The web version of the game is a re-creation of the original Xcode version in the Wix website editor. There are some minor formatting changes and some pages have been merged, but the narrative remains unchanged.
– Narrative Design
– UI Design
– UX Design
I made this game as a project for one of my Interactive Media Design classes. The prompt was to create a text-based game where player interaction would involve making a series of choices that would change how the story progressed. It would involve a speculative setting that was critical of a certain aspect of our society. I worked along with a group of three other people in brainstorming the world: Christa Tebbs, Cynthia Sanchez, and Chance Crum.
We came up with the idea for a game set in a world where masses of garbage in the ocean had formed new continents, and people living elsewhere used the islands as penal colonies where they could send prisoners they didn’t want to deal with. In our collective idea, the main character would be someone who was wrongfully accused of a crime, and would have to come up with a plan to escape from the garbage islands. Our commentary with the setting was a criticism of our neglect of the Earth’s environment and a criticism of our neglect of the incarcerated. Once we had our concept, we split off and made our games individually.
Most of my time went into the game’s writing. I wanted to make the island seem like an absolutely horrific place to live, and the best way to do that was to put work into the descriptions of the world around the player. I made a couple of changes to the initial idea we came up with as a brainstorming group. First, I made our character someone who was arrested for drug crimes, as I thought making them innocent was too easy a way to make the prison seem inhumane. The statement I wanted to make was that mistreatment of prisoners is unacceptable even if they are guilty of the crimes they were incarcerated for. Second, I made the game’s story about finding food rather than escaping. I knew I wouldn’t be able to cover much ground in the time I had to develop this, so I wanted to cover a day in the life of a prisoner on the island in excruciating detail in order to drive home how inhumane the place was.
I storyboarded the game’s writing and narrative design in Twine, then brought what I did over to Xcode. I knew that if I wanted to create a cohesive story in this short amount of time, I wasn’t going to be able to give the story a huge amount of variation. The player doesn’t have much choice until they reach a point where the wrong decision could result in death or a drastic change to the story.
I modeled the color palette after a garbage truck. I wanted to get the player to associate the palette with garbage without making it so off-putting that they wouldn’t play the game.
The Information buttons were a response to an issue with converting this game from Twine to Xcode. Twine’s hyperlink system didn’t work well in Xcode, so I had to make a separate section of buttons to access information that would have been in hyperlinks located in the blocks of text.
This was the most popular part of the game with people who played it. They liked how it gave them the option to dive deeper into the lore if they wanted to, and in the case of the “Gulls” option, gave them information that could help them survive a potentially lethal seagull attack later in the game.
If I had more time to work on the project, I’d make the visuals look a bit dirtier to really sell the grime and misery of the island. The visuals just look a bit too clean for the subject matter. The clean-looking UI doesn’t work as well for this project as it would go on to do in SculptShare. The justified text inside of the boxes was also distracting. When building the web version, I did not carry that over.