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Short science fiction story Yesterday's Reality

Hi all,

Just finished my first Twine story. It's a short (approx. 10 min.) science fiction story, about a woman who longs for abandoning reality in order to live in a virtual world. It's got images and sound.

Love to hear what you all think.
Play online:


  • The timing and quality of the sound effects are impressive and I like the images you used for the story. The consistent use of the second person to refer to the main character felt a little strange to me, but maybe it was that a lot of the sentences felt rhythmically/structurally similar? Some of the musings were really interesting.

    I would put a trigger warning on this since it deals with suicide. The story isn't really written in such a way so that knowing beforehand is a "spoiler."

    As I move into constructive criticism, please keep in mind that I'm currently struggling trying to find a voice in Twine that works for me, so I may just be projecting my own frustrations/struggles with the medium onto your work.

    Personally, I'm not drawn in by the huge blocks of text approach to interactive fiction. My favorite Twine games are Crystal Warrior Ke$ha and Horse Master, both of which offer highly compelling experiences without text dumps. Instead, why not give a bare minimum of details and then allow the character to look, listen, think, reflect, whatever as game verbs in order to access more details that interest the player.

    I also feel like it has a common IF problem where you give the player a bunch of options (bar, diner, graveyard) with little sense of why I should do any of those things. I think that the game verbs should either be inherently compelling and exciting (a la Crystal Warrior Ke$ha) or we should be given more time to develop attachment to the character such that we have a stake in making choices that don't have any immediate excitement value (Horse Master).
  • I like the music; it's very ominous and foreboding, and as such, fitting for the "real" world you have created.

    The pictures help paint that picture as well.
    As a story, it's very short and I could totally see this as a short sci-fi film.

    For me, because there were pictures of the real world, and none of the virtual world, I felt a little cheated at the end.

    Although I could picture what things would look like, as I do with normal fiction writing, perhaps because there were pictures early on, I couldn't rely completely on my imagination.

    Similarly, the way you open with describing all the perks of the virtual world, it's a wonder anyone still lives in the "real" world here. Perhaps that's what you were trying to explore with the decadence of the city and most of the inhabitance being older.

    All in all, great job! Keep it up.
  • The images and game reminded me of Beneath a Steel Sky, which is a good thing. *smile*
    I suggest adding an option to turn down/off the background sound.
  • Thank you for playing and taking the time to write such elaborate comments. Much appreciated! Thanks for the compliments, too.

    I'm aware that IF usually employs first person narration. Somehow to me it felt right to write this one in third person, and I kept this consistent throughout. I'll look into first person narration next time :)
    Warning at the start of the game might be a good idea, didn't think of that.
    I found it hard to use as little text as possible without telling too little, but it sounds like a good idea to give the player more to explore and examine, I'll keep that in mind with the next one!
    Meaningful choices were really hard for me to implement, because there was too much about the world and character that needed explanation first, before I could ask the player to make proper choices with important consequences. That's why I chose to give some less important choices and just give the player the ability to walk around a bit, visit the city. I'll definetely check the games you mention.

    I can understand why you try not to use your imagination too much when you are aware that pictures might appear. Interesting. I left out pictures in VR because I didn't want to take away the player's own imagination there, but yes, the inconsistency of having pictures in one place, but not in another, might not work that well.
    About the people still living in the actual world... It's a tough choice to give up your real-life, and I bet many people would be strongly against it. And not everyone will put their trust in a company. Suicide isn't legal either, so it's tricky business to do it for this purpose. Without the correct timing either your brain will die too soon, or you'll be saved before you actually die...

    Sweet, I've got that game on GOG, but haven't played it yet. Will check it out soon :)
    I'll look into a sound on/off option, not sure if I can manage since I hardcoded all sound (including volume transitions) into the passages using Javascript (which is a pain to use in combination with Harlowe...), but I think it should be possible to simply toggle a mute attribute.
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