Using Twine, Part 1

I just started playing around with the Twine program for creating Interactive Fiction this morning. I haven’t spent as much time learning it as I had meant to today, but from what I’ve seen it looks like it has a lot going for it. I’ll need to examine it a lot closer, but I think that it is something that a lot of newcomers to Interactive Fiction could easily sink their teeth into.

It doesn’t have a parser, like Inform and other kinds of interactive fiction does (a way to type in commands), but I can see how that really isn’t a problem in many cases. It would be feasible (though slightly harder than in other kinds of IF) to include a mystery in it, only the clues would have to be set out in plain sight, rather than hidden, or at least the path to the clue would have to be clear, you could have a gun in a hatbox, for example, but you have to accept that one choice when searching a room would be the hatbox.

As an example, in Twine you could have a discription, say “In the room stands a table, on which is a hatbox., a coconut and a bloody knife. Should you:” after which there would be a choice for what to do, say “Open hatbox. Take knife. Call police.” you would then click on the link to your choice, say you decide to open the hatbox, it would take you to a new page that could say something like “You carefully open the hatbox, wondering if it might contain a bomb as you catch a wiff of gunpowder. You look inside and see the gun that killed Tom Walderfordtonson last night, now you know who the murder is!” that would be followed by another set of choices, or just the next page depending on the author.

Where as in Inform, you’d say something like “In the room stands a table, on which is a hatbox., a coconut and a bloody knife” With the description printed out, you’d be free to do anything, including something like (if the author of the game hasn’t forbidden it) “Get coconut” ‘Taken’ “Put coconut in hatbox” ‘Now the coconut is in the hatbox” “Get knife” ‘Taken’ “Put knife in hatbox” ‘Now the knife is in the hatbox’ without ever bothering to look inside the hatbox.

In that case, I can see where Twine would be superior, it would lead to quicker game play, a much simpler time for newcomers to IF and it would be a lot easier for an author to write, as no extra options have to be considered because of what the player might decide to do.

I’ll be continuing to explore Twine over the next few days as I finish the game I’m working on. I’ll also keep posting updates on my discoveries this week. But I’d really like to see what you think, do you think a full parser is needed in IF? Why or why not?

Thanks for reading!


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