Son Of Sun Tzu blog

Son Of Sun Tzu blog

They keep saying my audience will find me…

19 Apr 2022

The Lost Key

Once Upon A Time

I’ve updated a small interactive game I wrote, you can play the Lost Key game in a browser window.

There’s a feedback form at the end, but any constructive thoughts are welcome on Twitter or similar platforms where I know you.


Why a fairy story? I can save space, which helps maintain the player’s interest, because the tropes are so familiar. Also I can save time by not doing any research, because there’s very little I need to explain to the player, but also the setting is so vague. As for the “lost key” theme…

A deadline is just an idea, not a rule. ( Image credit: SarahAndLeila )

This is the tweet that inspired me to write this, although I exceeded the “20 minutes” part by a few months. I just started scribbling down ideas, and for the reasons above a fairy story setting suited… and it’s more fun than more practical alternatives at this stage too.

If you want to be similarly inspired, you should visit Sarah and Leila's website.

I’ve known Leila for an age, but this all started at a thought provoking CardStock session; if you’re into card-decks and improving decision making do look at CardStock too.

And if playing the game interests you in Inky itself, this is a good introduction to writing online stories with it, or there’s an overview, whereas this page on github should tell you everything you need to know.

Still to do:

  • Move to better webhosting where SSL is the default.
  • Analyse feedback and improve this game even further. Do I need to adopt a versioning system?
  • Develop a proper statistical analysis of the chances of success and failure.

Beyond this game:

  • I will explore how this format could be used for small format cyber training, something brief to get people thinking and learning in an engaging way. Conversations on what scenarios would work might be as early as this Thursday.
  • I will author a couple more ideas around this, there’s some push your luck games fermenting, as well as something much more complex based on Football Strategy.
  • I will experiment with some of the Inky functionality that’s been hinted at in release notes, such as “link” and “linkopen”.
  • I will look at how the rather talented Julia Evans has implemented this kind of idea in Twine for technical explanations, and compare and contrast that method with Inky for this kind of project.