Duration 9 Months (Side Project)
Team Size 1
My Role(s) Game Designer, Narrative Designer
Platform Web
Engine Twine 2
Status Finished in October 2015


Alone is the first game I finished developing with the help of my friends testing the game. I developed the game before University during my free time while working as a Game Designer at ka:media interactive.

To create the game, I used Twine 2 an HTML-based editor for non-linear stories. The game combines storytelling and an open world. A great help in creating this game was Jesse Schell's book "The Art of Game Design".

Alone is a text-based adventure game set in an empty space prison. The player explores a labyrinth of rooms to find items for his escape and clues about the background story.

Play the game here:Start!

The Project Goal

The initial goal of Alone was to create a text-based dungeon crawler in which you have to fight monsters on a space station. However, due to Twine 2’s technical limitation I cut the scope and refined the concept to one that fits better with the frame Twine 2 provides. As the result, I ended up with a small open world game in which the player must find several items to finish the game not involving any combat.

Designing The Experience

To design the intended experience I created a Mindmap based on Jesse Schell's four base elements of Games. To achieve this experience, I began asking myself “What are the characteristic elements of this experience? How can I integrate these into the story, mechanics and technology?”

One important aspect was writing while having to imagine what is going on in the player's head. The writing could variate from giving generally less information to make sure the player fills in the blank and trickle information over time.

Mindmap 2

Open World Design

In order to make it an interactive game with exploration and not just a story, I designed a space for the player to move around and things for the player to find. These could variate from the necessary items for the escape, clues about the background story to interesting descriptions of the rooms.

As a Sci-Fi fan, it was easy to get some ideas started and getting the first idea of how each room would look like and would be described to the player.


Thanks to the book "Art of Game Design" I had a better idea of how to abstract the real rooms from the Level Design into nested and interconnected spaces. Each block represents a page the player can read. A page can be a room, player event, or clue.

Map Concept Drawing
Screenshot Level 7

Lessons Learned


  • Interesting with text-based games is the balance on how much information you give the player. Giving the player just enough information can help to spark their imagination, filling out the details.
  • It is a great feeling when you design parts of a game to create a specific experience and your player getting this experience.
  • It was very helpful to let a few friends playtest the game to make sure the resulting experience is the same as the intended.

What to do better next time?

  • It becomes very hard to judge the experience yourself. As obvious as it sounds now, this wasn’t clear from the beginning. Playtesting is a must.
  • At first, I was overscoping a lot. I only realized this after writing the first sections. I decided to make the game shorter for a higher “Awesomeness per Second”.