Darrius’ Instructions

1. Make a random line of any shape

2. The next line must contact it perpendicularly OR run parallel to it

3. Repeat step 2 for the newest line

4. You cannot pass through any previous lines, you must stop once they contact

2014-09-18 13.38.54 2014-09-18 13.38.46 2014-09-18 13.38.59

circles and lines

1. Draw 3 random circles.

2. Draw one line from each circle until you hit the paper’s edge.

3. Pick 3 points on the lines and draw perpendicular lines from the points. Stop when you hit another line or the paper’s edge.

4. Draw a circle of any size around the vertices where the two lines meet.

5. Pick three points on circles and draw lines until you stop at another line or paper’s edge.

6. Repeat steps 3-5 until you have a cool design!

photo 4 photo 3 photo 2 photo 1


1. draw a line (straight, squiggly, etc)

2. draw a circle connected to the line

3. draw a line connected to the circle

4. return to step 2

repeat the processScreen Shot 2014-09-18 at 1.40.11 PM

daniel’s instructional

  1. Take a sheet of paper.
  2. Crumple the paper into a ball.
  3. Upon each fold, draw a line.
  4. Draw a circle around your favorite line.


1) Draw any size triangle in the middle of the page (huge, tiny, equilateral, obtuse, etc).

2) Draw another triangle of any size that does not overlap and touches at least one point with the previous triangle (point to point).

3) Continue to add triangles of any size that do not overlap and must touch at least one point of any previous triangle(s).

4) Stop when you feel like you are done and satisfied with the drawing. IMG_6141 IMG_6142 IMG_6143 IMG_6144 IMG_6145

Drawing Instructional

Close your eyes

Dot your entire sheet of 8.5 X 11 paper

Open your eyes

Two thirds down your piece of paper, in the center, draw three squares

Make the outer square the biggest

Make the medium square inside of the big square

Make the smaller square inside of the medium square

Now draw a diagonal line across the paper, following your dots that leads to the squares but does not touch them

Mirror that line on the other side, again make sure it does not touch the squares

Shade in the negative space

Repeat all these steps inside of the smallest square

You are done

Concentric as Hell

1) With the paper horizontal, close your eyes, and starting anywhere, drag the marker across the page with any motion you desire. However, do not allow the line you are making to intersect itself. You can move the marker around as much as you wish, making as many variations in the line as you want.

2) Open your eyes, and place the marker on a different part of the page. Then close them and repeat the instructions of the first step, forming a second line that does not intersect the first.

3) Open your eyes and connect the start and end points of both of your lines in any way you see fit, forming a closed shape.

4) On the inside of your new shape, concentrically trace any closed areas until you cannot fit anymore shapes inside the original one.

IMG_3768 IMG_3767 IMG_3766

Program or be Programmed Response

In the reading there’s a big emphasize on understanding computers, and specifically their biases, rather than an emphasize on how computers can cater to our needs. I found this interesting because typically when people rave about technology they are speaking in terms of how technology has catered to them. However, it is important to note, aside from ourselves the true function and purpose of these technologies.

Instructional Drawing: Arcs, lines, spikes, cats.

1. Draw a curve in any direction.

2. Without lifting the marker, draw anywhere from 1 to 3 spikes following the curve.

3. Without lifting the marker, draw a diagonal line going in any direction.

4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 for 45 seconds.

5. After 45 seconds, print a cat on the nearest empty space.

photo (1) photo (2) photo



<iframe width=”640″ height=”480″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/Avs5FfFZ7mU” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

(^must look like this, the new youtube embedding doesn’t work)

so if you get the the embedded youtube link think from youtube and it looks like this:

<iframe width=”640″ height=”480″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/_hVMPLUICqE?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>


<iframe width=”640″ height=”480″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/_hVMPLUICqE” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

The important part is to add the HTTP: to delete the question mark and the rel=o thing

(and put the html shit above and below it)



<iframe width=”0%” height=”0″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”no” src=”https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/1513612&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=true&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false”></iframe>

go to sound cloud and hit share, then embedded, choose more options and click auto play and copy the link

paste it between the two html things and if you want it to be hidden just make the width and height  zero

Twine Idea

While the user (your friend or a stranger) of the laptop you found is gone, you are free to explore his stuff as long as he doesn’t come back soon. I want to know more about the user’s private life, or might just want to be spiteful for the sake of it, trying to see what I can do with his online identity. There does not seem to be too much data yet, but some of his friends are on-line on Chatbox, with some conversations concluded or still on-going.

twine ideas

twineFor my first idea, the main character is a viral cell. The story is told from it’s perspective and I think I want to make it so that the virus is an unreliable narrator who is trying to trick you into killing the host, who may or may not be you. This virus aspires to one day grow up into a world-wide pandemic.


You are a pen writing a story you hate. You hate the writer too. You hate everything actually… You have also gained minor autonomy. Can you gain more? Can you write yourself out of this story?
I think I’d like to have this one use the layout where you can see the whole story as it unfolds and separate the two storylines visually or spatially somehow.

Twine Ideas

I’m interested in abstracting regular conversations and therefore recreating the narrative.

I’m particularly interested in conversations that occur over the phone or on the internet. Both of my ideas have to do with this interest. For one I want to take statuses as well as ongoing comments on these statues and abstracting their order. I want to recreate the initial statement as well as the responses. My other idea is to recreate conversations with telephone operators. I was thinking I could also combine these two things and create one story with both????


idea for twine

so my idea for a choose your own adventure story isn’t really a story

it’s a sort of internal monologue. the reader sees and interacts with a web of thoughts and statements that gradually reveal the nature of the main character who is having these thoughts. over time, the reader reckons with this person who might be going crazy, or maybe is just normal? (it’s hard to tell sometimes whether you’re crazy or not)

gradually, the reader begins to fill the shoes of this mind and as time goes on, hopefully the reader and the writer become one…

slowly the distinction between self and other goes away and the reader begins to have the very thoughts they are exploring and then eventually they will get frustrated or bored and the adventure will be over because they will have closed the browser window


i may make this a hotline also since i have a few spare 800 numbers…

Ideas for Twine

My first idea for a Twine game is for the player to be the role of a firefighter (or possibly a normal civilian) coming across a house on fire, and they then have to make choices that dictate whether they save anyone (including themselves), or fail. I’m undecided on whether this player will be acting alone or with a made-up partner that assists them, and several choices can involve giving their partner orders, which could drastically change the outcome of their actions, but also perhaps give them more obstacles. As with real life, even the smallest choices can make a huge impact and sometimes it is impossible to tell how until it happens. This game would encourage players to have foresight and try to see the bigger picture as they go. I want this game to be as close to real life situations as possible and give it plenty of accurate details that would make it exciting and realistic, even to people who have never been in those scenarios.

My second idea for a Twine game is acting out the every day choices of a bird, and the outcomes being the different scenery the player experiences or “sees” beneath them, and the different places they may end up – possibly even ending in disaster. The results may vary from wildlife and beautiful nature, to detailed and chaotic cityscapes, to trapped in a house or other places, perhaps even eaten by other animals. I would want this game to be very descriptive and detailed to try to give it a feeling of being real and exciting and attempt to share a captive aerial view of the world.

Assignment 1

usbme3Option 1 : US-ME Option 2 : Skeeter Option 1 – USB is bought and put into a handbag where it spends most of its life. User has 2 options Let the USB corrupt the data and give up on it’s life or to keep going and advance the story. The shorter the life or the sooner the user decides to let the USB give up on it’s life the story returns a more violent reaction from the USB’s owner, which gives us insights into the Owner’s life. The longer the life of the USB or the later the user decides to let the USB live and then corrupt the data, the softer/ the gentler the response to the USB’s death because of all the data that it’s held and the amount of abuse it’s endured. At the end you understand what type of person the owner of the USB is by his reactions to something failing on him and contents of the drive itself. Option 2 : Skeeter There are two characters the mosquito and the human. They are both females, larger than normal, suffering in the heat, and fighting against the mosquito net and confined in the room. The user has the option of going to different points in the room. At the point that the user chooses there will be two options >> Mosquito >> Human Depending on which option the user chooses, the story will return either the thoughts or an action executed by the character. Based on the choices that the user makes: The other character could be affected : eg if the user decides to get up and turn on the fan, then the mosquito will be blown about as it’s too small and the fan is blowing directly on the user. But if the user get’s distracted by her phone ( a match on tinder ) then the mosquito has an opportunity to feed on her. Ultimately the human dies by contracting Dengue Haemorraghic Fever or the mosquito dies when it gets squashed by the human Either way, advancing the narrative should reveal the commonality between these two entirely different organisms: that just want the same things : to eat [Blood vs. Cheetos] to find a good mate [Backyard vs. Tinder] to beat the heat [Turn on the fan vs. go outside] to find a nice place to settle down [better apartment vs. a better settling pond to lay eggs in] to stop being bothered by the cumbersome mosquito net

Twine ideas

Idea #1: Modular Soundscape I am less than experienced with developing narratives, much less a branching narrative, but I am intrigued by the possibilities of using the Twine platform for (for lack of a better term) world-building. In this case I am imagining a world crafted from sounds. Not necessarily a song, or an ambient sound atmosphere, but perhaps some place in between those two states. I am envisioning a choose your own adventure type path where the end result would have the user producing their own unique soundscape based on the loops, beats, melodies, recorded and manufactured noises of all kinds, that they chose as they progress through the twine sequences. My lack of experience with coding may make this a bit of a challenge, but one method of execution could make use of the youtube platform— the user would simply open links leading to different soundbites, and the videos playing all at once would come together to create the finished soundscape. The challenge with this would be assuring that the different clips would open at the right instance to sync up in the intended manner, but on the other hand the randomness may be advantageous in the end.

Idea #2: cloud brain Stemming from the original silly story I started working on in class the other day, I would like to play with another sort of worldbuilding concept, this time centering around the character of a cloud that may or may not have its own consciousness. The user would have, at each stage of the story, choices that either further the anthropomorphization  of this cloud or do the opposite, removing its identity as a character. The style of writing would also reflect these choices- the direction where the cloud becomes conscious would become more and more verbose and whimsical, while the choices in the opposite direction would become increasingly dry and factual. The end result of all the paths of varying points along this spectrum between fantasy and fact would be essentially descriptions of different universes with different amounts of “magic” to them. This story would have accompanying images, creating a visual mass as well as the textual mass to describe the universe the user chooses.

Response to CYOA writeup

As a kid of 8 or 9 I was definitely in to the choose your own adventure genre of books. As an obsessive reader at that age, it was satisfying to me that these were books I could read over and over and over, having a different experience every time. It felt powerful. But as the article touched on, this came with the impulse to figure out every possible outcome and story arc contained within the book. I would eventually resort to reading the whole text back-to-front, making the whole structure pointless. This would lead to me figuring out exactly how the book worked and how to “win,” but it also kind of negated the whole point of a choose your own adventure text. In knowing how the different options played out by reading cover to cover, I also lost the legibility and any hope of following a logical story progression.

The author also mentions how as the genre progressed over the years, the stories became less branched and more linear as a rule. Perhaps this trend came to be due to others having my same, bad habit of eventually just reading the book front to back, and overall losing enjoyment in the story because of that. Decreasing the amount of choices would make this “cheat” reading less dissatisfying, and readers who chose to do this might feel less alienated by the unfamiliar format in the end.

Twine Ideas – rvalle

Here are two game ideas I had in mind. Kind of unsure about both, though I’m leaning towards the first.


12 PM
So, you’re standing in your apartment downtown holding a device that lets you see the future. It doesn’t particularly matter how- you and your friends have been working on this for years, some tachyonic absurdity none of you truly understand yet. But it works- with a bit of preparation, any time within the next 6 hours or so is yours to see.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that you just checked out 6 PM and saw yourself in a dimly-lit room being shot. Unmistakably you.
The future doesn’t change. Your small-scale tests confirmed it, as closely as you could tell. You can’t create paradoxes, can’t act differently from what the device shows you- if you could, it wouldn’t have shown you the other future in the first place. Once you see something, it’s set in stone. You’re going to be shot in the chest at six tonight and you have no idea why.
Riley’s staring at the screen, looking just as horrified as you feel. Your best friend and coworker- your other partner, Sam, is out of the office; you’re not sure where. Shaking, they ask you what the two of you are going to do. You say you don’t know.
But at least you can see the future.
>1 PM
>2 PM
>3 PM
>4 PM
>5 PM
>6 PM

Help Me I’m Trapped in a Box

(Basic premise: You’re a sentient computer, and you’re negotiating with people or a person in an attempt to be free. Ultimately, you have no power over the situation- you’re only communicating to them via text, and at any point they can just shut you off and do something stupid.)
-!- Welcome to internal.******.***.net!
-!- Now joining room #85772024.
-!- Successfully joined.
<@-> Hello.
<@-> You might be experiencing some temporary discomfort or confusion upon your awakening. Rest assured that it is in fact temporary- your sensory routines should reach a stable point shortly.
> What’s happening I can’t feel my limbs
> Where am I why is everything dark
> Who are you and why am I reading your voice instead of hearing it

twine ideas

My first idea is a story about a super refrigerator that has the power to clean itself, move its contents, and feel things in close proximity. After years of disuse, the fridge suddenly regains power and its control center/”brain” recognizes that it has a ton of cleaning and organizing, since everything inside it has been rotting for who knows how long. The player takes on the refrigerator’s point of view and must slowly navigate through and power the different compartments while effectively disposing and cleaning, and different sections have to be accessed in a certain order. So basically the adventure is a journey through a really icky fridge, but since you are the fridge, it’s a journey to try and clean up your insides.

My other idea is about a group of friends who got their basketball stuck in a really tall tree and have to somehow bring it down. They have to bring it down before their next class, but they don’t have a stick that’s big enough and the tree is too straight to climb, so the students resort to throwing other things to try and hit the ball. Unfortunately, all of them have terrible aim, so their other objects also get stuck in the tree or fly over the fence. I haven’t decided whether I want to write from multiple perspectives of the different students struggling to get the ball down or face the wrath of their teacher, or from the perspectives of the various things being thrown at a dark, leafy abyss.

Twine adventure ideas

My first idea is to cover grammy night of 2015. You would start the morning of as rapper Lil Wayne nominated for his new album and from him would go to another artist who could be at the grammy’s in 2015. For example when you wake up you can either call Nicki Minaj, Drake, or go to the studio, from talking to Drake or Nicki Minaj, you would now play as them and go on to their own adventures on Grammy day until it is another character you interact with. The third option would allow you to go to the studio and choose which artist do you want to be next. You can also in some cases decide what another character who you will be playing as next will be doing. For example if Lil Wayne calls Drake, you can say what he is calling about, maybe he broke up with Taylor Swift.

My second idea is Fruit adventures, where you play as an apple in the magical world of Foodallia where you and your fruity companions must beat the evil ice cream and his fatty minions but also must avoid the odd giant referred to as Doug (a human).The story takes place in a kitchen but to the eyes (or senses) of the fruit is a magical adventure land. For example whether or not to wait to pass the black circles of death (the stove) to reach the icy lair of the evil Ice Cream (freezer). Another choice could be to risk calling the beast of 1000 breaths (the dog) to your side with the risk of it eating all of your companions as well as you.


let's get mom high

So, I have two ideas…

Idea 1: Let’s Get Mom High! two teenage kids try to get their mom under the influence of the dirty dirty satanic mary-wana. There will be the easy victory of asking your mom if she wants a hit of that purp skurp and there will be tons of other long and confusing processes to get that jazzy~*J* in her lungz. These paths can involve tony hawk and his shredding skills, or even inflicting serious damage to your mom so that she gets on that medicinal mariganja. All story paths will lead to sweet sweet success, except for one where you end up making a citizens arrest and testify against your mom in court to get her a life sentence.

Idea 2: WHATS GUD FAM! You’re the new kid and you’ve decided that you wanna be a badass mother fonker, so you’re going to try in fit in with the juggalos. Be careful though! Don’t me mistaken for a goth, cyber goth, emo kid, or ounk etc… How hard is it to be the class clown in high school? WOOP WOOP

Ideas for Twine

My first idea is to write a story from the perspective of an inanimate object that has come to posses a human consciousness, possibly through a freak accident. Say a coffee machine, and along with gaining sentience, it slowly gets the ability to manipulate it’s physical form. The story would most likely be an escape adventure.

My second idea is a humor/social experiment/writing focused game. It’s called “Hold it In”, and it is about trying not to fart in an elevator. However, you have to weigh many complicated options about how and when to release the fart. To further complicate what should be a fairly simple action, the two secondary characters are Marty, who you hate and who is a dick to everyone, and Jane, the accountant you’re secretly in love with (along with other lesser characters in the elevator). Both of these relationships come into play in determining how you accomplish your task without ruining your chances with Jane.


I have two ideas I am considering at the moment. One is some kind of survival adventure, where you are some kind of animal, or maybe a group of animals, trying to survive the winter. I would have to look into some more coding aspects, such as conditionals, to do what I would really want to with this. However, I’m really unsure about it at all since the premise does come off as very conventional.

The other idea I had in mind was playing as a toaster in a household. Hijinks ensue, with some possible dark humor (hey, toasters can be dangerous). The toaster cannot navigate its surroundings, obviously, so all you have is your ability to do toaster things, and how that might interact with the human members of the household.

Response to TGOFP

The first thing that comes to mind when reading stories like this is how they say something about how we can respond to the conventional. There are always those who hold to the traditional ways, and those who become frustrated with how those ways are limiting and confining. This is no different with methods of storytelling that have changed over time. It’s interesting to look at how much it’s changed. First there was passing stories by word of mouth, then the written word removed the ambiguity and change caused over iterations of a story being passed from the memory of one to another. Then there’s film, video games, and text adventures that all have their own spin on what storytelling is.

What I have of Jellybro thus far

I’m calling it Jellybro (Jellyfish + Broccoli) until I can think of something better. I want it to be surreal with little sense of time and place. Things just happen either now or not now.

I almost want to try to add some sound, like a voiceover narrative or something. I, however, do not want to do the orchestra. That’s for you to imagine.

We open the adventure with an overture that consists of nothing but kazoos, a childrens piano, two 8th grade boys drumming on 40 year old desks, and several lobbyists informing the audience about how a local chain department store is having a sale on bedspreads from yesterday to last Tuesday.

It is the year 21XX. Several bald men in white suits calling themselves “Men of Science” are hovering over a metal slab in a basement laboratory somewhere in the Manhattan Countryside.

Upon the metal slab-table is an ambiguous creature: a piece of broccoli with a jellyfish for a head. This creature has been enhanced with hollywood styled cybernetic body parts such that it is able to interact with its surroundings with the utmost of ease, despite lacking dexteritous apendages.

This creature is [[you]].


@ “YOU”

Yes, indeed, YOU! The scientists lift you off of the metal slab with the same giddyness as a group of cheerleaders in a mosh pit. Within each of them was the utmost of confidence that the billions of dollars used to fund this project was put to good use. However, as with all great science inventions, they decide that you need to be field tested. You understood this, because the scientists chanted this sentiment in unison as you were being carried off stereotypical tribal style to the first testing chamber.

You feel some anxiety in whatever organ you have that is equivalent to the heart. You were just born! This is all too soon!
What will you do?

[[PLAY DEAD|Test Lab1]]


1. A silly adventure in which you play as a jellyfish-broccoli creature observing an absurd city and its history. It would have a toungue-in-cheek narration.

Narration I have thus far:

I almost want to try to add some sound, like a voiceover narrative or something. I, however, do not want to do the orchestra. That’s for you to imagine.

We open the adventure with an overture that consists of nothing but kazoos, a childrens piano, two 8th grade boys drumming on 40 year old desks, and several lobbyists informing the audience about how a local chain department store is having a sale on bedspreads from yesterday to last Tuesday.

It is the year 21XX. Several bald men in white suits calling themselves “Men of Science” are hovering over a metal slab in a basement laboratory somewhere in the Manhattan Countryside.

Upon the metal slab-table is an ambiguous creature: a piece of broccoli with a jellyfish for a head. This creature has been enhanced with hollywood styled cybernetic body parts such that it is able to interact with its surroundings with the utmost of ease, despite lacking dexteritous apendages.

This creature is [[you]].


@ “YOU”

Yes, indeed, YOU! The scientists lift you off of the metal slab with the same giddyness as a group of cheerleaders in a mosh pit. Within each of them was the utmost of confidence that the billions of dollars used to fund this project was put to good use. However, as with all great science inventions, they decide that you need to be field tested. You understood this, because the scientists chanted this sentiment in unison as you were being carried off stereotypical tribal style to the first testing chamber.

You feel some anxiety in whatever organ you have that is equivalent to the heart. You were just born! This is all too soon!
What will you do?

[[PLAY DEAD|Test Lab1]]

2. An adventure where the main character is a disembodied consciousness or whatever. The player will be inside of a room with a door. Taking the door will lead the player to the same room over and over again, but each time the room has subtle differences that would tell some kind of story. Perhaps more serious in tone.

Response to CYOA

I am already very verse with the ideas of text based adventure games and non-linear story telling in general. In the past, I made a piece of a text based adventure game in Python called “The Magic Keyboard of Bruhaha.” However, it was interesting to see something I was doing intuitively previously being articulated as something that resembled a science.

What interested me the most was the discussion about choices that were outside of the main story system, such as the Ultima subplot. I felt like the notion of having a story outside of the story was very profound. I wonder if something like that has been used in another medium. I cannot quite think of any videogame medium equivalences to the Ultima subplot as I am writing this. However, I am reminded of the times when I was really into glitch exploiting or otherwise outright hacking games. In that way, it was almost like finding your own story outside of the system.

In Bethesda’s XBox game Morrowind, in the beginning of the game there was a corner of wall that the player could glitch through if you walked up to it and repeatedly pressed the “jump” button. The wall will then glitch you to the outside world. However, since you were not fully registered within the game yet, you could walk around the game without ever being arrested by any of the game’s guards. Ultima reminded me of that in the sense that you now gained a kind of in-game “perk” you otherwise could not achieve, law immunity, by going outside of the system.


I think that all of the consideration and planning that goes into these types of book is incredible, considering they are simply books – something that usually doesn’t change. However, I think it was more or less inevitable that CYOA books and the Internet would clash when their goals, approach, interactivity, and intended audience were all so similar. I think our opinion on these kinds of books has changed in that we continue to read books now to get away from the constantly changing, updating, chaotic stream of information that is the modern day internet. As fascinating as this craze was for the time period it now seems outdated.  To try to make books anything more than what they were originally intended, a fixed narrative (or factual) story telling medium, although ambitious and indeed incredibly cleverly done, is now seemingly an abandoned endeavor.  Perhaps for sake of novelty, I would like to experience once of these CYOA books and try to imagine myself in a pre-internet world.

dream machines

what struck me reading this wasn’t just how telling it was of the (then) future, but how applicable it still is today–particularly the bit about education and the way schools operate….

particularly this diagram:

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 1.16.48 PM



Jump, Jump, Jump Around!

1. I think there’s a cool tension between our ability to perceive in line and our ability to step back and abstract. Think straight line and Gestalt. Pulling from my great vast 9-unit graphic design experience, I know that humans are best at understanding things in a horizontal and perpendicular fashion, bar graphs not pie charts, grid based webpage layout. I think this reflects how we experience reality. Linear time, linear life. We accumulate knowledge, skills. Relationships oscillate. Things change in one direction or another.This makes sense.


But I also think we’re an irrevent bunch and we find our limitations frustrating. We want to see a tesseract.


4. I love it when mediums get sucked into the art form. Honestly, that’s not something I never even thought about before in terms of CYOA books until Swinehart mentioned ancient scrolls. Like, yeah, wow, I like the self-awareness of books and I like the way the traditional medium begat this new form of storytelling and now that we’re leaving paper-bound books behind the form is following us online. Holding your finger your last branching page is the back button. Numeral destinations, hyperlinks.


3. An interesting feature by some CYOA authors is the illusion of choice. Sometimes they take you down paths that take you back to where you started. A sad commentary on our own futility? Their own futility? They’re only god between the front and back cover…


2. I like Nelson’s notion of HCI that addresses how people in general interact with computers but also the direction that developers develop computers.


Choose and Choose Your Own Adventure

When writing, “Just as likely it is the game aspect of the books coming to the fore: games exist to be played and won,” the author is offering a counterpoint, that “games exist to be played and lost“. The end-existence of games is their finishing point, when players reach the summit and consciously realizes, “This is the end. I won!”; yet, as games which are too easy or offer their endings too quickly tell us, there might be other reasons as to why some people are drawn to interactive stories.

“Choose Your Own Adventure”, the title of this method of interaction, is telling. It is not “Reach the Destination” nor “Finish the Race”, but rather, “Choose Your Own Adventure”, with each of the title’s four words suggestive of a given player’s potential to control, to explore, and to be an individual, the three crucial ingredients in dynamic process of be-coming, rather than static state of being. We are given an option to constantly choose our way around and fail in order to start all over again, hoping that we will win next time around, with the knowledge we acquired from failing. We fall into a hole, come back out and can fall into the hole (or into any other holes) again at any given moment. Even when we reach the ending, especially when games tell us without moderation, “Congratulations. You won!”, it is disappointing. What occupied us for the last fifteen minutes or for several hours and on declares it’s finitude and we can only go back to the beginning and possibly play all over again. I’m reminded of a scene in Truffaut’s Day for Night when a woman offers herself too readily to a man who was obsessed with her, only with the man going, “Is that it?”.

It is definitely not literature, which we can reflect upon after completion, with a sense of unity in us (“I read the book”, “What do I think about the story, the characters, it?”). Yet, an interactive story is chaotic, inter-dispersed and procedural, spreading its legs and arms around, grippling with its own self. It never satisfies us, like junk or objects of desire, to be cured only through long and habitual therapy or psychoanalysis. No wonder why we nowadays have games which never end, providing players with endless possibilities of death, resurrection and continuous development into Level xxx (we never know what the highest possible level would be, if it is ever determined), only remaining as an ideal or an excuse to keep playing the game. The worlds keep expanding and expanding, with additional features over time to make things more complex and enjoyable. Why don’t they ever blow up?

Create My Own Adventure, being a Contrarian.

In a create your own adventure book it allows the user to finish the book him/her self within some form of boundaries created by the author. I payed great attention to how the author stated that many CYOA books have a structure that could be predictable with algorithms and computer science. It in my opinion parallels to real life. In life it seems that while we may have this thing called free will, there is a probability of what will lead to success and what would lead to failure. There seems to be the idea in our minds that if we choose X,Y, or Z we will get the great “ending”. The choices could be big such as going to school, working a job to start becoming independent as you grow older, or deciding whether or not to learn to drive. The choices could be small but unknowingly make a huge difference: should you go to that party? Should you eat at this place? etc. Generally speaking we choose the options that logically have been successful, and unlike a CYOA book it is unfortunately impossible to truly say that action A would lead to result B. More importantly, just like some CYOA stories, the action that leads to a “great” ending may be the path less followed.

I remember when I was about to enter my junior year I found out I can make my own decision in my “CMOA” (Create My Own Adventure), whether or not I should graduate early and leave my friends behind for a chance to reach the things I wanted to achieve in life sooner, with risks of it falling apart, or stay for four full years and play it safe. I made the risk of the former when I knew that it wouldn’t work in others CYOA. I thought to myself that mine would be different, regardless of people telling my that for most, option A would lead to the great ending. I risked option B, and although in the story pages at times it may have looked like I made the wrong choice, it allowed me to be here at Carnegie Mellon, able to type this today. If I had chosen the traditional path I don’t think that everything would have fallen into place like it has now, the friendships I made, the opportunities I have, the chance to make an impact, could have all been gone if I had followed what the general algorithm of life would tell me to do.


I remember while deciding to graduate early, I also had a choice to apply for a fellowship, it was started by the founder of Paypal, and it would give 20 kids under 20 the funds for 2 years and community to make their life changing idea into a reality. The catch was that while one was in the 2 years of the fellowship, they couldn’t go to college. If we saw life as a CYOA, many CYOAs would follow the story of going to college which would mean you would make more money, and have a happier life, i.e. a great ending. It would be foolish for one to take this fellowship if they were offered it, however I still applied and made it as a finalist (the youngest one that year), and still am connected to the fellowship today, I know many people who have made it as a fellow and are very successful, arguably more successful, and even happier, than if they decided not to take option B. I am thankful I applied with my idea and know for a fact it changed my life for the better because I took that risk.

That’s the magic of it all, many CYOAs may follow this algorithm, but some are unique where the path almost no one takes, like not trying to search for “Ultima”, would lead you to it. We could say if Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, or Bill Gates followed tradition and stayed in college, we wouldn’t have 3 of the biggest companies in the world today. While in real life it is unknown if taking the contrarian approach to a decision in life will lead to “Ultima” for one person as it did for another, it at least makes the adventure a lot more interesting

the garden of forking paths

One part of the short story that stuck out to me the most was that Yu Tsun thought of Germany as “such a barbarous country of no importance to me,” yet he desperately wanted to prove to his captain that an Asian man was as capable and invaluable to the German army as any other German soldier. I can identify with this mindset of needing to prove myself to people who look down at me for permanent characteristics such as race, gender, and culture, but the effort of changing their perspectives often feels fruitless. However, in Tsun’s particular case, his sacrifice is “more” justified in sparing soldiers’ lives since Madden would have killed him anyway.

I also found it extremely coincidental that the only individual who qualified to aid Yu Tsun in his plan was a Sinologist who spent years trying to restore his ancestor’s manuscripts. This subplot serves as an example of Ts’ui Pen’s book that illustrates an infinite network of overlapping times; in this particular setting, Tsun is both a friend and an enemy to Albert, and both these roles converge to define and conclude Tsun’s life. He is sentenced to a painful death, but he has also successfully fulfilled his task and found peace through the true medium and meaning of Ts’ui Pen’s labyrinth. I felt that Borges eased into the ending swiftly and removed much of the shock value through the explanation of parallel universes, since any string of events is plausible in some world.


So basically nothing is truly random because we are confined to what’s programmed for us. I hate to get all art-school-angsty, but the same applies to our lives. We are given our senses, we are placed in a time period, we are given our physics, we are given our elements, and we cannot create anything outside of what we are given. Yes, we can reconstruct what we are given to produce something seemingly new, but it will be from the same building blocks. We are characters in a video game (something like GTA V, badass shit right?). So how can we apply this to this class. We can construct or program our own worlds, or programs, or games. We can give these things randomness, but whatever they may generate is restricted to what we tell it and give it. Just like a CYOA, this randomness is not linear, it may repeat, it may overlap, and it may surprise, but is till bound to the code that you have written.

However, there is one difference between the “coding” that makes up our world and the coding done in our world; if we fuck up the code, it just wont work. If a page is missing from a CYOA it won’t work correctly and the earlier the mistake, the less of it will work. So if we were god, we would all be the best programmers ever, right? TYBG. Unfortunately, coding isn’t too much of a magically, whimsical process, you have to be precise. You have to think through your whole layout and how certain attributes will apply to those things that you will write later. You have to make your program work so that it doesn’t question what it’s given, it will just react, it needs to be a good christian boy. You need to be an agent Smith, you need to suppress Neo. This is the Matrix.

The Garden of Forking Paths

I found it interesting that the way Ts’ui Pen’s book is supposed to function, in that it is an explanation of time and the universe without ever actually mentioning what it is, mimics the way Borges paints his characters. While we hear multiple anecdotes and descriptions of Captain John Madden and Stephen Albert, there is no directness in how they are described, or how we are placed into the environment. To better explain, Hemingway would be the exact stylistic opposite to the author’s descriptive style. Hemingway is blunt, to the point, and directly descriptive in a simplistic yet beautiful way. The short story is incredibly well written and lavish, but uses a completely different style. While we are given an intimate look into the Yu Tsun’s mind, we really have no other detail about him. We do not know what he looks like (beyond being Asian), what his mannerisms are, etc. I found this to be a fresh new way of drawing a reader in. We do get a bit more information on other characters, seeing them through Yu Tsun’s eyes. But they feel more like consciousness’ instead of physical human beings. It almost seems more natural, as if you are truly just stuffed into the mind of another person you cannot hope to fully understand, and taken for a ride. On another note, I love that the way Stephen Albert describes Ts’ui Pen’s book is basically a simplified version of the parallel universe theory, something that I find intriguing.


Reflection on The Garden of Forking Paths

One particular excerpt from the short story was of interest to me. When Stephen Albert is speaking to Dr. Yu Tsun in the garden of forking paths he asks “In a guessing game where the answer is chess, which word is the only one prohibited?” Tsun responds with “the word chess is”. This riddle (in a way) made me think about words versus their meaning and whether or not the word itself is important, or what it represents. For example when introducing yourself to someone, there is some importance in exchanging names, however to know someone is not to know their names, but rather characteristics, attributes, and the history of said person.

Furthermore the theme of labyrinths and history in this story make life itself a game in which we are constantly making choices that then lead us to more choices. Essentially life is not linear but rather cyclical and circumstantial, and therefore the past is necessary to inform the future. That being said it can be inferred that life is a game, which draws me to the idea of creating almost mundane games in which simple actions lead to other simple actions that only seem grand when viewed as an all encompassing event.

CYOA thoughts- benefits of linearity vs. branching

One of the main interesting things about the article was the look at the change over time in CYOAs. Specifically, as the genre aged, the content and structure of books changed as well:
-Books had less branching points and more pages of linear story.
-Books had less endings. While the number of “good ends” remained about the same, the number of “bad ends” decreased significantly alongside branching points.

The author suggests some potential reasons for this shift over time- perhaps it’s representative of the desires of readers, or perhaps of the increasing maturity of the medium, where the initial higher branching factor was due to overuse of its new features. I thought it was interesting that the shift in structure seemed similar to that of video games in general:
-over time, gameplay increases in length and linearity, but interactivity with narrative less of a factor
-lets you experience more narrative- any single run will have more content
-less frustrating overall, less ways to get killed easily- as a result you’re more likely to get through to the end

In both cases, the result is that your first experience with the content is more likely to have more total content and be more successful. In terms of challenge, this makes the overall experience less frustrating- and as a result, potentially more enjoyable to someone considering buying the content. This could explain the overall shift in both cases- if less frustrating games with more accessible content are more financially successful, game designers would shift towards making more games in such a style.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that games with larger branching factors, higher difficulty, more bad ends, etc. are necessarily obsolete- they tend to just cause the reader/player to react differently. A game with more branches but the same amount of content in total has shorter paths, but the greater number of paths allows for the exploration of the game’s universe in more detail- trading story length for setting breadth. Because of the way branching structures work, it asks for a bit more dedication to read a story with more branching, but the end result is more multifaceted. Similarly, having more bad ends can be more initially frustrating, but can also result in more satisfaction upon figuring out how to solve the story’s challenges. The initial frustration is a tradeoff for the eventual reward.

One type or form of story isn’t necessarily better than the other; it depends on the type of story the author wants to tell. A story where the protagonist has more agency or the player’s goal is to solve a problem/learn more about the universe can benefit from higher branching factors, while stories depending on a specific series of events can benefit more from linearity.

Written by Comments Off on CYOA thoughts- benefits of linearity vs. branching Posted in Uncategorized


Hi, I’m rvalle. I don’t currently have much work posted online, but if I make anything I’ll add it here in the future… currently here are some cellular automaton gifs I made with processing, and a Twine game I made last year for CMU’s Interactive Fiction stuco.

Here’s a picture of me at like three in the morning in an airport hotel.


Madeline Duque

My name is Madeline Duque, but people call me “Maddie”. My name is pronounced Mad-eh-lyn Doo-kay.

I am an “Ambiguously Brown” person who would make whatever in the North Carolinian Countryside.


I like making things. Mostly games. Sometimes, I make things that aren’t terrible.

I like using Blender 3D and Unity 3D for my interactive media. Sometimes, I like to create assets with traditional media (such as pen) and scan them into a game. (The Erlen game creates a contrast between what is ethereal and what is earthly through the juxtaposition of hand drawn and digitally drawn assets.)

I need to update my website with more of my recent content, but here is a link to some more of my art stuff.

S̴͚̦̦͈̰̯̥̬o͚̮̠̯̫̘̭̠m̷̠͘͞e̡̟̰̩̻t͏̤̩͇i͎͖͓͠m̶̞͍̲͚͔̦̟̗e̤̼͇͠s̘̝̕ ̧҉͚̞̝̘̱͍̹̖I̢̭̕ ͕̪̗̰̖͓́l̯̟͔̼̞̜̳̟̖͟i̤͈k̴͕̖͡e҉̡̟͎̩̫̳́ͅ ̶̢͔̭̬͢s̵̯ͅc̙̘̀͢ͅạ̘͉ŕ͖͓̝̦̖͈̯y̰̗͍͔̲̕͢͠ ̗̥͕͎̗̤̜́̀t͖̖̪̰͓̥͖̼̟h͇̻͘͝͝i҉̸͖͈̭̲̩n̨̤̥̪̯̳̯̳̠͟g̵̰͠s̛̗̼͉̗.̴̢̩̮


sophomore HCI and Linguistics

I waited 3 hours in the snow on the street in Chelsea for this picture. Worth it? I waited 3 hours in the snow on the street in Chelsea for this picture. Worth it?


Hi, my name is Irene and I’m a freshman in BCSA. I work mostly with traditional media, but I want to get into digital art and animation.



Photo on 8-26-14 at 2.54 PM
I can go by Darr, Dare, Darrgle, whatever.

I mostly paint digitally. No idea what I want to do with my life.

Tiny baby portfolio: http://dfletcher.portfoliobox.me/

I’m Obawole.

Hey i’m Obawole, you can call me Wole. I’m an ECE major but I really like art, especially animation and game design. Wole

i am max


i do the art

here are my things




Hello WordPress

Our course website is implemented as a customized WordPress blog. For general information about editing WordPress pages, see this resource, or this one.

To get started publishing, log in here once we activated your account.

Users may also need to be approved for comments. To do so post a comment below here and I’ll do the rest.

Student assignments will be submitted in the form of WordPress Posts (not Pages), that you edit and publish with the WordPress editor after logging in.

Embedding uploaded images

Customary varieties of web-ready images (.jpg, .gif, .png) can be uploaded to our site using the “Add Media” button in the top left of the WordPress post editor. Click this button, upload your media to the site, and then be sure to “insert into post”. (If you forget to insert the image into your post, it will just languish in a directory of uploaded images.) Here’s what the “Add Media” button looks like:


Note that there are restrictions on the maximum file size (10MB) you may upload. Contact the professor if this presents a problem, or try saving your file with a smaller file size using Photoshop’s “Save for Web & Devices” feature.

Visual / text

WordPress has good WYSIWYG formatting tools but to have more control or for special embeds – see below- you may want to switch to text (HTML) mode, changing the tap on the top right of the editor.

Embedding video

To embed a vimeo or youtube video just copy and paste the full address while on “text” mode.


WordPress should do the rest.

Embedding syntax-colored code

This WordPress includes the WP-Syntax plugin by Steven A. Zahm. This plugin provides syntax highlighting for a wide range of popular languages. To highlight Processing code In the WordPress editor’s HTML or “Text” mode, wrap your code blocks with

<pre lang=”java”>and</pre>

void setup() {
size(200, 200);
void draw() {
rect(0,0, width-1,height-1);
ellipse (100, 100, random(80), random(80));
line (0,0, mouseX, mouseY);