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.