Sometimes, I dream of making a chart, of mapping the twists and turns of this game and assembling it into some kind of massive abstract piece of art. This is a dream I have with most of my projects; as if by cogitating upon a visual representation of their structure, I could elucidate some hidden meaning that would dramatically improve the finished product.
Poppycock, of course, but all the more tempting because Nocked is so highly structured already - text flows through points and nodes, branches and comes together according to the dictates of its programming language, Twine. And, if I'd written the game in Twine's handy visual interface, I'd already have a map, but I didn't. Nocked was coded in Twee - Twine's bastard half-sibling, all flower petals and hoop skirts and raw text data, unstructured except for whatever crazed order it falls into during the writing/dictating/transcription process.
Full disclosure: The majority of Nocked was written in fountain pen, dictated into Word through Dragon Naturally Speaking, copied into Notepad++, and then annotated with appropriate Twee commands via a series of custom keyboard shortcuts. The rest of Nocked was simply dictated freeform, skipping the fountain pen stage.
It's all about as crazy as it sounds; writing Nocked was like some high-wire game of cat's cradle on a flaming unicycle. Throw all the pieces, plot, and personalities into the air and hold them, in aspic and amber, until each is done, its purpose fulfilled, its story resolved. Thus, my desire for a map - and that nagging sense, true or no, that I've missed something.
I hope you've enjoyed this insight into the writing process. And if, while playing the game, it devolves into incomprehensible horror, drop me a line. I'll get that ball back in the air lickety split.
The adventures of Marian and the Sheriff continue...
Read the entire adventure to this point, starting on the post of July 26th.
Marian enters the pool
I plunge the sword into the water. An unearthly howl fills the chamber, and the blade drinks deep, moonlight flowing up the blade to the hilt.
The waters of the pool recede, siphoned away by some hidden drain, or perhaps drawn into the sword itself, and I am drawn step by step into the emptying cistern. Then, the water is gone, and at the tiled bottom, upon the mosaic of a crescent moon, I find an ivory-banded scabbard. A perfect fit for my sword - the blade now unseeable beneath the wild white light that crests and crashes across its surface. No hesitation, the sword is away, safely strapped across my back like some wild barbarian queen.
I throw back my head and howl.
At the top of the cistern, only one passage remains - low stone, unassuming, it smells of the deep forest. This is an exit, an escape from Castle Nottingham. Or, moon in hand, I might confront the Sheriff in his black domain.
- I bless my good fortune and step into the night.
- I return to the castle. There will be a blood moon tonight.
Marian's decision at this juncture has been made. To continue her adventures, check out the latest dev blog and vote on her current actions. Read the entire adventure starting July 26th.
This is the Nocked! True Tales of Robin Hood development blog. Every week I’ll discuss some aspect of the game’s development, show off some art, and give you the opportunity to create an entirely new Robin Hood story. Be sure to check out the butler's take on the Sheriff of Nottingham, occasionally updated @ManOfNottingham, and mention us in your tweets with #whosyourrobin.