Now that it's October, the spooky season is officially in full swing! I've been working on my interactive Tailypo project for about two weeks now, so it's starting to shape up nicely... ... That previous sentence is to be read in a confident, booming voice. Not an insecure, panicking voice. I just wanted to clarify in case you were picking up on an impending sense of doom as Halloween approaches and I scramble to finish this project.
So right now I have the story chopped into three scenes; a warm, relaxed look inside the cabin, an exploratory view through the woods, and another, creepier look at the cabin from the perspective of the bed. I'm trying to develop the art assets at the same pace I'm developing the code for the project, so there aren't any full polished assets I can show off yet. But you can at least check out the basic framework for the first two scenes.
The screen size for each scene is only a small portion of the actual scene. Users will pan through each of the scenes to explore and continue the narrative. The cabin scene will introduce the hunter and his dog, along with the basic setting of the story. I've decided I am going to write the script for the story in first person from the hunter's perspective, as though he is telling a story that happened to him on a "night just like this". That way when the story ends rather suddenly by Tailypo approaching the screen, viewers can still be assured that the hunter survived, making the story a bit more child-friendly.
While I've been developing this project, I've been teetering between two different types of storytelling methods; linear storybook style, and non-linear narrative structure. This is a challenge I face with almost every interactive project I make because I want the interactivity to have meaning, but I don't want the user's experience to deviate too far from my intentions. For Tailypo, the story is a very linear sequence of events. Man is hungry, man goes into the woods, man gets attacked by a creature, ..., etc. The story happens by stringing a series of events together in a particular order.
I like linear stories. They allow an author to maintain control over the plot and pace of a story. But when you sprinkle some interactivity into a story, things get a little complicated. I want users to explore the world. I want users to experience what the characters experience, and I want users to have some choices to affect the story.
So for Tailypo, I've been testing this balance between linear events and non-linear exploration, and I'm trying to find a happy medium for future projects. I'm sticking to a very linear core fabric for the project, as the legend itself is told in a very linear way. However, I am allowing users to approach the world of the hunter and his dog in a very exploratory fashion
Above, you can see a layout of the hunter's cabin. Users will be invited to pan through this scene on their screen (the box in the center of the picture represents the screen's view port). When users reach specific spots in the cabin, a text box will be triggered to start a portion of the story. This way the users can guide themselves through the story, kind of like self-guided tour around a museum.
Anyways, I'm talking a lot, but that's what happens when most of my project development is just words scribbled on paper with a few boxes with stick figures in them. You're lucky you got any pictures at all.