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

Narratives for interaction – Ideation (1)

Topic: Nature/ Natural environment

Concept: Simulation of real life conditions, with educational facts and data

What is it?
An interactive webpage that features two to three different modes, each with their own storyline – Forest, sea, and pitch-black mode. Players will be allowed to choose their modes at the start page. Each mode can be narrated in two different ways – purely text and voice-over narration.


Blindscape is a piece of experimental storytelling that takes place entirely through sound. The narrative is told from the point of view of a man in an authoritarian society who wants to escape his intolerable life by ending it.

I find this game story very engaging and immersive, despite its complete lack of visuals. It’s focus on sounds and narration, paired with some interaction along the story (like finding stuff in the dark) heightens your sense of hearing and touch, and results in a unique player experience.

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  1. Motion tracking – swimming gesture using the arms as the story progresses, possible tools/gadgets: camera tracking, gesture tracking software and PIR sensors (detects infrared radiation)
  2. VR surroundings – for better visual and all rounded experience. Players can explore 360 degrees from one spot, to find clues or to learn about their surroundings
  3.  Enhanced sound effects and ambient sounds – especially for the pitch-black mode (e.g. rustling of the leaves, clear narration, bubbles underwater)

“Narrative, Interactivity, Play and Games” by Eric Zimmerman

Review of

Narrative, Interactivity, Play and Games:
Four naughty concepts in need of discipline by Eric Zimmerman

By Joan Li

             This essay by Eric Zimmerman talks about the trend of game developers increasingly utilising the technique of story-telling in the design of their products. The escalating use of “game-stories” and its never ending possibilities has thrown everyone into a whirl of dissatisfaction and frustration, due to the lack of understanding of the medium. Zimmerman approaches the topic by extracting four concepts from the term “game-story” – narrative, interactivity, play and games.

By J. Hillis Miller’s definition, a narrative starts with an initial state, which undergoes several layers of change to results in a final outcome or insight. While this is a very inclusive statement, it is also very true. Our goal should be to discover how something is narrative rather than to draw a distinct line between we think are narratives and what isn’t.

Interactivity is defined by its characteristic two-way communication between two parties, often between the user and his/her device. Zimmerman then points out that this general definition of interactivity can be applied for all sorts of narratives, thus calling for a more specific breaking down of the term. Cognitive, functional, explicit and cultural interactivity are four types of interaction involving varying degrees of user participation.

Zimmerman helps us understand the clear distinction between the terms “play” and “games”, which are often misinterpreted. Play represents the movement and free spaces between the rigid rules of a game. It cannot exist if interaction is completely pre-determined, hence the freedom of decision making and actions within the parameters of the system is crucial when providing play. Games, on the other hand, are these parameters. It is a voluntary activity with a set of rules for players to follow, provides artificial conflict and a quantifiable outcome during end game.

The aim is not to replicate the traditional understanding of games and stories, but to generate new experiences from the concept of a “game-story”. I find Zimmerman’s quest to explore the possibilities in which a game can be narrative in ways that other media can’t, rather meaningful. Personally, I believe that in this ever-growing society, the trend of merging concepts and ideas (in this case, games and stories) is inevitable. Instead of being frustrated with its limitations, sophistication or the lack thereof, we should channel our energy into discovering the possibilities of the newly emerged concept, and the new experiences it can provide.