Hot Scorn

So I came across inklewriter several months ago while looking for tools to write interactive fiction, but I didn’t begin working with it in earnest until just a few months ago.

First off, there are several great tools out there for working on this kind of stuff, but inklewriter by game maker inkle has, in my mind, the best UI for getting an idea into a workable format without becoming encumbered by the interface itself. It has very well thought out responses to keyboard input, making it feel a lot more like a nice text editor than some of the other options out there; and its system of flags and conditionals is easy to learn and understand for the non-technical, while being reasonably robust.

There are a few extra things I’ve been wanting out of the interface lately, mostly with regards to reordering chapters and options, and seeing resources my story uses. One thing to understand before investing time in inklewriter (or my little side project for that matter) is that it is provided out of good will as a tool inkle made for their own needs, but they aren’t software developers full time and don’t often make changes or additions to the tool. I’m not too worried about inkle themselves evaporating anytime soon; 80 Days is making waves in both literary and game-making circles, and their Sorcery! series is also fantastic.

So in the end I decided to make my own little tool, both to give myself things I wanted, and to learn the inklewriter data structure for future game-making plans. After making what I wanted most, reorderable “pages” or sections, I realized that the data would be well suited to making some fun visualizations. Using the d3.js library, you can now see your inklewriter story as a “force graph", showing possible flows through the narrative. You can give it a try with one of inkle’s sample stories or your own here: http://inklehelper.hotscorn.com/.

Force Graph of an incomplete story from inklewriter

For now the only really useful feature is in sorting and editing pages, but I’ve had more fun out of the graph for sure. I plan to work on this tool a bit more down the road as I continue working on my own IF project, but in the meantime maybe other people wanna see their stories graphed. Hope so!

You might be wondering

Are you affiliated with inkle?

Nope, just a fan of their games and tool. The inkle name and example stories are all copyright them, inkle, and not me.

Are you gonna steal my story?

No way, everything is done locally, your story’s data isn’t sent to any servers.

Can I play with the code?

Totes, it’s on github, and it’s not minified at the link above if you just wanna poke around.

Will you add something?

Maybe if you ask me nice! And if I see any interest in this tool I’ll probably be more inclined to work on it.

Your code sucks.

Yeah, well, poop on your face, sir/madame. Fix it and do a pull request if it makes you so upset.

With love,

Scott

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