©2019 by paulinemartyn

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gentleman of the rails

unity / Fungus Plug-In || c# || 2018 || collaboration

roles: narrative designer | co-game designer / Programmer

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


Create a game themed around a 20th century decade.

  • 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) - -


This game was made in collaboration with Amalie Kaeseler. My roles for this project were:

  • Narrative Designer: writing and scripting dialogue and puzzles, designing narrative flow and choices

  • Co-Game Designer: setting, experience of play, mechanics, prototyping

  • Co-Programmer: programming dialogue, puzzles, and associated variables via Unity plug-in (Fungus)


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)


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.