Wednesday, July 28, 2021

GAMEBOOK ACADEMY _____ Meet Donald Conrad and Peter M.J. Gross of Bitterly Indifferent Studios, their awesome Twine interactive fiction Project Arcmör won accolades at the 2021 Spring Thing Festival of Interactive Fiction recently and their prize was two copies of our Toy Mystery: The Secret of the Chatter Blocks gamebook, featuring them here because they are so cool

NOTE: This is part of a series that explains how to create your own simple gamebooks. More articles here.

Donald (left) and Peter (right)
 
Please introduce yourselves!
Donald — Hi, I’m Donald Conrad I’m the lead artist at Bitterly Indifferent Studios.
Peter — And I’m Peter M.J. Gross, the narrative design lead at Bitterly Indifferent Studios.

Tell us about your Project Arcmör interactive fiction.
Peter — It’s a story where you wake up on a spaceship and have to find out what happened. We’d never created an entire game in such a short period of time (three months). We had already done some work in Twine, but I spent most of the time learning new coding techniques to make everything work. Hopefully, people interpreted gaps in the story as “mysterious” and not “incomplete.”

Donald — The main challenge for me was our small timetable and the large amount of work that was needed to make the environment. There are some older builds with drawings scanned from Post-It notes. At all times I was sure I was not going to get done. The name? We went round and round in that, then Project Arcmör came up and we said, “That’s pretty Sci-Fi,” and here we are.
 
 
What inspired you to create this?
Donald — I had a really bad dream, so I wrote it down, then told Peter about it. That dream is basically Arcmör.

Peter — Donald came to me with his idea, and I started thinking about different ways it could work as an environment populated with characters who could make unexpected changes to the story.    
 
What's your interactive fiction creation process?
Peter — The classic quote is that good gameplay is a series of interesting decisions, so I look for ways to keep things interesting without wasting all my time on theory.

Donald — I do my best to tell a visual story that complements Peter’s great storytelling. We have a habit of one affecting the other. It works very well.
 

 
What other interactive fiction works have you done together?
Truck Quest - https://bitterlyindifferent.itch.io/truckquest
Cargo delivery, unchecked capitalism, and a questionable diner.

Tonciven - https://bitterlyindifferent.itch.io/tonciven
Sometimes the only way to pay your bar tab is to dungeon crawl (winner of the 2020 IntroComp)

Desert Valley Showdown - https://bitterlyindifferent.itch.io/desert-valley-showdown

You can find the entire catalog of Bitterly Indiferent Studio Games on our Itch.io page.

LINKS

Donald
https://facebook.com/DonaldConradDraws
https://www.instagram.com/donald_conrad_draws/

Peter
https://pmjg.blogspot.com/
https://twitter.com/pmjgross





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Don Bosco's Gamebook Academy
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Wednesday, June 30, 2021

HELLO WORLD _____ Special transmission, updates and stuff about our gamebooks

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Latest release 

NIGHT OF THE SIX-HEADED ROBOGATOR (Last Kid Running series, Book 2) 
Published by Penguin Random House
ISBN: 9789814882668

Synopsis:

Welcome to Book 2 of the thrilling LAST KID RUNNING gamebook series, where YOU decide how the story unfolds. You are Runner X, one of six eager contestants on the biggest reality show streaming on the mobile web.

This time, you’re taken to a secret venue in Indonesia. The enigmatic Dr Yamato has created a massive Run Dome filled with crazy technological inventions to challenge you and amuse his viewers.

You’re prepared to face anything, even the intimidating Six Headed Robogator. But the night gets creepy. And you can’t help feeling that the Run Dome hides a nasty surprise in its shadows.

Will you be too overwhelmed to outrun the others? Or do you have what it takes to be the LAST KID RUNNING? Quick, open the book and find out!

Available on Amazon. More info and links to buy.

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Now on Amazon 

WELCOME TO THE SCRAMBLE (Last Kid Running series Book 1)
Published by Penguin Random House
ISBN: 9789814867207

Synopsis: 

LAST KID RUNNING is a thrilling gamebook where YOU decide how the story unfolds.

You are Runner X, one of six contestants on the hottest reality show streaming on the mobile web.

The enigmatic Dr Yamato has turned an old building into an exciting running space, filled with crazy Augmented Reality challenges.

But be careful, nothing is what it seems. Can you outrun and outsmart the others? Will you survive Dr Yamato's technological trickeries? Do you have what it takes to be the LAST KID RUNNING? Gosh, read and find out!

Links to buy. Also photos from the book launch event at the Asian Festival of Children's Content.

Here's an interview on the Gamebook News website about my creative process for this Last Kid Running series.

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Released earlier this year

FOOK ISLAND: A SHORT GAMEBOOK
Published by Super Cool Books
ISBN: 9789811494642

Synopsis:

You work for the Archanesium Academy. They send you on a dangerous mission. Will you survive?

This short choice-based gamebook is written in a brisk, minimalist style. Includes development notes.

Links to buy + complete PDF browsing copy.

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Also on Amazon

TOY MYSTERY: THE SECRET OF THE CHATTER BLOCKS
Published by Super Cool Books
ISBN:‎ 9789811417245

This was the first gamebook I created. 

Synopsis:

Kei and Will are students at the School of Amusement Arts in New Toy-ko City. They help Professor Felicity Nora investigate unusual cases involving toys and puzzles. A rare set of Chatter Blocks has been stolen. These Blocks talk when you roll them like dice. Help Kei and Will catch the thief and recover the Blocks. But be careful, the Perplexity Gang is involved!

There are a few different endings. See if you can help the characters solve the case, catch the thief, and learn the secret of the Chatter Blocks.

Get complete PDF browsing copy + links to buy.

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What's happening 

Spent the first half of this year finishing Book 3 of the Last Kid Running gamebook series. Title and synopsis will be revealed soon. Book is scheduled for next year. I think. Also working on a few other gamebook titles, hope to try out some new ideas. All these gamebooks were created and prototyped on Twine, I wrote a beginner's guide here, if you'd like to try making your own text games like these. Do email me if you'd like a review copy of these gamebooks. Thanks for reading. We can be friends on Instagram, click here



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DON BOSCO’S GAMEBOOK ACADEMY
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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

GAMEBOOK ACADEMY _____ Meet David Lowrie, he's written an interactive adventure about Varney the Vampyr, it's partly inspired by his niece and nephews

NOTE: This is part of a series that explains how to create your own simple gamebooks. More articles here


Please introduce yourself
My name is David Lowrie, and I am a gamebook author and illustrator from North Yorkshire in the UK. I published my first gamebook in March 2020, and so far have published 5 gamebooks: The Shadow Thief Trilogy, Straight to Hell and Psycho Killer. My sixth book, published this month, is slightly different. It’s a children’s book called Varney the Vampyr with over 50 illustrations. 


Tell us about this new gamebook
Varney the Vampyr Book 1: The Feast of Glood is slightly different to my previous books (which were all pure gamebooks). This is a story aimed at children (and adults!) from aged 8 onwards. It’s a fun, funny and fast moving adventure about when 3 kids meet a vampyr who has just woken up from a long sleep. It’s full of great characters, and has about 40 full page illustrations.

What inspired you to create this?
For some reason I decided I wanted to watch the Tobe Hooper’s 1979 adaptation of Salem’s Lot, the Stephen King book, starring David Soul and James Mason. Salem’s Lot is a favourite book of mine, and I seem to read it every year — but I hadn’t seen the 1979 TV miniseries since I was a teenager. I found a copy on DVD and watched it one night, and was struck again by the effect and look of The Master (bald, pointy ears, blue skin, long pointed teeth, etc) which was completely at odds with his description in the book. So I started to think about writing a vampire book for kids, using the look of The Master, but more the personality (toned down) of The Master in the books — who is very urbane and charming (most of the time).

I decided on the name Varney the Vampire (or in my case Vampyr). Varney is mentioned in King's book, as it was a very successful Penny Dreadful in the 1850s, and in fact contributed a lot of vampire lore that we now expect (pointed teeth, superhuman strength) and it predates Dracula by 50 years. But poor Sir Francis Varney seems to have been forgotten and Dracula has got all the glory. I am mainly using the character names, not the plots, and transplanting the action to the present day. The 3 Bannerworth kids (George, Flora and Henry) are based on my sister‘s 3 kids — both in appearance and personality. 

As well as a great, fun story (I hope) I also wanted to add a gamebook section to it. Therefore I decided to include a 75 section interactive adventure, set after the end of the story in the book, where you can learn more about the world Varney lives in. This is also fully illustrated and was my first attempt at a CYOA rather than a full gamebook. I am hoping that it will encourage younger readers to give gamebooks a try. 


What was your creation process for this? 
All my gamebooks so far have started with the title. This was from the character. The first chapters were the initial contact between Varney and the kids. The plot sort of fell into place just after that. It was quite different from plotting a gamebook, as it was all about characters and the narrative.


How will you be promoting this new gamebook?
Mainly on Facebook and Amazon, although I am trying traditional publishing houses as the children’s book market is huge, and I could do with some help in marketing outside the gamebook community. But blogs like yours are also incredibly helpful and so thank you for your time and help. 
  
LINKS  
Amazon page

Black Dog Gamebooks 



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Don Bosco's Gamebook Academy






Monday, May 3, 2021

LAST KID RUNNING _____ Night of the Six-Headed Robogator, Book 2 of my LKR middle grade gamebook series, published by Penguin Random House, out now



Last Kid Running: Night of the Six-Headed Robogator
Don Bosco

Published: Mar/2021
ISBN: 9789814882668
Length: 248 Pages

SYNOPSIS:
Welcome to Book 2 of the thrilling LAST KID RUNNING gamebook series, where YOU decide how the story unfolds. You are Runner X, one of six eager contestants on the biggest reality show streaming on the mobile web.

This time, you’re taken to a secret venue in Indonesia. The enigmatic Dr Yamato has created a massive Run Dome filled with crazy technological inventions to challenge you and amuse his viewers.

You’re prepared to face anything, even the intimidating Six Headed Robogator. But the night gets creepy. And you can’t help feeling that the Run Dome hides a nasty surprise in its shadows.

Will you be too overwhelmed to outrun the others? Or do you have what it takes to be the LAST KID RUNNING? Quick, open the book and find out!

LINKS:








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DON BOSCO'S
GAMEBOOK ACADEMY