Solo Work

Projects listed here are interactive fiction works I created alone or as a lead author.

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.


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.


Floatpoint cover

It is night on this side of the planet. Settled areas are lit: a jagged crescent in the tropics, lining the inland sea. The bright splatter along the top of the curve is Tanhua, as bright from space as New York. The north continent is darker, sprinkled finely with small lights, where the failing climate makes it hard to survive a winter. And the northernmost point, almost lost on the slope of Mt. Cordia, is the original Aleheart Colony…

Floatpoint is a science fiction story in which the player must decide the best diplomatic outcome for Earth and its lost colony. It took first place in the 2006 IF Competition and received XYZZY awards for Best Setting and Best NPCs of 2006.

Play time: roughly two hours
Game/story style: exploration and light puzzles
Difficulty: low

Source code: Unreleased
Website: None
Walkthrough: Available
Online version: Not currently
CD version: Not currently
Download File: Here, though you will also need a Mac, Windows, or Linux Glulx interpreter (note that for Windows and Linux this is a different interpreter than the ones needed to play other games on this page)

License:
Creative Commons License


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


Glass cover

The Prince sits awkwardly on the couch, holding his glass slipper and trying to keep it from crushing. Lucinda and Theodora have the ends of the same couch, and they are taking turns seeing who can bend lowest and show off the most cleavage; while the old lady, in her wing chair, carries on about nonsense…

Glass is a conversation-oriented fairy tale, taking place in one room. It is likely to take only a few minutes to play once, but can be played several times to different endings.

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

Source code: Available, with design notes
Website: Available
Walkthrough: Available
Online version: Available
CD version: Not currently
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.


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.


Damnatio Memoriae cover

14 AD. Agrippa Postumus, grandson of the recently-deceased Augustus, tries to avoid death at the hands of the next emperor, Tiberius. At his disposal: a couple of old manuscripts, a lamp, and a recalcitrant slave. And a powerful knowledge of the Art of Venus Genetrix, of course — the magic eventually known as the Lavori d’Aracne.

Damnatio Memoriae belongs to a series with the author’s previous game Savoir-Faire; though it can stand alone, the game’s mechanics will make most sense to players already familiar with that work.

It is a fast, timed game, taking only a few minutes to play once, but probably requiring multiple attempts to bring to a satisfactory conclusion.

Play time: five to ten minutes, but expect to replay to solve
Game/story style: some of each
Difficulty: low to moderate

Source code: Available, with design notes
Website: Available
Walkthrough: Available
Online version: Available
CD version: Not currently
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.


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 also written a number of other 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