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A World from Words: Highly Interactive Stories with Text
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A World from Words: Highly Interactive Stories with Text
Jon Ingold | Creative Director, inkle

Location: Congress Saal 3
Date: Tuesday, August 20
Time: 9:30-9:55
Track: Independent Games Summit
Format: Session
Vault Recording: Video

inkle's recent iOS release, Steve Jackson's Sorcery!, is a text-based game that tells a story and provides player choices entirely through words - using minimal art and no animation or cut-scenes. Despite this, it achieved 85%+ reviews on IGN, Kotaku and elsewhere, and reached the top 20 all-app iPad chart in both the US and the UK. Creating a commercial success in a genre usually perceived as either too retro or else too avant-garde for the mainstream required a tight focus on the strengths of working with text: versatility, modularity, fast iteration and expressiveness. Using examples from Sorcery!'s script, we will demonstrate how we built a game with two people in six months that has several thousand meaningful story-choices and no canned sequences.

Takeaways will include the practical advantages of textual storytelling and textual game input, colouring narrative vs. changing narrative - strategies for managing a game story with thousands of player choices, and a walk-through of the procedural generation used in Sorcery! to narrate some game combat on-the-fly.

Intended Audience
This talk is intended for designers and narrative designers interested in text, and more broadly, those exploring the cost and benefits of working with branching narrative of any kind. No learning is assumed.

Jon Ingold | Creative Director, inkle
Jon Ingold is the co-founder of inkle, a software and design company with a focus on interactive storytelling. In two years, inkle has had two apps featured by Apple both on banners and the front page. Their upcoming adaptation of the Sorcery! gamebook series has had enthusiastic previews calling it a 'new kind of interactive fiction'.Their web-tool, inklewriter, is widely used in schools and by indie development teams for creating branching narrative, and is being used to author content for Stoic Studios' The Banner Saga. They've worked with Penguin, the BBC, Profile Books, English National Opera, Steve Jackson, Ian Livingstone, among others. Before founding inkle, Ingold was a lead designer for Playstation, and the award-winning author of over a dozen parser-based interactive fiction games. He has spoken at PAX East, the London Book Fair, Sheffield Literary Festival and Adventure X, and has published short fiction.

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