Chapter #1 – Drawing Out a Map

I honestly can say that I’m nervous about the coming weeks ahead. It’s a good nervous though, I feel like I’m back in familiar territory, working on a final project (creatively) in a short time-span, reminiscent of my time at Mason Gross. I can’t wait to meticulously obsess over every detail, experimenting and reforming as I go, to let my wild passions run free as I try and find out what it is I want to do. It’s my journey as an artist and a writer, to finally give voice to my thoughts. In any case, I have my working environment ready as I always do before working. I’m playing my creative music playlist, lights dimmed to create atmosphere, sipping a bit of wine, and working from dusk to dawn. Here’s what happened so far.

APPROACH

This was the trickiest part of my initial planning. Ideas popped throughout my head as to what to make this story on. I’ve had experience with Game Maker before, as I’ve used it in a former project. But my time is limited as it is, so that would not cut it. With my experience in visual novels, I also considered using Renpy, a free and approachable program made just for this task, but might prove too tedious for what I envision, for now. I’ll keep this in mind for if I want to expand/remake this project. I’ve heard many people throughout this semester mention Twine, and after properly engaging with it and seeing what is possible, I chose this to be my vessel.

The reason for it? I’d like my project to have some sort of navigation component, which would be too difficult to properly implement in the other programs I’ve listed. Time is of the essence, so I’m prioritizing story/aesthetic over system, and Twine is easy to use on any computer so there’s that too.

I’ve already tinkered with linking and writing, as well as configuring structure and navigation. With this I can spend more time on working on the content within. Hopefully my limited knowledge in coding can assist me in further customizing my approach.

This wasn’t the only thing I’ll be using, I’ve also added on a plugin that will prove crucial. While Twine comes with it natively, I’ve went ahead and installed SugarCube, a program that assists in implementing multimedia components into the project, which is important to what I want to do. It needs a lot of work on my end, I’m having some difficulty getting the images to work, but that’s only minor homework and I’m hoping to understand this as I go along so as to not take too much time worrying.

TOOLS NEEDED

I’ve already mentioned that Twine is my go-to program, that’s one tool.

The reason I’ve chosen to install SugarCube? Visuals are going to be the biggest component to my story, so I’m going to be using my own photographs I’ve taken back in early March. I’ll edit/tweak them in Photoshop, but I’ll be using these images as backdrops to compliment the narrative. All of them were taken with no one around me at that moment, which also ties into the themes I want to tackle (I’ll talk about briefly in a bit). Here’s one image I plan on using:

As for audio, I plan on using a combination of diegetic sounds and silence, used sparingly, to create a grounded experience. I might consider tweaking them to distort them (depends on the story approach I aim for), but it’s something to consider rather than commit to.

STORY IDEA

I’ve been tinkering with two plots that deal with the same themes. I want to talk about solitude and mental health, mainly anxiety and/or depression. These are topics I talk about often in my visual arts, but I never considered finding a way to express this with words, so I’d like to challenge my definitions of these words and see what comes from it.

1.) The first plot (which I was geared towards at first but might drop) is a narrative tale of a silent protagonist in 90’s when mental health wasn’t as discussed as it is now. I wanted to have the story be told in the mind of a quiet person as they observe the world around them, expressing their fears and insecurities in a sea of people that are quick to judge. It is the more serious/grounded of the two ideas.

2.) A surreal depiction of someone who manages to finally cut themselves off from the rest of the world in the pursuit of ultimate isolation. The story will chronicle their days in a deserted area as they come to terms with only the voice of their minds making sense of their situation. It leans more towards the absurd, but hints at underlying topics of depression as the story unfolds. I haven’t decided on the story beats exactly, but I have a few passages I’d like to write down for this narrative.

Isolation, anxiety and depression are topics that hit me o a personal level. Hopefully not to get too sentimental, but I’ve been battling these aspects of my life for many years, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. While I am introverted by nature, many instances occurred where I feel like an outsider to the rest of the world, trapped in only my mind to keep myself company. It’s cramped, uneasy and terrifying sometimes. I’m hoping to use this story to act as a meditative one, where I can get my thoughts on the screen and make sense of what it is I feel. To create a bridge out of my head and learn to open up a bit more. This project will be very important to me and I hope to anyone else who feel the same way I do.

As it stands, I’m still in the early stages, but I’m gearing towards a concrete idea of sorts. I have the materials I want to use ready at hand, but I’ll keep an open mind on what else to add. I’m experimenting with both narratives to see what comes to life, and from there I’ll pick a story and flesh it out. I hope to troubleshoot as much as I can before next class so that I can primarily focus on getting the story made, but we’ll see how it goes. Stay tuned for future updates.

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