Glitch Development : Formation of ideas and execution
You just want to know who you are, and how you got here…
Glitch is the new interactive multimedia story game I built in Twine exploring ideas of conciousness, memory, technology and the human soul.
My initial idea with Glitch was extremely vague, I went into the project essentially blind and viewed the entire creative process as a kind of thought experiment;
The inception for Glitch was me having a weird ”kind of’ existential crisis, I’d been going through somewhat of a rough phase in my life, living in London, struggling with life, money and searching for meaning and not finding it in many places. When I discovered twine I decided I would create something that reflected these concerns and turned them into something concrete and playable – a kind of virtual existential crisis that people could peek into.
Needless to say the idea evolved a lot during the development process, to the point where it actually had a semi-coherent narrative beyond just me spewing a bunch of weird thoughts into a twine story.
To get an idea of the early version of ‘existential crisis made virtual‘ glitch – view the video to the right, I tested the very early game out on my housemate Jez, it was extremely raw and extremely random, surreal and did not make much if any sense….
Over the following months I worked on glitch infrequently and started to get frustrated with the initial idea, it seemed too random, too incoherent to really feel like it had a structure that would make it a pleasure or even enjoyable experience, and what’s worse is, when ‘existential crisis made virtual‘ Glitch was basicily complete, I LOST a few days worth of work, wiping out hours and hours of work and leaving me more than a little distraught. The time for a rethink was nigh:
So I went back to basics – I decided to focus on several different elements
- Aesthetics – defining a strong consistent visual style
- Develop some form of narrative
- Define more elements of play
I considered what where the positive aspects of the original ‘existential crisis made virtual‘ and determined that these were the surreal questioning tone, the machine like mystery of the narrative and some of the visual elements which were drawing from glitch art and sci-fi / absurdist art. I then decided to develop the visual style which evolved into a 90’s cyberpunk aesthetic, Next step was Developing several graphics with GIMP and defining a standard layout with custom CSS to get away from having a cookie cutter twine project look. Implementing some video files became the final aesthetic addition I decided to make – making the experience more media rich.
The narrative evolved naturally, and became a philosophical investigation into the nature of the self , told through the prism of a fictional cyberpunk universe.
Glitch is really my first proper ‘story’ twine project, as such it is a short story which I hope is told in an interesting manner, my hope is that it blurs the line between storytelling and pure mind-fuckery, and that is entirely my intention. It is meant as a complex and strange short descent into a strange alternative universe of confusion and amnesia. The development process was fairly short in real terms, but I found that going through the process of the random, improvised approach did create some unexpected and novel ideas which have been followed through to a degree in this project. It is meant as a kind of test project for future projects to come, but I am happy with it overall, and it works in it’s own hemetic sealed weird universe.