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I developed the ASCENSION UNIVERSE with Digital Roar Studios, an indie startup where I worked with a team of artists, designers, and programmers as a writer and narrative designer. I created missions, characters, environments, and an epic mythos that was part of a much larger expanded universe. We released two games: a mobile strategy game and an in-browser space-flight shooter.

Trailer for our turn-based strategy game

Trailer for our turn-based strategy game.
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Demo for space-flight shooter

Demo video for our wave survival game.
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The Ascension Stageplay
I was selected as one of six playwrights to develop my work at the 2010 WordBRIDGE playwriting lab. The play I developed, Ascension War, is set before the events of the games and is an important part of the Ascension mythos.
 
At WordBRIDGE, I workshopped for three weeks, receiving feedback from professional dramaturgs, directors, designers, actors, and resource artists. The play received three full staged readings.

Later, I would be selected to participate in the Playwriting Summer Intensive at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, DC, where I would workshop the Ascension play along with several others.

 
The WordBRIDGE company
The WordBRIDGE company
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Getting ready to distribute scripts
Getting ready to distribute scripts
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Table read
Table read
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Paula Vogel, who won a Pulitzer for HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE, leads a workshop at the Kennedy Center
Paula Vogel, who won a Pulitzer for HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE, leads a workshop at the Kennedy Center
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Gary Garrison interviews David Ives at the Kennedy Center.
Gary Garrison interviews David Ives at the Kennedy Center.
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cathy-01
cathy-01
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Digital roar studios
Many of our programmers and artists have used the work we did at DR to propel them to careers at companies like Bungie, Black Tusk, Tripwire Interactive, Dreamworks Animation, Pixar, and others.

One of the most rewarding things about working with the team was our frequent excursions to game development conferences in Atlanta and nearby Raleigh, NC where myself and other team members gave presentations, served on panels, and staffed the company booth on the expo floor.
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SIEGE Booth
SIEGE Booth

The DR crew celebrates the end of the conferences with our brothers from TRIPWIRE INTERACTIVE.

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SIEGE
SIEGE

Our third year at SIEGE drew the biggest crowds yet.

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East Coast Game Conference
East Coast Game Conference

The crowds at TCG/the East Coast Games Conference were even bigger.

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SIEGE program
SIEGE program

Our key art made the conference cover at SIEGE.

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SIEGE
SIEGE

Our first mobile demo was a hit!

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Triangle Game Conference
Triangle Game Conference

The guys from the Escapist really enjoyed our demo. The shirt they gave me is remains a valuable part of my T-shirt collection.

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Another fan of our demo.

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SIEGE
SIEGE

Even kids got into the action.

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SIEGE
SIEGE

Note the Farmville spoof add on the second screen. The farmer passes out when a Kj'hal ship drones overhead.

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An adventure in serving safe food

The narrative begins with a lecture from your instructor that is quickly interrupted by an emergency call -- young Timmy Timmerton has reported food contamination at the Hometown Food Festival! It's up to you, the Rookie Food Inspector, to get down there and keep people from getting sick...

As you explore in and around the festival the anxious crowd outside grows restless. Will you save the festival before they stampede for the unsafe food?

 

You interact with the festival volunteers who explain what they've been doing to keep the food safe, and you discover that Timmy Timmerton is in fact the notorious food spoiler, Sal Monella!

With a job well done, you can print out a customized certificate of completion and enjoy some good, safe food.

Rookie Food Inspector is an educational game that I developed in 2006 as the capstone project for my Masters in Communication. It was designed to be used as a learning tool to supplement classroom instruction for volunteer food handlers in my home state of South Carolina.

Between a partner and myself, we handled all of the writing, design, artwork, and coding.

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Rookie food inspector

 
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Susan O'Connor's Game Writing Masterclass has a deep focus on both story and structure within the context of gameplay. We think and discuss topics to provide a nuanced, critical understanding of storytelling in games and how writing can best support design and gameplay. The documents included here were created in class with Susan's guidance and the guidance of the other many talented game writers in the cohort.