Trials and Triumphs with Twine

As some of my readers may know from my Twitter feed, I’ve been spending some time working with Twine recently. If you are unfamiliar, it’s a tool for creating “interactive stories.” It excels at making projects that are similar to choose-your-own-adventure games but, of course, it’s not limited to just that type.

After seeing it show up in projects on Free Indie Games (and the syndicated posts on Rock Paper Shotgun), I decided to try it out. The first project I published was Flirt. The next, the one I put up today, was Winter Road. Both are highly modified versions of the default output Twine produces. (I’m going to be putting out a story per week in 2013, so if you’d like to see them as they come out, I recommend following the Tumblr account I created for that purpose.)

Since I changed a great number of things in my little projects, and have returned to producing videos anyway, I decided I would try to help other people learn to use Twine. As it is, most of the advanced features, as I discovered on my own, aren’t covered in the videos I watched. I had to find them by digging through the documentation and the code itself. Something I know most people won’t do.

Given those problems, I thought I would try my hand at making a How-to video on setting up a (very) simple story involving a pirate that I will slowly change into something more advanced through a series of videos. The first episode, as I’ve embedded below, is the result of me testing out a new workflow of screen-recording my process, editing the audio afterwards, and putting everything together for publishing on YouTube. At the moment, it’s not perfect: for example, there’s a major problem between the recording software and the way Firefox renders some webpages. However, since I now know about that, I’m going to avoid that combination in the future and the rest of the videos, which will be coming out roughly two per month, should be fine.

2 thoughts on “Trials and Triumphs with Twine

  1. yes! In the twine game I made, I made an inventory system, which you can do with variables and stuff, but there weren’t a lot of tutorials about how to do it (but I did end up doing it and it is possible). Anyway, looking forward to the next video.

    1. Dan Cox

      I was really surprised about that too! For as many places as I keep seeing Twine show up (nearly every week on Free Indie Games, it seems), there aren’t many videos or even written tutorials out there explaining things. In fact, I had to, as I mentioned in the post, go look at the code of other projects just to figure out things I would have thought were quite basic like naming a story, using variables, and changing the visual style.

      I’m going to try to put out another video within the next two weeks. For as short as they tend to be, it usually takes me several hours to produce them, so it’s not a trivial task, at least as I’m doing them currently. Plus, I tend to get really nervous recording by myself and end up needing several takes just to get through several minutes of talking without “um”-ing too much.

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