Author Interview: Tai Jia Xuan
2019-02-01 · by Stewart C Baker
tagged Blog / Interviews
Tai Jia Xuan is currently a Creative Writing student in Singapore, and the author of “at 3am, I didn’t think of you,” one of our February games. She just really likes interactive fiction, and hopes to continue exploring more. You can find her idling at @nuaxaij.
This interview was conducted via e-mail in January of 2019.
sub-Q Magazine: Our theme for 2018 was love. What does love mean to you, and do you think that affected how you approached your game?
Tai Jia Xuan: I think that love could be something along the lines of, “there’s no particular reason for it, but I like having you in my life.” I have always felt strongly for platonic love as it’s such an essential form of affection that should be recognised more often, so I knew I had to focus on it for my game entry. For this game, I wanted to express the more complex aspects of platonic love, that it could be just as impactful yet cruel as any other kinds of love. The story also comes from a place close to heart, so it brings comfort to know that there are people who could relate to it.
sub-Q Magazine: All the games for our jam were very short. What challenges did you experience trying to create something in such a constrained space?
Tai Jia Xuan: I initially planned to have a third character involved, but when I saw how much that would eat up the word count, I thought, “oops, maybe not.” Then I went back to redefine the scope and work around it. I find that the word limit actually helped to make my game more focused, so I’m thankful for it!
sub-Q Magazine: What’s one thing you wish you’d known when you first started making interactive art?
Tai Jia Xuan: Before jumping into making an interactive story, I would first make a map of how the branching routes would connect and overall convey my theme. I think it’s important to ensure a coherent and satisfying experience for every route, but sometimes I might get lost in the middle of all the possibilities. So it’s about staying on path, haha.
sub-Q Magazine: If you play a lot of games, what was your favourite new game in 2018? Anything coming out in 2019 you’re excited about?
Tai Jia Xuan: One of my favourite games I played in 2018 was The Gardens Between, which is a very clever and charming puzzle game. The game stuck with me even more as it’s also about a bittersweet childhood friendship! For upcoming games, I’m very excited for Indivisible by Lab Zero Games and Knights and Bikes by Foam Sword.
sub-Q Magazine: What’s next? If you have any upcoming games, artwork, or other projects you want to talk about, let us know!
Tai Jia Xuan: It may be quite a while before I could find the time to make something again, but so far I’ve been imagining a scenario where two ‘friends’ act out a silly improv game for fun until it starts going deeper. If I ever continue working on that, I might try using ChoiceScript. While I have lots of little ideas drifting around, I do hope to finish a longer interactive game someday!