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[devlog] two truths and a...

A topic by madi ballista created Jul 13, 2016 Views: 357 Replies: 11
Viewing posts 1 to 12
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intro
Hello everyone! Madi Ballista here, diving into my very first game jam. This is not my first experience with Twine, though it will be my first finished game, and a solo effort at that!

overview & gameplay
"two truths and a..." is a psychological horror game built in Twine 1.4 with Sugarcube 2. The game chronicles the strange series of events that follow the mysterious appearance of wind turbines in a small New England town one summer, as perceived by the two main characters, best friends Rashida and Ivy. "two truths and a..." (2ta2, because I'm lazy) incorporates some of my favorite elements of psychological horror, such as missing time, reality and perception dissonance, unreliable narrators, unexplained suicides, and a whole host of other things. I've been binge watching horror movies for the last two weeks, so I am set.

Why wind turbines? I don't know, man. The sight of wind turbines on the horizon has always filled me with an inexplicable sense of dread, so I thought I'd try and convey that bizarre fear in the form of an interactive fiction game.

2ta2 is a pretty straightforward click-through interactive fiction game with branching story paths. The game can be played from the perspective of either Rashida or Ivy, chosen at game start, to explore the different series of events and the intersections of their experiences. The gameplay itself is simple, so the aim here is to convey that atmosphere of growing discomfort and dread and slowly build suspense for the player, and leave them constantly guessing as to what, exactly, is going on, and what they can really trust.

Also: numbers stations. Numbers stations are creepy as hell, so naturally they play a role in 2ta2's story.

goals
1. Learn something new. I'm already fairly familiar with Twine, so my main goal for this project is to do something with it I've never done before: including sound, and using timed text. The majority of the sound assets in this game will be sound effects rather than music, meant to serve as very light jump scares or add to the suspense.

2. Create an effective atmosphere. Rather than just focusing on the content, I'm experimenting with the presentation of the content in order to achieve that chilling, spooky feeling. Time-delayed text is a big part of this experiment. In setting subsequent blocks of text to appear on timed delays in each passage, I hope to gradually build an air of suspense and helplessness that reflects the characters' mental states.

3. Multiple endings. Although I'm working to make a short, compact game that can be reasonably finished within the time frame, I'm also aiming to have five different endings the player can get in 2ta2.

progress
The first two days of the jam were kind of a wash for me due to RL stuff, so I got a bit of a late start, but I am on track! So far I've got about ~15% of Ivy's route done, and I've been fine-tuning the timing on the text delays to get the right pace (as well as spending about half a day figuring out how to get the timed delays to work properly). I've collected a handful of sound assets, but I'll need to spend more time hunting down the right sound effects and implement them later this week.

There's nothing really interesting to screenshot since it's a text-only game, so in lieu of anything visually snazzy to show you, here's a piece of music that plays a thematic and narrative role in the game.

Looking forward to posting further updates!!

Sounds cool !! I'm looking forward to playing yr game.

Host

the themes you're working with are soo interesting and appealing and i'm really excited about this as a twine game....!! i'd love to see more of this

Same, this sounds like something I would like to experience. Good luck!

(Edited 1 time)

Thanks everyone, I'm so glad that people are interested!

So far I'm finding that the biggest challenge, more than anything, is getting the delay timing for the text right. The ideal is that the next chunk of text shouldn't appear until you're done reading what's already there, but of course everyone reads at different speeds so I'm trying to find a good common ground. I've been getting some helpful feedback about the timing from some friends, though, so hopefully I'm getting closer to nailing it! It's pretty crucial to the feel of the game, so I've been spending...a lot of time on it, whoops.

I had to call out of work today so hopefully I can turn this into a super productive game dev day!

UPDATE: I'm still trucking away at this, although I'm still a little behind. I've been squeezing in productivity when I can, but it's been a pretty busy week. But I am determined!!!

I've started on Rashida's route in earnest; I'm trying to write them more or less side-by-side, tackling them in chunks. I'm focusing on getting most of the story done before I worry about sound implementation, although I still need to gather assets for it. Mostly I'm just concerned about whether or not I'll be able to finish on time.

I can't do much in the way of screenshots, so here is a very short playable demo of Ivy's route!

Host

aaaa this is really awesome so far!!! i really love the tone of it... it has just enough mystery to keep me hooked, and i love the hints of the other character--it makes me curious how rashida would think differently. i love it!

Ahh thanks so much :D I'm hoping Rashida's route will be just as interesting.

I've noticed that in the past, one of my major weaknesses as a writer is saying TOO much and overexposing, so this is very much an attempt/experiment in reining that in and learning to be more ~~mysterious. So far it's really fun!

I'M STILL SO BEHIND, I'M RUSHIN' LIKE CRAZY god i really hope i can finish this

the last day of this jam is my mother's wedding LMAO SO.......

i'm trying to just get to the Turning Point of this game as my next concrete but i've still got a lot to do there too WEEPS... wish me luck, friends, i think i'm gonna need it

So realistically speaking I'm PROBABLY not going to be able to finish by the deadline, because I still haven't managed to hit the turning point, but regardless of whether or not the game is finished by the end of the week, by god, I am GOING TO FINISH THIS GAME.

Host

definitely submit the game by the deadline anyway! it's easier to go back and tweak your submission than go through admin for late submission. this is a really interesting game and i can't wait to see the rest of it!

WELL I definitely did not finish the game but I did submit it! So there is a playable demo up for now. I hope to finish this game pretty soon though, I've been moving along at a good clip.