Writer? Coder? Indie Game Developer?

As a creator of interactive fiction would you consider yourself one or all (and more besides) of the following?

Programmer (Coder for the cool kids)
Indie Game Designer

Just curious…

I think of myself as a writer first and foremost. The coding comes second, but what I love about IF is that if I don’t feel like doing one, I’m usually in the mood for the other. It has never once crossed my mind to think of myself as an indie game developer.


Writer/Author (who does just enough programming within the safe confines of an IDE to get by)

…And I suppose “game designer” is kind of included in Author, though I dunno about “indie” except in the sense that nobody asks me to do this.


I’ve found that in terms of what other people are looking for, I’m more of a writer. I applied to quite a few jobs this year, and my interactive fiction helped quite a bit for freelance writing jobs, and very little for programming jobs and game design. So if you’re trying to advertise yourself, I think ‘writer’ does a better job.


A Writer/Author and maybe a little bit Programmer. But I am not really into programming. I create IF to tell a story and not to program.


I was thinking of posting a second question, but it feels fitting to ask it here as a sort of Question 1.5 rather then a separate thread.

So, has your IF helped you to get work in the real world? If so, how? Have you been applying for creative roles, writing, programming, bit of everything?

Just curious!

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Writer/author for me, albeit very beginning! Yes I have to write code and program, but that’s very much secondary for me to the game design and writing side of things.

Re the second question I know there are some IF authors who’ve gone on to work in the game industry. I’ll leave them to comment themselves.

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I’ve used IF on my resume, for (of all things) puzzle design: I’m an engineer at an escape room company, so being able to implement sequences of puzzles turned out to be an important qualification!


That’s a perfect fit!

Writer/author: yes. Programmer: yes. (Especially when I was working on The Art of Fugue and Kerkerkruip, which are code-heavy.)

Indie Game Designer: no. To me that sounds like a term that applies to people who make (part of) their living by writing and publishing games.

IF has not helped be get a job in the real world, for two reasons. (1) It wouldn’t look too relevant on the resume of someone applying for a job in academic philosophy. (2) I’ve been at the same department since 2004, and my first IF was published in 2006. :wink:

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For me it’s indie game designer first, programmer second, and writer third. Indie game designer because, well, everything I do when I’m doing IF is part of making an indie game, including the coding and the writing. Programmer second because it happens that just about everything I’ve managed to finish has been more motivated by some programming thing I’ve wanted to do than by some prose I wanted to write. (Except my 300-word Twine.) I could see that changing if I ever write something bigger.

As for the second question… exact same answer as Victor’s, except with 2007 and 2013 as the respective dates. (Victor would be much more likely to get a job based on his IF than me anyway!)

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Depends on context but I’m all three. I probably call work on my IF “writing” in my head most often, but that’s mainly because it’s a convenient short verb. Like JJ says, a great thing about writing IF is that it satisfies both left and right halves of your brain, and when one half’s not in the mood you can usually do something with the other. (Yes, I know the halves-of-brain stuff is neurologically bogus, but it works for me as a way of thinking about it.) In my more recent games, making artwork and music does something similar.

I got my first day job in games at the end of last year, and my IF credentials helped - I submitted Detectiveland as my example code, and talked in the interview about the Player’s Bill of Rights and some other theory-of-gaming stuff that I learnt through IF.


I call myself a game developer and a writer. I do code and script but I’d feel phony calling myself a programmer as I don’t know any non-IF languages. When I work on projects with Melvin he’s listed as the main Programmer in the credits; I’m main Writer.

Hobbyist IF has helped me get paid work writing IF. Hasn’t helped me outside of that but haven’t really used it.


I am currently in training for a new job and one of the training modules was a straight up visual novel. I don’t know how many companies go for this, but there likely is a creative element in designing for education and corporate training.

An interactive PowerPoint with hyperlinks is maybe one step away from a choice narrative!

The manual for AXMA is actually done in AXMA and it probably would be quite useful for interactive training material (similar to Twine plus some extra CSS knowhow.)