Friday, 28 February 2014

Text Style

Twine uses HTML so styling is done with CSS.

To change the style of the whole game, create a passage and tag it "stylesheet"; put the CSS in there (the best way to do that is to Google stylesheets other people have created for your Twine format (e.g., Sugarcane), and paste that in, and then to modify it to suit your story.

If you have a set of passages that need an alternative style, create a second passage tagged as "stylesheet", but give it another tag too. Any pages with that new tag will automatically be styled according to the second stylesheet, rather than the first.

If you have sections with passages that need an alternative style, the best way seems to be to wrap them in a <div> and <span>, with a class defined in your stylesheet.

Here is a link to some example stylesheets:
http://www.glorioustrainwrecks.com/node/5163

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Planning a Twine Game

This is how I approach designing a CYOA game for Twine:

Genre and Setting

Decide where it is set.

What is happening

A simple overview of what will happen. If the player is reacting to events in the world, then what are those events? If she is to foil the plot of the evil supergenius, exactly what is that evil supergenius trying to do.

On the other hand, if the world is carrying on as normal, a simple one sentence description might be enough.

Outcomes

What are the meaningful outcomes? Aim for about half a dozen, and try to have some good aspect to all of them, even if there is a downside too. You died, but you thwarted the evil genius. Or each outcome could be a success for a different faction, and the player has influenced which one.

You might choose to write these out as they will appear in game at this stage.

Choke points

Identify pages that the player will always go through (or usually go through or...). Of course, this will depend on your game, maybe there are broadly two ways through, each with their own set of choke points, the player does one or the other.

Again, you may choose to write these out as they will appear in game at this stage.

A beginning

Write that first page!

Join the dots

Now all you have to do is create the pages linking the beginning to the chokepoints to the outcomes. Simples.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Designing a game for Twine


I have been thinking about CYOA games recently, and thought I would share my ideas. Obviously, this is just my opinion.

Traditional IF tends to revolve around puzzles, and I am not sure how well that can be done in a CYOA, where it is relatively easy to try every possibility and see what works. I think that what a CYOA does best is to allow a story to evolve in a way that the player can influence the outcome. That means you need a variety of meaningful outcomes (the character dying is not a meaningful outcome, no matter how bizarre it happened).

On the subject of meaningful, you also need the choices presented to the player to be meaningful. If it is clear that A is the right choice and B the wrong choice, why bother giving the option of B? If choosing A and B both take the player to the same place, why bother with the choice? Okay, sometimes choices will be like this, but you should aim to minimise them.

On the other hand, you do not want to have each thread leading to its own meaningful outcome. If the player goes through six pages, with two choices on each page, you need 32 outcomes (assuming no recombination or pruning). Good luck making all of them meaningful!

The solution is to have threads converge at chokepoints. To make the choices before a chokepoint meaningful, your game needs to remember which pages the player has visited and to be able to react to that later on.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Beginnings

Recently I had a go at using Twine. If is a way to create choose you own adventurers (CYOAs), and it is incredibly easy to use. Right click somewhere to create a new page (or passage as it calls them), then double click to edit it. give it a name, and type some text. To link to another page, put the text in double square brackets.

You can go to [[another page]].

Just make sure the other page is called "another page", and that is it. The link in the first passage will be blue if the connect is good, and you will see an arrow from one page to another. Pages with no links to anywhere are a different colour, and pages to broken links are flagged with a warning system (though it does not update immediately; click on a passage to select it, and it will then check if the links are all okay).

I actually prefer to have named passages, so do links like this:

You can go to [[another page|Second Page]].

The player will see "You can go to another page.", but the other page is called "Second Page".

So why am I struggling with Twine? I am not (except for getting on the official forum; that appears to be impossible). But I have other blogs on subjects I am or were struggling with, and this maintains the theme.