text-based games

Last week I made a two-pager comic and decided to take a break this weekend from my weekly strip: Mixed Messages. I thought I'd have completed a text-based game in time for this update but I spent a lot of time writing a new short story so I've only just started the game! I'm not disappointed at all though because I'm excited by both projects.

Anyway, I'm creating my text-based games with a programming platform called Twine. It's the perfect platform for me because it combines my two favorite tools of creation: coding and writing. I can even add illustrations and music if I want!

If you haven't already heard of Twine, you should definitely check out Porpentine's work. Her voice is brilliant and important. If you don't know where to start, my personal recommendations (in order of game length) are With Those We Love Alive, Neon Haze, Ballast, and List of Hellgenders.

Here's a little about the Twine games I'm working on:



Vessel

In the year 2089, the human species was on the brink of extinction. A terrible virus swept through the population, causing mass reproductive sterilization that lasted generation upon generation. In order to ensure their continuation, the remaining citizens of Earth pooled together their resources to create The Cloud, a human collective of individual minds. One's thoughts and memories are uploaded every second of every day. Should the day come when your heart stopped or you found yourself at the wrong intersection of place and time, every byte of data forming your core personality would be preserved, retreating to The Cloud to await a new Vessel of your making.

So this is basically a glorified character creation game. Despite the serious-sounding (and cringe-worthy) backstory, the actual interactive bits take place long after the crisis and are more comedic satire in tone. Or that's the idea anyway.



Backwards Compatible

You sit in the darkness of your high-rise studio apartment, the bright lights of the city filtering in through tinted windows. You have a mid-tier preset personality module installed in your neurocore. Your family saved up for it since you were born and spent everything they had to buy it for you on your 25th birthday. It was supposed to help you achieve what your parents never could, what your younger siblings could only dream of. But as you sit on your single bed, your face and shoulders bathed in the blue glow of the Big City, it's suddenly become clear to you that everything they had will never be enough.

This one's going to be more serious, and maybe a little dark. I haven't really worked too much on it yet but I'd like to play with ideas of desirable vs. undesirable personalities, neurodiversity, capitalism, and cyborgs. Gotta love cyborgs.



Titan

The desert surface had been washed of its disturbances, ready to receive the first of many footprints on renewed land. You look back the way you came and see nothing but dune upon dune of ruddy orange sand, scattered with chunks of broken rock. The landscape continues uninterrupted all the way out to the horizon. You glimpse an outline of a familiar shape looming over there. Its circular body is bifurcated by a thick ring running nearly perpendicular to the ground. Right. You've crashed on the surface of Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, and your home for the past five years.

This story is arguably the most complete of the three, but I've pretty much abandoned it at this point. It's the first Twine game I ever worked on, so I think its purpose evolved into introducing me to the platform and helping me learn the Harlowe programming language. It's about ex-convict ethane gas collectors on Titan and maybe an encounter with aliens too. Gotta love aliens.



And that's it for now! I'm going to spend the rest of the day getting some words down on either my short story or one of these Twine games. I'll likely not post the short story when it's done, as I'm going to try submitting it to some fantasy-genre publications first, but I'll make any completed Twine games available here.

Now go play some of Porpentine's games!