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Juan1

Help creating an interactive story game

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Hi, i'm an absolute begginer and i'm currently trying to create what is bassically a motion comic where you can decide the direction the story goes. My main issue is that i have very little experience programming and i'd like to ask you if you know any good, prefferably simple platforms to create something similar.

On a second hand, i was also planning to make it really participative, and include comments of players and even let them "post" their own versions of the story.

I know it is confussig but i'd aprreciate any advice.

Thanks!

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Hello,

 

One direction you could check is IF (interactive fiction). Originally these were text adventures, but there are also graphical variants of them (point and click adventures). There exist lots of authoring systems to make these programs, so you can focus on the content, and let the authoring system handle the packaging, and inter-action with the user.

 

I am not entirely sure it would fit your second requirement. These systems are mostly closed. You write the content, you package it, and build a program from it that you distribute to the players. They can play what you wrote, and that's it.

 

One way around that limit is to also give your source that you have just before "package", to the users. In principle, they can take your source, and extend or change it, if you give it a proper license (you giving permission to others to modify and re-publish the result).

That requires however that the users also have or get the authoring system that you used. For a commercial program, that's going to be problematic I think, so you might want to go with an open source authoring system instead, that runs at the major platforms (windows, mac, and perhaps linux).

 

Even today, communities exist that write IF, I'd say ask there too, they may have some good ideas too.

 

 

Tbh, even with an open source authoring system, I think chances are small you'll get anyone to extend. A user that extends or modifies your content would need to get and learn the authoring system, come up with a new story (which is much more work than most people are willing to spend), enter it into your story, and publish the results.

 

People that are capable of the above generally have so many ideas that they rather write their own stories (just like you prefer to write yours, and not extend one from someone else).

Everybody else generally doesn't get further beyond "this sucks" or "love this" or "great, keep it up", or "can you add my favorite thing X? would be cool" (even when it absolutely makes no sense at all).

 

 

You can increase the odds by making it easier for people to contribute. If you put the content at some project hosting site (github, bitbucket, etc), and you do the actual merging, repackaging, and re-distribution, would be one such step. But expect loads of feature requests :P

 

 

Other options are more radical. Instead of an IF program, make a web-site, sort of like a wiki, where each page is a small part of the story, and at the bottom you link to one or more other pages. You can make your own web-program for it. That would work even with a plain wiki program (and there are wiki hosting sites, I think, where you can just create a wiki).

 

I have no idea how well any of this would work.

 

 

 

 

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I have played many of those Choose Your Own Adventure gamebooks when I was a kid.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choose_Your_Own_Adventure

 

If you don't know how to program, then making it online is probably not the right first step for you.  So I'd suggest that you go a step old-school by composing your stories into gamebooks.  Once you make a fun gamebook, then hopefully by then you are able to convince a web developer to bring it online.

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A "motion comic" is defined to be a comic like presentation of graphical content but augmented with basic animations and perhaps sound within the panels. It will ever have user interaction to advance the story and may have interaction to examine pictorially given details (to mimic the look-at / examine functionality of IF / TA / GA). Such interaction has no impact on the story.

 

Now, It may have interactions that leads to different story paths and endings (a.k.a branching story). This is close to the CYOA approach mentioned by alnite above. Due to the narration being done in (partly) animated comic panels, this approach consumes much time of artists and requires great attention on continuity checking. All potential endings are pre-defined, and the particular reader sees a single path through the story.

 

Another approach is to tell the story in parts, so that one part is published per time unit (e.g. a week). Each part ends on a branching point, and the readership is enabled to vote online how the story branches and hence advances in the next coming part. This approach to influence the story is not directly depending on the motion comic media, but it reduces the overall amount of work drastically. At the same time it has, obviously, other hurdles.

 

Graphic adventures (or GA for short), often implemented utilizing the point-&-click interaction style as mentioned by Alberth, are a different thing. They and their text variants TA and IF are based on a concept where the player is in a room and can examine and interact with the things therein and finally leave the room through one of the exits. Notice how different the media is. In a motion comic, the story is narrated in a sequence of panels, each one allowing to express a dramatic composition with camera settings and scene composition and such, while a GA does not do such things.

 

In other words, the artistic expressiveness in a motion comic is much greater, while in GA the interactive part plays a bigger role. Interestingly enough, the authoring systems available for GA can also be used to design a motion comic (although I doubt a bit that all that nice effects seen in motion comics can be done with them … but maybe).

 

Allowing the readership to contribute content to a story driven motion comic - well, ATM I cannot really imagine that it will work well. Can you share your ideas with more details?

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