This event took place in January 2023. You can read all the blogposts under this theme here. You can view the panel video here.

Event details

Date25 January 2023
LocationVirtual (Zoom) | Register here
SpeakersMaurice Suckling, Saadia Gardezi, Sarah Cole [Chair: Adam Chapman]


The ‘development’ process of games has as much in common with software development as it does with content creation. How these processes and pipelines influence and shape the product is often invisible to the player. Chapman introduced the concepts of both model of video games as popular/public history and introduced the concepts of the “player-historian” and the “developer historian” and where they meet helps shape the (hi)story-play-spaces and historical narrative production in historical games (Chapman, 2016 p.51).

For this theme, we are looking not just at the different methods, technologies, and tools used for the development of historical games but the complexity that comes with design and development where historical content is core to the game. We welcome submissions on both the development of software and content, how these interact with the game design and the historical record. Reflections on development techniques, software tools, methodologies, content pipelines, and production challenges are areas of interest. Perspectives on and from established development processes to more ad-hoc practices such as game jams could help provide insights into the making process.

Building on our previous theme of Environment, we are interested in how the development of the many components that make up a game are considered and how the elements of gameplay, interaction, agency and challenge combine with different interpretations of representation such as images, characters, narrative and space. What impact do the development practices, patterns, mechanics, dynamics or aesthetics have upon the history being represented? How do development practices adapt to different technologies? With the gradual adoption of VR/AR and increasing use of haptics help or hinder the design and development of historical experiences? How can greater examination of historic hardware (e.g., Nintendo Power Glove, Microsoft Kinect, Nokia N-gage) or Software (Game Engines) inform present practices?

We invite contributors to think about the role of the developer (and development teams) in, of and around historical games, and the role that they have in presenting the past to players. We would also welcome contributions from players, academics, galleries, museums, heritage organisations and any others who are interested in discussing development from a non-development perspective. We take a liberal view of both “developer” and what “development” can be and are interested in what roles they play in communicating to players – be that through design, education, entertainment or environment – for historical games.

Contributions to the Development theme

Development is an open theme, and we hope that the network can broaden and benefit from a wider discussion on the intricacies and challenges of game-making or interactive media creation more broadly (for example this includes Interactive Documentary, Docu-games, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, or Mixed Reality applications). HGN provides a space to explore the conjunction of history and games, and we are seeking contributions to the theme from anyone interested in discussing ‘Development’ in this area.

We are open to a range of formats and approaches: blog posts, book reviews, literature reviews and state-of-the-field posts, game criticism and reviews, event reviews, game analyses or post-mortems, podcast recordings, video essays, or any other type of creative contribution you might be interested in sharing. As a guide, we might expect written pieces to be in the region of 1,000-1,500 words, and video essays or audio recordings of around 5-10 minutes. However, if you have more to say, get in touch!

The Development theme is initially open for contributions until Friday 9 December, and we will post content received during the period 15 September to 31 December. All material will be treated in line with our copyright statement (you can find this on our About page: TL;DR – it’s free, open access, and you can repost your work wherever you like).

Submission and editorial process

Please submit contributions via the email linked at the bottom of the page, and any queries or questions through the same route. Contributions will be assigned for editorial review to at least one member of the HGN editorial team, and we will supply feedback and suggestions for amendment, as appropriate, for any submissions received. Please note that we reserve the right to reject contributions which are unsuitable for the site, and to request and/or require specific editorial changes before publication to meet any legal, funding or support requirements or obligations.
We commit to respond to all submissions within two weeks, and to fix a publication date for accepted content at the earliest possible point.
HGN is an open access, public-facing project intended to connect people, and we neither charge nor pay a fee for editorial support and publication on our site.

Works Cited

Chapman, A. (2016). Digital Games as History: How Videogames Represent the Past and Offer Access to Historical Practice. New York: Routledge.


Maurice Suckling is currently an Assistant Professor at RPI in Upstate NY, where his research interests are storytelling in games, board and card games as storytelling systems, and history in board games. Maurice’s first game was Driver, in 1999. He has worked on over 50 published video games, mostly as a writer, including Fortnite, Killing Floor 2, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, and, Civilization VI. He also designs historical board games and is a Charles S. Roberts Award winner for his Chancellorsville: 1863 (2020). He holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Newcastle University, and a Masters in Global History from Birmingham University.

Saadia Gardezi is a journalist and political cartoonist from Pakistan and a PhD student at Warwick University. Her research is focused on political cartoons during the War on Terror era, exploring how they create imaginaries of security and nationalism. She is the Co-Founder of Project Dastaan, an organisation that records oral histories of survivors from the Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, and reconnects these survivors to their ancestral homes across the India-Pakistan-Bangladesh borders using VR and other new technologies. She is the producer of the award-winning VR docudrama “Child of Empire” and has written and produced animated shorts about South Asian stories. Twitter: @saadiagardezi @projectdastaan

Sarah Cole has worked across the heritage and creative sectors for over a decade in roles including Game Designer, Narrative Designer, Writer, and Creative Technologist. Her best-known projects with her creative heritage consultancy, TIME/IMAGE, include the digital excavation of the British Council’s archive Film Collection and Poetic Places, an innovative geo-curation app made in collaboration with the British Library. Sarah’s work in games is usually under the banner of Patchwork Fez, and encompasses experimental personal videogames, boardgames, and RPGs, as well as client work. In 2020 she created the Woodsorrel Garden Gallery—a public art gallery within Animal Crossing. She also facilitates fringe games events, including Now Play This and Feral Vector, and runs her own annual event, Trick or Retreat. Sarah has most recently been working as Narrative Designer and Writer on in-development studio title Wholesome: Out and About.

Photo by Fotis Fotopoulos on Unsplash