If you haven't played Relive Your Life you should give it a try! It's about 4 minutes each time you play through.
Now that it's all pretty much over I guess I'll do one of those "Look back and write about it" entries and maybe someone will find it worth reading.
At the beginning of the semester, my professor told us her studio was a focus on interaction and storytelling. She listed three prototype projects we would be spending a month on each. They were
- Stop motion animation (storytelling focus)
- Interactive story/game (mix of interaction/storytelling) - Relive Your Life Beta
- Interactive fashion/installment (interaction focus) - Made a functioning Piano Key Necktie
So I knew from the start that I would be making an interactive story in flash, which I wanted to go all out on since I was comfortable in the program. At first I had a much more deep and personal flash in mind, involving a diverse group of thinkers who live through a day in their lives controlled by your decisions. In the end all of their lives would clash and how you made each person act would determine the result. It was much deeper and meaningful, and probably would have been appreciated more by the artistically non-digitally inclined elders that control the program.
But then I chose my partner and the whole direction changed. I chose to work with the most goofy, funny, and likeable guy in the course. Naturally I wanted to make the most of the partnership so right away we ironed out our idea. All the examples gave people simple choices, left or right? You had an idea of what would happen if you chose either. We wanted to make you fight for your decision, we wanted you to earn your ending.
We planned out this preposterous idea that you would start as a sperm and you'd fight for humanity, otherwise you'd be a weird mutant, and your life would continue from there. The original didn't give you the option of being a woman. John and I worked on a plot map, which ended up having 16 endings and 32 scenes. It was symmetrical and predictable, you'd know how to find each ending just by common sense. Another problem was that players always went for the win, regardless of the outcome. (This version had my partner as the narrator, and I had video of him talking... which took up a SHITload of data) The fla crashed as I was trying to finalize everything so I could publish it online, and I lost so much time and basically tossed the fla aside.
So once the last month of school came around, we were told to take one of our prototypes and improve it for the final. I chose Relive Your Life and this time went solo.
I could have taken the easy way out and just cleaned up the games, and add music and sound effects... but I didn't.
First thing I did was send a message to Arin Hanson, asking him if he would be down to be a narrator for my final project. He was ridiculously quick to respond and just a ridiculously generous to say yes. I mainly asked him because I watched Sequelitis and I wanted to handle my narrator the same way he handled his. (Instead of video, this saved me a lot of time/filesize) I added a female branch and a few more branches in other locations to total 52 scenes and 29 endings.
HERES THE PLOT MAP STRUCTURED IN XMIND
The final was due May 1st, and I started coding the minigames from scratch in a more structured and efficient manner on April 8th. All the games were coded by the 10th and I literally spent 3 weeks in my dorm animating scene 1 to scene 52 non-stop to a very strict schedule. (I got chewed out by my gf a few times) I didn't have audio recordings until the 25th, a few days before I left for Pico Day. The day before was when I finally finished animation for all the scenes so I spent the plane rides to and back from Pico Day on my laptop putting animation/games/audio all together. I returned from Philly on April 29th and BARELY got my game done in time, Audio included. The backgrounds were painted quickly on crescentboard with watercolor.
May 2nd I showed it publicly to groups of people and got some seriously good feedback, although I noticed some trends among players that I'd need to address before releasing online. I spent a few weeks testing and adding features including medals and saving. And then viola it's here!
It's doing really well. This is the first time I've ever coded something to this extent in Actionscript. Most I've ever done prior was buttons. I'm nowhere near most of the programmers here, but this studio course has really geared me towards coding. I really enjoy it!
And yes, I got an A on the project and an A in the course.
My Professor - Jinsil Hwaryoung Seo
My TA - Morgan Jenks
My Partner for the Prototype - John Moody (Helped write parts of the script and revised my additions for consistency)
Ethan Gallardo - Known as EthanAlways on NG for painting like 4 backgrounds. If you need voicework give him a holla he's a good friend of mine.
Arin for obvious reasons.
TomFulp for being an all-round amazing guy
Andrew Virostek for listening to my gripes all the time.