That’s DISCo as in the Interdisciplinary Digital Culture and Society Conference, not Disco as in, you know…
The event will be running from the 9th to the 12th of July at the University of Nottingham’s De Vere Jubilee Conference Centre, and I’ll be there for the full four days. My workshop in particular will be running all day on Thursday the 11th.
If you’d like to see what else is going on, you can find the full range of workshops through this link. Mine requires no previous experience and will borrow a fair bit from my Twine for Beginners series of tutorials. Since we’ll have a full day available and I’ll be there in person to help with any problems, there should be an opportunity to become quite proficient with the software in just this one session.
Tickets for the event are £65 for one day, £195 for the full four, or £340 for the full four with accommodation. They’re available until the 2nd of July.
Draw Nine is now available on itch.io! This is the same game I submitted for IntroComp last year, but with a complete story and a brand new look. The cards you see here were produced by Joe Wright, who I highly recommend following – he writes excellent fiction as well as producing excellent art.
If you haven’t tried out the early version already (which included the complete story, but none of the visual flair), the game sees you take on the role of a magician who uses enchanted cards to cast spells. However, you’re given just nine cards at the beginning of the game and these must see you through to the end. The selection is random, so it’s up to you to choose the path through the world that makes the best use of what you’ve drawn. There may be a significant element of trial-and-error involved, but not to worry: there are many paths to try and several different endings to find. Continue reading
“I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if fifty copies of a book about unicorns with chainsaws for horns had just been dumped on a doorstep somewhere in Hampshire.“
~Obi-Wan Kenobi (who is fictional, and therefore can’t sue me for making up quotes)
Yep, that’s right. This is a thing that exists now. It has been made and cannot be unmade. Continue reading
I’ve been working Draw Nine lately – this game was my entry for IntroComp last year – and am now ready to share my first draft. Originally this was just a perk for subscribers to my newsletter, but I figure they’ve had long enough to take a look so I’m opening it up to everyone!
You can play the game by following this link and clicking “Download (356KB).” The HTML file will run in your web browser with no problems at all.
The story is complete but I’m open to making changes. I may also tweak the way certain elements of the game function, just for balance, but I’ll hold off until I’ve heard what people make of its current incarnation. I’m also planning to add a considerable level of visual flair – I’ve already got some great artwork from Joe Wright – but it seems prudent to tackle the actual content of the game first which is why you’re stuck with plain black text for now.
Play it, (hopefully!) enjoy it, and let me know what you think! You can comment on this post without needing an account or even an email address.
More specifically, a live reading of Girth Loinhammer’s Most Exponential Adventure will be taking place as part of the brand new EGX Rezzed Fringe Theatre. For anybody unfamiliar with the story, it’s a massively interactive fantasy parody that plays out sort of like a Fighting Fantasy gamebook, but typically involves much, much more booze. I’ll read a chunk out loud (probably with funny voices – it gets hard to tell who’s who otherwise), announce the options available to the audience, and then whichever one gets the loudest cheer decides how the story will continue.
This is essentially what I’ve been doing at open mics for the past couple of years, but instead of taking place in a dingy pub somewhere, it’ll be at London’s largest games event.
If you’d like to come and get involved, Exponential Adventure will be running Thursday 4th of April at 2pm, and go on for about 45 minutes. This should allow time for at least three readings, but could stretch to as many as four or five depending on how things go on the day. We’ll be on the ground floor of the Tobacco Dock, which is probably the second most dungeon-y venue I’ve ever had for this.
Tickets are very reasonably priced for an event of this size. If you’re already near London, twenty quid gets you in all day Thursday which will let you see my show and still have a go at plenty of games. If you’re coming from farther afield, a Super Pass for the full three days is just £44.
Also, not to pile on the pressure or anything, but if nobody turns up then I will literally be standing on stage doing nothing because interactive fiction does not work without an audience. So please do share this around!
Twine offers several handy options when it comes to displaying text in particular ways. From straightforward bold or italics to more eye-catching animated effects, there are a whole range of features built right in and this tutorial will show you how to use them.
The following techniques are all very simple, but if you’ve never used Twine before then you might like to start off with this tutorial which offers a very basic introduction to it. You might also be interested in my tutorial covering how to colour text in Twine, which this one will also touch upon.
Much of this tutorial is so simple that you could probably get the hang of it simply by reading through the example piece, Snazzy Susan and the Majestic Markup. However, the tutorial below will go into slightly more detail as well as linking to other guides and resources, so if you find that you’re struggling with anything then do pop back. Continue reading
Colouring text in Twine is incredibly simple, but also incredibly useful. If you’re dealing with important information – whether that’s a particularly significant word or phrase, or a stat the player must recognise at a glance – then it helps to format it in some way that immediately sets it apart from the rest of the text on screen.
If you’re unfamiliar with Twine, you might like to familiarise yourself with it using this tutorial which will get you started in just four clicks – and possibly take a glance at some of the others in the series – but many of the following techniques will be very straightforward. If all you want to do is change the colour of specific bits of text in Twine, this tutorial will help you do just that.
In fact, this tutorial is so simple that you can probably just glance through the example story, Snazzy Susan and the Majestic Markup, which will contain most of the following information (as well as a few examples of how to style text in other ways). This post will only go into marginally more detail, but will also link to some handy external resources so do pop back if you get stuck. Continue reading
If you want to make your Twine games more interesting, there are few easier ways to do that than the (live:) macro. This thing can do as little as shuffle your random text from time to time, or as much as introduce completely new mechanics into your game. This tutorial will borrow a few ideas from others in the series, but honestly – if all you want to do is make your games a little more dynamic – it shouldn’t be too hard to follow on its own. Here are a few different methods of using (live:) to do interesting things:
Method Zero: What (live:) Actually Does
This macro behaves a little differently to (if:), (else:), (either:), etc. so I think it’s worth taking a moment just to introduce it. If you open up Twine 2 and type in (live:)[Here’s some text I want to appear live.], this is what you’ll see when you run the game:
At a glance, it’ll appear that nothing’s going on. However, what’s actually happening is that the (live:) macro is constantly refreshing that text. You just can’t tell because refreshing the text doesn’t actually do anything. It looks the same every time it shows up, so it doesn’t really matter whether it’s being re-displayed a thousand times a second or it’s displayed once and just stays there. However, the fact that this doesn’t draw attention to itself can actually be pretty useful, as you’ll see in the next step. Continue reading
I figured I’d get my 2018 flash fiction anthology out while it was still 2018. Blunderball is now available on Smashwords for $0.99 and should soon appear at other non-Amazon retailers. I’ll aim to get it on Amazon as well before too long, but until then Smashwords also has a Kindle version available so if that’s your device of choice then I recommend getting it there. It isn’t hard to do. A paperback version is in the works as well.
If you’ve read any of these (or a significant number of the individual stories that make up Blunderball), please do consider leaving a review at your retailer of choice (or Goodreads). It makes such a difference.
This is quite a different sort of game to the things I’ve made with Twine. It’s a parser-based text adventure, meaning that instead of simply clicking links you must control it by typing things like “go north,” “take key,” and “hit shoggoth with inflatable novelty hammer.” I’ve got no idea if that last one is ever an option in the game. I’ve got no idea what’s in the game at all beyond the one room I designed, to be honest. It might be terrible! The opening text suggests that it is (and that that’s part of the fun).
It also offers quite a list of objectionable content that appears in the game, so maybe not one for the squeamish. It is cosmic horror after all!