Monday, 27 September 2010

Nightingale's Playground

It's raining in 1989. Teenage schoolboy Carl lives with his grandmother on an anonymous housing estate and spends his time hanging out with Alex, an oddball kid obsessed with pseudo- philosophy and computer games. When Alex disappears for no apparent reason, things begin to change: Carl finds weird objects in his gran's sideboard; his science fieldwork book reveals mysterious numeric codes; and none of his other friends even remember Alex.

Created by Dreaming Methods authors Andy Campbell and Judi Alston, Nightingale's Playground is an ambitious work of digital fiction divided into four interlinked parts: an atmospheric browser based experience; an interactive virtual book with pages you can turn with the mouse; a short eBook download; and an immersive 3D game-like application that takes the written word into strange new dimensions.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Carving a written narrative into a 3D environment

I've been thinking about producing a narrative in 3D for a long time - the concept in my mind goes back a long number of years. The difficulty has always been the availability of software to do the job well (and without requiring years of experience), the right 'story' to suit the medium, and indeed the time it would take to pull something off that actually (hopefully) worked.

We're close to letting Consensus Trance II out of the box. It's not an iPhone or iPad App (so just carry on with what you were doing, publishers) and we're not telling a simple story in a regular way: this is a complex, multi-layered narrative that tries to do something that I hope is relatively new and pushes the boundaries of where a written narrative could go.

There is no particular target audience and no association with any famous writers, mythical stories or indeed TV programs or films. It's a work that's been generated out of nothing and has no particular connections with anything 'hip' or 'happening'. It's only inspiration comes from a very old, 8-bit computer game called The Sentinel - a unique strategy game that baffled magazine reviewers when it was originally released back in the 1980s.

Consensus Trance follows the story of a young man reflecting on his own rather bleak and depressing school days - only to discover that some of the simple memories he believed were true (and had always based his principles on) seem to have been completely twisted and self-invented. Further reflection leads to some frightening revelations - including the fact that he might actually be part of some omnipotent and sinister reality experiment.