About

ABOUT

I’m a game developer and writer. I’ve mixed up interactivity and storytelling for a living for over two decades. I’ve worked in interactive television, education, puppet-making, film, live events and the video games industry.

Talespinners & Winged Monkeys

I’m co-director of Talespinners, a writing & narrative company dedicated to helping you develop story for your game. I also run my own freelance company, Winged Monkeys.

Narrative Design

I’ve written and designed story for many different types of interactive media. My credits include narrative design, character creation, world design, dialogue, prose, and voice direction for PC, console & mobile games. I’ve worked on over 75 games, interactive events, and immersive experiences. Alongside co-running Talespinners, I’m Story Lead on Frictional Games‘ next title. I’m regularly asked to consult for companies to help them shape and polish the story for their game.

I’ve also directed live action events for over 25 years. I’m co-founder of Crooked House, an organisation legendary for its high concept events and ridiculously over-the-top special effects and sets. This experience has now become relevant to the mainstream due to the renewed interest in VR, MR, and immersive events.

“It was a pleasure working with Ian on The Bunker, he has an expert eye for game design detail and an incredible talent for bringing real humanity to storylines. His logic in game narrative structure is flawless and he brought an amazing attention to detail to The Bunker, providing layer after layer of storytelling, making the game richer and more immersive.”
 

Allan Plenderleith, Director, Splendy Games

Games Programming

I’ve held a wealth of roles as a programmer, technical architect and CTO. I spent a long time running software teams creating interactive TV systems and produced over 40 educational games.

In 2009, I threw all that in to work in the mainstream games industry, where I’ve since worked as a programmer and designer for gameplay, systems and tools on a wide range of triple-A and indie titles across all sorts of platforms – including SOMA & the LittleBigPlanet & LEGO franchises.

“Ian is an excellent programmer who was also a pleasure to work with. He is a very articulate speaker and clear thinker, with a great sense of code and API design – allowing him to stand out as a clear leadership figure within both the LEGO Systems group, and the company as a whole.”
 
Paul Connor, Associate Lead Programmer, Traveller’s Tales


Writing

My first full-length feature film, Fallen Soldiers, came out in July 2015. We made it for virtually no money, and with no time. Critics have said things like ‘a very clever piece of genre cinema that is not bound by its conventions’ (Film News) and ‘a great low budget horror movie, with some strong talent and clever ideas.’ (Starburst). I have two other optioned screenplays.

My twisted children’s book Where’s My Shoggoth? is available in all good comic shops. It has been variously described as ‘a firmly recommended gift for anyone in life who has a taste for the bizarre’ (Starburst Magazine), ‘a book you’ll happily put on your child’s shelf alongside Winnie the Pooh & Dr. Seuss’ (Omnicomic), ‘perfect for the Lovecraft lover in your life’ (Ain’t It Cool News) and ‘just right to snuggle up with your budding young mythos investigator on a dark and stormy night’ (Wired), amongst many other accolades.

My novel-length interactive fiction title Pendragon Rising has sold tens of thousands of copies since its publication in 2016.

I’ve also worked as editor and writer-for-hire on projects ranging from novels to gameworld lore. I’m often asked to polish and copy-edit work, particularly when it comes to dialogue.


“Ian doesn’t just do the job you give him. He brings new ideas, new approaches and directions, and pulls, sculpts and batters your ideas until they look far shinier than they ever were – or would have been – without him. He is an excellent writer, coder, and logical mind that will help you and your project in far more ways than what is written on any contract or agreement.”
 
Olly Bennett Managing Director, Cardboard Sword

Talks

I’m happy to give talks anywhere (just try and stop me!) and have previously given talks on:

  • Storytelling in VR
  • Making Horror: Getting Emotional in Interactive Media
  • How to Build a World
  • Telling Game Stories Without Words
  • Getting Into Games Writing
  • Be Lazy: How To Make Games Development Painless
  • Getting Into The Games Industry
  • How Not To Get A Job
  • Lessons From LARP
  • The Anatomy Of A Triple-A Game Engine

Other Work

I lecture and advise on training courses, have acted as a games adviser for BAFTA Wales, co-founded and chaired the Games Wales industry body in Wales, and generally spend a lot of time making a nuisance of myself in an attempt to big up the games industry in my local area. I’m a full member of BAFTA.

I’ve also been known to create art – visit my portfolio here – and music – here’s my artist page on Spotify.