The surprising story of a factory that makes more than just flags.

Flag Factory is a narrative, clicker-style game about people, automation, and the strange world of digital-first, physical-later flags. This work is the output of my Masters Thesis from NYU's Interactive Media Arts program.

Explore the game below or check out some of my process work here.

A black graphic that reads "Flag Factory" in between two ascii art illustrations of a flag. To the left of the image is a decorative border made from dollar signs

Your Guide to Running the Flag Factory

01. Ideate

Come up with what your flag will say or communicate

02. Design

That's a great idea. Now, what will the flag look like?

03. Produce

Print, sew, cut, paste. Time to make this dream a reality.

04. Sell

Set up shop and get those flags out into the world.

|                               |
|                               |
|                               |
|                               |
|                               |
|       M Y  D E S I G N        |
|                               |
|                               |
|                               |
|                               |

Game Mechanics

Clicker games compel a user to repeatedly perform simple actions, such as clicking a button. This repetitive action is combined with exponential growth functions, so the impact of the same action can change drastically overtime. In the below sketch, explore what it feels like to click through different levels of the gameplay.

Try me
Flag Factory: Gameplay

$250.00 Funds

               /\\\\ \  \\\              
              /\         \ \             
             /  \          /             
            /    \        /              
           /      \      / \             
          /        \    /  /             
         /          \  /  /              
        /          /_\/  /               
       /           \    /                
      /             \  /                 
     /               \/                  


It is a sad, flagless world.

Clicker/Incremental Games

If you find yourself interested, or continuing to click here. I'd suggest reading more about the genre on the wikipedia page for Incremental Games. Even better though, is to learn about them through play. Here are a few that I suggest:

The Story & Artwork

It's your first day at the Flag Factory, and what do you know, you are a natural. Click your way through flag selling, making, design, and ideation.

Ascii art of flag mock-ups. The flag reads "My Cool Flag." On the left is a mockup of a flag on a pole. On the right is a mock up of a woman holding the flag. Underneath is a button to "Upgrade Mock-up (-$50) (+3x Selling Power)"

Chapter 1

Sell, Baby, Sell

You start by selling blank flags, but quickly learn that putting an idea on the flag improves its Selling Power. The Selling Power of flags can also be improved by adjusting the design of each flag that you make, and updating the flag listing to include mock-ups.

You slowly invest in automation. Instead of toiling away with the clicking of buttons, buy automated selling and making machines, which can offload those flags with minimal oversight. Machines can be continually upgraded for improvements towards growth. Even ideation and design can be automated, as you activate AI-capabilities to generate flag ideas and designs at incredible scale.

Chapter 2

The Repairman

During this process, the flag machine breaks down and all production, ideation, and selling stops. The user is restricted to one button and one button only. "Call the repairman." Pressing the button, the user is presented with a second interface, separate from the "Flag Factory." With a single available button, the user has to assume the roll of Repairman, and answer the call.

Fixing the machine, the Repairman discovers the issue. A photograph had gotten stuck in the machinery. Looking at the photo, the user recognizes it as the woman from the mock-up. The photograph slowly reveals a message to the repairman, "Help Me."

The game continues and the user is tasked with continuing to run the flag factory, while also playing as the Repairman who continues to interact with the photo. The Repairman learns that they are interacting with the ghost of a woman. A ghost which has come into existence because of the transient, yet pervasive usage of the flag mockup.

A black screen showing ascii art of a phone with a narration reading "Someone is calling" and button prompting the user to "Answer the phone"
ASCII artwork of a woman holding a flag that reads "Help Me"An animated gif cycling through progressively more defined variations of ascii art. Moving from a simple line drawing all the way to a photographic representation.
Collage of ASCII art and a photograph of a woman holding a flag that has Smokey the Bear on it and the words "Repeat after me, Only You..."

Chapter 3

Shutting the Factory Down

The Repairman aims to help free this ghost from the machine. Following the ghost's prompts, the user has to balance the Repairman's subversive destruction with the Flag Factory's mechanisms for production. The user now has to compete against their own previous aggressive production.

The game is won, when the factory has been destroyed and the ghost has been freed. Throughout this final chapter, the game artwork builds and recedes between ascii art of different resolutions and clarity of detail and photographs bringing in the reality of our world.

The Process

The work here is a direct reflection of the research and process that led to its development. Check out a messy, growing collection of that process.