Once I decided on the subject for my twine project, the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, I needed to decide what source story I wanted to use to decide on the kernels since there isn’t a single version. I decided to draw primarily from the Ovid version and the Carol Ann Duffy poetic version, sort of mixing around elements for the smaller details but keeping the core similarities for the main narrative.
Reducing the works to kernels wasn’t very difficult, the myth is pretty known so I already knew what the expected basic elements of the story were to make it recognizable. Within the individual passages I took more liberties and had a little bit of fun with the narrative. I tried to create unique options for the story and the player so that they could make different decisions that would affect their game playing but also would still fall within the realm of the kernels and the original story. I did the sort of “script” for all the passages first and decided how to divide it up, that is one tricky part of the process in that you don’t want to overload one section with a lot of text but you also don’t want to have multiple passages back to back with no options so finding a sort of happy medium for that and pacing the narrative is something that one needs to take into account and think about when creating the story.
Coding is definitely the most difficult part. Some of it is just tedious, I used different background images for almost every passage so I had to create a tag for each one and type it in and so it wasn’t difficult as much as it was just repetitive work. Formatting the background image was more difficult though; the images kept getting too zoomed in so at first I tried to put in certain dimensions to fix it but that was also a lot of work and a lot of guessing, then I found some different commands for image formatting and played around with those until I was happy with the result. I also struggled trying to figure out how to work with variables, it difficult for me to understand how to implement it correctly, but once I got it right I felt really good about it.
The easiest part is for sure reducing the story to kernels and writing it all, the hardest part is coding again just because it’s tedious but also because it’s very particular and you need to be specific about what you want twine to do, which also makes it difficult to research for help sometimes.
I have a particular passage, “turn” and “turn2,” there’s a previous decision that affects which path one continues on but this is a kernel that needs to be met in both, that I think is one of the key passages of the game, it also is about one of the most famous parts of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth which is when Orpheus turns around. The passage in the game works narratively in that I am depicting Eurydice’s perspective of the story, it is always told through a male len’s or through Orpheus’s perspective, turning it into a hero story and focusing on his want of getting Eurydice back, rather than her own wants of if she even wants to go back; in this passage, Eurydice doesn’t want to go back to the mortal realm and is actively trying to get Orpheus to turn around. The player has to try different options to get Orpheus to turn around, but none of them work, once they’ve tried them all a new option appears. This passage sort of encompasses all I was working on in that it has that variable element to it that I was trying to figure out, so it shows the coding work and struggles that went into the process. The picture in the background shows Eurydice looking back towards Hades but he is looking away, again, in most stories, Orpheus makes a deal with Hades and Eurydice has no say in the matter and this painting shows that, this dismissal of Eurydice. The paintings as a whole highlight the disconnect between what Eurydice is saying about her story and what the paintings depict in that they are all painted by men, about the men’s perspective. The music portion is sort of tongue in cheek, I think they’re funny but it’s also poking fun at Orpheus and his reputation as being this great musician and almost all the songs I used were #1 singles or close to it.
What I’ve Learned
An aspect that I enjoyed learning about through this twine process is the concept of kernels and breaking narratives down to the essentials and then being able to use those essential pieces in a new way either in terms of the progression of the story or the perspective. I also enjoyed the coding aspect, I do actually think coding is fun, despite how difficult it can be, so getting to combine literature and coding was nice and learning how the different commands work was an interesting, if not frustrating process, but getting it all to work in the end always feels like an achievement.
I thought the twine project was a lot of fun, I enjoyed getting to create something from scratch and the twine program isn’t too hard to get the basics of. The project allows one to look at narratives a lot differently by forcing them to break it down into choices and paths and see what elements they are allowed to change while still keeping the general story and I think that’s a great skill and tool to have when analyzing literature. I do think the implementation of the project needs a lot of work though, there were a lot of issues and inconsistencies among students that I think made the project not run as smoothly as it could.