Dear Esther: An Interactive Ghost Story Built Using the Source Engine
This paper reflects on the design and production of an multimodal, environmental storytelling experiment constructed in the first-person game engine Source. Rather than being based around the resolution of conflicts and acheiving goals, Dear Esther presents a sparse environment with no embedded agents, relying purely on the player’s engagement with and interpretation of a narrative delivered through semi-randomised audio fragments. Dear Esther was released for free download via a number of modding sites in June and this paper reflects on the experience of building and the response by gamers.
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