- It is difficult to see how this idea came to my mind. The concept of a sorcerer that makes people peel potatoes came from my favourite childhood tale from Germany, the Great Robber Hotzneplotz. However, the setting in Kansas, the entire event revolving around was something that I did not think of when I was beginning this story. The moment Christina said ‘Interactive Fiction,’ this was the story that I had in mind.
- This story is set in Kansas. I don’t know why it was meant to be Kansas, but it somehow just happened naturally. I was able to think about there being a sorcerer, who’s German (or German heritage), the potato farm, the characters, the setting of the map and etc. (after all, there are really only two settings). The dystopian world is the one that exists at the basement of Mr. Zauberkurg’s farm. There are 100 people locked up, who are doomed to peel potatoes for the rest of their lives. I think it’s very difficult to be more dystopian than that.
- Sorry for using the Teaching Team & Friends’ names. I was hoping to change them after development and never really got the time to do so.
- CLARIFICATION: The Bill Gates VERICHIP conspiracy is a humour and I don’t believe in it, just so you know…
Iterations and how things changed
[Some playtesters were slightly reluctant to posting their photos on a public blog]
I tested the IF with four different people.
- The first iteration of the game had it only until halfway of the game. I didn’t know what I wanted to teach using the game. The story is ridiculous and humorous more than anything else, and it didn’t really have a clear goal that I wanted to teach people.
- Even though the story was very short at that point, I did get a useful suggestion. My friend Eve (alias) suggested that if the plotline is going to flow in one direction anyway, it might be funny to introduce a few points leading to the demise of the main character. I decided to introduce a mechanism of GameOvers.
- This means that there are points in the plot where if you make a rash decision and not act strategically, you end up getting caught by the sorcerer, forever doomed to peel potatoes at his basement, or turning into a frog. I think this adds to the playfulness of the game.
- Originally, the plot had a very simple ending, where you go and slay the sorcerer. My partner pointed out that he would prefer a less dark ending, especially given the fact that the IF reads a bit like children’s tale.
- I accepted his suggestion and decided to make it three different endings.
- You’re rewarded based on how kind you act to the villain. We were recently both very moved by Waymond in ‘Everything, Everywhere, All at Once’.
- It didn’t change from the version for playtest 2. One comment that I got from my friend Ivy (alias) was what I was teaching with this game if it was going to be a serious game.
- That was really a good point and I decided that I’m teaching patience and strategic thinking through this game.
- My roommate found this really funny and said every time he’s peeling anything, he’d think of this ridiculous story.
- My partner thought the ending was a bit abrupt, but then it was sort of suitable given the theme and the overall mood of the game.
- I rushed the actual playtesting at the very end. The biggest takeaway from this project was that I would love to playtest my games starting from earlier, as the insights benefit you even if the game feels really incomplete. That’s something that I’d do differently, if I’m doing this again.
- I would like to thank my partner and roommate for playtesting this numerous times, and giving me suggestions such as ‘Wait, so you cannot eat cheseburgers?!’ and ‘LOL this is really funny, but where do they diverge and how?’ which were really helpful and aided my decision a lot.
- With that said, I had sooooo much fun writing this story and would love to develop this further using Unity and Chuck if time allow for it.