What plot bunnies have you been harbouring?

These are both wonderful details!


I’ve got dozens of these little fluff balls knocking around in the dusty spaces of my brain, some of which have seen the light of day in another form and others of which I’ve never yet found the correct medium for. For example, there’s a Victorian ghost story involving a couple of gentleman-scientists capturing the sounds of a haunting of an ancient house, on an early sort of phonograph - with a twist at the end that I won’t reveal as I may actually use it in a game one day. Another one that I’ve used before in a different medium is a time-travel paradox story in which scientists from the far future kidnap (timenap) a still-living post-crucifixion Jesus from his tomb (thereby leaving it empty) and then have to decide what to do with him. Possibly controversial, I know, but a good story nonetheless. Less controversially, a few months ago I sketched out a story involving an older, bereaved Ottoline Elderfield (a character of mine from an earlier game set in the 1920s - she’s a professional medium who left her rich husband for one of her female clients), coming to terms with her past and finding a future for herself amidst some mild supernatural happenings.

A lot of this stuff would probably work better in Twine, so I might make a proper effort to learn to use it, having toyed with the idea in the past. I’m definitely more of a story first, mechanics second kind of person! My main challenge is usually shoehorning ideas like this into something vaguely resembling a game.


Oh please please please write this someday. I love Ottoline and I would be over the moon to read more of her life story.

I assume she will still be riding her bicycle when opening the front door?


Why, of course - and also riding it down the village well, whilst remaining stuck in a dining chair for the final third of the game.

(That’s the thing about good beta testers: they never, ever forget your mistakes…)


… or miss an opportunity to remind you of them.

All in good cheer, of course.

By the way, how’s Frank Farthing? I wouldn’t mind meeting him again, if only to see if his wound healed alright.


This times two (where by “two” I mean “two million”).


I run a tabletop Vampire: the Masquerade game, and some of my players want to work with me on adapting one of our stories to an IF. It was originally going to be for the November game jam, but that deadline is long past.

So now I have a skeleton sketched out, and I have an artist and two writers who are very interested in working on it…but managing a team is not my strong suit!


Have you ever watched Fascinating Horror on YouTube? In general I mostly avoid getting sucked into the spiral of “and then something horrible happened” videos, but these are concise, often historically educational, well-researched, and sensitively-written without being gruesome or exploitive.


Thirty-odd years ago when I was in my late teens I spent ages working on an Acorn Electron game called Once, on a Blue Moon. I wrote it with The Adventure Creator (a no-graphics Electron version of GAC). Some of the puzzles and ideas were pretty good, and in the early noughties I attempted to port the game to ADRIFT and finally finish it. That port was abandoned, but the idea stuck around and I’m now in the process of re-doing it in Gruescript as a gift for my nephews. It was always a kid’s game really, and the humour is on a similar level to the Dog-Man books my younger nephew adores. It’s a science fiction game in the stranded-on-an-alien-planet subgenre. Hopefully I’ll finish it before they’re too old for that sort of thing.


I do watch Fascinating Horror from time to time, but my favorite YouTube channel on this topic is actually Plainly Difficult, with Coaster College’s “What Really Happened?” series in a close second. The more in-depth and technical for me the better, so it’s really a matter of taste. (I do have an engineering background so that’s probably a factor).

Of course what really got me started is the Plane Crash Investigation series of writeups written by a charming fellow who goes by Admiral Cloudberg. I highly recommend this for anyone else interested in this kind of thing, although perhaps nicely spaced out from your next plane trip. This is the series that inspired said plot bunny, actually - it frequently shows how FAA investigators have to piece together the accident after the fact from whatever evidence wasn’t completely destroyed. It occurred to me one day that this would make a great setup for a game (having temporarily forgotten about Return of the Obra Dinn).


Looks like we watch the same channels on YT. I’ve also enjoyed Brick Immortar - now it mostly covers maritime disasters, earlier videos are construction disasters, and they always go into a lot of detail.


Oooh, noted! I’m a fan of disasters of all kinds*, but I haven’t previously found a good source for primarily maritime stuff so I’ll give them a look.

*I have got to find a better way to phrase this.


Well, I also noticed after posting I used the word “enjoy”, which isn’t the best given the subject matter of the videos…


-Polite stranger:
“So, what are your hobbies?”

smacks lips, hops up and down on chair
“Oooh, I’m a fan of disasters of all kinds!”

-Polite stranger, now quite unsettled:
glances sideways, leaves


I’m glad I’m not the only one who occasionally falls into the disaster video hole. I always thought something was wrong with me or I was being morbid. Needless to say, I have no plans to fly or go on a cruise ship ever if I have any say in the matter!


After playing Who Shot Gum E. Bear, I got the idea for a silly game called Nobody Puts Rosie in a Thorner! – the game is set in a world of sentient plants, and there’s a very stereotypical late-2000s “teen drama” style where you pull off all sorts of pranks and revenge against people you don’t like. I never got to writing it, but I still think it would be really entertaining.


Oh, actually, I have another one!

A while back I had some odd ideas come to me in a dream, for a whodunnit parser mystery collaboration. Vaguely steampunk aesthetic and themes of language barriers and cultural differences (hence needing to prove your innocence without being able to rely on dialogue with the other characters to find clues). I’m hoping once SeedComp is in full swing I can pitch that and find some collaborators to share this with.


Oh, I’m a sucker for the “death game” genre! And while it’s not an uncommon premise in general, I don’t think I’ve seen much of it in IF, and the office setting is also unusual. If you were going for a semi-comedic tone like DR, you could really have some fun with workplace dynamics.

Anyway, some plot bunnies that have been hopping around in my head (some of them for quite a while):

  • I do cosplay, and back when I was on a tight budget, I used to buy cheap wigs from a hair salon that was probably a mob front (long story). I’ve always thought you could do a sort of North by Northwest thing in which something important was stashed in the packaging of one of the wigs, which someone then buys, and then the poor bewildered wig-buyer has to deal with a couple of mobsters chasing them through a comic convention. (Possibly the wig they bought isn’t even the one with the McGuffin in it and it’s a total mix-up.)

  • On the total opposite end of the tonal spectrum: Years ago, for a game jam, I started a Twine game in which the PC had grown up in a space colony with her mother. The PC was returning to Earth after her mother’s death, and for vaguely handwaved space travel reasons, could bring one and only one memento of her mother with her. So the game was basically just looking at each of the objects and reading through the associated memories, each representing a facet of the PC’s relationship with her mother, and then choosing which facet to emphasize through the choice of which object to bring. Even though this would be a pretty small game, I never got very far into it, and once I’d missed the jam deadline I wandered away and never came back, but I’ve always been fond of the idea.

  • I’ve kicked around an idea for a game with two PCs (alternating POVs) in a sort of shared dreamworld where the world would transform based on the player’s choices in the previous segment, but I haven’t yet managed to come up with characters to hang this mechanic on.

  • This is the most recent of these ideas and consequently not very thoroughly developed, but: an alien first-contact game where the PC is one of the linguists trying to figure out how to communicate with the aliens. Basically the thing I wanted Arrival to be and was disappointed that it wasn’t (in that the linguistics were [1] less of a focus than the linguist’s personal life and [2] based on a decades-old discredited hypothesis). The gameplay would probably be a bit Heaven’s Vault-like, but I hope the focus/story would be different enough that it wouldn’t feel like a total rip-off.


I am very interested now. I’m guessing you already know about Suveh Nux, The Edifice, and The Gostak (three games about learning to understand a foreign “language” in different ways)?


Oh, yes! I hadn’t thought about any of those in ages, but they are definitely all classics of “language-learning” IF. Probably worth revisiting them if/when I decide to go ahead with this idea.