Elana Bell Bogdan
Big Story, Tiny Engine: Hacking Bitsy to Tell Rich, Puzzle-Driven Stories
Elana Bell Bogdan is a freelance technical designer, currently working with queer indie studios Unquiet Games and Bolero. She’s usually the voice in the room advocating for accessibility, inclusion, and narrative-driven design. Escaped from the tech industry after nearly a decade in its thrall, she is excited to use her background in engineering to breathe life into games & stories that matter! You can find her online at elana.games.
Vincent Bondy
The IFTF Grants Program
Tim Bryant
The Art of Ludic Adaptation: How to Make Games Out of Books, Movies, or Almost Anything
Tim Bryant is Associate Professor of English at Buffalo State University, where he teaches classes on American literature, popular fiction, and film.
Paris Buttfield-Addison
Learn the Basics of Writing Branching Narratives with Yarn Spinner
Dr Paris Buttfield-Addison is the co-founder of independent game development studio Secret Lab, and tools studio Yarn Spinner. For both, he serves as producer, and helps to maintain the popular open source interactive dialogue system, Yarn Spinner. Secret Lab is best known for working on Night in the Woods, the BAFTA- and IGF-winning adventure game (powered by Yarn Spinner). He’s currently working on I Feel Fine (written by Ryan North), and Leonardo’s Moon Ship (written by creator of Pixar’s Ratatouille, Jim Capobianco). Paris has written nearly 30 technical books on game development, machine learning, mobile apps, and rocket science for O’Reilly Media, and has a PhD in why people’s desks are messy. He lives in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.
nilson carroll
AI is Obsolete: Generative Glitch Narratives
nilson carroll is a poet, game maker, curator, and archivist working at the intersections of games, experimental video, and queer theory. nilson currently works at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY, as Assistant Curator and Preservation Specialist. nilson has shown artwork, performed, and presented at various organizations and with festivals internationally, including at Mono no Aware, EXIS Festival, Milan Machinima Festival, among many others.
Gary Chadwick
Everything is Storytelling – But is it Coherent?
Gary Chadwick is a visual novel writer/developer living in Ireland and making games that play with text in fun and novel ways.
Autumn Chen
Random Testing for Narrative Games
Autumn Chen is a hobbyist interactive fiction writer and programmer.
Nat Clayton
Keynote: Spatial Tales and Highland Songs
Nat Clayton is a level designer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. She’s currently hammering away at things with Bithell Games, but previously worked on the 3x IGF nominated A Highland Song with Inkle Studios and has a long history of experimental level design through tools like Unity, Bitsy, and various modding projects. In another life, Nat was also a writer for sites like PC Gamer, Waypoint and Rock Paper Shotgun; briefly assisted development on Minecraft’s console ports and Alien: Isolation; and trained sled dogs at the top of the world. Twice.
Valencia Coleman
My Experience as a First Time Visual Novel Writer
Valencia Coleman is an Associate Gameplay Engineer at Owlchemy Labs. She worked as a contractor for Sweet Baby to work on localization editing for Ubisoft’s The Crew: Motorfest. She has published several small projects on her itch.io. She has a passion for narrative design and always looking for ways to combine her love for writing and programming.
Rainer Wren Dalton
Relikpunk Oddities
Rainer Wren Dalton is a PhD student at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Their research focuses on the archival and critical making of Alternate Reality Games (ARGs). Outside of academia, Rain consults on Elian Eve Jentoft’s Under the Surface and Goodbye Susto as well as Theo Wish’s Meek, produces documentaries with Alex Hera, and edits Cream City Review’s experimental journal Cheshire. Sometimes they make their own games! Last February Laya Liebeseller and Rain produced Switchboard, an ARG for UW-Madison’s Design and Innovation program. In the next few months, Rain hopes to be surviving prelims and slowly making a queer Slenderman game.
Brendan Desilets
Interactive Fiction in the Library / Perilous and Obscure Interactive Fiction for the Classroom
Ruber Eaglenest
Building Tiny Narrative Worlds: Binksi Workshop
Mar Ferreri
Utsuge and Nakige in the Dating Sim Genre: Why is There So Much Death in my Dating Games?
I’m a multi-award-winning interactive designer and storyteller. From smaller, intimate immersive theater shows to large-scale experiences in theme parks, I have a wide breadth of knowledge in design and narrative that can help bring any idea to life. I specialize in interactivity and environmental storytelling – both physically and digitally – and have the technical experience required to understand the constraints of a given project and communicate technical needs across creative teams. I also am, as evidenced by my talk, a huge lover of dating sims.
Hexe Fey
Rocks and Why They Matter
Shaun Foster
Game Arts Education: Bridging Narratology and Ludology
Shaun Foster, Director of 3D Digital Design and Professor at RIT, NY, excels in next-gen interactive 3D and education with over 20 years in 3D graphics and interactive design. Leading multiple award-winning projects, his work intersects 3D, education, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Involved in numerous grants, he’s explored augmented reality, biofuel education, and VR. An Authorized Unreal Instructor since 2021, Foster has received the EPIC Games ICVFX Fellowship (2022) and Provost’s Innovative Teaching Award (2023). Currently, he focuses on XR/VR, AI, and Virtual Production, integrating 3D Digital design with Generative AI for higher education advancements, also sharing insights on his YouTube channel.
Geoffrey Golden
First Person Talkers: Simulating Conversation
Geoffrey Golden is a narrative designer, game creator, and interactive fiction author based in Los Angeles. He’s written for Ubisoft, Gearbox, Disney, and indie studios around the world. His experimental games have been featured at IndieCade, San Diego Comic-Con, WordHack NYC, Narrascope, and on Aaron Reed’s 50 Years of Text Games newsletter. Geoffrey is chronicling his post-capitalist gamedev adventures in the newsletter EquipStory.com.
Erin Gray
Stories to Get Us Through the Night: An Experiment in Using Branching Narratives for Theatre
Ian Greener
Representing Reality in Twine
Marcia Byron Hartwell
Building Empathy Through Interactive Fiction in the Video Game Peaceland: Choose Your Memory
Marcia Byrom Hartwell is a researcher, practitioner, author, adjunct professor whose expertise includes identifying underlying dynamics in post conflict transitions, political cooperation between former enemies; civil-military relationships in volatile environments, and processes of violence and peace. Her current work focuses on the role of digital technologies, also known as PeaceTech (which includes video games) in supporting sustainable peace building from a bottom up, locally led perspective. “Peaceland” (Choose Your Memory), a video game inspired by her observations in the Balkans features the key role that individual and group memories play in facilitating long term peace or re-instigating conflicts decades later. It directly links to her earlier research and fieldwork in Northern Ireland, Serbia, South Africa examining perceptions of justice, identity, forgiveness, revenge in early post-conflict transitions. She holds a DPhil (PhD) in International Development from the University of Oxford and MSc London School of Economics, BA Economics and Government from Smith College. She has written numerous articles, book chapters, papers, and book, Negotiating Civil-Military Space, Redefining Roles in an Unpredictable World (2016).
Trent Hergenrader
Refracting Freytag’s Pyramid: Aleatory Elements and Interactive Fiction to Teach Narrative Design
Dr. Trent Hergenrader is an Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he teaches classes in fiction writing, worldbuilding, and game-based fiction. He is the author of Collaborative Worldbuilding for Writers and Gamers and co-author of a forthcoming book, The Worldbuilding Workshop: Teaching Critical Thinking Through World Modeling, Simulation, and Play. He is the Director of the Center for Worldbuilding and Storytelling in the College of Liberal Arts at RIT.
Jocelyn Ibarra
The Time Travel Agency’s DATTOPIAS
The Time Travel Agency operates under the cover of a speculative design studio in the Nordics, the Americas, and online; Joss is the studio’s founder, showrunner, and design lead. The Time Travel Agency is a response to hopelessness about the future. They help to build optimistic futures in which people feel happy to be alive and possess agency; this happens by combining narrative design, immersive experiments, world-building, prototyping, participatory experiences, and emerging tech. Their clients include governments, cultural institutions, tech companies, and Universities. Read more about them via thetimetravel.agency and https://www.instagram.com/thetimetravelagency/.
Joey Jones
Crafting Interactive Stories with ChoiceScript
Joey Jones is an interactive fiction author – whose ChoiceScript games include Trials of the Thief-Taker and Lies Under Ice – and a postgraduate researcher in interactive narrative at the University of Southampton.
Chris Klimas
Branching Stories: Twisting Little Passages with Twine
David Kuelz
Building Captivating Character Psychology using the Enneagram
David Kuelz is an award-winning narrative designer and public speaker. He has written or consulted for over a dozen games, comics and films, including Starship Commander (Dreamhack 2018: Best VR/AR Experience), AVARIAvs (GDC Play 2018: Best in Play) and Into The Dark: Nakaran (Bit Awards 2018: Mobile Game of the Year). Kuelz has spoken at Princeton University, TED, Montalvo Arts Center, and The Srishti Institue of Art, Design, and Technology. Beyond that, David teaches video game writing for The Gotham Writers’ Workshop, is an avid theater geek, and also a rabid devotee of The Great British Baking Show.
Deena Larsen
Teaching IF: or How to Talk Into a Classroom with a Bunch of Red Balloons and Walk Out With a Story
Deena Larsen began writing storytelling interactive poetry after her teen-age love affair with Spoon River Anthology morphed into Marble Springs (Eastgate 93). Her PIE (participatory, interactive, ergodic exploration) addiction has lasted decades, with over 30 works published in various places (including the Iowa Review Web, Drunken Boat, New River Journal). Winner of the 2023 Electronic Literature Organization’s Maverick award, she has been leading the electronic lit community in and out of surreal situations for longer than it is good to remember. She runs the Second Tuesday Salons and Third Thursday Elit in Wikipedia editathons.
Laya Liebeseller
Relikpunk Oddities
Laya Liebeseller is a critical maker, game designer, and anthropology PhD candidate at UW-Milwaukee. They have been working as a game designer since 2019 and are currently working for Publishing Goblin as the Project Lead for the tabletop roleplaying game Confluence. In the last year they have begun to experiment with alternate reality games, completing Switchboard with Rainer Wren Dalton for UW-Madison’s Design and Innovation program in February 2024 and now Relikpunk Oddities at NarraScope. In their free time they like to bake, world-build, and play games.
Zed Lopez
What the Glulx? The Inform Tech Stack
Zed Lopez is a contributor to Inform 7.
Will Lowry
Germinating Playwriting from The Quiet Year
Will Lowry is a scenographer, an Associate Professor of Theatre at Lehigh University (PA), and a Creative Partner with Flux Theatre Ensemble (NYC). He received his MFA in Design from UNC Greensboro. He has created over 140 scenic, costume, lighting, and media designs for theatres along the East Coast of the U.S. and beyond. In NYC, he designed over twenty off-off Broadway productions, and he contributed to multiple Broadway productions as a studio assistant. He also led the creation of the interactive streaming production GPS (Lehigh), and co-created the immersive audio experience Our Options Have Changed (Flux).
Douglas Luman
Choose Your Own Ed-venture: Multi-User Dungeons and Computer Science Education
Douglas Luman is an antidisciplinary legacy technologist. They are an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Allegheny College, and the author of two books: The F Text (Inside the Castle, 2017), and Rationalism (Sublunary Editions, 2021).
Hélène Lupa
Genre As A Lens: A Holistic Genre-Driven Approach to Game Narrative Analysis
Hélène Lupa (ell-ENN LOO-pah) is a game designer and writer currently based in Washington, DC. Hélène has an MFA in Game Design & Interactivity from American University, and a BA in Cinema & Media Studies from the University of Chicago. She can usually be found pondering the nature of games, films, or television shows (and if not one of those topics, then probably lunch).
Sophie Mallinson
How Belgian Reality TV Made Me a Better Game Designer
Nat Mesnard
Big Story, Tiny Engine: Hacking Bitsy to Tell Rich, Puzzle-Driven Stories
Nat Mesnard (they/them) is a writer and game designer who has published TTRPGs, short fiction, and poetry. They aspire to create innovative fiction that spans the intersection of lit culture and nerd life.
E. L. Meszaros
Relikpunk Oddities
E. L. Meszaros is a Ph.D. candidate in the history of the exact sciences in antiquity at Brown University. Her main research focuses on Babylonian astronomy, the circulation of scientific knowledge, and algorithms in the ancient world, but she’s also interested in the reception of ancient languages and cultures in modern games. With Rainer and Mairi, she has been exploring reception through game design by developing ARGs for academic conferences. She’s excited to be working with Laya as well this time!
Scott Nicholson
It’s Still Too Complicated: Developing a Storytelling Game System for Low-Resource Classrooms
Dr. Scott Nicholson is a professor of Game Design from Wilfrid Laurier University in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. He is focused on creating games for education and training, with an emphasis on games in the physical world like escape rooms, board games, and live-action roleplaying games. He was the lead author (with Liz Cable) of Unlocking the Potential of Puzzle-based Learning: Designing Escape Rooms and Games for the Classroom, and is the creator of EscapeIF, a system to help teachers in low-resource classrooms facilitate and create branching narrative games.
Mairi Nolan
Relikpunk Oddities
Mairi “Spaceship” Nolan is a Game Designer with over 10 years experience in escape rooms, tabletop board games, video games, and ARGs. She specializes in puzzle design, and has recently designed and shipped projects for Wizards of the Coast, Universal Studios, Netflix, Amazon Prime Gaming, Mysterious Package Company, Professor Puzzle, Enigmagram and I’m Puzzled. In addition, Mairi is an active ambassador in the wider puzzle community. As the editor in chief for Escape Industry News, and The Escape Roomer, she helps organizes Puzzletember and the Cerebral Puzzle Showcase, is the UK ambassador for the Escape Room Championships, and a mentor at Women in Games and Limit Break. Presently she is working on a number of unannounced projects, and holds the role of Studio Manager at a puzzle game publishing company.
Nicholas O’Brien
Nicholas O’Brien is an artist, writer, game designer, and founder of Essay Games, a narrative-focused indie games studio based in Brooklyn, NY.
Tabitha O’Connell
Strong Characterization in Short Games
Tabitha O’Connell is a historic preservationist and writer of queer fiction, both interactive and traditional. Eir favorite things include animals, abandoned places, alliteration, long walks, and long sentences. Find eir short stories and novellas at tabithaoconnell.com and eir interactive fiction at alyshkalia.itch.io.
Judith Pintar
Interactive Fiction as Embodied Storytelling: Why We Need to Think about Immersive Player Types
Judith Pintar is the director of Game Studies & Design at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She is the chair of the Education Committee, and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation.
Colin Post
Interactive Fiction in the Library / Let’s Keep Talking About Collecting Narrative Games in Libraries
Colin Post is an Assistant Professor in the department of Information, Library, and Research Sciences at the University of North Carolina - Greensboro. His research and teaching focus on the preservation of digital culture in libraries, archives, and creative communities.
Building Tiny Narrative Worlds: Binksi Workshop
Tim Rattray
Teaching About Mental Illness through Play
Tim Rattray is a multidisciplinary writer currently exploring how mental health can be conveyed through acts of play. His work has been published on Nintendo Life, RPGFan, Crunchyroll, Slide to Play, Anime News Network, and beyond.
Ben Schneider
Between the Story and the World: Better Interactive Worldbuilding
Currently a Professor of Practice in Narrative Design for Games at WPI’s Interactive Media & Game Development program, Ben Schneider has twenty years of game development experience. He worked as a narrative designer on games such as Titan Quest, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, and Dungeons & Dragons Online, and was Lead Designer of Lord of the Rings Online.
Ziba Scott
Make the Player Do the Writing
Ziba Scott is the sole-proprietor of Popcannibal, a Boston based game studio. Popcannibal is best known for its letter writing game, “Kind Words” and its poetry writing game “Elegy for a Dead World”. Awards include a BAFTA, the IndieCade Europe Grand Prix and the friends made along the way. Ziba has a soft spot for (and a master’s degree in) serious games.
Isabelle Smith
Stories to Get Us Through the Night: An Experiment in Using Branching Narratives for Theatre
Isabelle Smith is a game developer, playwright, and educator based in Brooklyn. She is currently in her first year of NYU’s game design MFA. She received her BA from UCLA’s theatre program, specializing in playwriting and arts education. Her fiction writing can be found in the Living Room Zine. She is the developer of Swallowed by the Subway and The Happiest Place to Give Birth, which you can play at imissmywisdomteeth.itch.io.
April Soetarman
The End of the Day: Turning a Solo RPG into an IRL Public Art Installation
April Soetarman is an interdisciplinary artist, designer, and writer who creates installations, games, public art, and immersive theater. Her site-responsive works play with the language of everyday objects and speculative institutions to explore complex human emotions. Her projects have been exhibited by museums and public spaces, as well as anonymously installed in dozens of urban spaces across the country. April is also behind WeirdSideProjects.com, her series of ongoing experiments in code, text, and street art. Notable projects include The Museum of Almost Realities (2017), The Department of Emotional Labor (2019), and The End of the Day (2020).
Michael Stage
Using IF Tools for Introductory Astrophysics Tutorials
Michael Stage has taught astronomy and physics, and sometimes run observatories, at UMass, Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College, and Westfield State University, and lead digital tutorial and homework content development teams for McGraw-Hill Higher Education. He sometimes turns up to The People’s Republic of Interactive Fiction (Boston) meetings.
Katryna Starks
Architectural Storytelling: Worldbuilding through Time / Branching Stories: Twisting Little Passages with Twine
Dr. Katryna Starks is a games researcher, game design lecturer, and game designer. Her experience includes the development of an Interactive Narrative Minor, co-development of a Bachelor in Serious Games, participation on several grant proposals, and teaching game design at graduate and undergraduate levels. Her research area is games for social good, including the design of games for behavior change, self-efficacy, and identity. Her curriculum design and teaching endeavors include a Serious Games curriculum, game design courses, interactive narrative, worldbuilding, and puzzle creation.
Josh Stead-Dorval
Building Empathy Through Interactive Fiction in the Video Game Peaceland: Choose Your Memory
Josh Stead-Dorval’s passion is for telling captivating stories in new and unique ways. He currently studies physics at the University of Rochester and is actively working as a narrative designer on the “Peaceland” project at RIT’s Magic Studios. He is a creative writer and TTRPG Game Master, and in his spare time he plays the viola and nerds out about The Stanley Parable.
Rick Stemm
The Art of the Shitty First Draft
Rick helped originate the Design Manager role at PikPok, and founded and grew their narrative team. A prolific speaker, Rick has presented at PAX, GenCon, Dramatists Guild, artistic workshops, game dev meetups, and most NZ universities. Rick was a keynote speaker at FINS, New Zealand’s first games narrative conference. But even in design and narrative, Rick’s work is mostly about people – helping them connect, care, and collaborate.
Joseph Sutton
It’s All in the Cards: Tarot, Pattern Language and Player Agency
Alexander Swords
Hope in the Transcendental
Alexander Swords is a writer, narrative designer and director in video games and interactive experiences. He’s also the creator of the Forest Paths Method for Narrative Design, a player-first approach to understanding story in an approachable and collaborative way, used internationally by developers and educators. Advising government, arts organisations, and educators, he’s an advocate for diverse stories and their writers, and is currently teaching at the National Institute for the Dramatic Arts (NIDA), a resident practitioner at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, and on the Interactive and AI Committees for the Australian Writers’ Guild.
M. Kristana Textor
Building Empathy Through Interactive Fiction in the Video Game Peaceland: Choose Your Memory
M. Kristana Textor teaches in the Digital Media Studies and Writing Speaking & Argument Programs at the University of Rochester. Her research focuses on belonging, video games, interactive media, informal learning, and play. Textor has collaborated with the UR’s Breaking Boundaries with Video Games, The Strong Museum of Play, The Center for Learning in the Digital Age, RIT’s MAGIC Center, EYEBEAM, NYC Public Schools, and Games for Curious Scholars. She is keen on supporting undergraduates as they advance in their research and creative pursuits.
Jet Vellinga
Telling Stories Through Translation: The Trials and Tribulations of Using Language Translation as a Game Mechanic
Jet Vellinga is a game writer and Assyriologist from The Netherlands, based in New York City. She’s specialized in worldbuilding and interactive storytelling and synthesizes her design experience with a mastery of ancient cultures, texts, and history. Her main interest lies in the intersection of performance and play, looking at both from an artistic and anthropological point of view. She currently teaches at NYU and Parsons School of Design.
Matthew Vimislik
A Game Design Analysis of Improv Theater
Matthew Vimislik is currently a Project Manager at Workinman Interactive, a game studio that works with brands like Disney, Sesame Street, Nickelodeon, and Atari to create games for the youth entertainment market. In his spare time, he makes award-winning visual novels like Romancing Flesh and King of the Cul-de-Sac, and creates tutorials on how to write, program, and produce visual novels on his youtube channel, "Visual Novel Design".
Damon Wakes
An Introduction to GDevelop