'Surface of Scum' a hyper-lo-fi digital storytelling tool which forms part of mine and Uma’s current video-game project The Well of Sickness Shimmering (releasing in 2023). Surface of Scum takes the start of a role playing game - where the player makes choices and rolls dice to build their character - and expands this into an experience about the unstable self, and identity as a collaborative compost heap. The game references St Anne’s wood and holy well in Bristol, UK (once considered a potent holy site in Medieval England), and more generally the folk magic of healing Clooty Wells. Surface of Scum is made entirely with free, open source, browser-based software.

Game made using Bitsy (by Adam Le Doux), with these additional hacks: Mixsy by Ruin, Bitsy audio hack by Mark Wonnacott, Custom Key Handler by Sean S. LeBlanc

Images made using PIXILART, then converted into Bitsy rooms using this tool: https://hideous-cave-goblin.itch.io/room.

Special thanks to the Bitsy Discord community for advice and troubleshooting.

Music made using BeepBox

Commissioned by MAYK as part of MayFest 2022, and supported by Bristol + Bath Creative R+D via the Trailblazer Fund.
“Surface of Scum: A Necrotic Character Generator” by Uma Breakdown & Belladonna Paloma