The Sky in the Room After-birth

Posted by (twitter: @aliendovecote)
September 2nd, 2012 10:33 am

The Sky in the Room was written in 48 hours at a friend’s house during a transitional period in my life, with Twine, a simple but powerful tool for creating hyperlink fiction/games.

The first spasm of Sky came from thinking about the comic Blame!–massive city caverns of flesh and machinery without end. i only read a little Blame! a while ago and remember none of it so it’s more about my idealized memories of that sort of thing–a whiff of boundlessness to get me writing.

then Mike Patton’s cover of Il Cielo In Una Stanza came up on my playlist and the passion of this song and the beauty of the lyrics moved me to enshrine the feeling within my game so others would be forced to appreciate it–messy gushy meloperadramatic molto passione.

shards of naked lunch, a scanner darkly, existenz, aeon flux. i didn’t think of any of these influences during the 48 hours but i can see shadows of them in the material and sometimes are the choices you can make: choice of weapons, how careful you are during surgery, sorry vs. “sorry”, whether you think about Koner or suppress your thoughts, how many times you think about Koner, how you have sex, how you dream.

The biggest choice of all is how much information you choose to absorb–non-essential links have high information yield, forming entire scenes or vignettes unto themselves. clicking on everything is worthwhile. i like that Twine games ultimately reveal themselves completely and give the reader a huge degree of control (clicking Back in their browser, exploring new branches, choosing how much they read). I can put up no real barriers and make no unskippable cutscenes–the only tool I have is whether I’ve genuinely fascinated you enough for you to read what I’ve written.

copious hand-written notes of great depth and description: “city|piss”…”fuck with her cock”. You can see the sort of elaborate planning that goes into a story like this.

it was a pleasure to experiment typographically–disintegrating words as they faded from relevance, leashing passages for cadence and timing, draining capitalization and punctuation during euphoric moments, etc.

the Sky in the Room is delectably tighter than Myriad’s loose, unconnected branching–more entwined, more robust, every choice informs the body. This is the most sophisticated Twine game I’ve made, not just for that reason, but for the way I arranged code, using <<display “passage”>> to effectively load modules in emulation of more traditional languages, particularly in the surgery scene.

Twine’s node maps are so lovely. the three pillars correlate to the three major scenes

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