Play Loominary using the loom of fate to weave the destinies of legends. Every choice adds to the fabric of the story!
Loominary is a Twine game with a digitally augmented physical tabletop loom used as the interface for the game. The game follows the Greek myths of Medusa and Oedipus using color-coding to present player options. The player weaves with the appropriate color to make their choices, and in doing so weaves their choices into the cloth they are actively making through play. When game play is complete, the woven artifact will be unique to each player’s set of choices.
As storytelling is the basis of human communication, everyone’s a storyteller at heart. Narrative-based games have the capacity to support a broad range of story experiences, but there are large groups of voices that are currently underrepresented. Loominary is part of a research agenda with projects that focus on creating frameworks to support new storytelling experiences from underrepresented perspectives. In particular, crafting communities – which are often predominantly women – have created story artifacts for many years, but these stories have not been engaged computationally. Crafts have a rich history of both overt and subversive storytelling and bringing that depth to computational experiences creates unique methodologies and experiences for new audiences.
In the collaborative game project Loominary, the focus is on bridging the gap between computational and craft storytelling. As the player progresses through the game, the player’s choices for the characters are literally woven into a personalized tangible artifact of the players’ game session. The artifact can be “read” by a knowledgeable viewer that understands the visual language depicting the choices players made throughout their session.
Statement of Innovation
This work is part of a larger research and design agenda aimed at computational crafting which blends computation, artificial intelligence systems, game design, and crafting into playable experiences or generative systems. Loominary uses an innovative interface that blends the interactive storytelling technology of Twine with the craft of weaving through the addition of electronics and sensors to create a blended gameplay experience.
As the player weaves with the enhanced loom, the player’s choices are linked to the storyworld while also being saved in a tangible story artifact. Through the metaphor of the Greek fates, this game gives players agency in the diegetic unfolding of traditional Greek myths. How they are presented and through which perspectives events are seen are influenced by choices made during gameplay. Tales are woven figurative and literally and can include the cutting of the threads of fate during tragic story events.
Playing through a story results in a woven and durative account of the player's path through the story. Each decision made corresponds to a pass of the shuttle through the warp and adds to the weft of the woven cloth. At the end of a story, these decisions accumulate into a woven playtrace complete with frequency of choice-based color and yarn tie-ins that make each play through distinct and legible to those with fluency.
Semester 1: Fall 2016 This semester focused on defining the project, acquiring the materials, and developing the software necessary to work. It cumulated in a proof-of-concept playable tutorial for the game, hardware and all.
Semester 2: Spring 2017 This semester focused on creating the interactive storyline, creating the custom case for the hardware, and testing with users.
Want to contribute?
Loominary is an open-source project under the MIT liscence. Feel free to add your own stories to Loominary - we would love to see your work! Head over to the Wiki for instructions on how to get started!
Important files This project was developed by Windows IoT, which means there are a lot of files that got pushed. Here is a list of the ones that are critical to the project:
Narrative Designer: Brittany Williams
Lead Programmer: Sarah Hendricks
Loom and story concept: Dr. Anne Sullivan, Dr. Josh McCoy