The project we are working on is a room escape game. The protagonist is trapped in a cabin in the woods and he/she will wake up in a coffin with his/her hands chained by a hand cuff. There will be five chances to obtain hints. Before the game starts, the player will be required to enter 5 names of his/her friends, and there will be a timer when the game begins. After 10 minutes, if the player can’t find all the hints to escape, he/she will see or hear that their friends are dying. After 25 minutes, if the player is still in the cabin, a fierce dragon will come in and eat the player. So, better to escape the mysterious room quickly!
The similarity between this text-based game and traditional fiction is that the author/designers decide the main plot of the text. Unlike the interactive or collective fiction that participants can make up their own stories, the players can’t change the clues. For example, the player can’t rewrite the plot and add meanings to a vase in the room – which is not part of the keys. However, like Rettburg suggests in his essay, this room escape game is similar to other MOOs in that it “is only a potential story until readers respond to and perform within the text” (Rettburg, 192). It will only be a list of descriptions and remain static if there is no interaction between the text and players. The player also has the freedom to decide how long it takes to get out of the room (and darkly, how many the player’s friends will die). Though some of the puzzles have to be solved in certain order, the player can decide the sequence of obtaining certain tools.
It is great to have a team of three so that we can corporate together and with each other’s strength, we can build the game collectively. Yash is a computer science engineering major student, and he is more familiar with programming. Therefore, he is helpful to evaluate the plausibility of our ideas and help to improve the design of the game with CS logical ways of thinking. As a student majoring in English and Comparative Humanities, I’m interested in writing plot and setting up puzzles for players. In addition, Julia is important in the way that she will review the pros and cons of our idea from the perspective of the players. In other words, if we compare our team to the forum of fan-fiction, Yash is the website that makes it possible, I’m the “author” who writes the story, and Julia provides reviews and gives suggestions on how to update the game. All of us are indispensable in this project.
The inspiration of this game comes from many similar games online and on smart phones. There are also many horror and suspension movies about the idea of “escaping.” The plot of having people dying one by one is inspired by the great novel And There Were None (and there is a new BBC adaption, watch the trailer here). Another movie that has similar themes is The Exam. If possible, we want to insert background music in this game, and we find some instrumental music play like this.