I’m currently dipping two tentative toes into the murky waters of programming. Games programming, to be precise. I suspect games programming is quite a bit like normal programming but with more guns at the end.

That image above is from a game called Schism which I’m currently writing, based in the IAT Arms Race universe. It’s created using Twine, an engine specifically designed for writing Choose Your Own Adventure-style games.

I’ve dabbled with various interactive fiction engines over the years – BASIC back in the 80s, Inform in the 90s – and it’s never quite clicked. The problem with interactive fiction is that it explicitly relies upon prose writing, something which is hard enough at the best of times let alone when you’re having to code around it. Twine has a unique flowchart interface which makes it very simple to structure a narrative flow, while still allowing simple code to alter events and track decisions.

Next week I also start FutureLearn’s Begin Programming course, which aims to teach some core programming skills which are of use for creating mobile games. It’s a seven week course and I’m a little skeptical about what it can realistically achieve in that time – we shall see.

Schism is still in very early stages but I’m plugging away at it. One of my main goals is to create semi-dynamic characters which track your interactions and adjust their behaviour appropriately. I’ll be sure to write more about it once I’ve progressed a little further.


Ben Norris (@Norro21) · October 13, 2014 at 10:22 pm

I saw that course coming up, I think it will be quite different from twine. It does seem to be aimed for beginners but in general games programming is not really the best place to start learning. To program something satisfying takes a quite advanced level or else you are working with scripting programs where it isn’t really proper programming. It will be interesting to see how they go into it and what you make of it.

    Simon Jones · October 13, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    Yeah, not expecting it to be like Twine at all.

    I think I’m most likely to find success working with an established engine like Unity of GameMaker. Hoping this course will give me a grounding in some basics, though.

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