"What Happened?" my Interactive Fiction Story

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My term project is an interactive fiction story entitled "What Happened?" It is the story of waking up after a party and trying to figure out what exactly transpired the previous evening. While the main goal is to find the character's phone in order to call a friend for the whole story, I've thrown in (and will continue to throw in) little vague flashbacks to drop hints about the previous evening.

Because my home is low on traps and locked or hidden doors, I've invented puzzles that deal mostly with overcoming the character's hangover induced weaknesses. I've got all the puzzles worked out in my head, though I'm not entirely sure how to program them yet. I can, however find enough examples that I know all of them are possible to program. I've got descriptions for about half the rooms written, though I know what the rest will be. That's my next step. I plan to keep them short and try to get the puzzles and basic descriptions done first. Then, I'll go through and do what I can to slip in more descriptions, and improve it. I think its pretty important to make sure it works, before worry about unnecessary details. So thats about where I am now. There is one undecided bit: At the end of the game the player calls his buddy to find out what happened. I'm going to have one of three things happen:

1. The story will essentially be what the player figured out. (Probably not going to use this)

2. The story will be as far from what the player thought it was.

3. Or I'll just have the player's friend say "I don't know man, I left early."

Below I'll discuss the puzzles specifically, but if you plan on playing it later. It'll spoil the game for you. So up to you.









Okay, the game starts out on the bathroom floor. You can't do anything that involves getting off the floor until you eat the aspirin. The aspirin is in the cabinet, and to get it you have to throw a blow dryer at it, which knocks it open and rattles it enough that the aspirin falls to the ground. You have to then dump out a bottle of tequila that you wake up next to, then fill it with water from the bathtub faucet (you can't stand to get to the sink) in order to take the aspirin. Now you can stand, and leave the bathroom.

Besides scenery the hall has an out of place ugly painting and a switch. It also connects the rest of the house. The switch turns on the vent-fan for the basement which clears out the smoke so that you can go down there. The kitchen has broken glass on the floor, and in order to enter it you have to find some shoes. All thats obviously available is a pair of high-heels. In the kitchen you find your cell phone, but with no battery. The bed room has some especially loud music going, the sort that can induce migraines in one with a wicked hangover. In order to enter it you have to get some earplugs (There might be a key involved with this) The living room has several windows, and is incredibly bright, to go in there you have to find some sunglasses. In order to go outside you have to find some pants for decorum sake. To get the pants you have to wake up some chick who is passed out in your bed on top of them. You don't feel comfortable doing this until you determine her name. (It's the signature on the ugly painting). Once you have the pants you can go to your car, (outside) Inside is someone else's cell which happens to have the same battery as yours. At last you can call your buddy, and its over.   


Andy Lonigro said:

David I think this game sounds great, really funny. The only thing I would suggest (and I know NOTHING about interactive fiction) is to make the first puzzle the easiest. If the player is laying in the bathroom and doesn't figure out to throw the hairdryer at the cabinet (something I'd probably never do) so it will open he or she may get frustrated and want to quit. I would make the first puzzle a little easier than that, just to give the player some confidence, then increase them in difficulty. I think this will be a great idea and I'd like to play it.

Dave said:

Funny you should mention this.....I had a buddy play it last night and they probably would have quit except for my constant reassurance that the rest of the puzzles were easier. In most cases where the puzzles are kind of hard, I prefer to just drop insanely obvious hints. If the puzzle is a bit hard, I try to have the descriptions essentially tell you exactly what to do. It'll still be easy enough, and build a little confidence. I could have the cabinet start open, so you know the aspirin is there. Then I can have it say something like, "you can't reach...perhaps if you threw something." Thanks for the tip.

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