inklewriter updated!

To celebrate the release of Future Voices, our anthology of inklewritten stories, we've released a raft of new features for inklewriter. I know, for a moment there we were in danger of coming out of beta...


There are updates to the way stories can be read and played, as well as new ways to vary the text that gets written. But possibly the most important update in this whole package won't make any difference to the story itself, but to the writer...

Editor settings

If you look in the toolbar you'll find we've moved things around a bit, adding a gear icon to the far right. This will bring up the settings menu. There's not many options there at present, but the one that might be of most interest is the ability to rescale the editor view. There are now three settings - normal, compact, and dense. Compact will shrink the font a little and make the pages you write on a little wider. (Dense mode is provided for people who don't mind sacrificing their short-focus vision.) The setting is saved on a story-by-story basis.

This feature was kindly sponsored by the folks at Stoic Studios, who are using inklewriter to author content for their upcoming, strategy-meets-cartoon Viking game, The Banner Saga.

Story settings

In addition to the editor settings, there are also two settings to change how your story will be read. The first is to stop the text of options being included in the flow of the story. This is on by default, but if your story makes sense with the player's input hidden away, you can now turn it off. (In Future Voices, about half the stories have this on, and the other don't. It really depends on the writing!)

Secondly, a much-requested feature to help players tackling stories with lots of failure options and dead-ends - you can now insert a lot more rewind points during the course of your story. By turning on this option, an extra rewind point will be inserted every time the reader passes a section header in your story.

You said what?

Since we launched last summer, one of the most commonly requested features has been randomness. We've taken the first steps in that direction with a new inline text feature: random printing. So you can now write a line like:

It was a {~dark|grey|moonlit} and {~stormy|rainy|calm|balmy} night.

...and every time the player reads the line, it'll be different. Random braces can be stacked inside one another, and include other conditionals as well, so it's possibly to make some quite complex flavour-text - particular useful if your story has lots of loops!

'{~{~Well|My|Gosh|Goodness}, but {~would|won't} you|Here,|Crikey,} look at {~this|that|those}!' explains the Inspector, {~pointing at something or other|peering {~behind|under} the {~sideboard|hatstand|table|dresser|man-servant}}.

Here's a quick story to demonstrate.

How much?

Another highly requested feature: you can now write the value of a counter into the text of your story, either has numbers or as words. To do this we've introduced a new kind of inline bracket - square ones, with a function name, and then a colon. In this case the functions are "number" and "value". So writing: 'It's my birthday,' says the boy. 'I'm [number:age]. Well, [value:age] and a half.'

will produce text like

'It's my birthday,' says the boy. 'I'm 5. Well, five and a half.'

The numbers-as-words can go up to several billion, should you really need them to, and they can go negative as well!

Easier images

One of the biggest usability issues we've seen since launching inklewriter was from people having issues with adding images grabbed from a Google Images search. The old way to get round this was to make sure you clicked through to the actual page that the image was taken from... but since this is such a common and useful way to get images into your story, we've added a fix to let you paste the link directly from Google. Right-click a thumbnail you like the look of and either copy the link or the image URL, and paste it into inklewriter's Add Image dialogue as normal.

(We've also fixed an issue which meant pasting in links didn't always work, but that was a silly bug that we'd rather not admit to.)

And finally...

We've updated the Frequently Asked Questions in the tutorial to cover the above, as well as finally admitting that it's possible to include hyperlinks from your story.

So enjoy! And let us know on the forums if you hit any problems.

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