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!

Interactive Fiction update

Just a quick update tonight, I just discovered Twine, a slightly different kind of IF: Instead of the normal interface where you type commands in for the character to carry out, Twine uses a choose-your-own-adventure-style interface where you click on your choice. It’s basically all contained in a webpage, which would make it an excellent option for marketing an eBook like I was writing about last week.

I haven’t had much time to play with it, yet, but I’m going to try to spend some time over the next few days playing around with it. Also I just downloaded the program to create a Twine game, I’m planning on trying it out next week.

I’ve only taken a quick look into creating games in it (maybe five – ten minutes), but it looks quite simple, I’m looking forward to playing around with it.

I’ll have a few extra posts next week dealing with my experience creating a Twine game. These extra posts will be in addition to my normal posts. Here’s a link to Twinehub in case you’d like to try one of the many games they host.

http://twinehub.weebly.com/

Has anyone had any experience with this style of IF? I’m interested in your thoughts.

Interactive Fiction

I’d like to take a moment to tell you about Interactive Fiction (IF), also known as Adventure games and Text games, IF is the oldest kind of computer game in existence. It was quite popular in the early days of computing, but it suffered a decline in popularity when graphics were introduced to games. However IF is not dead, in fact there is a large community that still creates and plays IF.

There is one place where IF has an opportunity to gain new fans, advertizing, specifically advertizing for books, e-books in particular. IF is quite powerful and would work wonderfully as a way to hook people into a series. Let me give you an example: Say a mystery series has a minor character, IF could be utilized to give that character a story of his or her own. Or, if there is a place in a book where the main character enters a place and isn’t seen again for a number of pages and  nothing is explained about what happened in that place, IF could allow you to be the character in that place. What could be a better way to advertise a book?

IF has several different languages that can be used to create it, such as Inform 7, which is the easiest to use as it uses ‘natural language’ for writing the game. Inform 7 is my first choice for writing IF, it’s free from http://inform7.com/

 Over the next few weeks, I’m planning on going deeper into the power of IF, along with how easy it can be.

 What are your thoughts on Interactive Fiction?