Toiya Kristen Finley

Game Designer, Narrative Designer, Game Writer, and Editor for Schnoodle Media, LLC

Nashville native Toiya Kristen Finley is a writer and editor. She holds a PhD in literature and creative writing from Binghamton University. With nearly 70 published works in fiction, nonfiction, comics/manga, and games, she has over 20 years of experience. In 2011, she co-founded the Game Writing Tutorial at GDC Online with Tobias Heussner and served as an instructor in 2011 and 2012.

In videogames, she has worked as a game designer, narrative designer, game writer, and editor (or some combination of the four) on several indie, social, and mobile games for children and general audiences (a lot of them unreleased), including Academagia: The Making of Mages (Black Chicken Studios), Fat Chicken (Relevant Games), Peregrin (Domino Digital Limited), and Verdant Skies (Howling Moon Software). Current projects include game design and narrative design for Digital Myths/ConductXR, an XR and VR start-up. She is currently a member of the IGDA Game Writing Special Interest Group’s Executive Board and teaches game writing and narrative design for the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. She co-authored The Game Narrative Toolbox (Focal Press) with Jennifer Brandes Hepler, Ann Lemay, and Tobias Heussner. Narrative Tactics for Mobile and Social Games: Pocket-Sized Storytelling (CRC Press) will be out in August 2018.

Summit Description:

Narrative Tutorial
(Speaking with Heather Albano, and Beth Korth)

April 17TH, 2018
9:00am – 3:00pm

Branching narratives and player choices are hallmarks of engaging stories in games. Any game genre can use branching narrative, from AAA RPGs to indie roguelikes to visual novels on mobile. But designing and writing those narratives can be challenging. We want to give players great experiences they’ll want to replay, but we don’t want to go beyond our game’s scope or include so many choices and branches that we end up with an unwieldy mess. Additionally, we want player choices to feel truly consequential.

At this year’s Narrative Summit, join us as we explore:

  • best practices for plotting and outlining branching stories,
  • designing meaningful choices that are clear to the player,
  • creating consequences where the world reacts to those choices, and
  • best practices for scripting conditionals and variables.

Workshop exercises will follow each lecture. This summit is ideal for narrative designers, game writers, game designers, and anyone working on a game with branching narratives.

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