As detailed over on The Gameshelf, I wrote a short interactive story called The McFarlane Job for House of Cool, a creative studio in Toronto, to help them show off their new platform for games that resemble SMS conversations. Do give it a look!

I pause here to note a peculiar sort of professional neglect that I have subjected myself to the last year or two.

In the summer of 2013, sure that I would need a full-time job to support my ailing mother, I created a hire-me page which, among other things, expressed hope that I could find work involving game design somehow. After several interviews, some of which resulted in offers and some of which did not, I decided that freelancing remained the best choice for me after all — a decision assisted by serendipitous new client work, as well as my starting to find financial aid for my mother’s benefit. So, as far as I know, no work came to me directly via that page.

However, after coming to that decision, I for the the first time began to work on several commercial (or commercial-exploratory) game projects as a freelance consultant. Typically for myself, I’ve never given my ever-forward freelancing a short rest to reflect on this fact, much less construct a proper portfolio of this new kind of work. I have not even ever tried to turn it into a list of related accomplishments, so allow me to at least start there with this blog post. Going from memory, and in approximate chronological order:

  • Design consulting and iOS programming assistance for Codename Cygnus, an interactive, serialized audio drama.

  • iOS prototyping for Consequential, a board game with digital storytelling elements. This was a lot of fun — I quickly and easily built a custom visual novel engine, including music and voice tracks, using Apple’s basic iOS dev tools. It worked well enough to let the game’s designer demonstrate it at conventions.

  • An ongoing project: web-based games for a law professor for use as classroom exercises, or for adding an RPG twist to students’ work. These remain prototypes for now.

  • Quality-assurance consulting for Transcendence: Origins, a short, polished mobile game that presents an interactive prologue for the 2014 film Transcendence. Working on this provided an unforgettably intense experience, a merely weeks-long taste of the punishingly crunch-driven work schedule that typifies commercial game development. Much as with my one-semester stint as an adjunct lecturer, I feel grateful for the enriching opportunity, and I never need do it again.

  • And now, The McFarlane Job, the publicly visible portion of the interactive fiction consulting I provided for House of Cool.

Not too shabby, for an 18-month period. (And it doesn’t include non-commercial game projects I released under my own power over this time, such as the 2014 IFComp or Barbetween.) I really do need to organize this list into something more appropriate to use as professional self-promotion, but at least I have a list actually written out, now.

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