Narrative Design and Writing for Games
I work at Skunkworks Games as a Narrative Designer. I started as a Player Support and Narrative Design intern in January 2021, and became Junior Narrative Designer when I completed the internship in March 2021, became full-time in June, and was promoted to mid-level Narrative Designer in October 2021. At Skunkworks, I first worked on MergeFriends, a casual merge puzzle game that released globally in March 2021, and during 2022 I’ve moved onto new project(s). Among my responsibilities are writing, editing and developing the stories of the game, documentation and design of narrative delivery features, as well as support the localization team. In the new project(s), I’ve consulted on narrative design, written content, and worked as a game and level designer. Skunkworks is a small studio, so I also do (L)QA and aid the marketing team with lore when needed.
My past narrative design and game writing projects include: Energy on Campus (2019, location-based mobile edu game) for Aalto University, Resistance is Fertile (indie puzzle game / in-development), Minute Detective (in-development, student project), Sails of Change (2019, student project), Grumpy Librarian (2020 / visual novel prototype), and Mochabot Organic (2019 / mobile). In addition to these I’ve written for a bunch of jam games and interactive fictions since getting into gamedev in 2015.
In narratives I particularly enjoy writing stories about hope. Watching characters make futile attempts to control their lives while they struggle with accepting the inevitable heat death of life as we know it, all the while perhaps finding solace in others, seem to be recurring themes in my stories.
With experience of working with multiple scripting languages and game engines, I am excited and quick to learn adopt new tools when needed, and adapt my writing, to the needs of the project. As a part of the Fairy Trade Coffee speculative fiction duo with Sandra Waller, I’ve also written fiction, an audio drama spec script, and comics – projects that expand upon and stretch media boundaries are close to my heart.
- Download my narrative design samples as a ZIP-archive: Samples_PortfolioCLassheikki2022
Individual game writing & narrative design samples:
- Writing for Mochabot Organic (2019, Android & PC) , the cozy casual mobile game about being a robot barista in a coffee shop. Sample contains NPC lines and barks: [Mochabot Organic_writing_PDF]
- ‘Shadow of the Nameless Queen’ – Fantasy spec script. Sample of enemy boss encounter design and cinematic script (2020) – [Sample- Shadow of the Nameless Queen PDF]
- ‘Cave exploration on 22 Kalliope’ – Sci-fi detective game spec script. This sample contains banter, light branching dialogue and a short cinematic (2020) [22 Kalliope – Cinematic and banter script sample]
Games and interactive fiction:
These are available to play in-browser for free. Branching conversations, games, tools, and more built over the years:
- Sleepy Tales (2022) – A short branching story about telling your little sister a fairytale, until she falls asleep. Solo development project built in Unity using Ink. Featured on VNGameDen.com June 2022. Play in-browser for free: [Sleepy Tales on itch.io]
- The Toothless Dragon Tavern (2021) – An interactive fiction with 27 endings to illustrate reckless branching. Simply put, in three decisions you order food at the Toothless Dragon Tavern.
Play in-browser for free: [The Toothless Dragon Tavern]
- Smalltown Name Generator (2021) – An aid for naming your unsuspecting, ominous little town in North America. Play in-browser for free: [Smalltown Name Generator on itch.io]
- High Noon at the Produce Market (2020) – an interactive fiction set in a post-apocalyptic world, around 600 words. Content warnings: death, illness, discussions of euthanasia. The writing and branching structure can be seen in non-interactive format in: [HighNoon_PDF] Play in-browser for free: [High Noon at the Produce Market – play now]
- i didn’t make a game for this jam (2020) – an interactive non-fiction. Depending on choices, 2 – 10 minutes long (150 – 1000 words). Content warnings: discussion of depression & burnout.
The story is in-browser and free, made in Twine: [ i didn’t make a game for this jam – Play]
- Grumpy Librarian (2020, visual novel) – Cursed Books and Kafkaesque Bureaucracy – What could go wrong? Playtime ~20 minutes, download for free for PC or Mac, or play-in-browser: [Grumpy Librarian]
Didn’t find what you were looking for? For samples beyond these, or from unreleased projects, please contact me at classheikki [at] gmail.com. You can also visit my profile on itch.io to test some of my more experimental projects.
- Tinker’s Beau (2020) – A sci-fi short story about robots, research and human pettiness, [Tinker’s Beau – read in browser] [Tinker’s Beau – PDF] (3800 words)
- A retelling of Snow White (2020) [Snow White – read in browser] [Snow White – PDF]. This story is definitely not for all children, and poses the king as the villain. (1500 words)
- Annakaisa Kultima, Christina Lassheikki, and Solip Park. 2020. Designing Games as Playable Concepts: Five Design Values for Tiny Embedded Educational Games. DiGRA 2020 proceedings. (available in the DiGRA 2020 proceedings)
- Annakaisa Kultima, Christina Lassheikki, and Solip Park. 2020. Playable (research) concepts workshop: translating your topics into tiny games. In Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on Academic Mindtrek (AcademicMindtrek ’20). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 165–167. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/3377290.3377321
- Christina Lassheikki, Iina Nokelainen, Yuanqi Shan, Maximus Kaos, Martti Raevaara, Heikka Valja, and Perttu Hämäläinen. 2018. Fair and Encouraging – Developing an Automatic Assessment System in Aalto Drawing. In Proceedings of the 2018 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play Companion Extended Abstracts (CHI PLAY ’18 Extended Abstracts). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 337–344. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/3270316.3270318
Tutorials & educational writing:
- Tutorials on how to make games using Construct 3 –
Tutorial 1: How to start? – written with Solip Park for the Aalto University Playable Concepts research project, 2020
- Tutorial 3: How to make your game look and sound good
Written with Solip Park for the Aalto University Playable Concepts research project, 2020
- Setting up reaction roles and pronouns on Discord using Zira
A guide I wrote upon request by the Finnish Game Jam association.
As part of Fairy Trade Coffee, I have tabled at Zinefest Helsinki 2020, 2019 and 2018. My comics bibliography includes:
- The Shortcut, 2018 (available for 0+ on Gumroad)
- Playing Running Away, 2016 (available on Gumroad)
- Ecce Homo, 2017
- Webcomic: Jump, Jump! – 2014 – 2016
- Webcomic: His Royal Master’s Loyal Scavengers – 2009 – 2012
- Fiktion: “Berättelser om kärnan del 1: Den Svedda Jorden” (2013)
Kapitel: Berättelsen om änglarna – Ett kapitel ur ett ungdomsromanmanus jag skrev för NaNoWriMo 2013. Kontakta mig på classheikki (at) gmail.com för fullt manus.
- Novell: “20 000 euro” (2015)
En novell skriven 2015 om ett rån som del av novellsamlingen Espresso Comfort. Länk “20 000 euro” .
- Undervisning: Övning – Studier i billiga material
Ett kort instuderingsmaterial för gymnasister om att göra mästarstudier.