Criminal Dorms is an interactive story about our experiences as exchange students in Japan. Almost all characters in the game are real people that actually lived there - even the room numbers are correct.
The main game mechanic is inspired by the classic board game "who is it?", but instead of using visual features like hair color or clothing the characters in the game are distinguished by their individual interests or mother tongue. This offers a surprisingly vast amount of complexity and adds a lot of personality to each character.
You start out as a new office worker. At the beginning everything seems to be fine, but after a while you realize that some of the students are playing tricks on you! By inspecting the dorm you start to find out more and more about the persons involved. Can you expose the person that is responsible for all the pranks?
For the procedural story generation I used google sheets and tabletop js. Basically the story is made up from building blocks, that get randomly chosen each time you make a decision. This applies to paragraphs, single sentences and even some words that change every time you play.
To get all the people into the game I used a similar approach, by combining google forms + google sheets. Daniel Shiffman explains this very well in one of his tutorials: Mad Libs Generator.
There also have been various prototypes before I arrived at this concept, one of them had the idea to tie up the garbage as precise as possible:
Another prototype felt more like an "office-worker-simulator" and was based on requests and tasks that have to be finished:
If you want to try it out yourself you can download the garbage prototype here: garbage_prototype.zip [5MB]
I hope you enjoyed this little breakdown of the game, let me know if you want to read more articles like this in the future!