“Linda”

I’d been putting this off for a while, but I finally modeled my mum. Due to her illness, her physical appearance changed dramatically over the last six months of her life, and I want to reflect that in the game. But, for now, this is her when I first returned home, when lymphedema had swollen her legs and ankles, and she needed to dress for comfort.

The “T-Pose” is typically the default pose for a character while modeling, before animation.

I’d been using a magenta capsule shape as a character stand-in during development, due to the aforementioned “putting off,” but actually, it feels good to be able to add the Linda character to my scenes. After all, the characters are not really my mum and I, they are just stylized avatars for the story I want to tell. I’m not a filmmaker nor novelist, but I imagine it’s a similar feeling to telling a story based on real life and real people in those mediums. The actors are stand-ins and quickly create their own personalities, no matter how delicate the story being told is. I wish I’d done this sooner as it’s actually helped to add distance between storytelling and real life.

July 2019 update

I’m still working on the prototype. The basic mechanics are mostly done. You can wander, interact, have conversations. The next goal is to formalize this into a tiny, playable section of the game that I can show people, and make an early trailer to explain the concept and story. Then I need to figure out funding to support the rest of the game’s development, which will likely be another 12–24 months of work for me. Let me know if you have ideas!

Russell.

Banff Centre residency

In March 2019, I completed a monthlong residency at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity to work on Linda & Joan. They produced this video during my stay for their social-media accounts.

Courtesy of Banff Centre 2019

Interactive Designer & Programmer Russell Quinn is developing a video game about the deaths of his mother and grandmother.

Quinn came to Banff Centre in [March] to piece together the game’s narrative and begin building 3D models of his childhood home and neighbourhood, based on family photographs and his own journals. The project is a form of catharsis—his way of processing trauma and exploring the often undiscussed mundanity experienced by primary caregivers.

“There is definitely a responsibility to try and tell the truest version of the story that you can. But in my situation, not having any family left right now, the burden of complete sensitivity has been lifted, slightly. This was an early realization that I had: even though I needed to be careful with the narrative, ultimately it can only be my story now.”