IF Comp 2019 – Slugocalypse

Play the game here. Read the walkthrough here. Read about it on the IFDB.
View and play all the IFComp 2019 Games.

Slugocalypse Cover Image
Slugocalypse! Cover Image

At the end of last year I entered the Interactive Fiction Competition for the first time. I’ve known about it for a few years but never really got round to entering anything. Last year I decided to make something.

About four years or so ago, I had a conversation one damp morning with a friend at work, while we were at the bus stop. There were lots of slugs on the wall and I seem to remember he didn’t like them very much and that was why we were talking about them. I wrote a rough short story about it afterwards on my computer. I also discovered that ducks like to eat slugs and I found this amusing video on youTube about someone feeding their pet duck slugs they had found around their garden. Apparently, some people keep ducks as slug control.

I pretty much finished the story, but it really needed editing and polishing which I never got round to. It seemed like a shame because I thought it wasn’t a bad story and I thought it would be good if someone could actually read it, rather than it just sitting around on my hard drive unread. I also couldn’t really think what I could do with it to get people to actually read it.

Earlier this year, I decided I would make it into an interactive fiction. First of all, I put the whole story into Twine, with the intention of just making an illustrated story. The only problem was, it wasn’t exactly very interactive. That was when I realised I might have to think about it a bit more beyond just plopping the story in there and adding some illustrations.

I managed to create two new endings. A big chunk of my game is still very similar to my original story, but I added two new endings and more interactivity, for instance, being able to buy things in the newsagents shop (I don’t want to give too much away about the game so I won’t list any more examples).

I started working on it around March. I hadn’t used Twine before so I also had to learn how to use it as I went along, which added to the time I spent on it. Luckily there is some quite good documentation for the format I was using (Sugarcube) and lots of information in the Twine forums.

I was surprised how long it took me to make the game. I originally wanted to have more illustrations but that became too time consuming. I actually ended up adding a lot more sound effects than I originally intended though. I managed to get most of the sound effects from freesound.org (I chose only sounds with a creative commons 0 licence).

The music I made entirely myself (although I got the quack sounds from freesound.org). I also was going to have a second bit of music for the ending but I found that using the main theme seemed to work well enough and seemed to tie it together. I then spent ages bug fixing and editing, not to mention fixing problems and tweaking it based on the problems my game testers had found (my friend and family members). I really didn’t want to submit it and find there was some huge bug in it.

In the end, I was quite pleased with it, and surprised I actually managed have a finished game to submit to the competition, even though it took a lot longer to make than I expected. There are probably things I would add to it if I had more time to work on it, I’m sure I could think of ways to make it even more interactive and maybe add a few extra illustrations here and there but then I could go on forever and never finish it.

My entry came at 44th place out of 82 in the comepetiton. I was quite pleased with that, I don’t think that’s bad for a first attempt at interactive fiction.

You can view the results and also download and play all the games in the competition here https://ifcomp.org/comp/2019