Portfolio

rome_cover_portrait

It’s the eight hundred and twenty first year of the city of Rome, a year of bad omens and unrest. The Emperor is bloodthirsty and watches keenly for anyone who might be trying to overthrow him. The grain dole is running out and the people are going hungry. Romans are beginning to put their faith in foreign cults, as their old gods seem indifferent.

In this dangerous environment, Marcus is concerned with two things: his poetry, and keeping his patron Artus happy. But when Artus sends him to ask a secret question of an oracle, Marcus is forced to get involved, with conspiracies, politics, and a woman he is trying to forget.

Blood & Laurels is playable on the iPad. It was written with the Versu engine, developed with Richard Evans. Versu provides dynamic character behavior and dialogue. Art for Blood & Laurels by Adam Murphy.

Play time: 2-3 hours to complete both chapters once
Game/story style: choice-based story
Difficulty: moderate


Cover art for Counterfeit Monkey

Anglophone Atlantis has been an independent nation since an April day in 1822, when a well-aimed shot from their depluralizing cannon reduced the British colonizing fleet to one ship.

Since then, Atlantis has been the world’s greatest center for linguistic manipulation, designing letter inserters, word synthesizers, the diminutive affixer, and a host of other tools for converting one thing to another. Inventors worldwide pay heavily for that technology, which is where a smuggler and industrial espionage agent such as yourself can really clean up.

Unfortunately, the Bureau of Orthography has taken a serious interest in your activities lately. Your face has been recorded and your cover is blown.

Your remaining assets: about eight more hours of a national holiday that’s spreading the police thin; the most inconvenient damn disguise you’ve ever worn in your life; and one full-alphabet letter remover.

Good luck getting off the island.

Counterfeit Monkey won five 2012 XYZZY awards including Best Implementation, Best Individual PC, Best Puzzles, Best Setting, and Best Game; and received a 9.4 from GameTrailers.com. It has been described as “like Portal for English” (JP LeBreton).

Play time: eight+ hours for a single runthrough
Game/story style: extremely puzzly
Difficulty: moderate

Source code: Available
Website: Feelies and download
Walkthrough: Not available
Online version: Not available; that is, you could try with Quixe, but it would go very slowly
CD version: Not available
Download File: See website for details
License:
Creative Commons License


This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.


“It is dangerous to deceive a husband of magic-using rank…

Juliette has been banished for the summer to a village above Grenoble: a few Alpine houses, a deep lake, blue sky, and no society.

Now she writes daily to her husband. She tells how she went for a walk and ended thigh-deep in mud, how the draft comes in around the window, how extravagantly she has spent on new gloves, how she misses Paris.”

First Draft of the Revolution is an interactive epistolary novel set in an alternate version of the French Revolution. Liza Daly commissioned the piece and created the code base to support the interactive letter-writing concept; inkle worked on the graphical design and packaging.

First Draft of the Revolution won a 2012 XYZZY Award for Best Use of Innovation, and was nominated for Best Story.

Length: Novella
Game/story style: interactive epistolary
Difficulty: low

Source code: Here.
Website: Here.
Walkthrough: Not available.
Online version: Here.
CD version: No
Download File: Available as an epub.
License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 3.0) license.


stickerphoto

The verdant duchy of San Tilapia once bordered Ruritania in eastern Europe, but it has long since been annexed to larger nations.

For some decades after its annexation, the evidence of its culture was housed in the People’s Museum of Tilapian Decadence, but in time even the museum was razed. The diagrams of its hereditary folk dances, burned. The duchess’ wedding porcelain, smashed.

Scholars in San Tilapian Studies must now make do with fragmentary attestations in letters, diaries, and newspaper reports describing the items that the museum once contained.

But all is not lost! You’re a disciplined and exacting young scholar with tenure to earn. It’s time to piece together the museum’s collection.

San Tilapian Studies is a casual narrative game played live with a group of 20+ people.

To my knowledge, a variant of San Tilapian Studies has been played with at least three groups aside from the guests at the party for which I created it. The rules and a description of the play experience can be found here. Please feel free to borrow and adapt the rules if you would like to play yourself.


Sooner or later, you’re going to lose. Only one person wins the National Spelling Bee each year, so an elementary understanding of the odds means it almost certainly won’t be you. The only question is when you fail, and why.

Bee is a story about the story of a home-schooled girl preparing to compete in the national spelling bee, dealing with various small crises with family and friends, and gradually coming to terms with the clash of subcultures involved in belonging to a family like hers.

Bee was nominated for 2012 XYZZY Awards for Best Writing and Best Game.

Length: Roughly 45K words
Game/story style: choice-based story
Difficulty: low

Source code: Not available.
Website: Hosted by Varytale.
Walkthrough: Not available.
Online version: Hosted by Varytale.
CD version: No
Download File: No
License: All rights reserved.


Cover

The Queen has told you to return with her heart in a box. Snow White has made you promise to make other arrangements. Now that you’re alone in the forest, it’s hard to know which of the two women to trust. The Queen is certainly a witch — but her stepdaughter may be something even more horrible…

There are some eighteen possible endings to this fairy tale.

Some of them are even almost happy.

Alabaster is a collaborative work by John Cater, Rob Dubbin, Eric Eve, Elizabeth Heller, Jayzee, Kazuki Mishima, Sarah Morayati, Mark Musante, Emily Short, Adam Thornton, & Ziv Wities, and illustrated by Daniel Allington-Krzysztofiak.

Play time: five to fifteen minutes, replayable
Game/story style: conversation
Difficulty: low

Source code: Available.
Website: Available.
Walkthrough: Available.
Online version: Not currently
CD version: Not currently
Download File: Available

License:
Creative Commons License


This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.


Bronze cover

When the seventh day comes and it is time for you to return to the castle in the forest, your sisters cling to your sleeves.

‘Don’t go back,’ they say, and ‘When will we ever see you again?’ But you imagine they will find consolation somewhere.

Your father hangs back, silent and moody. He has spent the week as far from you as possible, working until late at night. Now he speaks only to ask whether the Beast treated you ‘properly.’ Since he obviously has his own ideas about what must have taken place over the past few years, you do not reply beyond a shrug.

You breathe more easily once you’re back in the forest, alone.

Bronze is a puzzle-oriented adaptation of Beauty and the Beast with an expansive geography for the inveterate explorer.

Features help for novice players, a detailed adaptive hint system to assist players who get lost, and a number of features to make navigating a large space more pleasant.

Play time: four to six hours
Game/story style: puzzly
Difficulty: moderate

Source code: Available, with design notes
Website: Available, including a manual for novices
Online version: Available
Walkthrough: Available
CD version: Not currently
Download File: Here, though you will also need a Mac, Windows, or Linux interpreter

License:
Creative Commons License


This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.


SF cover

The beautiful life is always damned, they say. As for you, you’ve overexpended yourself: fifteen years of prominence, champagne, carriage rides in the Tuileries, having your name whispered behind manicured hands, getting elegant ladies out of elegant fixes – and you’re in debt. Bound by oath and honor to a pack of scoundrels. Your father, old peasant that he was, could have warned you against their type.

But then, a student of the lavori d’Aracne need never quite go hungry…

Savoir-Faire was nominated for eight XYZZY awards in 2002, and won four, including “Best Game”.

Play time: six to twelve hours
Game/story style: extremely puzzly
Difficulty: high

Source code: Unreleased
Website: Just some online hints and feelies (documents originally distributed in physical form, which provide background information but aren’t required to play the game)
Walkthrough: Available
Online version: Available
CD version: Available free on the Electronic Literature Collection, volume 1
Download File: Here, with a Mac, Windows, or Linux interpreter

License:
Creative Commons License


This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.


Galatea

A conversation with a work of art. “47. Galatea. White Thasos marble. Non-commissioned work by the late Pygmalion of Cyprus. (The artist has since committed suicide.) Originally not an animate. The waking of this piece from its natural state remains unexplained.”

Galatea is my first released foray into interactive fiction. It is a single conversation with a single character, which can end any of a number of ways depending on the player’s decisions. Despite its age, I continue to get strong reactions to it in my email inbox on a fairly regular basis. Some people love it; some people find it annoying or distressing.

Galatea has what I call a multilinear plot: unlike traditional IF, it has no single path to victory. Instead there are a large number of endings, some more satisfactory than others, of which many could be considered “win” states. It takes only a few minutes of play to arrive at an ending, but considerably longer to find all of them.

The game also takes an ambitious approach to NPC (non-player character) conversation, both in terms of volume (Galatea has many hundreds of things to say) and complexity (she keeps track of the state of conversation and reacts differently according to what has already been said and done).

Play time: approximately ten minutes, but replayable
Game/story style: conversational
Difficulty: low

Source code: Unreleased
Website: None.
Walkthroughs: Currently offline (may be reformatted and reposted)
Online version: Available
CD version: Available free on the Electronic Literature Collection, volume 1
Download File: Here, with a Mac, Windows, or Linux interpreter

License:
Creative Commons License


This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.


Other work
I have written a number of other interactive fiction games. Almost all are available for download (and some for online play) through the Interactive Fiction Database. Those not listed on this page are not supported, which means that, though I did my best to finish and polish them, it is unlikely that I will release any more new versions to resolve bugs that may be found in the future.blah