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ds106 Final Project!

The Final Project begins now…

When beginning this project, I had the thought of crafting a mystery story. I envisioned creating a trail of clues for players to follow, and leading them to a resolution based on their own ability to decipher hidden messages and to connect clues together. Upon starting the implementation phase of those ideas this week, I realized this would involve making a trail of URLs, and recalled that making a section of an image or video clickable was a fairly code-intensive process, one that I did not have time for this week. Acknowledging the element of necessary scope was anticipated, yet difficult. I believe I had a good vision for a fun transmedia mystery, and that it was within the realm of my ability to create. Time, though, works against all projects.

Once I had accepted that I would not be building the game I had blogged about for the last couple weeks, I got to work. I wrote out the phases I would need to undertake (Diagram > Create > Post) and began the first.

I remembered a list of potential game topics I’d made over the summer and took the concept of bank robbery from that list, fusing it with the original plan of a mystery. I preserved the police-in-pursuit role of the player, this time giving them an analysis role as opposed to full-fledged detective. This kept an element of haste in the story and, while it progresses at the user’s pace, language encourages the player not to wait in completing the chase. I jotted down notes that outlined when the player would have a choice, be presented with a file to analyze, and reach the resolution. I thought for a while on the medium I would use to convey the story, as linking to several pages had already been marked unfeasible. I chose the familiar method of Inklewriter and got to work on the creation phase.

Writing itself took a fairly short time, as I did not intend the game to be long. I drew this out before I began media creation, as I wanted to have the tree/logic diagram accessible in case media needed to be placed elsewhere once created. Once this was done, I got to work on the first image.

As it turns out, Photoshopping a car and license plate was harder than I’d anticipated. Existing security footage is grainy, and the license plate had to still be legible for the user, which left me to create a middle-ground. The image didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped, but it does do the job in the story, even if not being aesthetically pleasing from an image editing perspective.

The audio file, I looked forward to. As you may know by now if you’ve read the previous posts on this site, I enjoy audio. I set the stage as a microphone placed on the back of a van, and proceeded to create a soundscape to match that viewpoint. I ended up combining highway noises, a radio changing channels, two recordings of my own voice with various pitch modulations and telephone effects, and car and boat horns to indicate location. This was all done in Adobe Audition and assembled in a multitrack environment, then mixed down and hosted on Clyp as an mp3 that could be linked to from Inklewriter.

As I reached the end of the project, I questioned whether or not the files presented were enough. While I met the requirements of using at least 3 different assignment categories (Visual, Audio, Web, and Writing were used), I wasn’t sure this accurately portrayed my range of ability as a ds106 student and Maker. I read back through my reflection and realized that presenting the story in this way did something I very much liked: it gave the player the chance to have their own piece of creativity. While I presented fairly audible directions in the audio file, players could pick up an editing toolset themselves, as false-positive answers are many in the Inkle story. If they wanted to be sure about the license plate in the image, they could hsarpen it using any of the tools available on the Internet. At this point I’ve decided that, even if I’m not flexing every creative muscle I have in the final for this course, I have used the skills obtained this semester to make something, and that’s alright with me.

Link to Project:

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