Published on 22 December 2013

I can now finally release my newest project, Bushwhich, a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure set in Bushwick, my neighborhood in Brooklyn.

On January 7th, I made a post on Facebook offering to make five of my friends a special, unique, handmade gift, if they promised to pay it forward at some point. For my friend David Deacon, I made a set of cards that provide interesting fact for each family of squid. For Sarah Hunt, I wrote a poem. For my friends Alex and Joe, I wanted to make a game. Joe works as a sound designer, Alex as a sound masterer. I didn’t think I’d be able to make something worth their while audio-wise, but I know they both like video games. They kept asking me how living in NY is, and I decided to show them.

After I bought a new camera, I had an idea. I borrowed my friend Sam for a day, and we rode all around Bushwick, going to my favourite spots, taking photos the whole time. By the end, I had around 350 photographs detailing most of the cool haunts I like. This was a pretty fun use of a day, and involved getting pretty drunk. Then the real work began.

For the past few months, I’ve been working in my spare time setting up the site. I didn’t want to make it too complicated - while I’m primarily a front-end developer, I thought that building a complex Javascript site that logged clicks and the like would quickly spiral into a massive project that wouldn’t be finished for years. So, I built the entire site in simple HTML and CSS. I used Jekyll Bootstrap, a fantastic free static site blogging platform that runs on Github Pages. This site is built using the same software, as is MellowPagesLibrary, another site I’ve built recently for my neighborhood library. I spent a few days building a custom theme, and trying to change the automation process (I wanted to publish folios, not posts, etc). After a while, I settled on a good way of doing it. So, I imported all of the photos, shrank them all to a decent size - good enough to be used as a decent desktop background in case someone like the picture, but small enough to not destroy a good internet connection. I used bash to build a fancy regex that automatically developed all of the posts needed to generate each page.

Then I spent hours and hours and days writing every page, planning out how the route would go. I didn’t draw a map to help, figuring it would be more fun if I got lost, too. Finally, last night, I finished every route. There may be a few bugs here and there - but on the whole, it should work. There’s a lot of options - going to the laundromat, to buy cigarettes, watching Harry Potter, eating at Bushwick Living Room, at Swallow, at Cain’s, at Alaska, going to Manhattan, dying in the subway on the way to Far Fockaway, getting sucked in by hipsters in McKibben Lofts, fixing your bike. It’s an adventure.

I hope you all like it. Initial feedback from Alex and Joe indicate they’re happy. So, I am too.

Go play!