V&A’s first game jam, which took place on 23-24 November 2013.
The challenge was to create a game around the theme of “Hidden Stories” using content, themes and inspiration from V&A’s Medieval and Renaissance Galleries. Six objects were chosen to give participants an idea of what there is in the galleries and for inspiration: the Luck of Edenhall, Reliquary of St Sebastian, Zeus-Sabazios, The panel of the Last Judgement / The transfiguration, Casket, Leonardo da Vinci, Forster Codex. We were also reminded of the general accessibility code that we needed to follow: 1) keep controls as simple as possible 2) give players as much time as they need to read text 3) ensure important elements are easy to see 4) avoid communicating important information by colour alone 5) avoid communicating important information by sound alone.
Having reviewed the instruction and the list of objects, my temporary team quickly decided to design a tower defence game with medieval soldiers as main characters and swords and arrows as weapons (based on their experiences of games like Kingdom Rush). Frustrated by not being able to draw or develop 3D models or programme for a platform game, I decided I’d do something simple (and achievable). I have just learned about twine, an open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories at FLOSSIE2013, so I decided to try it out.
This choice-based, narrative-centred, CYOA-like hypertext game, released under the GNU Free Documentation License, is about a university student called Anna and her mythical encounter with Da Vinci’s enigmatic mirror writing. It was inspired by V&A’s collection of Leonardo da Vinci’s Foster Codex, Wikipedia content about Leonardo da Vinci, and other materials housed at the V&A. It addresses the Museum’s accessibility policy as well because it is text-based, and uses standard wiki technologies. It is easy to play, and friendly to people with visual impairments. Being non-proprietary, people can easily modify or extend the game.