Friday, October 24, 2014

GeekGirlCon 2014 Panel Discussion #3: If You Can Write, You Can Make Games

(GGC Logo)
Text adventures, or interacive fiction "...are one of the oldest types of computer games..." that are still being played. 
Jacqueline Ashwell's one-woman panel discussion during GeekGirlCon demonstrated that (and borrowing from her title) "if you can write, you can make games."
(Image:  Jacqueline Ashwell)
This is thanks, in a large part, to programming languages becoming more accessible.

Are you going to concoct an AAA+ game single-handedly?

No, because the "Gold Standard" studios have multiple teams writing code for their games.

But you can write a computer/text version of Choose Your Own Adventure.  You can find thousands of such games on Interactive Fiction Database

One of the simplest programs is Twine.  Since we only had 50 minutes, Jacqueline presented a short Twine game she created for her GGC, Walk in the Park. 

For more detailed instructions on creating a Twine game, see Auntie Pixelante

Other "Twine-like" code languages are available, such as:  Inkle, Choice Script and Lindum.  Then there's languages like:  Adrift, Quest, Hugo and JADS.

While these games are narrative in nature, as you become more skilled, you can incorporate images and music.  However, with Twine at least, players can't save their games.

If you're wondering who will play your game, that depends on how thoroughly its been beta tested.


--Plan more time than you originally thought you'd need to develop the game.
--Try to cover all the choices a player could make.
--Get friends to check it out.

Some additional resources available that can help get you started or improve your game:

Jacqueline Ashwell's website

The Interactive Fiction Forum

You can even enter your game in any of these contests:


The Interactive Fiction Competition

Spring Thing

The XYZZY Awards

and Shuffle Comp

Good luck!

(Image by Robinson Wheeler)

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