Cause and Effect


This post is about the game I developed for this class using twine. You can play it here.


When I sat down to develop a game for this class I knew that it would provide me with the platform to tell a story that has been in my head for years now. The premise is quite simple: a ship arrives back to Earth after an extended period to find that the Earth is completely destroyed. The protagonist is in possession of a time machine and has the ability to travel back and possibly change the events that led up to the Earth’s demise. The reason that the Earth is destroyed is because aliens have destroyed it.


Originally I wanted this story to be a movie in the style of the movie Source Code. The protagonist would travel in loop attempting to finally right the problem, learning new ways to combat the alien invasion. In a way it was exactly the plot of the episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called Cause and Effect. I ended up actually calling the game this as homage to Star Trek. This is not the only allusion to Star Trek in the game, I also mention that the ship is called the Defiant, which is the name of Worf’s ship in Star Trek: First Contact. The Borg destroy it in the movie, and honestly, Worf’s inclusion in that film is a little bit baffling for a lot of reasons, but whatever, I just thought it was a cool name. The other reference to Star Trek is the fact that your time traveling ship is a mining ship, which is reminiscent of Nero’s ship in the new 2009 Star Trek movie.


At any rate, using this idea as a launching point I realized that an interactive fiction using Twine would be perfect for the story. This allowed me to give the player choice, which in turn complicated my fairly simple idea quite a bit. I now was faced with the task of writing in every single possible choice the player may make in seemingly endless numbers of time travel loops. It actually turned out better than I was hoping, but it was quite tedious, and due to only understanding the basics in Twine, I had to write in every possibility instead of something less tedious and time consuming. There are definitely more than a few mistakes I made, and some of them really bug me. There are (so far as I’ve been able to see) three pathways that lead to dead ends that should lead to an endgame. It is really frustrating because when I open up twine to figure out how to possibly fix this issue I find that I now am unable to navigate the incompressible web of possibilities.


Even though there are definitely issues in the design, I am really happy with the final product, and I’d love it if people want to give it a try.

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