Extensive meetings: From Sea to Shining Sea Squad

Good evening everyone! This Centre term has been a journey for us all, with extensive amounts of research, readings and watching interesting YouTube videos on history, we have all done a great job in pulling our own weight. We as a group understand that not one person can carry more weight than others. So as the course unfolded these past few weeks, we have carefully been splitting up the work evenly so that everyone in the group always has something to work on. Our deep understanding with the configuration of group work gave us the push we wanted to thoroughly complete our assigned work with utter finesse.

Over the course of this past week, our group (as the title states) have been having longer and more frequent  meetings in the library to make sure we get everything done effectively and on time. There has been a lot of thought we put into what our next moves are, and with the hours spent in the library together, we have a solid amount of ground covered. In doing so, we have ran through our process in completing the video game portfolio. Even though we have not finished the race yet, we are damn near done and we are not getting tired. There is a lot we have covered over the play out of the week. With most of our essays nearly complete, we are extremely satisfied with our progress.

Brenna and Luke H. have made a hell of a lot of progress in the video game, from fixing up many pages in the video game to getting through a lot of the content we wanted to include in it as well. They have been carrying the video game process on their backs for miles. Along with that, they also help edit and create some of the essays in the portfolio. Their focus into the video game has been essential in completing it before the due date because the video game is one of the most important products we have to turn in.

Aside from that, Luke D., Cole and I have been doing a lot of research into the history of the Cold War and surrounding topics we want to include in the video game from cruel and unusual punishment to the affects of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Along with that, we all have been working hard on completing our portions of the portfolio and editing each others work so that it can be done to the best of our ability. We want this game and portfolio to be amazing but in order for that to happen, we have to indulge ourselves into the work we produce.


Nazi Germany: The Survival of Günter Schmidt

Team Decision Makers

Nazi Germany: The Survival of Günter Schmidt is impacted by Operation Valkyrie which was the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler and overthrow the Nazi Party. Take part in the events that lead up to July 20, 1944, and make your contribution to your beloved country. Each choice you make will influence the outcome of the game and the survival of Günter Schmidt. Will you be the Hero that causes Operation Valkyrie to succeed? Or will you be the cause of its downfall? Or will you choose to join the Nazis in trying to stop the plan from being successful? You control your own destiny! The importance of historical accuracy in our game attributes to the experience that each player will have. The decisions you make leading up to the finale will be based on your own perspective and the need to survive. Nazi Germany: The Survival of Günter Schmidt is a point and click adventure game that will allow the player to create their own ending to World War II. Best of luck!



Kaden Gervacio- Centre Freshman from Boyle Co, Kentucky. He enjoys playing sports games and shooters. He particularly likes RPG and games where you have to create your own story in that universe.

Logan Wolf- Freshman from Cincinnati, Ohio. He enjoys sports games and shooters, especially Call of Duty. Huge fan of history related games and maps that take part in famous locations especially places from World War 2.

Fisher Evans- Freshman from Boyle County Kentucky. Enjoys shooter games as well as survival games. Big fan of games that allow the story to not be obvious or upfront and need to be discovered by the player (especially Subnautica)

Will Ahrens- Freshman from Sandersville, Georgia. He is a big fan or sports games such as Madden and The Show and first-person shooter games such as Call of Duty.

Edward Lee Major- Freshman from Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Enjoys strategy games, first-person shooters, and free-roam games. He finds interest in the underlying theme of the games and the storyline they follow.


Important Sources to Reference:

Bartov, Omer, and Mazal Holocaust Collection. 1991. Hitler’s Army: Soldiers, Nazis, and War in the Third Reich. New York: Oxford University Press.

Fraser, David. 1993. Knight’s Cross: A Life of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. 1St U.S. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Grant, Bennington. “Just How Historically Accurate Was Tom Cruise’s Valkyrie?” CHARGE! May 23, 2018. https://watchcharge.com/just-how-historically-accurate-was-tom-cruises-valkyrie/.

Manvell, Roger, Heinrich Fraenkel, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, and Mazal Holocaust Collection. 1965. Himmler. First American. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

The History Place – World War II in Europe Timeline. http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/hitleryouth/hj-boy-soldiers.htm.

Weale, Adrian. 2012. The S.S.: A New History. London: Abacus.

Valkyrie. 2008. MGM.


In all, Team Decision Makers was able to enjoy Centre Term and still create a good game that focuses on moral dilemma throughout history. Our group met multiple times over break to discuss the plan for the week and to set short-term goals. The group’s dynamic provided a variety of perspectives throughout the game creation process. This variety attributed to the ten outcomes of Günter Schmidt’s life and the impact they have on the German state. The combination of our group members helped our group create an experience for players that will give them the opportunity to be a part of history. The Decision Makers would like to thank all of the contributors to our game and hope players enjoy their experience!


The Final Stretch

Hello again everyone. As I’m sure you all know, the release date for our game is coming up soon, and so I think it is important to use this blog post to reflect on how far we have come as well as discuss what more we need to accomplish. First off, I want to give a brief overview of our story again to refresh everyone’s memory. Our game focuses on an ambiguous character who is a school teacher charged with spreading communist ideas during the cold war. While this is going on, the U.S. engages in a brief nuclear exchange with the U.S.S.R. that results in some but not total destruction. Our character is then sentenced to fight in the war as punishment for his alleged crimes against the country, which is now a very pro-McCarthyist society.


One thing that I find fascinating about our game is how far we have come with the idea that we initially started with. On the first day of class when we were still really into the brainstorming phase of ideas, the idea for this game started nowhere close to where it is now. When we first started, I was thinking about a game that was based in an alternate reality of the cold war, but it was more widescale and open world, similar to how grand theft auto works. The group generally liked this idea so we started working on it more and changing things up and adding more. Luke H. brought up the idea of how the game Starcraft uses prisoners as soldiers, and we all really liked this idea and wondered how to incorporate it into our game. Over about a week, the group did research and discussed where we wanted to go and that’s how we settled on making the game into what it was.


Luke H. and Brenna have carried the majority of the weight in writing and developing the game, whereas Nick, Cole and I did a lot of the historical research involved in making the setting for our game. While we have made a ton of headway on the game, there is still a ton of work left for us to do in the next couple of days. The game developers still have a ton of goals that they want to accomplish before the release, such as a playthrough of the court conviction. As far as research goes, and as Professor Harney always says, we plan to still be researching until the last day. The research department still needs a few sources for our portfolio writings, which are starting to be finalized for turn in day.


Lastly, I would like to reflect on what all I have gotten out of this class. The homework we have been reading and the videos we have watched have really opened my eyes up to how important the topic of history is in the discussion of video games. It has also made me think back to multiple games I have played in the past and the relevance of history that was used in the games. Thanks to everyone for following the progression of our game thus far, and I look forward to our audience getting to play it.

The Decision Makers: Contrasting Our Game with Subnautica

Hey everyone,

Our game is based in Twine so it is a completely text based game with (potentially) some minor visual elements incorporated. There are many games like this out there and they have some advantages to them, like being able clearly state what is happening in the game and give the player certain paths that you want them to take. This allows for a streamlined story that can have multiple endings, but it also limits the player’s experience to the one you want them to have. In this post I would like to delve into a different game that I personally am a big fan of that has major contrasts with our game. I really enjoy survival games, especially one in particular called Subnautica. Unlike our game, Subnautica is not historically based (at least not based on real history), text based, or streamlined in its story line. Instead, it gives a terrific futuristic story driven almost entirely by the actions of the player. This can allow for the player to believe that they are the hero of the story but since there is not always clear options of what to do (or too many options at times) like in text based games, the progression of the player can be halted because they aren’t sure of what they should do.

Subnautica’s story starts with the player frantically trying to launch an escape pod from a ship in orbit above a planet that is only designated by a serial number (4546B). After both crash down onto the ocean world’s surface and after you puts out the fire in your life pod, it is up to you how to progress and survive. All that you have in the life pod is a PDA (tablet that tells you important information that has been collected), a fire extinguisher, two small bottles of water, two nutrient bars, and two flares. You have to manage your hunger and thirst throughout the game as they are always decreasing so these starting goods are only good for a pretty short amount of time. Your life pod crashed a kilometer or two away from the ship and the pod landed in a shallow area similar to a coral reef. Also in your life pod there is a fabricator and a damaged radio, both mounted on the wall of the pod. The reef is abundant with alien life, both plant and animal and it is up to you to figure out how to use items you are able to pick up. As you find materials and use the fabricator to make useful tools to perform a variety of tasks, you learn more about the world you are stranded on. One of the easiest and most necessary tools you can make is the scanner that can scan nearly anything and upload the data to your PDA so you can learn more about your environment to survive. You can make a repair tool as well and once you repair the radio you start to receive distress calls from other life pods and eventually from a ship that says they picked up the distress call and are on the way to help. The ship fails to rescue you for a completely unexpected reason (spoilers for those who haven’t played so I won’t go into detail) and the story gets a new twist. All the time you are exploring and crafting new items to go deeper and learn more you have more aggressive creatures and areas to deal with

This is all just in the first two or three hours of game play and it usually takes the average player roughly 35 or so hours to finish the story line because of how the game is designed to be led by the exploration of the player. While both Subnautica and our game are driven by story, our game, even if we were to turn it into a full fledged game with all of the details that we could want to incorporate to be included, it would not come close to the 35 hours to be completed. This is simply because text based games are usually not terribly lengthy games because it would be hard to keep the player invested and intrigued in the game for that long without an absolutely stellar story and way of presenting it. While both types of games are driven by story and are able to deliver fantastic stories, the way that they are able to do so are very different. Each style of game is better suited for a different kind of story. For example, being a soldier in Nazi Germany may be able to be a survival game but not in the way we are presenting it, being a game in which one character cooperates with others to achieve their goals in wartime. A text based game is much more suitable for this situation since dialogue is a major factor in the game we wanted to design. Likewise, the setting and goals of Subnautica would be difficult to make into a text based game because of the elements that it tries to give the player. Exploring and gathering materials and all of the other key aspects of a survival game are just not that well suited for text based games, like how our game is not as well suited for the ability for the player to sort of choose every action they may want to take in a game. However, both types of games can and have given great experiences to their players.

The Centrenauts: Progress update

Greetings class,

This is the last week of the Centre term, and that means the deadline of everything is coming. The Centrenauts has been through multiple challenges during the development of Espionaut, and it is proud to say that they were all solved perfectly. Everyone in the Cemtrenauts group was working hard this past weekend. Each individual was focusing on their assigned parts from the portfolio. On the Sunday night, the group members held a 2-hour meeting in the library to work as a group. We shared our thoughts on our own parts, and confirmed with each other if this part went right. High efficiency while we working as a group, and boost up the speed of the final portfolio.

While we were working on the parts, the game itself was being tested as well. Right now the game is running fine, but not so smooth. It is really funny to see our spy can only “sprint” in the game instead of “walking”. I think Alex is going to fix this problem. Also, we were discussing something else about the game: What are we going to show the people when the demo is over?

Maybe the spy is going to sleep, who knows. Someone said. Well, let’s just let the players explore the map by themselves. Another one said.

It was stressful to write the portfolio, however, it seemed much better if the group members meet together.

For today, we went through the agenda for this week. Finishing up the portfolio by Tuesday and meet together in the evening. We will go through them together and make sure that every part of the portfolio connects with each other. So now, everything is on track. People will keep correcting their drafts for the portfolio and makes sure the game is going to run smoothly (without bugs)on Wednesday.I am working on the introduction part of the portfolio. I am in struggle because it is a HUGE project for an English-as-second-language student. Connecting each sentences makes me feel panic and what’s more, my poor grammar is my weak point. I am going to show my introduction part to the ESL teacher in order to get some help before something more terrible is going to happen later.

I still look forward to the group presentation day, and I am certain that this class will be memorable to me.

From Sea to Shining Sea Squad: The Blues and Politics

Hi Everyone,

Tom Standage’s book, A History of the World in 6 Glasses, is one of my favorites because it provides a broad history lesson of human kind through a unique lens, solely looking at how different periods of time can be categorized by the most popular drink. Other books like Mark Kurlansky’s Salt and Cod are good examples of this too, they argue that history can be examined in ways contrary to popular models such as the, “Men of History,” model or the progressivism model. They argue that history can be examined through economic and cultural shifts, like where was salt or cod being bought and sold, or where was tea being made and transported?

In the same way, if you were to look at the Cold War you could illustrate history through the lens of popular music. The Cold War was a time standing from roughly 1945 to 1990, which also encompasses the golden age of Rock ‘n Roll music. By looking at the status and evolution of Rock ‘n Roll a person can get a feel for how American culture changed through time during the Cold War.

Rock ‘n Roll traces its origins back to the 1920s and ’30s. During this time the genre of music called the blues was emerging and jazz was already prominent. Musicians like Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Blind Lemon Johnson, and Lead Belly were showcasing the earliest and rawest version of the blues that would later transfuse with guitar styles shown by popular jazz guitarists like Django Reinhardt and West Montgomery to later give birth to the classic rock age of the ’60s and ’70s. But before this happened there were many more musicians that incorporated blues forms with jazz techniques. The three, “Kings of the Blues,” were B.B., Albert, and Freddie. They all were terrific blues guitarists that utilized the simplicity of long drawn out notes and relied heavily on their masculine and scratchy voices to portray their “blue” emotions. But, along side them was always a “big band” a huge arrangement of horns, drums, and a piano that was not seen before in early blues music.

This transition of the solo blues guitarist into the blues singer with a huge band behind him coincided with the popularity of the genre. The blues was emerging from its delta origins and spreading to big cities, most notably New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Dallas, where each would develop different tastes. The popularity of the blues also led to the expansion of audience. The blues was developed by African American culture in the south and the spread of the genre to northern cities led an increase of African American popular figures. This led to many artists like Bo Diddley, Etta James, and Fats Domino’s success. Along side the rise in African American popular musicians, many white Americans began to emulate the styles that emerged from the blues. Most notably Elvis Presley, his songs, “Hound Dog,” and “That’s Alright,” were actually covers of past blues musicians “Big Mama” Thorton and Arthur Crudup.

This adoption of the blues into the main stream played a huge role in the civil rights movement of the ’50s and ’60s. As more African American musicians had bigger and bigger audiences, their message could reach more people. Songs like B.B. King’s “Chains and Things,” and Lead Belly’s, “Bourgeois Blues,” spoke of the racism that was present in America before and during the civil rights movement.

Diving into the ’60s, the blues were taking on a new form, a closer form of what we know to be Rock ‘n Roll. Musicians like Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Carlos Santana were all putting their twists on the blues form, adding Latin styles, new technologies, and psychedelics into the mix. During this time music began targeting the “big man” that was government. Songs like “If 6 was 9” by Hendrix, “I’d Love to Change the World,” by Ten Years After, and “For What It’s Worth,” by Buffalo Springfield, were all directed towards the U.S. government as a means of protest to, “white-collar conservatives,” and Hendrix put it. These songs established a firm distrust in the government by people and led to huge misconceptions by both sides. The anti-war protestors were cast out to be communist druggies who detested the U.S.A., and the government and soldiers that were trying to stop the spread of communism into south east Asia were characterized as murderous war lords. Songs like “Machine Gun,” “American Woman,” and, “7′ O’clock News” were heavily geared towards withdrawal from Vietnam. Bob Dylan was a huge anti-war protestor during this time with, “Blowin’ in the Wind,” he also calls out politicians during this time essentially telling them their methods were outdated in his song, “The Times They are a Changin.” It’s also crucial to point out John Lennon, who’s “Imagine,” will forever be a song dedicated to his message of peace, but many people also see it as a song that supported anti-American ideas.

During this time the women’s movement was also in full swing. Many women found a voice through song and took to lyrics as a means of feminism. One of the best blues singers of all time, Aretha Franklin, wrote, “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man,” illustrating the gender inequalities of the time. Also, Leslie Gore’s, “You Don’t Own Me,” was widely popular and emphasized the goals of the women’s movement.

There were plenty songs against the idea of nuclear war as well. While playing the Fallout 4, if a person tunes into Diamond City Radio, they will hear a whole plethora of songs themed around nuclear war. This was the case for most of the Cold War, people’s fear of atomic war bled into their music with songs like, “Enola Gay,” and  Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” This use of songs to display fear of nuclear war would be an interesting detail in our game since ours is based around nuclear fallout, however it may be difficult to do so with Twine.

However, it is interesting to see how music has evolved with the different movements of American culture. Musicians took to song to get their message across about various topics in the 20th century, topics like war, racism, and gender equality. It should be noted that the use of music as a means of protest is not solely a 20th century American occurrence, all throughout history and the world people have been using music as a means to protest. However, I believe that the period of the Cold War gets much more attention because it is fantasized today as a message of peace and an example of the power of the people.

From Sea to Shining Sea Squad: Trends Towards Battle Royale

Hi Everyone,

Video games come in many genres. There RPGs such as the Fallout series, MMOs like World of Warcraft, and FPSs like the Call of Duty series. There are so many different genres and games already available to players, many gaming companies are now having struggles trying to differentiate new games from the old and give players new experiences. This scenario is what primarily led to the massive success of the Battle Royale genre and more specifically, the popularity of the game Fortnite.

The Battle Royale game genre is characterized of a large server of participants being dumped onto a large map with essentially no weapons to start with. It is up to the player to adapt to their environment quickly and collect weapons, ammunition, and supplies that will help them win the match. In the Battle Royale genre a match is usually only worth one life, in other words there is no respawning. You may play alone and seek to be the last man standing, or you can play with a team usually up to 3-5 teammates. The objective of the game is for you or your team to eliminate enough enemies from the match in order to be the last player alive.

This genre seems on the whole not very innovative when compared to games like Call of Duty, especially when you examine the game modes “Free-for-all” or  “Gun Game.” However, what does separate the Battle Royale genre from these game modes is the tension the player feels from not having the respawn option. The feeling of having only one life creates a more urgent vibe when playing the Battle Royale genre.

But how did this genre come about? Mike Wehner of Yahoo! makes the case that the Battle Royale genre was first popularized by mods created in Minecraft servers that intended to replicate the experience of the competitors in the movie The Hunger Games. He argues that the popularity of both Minecraft and the popularity of The Hunger Games that created a want for more Battle Royale type games.

This want sparked the games of FortnitePUBG, and Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds. These were all instant successes, with Fortnite leading the pack. Fortnite is interesting to the gaming community, mainly because it rides the ever increasing tide of  “Free-to-Play” Games. These free to play games are becoming more popular because they are an effective way for gaming industries to essentially get gamers hooked onto their product. In the case of Fortnite players do not need to pay in order to get any type of competitive advantage, players can only buy skins and different emotes. But, many other games enlist a “pay to win” or “freemium” strategy.

Pay to win games are extremely criticized by the gaming community for obvious reasons. A vote cast on Reddit elects APB: Reloaded as the worst case scenario of these pay to win games, citing the gameplay as unfair and unrealistically difficult. However, by purchasing advantages outside of the original game purchase, the game becomes much easier. This enrages the gaming community because essentially brings the original price of the game up to an astounding total.

However the new gaming idea of loot boxes is arguably what is most annoying to the modern gamer. Loot boxes are like little gambling machines in which you spend your video game currency (or real world money) on a mystery box that will give you random stuff that is in the game. At first this doesn’t seem all too deceptive because all you have to do is keep spending in game currency until you get the object or objects that you are wanting to acquire. The problem arises when you keep grinding long hours into the game for currency to open boxes that in the end will only have a slim chance of actually giving you what you’ve been wanting to unlock. It feels like the gaming company wants you to eventually give up the hours of grinding and instead buy the loot boxes with your real world money. Even when you trade your money for the time you will save, you still have to hope and pray that those loot boxes you just spent real money on will have what you are looking for.

These examples of money grasping schemes are largely absent from Battle Royale games however, which is another component as to why they have become so popular. Although they do not offer much to the avid gamer that lives for the immersive gameplay of RPGs, they do provide a fun and full experience to the casual gamer.

Centrenauts: The Beauty and struggle of RPG Maker

Hello everyone!

The main goal of The Centrenauts, was to make video game and to do that we need software that could help us. RPG Maker was what we picked, and it has been one of the most frustrating but also rewarding learning processes. For all of the limitation of RPG Maker, there are so many cool things that can be done with the program. From the small victories such as learning how to add a new map, to the huge victories of having intricate dialogue, it’s been a step by step process.

The program is extremely overwhelming at first, and honestly, it still is even after sinking hour after hour into it. The first step was to learn how to create a map and design it. I remember getting excited when I randomly right clicked on something, and the “new map” option appeared. It seems almost laughable now that I struggled with that, but I still find issues with the most trivial things. Tilesets for example are still a pain. Tilesets are the sets of blocks and design options for the maps. There are hundreds and hundreds of “tiles,” but you must assign the sets to a map when you start it, meaning that you cannot just pick and choose any tile you want to use. It took me a while to figure out that you can mix and match the sets to fit your needs, which was a major victory. With this, map design finally felt more manageable. Jordan did most of the map design and did a great job. He quickly learned how to take advantage of what the program offers and exceeded my expectation of what we could do. Now with map design down, we had to learn how to add events.

Adding events to our game has proven to be the most difficult learning curve for us. Once again it took randomly right clicking something for the magical word “insert” to pop up. With this we could now get our character to teleport somewhere, have dialogue, and a ton of other things. The problem is to correctly order all the events, making sure they flow together, and to not crash the game. Recently, after a couple hours of frustrating trial and error, I learned how to get an NPC to lead our character somewhere. The problem is, I cannot get the NPC to stop! Every time our character talks to the NPC, he exclaims “Follow me!!” and then leads us right into a wall, making the game freeze. I’m positive that it is an easy fix, but like everything else in RPG Maker, you have to figure it out. This has been frustrating, but when I do finally figure out that small thing that’s been oh so annoying, its incredibly rewarding.

Looking back now at everything that’s been a pain and struggle in RPG Maker, it makes me more appreciative of the game that we have made. The game is not even close to being a full game, but every time I move our character and play what we’ve created, I’m proud of it. I know what went into every aspect of its creation. Through all of the struggle, I am proud to say that we made a video game.


Alex Wright

TDM update

We have started the sprint to the finish line, and we are looking pretty good. We have finished our story line and put everything in Twine. Therefore our game is finished in theory. All we have to do now is finish our portfolio which we have all started on our papers that we have decided to do for the portfolio and plan on finishing the papers by Monday. This will give us all next week to focus on our final presentations. We have also started the final presentation as of today. Our team is on a good pace to finish everything by the 24th.

The game turned out pretty well. We created multiple different endings which gives our game replay-ability. We also included one or two Easter eggs that the players can make certain choices to get these surprise endings early on. Now the decisions are ones that we hope no player would regularly choose, since they are just wrong choices that any person would know not to choose. Still in total, not including the Easter eggs, we have created multiple endings where Günter can either die or survive. However, just because he survives does not mean it will be a good ending.

We even created an ending where the players can choose to try and stop the July Plot but fail. This we believe gives our game a counterfactual way to that our main character can have impacts on how history truly plays out. There is also an ending that the player can choose to help the conspirators but the mission still fails. With both endings we wanted to show the player that their choices do matter.

It was important to for us to show that even though people were involved in the Nazi Army, they were not all evil. Yes some were. Most of them even were. However to make the assumption that all were evil takes away from the complexities of the times. Not all soldiers were loyal till death the Hitler. This shows in our research through the July Plot. Hitler had his doubters and those that wanted him out of power. We just had to figure out how we wanted to show that in our game. It was hard to create a Nazi soldier because we have the ability of hindsight and know what terrible things the Nazis did. Even presenting a Nazi as a good guy is controversial. Therefore, we decided to let some players play as the bad guy. Of course we did not want to touch any of the atrociteis they committed. However, we saw that we could use the July Plot as our main thing. It is interactions between Nazis and Nazis alone. Therefore we are not bringing in any other characters from another background so as to not offend anyone. If its Nazis killing Nazis then it is bad guy killing bad guy. We thought this was a way we could implement the moral choice system into our game.

In all our game came out much like we wanted. We were able to have a Nazi character that made moral choices that impacted his life. Therefore, we gave players choice and hopefully impacted how they feel making those choices. We wanted the players to think long and hard about what they were doing. In our opinions, we got that right.

From Sea to Shining Sea Squad: A general update and some thoughts on Twine

Greetings all!


The From Sea To Shining Sea Squad is buckling down for the sprint to the finish. We have been hard at work on elements of our portfolio for several days now and grappling with Twine to create as best of an experience that we can in time for presentation. However, it is proving difficult to set things in stone in either part of the project, because we keep having new ideas and concerns popping up all of the time.


Our strategies for tackling the portfolio have changed from day to day, but by collaborating and exchanging ideas for the essays we have all become more engaged in the process of world building and our historical understanding of our setting. An element of the portfolio that we appreciate is our ability to explore and explain ideas that did not quite make it into the final game or did not make it in fully. This allows us to better communicate our influences from other games, difficult choices we had to make and why we made them, and how exactly our counterfactual world all ties itself together.


Our development of actual gameplay in Twine, while being quite enjoyable at times, has presented challenges in creating the atmosphere we seek. In order to create engrossing, vibrant script to immerse the player, a lot of effort has to be put into the writing of different scenes and chapters of the game. Although we already have a very solid sequence of events in place for the player to navigate through, we want to make as best use of our medium as we can. The team views the text-based RPG as a genre with extremely high potential but also being easy to totally miss the mark unless we devote significant energy towards perfected the atmosphere and immersion of the player through interesting characters and delivery.


A fascinating element of our engine, is heavily tied to a concept that Daniel Reynolds describes in his essay What is Old in Video Games? Reynolds explores the effect that the technological aspect of videogames has on the experience they give as a medium. In the case of games made with Twine, this is quite important. The story that we are creating could be told with text in a physical book with tags attached to the players’ options directing them to a certain page that contains the output of the decision they have chosen. There is a great difference in experience between flipping to a page with text already printed on it and a screen, which must read code to manifest the text on a display. One feels like it has already been played out and that there is nothing new being created, and the other gives the player a greater feeling of agency, because their display has changed before their eyes according to their decision. This creates a cool feeling as developers that our story could not have been made in our vision without the existence of this technology, even if the only thing that separates us from literature is purely the medium of viewing the text.


All in all, morale is high. The From Sea To Shining Sea Squad is hard at work to bring you all enjoyable gameplay next week, and we are confident that we are on track to reach our goals of creating an immersive and enjoyable perspective for our players to explore