One afternoon in May, I was steamrolled by one of my more hair-brained ideas that just seemed so weird, crazy, and exciting that I couldn’t NOT drop what I was doing and figure out how to make it happen.
I decided to make an interactive fiction dungeon crawler game on PC using Twine. Then I decided that I’d only release the game INSIDE a Kindle book on Amazon. Then I decided that the book would also be a massive diary documenting the ins and outs of the entire project. The whole thing? One big wacky experiment that mashes-up self-publishing with indie game development and DIY creativity.
Boom. And I gave myself a little over a month or so to complete this ridiculous task.
In reality, it took me almost three full months to complete the project, but after many sleepless nights, lots of craft beer, some head scratching, a ton of highs and lows, and almost destroying myself in the process, I managed to do the darned thang!
The end result, This Book Is A Dungeon [This Dungeon Is A Book], is something I’m pretty excited about. It’s very, very different from anything else I’ve done of late, and it shows a much darker, more demented side of my creative spirit that’s…well…pretty effed up, to be honest.
I grossed myself out creating the thing, a few times at least. And it was awesome. And…gross. I didn’t intend, initially, for the game to be a gruesome horror romp, but that’s sort of where the project steered itself early-on, and I embraced it fully. It’s dark, it’s twisted, it has everything from auto-cannibalism to demonic seduction to occult rituals and giant pus-spewing worms. Expect to die horribly and often. That’s part of the “fun(?)”
But beyond the branching paths, grisly deaths, gruesome situations, and eerie puzzles woven throughout the short, freaky game itself, I think the book portion of this project and the whole experiment is equally interesting. If you’ve ever been curious about writing interactive fiction, making and releasing games independently, doing crazy creative things on a stupid tight timeframe, and generally trying something new and exciting you’ve never done before, I think you’ll get a lot from the 40,000 ish words I cooked up while making this unholy concoction.
In any event, the book and game are officially available. They’re not perfect (I wasn’t aiming for perfection with this experiment), but I feel super psyched about how they all spun out, and I’m inspired to tackle more interactive fiction projects in the future. I’m also updating them almost daily based on player feedback and to stomp any minor bugs folks find.
A paltry $5.99 Kindle book purchase scores you access to both the game (playable via a HTML edition or a standalone PC edition, with a Mac standalone version coming soon) + the book that documents the utter insanity of tackling this thing over the course of three months. Seriously.
I hope you enjoy it as much as it nearly killed me to create it!