DayZ Storytelling done differently: Interactive and on Twitter
To celebrate the 0.63 experimental release, we wanted to do something special for our community and Twitter followers. A few brainstorming sessions, evenings spent writing and posing in DayZ later, we launched:
An interactive DayZ story within Twitter. Decide and vote in the poll to continue.
DayZ Experimental just released and we're going to do something truly new! This will be an interactive screenshot story. Everyone decides what happens. pic.twitter.com/70fpdebrm7
— DayzUnderground (@DayzUnderground) June 14, 2018
Remember those old Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books?
We took that concept and turned it into an interactive DayZ story where everyone’s vote on Twitter determines how the story progresses. The first episode lead us through tense encounters with infected, other survivors, forced us into tough decisions and finally culminated in the cannibal capital Gorka.
You can find the entire story here.
We want to thank everyone who participated in this fun experience with us. We had a great time coming up with the idea, writing the story, and creating the screenshots. The community supporting us made this project, from the creation to the execution and finally posting it and rooting for you, super fun.
A look behind the scenes
Writing a thrilling story with multiple endings but consistent logic was a challenge
When we posted the first tweets, we were worried. Having multiple endings with a lot of possible deaths meant there was a real chance for the hero to die very early on and the story to end abruptly. Sometimes only a few votes made the difference but the community managed to avoid 9 out of 10 possible deaths and experienced a great adventure!
Jari, DUG staff and media team member, was the writer behind the story. The first big problem was to keep things organized. “I had remembered Choose-Your-Own-Adventure stories from the Goosebumps series as a kid, and didn’t realize until writing how difficult it would be to keep threads and the dozens and dozens of outcomes that could have been written together. I used a basic number and lettering system to organize it all in my head, but even some of the media team had difficulty deciphering how to follow it!”
After its completion, the story filled 6 pages. Every decision had a real effect and some scenarios never saw the light. Other tragic endings include discovering that your friend has an infection as he was tortured and force-fed human meat, giving you the option to end his suffering. Those who felt selfish could also betray him earlier. The community narrowly avoided a deadly encounter with the Cult of PAPA and a hold-up by armed survivors in Ghillie suits.
A lot of what happened in the story is something I’ve encountered myself on DayzUnderground
Jari also said that he based the story on encounters he had on DayzUnderground himself. “A lot of what happened in the story is something I’ve encountered myself, or at least something similar. I tried to make the story as realistic as I could to what encounters on DayZ could be, especially one on DayzUnderground.”
Chernarus is a dangerous place for a photographer
Another member of the DUG media team, Abbelire, organized with 8 community members and took the screenshots that were used for the series. She’s a frequent artwork and screenshot contributor and also responsible for our new Twitter banner!
“I love working with the DayzUnderground community on screenshots. It has always been challenging arranging people and explaining my vision to the models, however, this project was the biggest challenge so far. This time I had an entire story to visualize. First, I made a plan of the complete screenshot sequence and then gathered people. I did the photo series in two evenings, which were probably 8 hours worth of work in total.”
Creating such a large series of screenshots requires a lot of planning and preparation. Not only do the individual screenshots have to look good, they have to make sense as a series, follow a consistent logic and have consistent details. Since the screenshots were taken on the 0.62 build in the live DUG server, there were some more… practical issues to deal with as well.
Of course, nothing will go exactly as planned
“Of course, as anything in this world, nothing will go exactly as planned and we came across many obstacles – not finding cows in the correct area, accidentally killing our hero model “to make him bleed” or even losing more models to a vicious wolf attack. Everything the DayZ world had to throw at us, never stopped us from finishing the shoot!
I want to thank my model team for the hard work and effort they put into the series. It is a pleasure working with you.” As some of the screenshots did not make it into the story on Twitter, here is an album with all images of the series.
These are the DUG members who worked with us as photo models and made the series possible. Thank you!
- RedJim86 as the main character
- Integrity_DUG as DAMN Hades, a generic Cultist and a Ghillied bandit
- A_Purple_Manatee as a generic Cultist, a generic Warden and a no-pants-maniac
- Rich_German as  Hans Gruber
- Jorz as  Jorz
- Fotbrir as a generic Cultist, a Ghillied bandit and The Friend
- siiranmaki as a Ghillied bandit and a generic DAMN
- Kelso857 as a generic DAMN
Thanks again for all those who participated and shaped the story through voting in the polls. We received great feedback and hope to do this again in the not-so-distant future.
Lastly, here are some nifty statistics of the first #TwitterplaysDayZ episode:
— DayzUnderground (@DayzUnderground) July 9, 2018
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