Meaningful Play 2016 at Michigan State University

Session Information

TitleTwine Workshop and Game Jam (part 1)
Presenter(s)Kelly M. Tran, Earl Aguilera and Mark Chen
TimeFriday, October 21, 1:00p-2:00p
LocationHuron Room
FormatWorkshop
DescriptionTwine (twinery.org) has recently garnered attention for being an accessible easy-to-use game design tool (Anthropy, 2012; Chen, 2015). It has been especially popular amongst those who might be outsiders to the game design community (Kopas, 2015) and represents a different way of making games from using other design tools which might require more technical knowledge. This proposed workshop is an extension/iteration of a Twine design workshop which will be held at the Games, Learning, and Society conference in August.

Twine boasts a simple, easy-to-use interface. Twine games are, on a basic level, much like choose-your-own adventure books. In these books, readers are presented with choices (to fight the dragon, turn to page 53; to sneak around it, turn to page 84). In Twine games, players face choices which lead to branching story decisions. The process of designing a Twine game involves writing different parts of a game and linking them together. Users take on the role of designers that can easily offer their players choices about how the game should proceed. Using simple programming logic, a Twine designer can add additional layers of complexity into a game, such using an if-then statement to see whether or not a user has found a key to open a particular door.
Participants will be given a brief tutorial on basic features of Twine, followed by an extended period of time for participants to experiment with creating a game using the platform. As the organizers of the workshop, we will set up a website that is accessible to participants to provide further support and resources for engaging in the design process. This will serve as a resource to participants as they make their games.

The remainder of the workshop will be reserved for participants to play others' games. At the end of the session, we will have a brief group discussion about Twine, participants' impressions of the tools, and implications for using such a game design tool in industry, research, and formal and informal educational settings. True to the spirit of game jams, the idea will not be to make a finished or perfect product, but rather encourage creativity and participation within the bounds of a supportive co-learning community.

Target Audience. Any conference attendee who wants to try making a Twine game. No prior programming or game design experience is necessary and we will cover the basics of the tool.

Skills Gained. Participants will learn the basics of the tool and will come away with either a completed game or one they can continue to work on. Participants will be encouraged to upload their games to the free Twine hosting site Philome.la and share their games with other conference attendees using a hashtag for the workshop.

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