Digital Archaeology [Deconstruction]

My Digital Studies group decided to deconstruct a Nintendo Game Boy Advance, from the year 2001 (technically created in 2000).

We deconstructed the mechanism last Monday and have since been documenting the details of each individual piece.  You can check our documentation of each piece here.


First Module: Creativity [Reflection]

For our first module, I joined the Interactive Fiction team.

Interactive Fiction is something I’ve been interested in since when I first started using a computer. I remember playing The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy interactive game when I was younger, and now I dabble in interactive video games, like Telltale’s The Walking Dead, where the choices the player makes influences the game’s outcome.

In making my own interactive fiction piece, I found many elements interesting and some challenging. I loved that there were so many platforms, even more than just the ones listed on the website, ready to help aspiring authors/creators draft their pieces.  All of the websites I looked at required no knowledge of coding, which made them very easy to navigate and to use. However, I did run into some unexpected problems in creating my own piece.

My original idea for a game was so drawn out, and I didn’t realize how long it takes to even create one room with interactive objects in it. A formula listing every possible interaction and their consequences had to be laid out for each object in every room on the platform I was using (Playfic). The story felt incomplete to me if I didn’t give the player a way to examine and use each object. This led me to narrowing down my original idea of a zombie apocalypse survival game, to a much simpler room escape game. Even just creating one room took me days to configure. Whenever I thought the game would work, I would get an error with something like, “The system does not understand the phrase [use table]” or something to that degree. It was frustrating to have to keep changing my work and trying to figure out what went wrong every time the script failed, but in the end it was rewarding.

I definitely learned that something seemingly simple can very quickly become complicated. Just because coding wasn’t required, didn’t mean that what I wrote was guaranteed to process correctly every time.  In the end, I am proud of what I made, and will definitely continue to dabble with Playfic, and maybe one day I’ll be able to write and publish a zombie playthrough, but for now I’ll take these stories one room at a time.

First Module: Creativity [Progression Report]

After toying around with story ideas and reassessing the mediums used in interactive fiction, I’ve started transferring my paper ideas into the digital mediums.

After toying around with each of the platforms a bit, I’ve decided to use Playfic, rather than Twine.

Playfic has been a bit difficult to maneuver with, but I believe once I get more practice with it I will be able to convey my story properly with it.

Using Playfic, I’ve already changed the layout of my story a few times, just to try to get it to fit within the parameters that Playfic functions around. The tutorial provided isn’t terribly helpful, so I’ve looked at other stories and their codes to try and grasp how to platform works.

The code seems straight-forward, but it also leaves me with many questions. For example, why can’t I get the backpack to show up in the list on the right? I’ll have to look through more stories to find out how other’s have created their stories, but once I get the hang of this app, I think the rest of the module will be smooth-sailing.

Assignment: Bots

Our class recently studied bots and practiced making bots ourselves. It was amazing to me to see that so many different kinds of boys exist and that there is a genuine history behind them.

I also didn’t know that making a bot could be so easy. I used SSBot, which is a tool designed by my Digital Studies professor to help others make bots. SSBot is a really nice tool because it does not require the user to have any knowledge of coding. You just click a few buttons, insert some text, and you’ve got a bot.

It was amazing to go through the process of creating a bot myself and see what it’s actually like. While some parts of creating the bot were a lot of trial and error, I was able to create this bot that posts 24 times a day (once an hour) in less than a day.

Creating this bot has really intrigued me and I’d like to experiment with SSBot and possibly create some other bots, likely poetry inspired as well.

If you’d like to check out my bot, please do! My bot is poemsby_ and it mixes together fragments of poetry by Rupi Kaur and Trista Mateer. While not everything it tweets makes sense, sometimes it sounds pretty cool.