Interactive Mysteries

How We Made Our Site

The Teams

We divided up our classes into writing teams. That way, we could specialise in areas we were good at. We agreed that the Riverside students would collect all the materials sent to us and add the stories to a common template so that the website would have a consistent look.


Our inspiration for the stories came from many sources:
  • Computer games - as many games allow you to make choices leading to different outcomes, some of our scenarios were inspired by our favourite games. Some students even used level editors to model their scenarios. Using screenshots of most games would be difficult for us to justify as fair use of the publisher's intellectual property. However, Minecraft's terms of service do allow for this for levels, maps and videos created by students.
  • Urban legends - some of us looked at ancient and modern fables for inspiration. One of our partner schools sent us some short fables they had collected over the past years as examples.
  • Visual prompts - our partners in India sent us a gallery of images to act as story-writing prompts.

Collecting Resources

We started with stixy boards, acting as a virtual binder to collect each writing team's resources together. These would include images drawn with Inkscape, maps of the scenarios, PowerPoint presentations using action buttons to show how each episode of a story would link to others and the text of the stories. PowerPoint was a useful tool for creating non-linear stories. Our US partners sent us some of their stories in PowerPoint format to transfer to the site

However, we found the collaborative tools in Google Documents to be the most useful way to work on the stories and share ideas within each team when drafting our stories in Prague.

Images were created using a variety of tools. Some students prefer working with bitmapped images. GIMP is free. Our partners in India prefer this method. Some students in Prague managed to work well with Inkscape. Some images were drawn by hand and then scanned.

Creating and Using the Template

We each put together ideas for possible designs for a general template for the site - we used tables in KompoZer and experimented with different students' ideas until we came up with a scrapbook-style look and feel for the site made up from several individuals' suggestions. We did the same for the logo, the buttons and the front page of the website.

We then made lots of copies of the template for each story and copied/pasted each episode into every page, starting with our own stories, and then with the ones we were sent. Another student in each team then added the links to the appropriate pages. Other students were responsible for proof-reading, adding multimedia and graphics and testing the finished stories.