I wrote this piece to explore the possibilities of interactive fiction on Twine. I was trying to replicate the experience of navigating a place that you can’t physically view, like in works such as Colossal Cave Adventure or With Those We Love Alive. I feel as if this is the main draw of text based adventure, as the mystery of not being able to visually see a space encourages the user to explore the space in order to increase their understanding and gain context for the story.
Unlike Colossal Cave Adventure, I wanted to give the user reasoning for exploring the cave. In Colossal Cave Adventure, is a series of events that take place within the cave but the user ventures into the cave because the cave itself is the objective of the game. I felt that giving the user a reason to explore as well as endings that involved not venturing into the cave at all deepened the fictional world of the work.
A main component of the game is the passages that the player finds on sections of the floor of the temple. At the end of the journey, the passages combine to form a short 3 line poem. Each tunnels passages took on a certain theme, the leftmost being courage themed, the middle being knowledge themed, the right tunnel focusing on the desire for power. Writing a poem that made sense if the player chose different paths was a definite challenge, that was ultimately solved by limiting the players access to certain rooms. Creating separate adventures to go with specific poems soon became the ultimate goal.
Though the piece is very simple, it utilizes some of the unseen functions of Twine. At many points throughout the work, the dialogue of a room is changed by either the history of you being in another room or a variable noting an experience in another section of the cave. These variables gave me total control of how a user experiences the narrative because it allowed me to control the perception of the user within the story. The variables not only serve as a room history but also as a player inventory. When a player encounters a passage or an item within the work, the variable of that object within the code gets set to one and those items and passage last then follow them through the story.
I think I will come back to this piece and greatly expand it, making the temple a more perilous journey for the user and adding potential side stories within the major story. I was originally trying to make some ambient music to accompany the work, much like Porpentine does in their works. I think that music and sound paired with a some different styling in CSS would enhance the user’s level of immersion into the narrative. Another function I would love to add, would be a player journal that would allow the user to track their progress through the temple and what they currently have in their inventory. This could be made with a large amount of simple boolean functions but I think it would be a nice touch, especially if it was styled to look like the journal of a seasoned explorer.
Below is the link to my work: