A black square-shaped head of a cartoon robot with yellow circular eyes


Minimalist pixel art of a bird by a river and some trees Play Ascii Mason Demo
(PC Only)

Ascii Mason

August 2020

Ascii Mason was my attempt to make a webtool for building role-playing games. I've never used RPG Maker, but it would have had a similar kind of purpose. The goal was to make it simple and easy for users to make basic adventure games that featured dialogue trees and expansive maps made of text art.

Users would be able to download their game as a json file (which is a type of text file) and share it with others online simply by sharing the json file.

This project failed for several reasons.



Because of my bad design choices, building a game with Ascii Mason was complicated, unintuitive, and difficult.

I wanted AsciiMason to be usable with no coding knowledge. But since I didn't have enough time and skills to do that in the summer of 2020, I eventually decided to just give users a textbox that would automatically fill with pre-made Javascript code, depending on what they needed. This code would have placeholder names like "title_here" for the user to fill in. This was a terrible solution, and just about any other system probably would have been better.

Redoing everything

This project can't be fixed, but I think some of the general ideas could be turned into a simple and intuitive game-building tool. For one thing, I didn't need to design a whole system for making dialogue trees, or a system for drawing maps with text art, because those things already exist:

Since these pre-existing tools already work really well, I later focused on creating Javascript libraries to hopefully help JS developers get the most out of these tools.

Code icon Read more about my Javascript Libraries