Worldbuilding a text game: Cats of Mystic Stars

Worldbuilding a text game: Cats of Mystic Stars

This was originally a supporter-only post, posted March 2020.


As you’re probably aware, I recently released a very short Twine game, CATS OF MYSTIC STARS. It’s nothing so complicated as an interactive fiction; essentially, it’s an entirely text-based character creator where you, a catsoul waiting to be born, answer questions from The Cosmic Eyes about the cat you want to become, and a character sheet is built based on your answers.

For something that is in many ways just a buzzfeed ‘Which X Are You?’ quiz with more answers and outcomes, it’s kind of funny that worldbuilding became such a part of it.

Because as you might expect, being quite familiar with my disaster worldbuilding at this point, I didn’t know much about the world going in. It all grew as I wrote. And I became really interested in it.

Essentially all I started with was the concept; magical cats, Sailor Moon style, and you get to decide what kind of cat you will be. But just answering questions without a frame would be far less fun, so I created the concept of a catsoul answering a kind of space deity, which became the Cosmic Eyes.

That already pushed the worldbuilding far more space-themed than I had originally intended, but then through various scenarios I built the world more. I created a Faerie world, and the hostility between faeries and cats. I created demons that the cats need to defeat, and wards (very Sailor Moon style) that the cats had to raise. I also created this dual superhero-style life where sometimes cats are just cats, making normal cat decisions like whether to mess with their human’s board game, and sometimes cats are cosmic space heroes fighting demons on mystical mountaintops.

CATS OF MYSTIC STARS only lightly touches on any of these concepts — it’s more aesthetic than anything else. But I’ve become fascinated by the world from it, and by the intersection between the space travel, the faerie world, and the demon fighting. By there existing this society of cats where some are raising young heroes and some are off saving the world themselves, and some are just quietly trying to be the best housecats they can be. Where all cats have a Destiny they seek to fulfill.

I can’t really get it out of my head, which is not at all what I expected when I set out to make a short character creator! I have some ideas so in future there may be *actual interactive fiction* people can play based in this world (and ideally with the cats they build in the creator). Or at the very least, some weird and cool short stories.

Anyway! Just a little insight into what can happen when you sit down and start asking questions about your characters, even when they are as undefined as the blank slate in character creation. A whole world can be born out of it. And honestly that’s the magic of fiction, isn’t it?

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