • missions
  • murder mystery
  • premise
  • psychological
  • quests
  • romance
  • science fiction.

Plot synopsis and options  may consist of:

  • choices made by the player that influence the direction of the narrative
  • concise outlines of story narrative, including:
  • secondary plotlines
  • character story and motivation
  • climax or cliffhanger
  • key interactions along the way
  • objective of the story
  • plot profile
  • resolution - what is gained or lost
  • drama outline for cinematics (cut scenes)
  • executive summary
  • flowcharts
  • one page synopsis
  • one paragraph synopsis
  • one sentence synopsis
  • pitch version of synopsis.

Sourcing initial concept artwork  may involve:

  • knowledge of copyright and intellectual property protection
  • using visual research techniques to identify exemplary environments, character types and themes consistent with storyline concept
  • working collaboratively with artist and designers to develop original concepts for characters and environments in formats, such as:
  • 2-D computer graphics
  • collages
  • hand rendered illustrations
  • pencil and ink sketches
  • physical models.

Level specifications  may include:

  • level-specific components:
  • allies
  • base building and location
  • cinematics (cut scenes)
  • colours
  • enemies
  • graphics
  • health
  • lighting
  • non-player characters
  • resources and their harvesting
  • sounds and music
  • weapons
  • location
  • stages
  • transportation devices:
  • buttons
  • doors
  • keys
  • teleporters
  • tunnels and passageways.

Storyboards  may include:

  • animatics, such as technical previsualisation
  • computer-generated illustrations
  • existing comic strips, comic books or graphic novels
  • hand-drawn illustrations
  • illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the purpose of previsualising a motion picture, animation, motion graphic or interactive media sequence, including website interactivity
  • photomatic, e.g. photographic storyboard
  • thumbnails.

Feedback  may involve:

  • accepting and responding to comment, critique and suggestions from:
  • clients
  • colleagues
  • target audience representatives.

Unit Sector(s)

Game development