Type I Error Wrap Up
Max and I have added the final touches to ‘Type I Error’ and uploaded it to a server. It is available here.
At its completion Type I Error was quite a large affair. 37543 characters, 6103 words, 108 passages, 152 links, 23 images and 9 audio recordings. It was the kind of project that required gradual building of links and passages, a lot of play testing and refining links and methods of navigating a textual labyrinth. Now that it is completed though it feels so small to us; We know every nook and cranny. I would liken it to a complicated building that you have spent a lot of time inside, back doors, stairs and connecting passages become second nature. In a project designed to be like a maze, we have the map. See below for a screenshot of the main part of the finished project.
As you can see it became not only quite long but also in parts, extremely intricate.
As we have written a lot has changed. Our protagonist called Sam became Samantha which added a whole new dimension to the project as we were actively subverting the film noir genre. In hindsight and without the change the story would have been just another ‘Bourne’esque Hollywood piece. It was nice to actually have a female lead who had no romantic ties to any other main characters.
The way we have written has also further taken on the hyperlink style. When we started the hyperlinks merely fleshed out the story, allowing us to add detail without slowing down the reader/player/user too much. Later as we became more used to writing hyper-textually we built in more choices, more loops and forks in the road. Some of these don’t change much but a couple change big parts of the story. You certainly would have to play it multiple times to get the full story. In this way it exhibits transmedia tendencies, each of the choices is able to be enjoyed as played through once, but reader/player/users will get a much better idea of what is going on if they really explore the project.
Being the large and intricate project that it became, we didn’t have enough time to take the narrative as far as we’d planned. Instead we have finished at the end of what could be called the first installment, ‘chapter 1’. Whether we get the chance to come back and write/produce the other chapters remains to be seen but perhaps next semester. I’m not sure if you can end this sort of story anyway. It does show how much work goes into this sort of media making. At some points during the production I wondered if Max and I had made the right decision not to use both of our extensive Film & TV backgrounds and try something neither of us had done before. In film you can polish a script, shoot until you are happy and put all of your effort into one edit. In interactive media you have to take a whole host of variables into account, what will the reader/player/user do here? What sort of computer/browser are they using? Will they be able to solve this but still be challenged? How large is the file size (it really does matter for browser games)? It felt like we were building an object that didn’t just need to be versatile to be dropped once to prove its abilities. It had to be dropped from all heights in all manner of conditions.
It has been immensely rewarding and enjoyable working on Type I Error in Story Lab. It has also been extremely tiring and frustrating at times. But I’m yet to experience a media that isn’t. I hope that our project goes beyond the academic scope and perhaps entertains a few people around the world who are into interactive, transmedia fiction. I look forward to seeing if Max is able to go back to screen writing after being able to write not just one scenario but several. As for myself, I’m aiming to produce a few more Twine games in the future and even for using it academically as a kind of interactive essay which is able to embed pictures and video.
A big thank you to:
Daniel Binns for helping us with narrative and structural feedback.
Adrian Miles for server support.
Mathilde Lester, Alice Wighton and Isobel Gurney for playtesting.
The folks at Twine for making their software easy and free to use.
Twine wiki for excellent support and macros.
The RMIT techs in Building 9 for lending us recording equipment.