LudoNarraCon, our free digital festival hosted on Steam celebrating narrative games, kicks off this Friday, April 24th! Over 40 game exhibitors will be livestreaming throughout the weekend and 20+ playable demos will be available. We’ve also got an amazing panel lineup: over 13 hours of stellar panels will be streamed on the main theatre. Check out the live panel schedule here. Can’t make the times? No sweat: we’ll be restreaming all panels until April 27th, so tune in on your own schedule.
Creating Emotional Touchstones in Emergent Narratives; Friday, April 24th at 11am PT
Matthew Farber, Sande Chen, Kimberly Unger, Juliana Loh
- Games have a unique ability to establish empathy between a player and a world and characters, but game players don’t always follow the path the narrative lays out for them. This panel discusses how designers and storytellers can build in empathic elements that can be found and engaged with even when the larger narrative gets delivered out of order.
Cultural Dissonance: Exploring and Learning the Unknown for Your Story; Friday, April 24th at 10am PT
Mohammad Fahmi, Oli Clarke Smith, Fernando Damas
- Three developers from three different parts of the world discuss their experience and lesson in making a narrative heavy game set in The United States with a heavy influence from Japanese media.
Emergent Narrative VS Traditional Narrative; Saturday, April 25th at 9am PT
Panelists: Daniele Giardini, Glen Pawley, Pietro Polsinelli, Gareth Damian Martin
- Daniele Giardini (aka Demigiant) is both a comic and game writer/artist—and a coder, game designer, UI/UX lover, tools developer: yes, sometimes he feels a little overwhelmed. He wrote Still There (for which he also developed the writing tools), drew Football Drama, made DOTween, Goscurry etc. He likes deranged perspectives, he doesn’t have a cat anymore.
- Glen Pawley is the developer of Star Dynasties, a sci-fi empire management strategy game with a procedurally generated narrative of human drama and feudal politics. Trained as a software engineer, he has a long history of building complex systems and is putting that to use in designing an emergent narrative engine of the life stories of the nobility in a decaying human civilization.
- Pietro Polsinelli is a game writer, designer and developer. Created Football Drama, now working on Roller Drama, both sports games blending narrative and management. He also works on applied games and is a researcher on “games for health” at Milan Bicocca University.
- Gareth Damian Martin is a writer, designer, and artist. With a decade’s experience in games journalism, graphic design and experimental literature, Gareth brings a wealth of skills to video game development. His first game, In Other Waters was recognized at IndieCade Europe, winning the Jury Prix in 2019, was released to critical acclaim spring 2020.
Evolution of Game Narrative; Friday, April 24th at 12pm PT
Panelists: Brenda Romero, Steve Meretzky, Brian Moriarty, Clara Fernandez-Vara, Richard Rouse III
- This panel brings together some well traveled game writers and narrative designers to talk about how game stories have changed over the years and how they’re likely to evolve in the future. With decades of experience from text adventures (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) to graphical adventures (Loom) to horror shooters (The Suffering) to strategy games (Jagged Alliance and the upcoming Empire of Sin) our lineup of panelists have worked in many different genres that embraced narrative in many unique ways. Join us for this panel and hear us explore where game narrative will go next!
Holistic Storytelling; Saturday, April 25th at 11am PT
Panelists: Alex Kanaris-Sotiriou, Thomas Jones
- The creators of upcoming indie game Röki (Polygon Treehouse) discuss their approach to interactive narrative, namely ‘holistic storytelling’. Video games are an interactive medium and a script is just one of the tools we have at our disposal to craft stories. Tom and Alex will step through:
- Gameplay mechanics/situation and as a narrative device
- Archaeological storytelling, “narrative soup”, and world-build via exploration
- The player as an active agent
- Story gaps and narrative “breathing space”
- Do not underestimate the power of audio
- Cinematography is not just for cutscenes
Let’s Do The Time Warp Again: How To Keep The Narrative Interesting In A Game Built On Repetition; Friday, April 24th at 2pm PT
Panelists: Nick Pearce, Luis Antonio, Katie Chironis, Raúl Rubio Munárriz
- Ever since Groundhog Day, time loop stories have captured the imagination of film makers and game developers alike. Time loop games offer players the unique ability to experiment, see the consequences of their actions, correct mistakes, and exploit knowledge they shouldn’t have – but all at the risk of becoming repetitive. In this panel, developers of time loop games will discuss how to keep narrative interesting in a game based on repetition.
Localization and writing: Recreating the worlds together; Friday, April 24th at 1pm PT
Panelists: Vladimir Konoplitsky, Natalia Nesterova, Anthony Jauneaud, Fabio “”Kenobit”” Bortolotti
- Game writers and localizers will tell dramatic stories how cultural and language specifics challenged their work. How game worlds are transformed on the way from original language to localization. We will see what translation and writing have in common, and how narrative games evolve real life cultures through localization.
Narrative Design: The Secret Sauce of Game Storytelling; Saturday, April 25th at 1pm PT
Panelists: Jim Rossignol, Chella Ramanan, Tori Schafer, Sarah Longthorne, Antony de Fault
- Ever considered that writer and narrative designer are separate disciplines? What makes them unique? Join us in exploring this topic with the brains behind beloved videogame stories!
On Essay Games: The Diary, The Documentary, and The Satire; Friday, April 24th at 4pm PT
Panelists: David Cribb, Nathalie Lawhead, and Angela Washko. Moderated by Nicholas O’Brien.
- As video games communities continue to mature and nurture pockets of avant-garde exploration, this panel investigates emergent practices of game development/design called “essay games.” Similar to the essay film and video genres of avant-garde cinema, essay games explore how the medium can tell critical, research-based narratives about political, cultural, or interpersonal themes. This discussion will outline three primary narrative design strategies that distinguish essay games from traditional independent games: the diary, the documentary, and the satire.
Personal Storytelling in Games; Friday, April 24th at 12pm PT
Panelists: Tanya Kan, Miriam Verburg, Gabby DaRienzo, Paloma Dawkins
- Indie games can have the flexibility and innovation to embed many personal tales from their lead creators. These game writers and creators discuss how their lived experiences lead them to write and direct games that are unflinchingly about their passions, perspectives, and questions in life. Join us on a panel discussion about how indie game creators have combined art, interaction, and storytelling to create resonant and unique journeys. From tales of belonging, to finding art in unusual places, these stories are sure to inspire.