WHAT MAKES YOU HUMAN - Interactive Fiction

game design, prototyping, HTML/CSS, storytelling

What Makes You Human Homepage

Spoiler-Free Premise

 

In a distant future, a new civilization thrives on planet Earth. You don’t know what character you’re embodying, but you begin at the entrance of an abandoned building, following a signal you’re receiving from an unknown sender that tells you to search for something within the building. Piece together the history of the civilization you’re a part of and how it came to be by exploring this world and your choices. Bit by bit, you’ll get closer to what you’re searching for, and you’ll make life-changing choices along the way.

Play WMYH online at this link! 

Process Overview

In two weeks, I brainstormed, wrote, and built this single-player interactive fiction game for the prompt, "The Future We Deserve," where we were asked to explore a dystopian future that is created by a negative behavior we see today. What Makes You Human is a story experience born from CS 377G: Designing Serious Games with Professor Christina Wodtke and Game Designer Chris Bennett.

 

Interactive Fiction is the perfect medium for immersive experiences and harrowing player-made decisions. The theme I chose to build around was Artificial Intelligence. My process for creating this experience was:

+ Research on potential topics I could write about, including AI, robotics, and climate change

+ Storyboarding the stages of the narrative and developing a physical world map

+ Writing and editing drafts of the game to amplify worldbuilding and immersion

+ Implementing visual effects and audio effects with HTML/CSS and Twine

+ Eight rounds of Playtesting and Iteration

+ An immersive narrative experience that messes with your mind

WMYH was nominated by a member of the CS 377G teaching staff as one of the best games and was approved by the entire staff as deserving of a perfect score on the following criteria: Effectiveness, Playtesting, Interesting Choices with Consequences, Extending the Medium, and Documentation. 

The rest of this page contains spoilers: please play the game before proceeding!

Results

Players expressed distress and sadness at the choices they had to make in this dystopian future. 

Playtester Quotes

“I’m sad I died because I was so close to the end!”

“I’m feeling a lot of anxiety right now, because I don’t know what’s... going to happen.”

“I really like the way you paced it where you're slowly exploring the world at the beginning, not feeling rushed, in fact not really knowing where it's going at all. Then at the end it's like ONE. STRAIGHT. PATH. MAKE. A DECISION. NOW. I like the contrast!”

"Definitely felt like an action movie protagonist semi-frantically rummaging around a place that was about to collapse.”

Documentation

This process document explains in detail my various playtesting sessions and iterative improvement.

Final Process Document: End to end game development

Game Link (again)

Personal Reflection (Medium)

Skills: Research, Design, Testing, Iteration, Rapid prototyping, User experience, Writing, Storytelling, HTML/CSS, Twine

WMYH Story Building Board

WMYH Story Building Board and Physical Map