Yesterday we finally hit the big red Go! button on inklewriter, our web-based tool for writing, play-testing and sharing interactive stories. We've been working on this for a few months now and been through a few iterations, from our earliest sketches on a coffee-shop notepad to the final version, which is now ready for you to try. So what are you waiting for?
For announcement day, we prepared a simple little story for you to try out: "Neighbourhood Predators". This was supposed to be the world's first inklewriter story, but unfortunately we were pipped to the post by a tester on Twitter who released this interactive version of Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up. Rickrolled on a Day One. Thank you, the internet.
So how does it work?
The idea behind inklewriter is that writing branching interactive stories is really about writing, and what writers need is a blank piece of paper and no distractions. So while your story can have choices, and split and join back together, when you're writing a story-thread there's nothing on screen but the story you're trying to tell. Want to change to a different thread? Simply rewind the story and play a different way; or use the content index to jump immediately to a different paragraph.
Behind the scenes, the writer is indexing everything, the content is fully searchable, and in jumping from paragraph to paragraph the tool uses AI-pathfinding to get you the best route.
Don't forget to share
Once you've written your story and signed up for an account, you'll unlock the ability to share your stories by simply sending out a link. Twitter, Facebook, whatever way you want to share.
And there's lots more functionality coming. In the future, you'll be able to choose your own web-address to make it more memorable, skin the background, maybe even fly to the Moon...
We're not done yet
The great thing about a web-app is it's never done, and we've got some major upgrades still to come: the first being a full set of conditional logic that will let you track what choices your reader made and use them later on, the alter the text they read and the options they get. Once that's online, well, you've got the full Frankenstein tool-set right there...
And this also opens a lot of other possibilities. Want to write a quiz? Use a value to track the score, and print an appropriate message at the end. Want to create an interactive help system? Use variables to make sure the user never gets asked the same question twice ("No, really. Have you actually tried turning it on and off again?")
...And for those of you who read this far, we've got one very exciting piece of inklewriter news coming soon, so get writing...