Blog Posts

Oliver Regan – Shia

http://philome.la/MajorBot/shia

My thought process when making this bot was fairly simple. I wanted to create something that would make me laugh (and hopefully whoever else was interacting with it too!) and I wanted to incorporate something from one of my favorite youtube videos. I decided to theme it after this video / song by Rob Cantor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0u4M6vppCI. I must admit, Sean Lau was very helpful in regards to my execution of this project as he and I both enjoy the video equally as much and I was able to run ideas by him and make sure it was as fitting as could be!


The aim was to relate it as closely as I could to the song whilst still allowing the person interacting with it to choose their own path and make their own decisions. I also tried to use the kind of grammar that would be found within this song or at least the kind of grammar that is used online in reference to the song. The communities it is well received in may not be the most mature but I went with their grammar as it just seemed to fit better.

I believe my project achieves the desired effect of being equal parts ridiculous and accurate to the video.

Dead Presidents

When we was told that we had the chance to create something for our class at the beginning of the semester, I didn’t know what to expect from the class. I was thinking that this class would teach me about the idea of memes and how the work inside of today’s climate compared to in the earlier years of the internet.But that wasn’t the case, instead, we learned something more than that.I learned about how e-lit from years earlier had become the memes that we see today. A lot of the things that we seen such as Patchwork girl and game, game, and game again had me think about the project that I wanted to work on for this and when I was introduced to the twine program, I realized that this is something that I could make work well with some of the ideas that I have for the class.This Idea I had for this project was the Dead Presidents Idea.Me and my friends have the phrase dead presidents, we had gotten the name from a 2 Chainz song with the same name.In the song, it is referring to dead presidents as money, but we took it to mean the leaders that we did have in our community that had died.When I looked at the format of twine, I knew that this was more important than the memes that I could have done.But this project of creating a short description of each of the leaders from my community that have died in various of ways was more impact in my opinion.Each one of them is a talk with god as they are in purgatory and letting out their true feeling about the situation that they are in and the life that they had lived.I wanted to write it in a way in which it you could see how each one of there leaders are connected to one another and how leaders could inspires of leaders so that when people look at my project the could see the who each one is and look more into each one of these people.

https://maliq01.itch.io/purgatorydead-presidents

Unboxing

Link: http://philome.la/AsciiTown/unboxing/play

For this assignment, I focused on the  topic of planned obsolescence and the effects of a closed software ecosystem.  The story follows an iphone user as they unbox their new iphone, ending in it inevitably breaking during the setup. I came up with this idea when we were discussing planned obsolescence in class, and the court case involving apple regarding their phones. Originally, the idea for the piece was to have an ‘infinite’ expanding warranty conditions which took so long to read that by the time they were opened the phone’s battery had gotten so poor that it needed to be serviced. This ended up to be too hard to express, so it turned into an unboxing experience instead.

Since Twine is essentially a frontend framework which allows for content to be written in HTML, I mostly wrote my own components. To create the body of the phone I used CSS on plain html elements. This allowed for the screen to be rendered on top of the phone.  Inputs were difficult with the harlowe version of twiine (I regret not switching to sugarcube which has improved support for javascript) and required manipulating twine’s state directly to store values in a hacky way.

Using twine was a challenge, as it seemed to hide a lot of the environment’s functionality from the author.  The default version seemed well suited for basic branching narratives, however it made things like storing input or re-rendering based on state changes extremely difficult.  I liked using the editor however as it helped organize all the scenes of the story into their own page.

While I am happy with the result of this piece, I wish I had spent more time on the content rather than hacking the framework.  The story only has 4 endings, none of which let the user successfully set up their phone. Despite its short length, it still gets the message about planned obsolescence across well.

E-Lit Memes

For my final creative project I created several memes that were applicable to the class, and took inspiration from material that we covered in class. The majority of my memes were satirical in nature, poking fun at some of the material we covered in class, from Jason Nelson’s wacky games to typography poems. In this way they have much the same stance, and for the most part they have the same format. Not in the traditional sense of all my memes being the same image with different text overlayed. I mean the same format as in they have one option being preferred over another. The image for each meme is different, but the format at its core stays the same.

The content is one of the things that does change, as I did my best to make sure I had no repeating issues. I could have copied one meme onto a host of different images and called it a day, but that felt a little like cheating and was too easy. I also did my best to try and move away from some of the formats that were found on some of the meme generator sites. While I do have a couple memes that include the classic impacted font, I did my best to try and find alternatives, which is why I only ended up with 7 memes total.

Link: https://imgur.com/a/M8aeMfT

A Medieval Fantasy Tale

https://skribl.itch.io/dragonslayer

I had a lot of fun making my Twine story. Looking back at our class I thought about how I could turn my own interests and style into a story that can entertain. I really enjoyed using Twine because it is so simple to use, yet it allows people to have their own freedoms. Like I have previously stated in my past blog posts, I really appreciate how anyone (like myself) can have an idea and get that ‘published’ on Twine. I took my own writing style and tried to give readers the most freedoms that they could have when they ‘play’ my book. They get to make countless choices, interact with characters in the way that they see fit, and really get to be engaged by the scenery of the ‘pages.

There was one part where I got an error that I had no idea how to fix. I looked all over the internet trying to find a solution, but could not. In the end, I ended up contacting some Twine moderators on an app called ‘Discord’ to help me with my issues. Even though it was 2 in the morning, these moderators were more than happy to help, and that made me happy. This is one of the reasons I really like electronic literature, the ability to contact publishers and developers are at your disposal. This truly showed me that people in the electronic literature community want others to thrive and are very willing to help random strangers like myself out.

This was a great way to reflect what we have learned throughout the entire year. Everything we did in the past contributed to my final project and I really think that I gained a lot from it. The main take away from my project and the class, in general, is that everyone has their own voices and electronic literature is the way to express it. Along with that, the possibilities for what you do are endless and are only limited to your imagination.

Thanks for everything, This class has truly been an eye-opening experience for me and hopefully my classmates.

-Sean Lau

Summer ’06 – A Niche Nostalgia Trip

Rosa Delgado


Twine is limitless in its content capabilities. Having experimented with several different Twine narratives in the past and learning more about them through this course, I still have only gotten just a glimmer of their expanse. So, when making a Twine narrative myself, I realized that there was so much content I could draw information from, be it from the internet, my own experiences, or the environment around me. The narrative I created is a little bit of all three.

My initial inspiration came from a friend’s movie night, we watched Madagascar and it reminded me of my Madagascar-themed sixth birthday party and being a cool kindergartner. So my Twine is about kindergarten and birthday parties. There is a light dusting of niche internet humor over everything and that’s where my present life comes into play. I think most content creators – to a certain extent – are selfish and make content reflective of their experiences and their specific tastes, I’m no different.

I started kindergarten August 2005 and ended June 2006, the mid-to-late 2000s were a pretty weird time. Technology was evolving faster than before and many were struggling to keep up. My family didn’t get a household computer until 2008 and it was a big deal then; my sister got a cellphone in 2012 and we got a Wii system that year as well. Up until those points, my experiences with new technology were limited to using painting programs in my school’s computer lab or going over to a friends’ house and maybe getting to play videogames on their consoles if applicable.

So, I still got to experience a relatively tech free childhood – I remember giving my really close friends my home phone number and calling them up after school and over the summer but now I hand out my number or social media handles like Halloween candy. Essentially, I wanted to create a game that would evoke nostalgia for the mid-2000s the way that I remember them to be. Some of the content of the Twine I made is direcly from my life but a majority is fictionalized and slightly distorted.

Making a Twine tale what slightly more involved than I would have imagined. I had resources from class and the internet at my disposable but as I do with most things, I made this nearly complete story happen through brute force. I learned a lot about narrative-based game components and choose-your-own adventure type literature and games. I can see how something like Twine would be useful for story boarding or drafting for interactive media such as the interactive Black Mirror movie. Ultimately, the big question here is is it a game or is it a story? Based on how much I’m still learning about electronic literature and the way I created my twine, I’m not too sure I’m qualified to answer this myself. Fortunately, you can decide for yourself what it is here. This project is still in development and I plan on continuing to work on it in my free time.

Escape from the Pigs: Protest E-Lit

https://dragonfly123.itch.io/pigs-escape

Escape from the Pigs is a twine story in which you and your friend Thom are framed by the police for illegal drug trafficking, and must evade them in various ways in order to escape the country to Canada and prevent them from taking you down. The majority of the choices you make are in deciding how exactly you should evade the police, these choices always ending in their failure in displays of grand incompetency or destruction. By the very end, you even get to destroy a police helicopter, presumably killing the officers inside of it. There are a few choices you can make to turn yourself in at various points, but they always end with the police shooting you.

Escape from the Pigs is a work that I would include in a new genre that stems from protest bots that I call Protest E-Lit. This is a story that revels in images of the defeat of police, and views them as malicious tools in the state’s quest for vengeance, regardless of innocence. I wrote this story because I wanted to create something unmistakably political, one that isn’t unclear about the things you should be feeling when reading it. At one point, the other character in the story goes on a rant about how you shouldn’t hesitate to fight back against the police when they’re trying to kill you for a crime you didn’t commit. I want to continue making more stories like this in this new genre that I’ve coined, where you get to point out oppressive structures and have fun doing so at the same time. There are always going to be a lot of games and interesting stories written using twine, but if we can spread certain political ideas using the format, then I think we should.

Rafi Nizam