Stranger Still is an experimental budget-free production utilizing available and found resources and all-volunteer performers. It is vaguely related to the Midnight Stranger interactive drama, set on the same streets and utilizing similar navigation and the Mood Bar interface. You may experience it in its entirety on this site by clicking on the logo above. The version here is a Flash document that does not have the benefit of a dedicated server so the resolution of the video has been reduced to allow for smooth playback. A high resolution version is pending.



How it works

Stranger Still is not a game, in that there are no rules, no scoring, no way to "win". This is an interactive movie that utilizes simulated socializing to determine the course of events. Characters on the screen will speak to you, and what you "say" may or may not have an effect on what occurs. Your means of input, essentially the only interface, is the device known as the Mood Bar:

The bar you will see in the production will not have the benefit of the text descriptions. The bar appears to be an undifferentiated gradient with an infinite number of choices. This is of course not possible, and there is no telling how many possible directions there might be out of any Mood Bar decision gate. There are several points in Stranger Still where it doesn't matter where you click, any color leads to the same point (in other words, the character isn't really listening). Usually there are at least three different directions possible, corresponding to the three attitudinal choices shown above, though it will not be obvious how much of the bar is devoted to each one.

In observing users it is common for them to vocalize something specific as they make the choice on the bar they believe corresponds to what they are saying. This would be where your performance comes in; you are the key character. There is certainly much amusement potential in using these moments to utter incongruities, but to create the most effective suspension of disbelief (as in performing in a play), you might find the experience the most satisfying if you regularly attempt to say something relatively non-specific that is appropiate to that moment in the "conversation", weighted with your selected "mood". It might be helpful to think of this as taking part in a simulation of a future technology where infinite computation makes artificial intelligence a reality. For the simulation to work for the casual observer you must play your part.

Navigation is possible in many scenes through rollover popup arrows. The only other interactive element (not counting the computer screen that is accessible in one scene) is a Stranger Still logo that apears at certain times during the program. Clicking on this will make the scene... stranger still.

Have fun!