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General => Check this out! => : Benjamin May 05, 2014, 08:41:23 PM

: Sleep when exhausted
: Benjamin May 05, 2014, 08:41:23 PM

I have been working on a project for a number of months and was hoping that I could approach you all here for some comments and criticism. (

: Re: Sleep when exhausted
: God at play May 05, 2014, 09:39:36 PM
Thanks for sharing this. My feedback after playing around for a few minutes:

I really appreciated the structure of this. To me, it has just the right amount of choices, number of paths, looping around, etc. I thought it resulted in a satisfying rhythm and pace, largely thanks to the short text.

The presentation was minimal, which caused me (for better or worse) to think more abstractly and focus on the structure more. However, I would love to play an audiovisual version of this. The text is simple enough that I can walk through the narrative quickly, which I really appreciate. But I want to take in more of the world, I want to go deeper, while keeping my relatively quick pace. To me, that means exploring a virtual world, since adding more text would change the pacing.

A problem you might run into moving to a virtual world would be the "maze problem." I'm not really a fan of getting stuck in mazes, and what happens is eventually I get too focused on spatial exploration and trying to get to the end and don't end up focusing on the story much. Another issue could be causing players to think they should only experience the content once, whereas there's a nice poetic refrain effect from running into the text again. Hopefully you can still have that with a virtual world.

My biggest point of critique is that the content doesn't really grab me. I didn't get very comprehensive in my exploration of the narrative tree, but in my first couple times through there's wasn't much happening. I got a cool feeling of narrative style, where it was more dreamlike and I wasn't sure what was real and where I was. I liked how it was more domestic and intimate. It felt like exploring memories and I really liked that. But the memories themselves weren't very compelling to me. I wanted more human intrigue, or more conflict, or beauty, or more something I guess. Because of that it doesn't really hold my attention after I start to get a feel for the experience.

Overall, this came across as strong in narrative design but not strong in narrative content. As I mentioned previously, adding strength in narrative content might lead to communicating more information, which might mean adding audiovisual content in order to keep the strong pacing.

Also, I got stuck in a spot:
Wind barely blew, took off my shoes, turned on light, photograph, Stanley park, one memory. Then I'm at the beach, firecrackers, and being bored. Can't get past that point, none of those 3 do anything.

Hope this helps ^_^

: Re: Sleep when exhausted
: Benjamin May 05, 2014, 11:16:14 PM
Ah, yeah. Sorry you got stuck. It was a dumb typo I missed, but it's fixed now. Thank you!

Thanks for commenting. You might be interested to know I used to have some more audio elements. Did you get a chance to see any of the visual elements in your time with it?

I definitely want the user's spatial interaction with the house to be abstract, and a little disorienting. It'd be really cool to try to play with that mechanic in a Portal-esqe way, but I don't really have the skills yet—at least not the skills to be in complete control of the presentation of things.

That narrative content stuff is hard for me, so thank you for your comments about that. If anyone else has any input around that, I'd really appreciate it. In writing all this, I was definitely mostly focused on creating something intimate, and something that imitates that bored/insomnia/exhausted/maybe-drunk feeling one can get. I struggled with the balance between too-mundane and too-interesting, not commonplace enough.

More beauty could definitely be the major pursuit for my next edit. It could create tension where there isn't (narratively) any.

Thanks again for your time! You've been very helpful.

: Re: Sleep when exhausted
: God at play May 06, 2014, 01:32:58 AM
Personally I've never felt very comfortable writing fiction. But before TDC I started a narrative heavy project. My solution was to have writers create the content while I did the design. I basically told them the format and gave them a brief and started sharing builds.

Maybe you're happy with what you have, but if it feels like a struggle, don't be afraid to make it a team effort.

: Re: Sleep when exhausted
: Benjamin May 06, 2014, 03:19:25 AM
I think I would love to make a non-text, 3Dish audio-visual presentation of this with a small team. I think, due to the way I've built it, the only thing I can really do to change it is edit the text. If it weren't so far along I wouldn't be afraid to make it a collaborative thing, but maybe I should just be more happy with what I already have anyway.

: Re: Sleep when exhausted
: Michaël Samyn May 11, 2014, 09:52:14 AM
I like how this makes me feel creative (after I cheated to be sure that my choice between the three options made a difference). Like I'm writing this story, deciding where to take my emotional experience. Very clever. Were you inspired by anything in particular? (I haven't paid much attention to text-based games at all, ever)

: Re: Sleep when exhausted
: Benjamin May 12, 2014, 06:57:02 PM
I wasn't really inspired much game-wise. One of the things that provoked me to make the project the way I did was my perception of Twine. I hadn't really liked any of the text adventures I had played that had been designed with Twine. They all felt very similar, and not inherently "interactive" like they were meant to be. (Though, the Fear of Twine ( exhibition really changed my perception.)

Though it is much different, I was inspired by bpNichol's First Screening ( I guess I'm just interested in moving/transforming text. Narratively, I was inspired to counter the Choose Your Own Adventure-style of narrative. And I'm also very interested in re-reading/skimming/forgetting things.

Thank you for your comments, Michaël.

: Re: Sleep when exhausted
: God at play May 15, 2014, 08:27:27 AM
I was inspired by your work and shared it at a recent talk I gave to kick off a game jam. I thought you'd like to know some of the developers made something inspired by it at the jam. So good job :)

: Re: Sleep when exhausted
: Benjamin May 16, 2014, 09:24:50 AM
Wow, that's fantastic. I am glad some people have finally seen this thing. Thanks for letting me know, too.

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