Narrative Design and Writing for Games
In narratives I particularly enjoy writing stories that tackle the absurd. 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.
I work at Skunkworks Games since January 2021 as a Junior Narrative Designer on MergeFriends, a casual merge puzzle game that released globally in March 2021. Among my responsibilities are writing, editing and developing the story of the game, documentation and design of narrative delivery features, as well as support the localization team. Skunkworks is a small studio, so I also do (L)QA and player support tasks 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.
My main tools of the trade are Ink Engine and Twine, but the process of writing for games usually also involves confusing spreadsheets, sprawling csv files and indecipherable flowcharts on paper as well. 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 all samples as a ZIP-archive: CLassheikki_October_2020_Samples
Game writing & narrative design:
- 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]
- 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)
- The Toothless Dragon Tavern (2021) – a very short 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) – a short 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.
- 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:
- 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.