Have you ever wanted to design a game but struggled to code? Maybe you wanted to create interactive fiction but couldn’t figure out where to start, or perhaps you loved those Choose Your Own Adventure books back in the day. Twine is the tool to help you with any of the above.
In this DSC Guide Deep Dive, we check out Twine, an open-source tool for writers, storytellers, and game designers alike.
What is Twine, and how does it work?
As described by the creators, “Twine is an open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories.” Twine is a fusion of game design and storytelling perfect for any level of creator.
Stories created with Twine are similar to both RPG games and Choose Your Own Adventure books in that the outcome your users select directly impacts which page or prompt they read next. In Twine, each section or passage of your story connects via hyperlinks. These hyperlinked passages create choices for your readers. Depending on how you create your story, these choices can influence how your story ends. In this way, Twine stories are interactive fiction and games.
Twine is a useful tool for digital humanities scholars looking for new ways to collaborate across disciplines and create unique digital projects. Check out Anna D’s story in our Pride 2021 for another digital scholarship project Twine example.
Do I need to download anything?
Nope! Twine offers both online and desktop functionality, so you can create passages and games anywhere.
How do I create a passage or game on Twine?
Creating a game on Twine is as simple as accessing the online editor. From there, Twine offers a quick rundown on how to get started. Twine guidance appears within each passage of the draft. If you’re ever unsure about what something does, selecting Play allows you to see the particular passage in action. Twine will highlight any errors in your passage that would prevent the story from running smoothly.
With Twine, game design is as easy or as complex as you’d like it to be. Coding experience isn’t necessary, but if you’re knowledgeable, it can only enhance your game or story. If you’re more knowledgeable about coding, creating full games with graphics, illustrations, and more is worth consideration.
What if I need help?
For extra guidance, look no further than The Twine Cookbook. The Twine Cookbook contains a beginner’s tutorial on how to create passages using an example draft. You can follow along with each step of the process by copying and pasting the draft into the editor.
How do I save my work?
If you’re using Twine online, Twine saves your creations in your browser. I highly recommend saving your creation using the archive feature and downloading your story for safe keeping. Twine makes both of these precautions easy via the Archive button on the Story List homepage, and the “Publish to File” option in Settings.
If you access Twine and your story is missing, don’t panic! The file generated when you download your story is in HTML format, and you can upload this file into Twine to access your draft when you’re ready to edit it.
How do I share my story?
The HTML file makes it easy to share your creation. Clicking on the file opens your story in an online browser, where visitors can navigate through the passages. You may also choose to host your game online using platforms familiar with Twine such as itch.io or other publishing resources.
As an example of what Twine can do, we created a simple game titled The Journey. The Journey is an illustration of the basic functions of Twine using the Chapbook story format.
Play The Journey
(To access, type password: DSatUNT)
Game design doesn’t have to be complicated. Try out Twine for yourself!
If you’re interested in learning more about Twine, keep an eye out this fall for a Twine workshop!