Archive for the ‘Blogs’ Category

Inspiration and Gone Home

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Some games feel inspirational. They do something so different or clever or well-crafted that they make you want to learn from them, to use the same techniques in your own work. Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are big examples: they helped inspire everything from Knytt (still one of my favorites) to, surely, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Half-Life did this for the entire medium, to the extent that we are still feeling the meager aftershocks every time we watch a scripted game event while we wait for an NPC to open a door.

Gone Home gives me that itching sensation of inspiration. I want to make a game like this, one that depends on exploration and exacting observation. One that feels calm but also ominous. One that explores themes like love and family, however sentimentally. Unfortunately, the game is singular enough that I have trouble imagining an inspired work that isn’t hopelessly derivative.

What Is Ossuary?

Friday, November 29th, 2013

On Wednesday, Future Proof Games released our first game for money, Ossuary. We’ve started getting cool attention from cool people, but something that I’m reading a lot is that people aren’t quite sure what to make of it. What exactly is Ossuary?

Personally, I think part of the experience of the game is finding that out, but in the interest of letting people know what they’re paying for, here are some more details about Ossuary.

Ossuary Coming November 27

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Melissa Avery-Weir and I have created a company called Future Proof Games, and we’re almost ready to release our first commercial game, Ossuary.

We’ve decided on a release date: November 27th, this Wednesday. Ossuary will be available for $5, with the ability for you to pay more for it if you’d like!

For more information, you can:

Ossuary Trailer

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Not long now…

Click on the image above to see a trailer for Future Proof Games’s upcoming project: Ossuary.

CyclingLinks in Twine SugarCube

Monday, November 18th, 2013

@Commissar64 requested the source to my recent Twine game “The Whispering Thing.” We’ll do that sometime soon, but for now I can easily share the modifications to the CyclingLink macro necessary to make it work with the Sugarcube header without creating JS errors.

The code follows. It’s basically just a modification to how the anchor element is created. I can’t guarantee that this will do everything you want it to, as it’s a bit hacky.


Games Are Better Than Life

Friday, June 21st, 2013

I’ve been sorting through my inbox lately in pursuit of the elusive zero. As I’ve done so I’ve come across some disheartening things: business opportunities I missed or let languish, messages from people who played my games whom I never responded to, and personal communications that (with hindsight) I would have handled differently or continued longer.

At the same time, I’ve been playing Assassin’s Creed II (which I put off for a long time due to the awful DRM, now improved). Its sidequests have grown tedious, so I’ve been soldiering through the game just to complete the plot, despite the fact that the story would be a disappointment even if I got it in a 25-cent used-book-store paperback.

So much of my real-life time is taken up with things that don’t leave me with anything lasting, while things that are actually important have languished. What does it mean when I can focus on the important part of a game, but I let life’s sidequests distract me from the central plot?

It means that games are better than life.

Stated Goals

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Anna Anthropy posted a list of her games’ goals in response to a challenge by Andi “Jumpman” McClure. Seemed like something worth doing for my own games. So below are the stated player character or plot goals in my games. I’m not including LORE, since goals depend entirely on the individual group playing it.

Available for Contract and Commission

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Hi! My work on Ossuary is wrapping up, and I’m currently in a planning and evaluation mode. It’s a good time to announce my availability for contract and commission work! If you’re interested in hiring me, contact me at

Writing and Design Contractor

Do you have a digital game in development with fun mechanics but want a story to go along with it? Is your core gameplay solid but you’re struggling to create interesting puzzles, challenges, and situations? Do you just need some help producing enough content to complete your game? You can hire a writer and designer with an established record and experience doing game design, puzzle design, and critically-acclaimed game writing. I’m also experienced in programming and have a decent understanding of visual art, so I can communicate well with the rest of your team.

My portfolio includes interesting, tricky puzzles, mental challenges integrated with strong story, and pure environmental storytelling. Upon request, I can show you a complete but unreleased dialogue-based adventure game or testimonials from previous contract employers.

Bespoke Commissions

Do you want a digital game for a special event, to promote a cause, or on a certain topic? Do you want someone who can provide a strong creative vision? Do you value meaning, narrative, and aesthetic choices instead of the flashiest technology? You can commission a custom game from me. I’m happy to work with you to determine the scope, design, and costs that are appropriate to your requirements.

For an example of my work, see “Passing the Ball,” commissioned by the organizers of the GDC Online professional convention to promote the charity WebWiseKids.

Mod Commissions

Do you like one of my games? Would you like to see a game a lot like it? I can modify an existing game of mine with new content or replace elements of the game with something of your choosing. I’m not selling my creative soul here; I’m happy to work with you to make a modified version that satisfies my standards. This option is likely to be a lot cheaper than a fully custom commission!

Because of my obligations to my sponsors, some distribution options may be unavailable for certain modifications. At the very least I’ll be able to make a downloadable version of your mod that can be played offline. We’ll discuss pricing based on distribution options and the degree of the changes you want made.

How to Contact Me

If you want to hire me, please e-mail me at You’re welcome to discuss this post in the comments, but I’d prefer to discuss any actual projects in private!

Ossuary: Long Screenshot Saturday

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

Welcome to the Academy! This is where the members of the Hemlock Fellowship practice the virtue of Prudence. Prudence is all about knowing enough about the world to properly judge between right and wrong. The Academy is on the cutting edge of understanding morality. Our Academy has proved through research and study that the moral precepts passed down by our forebearers are held up by cold scientific fact! Isn’t that impressive?

Ossuary is in testing. Soon you will become trapped in the place of bones.
Captured with FRAPS. Edited with Blender.

ConTeXt: an alternative to LaTeX

Friday, November 9th, 2012

I’m working on a full release of my tabletop roleplaying game LORE, which I released as a beta in 2009. The game will be extensively updated with clarifications, rebalancing, enhancements, and a far-better “conflict” system that provides a unified rule set for combats, debates, and other interesting situations. There’s one problem with the LORE beta that’s more visible than any of these.

The LORE beta is ugly.

I laid it out in, which is a word processor, not a document layout application. There’s a standard solution for the terminally technical author who wants to produce beautiful documents: LaTeX, hereafter referred to as “Latex.” Unfortunately, as great as Latex is at providing low-effort, decent layout for things like academic articles, it’s really awkward and frustrating if you need to do the kind of complex page layouts that a roleplaying sourcebook demands.

My alternative? ConTeXt. Or, for my sanity, “Context.” Context is based on TeX like Latex is, but it’s focused more on general purpose typography and page layout than Latex, which mostly tries to keep those concerns out of the user’s way. Despite its frustratingly limited documentation, Context has proved far better-suited to my project. I’ll explain in more detail below.