I’ve been thinking about the project, and I’m starting to think more and more that the site should have some kind of ‘detective work’ element. This is probably largely down to the fact that I have been reading lots of crime detective novels recently, but I do think it would fit with my original aims. Acting as the detective would allow people to take their own path through the site, and the aspect of play involved would keep people interested.
I’ve been thinking about the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books that I used to love as a child – where there was a ‘choice’ every couple of pages, and you turned to a different place in the book depending on whether you wanted to turn left or right etc. There were many different ways through the story, and many different endings. Although this would mean a lot of writing, it would be quite easy to do in terms of the website: I wouldn’t necessarily need lots of fancy animations or graphics to get my point across. There are lots of examples of this kind of thing on a wiki (be warned, some of it is choose your own erotica), which just use text to tell a story.
I used to have books which came with tapes – so you also listen to things as you go along. I could incorporate videos or sound clips to give the user ‘clues’ to help them solve the mystery. Perhaps they could ‘interview’ people, with a list of pre-set questions, and I could film lots of different answers. There is some interesting stuff done on youtube, using clickable links within the videos to navigate through a story in the same way. I especially like this one, which would work really well as a way for people to find ‘clues’, without having to do lots of animations.
The science communication aspect would be the ‘mystery’. What form this mystery would take, I’m not sure, but I like the idea of people investigating something sciency, and working their way through a problem.
This week I’m going to research similar online games – I’m sure there are lots, but I’m going to have a look for science-themed ones.