Just Be Still With Me is an experimental augmented reality interactive fiction game, made with Twine and a bit of JavaScript hackery!

This page goes into the creative and technical processes behind this game. If you’re in the Baltimore area, and haven’t already, check out the game first before proceeding!

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Overview

Just Be Still With Me was a narrative I wanted to tell by having people move through spaces that recalled certain memories for me. I also wanted to experiment with Twine, the interactive fiction software (that also happens to be free, so I was very excited about it!).

Technical

Software

Initially, I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to combine my goals of working with Twine and creating a location-dependent sort of scavenger hunt thing, as my JavaScript experience was…limited. I was fortunate enough to stumble across this repository by Shawn Graham, which had a basic framework set up for using geolocation inside Twine with JavaScript! As long as I had a place to host it (hello, GitHub Pages!), I was set. Without Shawn’s work this project would not have been possible.

Hardware

I toyed with the idea of dedicated devices or controllers for this project (an initial draft had an orb that vibrated/glowed near clue locations!), but I decided I wanted it to be accessible to anyone with an internet-connected device. And maybe a glowing orb was a little too D&D for this particular project.

Narrative

The narrative of Just Be Still With Me is a personal one for me. I wanted to evoke the feeling of trying to piece together what had happened, and not necessarily getting a conclusive, satisfactory, or even emotionally healthy answer.

Locations

I chose a few locations in MICA’s Bolton Hill neighborhood in Baltimore. Specifically, a bench in Cohen Plaza, an alleyway behind the Mount Royal Tavern, the roundabout near the statue in front of Penn Station, and a bench on Park Avenue.

Puzzles

Initially, I wanted to go for a more complex approach, and use an augmented-reality app to make players search for clues. I realized that it was both out of scope, and unnecessary for this particular project.

The “puzzles” ended up being hand-made stickers carefully hidden in the aforementioned locations. My initial concern was that they would get removed/obscured (which was another reason I thought about AR previously), but I’m happy to report that 6 months later, all of the stickers are still intact!

Reflections

While this is a project that I’m extremely proud of, there is definitely room to improve. I think making it a little more discoverable on its own is something I’d want to add. Something like stickers that link to the game online placed around town.