Projects About

Interactive Fiction

When I was a child, I received two illustrated children's books from the Grund collection: La cité aux 100 mystères (The City of 100 Mysteries) and L'Egypte aux 100 complots (Egypt of 100 Conspiracies).

Children's puzzle books involve finding characters and objects in drawn scenes. The difficulty is that these scenes are teeming with details and false leads. Author and illustrator Martin Handford made these game-books famous with his "Where's Charlie?", the character you have to find in each of his drawings.

But investigative game-books also have a story, often a historical one, to make the game more intelligent. Many of these books have taken ancient Egypt as their subject, for example. To meet the game's codes, each choice can lead to failure, so the child has to go back to the first page and start again. A simple but effective concept. There are many games to choose from: search for an object in the picture, the 7 differences game, intuition, chance - each decision leads to a new page, a new quest.

On the computer, the first interactive fictions date back to the 80s with "text adventures", which took up the concept of "books in which you are the hero". Synonymous with "parser adventure games", today these terms also define hypertextual and multiple-choice fictions. This game system was well suited to the early days of the web, as it was devoid of visuals and featured basic mechanics. To name just one, The Colossal Cave, created by Willie Crowther, a caving enthusiast who invented a plot set in an immense underground cave system, complete with trolls and other fantastical creatures.

Historically, interactive fiction - competing with adventure games with graphics - became less and less commercially viable from the late 1980s onwards. Nevertheless, a handful of games made their mark, including my personal favorite, Black Sect, in which the player finds himself in the midst of a mysterious sect.

Since the 2000s, a few studios have returned to interactive fiction by modernizing it, bringing graphics back to the heart of the project to enhance immersion.

It was against this backdrop that I decided to explore this format.

My first piece of fiction was a student project, Les confidences de Nicolas Prunelais. To get to grips with this new format, I stripped myself of the graphic content, for a more vintage yet accessible feel, following in the footsteps of "A Blind legend", a sound video game for the blind. I was able to work in depth on the narrative scheme, the different stages, victories and defeats. I had a troupe of actors from the Rueil Conservatory work on the characters' voices. I mixed all the sounds and assembled the story on a website. The music was also composed for the fiction.

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For my second piece of fiction, I wanted to experiment with player interaction. Inspired by the promotional website for the Monet 2010 exhibition, my partner and I chose a cultural subject, 4 paintings around "Woman in the Water", or versions of the painting of Ophelia as seen through the eyes of different painters. I proposed 3 different interactions, one with a click of the mouse, making flowers appear, one of sound research, bringing colors back to the image, and one of visual research in the image, again inspired by a book I borrowed from the library when I was little, of research in the image with a paper lamp.

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Enriched by these experiences, I created my very first piece of fiction outside the school setting. The aim of this fiction is to help readers discover paintings that are little-known to the general public. To stay true to the format of investigative game-books, I chose to create an investigation on Egypt, as Romantic painting was greatly inspired by the Orient. I combined editorial, cultural, historical, sound, visual and interactive research. It's a big job for me, but one that has lived up to my expectations.

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My plan is to create a second edition, focusing on contemporary paintings in a more abstract style. Here are some inspirations for the paintings I'd like to use.