Gentleman of the Rails

Narrative, choice-based game set during the 1930s Great Depression. Learn the Hobo Code to help your escape from the evil Dust Bowl cloud!



Unity / Fungus Plug-In || C# || 2018 || Collaboration

Game themed around a 20th century decade, featuring:

  • Branching dialogue and character interactions themed around the narrative setting

  • Hobo Code riddles and puzzles

  • Strategic map movement based on distance and information gained by the player

  • Resource management: time, money, clues needed to finish the game

    - - Click HERE to view the Game Design Document (PDF) - -


  • Pauline Martyn: Narrative Design / Writing , Co-Game Design, Programming (Dialogue Logic, Puzzles)

  • Amalie Kaeseler: Art, Co-Game Design, Principal Programming, UI. Please click here to see her portfolio!


Design Challenges

Once we settled on the 1930s Great Depression era as a setting, our design challenge was to convey it through narrative, gameplay, and visuals. We decided to...

  • Build the game as a character's journey, inspired by hobos travelling during the Great Depression (use of map, locations)

  • Use the real-life Hobo Code symbols as a gameplay element bridging narrative and mechanics (dialogue riddles, puzzles)

  • Use characters typical of that era that the player could interact with (dialogue)


Narrative Challenges

As the narrative designer on this project, my tasks and challenges were to:

  • Create a text-based tutorial: I used simple dialogue with highlighted information to teach players rules and mechanics, and allowed  the whole tutorial to be skipped if required.

  • Make the narrative elements thematically relevant: I used language and historical elements of the era, with some references to American folklore and culture.

  • Allow players to test their knowledge of Hobo Code symbols: I wrote and scripted dialogue choices to check the players' knowledge of the symbols, with answers leading to different outcomes. I also wrote and built riddles in specific game locations to allow players to take on further challenge, and learn more symbols.

  • Create interactive dialogue: to allow for a choice-based and replayable narrative, I implemented branching dialogue with various second chances and call-backs to previous options.

Title Screen

Title Screen



Characters in the world

Characters in the world

Dialogue Options

Dialogue Options

Riddle Introduction

Riddle Introduction






©2020 by Pauline Martyn