The final project for an independent study on interactive storytelling methodology, Solve is a concept for an interactive comic.
Solve is an interactive comic in the form of a digital Rubik’s Cube. The concept comes from the desire to use the rigidity of cubing as the foundation for a compelling narrative experience. Each side of the cube contains a different story, but the puzzle isn’t as simple as spinning the scrambled cube around to look at all the panels. Instead, those panels are hidden behind solid colors until they have been moved onto the side of the cube where they belong, forcing the player to interact with the puzzle… and even pull off a solve.
The initial view of the comic/game is intentionally minimalistic. The screen shows a basic Rubik’s Cube, with no story content. Otherwise, the user can perform all normal cube actions:
- they can rotate the entire cube to bring another face to the front (colorful top, bottom, left or right arrows),
- rotate the front face clockwise or counterclockwise (diagonal bottom left arrows),
- or rotate any column or row of the front face (using key commands, indicated by the letters drawn around the edge.)
Upon making enough rotations (in this case, one,) the player would shift a panel onto the face with the central piece of the same color. This activates both, revealing that the comic/game is more than a simple rubik’s cube.
The interface of the comic/game is designed to be challenging and inaccessible, without being tedious and inefficient. Hiding a comic within the cube is intended to give less logically oriented people a glimpse of the hidden rhythms and beauty that truly obsessed cubers see within the puzzle. It shouldn’t be too easy to uncover. It should also be worth finishing.
To increase the challenge, only one face of the cube is ever visible at a time, the panels are hidden unless brought to “their” face, and there is no onboarding.
To bring the accessibility back up to a reasonable level, most rotations can be accomplished by key commands, a map of the full cube is provided in the lower left corner, and hovering over the panels makes their order within their side appear (for example, the central panels will always be the 5th panel on their face out of 9.)
Eventually, the player will uncover a panel that makes a reference to peeling the stickers off of a cube. At this point, an icon will appear on every panel which, when clicked, will “peel” it off the cube. Those panels will be stored in a different area of the screen and can be placed on any empty spot. This provides a funny and easy way to solve the cube.
However, a player who does not peel any stickers off will be rewarded if they reach the solution. At this point, the 3×3 grids will transform into larger tenth panels, which will provide a conclusion to the story.