Twine is a tool for making interactive stories. You can download it here for Windows or Mac OSX:\n\n\n\nWhy do I like Twine?\n\nFirst of all, it's free. Second of all, working with it is nothing like programming. And third, it produces HTML files that you can upload to any website.\n\n[[How do I use it?|Tutorial]]
First of all, be sure you're saving (FILE -> SAVE STORY) your story often, in case you make a mistake.\n\nPublishing your story - making a version people can play - is different than saving it. You'll want to click on STORY, then BUILD STORY. Twine will ask you to name the file, then it will open your story in your web browser.\n\nAs with saving, it's a good idea to republish and look at your story often, so you know that it's working. You can click on "rebuild story" and then "view last build" to do this.\n\n[[Wait, how does that verb and object stuff apply here?|Storytelling]]
Here's what we're going to do today.\n\n[[First, I'm going to talk about some basic concepts in game design.|Design]]\n\n[[Then, I'll give an introduction to a game-making tool called Twine that just about anyone can use.|Twine]]\n\n[[Finally, we'll work on some games together.|Jam]]
Twine is made up of a series of passages, like this one. By [[clicking on links,|Tootorial]] the player can make choices and navigate the text.\n\nLike that.\n\nInside Twine, these passages look like a series of boxes, with arrows pointing between them to show story connections, like a flowchart.\n\n[[How do I make them?|Connections]]
We're here to talk about making videogames.\n\n[["But wait!" you think to yourself.|Butt Weight]]
Now we're going to spend about an hour working on games of our own, and I'll hopefully get a chance to talk to you about yours. If not, you can feel free to show your game or work-in-progress to me afterward.\n\nMy email address is COLLECTFRUIT AT GMAIL DOT COM\nand my twitter handle is AUNTIEPIXELANTE\n\n[[So what are we going to be doing for the next hour?|Rules]]
Twine has a few more advanced functions for keeping track of things the player's done, displaying passages within other passages, customizing the appearance of the finished HTML file. I'm not going to explain those now: you don't need them to make a basic game.\n\nIf you want to find out how to do them, you can look at my full Twine tutorial:\n\n\n\nIt explains all the stuff I've already talked about, too.\n\n[[What's next?|Line-Up]]
"Me?" you think. "What do I have to offer videogames?"\n\nIndividuals can offer something that big teams and corporations absolutely cannot: our perspectives. Videogames are trapped in a terrible loop right now. Only a small minority of people are allowed to make videogames - and if you've played mainstream videogames lately, you probably know that they're rarely being made from perspectives that are queer, or non-white, or non-able-bodied, or very old or very young - and the games that get made tend to be very similar, not just for that reason but because marketers stick with what is safe when they're dealing with the amount of money currently invested in the big games industry.\n\n[[Tell me more about perspective.|Perspective]]\n\n[[Tell me more about white guys.|White Guys]]
This is going to be a very non-judgemental exercise: you don't have to use Twine, you can use whatever tools you're comfortable with. But if you aren't familiar with any, Twine is a good, quick starting point.\n\nHere's my one criteria: here's your writing prompt. I want you to make a game about a real human interaction. Like lighting the cigarette of someone you have the hots for, to use an earlier example. Draw from your lived experience. Make it personal when you can.\n\nPick a moment that excited you, alienated you, frustrated you.\n\n[[Here's the start of a game about a recent encounter I had with the TSA, which I'm told you're fortunate enough not to have to deal with in your airports.|TSAdventure]]
A middle-aged woman paces back and forth with TSA epulets on her shoulders, looking at the crowd. You try not to make eye contact. What's she looking for? She doesn't know. TSA employees are untrained, unqualified. Your ex used to work for them, you remember: she said they had no idea what they were doing, like kids in kindergarten.\n\n"This is taking so long, her backpack's grown spikes!" she says. A few people chuckle. She's talking about you.\n\n[[Laugh politely|Laugh]]\n[[Remain silent|Silence]]
Mario's other important verb is the ability to run left or right. Jumping allows the player to move Mario vertically, running (or walking) allows the player to move Mario horizontally.\n\n<html><img src="run.png"></html>\n\n[[These verbs have a relationship.|Choices]]
Objects are the rules that, essentially, complete the verbs' sentences. They develop the verbs, in the sense of character development, by giving them something to do. Mario's most important verb is to jump. Consequently, almost everything in Mario's word has a relationship to jumping.\n\nYou can jump on a monster, jump on a spring, jump into a block from below, jump and grab a flagpole, jump over a pit. And these, again, allow us to develop our story by creating choices for the player.\n\n<html><img src="flag.png"></html>\n\nEven when they're obvious, choices are the fundamental strength of games because they prompt the player to take an active role in the performance of the story.\n\n[[So how do we design around verbs and objects?|Holistic Design]]
The line is long and slow. A queue of people, a long, slow shuffle to have your ID examined, your gender misunderstood, to take off your belt and shoes and stand in an x-ray machine with your arms over your head like there are guns pointed at you.\n\nIt makes you sweat to think about it, and you wonder if your anxiousness makes you more of a target, and then that makes you more anxious. This is where your [[partner|Partner]] usually hugs you and assures you that everything's alright.\n\nA [[TSA goon|Goon]] is standing outside the queue, pacing back and forth with the swagger that I guess you feel is expected of you when you're wearing a uniform.\n\n"This is taking so long, her backpack's grown spikes!" she says. A few people chuckle. She's talking about you.\n\n[[Laugh politely|Laugh]]\n[[Remain silent|Silence]]
There's this concept called the pyramid of privilege. You can only see - and your art be informed by - what's around or above you. You can't write "down the pyramid." And so people at the very top, through no fault of their own (although they do tend to lord it over the rest of us sometimes), are simply unable to bring perspectives from elsewhere into their work.\n\nConsequently, videogames that are informed by a single perspective don't tell us a whole lot about the human experience.\n\n[[Tell me more about perspective.|Perspective]]
"But wait," you think to yourself. "Corporations make videogames, not people."\n\n<html><img src="companies.png"></html>\n\nOf course, I'm misrepresenting you. You don't actually believe this. But perhaps in some way you've subconsciously internalized this popular idea: that games are the product of hundred-person teams, not individuals like you or me.\n\n[["Me?" you think. "What do I have to offer videogames?"|Offer Videogames]]
Okay, now it's your turn! Everyone start working on a game. Remember: a real human interaction. Something personal. Write from your experience.\n\nWe'll work for an hour or so, and I'll try and talk to you about the game you're making. And I'll stick around afterwards, if you'd like to come up and talk.\n\nGO! GO! GO!
I gave the love interest a cigarette, and had her ask for a light. That's something the player has the liberty to provide: she can aim at the cigarette, fire her pistol, and light it, as requested.\n\nThis way, the player is allowed to perform flirtation in the game. She's not shown a movie of her character hitting it off with the love interest.\n\nOf course, she can also aim and shoot at the love interest. Good design accomodates all the options it implies.\n\n[[What's next?|Line-Up]]
These verbs allow the designer to set up choices for the player. For example, getting Mario over a pit requires both Mario's vertical and horizontal verbs to work in harmony. You'll find that as the game goes on, the relationship between these two verbs develops more and more. This is the story, essentially, of Super Mario Bros.\n\n<html><img src="pit.png"></html>\n\n[[What about objects?|Objects]]
Good design chooses those objects that will develop the story that can be told with the verbs the player has been given. The reason so many games resort to interrupting their play with non-playable movies or text dumps is that they want to tell stories that they haven't provided the player with the verbs and objects to tell. Your story and its vocabulary are at odds.\n\nWrite stories that the player can perform using the verbs you've given her. In 2008 I made a wild west quickdraw game called Calamity Annie, which you can hopefully play at Digifest's High Roller cabinet this weekend. The player's verb set in this game is aiming and firing her pistol. I wanted to put a love story into this game.\n\n[[What'd you do?|Calamity Annie]]
She understands. The humiliation of this, that everyone around you seems so content to permit, or at least to put up with. She would reassure you that it's worth it, what's on the other side of this farce. But she's not here with you, this time: she's what's on the other side of this.\n\nA [[TSA goon|Goon]] is standing outside the queue, pacing back and forth with the swagger that I guess you feel is expected of you when you're wearing a uniform.\n\n"This is taking so long, her backpack's grown spikes!" she says. A few people chuckle. She's talking about you.\n\n[[Laugh politely|Laugh]]\n[[Remain silent|Silence]]
You bite your lip, make no sound, say nothing. You want to say something. You always do, to tell them: this is really your job! You want me to take off my shoes, my coat, to stand with my arms over my head, to touch me without my consent, and you have the fucking arrogance to try and make a joke while you do it?\n\nYour partner would touch you and make a joke, a sign that she understood, and this sentiment, passing between the two of you, could be defused safely. But she's not here. Instead you shiver with rage, hoping that your silence hasn't made you a target, mentally willing the line to move forward and take you away from the eyes you suspect may now be fixed upon you.\n\n[[Eventually another guard waves you over to a podium to check your ID.|Get Started]]
To create a new passage, just click the button in the top left that looks like a picture of a box with a little sparkle on it (the sparkle is because it's new). Then give it the name that you wrote into the link. In this case that's "Name of Passage." Remember to get capitalization right.\n\nYou can put as many links as you like in a single passage. [[You|Publishing]] can [[put|Publishing]] a whole [[bunch|Publishing]] of [[them|Publishing]], all linking to different passages. In this way you can make a branching story, like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, or something totally different.\n\n[[How do I publish my story?|Publishing]]
Twine has a natural verb built in: clicking on links. You can decide what clicking on links means in your story: links can be actions the player takes, directions she moves on a map, words she says to other parties, interesting objects she wants to examine.\n\nThey can be whichever of these things make sense. I wrote a Twine game once that was played entirely by clicking YES or NO at the end of each passage. Consistency is important. So is playfulness.\n\n[[Is that it for Twine?|More Twine Help]]
Writing in Twine is as simple as typing a story. A passage is just text: the passage labelled "Start" is the first one the player will see. You can create connections between passages - links the player can click on to move to another passage - by typing something like this:\n\n<html>[[I am a link!|Name of Passage]]</html>\n\nTwo square brackets on either side, line in the middle. The line is located above your backslash, usually near the ENTER key on your keyboard. The text on the left side of the line is what the player sees, the text on the right is the name of the passage it links to.\n\nThe link above will look like this in the finished game:\n\n[[I am a link!|Name of Passage]]
Verbs are rules that allow the player liberty to interact with the other rules of the game: they're the things that the player can make characters in the game do, usually.\n\n<html><img src="jump.png"></html>\n\nFor example, in Super Mario Bros., Mario's most important verb is "jump." Push the button, Mario jumps.\n\n[[That's not all, though.|More Verbs]]
I'm going to talk about the way I conceptualize game design in my own work. Since what I'm interested in are personal stories, I think about the elements of games as the elements of stories.\n\nGames are made up of rules: you're "out" if the player who's IT touches you in a game of tag, for example. I seperate the important rules of games into two categories: "verbs" and "objects."\n\n[[Verbs first.|Verbs]]
As people operating outside the machinations of the industry - who aren't beholden to marketers, and who may not be entrenched in the tropes and expectations of the industry at all - we can create videogames from perspectives that aren't being seen or explored in mainstream videogames at all. Writing from our personal perspectives, we can broaden the scope of what videogames - a powerful, expressive art form - encompass.\n\n[[The line-up.|Line-Up]]
You force yourself to chuckle, in the hope that it will keep her from lingering, will make her eyes pass from you. She got your gender right, at least. Encounters with authority are a little less terrifying when they start by calling you a woman instead of a man.\n\nThe feeling of self-disgust at humoring someone whose job is to make you less free passes in a moment. The line, however, remains slow. You spend nervous minutes wondering if she's going to make another crack.\n\n[[Eventually another guard waves you over to a podium to check your ID.|Get Started]]
anna anthropy
Twine is made up of a series of passages, like this one. By [[clicking on links,|Tootorial]] the player can make choices and navigate the text.