I’ve written before about Twine, a game making tool aimed specifically at constructing choose-your-own-adventure style text games. If you heard about Depression Quest last year (probably for all the wrong reasons), then you’ll have encountered a Twine-built game.

Anyway, I’d previously been attempting to create an elaborate steampunk adventure based on an Arms Race comic script I’d written a few years back. It could have been quite fun but was far too enormous a project to be my first foray into making games. As you can see from my blog post about responsive characters, what I was really interested in was character interactions.

Fast-forward to now and I’ve got two strands of game-making going on. First up I’m still making my way through Tom Francis’ superb GameMaker tutorial series over on YouTube. That’s going OK. The other thing I’m now working on is a new Twine-based project, having put the Arms Race adventure on hold.

This new project is called The Lift and is deliberately extremely contained in its scope. It has two characters (including the player) and one location: a lift in a crappy apartment building. It’s entirely about the interaction between those characters, with the player dictating the relationship.

The goal is to make it feel extremely responsive and natural, with the conversation (or lack thereof) proceeding in a convincing manner such that the player feels engaged with the relationship. Depending on the actions of the player they might forge a new friendship or simply stand in silence as the lift ascends the building.

I’m trying to avoid simple Bioware-style Good/Neutral/Bad responses, instead favouring a less structured and more freeform conversation tree. I’m already finding out exactly why most devs constrain their conversation options! The approach I’m taking wouldn’t be practical for a larger project with multiple interactions, but given that the entire purpose of The Lift is the conversation I think it makes sense on this occasion.

Anyway, once it’s done I’ll be posting it up somewhere for free, at which point you can tell me whether I’ve created something interesting or messy. I’ll be blogging how I go, too.

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