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Web Storytelling: Currency & Captivity – Version 2

I’m quite proud to officially release this to the world: Currency & Captivity, Version 2!

I thought that it would be fitting to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of the date I began this project by writing a blog post officially releasing the second version.

(If you want to get straight to playing the game, scroll down to the bottom of the page for the link! Otherwise, keep reading 🙂 )

I’ve talked in other posts about my interactive fiction game I created during my first Digital Studies course. Here’s the main background on my story:

[…] last semester, in Digital Studies 101, I created an online interactive story using ink (which is very similar to inkle, but it is considered a narrative scripting language instead of a simple online tool). When I first started my project for the class, I realized that I had begun to create a much bigger storyline than I’d intended, and the professor allowed me to submit a short “rough draft” of this online interactive fiction game for the assignment. I was very excited about it, and after the class ended, I fleshed out more of the narrative during winter break. Currently, it’s in a very basic, mostly complete outline form with little story content written. My next steps are to create the mechanics of the game using ink and start really digging into the writing of the story.

Because of this project I started last semester, I found that I have a real passion for interactive fiction. It made my creative gears turn in a way I hadn’t felt in a long time, and that’s fueled my dedication to my story game. At this point, I would say that Currency & Captivity is a part of *my* personal story.

“Project Ideas”, March 26, 2021

Here’s more that I wrote on another post:

As I already mentioned, interactive fiction has a special spot in the fabric of my storytelling and of my life in general. It generated a brand new story and breathed the dormant creative power inside me back to life. Currency & Captivity is an essential part of my story, especially my creative story.

[….]

My hope is to finish the next stage of Currency & Captivity in time to include it in one of the videos.

“Project Ideas – Part 2 (aka the essay post to end all essay posts)”, April 10, 2021

And finally, this bit:

Finally, for the web storytelling…. *drum roll*

I’ll be releasing the next version of Currency & Captivity!

I am seriously excited about this. The “skeleton” of the story structure and scenes will have grown, and there’ll be some more meat on its bones. The story itself is not complete, but it’s come such a long way from its first release, and I really want to unveil this next version. I’m nearly ready to release it to the world!

“Project Update #1”, April 23, 2021

I ended up being so busy with video recording and editing in addition to all of my other schoolwork piling up leading up to finals week that I decided to not put it on myself to get C&C done as part of my final project. It would just have been too much.

What I said was “nearly ready” ended up taking another four months; this was mainly taken up by writing the scenes I’d planned out. I had gotten the writing program Scrivener for my birthday, and in order to properly write in Scrivener, I needed to set up the structure of the scenes first.

Finally, in late August, I had a fair amount of writing done. I took a couple days to get everything into Inky (the app I used to integrate the actual writing of the story with code to make it run) and check it over to make sure I didn’t have any copies of any scenes or broken code. I was pretty impatient to get it up and running, since I had originally hoped to get it done before school started up again. I managed to publish it about a week and a half into the fall 2021 semester, on August 25, 2021.

To give you an idea of how much my story has grown since its first publication, this is the difference in size between the two diagrams/flowcharts:

Flowcharts for the original version of Currency & Captivity and the new version

As you can tell, the chart circled on the left is substantially larger than the one circled on the right.

When I was working on generating ideas for my original draft of C&C, I realized that I needed a flowchart in order to keep all of the scenes in order. That way, it wouldn’t all be in my head, so I was less likely to forget about a scene or be uncertain about where scenes should be connected.

I published the original/rough draft of Currency & Captivity at the end of November 2020, and I was eager to finish the semester so that I would be free to focus on my second draft of the game. Over winter break (December 2020–January 2021), I worked extensively on the flowchart and on coming up with ideas in general for my story and the world of Cael.

During the spring semester of 2021, I didn’t work on the flowchart or scene writing much. My classes kept me quite busy (including this one). However, there was one thing that inspired me to think about my story even while I wasn’t writing: a volcano.

If you click “Watch on YouTube” in the bottom left corner of the video, you’ll be taken to a playlist called Research for Currency & Captivity. This playlist has 49 videos of a certain volcano in Iceland, and I’ll explain why.

On March 19, 2021, a volcano in Fagradalsfjall, Iceland, began erupting. I first saw a video on Twitter a few days after it began to erupt, and I was entranced. I immediately started watching more videos of the volcano on YouTube. Not only was it beautiful and not a threat to any communities of people (it was far away from the city of Reykjavík), but it gave me inspiration for one of the types magical creatures in my story: magmermaids (mermaids who live in magma). Every time I watched another volcano video, I would imagine how the magmermaids would swim through the lava, or how a lava-proof ship would navigate the burning hot substance. When I really started getting into the writing of the different scenes, rewatching some of those videos and remembering my thoughts from the first time I saw them helped me with the details for the magmermaid scenes.

For a fun throwback, here’s a photo of the history of the Notion page I created to start brainstorming ideas for my game. Notion logs all of the revisions you make on pages, so it was easy for me to indulge in a bit of nostalgia and take a screenshot.

I remember how excited I felt when I realized that I could make an interactive story for my game. I recall dumping thoughts and ideas into that Notion page, and making sub-pages to organize it. And now, I can look back fondly on all the brainstorming I did, starting with Brad and the cookies. I had no idea on November 8, 2020, how important this game story would become to me.

The creation of this story has been a milestone in my creative endeavors, and I love and am so proud of what I’ve been able to do with it so far. So, without further ado, here is the official second version of Currency & Captivity!

This is the synopsis of the game:

As a student at a magical university in a world similar to Earth, you figure your life is already pretty interesting compared to life as a student at a regular university. However, things become even more unusual when your sister takes you to a magic thrift shop to buy you a gift for your birthday. You get to choose an item that takes you on an epic journey…and your life is forever changed by the decisions you decide to make.

Explore the world of Cael in “Currency & Captivity”, a fantasy-themed interactive fiction game filled with adventure, dragons, high stakes, and a variety of characters.

If anyone wants to check C&C out in its original “rough draft” form, click here!

To read the blog post I made on Medium about the original publication, click here.

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