The Deduction Engine: Adapting the Holmesian Method into a Computer Game

William Hart


The purpose of the paper is to propose an innovative method for adapting the Holmesian method of deduction into a video game. When reading or watching Sherlock Holmes stories, and other similar fiction, the reader or viewer follows passively along with Holmes' deductive process. In an interactive computer game, however, where the player is the detective, the player must actively detect themselves. But, how to design a game that allows for the player to follow the Holmesian method?

The game and game design proposed in the paper is an attempt to provide an entertaining adventure, but with a serious purpose. The proposed game would stimulate in the player critical thinking and logic skills and help a player gain new knowledge relevant to the crime being investigated. The design of the game draws upon relevant scholarly literature in adaptation and philosophy of logic to offer an innovative technique for implementing a Holmesian detection engine.

The game (or interactive fiction) is in an early stage of development, but a part of the game is playable and enough of the deduction engine concepts are developed to be able to discuss and evaluate progress so far. The part of the game completed serves as a test, a proof of concept.