Exoplanets: TRAPPIST-1

Exotopia is an experimental storytelling experience, which invites you to join imaginary voyages to study alien life on real exoplanets in our galaxy, using real scientific data from the SETI Institute to imagine where extraterrestrial life could actually exist.

Each voyage is crafted by a guest science fiction writer, and includes multiple storylines for a constellation of characters. You may be a starship pilot, a science officer, or even a stowaway. Over the course of 30 days, you will get a daily update to your character’s story. Your character may achieve greatness, spark a mutiny, or die in space.

Key moments in your story get illustrated by NFTs, created by a featured artist. These include visual renderings of your original ticket, plot twists, and your completed story. These unique artworks are yours to keep, exchange, or sell on the NFT marketplace.”

-From the Exotopia Website

As the guest writer for the first public mission, I developed a branching narrative broken into a series of small scenes (small enough to fit on one smartphone screen) with four different point of view characters. The maximum length of a full story arc was thirty scenes, and the minimum length was eight scenes (we wanted even the unlucky participants to have at least one week of fun.

I worked with SETI astronomer Paul Dalba to keep the science as grounded as possible, and visual artists Samantha Tan and Gray Cooke on creating the NFT artwork that accompanied key narrative points of the story.

I used Twine to tie branching narrative, which Scott exported into his applications to synchronize the NFT awards and feed it into his web design.