Interactive Fiction

Interactive Fiction is an on-going trend in video games, but the
style of interactive fiction differs in visuals and game mechanics
across modern-day interactive fiction. What I mean by that is the rise
of Telltale’s franchise of interactive fiction, telling a story through
animated visuals and making character-driven decisions during
discussion. Often there may be other game mechanics which may involve
scenes not directly controlled by you, but add the element of game-like
mechanics such as shoot-em-ups, puzzles and other game mechanics.

However, I’ve always been interested in the old-style of interactive
fiction, and I was wondering if you could inspire me a little along the

In this case, old-style means a text-based adventure. Although
modernised to a point where instead of viewing graphics, visuals or
interacting on a game-like level, you describe the actions of players
through text, you can make character-driven decisions, perhaps have
game-like elements that are hidden behind environmental details as
written in the story.

There are so many ways to go about this, but text-based adventures
are no longer a demand, nor do they interest gamers any more. It’s more
about visuals, interacting in 2D or 3D animated environments that I, as a
writer, find it difficult to achieve.

Now, I know of the existence of Twine, a way in which you can write
text-based adventures with the ability to create non-linear story
branching. I like this concept a lot, but the lack of targets (that
being only the Web) makes it rather difficult to make a story that you
can sell, since HTML5 is open source and there is nothing you can do
about that. I started writing my own engine inspired by Twine, called
StoryDev. The second version of which is more suited and geared for
making commercial interactive fiction heavily text-based, but I’m still
wondering if it is worth the financial risk.

I would like your honest opinion. If you were given the choice
between an animated sequential interactive novel, versus a purely
written one, which one would you choose and why?

Text interactive fiction still exists,

but before making your tool you should examine the existing tools, is pretty powerful for cyoa,
it’s html5, win/mac/linux through node-webkit (with steam integration) and they’ve got something for android and ios.
It’s not free for commercial projects. is really great too

What missing angle your tool would fill?

Looks like a lot of these authoring tools only use HTML5 as a target, though, which is not a commercially-friendly target, because it’s hard to close source HTML source code without otherwise hacking node-webkit to prevent any way to see it. Even if you could do that, there is no code obfuscation system with webkit as far as I am concerned. Correct me if I’m wrong on that.

Haxe, on the other hand, when you target C++, Flash etc. code gets obfuscated and closed, making it easier it distribute and sell.

I think after reviewing those tools, I am pretty confident with where I am heading, because it seems there is literally no solution for building text-based adventures on native platforms closed source.

Also, I’m not a big fan of HTML5/CSS/JavaScript, I think it’s an unneccesarily large amount of code to have to learn to make a single project, and if you want to modify appearance of text based adventures (which you probably will to make yourself stand out) you will want some UI that aids with that instead of having prior CSS/HTML knowledge, which most of these tools seem to lack, including Twine which is among the most popular of text-based interactive fiction.

If you will google Interactive Fiction, you will discover that there is a still-alive and still-active interest in interactive (“text …”) adventure games.   There are many existing tools for writing them.   (My favorite is TADS, which provides a great many classic games such as Dungeon, the precursor to Zork I, II, III.)

Today, I frankly think that people do expect a visual-centric presentation, although they probably also wish for the true interactivity that these games offered.   (After all, just how many variations of Doom can you actually stomach before you finally run out of cerebral ammunition … and, interest?)   :smiley:

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I did try TADS at one point, but once again there was a lack of features that I especially wanted for creating my own interactive fiction. In this case, it was the ability to add images and visual components to make an interactive story more compelling.

TADS 3 lets you add images using HTML.

Hmm… I may be confusing the tool with something else then. But yeah, HTML. Why are they all HTML?

I built Glory Framework with interactive fiction in mind. Don’t know if it’s perfect for you or not.

My aim with StoryDev 2 is to provide a framework for developing animated interactive stories, inspired by Telltale. And while I am looking at text-based adventures as a potential option for selling a video game at some point, it may be the case that I instead create StoryDev 2 into something that I had planned for since January of last year. Of course, if I was not so depressed back then I might have something to show for it.

Nevertheless, no amount of advertising or marketing from others is going to convince me to use another product over creating my own, ideally in the pursuit of starting a business of my own.

This topic has strayed off-topic now, since I was gathering opinions of people about Interactive Fiction, and not actually answering the question “should I create an interactive story engine?”

Almost half of startups fail because of a lack of market need, so keep in mind that question :wink:

Sorry, to answer your original question, I would lean toward a purely written novel over interactive. Your audience will usually be bigger and you can spend more time crafting a good story rather than polishing artwork and code.

I imagine there’s a need for the features TADS provides, in a more useful language (like Haxe!). Even non-IF games would benefit from the ability to reason about characters and objects in the game world.

However, TADS development has been going on for over a decade, so this wouldn’t be easy to implement.

Especially this sort of language processing:

The parser uses a powerful grammar processor that can handle the inherent ambiguity of natural languages. Consider “put the coin in the jar on the desk”. The parser isn’t fazed by the structural ambiguity of this command: it recognizes that this could mean either that we wish to take hold of the coin that’s already in the jar, and put that coin on the desk, or that we intend to put some coin into a jar that is itself on the desk

Considering that’s what you aim to accomplish with a text-based adventure, yes. In the current state of my engine, it doesn’t use a grammar engine, or any input for that matter. Instead, it presents you with choices which is more reminiscent of a visual novel than an actual text-adventure, but still have text regardless.

I can readily see that a visual “text adventure” might call for facilities that are different from what other (e.g. TADS) designers have so-far come up with.   Interested to see what you might cook up.

Maybe I am just dating myself confirming that I am an Old Phart™ here, but, ever since I played the original Adventure, I always wished to be able to see that “well-house to a large spring.”   That “crystal bridge that now spans the fissure …”   Or even just the poor, frightened little bird.

Personally, I’m more interested in everything except that. Processing language is strictly optional, when there are so many other ways to accept input.

It includes a mechanism that can automatically carry out “implied” commands, and even chains of implied commands: opening a door in order to walk through it, unlocking a door in order to open it, taking a key out of one’s pocket in order to use it to unlock a door…

This sort of logic could help in purely-visual games. It could save the player some trouble in a point-and-click game, and it would make it easier to program NPC behavior.

Then there’s TADS’ system for keeping track of what each character knows, which makes it easier to implement realistic conversations. Plus, it can figure out which pronoun to use based on context (within limits, but it’s still a nice feature). These sorts of things would help in almost any game with dialog.

Dunno … (maybe I just am(!) an Old Phart …?) … but I always suspected that maybe we were just “selling ourselves short” when we omitted language(!) when “computer games ‘went visual.™’”

“Interactive fiction” seemed to belong to a dusty old world of “computers that couldn’t do graphics.   At all.”   They seemed to belong to the world of the DEC VT-100 or the DecWriter, if not the Teletype, 300-baud modems cupping (of course) black telephone handsets, and paper tape.

But, let the record show that Doom never captured my interest.   There is only so far that pure-visual interaction with a computer can take you, and this level bores me to tears.   I would [still…] love to play a game that interacts with me “visually,” while I interact with it “through language.”

What goes around . . . comes around.

Now that I have seen your comment about interactive fiction, I see there is still a level of interest in text-based adventures, which gives me some hope :slightly_smiling: So thank you for your inspiration.

I think I am still torn between making a decision for my first interactive story. My idea originally, based on my novel Fall of Atlantis (which is not complete yet), was to create a “rogue-lite” (term used loosely) to create an adventure based on taking pilgrimages to uncover secrets kept back from society in order that Atlantis prevails. By gathering enough knowledge before Atlantis falls, you may be able to keep Atlantis stable enough not to completely collapse when you fall to the fourth dimension (you start at the sixth).

The fourth dimension, when things become more physical, dangers become more real and its this stage where you may have to fight many creatures in order to gain enough knowledge that may give you the spiritual guidance and power needed to survive. And then that would rinse and repeat, hence “rogue-lite”.

Whether telling this in the form of a text adventure may sound absurd, yet creating a full-on sequential animation would be beyond my skills and finances, so the text adventure route may be the only option for me at this stage. That being said, I’m not sure a text adventure really fits in with the goal set out above. It’s a rather complex one with the potential to lead to a lot of unprecedented endings.

That being said, anything is possible. Text adventures as I have heard is all about exploration.

I think I would prefer, however, to combine the efforts a text adventure with the concepts of a visual novel. Instead of giving the user something to type that may or may not work, there will still be a lot of text to read but perhaps choices to make in the form of buttons. Perhaps that works, perhaps not.

is that like mud ?
( )

… i played long time interactive textadventures
( complex worlds, … i remember much communication…
… and pictures in mind [in only reading simpe text]
*dives deep * ; )
!like modern games…
->mud-like-games is editing itself (cool LP prg.langu)

like in comic novell … to be not “mystic” u need stable Timer-class
or something to resolve game-flow and avoid
"mud-flation" 8 ) ~

anyway, i like Fiction ( with science sugar -> [sf:lem] ; )