Some stuff I’m currently working on

Almost precisely one year ago, I finished writing Swan Hill, the Twine game I am most proud of creating.

I am currently working on two different stories set in the same low-key fantasy universe. One, currently titled “Witch Stuff,” I hope to finish in time for the IF Comp, though this is unlikely. The other, provisionally named “Six Months,” will be extremely long, and is a direct sequel to Swan Hill– but featuring completely different characters. I’ve currently written about a fifth of it. My ultimate goal is to distribute all three of these stories as a pack on itch.io for 0+ dollars.

Really, though, my ultimate goal in life is to create fantasy and sci-fi writing so low-key and melancholy that only whales can hear it. I adore humor writing and a lot of my stuff is pretty manic, but when I sit down and choose what projects I really truly care about, those projects are always sad and quiet. The world in which I set Swan Hill is pretty much just Sad Wizard Town, USA. Get ready for some sad fucking wizards! Sadder than you’ve ever seen before!!

I’m also trying some new stuff with these stories. While choices in Swan HIll were based entirely on a handful of booleans, both Witch Stuff and Six Months feature stats-tracking as the main means of controlling choice in the game.

I’m also taking some risks with story structure and text-change mechanics. Witch Stuff uses a mechanic which I’ve never seen used in a Twine game before. I wish I could show it to you, but that would disqualify me from the IF Comp. Hooray! (Not hooray. Not a huge fan of their competition rules, tbh.)

On the other hand, the thing I’m currently testing with Six Months is that I’m making all the stats reflect people’s opinions about you, rather than innate things about you as a person. It’s always bothered me that RPGs assign morality stats to a person and then use these stats to restrict your options. Humans are crazy; they can change their minds at any point, contradict themselves– whatever. If you’re gonna use stats, you might as well use them to track what people think about you or what’s going on in the world around you– stuff that really does represent the cumulative effect of your behavior. Currently, there are two major stats in Six Months. One controls a child’s opinion of you; the other controls a king’s.

Hopefully, in about six months, I’ll be ready to start thinking about hiring an illustrator to draw up three cover images for these stories. Until then, it’s nose-to-the-grindstone– which will be hard, because I’m simultaneously working on an additional story-game for a completely different platform. And also I have my day job to worry about.

Whatever. It’ll be fun.


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