Secret of the Black Walrus — A Postmortem

The Dread Post-humous Mortuus of the Black Walrus

I lift up my pen in the year of our Lord 18– and find myself at the evitable crossroads of fate. Despite my most valiant endeavors to portray my adventures accurately, I find, dear reader, I may have done you a grave dis-service. Though chiefly I appear to have accomplished my purpose, there are a few particulars concerning this case which I cannot ignore.

Consequential Regrets

  • Heavy-handed portrayal of discrimination
  • Layout issues
  • A disconcerting degree of delay between page refreshes
  • More to see and do
  • The overall shortness of the affair

A Few Slight But Compelling Victories

  • The engine works
  • The characters and story were by and large successful
  • A conspicuous air of Grim Victoriana

Why Not Twine?
Some readers will persist with a singular question: why was Walrus not written with an existing tool, like Twine? In truth, the answer conveys only my most unentitled ignorance. I simply could not get Twine (or some other engine) to perform as I wished on mobile, and realized I could write my own in JS in less time. Particularly in conversations, where character state management is key, I struggled with Twine. As Walrus is largely spent in conversations with characters I decided to write an engine which drew a very great deal of inspiration from adv3lite on TADS. Eric Eve’s system is, on a whole, second to none.

The Last Word
The world of Walrus is one of pulp figures, say, Holmes and Jekyll, so it is not the keenest platform to elucidate on societal issues. In my future scribblings, such as they may be, I shall be turning my pen more to escapism and less to the real-life villains of sexism and racism.

PS - Secret of the Black Walrus was written as a refutation of the most unwelcome “yellow peril” trope, which in some forms persists to this day. I feel largely successful in that area, whilst hopefully drawing some attention to a perniciously misrepresented population: the pre-war London Chinatown.

PPS - The response to the first Black Walrus adventure has vastly proven indefatigably that one can draw attention to a historical era without drowning the reader in negativity. To me, that is perhaps the most important lesson of this experience.