Althea

  • A screenshot of dialogue choices in the game Althea.

March-May 2017

Writer and Producer

As part of the Carnegie Mellon course Game Design, Prototyping, and Production, I worked with an interdisciplinary group of students (The Muses) to create a visual novel mystery game based on the story of The Little Match Girl. In Althea, you play as a girl in a Victorian city who comes home to find your grandmother murdered. Use the mystical truth-showing properties of your matches to find the clues and identify the killer. But be careful — you only have a few matches, and there are a lot of secrets hidden on your street.

I created the concept for Althea and wrote all the game’s text. In addition to developing the story and scripting the branching text, I also acted as the producer for the game. I created and gave regular presentations on the game’s development progress and assigned tasks in Trello using a weekly sprint system.

A screenshot of the Yarn editor for the cottage scene. Each interactive object in the scene has a different dialogue script with choices that may uncover clues to your grandma’s murder. The text for each object interaction changes if you’ve already interacted with it. Commands to interface with the Unity game, such as changing object sprites, are embedded in the script.

Althea was developed in Unity with the Yarn Spinner plugin. I used the Yarn Editor to visually plot out the branching narrative, including branching conversations with NPCs. I also tracked the player’s resources and their clues in Yarn, enabling new dialogue or choices based on what clues the player has found. Characters will refuse to keep talking if the player is rude, and new dialogue options will appear as time passes.

In this project I:

  • Created the game concept, story, and characters
  • Developed multiple storylines, including several cut side plots and characters
  • Wrote an interactive narrative using Yarn Spinner that responded to previous player choices
  • Scripted interactions with the Unity project in Yarn such as changing sprites
  • Facilitated weekly team meetings and updates
  • Created and gave weekly progress updates to the course professor
  • Created and assigned tasks on Trello using a weekly agile sprint system

If you are interested in playing Althea, contact me to get a copy of the game and see if you can solve the mystery yourself.

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