K: When you’re writing all of your endings, how do you know where to end? How do you know when a work of interactive fiction is finished? Is there some sort of moment where you know “okay, everything is done” or is it something different for you?
AR: With film, there’s the saying that a film is never done, it’s only abandoned. I think in any sort of interactive medium, that problem is more compounded because not only are you questioning “is this done?” in the sense of “is there nothing broken and is the writing at a decent quality?” but there’s also the sense of “are there are more ways to interact I could have? Should there be more conversation responses? Should there be more responses to different commands? Are there other ways to solve this puzzle that I haven’t thought of yet?” It’s really easy, and I kind of did this for awhile, to just keep building and building on what you have. The way that Blue Lacuna actually got finished was I had to sit down because it evolved through a lot of different portions and all that stuff kept evolving. Eventually I got to a point where I was like, “okay, I have to finish this before I die” so I had to sit down and make out this very concrete plan of “okay, this is how it works, this is how it begins, these are the ways it can end, these are the things that can happen in the middle” and I just had to fit all that in and not let that expand anymore. I mostly got to that point. The temptation to keep building and changing is always there. In a novel, you can always say something like “well it’s 800 pages now, maybe that’s a good place to stop,” whereas IF can continue to become broader. The story might not get any longer, but you can always add more “icing.”