Lesson Plan

Interactive Fiction: Creating a Text Based Adventure Game

Interactive Fiction encourages writing for an authentic audience. Creating text based / choice based games adds an exciting component to writing.
Steve I.
Classroom teacher
William Annin Middle School
Basking Ridge, NJ
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My Grades 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects Arts
Objectives

Students will be able to... 

  • write a choice based non-linear story
  • engage in design thinking through the game design process
  • participate in the iterative design process
  • employ computational thinking skills in terms of developing a story including logic / conditionals
  • use web diagramming software to create a flow chart / map
  • write and code a story using interactive fiction software
  • publish a story / game to an authentic audience

 

Subjects
English Language Arts
literature
reading
reading comprehension
writing
writing clearly
Social Studies
Arts
design
script writing
Grades 6 - 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Explore Text Based Adventure Games

Zork is a classic Text Based Adventure that taps into the imagination by putting the player in a position to explore the area and solve puzzles and gather 'treasures'.  

Choice of the Dragon is one of the choice-based games offered by choiceofgames.com.  It provides players with an opportunity to explore a choice based game.

Both of these games set a nice context for what can be achieved in terms of creating a text based game. 

Student Instructions

Play Zork and Choice of the Dragon.  Give each game at least 20 minutes to get a true sense of the gameplay. You will likely go home and continue playing  in order to at least attempt to complete one or both of the games.  Have fun and allow this to frame the idea of text based adventures for you and inspire ideas for your own game. 

2 Write the Story (with choice paths)!

Popplet
Free, Paid
bubbl.us
Free, Paid

Students are directed to use a web diagramming tool to create the entire story for the text based game.  This includes all the choice paths and complete text.  It is important to have students understand the importance of expanding upon their writing and being especially descriptive.  It is important to note that the descriptions serve as the graphics of the game and should tap into the readers imagination and immerse the reader in the game.   Another important note is that a choice based story tends to be more writing than just a linear story as the paths lead to the end of the game so in order to have a full story / game experience, the different paths must be well developed. 

Student Instructions

Use popplet, bubbl.us, or another web diagramming tool to write the full story including all of the choice paths and outcomes.  The entire story should be developed and written in the web diagram so that transferring from the story to the actual game does not involve more writing.  The web diagram can serve as a fully playable prototype by following the choice paths.  Fully develop each path to ensure a full game experience as you may otherwise have some end points that only take the player a few steps to reach.  

3 Create the game with Twine 2 Text Adventure Creation Tool

Twine
Free

Students should orient themselves with the Twine 2 website. You will want to guide them through the basic use of the site to create their first few story paths including the hyperlinking.  Once started, students will essentially just be copying / pasting their story from the web diagram to Twine and adding the linking text. 

Student Instructions

Visit the twine website and follow the built in tutorials and guidance to create your game. Essentially, since your game is already written from the previous activity, most of the work will be just copying / pasting into the twine format, which functions very much like the web diagramming software you used.  The final step is to create the linking text and ensure that your links work and that there are no dead ends in your story.  Good luck!

4 Peer testing and Feedback

Activity: Assessing

Students should play test peer games.  Generally, it is good to have each students test at least 2 peer games.  The iterative design process relies on testing and iterating on the game so this step is integral to the process.  

Students should play through a peer game and provide feedback.  Some guiding questions:

  1. What did you like about the game?
  2. Comment on the descriptions of the areas in the game (did the author provide an immersive experience for the player?)
  3. What could be improved?
  4. What could be added?
Student Instructions

Students should play test peer games.  Generally, it is good to have each students test at least 2 peer games.  The iterative design process relies on testing and iterating on the game so this step is integral to the process.  

Students should play through a peer game and provide feedback.  Some guiding questions:

What did you like about the game?
Comment on the descriptions of the areas in the game (did the author provide an immersive experience for the player?)
What could be improved?
What could be added?

5 Publish and Share your game!

Upon completion, students should publish their game.  This will result in an html file that can be added to an existing website or a public drop box folder.  The public dropbox folder allows you to share the link and have others play the game right from that link. 

Directions on saving files to the public dropbox folder and sharing the public link:

https://www.dropbox.com/en/help/16

 

Student Instructions

Upon completion, publish your game.  This will result in an html file that can be added to an existing website or a public drop box folder.  The public dropbox folder allows you to share the link and have others play the game right from that link. 

Directions on saving files to the public dropbox folder and sharing the public link:

https://www.dropbox.com/en/help/16