Open Sorcery is a text-based browser/mobile game built with the Twine engine. It follows the development of an elemental firewall--a creature of intertwined magic and code--that is becoming sapient. It plays like a choose your own adventure game interspersed with riddle-like challenges and focuses heavily on the relationships you develop with other characters. Player decisions determine the emotional development of the AI and lead to one of eight endings, some happy, some devastating.
I created Open Sorcery because I fell in love with the Twine engine and see it as an amazing tool for creating stories. Words sitting static on a page can move people to tears. When I can weave color and pictures and sound into my words, well it's almost cheating. Open Sorcery particularly is an exercise in how rapidly a player can develop emotional relationships to characters. I made the main character a firewall to accelerate attachment to the other characters--from the start your purpose in the game is to protect them. The firewall's constant monitoring also gives the player a view into the characters' private lives and a litany of personal moments and snippets of dialog help to flesh out the cast. The game is concluded with a massive threat to the population that will starkly illuminate any feelings of investment. It is meant to be an emotional experience.
Photography by Becky Strauss