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Interdimensional Clown Train 

It's your best friend Murray's birthday, and you're invited to his party! One small problem -- Murray lives in another dimension! 

The only way to get to Murray's party is via the Interdimensional Clown Train, which is exactly what it sounds like.

Gooooood luck!

Content warning: violence, alcohol, innuendo, dusty pop culture references, buffoonery.

Average Play Time:  10-15 minutes

Engine: Twine

In December of 2021, I participated in Droqen's Variety Megajam.

(Shoutout to my friend Emma for telling me about it).


The goal of the jam: make 10 games in 10 days over the month of December.


My idiot brain decided this meant “make 10 games during the last 10 days of December.”

On Day 1, I worked about 12 hours and built 30% of a game.

On Day 2, I worked about 12 hours and built 50% of a game – what would later become Interdimensional Clown Train.

On Day 3, I made Robotato Friend!


The Day 2 prompt was: Train Ticket.

My idiot brain immediately blurted: Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride!  and coughed up the hotel check-in scene from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, specifically, this bit:

reptile zoo2.jpg

So that set the tone, really.

But I didn't want the reptiles on the train. No, they had to be at the bar. Where is the Lizard bar located? In the Lizard Dimension, obviously. You wouldn't go there on purpose, not if you valued your life. 


Who would drive a train to the Lizard Dimension?


(We can all blame my friends Kevin Human and Krissy Elliot for this terrible turn of events, as they'd both recently shown me two very different but equally amazing clown-related WIPs.)


Anyway. Clowns. It just felt natural, you know? It felt right. 

I'd need some other Dimensions too. Ones you wouldn't go to on purpose. I quickly drafted some.

Then I realized something important: an interdimensional clown train would never travel in a linear manner.

The stops must be randomly generated. But not too randomly generated, or the player might get a repeat Dimension, which wouldn't be any fun. 

So now I had my full concept: in Twine, make a darkly comedic train game that has random, non-repeating stops in bizarre and dangerous locations.

My design decisions were as follows:

  • Dramatic narratives can burn a lot of mental energy. Comedy feeds itself. Embrace "Yes, and..." 

  • The train stops must be randomized.

  • In each branch, offer multiple paths to success, and at least one path to failure.


Dev Notes 

- thoughts on the    process, documentation, & miscellany

Some of my notes. I tried to keep this stage of planning as simple as possible.

I'd never used a call to a random passage in Twine before, but it was pretty simple to implement. Ensuring that the game wouldn't repeat itself was easy enough to set up with variables. But the branches themselves, the volume of choices, ultimately pushed me far out of scope -- a lesson I took with me to Day 3.

- In the next Iteration...

The clown train currently has 12 different possible stop combinations. I think it'd be fun to make some more. 

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