Total Darkness

You’re in the pet shop. Your friend AJ is here looking worried.

“I came to check on the animals because the power cut out. The hamsters have escaped. We have to find them!

  • Examine the cages
  • Make some noise
  • Sniff the floorboards

Studio: ThoughtDen

Client: Science Museum

Form: videogame

Platform: Web

What I did: Consulted during alpha to help shape the game’s location structure and narrative arcs. Wrote the game using ink, including revisions through alpha to release stages. Designed the game’s puzzles, taking into account the aims to promote science skills.

Team size: 4-6 core members

Tools: Inkle, Unity, Twine, Google Docs


Total Darkness is a videogame created for the Science Museum designed to teach children about science skills like curiosity, team-work and creative problem-solving. You play as a child who decides to investigate what has caused all of the power in their town to go out. As you explore your town in the dark, you’ll meet friends, teachers and locals, each with their own theory about what has happened. As you put your science skills to the test, you’ll work out what actually happened to cause the power cut.

I was brought onto the team during early alpha as a narrative designer and game designer. Initially, I helped to structure the game, creating an overall arc for the puzzles that helped to create a satisfying science mystery. We used a lot of paper prototyping and building in twine to feel out how the game should play. I led on creating science themed puzzles for the game, that could be approached in multiple ways. I wrote the game’s script using Ink to script the game’s flow and integrate to the other parts of development.

Key Responsibilities

Help to shape the game’s narrative and design structures to create a clear goal for the player. I used various prototyping techniques, including paper prototypes, twine and design documents to help the team settle on a final design.

Narrative design for the game, plotting out different paths through the game, player choices, and ways to reinforce the science skills lessons. Worked with the Creative Lead to create a narrative skeleton, focused on learning theories about the mystery and using science skills to disprove them.

Wrote the game using Inkle. Worked with the team’s developer to implement custom scripting that worked as flags for their build of the game.

Created a range of narrative puzzles that reinforced the science skillset that the Science Museum wanted the game to teach.