Brian Schutter

Pronouns: They/Them

Narrative Designer - Author - Writer - Project Manager

C# - Python - Twine - Unity

I love world-building and creating interactive stories that help players better know themselves!

The Non-Binary Flag!
Barks Sheet Sample

Narrative Design Portfolio

Low Oxygen

A screenshot of the Twine Game, "Low Oxygen".

"Low Oxygen" is an interactive fiction Twine game that features non-linear exploration and text-based puzzles. The image above is the first screen of the game and features your first choice.

Click on the buttons below to read a breakdown of Low Oxygen's narrative design and to play the game on Itch.

A screenshot of the Twine Game, "Low Oxygen".

As you explore, you'll find a Spiderbot whose programming overrides your mind. You're temporarily forced to backtrack and, with the Spiderbot's smaller body, you can explore previously inaccessible spaces Metroidvania-style.

The change to "Abel" font represents the Spiderbot being in control.


In-Game Cinematic

Games Cinematic Sample

This is an in-game cinematic for an exploration puzzle game. Contains a scenic view, sarcastic boss, and in-flight movie.

Barks

Barks Sheet Sample

Woof! Click on the image or the button below to see a barks sheet I wrote for Lupe Starstruck: egotistical streamer and Artifact Hunter.


Writing

The cover of the science fiction novel, Titanborn.

I authored Titanborn, a science fiction novel, and published it through New Degree Press. It follows Titan colonist Meera as she ventures across the inhospitable moon to find her missing friend, Torvram.

It's got 26 five-star reviews on Amazon and over 100 copies sold which blew past all of my expectations!

A screenshot of the Unity Game, "Text Hacker."

More about me?

I love writing fiction, creating worlds, and building interactive stories that help players learn about themselves. I've been writing and creating games as a hobby since I was 12 and I figure there's no time like the present to make my after-hours passion my job!

I want to take my game writing skills to the next level and, as such, I'm seeking a Narrative Design position. I currently work part-time as a project manager and content writer for the anti-racist non-profit Geeking Out Kids of Color. The team at GOKiC is amazing and I'm hoping to work part-time on games and part-time with them!

Bizarrely, I have a master's degree in materials science. I tried out academic science for five years and decided to move on to the creative work I love! I do have a soft spot for sci-fi because of those experiences, and when I get the chance to write about real-world or near-future tech, I pour my research experience in to make things really pop!

Where am I?

I live in Seattle. I grew up near the ocean and am so happy to live by it again! I also love to pet the myriad dogs here and spend my days tripping over gender boundaries while I thrift.



If you'd like to hire me for a Writing Opportunity or Speaking Event, Challenge me to a Pun-Off, Or Just Chat.

Hit me up at:
brian.c.schutter@gmail.com

Sign up for only the freshest of News

Low Oxygen

The moment I opened Twine, I knew I wanted to make a game where the scene map corresponds to the in-game room placement. My goal with "Low Oxygen" was to do that and create a non-linear exploration game with Twine.

To the left is a screenshot of the scene map of the game in Twine. To the right is the introductory scene. The player advances by clicking on the blue hyperlinks to move into new scenes. Below, I'll breakdown how I designed the narrative and mechanics of Low Oxygen.

At the onset of the game, the player is driven ‘rightward’ along the screen line and towards the big square: the main hub. Other paths marked by red lines are interactable but blocked, for now. Like in a good Metroidvania, I wanted the player to recall spaces they've been through and come back later to surmount obstacles with new tools.

The player is funneled through the spooky, uninhabited spaces within the Seedship Sagan's empty lower decks. At the hub, the player is given their ultimate goal: "restore oxygen to the Sagan." The player is returned to the hub and the world opens to non-linear exploration.

Spoilers Ahead

If you're enjoying this breakdown so far, click the link below to play "Low Oxygen" for free!
Be warned: from here on out, it’s spoiler territory.

Through exploring foggy corridors, peeking beneath broken doors, and walking the empty halls of the powered-down ship, the player will find their first upgrade. Charging their body to 100%, the player gains new insight about themself and the ability to access the spiderbot remotely.

Unfortunately, there isn't room for two AI's in the bot's head. The spiderbot takes over, symbolized by a change in text font, and forces the player through the small vent near the start. Through this action, the spiderbot reminds the player of an early obstacle and how they can surmount obstacles with new tools, like the spiderbot's body. To regain control, and survive, the player must solve a text input puzzle.

After escaping the spiderbot and learning more about themselves, the player's world opens again to non-linear exploration. With the spiderbot now docile, the player can use it to help explore new spaces.

With the spiderbot's (and some other spiderbots') help and some clever exploration, the player can finally retrieve the ultracapacitors, seal the breach, and restore oxygen to the Seedship Sagan! You (they) did it!!

This game is also a short prequel to my novel Titanborn. Chetan is, in a word, a jerk. He does confirm what the gameplay has taught the player: they aren't just an amnesiac android, they're part of the ship's artificial intelligence, AVA!

The final scene has the last of three moments where the player's android gives another robot a supportive pat. I love the idea of an AI that's empathetic towards its fellow bots.

I hope you enjoyed reading this walkthrough of how I made Low Oxygen and found it as fun to play as it was to make!

As my first published Twine game, it definitely wasn't perfect. Three players reported getting lost at the spiderbot text-input puzzle and needed help. I'm also mixed on the hidden oxygen timer, as some find timers and exploration "go together like bread and motor oil" (Ross Scott, "Spiderbot" Youtube video).

This was a great way for me to combine my writing, programming, and design skills together to make a game!

I'm currently searching for paid narrative design work! Hit me up at brian.c.schutter@gmail.com if you have an opportunity for me. :D

Bye!