I’ve been working on an interesting project this week as a break from the Mindspace world while my brain simmers over the plot. Telltale Games is hosting a big creative video game writing workshop in March, and I’ve been working on the application. I’d love to work with them, if that comes out of the workshop (they make *really* cool story-based games, including the Wolf Among Us, which is very noir and very cool at least in the first few episodes–I haven’t managed to finish the game yet what with baby). But more than anything I’d love to learn how they put story together. Their approach to nonlinear, choice-based storytelling is *incredibly* cool.
But here’s the interesting part, at least for me. Part of the application is to build your own mini-video game, no longer than 7 minutes, in the text-based engine Twine. So I’ve been building out a game with steampunk and vampires, one where the reader makes choices like the old Choose Your Own Adventure books. The cool part is that you can program the game in Twine to remember your choices, so that, for example, if you’re on bad terms with a character he or she won’t help you later. Wading through the logic took a few days, but the result is *cool.* I’m polishing up the game today and tomorrow to submit to Telltale.
The whole project has been a huge breath of fresh air. I’m getting my hands in a new way, a nonlinear way, of telling the story, and at 7 minute play time, we’re talking a project no bigger than a long short story, so I get results quickly. It’s been creatively energizing for me to see a shorter project come together to a place I’m proud of. I feel like I’m pretty good at this, especially with the initial feedback from the beta players coming back so well. I’m really excited.
I’d like to add a few branches to the story (so it might take a couple of weeks) but then I’m going to post it up here on the website for you guys to play. It’s a bit more violent and crass than my usual work (I’ve been tailoring it to Telltale’s sensibility), so if that’s an issue for you, you’ll want to skip it. But for those who are interested, I think you’ll have a lot of fun with it.
Who knows, if this one does well I may do another. 🙂
Update 1/26/17: Sadly, this hasn’t worked out, but I’m still excited about the possibility of my worlds appearing in gaming form. Will keep you updated, and will share the story when I think it’s ready. Thanks!