While I am not going to write that I will do this every month, I do think it is important for me to occasionally show what I been up to for One Game A Month. Along with the occasional video and blog post, I am making games and writing stories too. I just don’t always share those projects here, on this blog.
For 2013, I am concentrating on interactive fiction. It’s an area I feel is frequently passed over as too many developers chase the ever-moving goalpost of having the most realistic graphics and the best natural lighting. Some of my favorite stories have come from the simple interactions between my imagination and words on the page. Often, the mind can draw a far better image than the computer can render.
If you didn’t already know, I have been fairly active making a new Twine story per week. From poetry to picture-based, I’m trying to demonstrate different ways of using things like variables and programming to make dynamic stories. None so far have been particularly in-depth, but some leniency must be granted, I hope, for the fact that I often make them anywhere from a couple days to hours before I release them each time.
Flirt was the first story I put out this year. It was a test of using paths and decisions to route the player around to a handful of different endings. As far as the writing goes, it could probably be a bit better too. I still feel it needs maybe a couple extra screens.
Winter Road remains my favorite. It was the first story I wrote and remains the one I have spent the most time on overall. It took me several days of writing to make sure I got all the rhyming correct. Even now, I like to repeat the first few lines to myself because I enjoy their sounds and pattern.
Cnossus is not as simple as it appears. While it is easy to make a maze in Twine, it’s a great deal harder to make it in a handful of passages that parse a matrix with each movement. That’s really what is behind the story too. Each step works through sets a series of booleans and the result is shown.
Erasure is the result of me wanting to write more detective stories. Several years ago, I wanted to be a novelist and I used to write what were essentially detective stories set in science fiction and fantasy settings. A crime would happen and the character would come in and try to figure out what happened. That isn’t what is going in in this story though. It’s realism with a dash of ideas from The Killing.
Journey from Shiningbright is, I admit, heavily inspired by Primordia. There is no way around that. In the days leading up the story’s creation, I was thinking about robots, free will, and how, by using something humanoid but not quite human, it allows the distance needed to tell a story, for example about bullying and the power of labels, without being too preachy about it. Plus, as I wrote in the Tumblr post on it, I had already storyboarded what I wanted to happen, so I merely used the images I had.
Beneath the Tunnels Deep has had a few different re-tellings at this point. It started as an entry for Fuck This Jam, then became part of an experiment I did in writing a text parser, and finally has arrived at its latest — and last — incarnation as an IF game. It’s also, from the graphical to each new version of text adventure, changed each time. The graphical version is rather, at least I think, whimsical and bizarre. This version, well, it’s a great deal darker and borders on a horror story in places.
The Time Before the Time Before is a bit of mashup between an episode of Fringe (“White Tulip“) and the movie Memento. What if you could travel back in time a few minutes, but with each loop back, you forgot what you had previously learned? You would naturally find some way of leaving notes for yourself, of course. However, would they make sense to you? And what if you didn’t know which note to trust?
(Although it probably only matters to me, The Time Before the Time Before is actually a prequel to Beneath the Tunnels Deep. The time damage caused in The Time Before is what creates the situation in Beneath the Tunnels. Both stories take place in my larger All-Worlds Nexus, a mythology that includes Indigo Protocol, Quentang, and the dying city of Shiningbright too.
I am very slowly creating works that link my games and stories to many of my others so that characters, places, and even plots collide across them. Right now though, they are only linked so much as I say they are. The references are incredibly subtle, even to me.)