I produced my first gamejam, short interactive story and potential prototype of Hyperion’s Wake with the OdysseyJam gamejam on itch.io. For two weeks I learned how to write a story, build characters and work in the Twine2 Engine using Harlowe.

You can play the game of Philome.la. I was not able to fully write the entire game as I had planned, so I left it at a cliff hanger.

The story is based on the events of Homer’s epic The Odyssey, book twelve: The Golden Cattle of the Sun. In the book, Ulysses is given warnings by the goddess Circe about the challenges he will face ahead of him; the Sirens, the sea monsters Charybdis & Scallya and eating the golden cattle. I then took these events and weaved them into an original science fiction story based in a universe I am developing for future games.

The sirens are not beautiful but strange looking fish that can create a powerful electrical charge that disrupes the ships systems, causing great peril for Ulysses and the crew.

I did not have a lot of time to build art for the game, so I relied on css gradient backgrounds to show alien ocean landscapes and rounded ship vessels.

I mostly used Harlowe’s coding macros. I may not want to use Harlowe forever but for my first game and my first draft Twine2 engine works very well from the start, for it’s ease of use.

Twine games can run in the browser, making them extremely accessible to anyone with an internet connection. Bu there are drawbacks. I learned how different browsers rendered the css differently. I may consider using a css reset file before coding.

Many of the sounds were created on my hardware synths, including my new Microbrute, Microkorg, Volca FM and MS-20 mini. A few sounds were taken from SFX libraries. Audio formats was an issue, since each browser can only support a few audio formats, I needed to make my game with three audio formats. I also learned that the audio tag code needed to have entra data to be played on Safari. Mobile devices do not use <autoplay> tag, essentially disabling my background music and effects, so I will need to find some javascript that can bypass this for the future, or per. perhaps in stead have the sounds trigger by a (live) Harlowe macro, set to a fraction of a second to trigger the background sounds.

The end results is not up to my standards, I will need to write this story several times to get the characters and scenes to work more effectively, better characterizations and trying to find player agency and choice dilemmas.

Furthermore, creating  immersive UI via CSS and possible parallax CSS scrolling illustrations, possibly with animation. I would really like to build a communication computer that slides in from the sides, it would be styled to look like part of the game universe.

I have already started to design concept art for the ship, the Hyperion’s Wake, using todays concept art for future boats, the design features a hydrofoil/submersible. The ship features a HMD drive as the marine propulsion , a hyperdrive for space travel and a possible third engine that would be for planetary entry such as plasma jets. I have already started drafts of 3D models of the first ship coded “Pomona” for know the name will be different when the story is complete.

I also want to build more exploration inside the ships, I would like the player to explore the broken research ship to gain more knowledge about how it broke, what the characters like to do in their down time, what were they working on, how do they live in stressful situations and also the computers and technology on the ship and being able to play with it.

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