Wally S is a game developer, author, artist, and cosplayer who has written such Twine games as The Leggy Blond and Your Merman Boyfriend. Wally recently made their GaymerX East speaking debut with the presentation “The Great Chasm of Nonbinary Content and How We Can Fill It“, examining not only how far LGBT representation has come in video game narratives, but how much further there is still to go for nonbinary characters, whether gender is even necessary in games, and how our existing stereotypes and tropes can be useful for creating non-traditional characters.
The Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation (IFTF) is a new non-profit charged with supporting the tools, infrastructure, and legal needs of the interactive fiction community. Also known as text adventures, interactive fiction is one of digital entertainment’s oldest storytelling media, and one that is enjoying a renewed interest, thanks to the annual competition IFComp and the IF Archive database, both of which the IFTF now supports.
In this week’s episode, I speak with Chris Klimas, co-founder and co-director of the IFTF and also the creator of Twine, a popular IF game engine. We discussed the changes IFTF brings to the gaming landscape; how IF can be made more accessible; how mobile computing has brought new gamers to IF; biases against IF and other computationally non-complex media; whether Twine is exclusively a teaching tool akin to LOGO or Scratch, or if it’s a full-fledged language; and if mainstream games are just now catching up to IF in narrative design.
Carolyn VanEseltine is an accomplished game designer and developer, having worked at such studios as Harmonix and Giant Spacekat. Her recent presentation at Google, "Everyone can make games now", underscores her belief that the freedom to make games is a basic human right, and that games should open and accessible to all as a medium of artistic expression.
But what does it mean to be a game designer? Does one need to know how to program, or is that the province of game developers? Do the interactive fiction made possible by game engines such as Twine and Inform qualify as games? What basic skills should a participant in the upcoming Global Game Jam or Ludum Dare events have? In this podcast interview, Carolyn and Ken discuss these topics and more.