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 -
Cargo delivery, unchecked capitalism, and a questionable diner.

Tonciven -
Sometimes the only way to pay your bar tab is to dungeon crawl (winner of the 2020 IntroComp)

Desert Valley Showdown -

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




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