Twine – Weaving Story-telling & Game-making Together

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While not every game necessarily needs a story in order to be enjoyable, a nice plot, some exposition or intense lore can not only add grandeur. Depending on the title being made, it could even make or break the game. Harking back to the gaming industry’s youth, many games were text-based and obviously required some level narrative. Game makers then often didn’t have the luxury of a large team behind them. Consequentially, they had to be multi-talented, using skills in coding, art direction and writing. Fast-forward to today and the rebirth of independent development often calls for the same… that is, until a man by the name of Chris Klimas stepped in.

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In-program screenshots while making a game in Twine.

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Creating a story twist

Editing a story inside of Twine.

Editing a story inside of Twine.

Without the need for skills in coding, one could take their story and add variables, forging several different paths for the reader to follow much like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” novel. Furthermore, for those with a larger skill set in programming or art, utilizing conditional logic, CSS or Javascript and adding custom images and audio can turn a story into a full blown experience. For an example, check out the amazing free Twine game created by The Stanley Parable creator, William Pugh under the studio name of Crows Crows Crows. You can find our review of the game here: The Temple of No.

Choosing your character in "The Temple of No" from Crows Crows Crows.

Choosing your character in “The Temple of No” from Crows Crows Crows.

Other fantastic examples of the use of Twine to varying degrees of programming skills number in the hundreds. The infamous Depression Quest may be the most well known, however, don’t miss out on titles such as The Uncle Who Works for NintendoMazurka – A Ghost in Italy and Star Court. With the ease at which stories, poetry and anything in between can be created, everyone can make a game and possibly ease themselves into learning some coding language as well.

Speaking of games, projects made with Twine are often disregarded as games. honestly, you can replace the word “writer” above with developer or “story” with game. Even those that don’t recognize these works as games would still be remiss to walk away from the opportunity to experience them.

Currently, Twine is being worked on by a large group of people, along with Chris, from all over the world. The most recent stable release is v. 2.0.11, but those who want to aid in the development of future versions can find betas on Chris’s site.

Overall, Twine is a simple, yet powerful tool for story-telling which becomes even more powerful with coding skills. Anyone who uses the program can do so for free, including use for commercial projects. Nowadays, no one with the desire to make games has an excuse with such fantastic development tools available. Twine is yet another one of those tools, especially for those with literary aptitude.

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