Narratives for Interaction: Twine vs ChoiceScript

I’ve decided not to go with ChoiceScript for my project because I found its structure rather rigid, in terms of the story flow and possible designs of the page. After much googling, I found another program that supports the creation of interactive web stories.

Twine is an open-source program for creating interactive, nonlinear narratives. Twine provides a framework for us to structure the flow of our stories, but can be published directly to HTML. Hence it is possible to extend the story beyond just text – music, sound effects, visuals, using variables through JavaScript and CSS.

Example of a Twine code:

Here’s an example of an interactive text-based story done using

“The Garden of Forking Paths” by Jorge Luis Borges

       The passage starts off with a brief historical excerpt of World War I, where a planned offensive by the British divisions against the Germans was delayed. A recount of the event, written by Dr. Yu Tsun, then starts abruptly from its third page.

Dr. Yu Tsun, a German spy hidden in London, is forced to escape after the murder of his comrade Viktor Runeberg, by English serviceman Captain Richard Madden. In a mission to relate the information of the British artillery whereabouts to his Chief in Germany, he quickly plans his next move. In this reading, Yu Tsun gives a detailed recount of his journey, or escape, towards a man named Dr. Stephen Albert, with the help of a well-timed train departure and some children. Upon reaching the home of Dr. Albert, Yu Tsun identifies himself as the descendent of Ts’ui Pen, who abandoned his career as a Governor of Yunnan and dedicated the rest of his life to the writing and construction of a novel and labyrinth, “The Garden of Forking Paths”.

      Dr. Albert and Yu Tsun then proceeds to discuss about the controversy of the published novel – deemed as a shapeless, disoriented mass of drafts. However, the two ventures further into the real conception of the novel and the symbolic representation of the labyrinth. Ts’ui Pen’s labyrinth explores the infinite dimensions of time, presenting a network of converging and diverging possibilities, ever-spreading. For example, one can be a friend in one dimension and an enemy in the next. Interestingly, this mirrors the present conflict between Yu Tsun and Dr. Albert. To Yu Tsun, Dr. Albert is a friend because of his help in the restoration of Ts’ui Pen’s garden, but an enemy because he has to be killed in order to convey his message to his Chief. Madden is an enemy because he arrested Yu Tsun, but also a friend because he helps to ensure that both Yu Tsun and Dr. Albert’s names appear in the same newspaper article.

      Overall, The Garden of Forking Paths is rather captivating, though confusing on the first read. It compels its readers to think critically about present day situations and the complexity of time.

Narratives for Interaction – Ideation (2)

TOPIC 1: Nature
Surviving in the wild

This game revolves around the theme of nature, and tests the player’s ability to strategize in a life-and-death scenario, by rationing available resources. Throughout the course of the game, players can learn about the names of some common edible/poisonous plants and the importance of clean water.

Act #1: You are stranded in the middle of a forest, in an unknown location. Armed with a compass, you plan to navigate towards the direction of safety (which will take days to reach by foot).

Act #2: With limited supplies in your backpack, you need to source for ways to stay alive in the wild. Your aim is to maintain your levels of hydration and energy in order to survive.

Hydration level – decreases over time. You need to source for water from rivers/streams nearby, and purify before drinking.
Can’t find a water source – dies from dehydration.

Energy level – decreases over time, especially from travelling and other vigorous activities. You need to source for food by foraging for edible plants, fruits and small fishes.
Eats poisonous fruits – dies from poison.
Can’t find food – dies from exhaustion.

Act #3:
Outcome 1 – You fail to survive and died.
Outcome 2 – You succeed in reaching safety and requested assistance from people nearby.

TOPIC 2: Blind

Prison Break

This is an interactive story about escaping a prison, but with a twist – you can barely see. With limited visuals, the player is encouraged to focus on the background narration and audio, in order to complete the mission.

Act #1: In an operation gone awry, you are injured and find yourself 80% blind. Having been framed, you are wrongly accused and thrown into prison. However, you are the only person who knows the truth behind what happened and only you know where to go to uncover it.

Act #2: Due to prior training, you know how to break out of prison, to solve the case. However, being unable to see makes the situation so much worse.

What to do – to source for useful materials to unlock the prison and escape to safety.

Outcome 1: Get caught. Game over.
Outcome 2: Escapes successfully!

Act #3: It’s 11:00pm, you reach the office of the culprit who framed you. There is a hard drive containing crucial information which you have to retrieve in secret. There is only one worker in the office who is working overtime.

What to do – search for the hard drive without making too much noise. Avoid crashing into things around the office, considering that you can’t really see.

Outcome 1: Crashes into something, the worker gets alerted and you get caught. Game over.
Outcome 2: Steal the hard drive successfully and expose the culprit!