Polyhedron @ ECGC 2019

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It’s almost that time of year again — time to pack the bags, fill the tank, and roadtrip down to Raleigh for the East Coast Game Conference, which starts a week from today. We joked last year this journey was “becoming an annual tradition”; pretty sure we can confirm it is now.

If you’re planning to attend and would like to know what we’re up to, here’s the schedule for this year:

– Day 1, April 16th — Starting at 09:00, we’ll be talking about world building and lore as part of the Narrative Tutorial, organized by Toiya Kristen Finley. After that, there will be a session on character design by Toiya and another on cutscenes by Anna Megill, followed by a Q&A panel with the three presenters and Patrick Coursey. Details here: http://ecgconf.com/event/narrative-tutorial/

– Day 2, April 17th — At 11:30, Toiya and C.J. will be giving an extensive talk entitled “Have Pen, Will Travel: Lessons from a Life of Freelance Narrative” about the differences and similarities in their experiences going freelance, finding and working with clients, and achieving sustainability. The goal here is to offer an honest look at self-employment, as well as answer any questions attendees might have about how to embark on it themselves.

After that we’ll be attending other talks, going to event parties, catching up with old friends… and one of the reasons we keep coming back every year is to make new ones, so if you see us don’t hesitate to say hi!

Polyhedron @ ECGC 2018

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It’s April again (how quickly a year has passed), which means it’s almost time for the East Coast Game Conference. In what’s becoming an annual tradition, we’re headed down to Raleigh to sit in on some insightful sessions, make new friends, and reconnect with colleagues we don’t see nearly as often as we’d like.

We’re also giving a talk! This year’s presentation is titled “One Person’s Trash Loot is Another’s Treasure“, and it investigates the storytelling and character-building potential of everyday objects, as well as the philosophy and production reality behind the updated trash loot system featured in 2014’s Far Cry 4.

We hope you’ll join us.

GDC 2016 talk now available for free

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Howdy y’all, C.J. here. I woke up to a pleasant surprise this morning — the talk I gave at the GDC 2016 Narrative Summit called “The Lives of Others” is now available to watch online for free!

Previously, it was only accessible through a subscription to the GDC Vault, so I take it as a compliment that the conference organizers felt my presentation on how developers can increase player empathy through robust non-player characters was worth sharing with the wider world.

Or they were amused that I can’t distinguish a polar bear from a puppy.

Whatever the reason, I hope you’ll enjoy and share the video. I’m always happy to continue the conversation about creating more meaningful experiences, so please feel free to e-mail your thoughts!

Polyhedron @ IGDA Albany

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Hi, it’s C.J. with a quick announcement about an upcoming talk.

The Albany chapter of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) has invited me to present “Songs of Solitude” on 7 February 2018 at Tech Valley Game Space. If you missed it the first time at ECGC 2017, or want to see the slides performed live, now is your chance.

This topic feels particularly relevant considering the remastered version of Shadow of the Colossus, a game that features heavily in the case studies*, will be released the day before.

So swing by if you’re in the Albany area and let’s talk about how games that make you feel lonely can be a good thing.

*This is also a good opportunity to reference an in-depth shot-by-shot analysis of the introductory cutscene I wrote on Gamasutra.

Shot #14, Shadow of the Colossus (2011)

Polyhedron @ WordPlay & MIGS 17

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Hi everyone, C.J. here with an announcement about a few (hopefully) engaging presentations in the coming months.

First up: we’ll be at the WordPlay 2017 festival, hosted by the Hand Eye Society and held at the Toronto Reference Library, for a panel — AAA Game Writers Heart Indie Narrative Games — and a microtalk entitled “Steal from the Past”.

There’s a killer line-up of speakers and sessions, but it’s a one-day only affair, so if you’re in the neighborhood on 18 November stop in and check it out. Best of all, it’s open to the public and free!

More information on the event’s site at:

Then on 11 December we head back to Canada, this time to “la belle province” (aka Quebec) for the Montréal International Game Summit (or MIGS 17 for short), held at Palais des congrès.

We’re delivering a talk in the advocacy track entitled “Games As Cultural Identity” that looks at how games can be used to showcase elements unique to the people and places that produced them. It’s a topic we’re passionate about, so we’re excited to share both our research and the great work of developers from all over the world.

To register for MIGS, head over to:

It’s a packed schedule, but represents a fantastic opportunity to talk with the public and our peers about the medium we love so much. Hope to see you there!

Polyhedron @ Kirkland Town Library

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Hi folks, it’s me, C.J., with an announcement about an upcoming local talk.

In a few weeks I’ll be giving an all-ages presentation at the Kirkland Town Library about getting into the games industry, followed by a Twine workshop.

If you happen to be in or near the picturesque small town of Clinton, NY on 10 June 2017, I’d love to see you there (but space is limited so please sign up beforehand).

Full details below, as published in this week’s issue of The Waterville Times.

Polyhedron @ ECGC 2017

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Hey, this is C.J. reporting in.

Recently, I was invited to speak at the East Coast Game Conference on the topic of narrative minimalism, as well as sit on a panel (with Alex Kain, Toiya Kristen Finley, Brian Kindregan, and Jesse Scoble) on breaking in as a game writer.

It was a wonderful opportunity to see some familiar faces, meet new people (especially local students), and learn more about the development community in the Raleigh/Durham area. Despite reservations about the legislative fiasco known as HB2, I loved visiting North Carolina and am excited to return to the conference next year.

For those interested in the slides and speaker notes from the presentation “Songs of Solitude: Telling More Story with Less”, the full deck is embedded below.