Text-based interactive digital narratives (IDN’s) aim to put the reader “in the story,” by being the protagonist or one of the other characters, and deciding the direction of the story. Previous research has investigated how this agency and conrol lead to an experience different from that of reading a story book. This experience however limited to a desktop screen, a keyboard, and due to some reasons avoids the more visual and spatial media like say AR (coupled with the original text). In this project , we aimed to explore these reasons. We hacked Twine (a popular text-based IDN) to interface it to Arduino, which enabled the possibility of integrating a variety of physical media (like tangible props for input or smoke guns) into the trajectory of the story being read. The goal was to conclude on an interaction paradigm that didn’t disturb but complement reading (text) and the cognitive phenomen associated to it — like imagining the apperance of characters, etc. Finally, we designed a head-worn controller (a positronic helmet) that intended to enable a bodily perception of the story through directional sound and haptic motors. This project was completed in a team, along with Colin Stricklin and Charlie Denton.
Castoffs is a game of horror, set in an abandoned steampunk theatre. The Protagonist, the owner of the theatre, is confronted with the clockwork actors “automactors,” who turn out to have thoughts and opinions of their own. They chase the owner, who in turn strive to escape the theatre before meeting the fate of the previous owners — who ran the theatre once. Here is a video to provide a glimpse of the sinister tale.