Twine Game Reflection

Before starting the reflection for creating DMD’s Revenge, I wanted to mention that I feel like our group slacked off when naming this game prototype. We kept the placeholders we used while writing. The only name that appears in the game, DMD, is actually a shorthand for “someone unlucky” as we jokingly decided to call him since he never made an appearance alive.

In the process of creating the game, my main role was to add in detailed descriptions for each of the scenes, making sure the tone of the game is consistent, and putting everything together using Twine.

The story of our game was inspired by an episode from the Japanese TV series, “Unnatural”. Before deciding on the subject of our game, we were stuck when deciding what social issue we should address. One of our members brought this episode and bully up as a theme. After that, while Wendy and Elaine wrote the main storyline, Roy and I worked on adding selection choices and details in scenes to make the story more interactable and game like. While writing out detailed scenes for the game, I tried to shift the perspective of the player onto different characters, hoping to increase their curious about what’s going on.

Looking back at the game, I’m pretty happy with what our group has created. DMD’s Revenge seems more like a visual/interactive novel as it is more plot based with less controllable options and paths to take. If we were to make this game fully, I think we could add in a lot more details into the suicide case itself, making it more of a suspense and even almost a detective game.

We could do this by developing a more complete and complicated case. Then, by adding more in depth interactable characters, a hint collecting system, and making different pathways for players to take based on hints that lead to different endings, give the players more control over their character in the game. Adding on to that, while players shift perspective onto other characters, we could write out parallel ongoing stories with actions that affect other character’s choices. This would improve characters’ development in the game and make the game much more playable repeatedly.

In terms of visual and audio, while it’s good to add them, it’s better to keep them limited to have the players focus on the plot and use their imagination for scenes through descriptions from the text. For example, some background noises of people talking could be added to the classroom scene and some sort of stream notification sound for the stream watching scene. Visuals we could incorporate into the hint system for players to observe and obtain some information.

Aside from the detailed writing, telescoping has been a very important skill as I needed to keep the main plot in mind while managing different options and descriptions for scenes, making sure they make sense and connect to finally make up the whole story.

Twine Game Reflection

The plot of our Twine game is inspired by a Japanese tv series called Unnatural Death. We adapted from one of the episodes. The main character of our story is a forensic doctor and a bunch of high school students. In the story, the main character DMD undergoes tremendous school violence and begins to seek a solution to change his life. Due to the extreme mental trauma he received, he decides to commit suicide and try to impute his death to the one of the students that has been bullying him. The truth is discovered eventually, which means the main character failed to do so. By the end, we want people to pay attention to school violence, to actually understand what bullying is, which is not a simple physical attack between students. 

The creation process was smooth, four of us decided to split the work. Therefore, we didn’t assign roles. Since I was the only one in our group that had watched the tv series, I wrote the original plot of the game first, and my group mates revised the plot to be more game-like. I think we did a great job choosing the topic, and setting up the framework.

Twine Game Reflection

In the Twine game project, the four of us split the roles fairly evenly while we worked together on the scripts on a shared Google document. We set up a time to meet for several consecutive days to brainstorm ideas for the game. Very instantly we have decided that we want to create a story that would have been as intriguing as a movie or tv drama. Thus, we each have our suggestions and eventually agreed upon Wendy’s suggestion, a story from an episode of a Japanese TV show “Unnatural Deaths”. At first, the rest of us were doubtful of the plot since we have not watched the show. Therefore, we took the time to understand its plot in order to add our own twist to it. We developed a connection of the episode to a social issue that we have discussed in this class, which is peer bullying, a prevalent issue in education systems all around the world.

My main job was revising the script plot transcribed by other group members, turning to into a more game-like format, adding fun choices to the game that would increase playability, yet forcing the players to come back to the main plot eventually. This was very difficult to achieve since the only way to show the play-through logic on Google Doc is through text. As a result, we created various reference points so the players and jump back and forth through the story. I am very pleased and proud of our end result. I think we have come up with an adaptation of the story that is more closely related to our lives as American students while shaping the game into an interactive, playable story. I think this will definitely benefit me in my future writing experiences, since writing come in many different forms and one of them could be writing an intriguing story for a specific, targeted audience so they can understand an issue that I am trying to convey.

Twine Game Reflection

My most important contributions to the group project was to compose a whole story (from start to finish) about one of the three characters that we had. Our group designed a deductive game that players followed along the stories of three inter-related characters who live in the New York City during the Covid-19 pandemic. We separated the work pretty evenly between the four of us. From the beginning, we brainstormed a general framework together that we would start with a few characters, each with their individual story, and eventually let the players know if their character was infected by the Covid-19 or not. During the writing process, several of us ran into questions and we found ways to help each other and solve problems like how long we should write for each link, how we can develop three distinct characters while having them do the same thing (like go to work), etc. We presented to our class in a succinct manner, aiming to attract curiosity from our audiences to try our amazing game. I’m proud of our twine game, and I believe players would feel surprised and happy about the overall experience of playing. If I had the chance to do it over again, I would make the story of each page shorter and each option underneath that story simpler. I found that it was hard to track the logic and quality of the writing as we accumulated multiple complicated paragraphs.

I developed new skills to create a new game for myself. This is my first time doing so and definitely a dream-come-true moment. Growing as a kid, I played lots of games, and I always wanted to make a game on my own and let all my friends know “hey, I made that.” However, before this opportunity, I was also somewhat hesitant and lacked knowledge of technological tools to put together a game of myself. So I feel grateful of this course and this project. It really helps me fulfill my dream. And for certain, this twine game was not perfect; however, I think it was a big and meaningful first step for me as I found great passion in making new games that entertain people.

Feeling interested? Come and play our game by downloading here.

Reflecting on Groundhog Day

As a member of the production crew for Groundhog Day, I played the main idea person in our twine game. The game generated incorporated a large portion of my ideas and thoughts. To make sense of the twine game assignment, my group used brainstorming to develop ideas that wanted to be heard with no negative feedback, then deciding on the favorite images to be brought into the game. The game was designed to the best of our abilities. I did not have to employ any technology or writing strategy for my role; I mainly just wrote down my ideas on our shared google doc, where we all discussed them. In preparing to present our game to the class, we made a presentation and split it according to our development. I feel like the final product could be a great insight into the high school atmosphere of a senior going through the pandemic. If I could do it repeatedly, I would not do a single thing differently about our twine game.
Working on the twine game, I learned to employ group brainstorming strategies that openly engage in the product. I developed new technological skills on twine because it was a brand new platform for me. Throughout the project, my group used an open environment procedure for game development. The development of Groundhog Day was much like my writing process, blurting out all of my ideas for the assignment, then working at what material works well. I am most proud of about Groundhog Day because it allowed everyone to voice whatever concerns or ideas they wanted for the game without judgment. It was a new process for me, and I hope to bring my development style of videogames to my writing in the future.

Twine Game Reflection

My main role in creating the twine game was to create the story. I needed to establish a backstory and key character conflicts for the main character in order to progress the theme of hopelessness, perseverance, drama, and conflict during quarantine. We decided to focus on the story of the game first, and then we would move onto the mechanics of the game and putting it into twine. After the story, we wanted to think of ways we could engage the player in our game. One mechanic we hoped to include was a meter that tracked two different factors, health and resolve. These things were measured by tracking the character’s physical, mental, and social health as well as energy/drive, achademics, trauma, and future. We tried to add as much positive feedback into the game as possible. Since twine is more of a coding program and its difficult to work together, we decided to make Ranjan in charge of putting the game itself into twine, while the rest set up the framework for the game. In our game we did a very good job of involving the player by giving them decisions to make, and allowing them to see their decisions play out in game. By doing this I learned how to portray themes through the actions and decisions a character makes. I had to methodicaly decide which action made which bar go down. This will help me in future writing because it will allow me to analyze characters better because I have experience creating one myself.

Twine Game Reflection

Making a new game was definitely a new process for everyone in our group. We were confused and had no idea at the very first. Approaching deadline, we started to dig deeper in the topic and focus more on the phase “social issue”. It was the breakthrough of our work and we started to brainstorm from there. Since we all watched different dramas from all over the world, we raised the idea that why not we adapted the idea from the Japanese TV drama “Unnatural” to design a game talking about school violence, knowing that school violence is becoming more and more common these years and the power of the internet cannot be ignored. With the consent of all group members, we started to write our original adapted plots. I mainly focused on writing the original adapted plots by rewatching the episode again so that the other team members could revise it into a game format. To make it more engaging, we made it different choices, so that players could be absorbed into the story in the game while playing it and reading some fun choices. The plots are revealed as a conversation format with some dark background musics. The final product took us a big amount of time and we gradually went very into this assignment; we divided each part of our introduction of presentation to our game properly before game. The product looks very good to all of us and we were satisfied about its reflection on the society.

Twine game reflection

My experience making a Twine game was challenging yet interesting. Since I was doing it on my own and taking all the roles, I had the freedom to steer the story to the direction I want without compromising with anyone else. Learning how to use Twine and making sense of the mechanics was a problem at first. After knowing how Twine work, I immediately thinking of Tangaroa Deep, a game we played this semester, since it involves picking out options to progress through the game. I wanted to create a game that follows a chronological order but at the same time has multiple unpredictable outcomes depending on how a player plays the game. Tieing that idea with a social issue, I made a video vlog type of game in which I show a day in the life of a college student in the pandemic. This kind of daily vlogs were really popular on youtube in the past and I think they are even more relevant now when life satisfaction is low.

Overall, I think the presentation turned out well and I made some progress in writing the plot. The overall tone of the game is depressive and monotonous, which are emotions and thoughts of my character. Going forward, I will make a tragedy happen, possibly suicide of a fellow classmate due to mental health issues and some unfortunate events. This will cause the main character to be grateful for what he/she is having compared to others in these trying times – a roof to stay under, strong internet connection, an education he deserves, etc.

Making a Twine game was also a unique experience. It forces me to think in multiple scenarios and dimensions rather than linearly like how I usually write an essay or story. I find it similar to coding as well, except without an objective. I create the objective for myself. Completing this project is another way I have produced content through written text this semester, as with other methods like writing a podcast episode script, reflecting on my experiences, or liveblogging games. But as stated above, when making a Twine game I have to think of different scenarios and how to connect the branches instead of thinking linearly like in other works. I have learned to think gamefully and write critically through these experiences, and I will carry them to other assignments and classes in the future.

COVID Disparity Quest Reflection

When our group first came together for the Twine project, we realized that we wanted to show the challenges that one was forced to make early in the pandemic. We had decided on using meters to illustrate the challenging task of limiting COVID risk, keeping money afloat, and maintaining a strong mental capacity without stressors. We eventually realized that in fact, we did not have the capabilities to create meters. Although we were allowed to still incorporate meters into our proposal, this moment was our first reckoning with the immense work that it takes to create a game. As I reflect on this process, I have a great deal of respect for game creators in how they are able to seamlessly incorporate a storyline into the technical mechanics of the game.

Our group soon realized that the best way to develop this game, given our limitations, was through the storyline. Through conversations, we found that our initial game plot was not engaging. Every single person has had to make difficult choices during this pandemic, so why would someone choose to play the exact same scenario? In focusing on different socioeconomic classes, we wanted players to be able to see how the pandemic disproportionally affected people of lower income. In retrospect, we were doing exactly what Ian Bogost explains is part of the micro-ecology of games: creating empathy. In talking about the game Darfur is Dying, Bogost says “those games would do well to invite us to step into the smaller, more uncomfortable shoes of the downtrodden rather than the larger, more well-heeled shoes of the powerful.” In developing the game, we did not care for our players to learn about the frivolous choices that people in the high socioeconomic class, the “well-heeled shoes of the powerful,” face. Rather, by creating low, medium, and high options that a player can choose from, we were hoping to show the contrast in decisions among these different characters and thus have the players really delve into those small, uncomfortable shoes.

An initial challenge we faced when this group came together was finding a time to meet outside of class. Mudita, Pratyush, and Rishika are 10.5 hours ahead of me, so that was a bit of a barrier. I think we found, though, that despite coming from different places we all felt similarly about the struggles that people of low socioeconomic classes faced and were thus able to use all of our experiences to develop the plot. Nevertheless, I am incredibly grateful to the three for inviting me into their already assembled podcast group and working around the time barrier.

Twine Reflection

I would say that my most important contribution was integrating the ‘Groundhog Day’ idea into the project. Prior to this, our group was considering doing a narrative style gameplay, with multiple long storylines. We still maintained elements of this, but by adding an element of daily repetition, a la “Groundhog Day”, it better represented the grueling nature of quarantine, as most people can attest to the fact that for at least a short period during quarantine, life felt like you were doing the same thing every day, over and over again. 

One new technical skill I learned in doing this project includes using Twine to storyboard a situation with numerous options. As an aspiring screenwriter, this is a great online tool for planning narratives, as it allows for multiple different storylines based on a character decision. I would say the way me and my group approached this project was very different to the way we approached our podcast episodes, because in our podcast episodes we tried to first develop our argument based on the game’s medium, but in the Twine game, we had to sort of work backwards by creating a medium that fostered an understanding of what Senior quarantine was like. I’m hoping to use these skills as a creator – in writing stories, creating games, or even animating/doing art, I plan to make use of my work in developing a strong medium to express meaning.