I’m not that experienced with hypertext but working on this helped me get a lot better at it than I was previously. I read a lot of tutorials in order for me to create the time system that I would need. I wanted to explore the idea of interactive fiction and hypertext fiction. I wanted to create a story with one ending but I wanted the player to get to that ending in their own way. This work was mostly inspired by Device 6 by Simon Flesser. I really like in Device 6 how you didn’t know what was going on and how you had to try to figure out what was going on by exploring. I incorporated that idea by having the player explore the area and to find clues on how to escape just like in Device 6. Device 6 used clips of audio as hints, I used notes that were scattered around the house. I also took a few ideas from With Those We Love Alive by Porpentine. I liked how she had a time system that caused the game to advance as days would go by. I wanted to incorporate a similar idea with time advancement. I decided to make a time system that would allow time to slowly advance based on the players actions. The more time would advance the harder it would be for the player. For example, every room in the house (except certain rooms you would need special items for) is accessible. But as time would advance, some of those rooms would be no longer accessible and would cause the player’s character to die. I made it so the main rooms the player would need to complete the game are accessible as long as the player has items that they need. Another idea I like in Device 6 I wanted to use was it’s puzzles. Device 6 is filled with difficult puzzles that challenged the reader to solve them. I’ve never made a puzzle, riddle, or any type of problem like that before so I wanted my puzzle to be more exploration based. In order to succeed, the player would has to have a key that is locked in a four digit safe. Each digit is hidden in the house among one of my eight notes. If the player finds the four notes that have the code then the player can access the safe. All eight of the notes tell the history of the cursed house. Some of those notes however have certain requirements to access. Some can only be accessed before a certain time and some can be only accessed after a certain time and with certain objects. To be able to plan an area this big I made a personal map for myself to have a layout. I did this from the video we watched in class about Colossal Cave Adventure. The guy in the video printed out a map to help him navigate through the game so I wanted to do the same just for my own benefit to help me stay organized. The notes that I wrote were slightly inspired by The Babysitter. I wanted them to be spread out for the player to find somewhat out of order. I wanted the player to try to find them all and to try to make sense of what happened just like I did when I read The Babysitter.
Two Worlds is an interactive fiction that explores the web and the physical world to tell a story. The goal of the player is to explain to their friend that they are in danger. However, the specific danger their friend is in will ultimately be determined by the player’s research in-game and the conclusions they draw from it.
The player begins in a room with two main components — a computer and a telephone— which they interact with to progress the story. By incorporating a computer, the player has an opportunity to explore a fictional internet by selecting various hyperlinks leading to different “pages” on the web, which are indicated by a change of color, font, and a gif. Whereas the telephone allows the player to communicate with NPCs (non-player characters) that track the decisions they make throughout the game, in addition to presenting dialog trees that the player may choose to follow.
The game itself was inspired by electronic works such as Galatea by Emily Short and Howling Dogs by Porpentine, but also reflects an experiment involving IF games and visuals. Galatea inspired the creation of complex NPCs that track the dialog choices made by the player. These choices are compiled and reiterated in a list of results shown to the player at the game’s conclusion. Numerous dialog trees were also created, which the player may fully explore after 18 runthroughs of the game. These trees allow players to make choices that influence the outcome of the story and reveal different paths, representing themes commonly found in interactive fiction.
Howling Dogs inspired the work’s changing background colors throughout the story, which occur whenever the player engages with the fictional web. These transitions serve to reinforce the idea that the web is a separate space from the physical world, differing in appearance, navigation, and content. Despite this difference, the player comes to rely on it as a primary source for understanding the world they live in and for informing their decisions. When the player steps away from their computer, they are transitioning from the world of the web to the world they live in. This central idea is what influenced the title of this piece, “Two Worlds”, as well as a creative way to integrate colors within the narrative.
In addition to drawing inspiration from Galatea and Howling Dogs, the work experiments with combining text and visuals within an IF game. It seeks to find a balance between these two factors while also finding a logical way to blend it within the story. While interactive fictions tend to place emphasis on the text over aesthetics, this work incorporates visuals such as colors and gifs. The gifs represent the multimedia aspect of the web, and how the internet can act as a window into other parts of the world.
In sum, Two Worlds is an interactive fiction game that explores two different environments— web space and physical space. This is done by indicating transitions from one world to another through the use of hyperlinks, colors, and moving images. It was inspired by Galatea and Howling Dogs, in addition to being an experiment that combined visuals with text-based games.
Here’s the link, enjoy! 🙂