I’ve always wanted to make games. I’m fascinated with game design, and I love games as a way to tell stories. I’ve tried my hand at board games and roleplaying games, and I think I’m getting better (though I obviously have a long way to go.)
One of the coolest things I’ve found is Twine, a program/engine for creating and playing text-based games. It’s all CSS/html based and it’s super easy to use, and I highly recommend it for anyone interested in telling interactive narratives.
A few months ago I met with my good friends Christopher DiCicco and Mathew Kabik for a weekend of writing. While they worked on their stories (I think Chris created his gorgeous “Her Heart a Thundering Steed” on that trip) I opened up twine and started writing a game about two knights having a duel.
The game, I think, became a lot more than that, and ended up being “Heirs to Bloody Glory.” It’s a short, small narrative game with only two real paths, but I like to think it packs a lot in a short timeframe. I really like the characters, and it’s the first thing I’ve created that I desperately want fanart for.
The great thing about games is making the mechanics work alongside the story, to complement it and give it more effect and meaning. I wanted to do that with “Heirs,” though the mechanics are largely just formatting and the branching paths. It’s about warrior-slaves and their relationships and fighting without knowing why, and I honestly don’t think the story could be told as well in a traditional format.
Working with Twine was a lot of fun, and there are a lot of features I didn’t toy around with in “Heirs to Bloody Glory.” Next time I want to tackle something longer, include more paths and player choices and include variables, maybe even an inventory. In my mind I can see myself falling down some Wolf in White Van-esque rabbit hole–becoming obsessed with an infinite-options roleplaying game, getting lost creating forever, searching until madness for the Trace Italian…
But honestly, who has the patience for that?