(Product page)

At first glance, the brilliantine, frigid planetoid of Orbis Aurea is hardly the most verdant environment in the Aethera system. Observant visitors would be forgiven for thinking that radioactive glaciers, living flux-giant-constructs, and a distinct lack of sunlight would make for a world not just barren but actively harmful to life — and any botanical interest in it.

But of course, life finds a way.

However, to find most of Orbis Aurea’s non-sentient examples of life, one must quite literally dig a little deeper. Therein, one can find dazzling, subterranean myco-forests, bio-luminescent mosses…

Or: How to Stop Worrying and Love the Craft

It’s easy to feel like an impostor. But why? Perhaps it’s because you idolise your current or soon-to-be peers, and have therefore let the light of their accomplishments bleach out the marks made by their own failures, insecurities and missteps. Perhaps, or also, it’s because you do not hold your own ability or worth over, or near enough whatever arbitrary height you have placed the bar of the challenge that confronts you.

Whatever the reason, whatever the details, you have a peculiar feeling that you are somehow about to be found…

This is a collaborative summary of the most common, and/or best tools you can use to write or otherwise design your game narrative. Should be fairly self explanatory — and we will update it every so often to reflect new changes/updates/challengers, etc!

Either browse through or use the below list to cntrl/command-F to find or tab through the tools that seem relevant to you — and make sure to check the constantly updated ‘Further Reading’ section at the very end, for other resources such as talks and articles on game/narrative design tools.

Writing focused/word processing:

  1. Scrivener
  2. Ink
  3. Excel/Google sheets


Jon Ingold is the co-founder of independent studio inkle (www.inklestudios.com), and co-designer of ink, alongside Joseph Humfrey. Jon wrote inkle’s games Heaven’s Vault, Steve Jackson’s Sorcery!, and co-wrote 80 Days with Meg Jayanth.
This article was originally published in Wireframe magazine.

Weaving branching narratives in ink: a beginner’s guide

Ink is the open-source narrative scripting language behind inkle’s massively-branching narrative games 80 Days and Heaven’s Vault. It’s free to use, and good for writing stories with lots and lots of choice. Here’s how to get started.

What is ink?

Ink is scripting language a bit different from other narrative engines. It’s not graph-based like Twine; there are no nodes and boxes…

Hello, and welcome to the Game Writing Guide.

This publication exists to aid both new writers and developers — whom for whatever reason can’t work with a professional writer — get the basics right, and improve their storytelling skills.

This guide makes no attempt to be objective or definitive. We, the writers, do not want to be gatekeepers or arbiters of taste — and as such you, the reader, must always remember three golden rules:

  1. There is no one-size-fits-all for writing/storytelling advice or tool recommendations.
  2. Each article is expressly anecdotal and utterly subjective.
  3. All rules are meant to be broken…

By Jon Ingold

Heaven’s Vault is a game built on three pillars — exploration, translation and conversation. The player explores the ancient ruins of the Nebula — they find inscriptions in the script of the Ancients to translate — and then finally, they return to one of the hub moons in the game to share their findings with other characters, in the hope of furthering the game’s main storylines.

The mechanics of the first two pillars are fairly standard. Exploration uses principles of open level design, and translation is essentially puzzle mechanic.

But what about conversation? In a lot of…

Mobile games. Just take a second to recognise the preconceptions and bias that phrase has conjured in you. I’m not here to tell you that you’re mistaken — there is more than enough rough in which to dig for diamonds. This post however is the first in a series designed to highlight the most innovative mobile games and the studios behind them; games that are great in isolation and/or because of being playable on mobiles, not despite it.

Rayark International is a Taiwanese developer, focusing on beautiful experiences whose gameplay often incorporates narrative in some kind of innovative structure. …

This is a modified form of the text I wrote for my friend, the writer Greg Buchanan’s newsletter.

In general, I try and follow a rather classical approach to writing. That is, to be truthful and concise. And the truths I’m usually drawn to are ones about human experience. Don’t we all dream, fantasise or panic about The Other, about escaping the physical confines of our bodies and the rational confines of our minds?

The chance to write about, or around the supernatural then, is a gift. Going beyond what is natural is a chance to contrast human truths with…

How to get and stay fit for ~30 minutes, £0 per day from your own room.

Keeping fit while freelancing and/or working from home is essential, for body and mind. And it’s within reach.

People like us — game devs, artists, parents, whomever you are — often lead sedentary, unstructured lifestyles. It’s a double edged sword, because while it’s nice not to be trapped in an office, it can be hard to leave YSBW (You Should Be Working syndrome) at the door, and that means it’s harder still to actually leave the room.

This is the tl;dr.

Over 10 years, I think I’ve developed a natural-movement/bodyweight solution that could benefit anyone. I’ve trained in Tae Kwon Do, Muay Thai (including…

Not the storytelling, not the business, not the language, and we need to wise up, fast.

Just as cinema trod carefully on the coat-tails of theatre, videogames and their commentators still often employ the language and the design paradigms of film. Or worse, they are compared to film, or worse still, they are placed in competition.

And it’s becoming increasingly apparent that such language is not only misleading but actively stultifying for our games and industry.

This is the sort of thing I wrote entire dissertations on for my film & literature degree many moons ago, but a wildly simplified potted history: all creative mediums are judged skeptically upon their inception, and it’s not until the…


Writer/narrative designer: Multiple Game Projects • Host a podcast on SFF writers & writing: uncaringuniverse.com • zen life.

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