Decker: An open-source Apple HyperCard clone (perfect for IF)

Hey, just wanted to make you all aware of a new engine/tool that would be great for IF.

It’s an open-source clone of Apple’s HyperCard called Decker:

You can run it in the browser live:

Just like Twine it spits out a standalone .html file of whatever you make with it.

If you don’t know about HyperCard, it was basically a program that shipped with every Macintosh in the mid-80’s. It was like a virtual stack of cards that you could add sound, text, images, buttons to. You can link cards together with hotspots or buttons. You can do scripting. You can make whatever you want.

The original Myst was prototyped in HyperCard. Cyan’s first two games (pre-Myst) were made in HyperCard: The Manhole and Cosmic Osmo.

There are some aesthetic limitations (that I think make it interesting). It has 1-bit vintage Macintosh style graphics (pixels are either black or white, no grays). It has 8-bit low sampling rate audio limited to 10 seconds per clip (but clever programming can have longer audio).

I’m not the creator of Decker, I’m just someone excited to use it. For me it’s like what I always wanted Twine to be.

Anyway, I just thought you should be aware of this. It’s so cool.


You can see some examples of Decker projects here:

Also here’s an archive of actual HyperCard stacks you can look at, to get a general idea of what HyperCard was capable of:


Thanks for sharing a link to the gamejam, it’s neat to see what people’ve made with it. I tried out the silly one with the kitten on his computer, and the list of fictional birthdays.

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Ars Technica had a good retrospective on HyperCard a few years back, for those curious about this landmark piece of software:


I really like the indie worldbuilding zine here:

yeah a very good article. some excellent screenshots of the HyperCard aesthetic, too.


I made HyperCard adventure games back in the day and would upload them to America Online. So excited to try out a HyperCard-like stack builder! Thanks for sharing.


Just letting you know that there is an upcoming Decker game jam! So if this is in any way a tool you would like to play around with, now would be a great time!

Unfortunately I can’t post a link to it… it’s on itchio


Did you mean this one?

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yes! that’s the one!

thank you

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The scripting language isn’t HyperTalk? It’s Lil, based on Lua? Is it HyperTalk compatible?

I don’t know that it’s based on Lua. I also don’t think it’s HyperTalk compatible, but it is HyperTalk inspired.

The manual is on the developer’s website. I’d post a link but for some reason that’s forbidden.

Maybe there’s a limit to links from new forum users. Is this the link? Decker: A Multimedia Sketchpad

The main page seems to be:


Yeah from that first link, there’s a section labelled “Documentation” and there’s a link “The Lil Programming Language” and that is the guide to using Lil.


wow… Hypercard 4 Linux !!! and with the proper look&feel !!!

now let’s look at those boxes of old notes… where are my notes on “Italian Scrolls” ?
(yea, circa 1990 I toyed around IF with hypercard…)

Thanks and best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.


I loved Hypercard as a kid! We had a Mac Plus. I made little cartoon animations with it, a card for each frame.


Why would you have wanted Twine to be more like Decker?

Is it the Hypercard aesthetic? (You can adopt a Hypercard stylesheet in Twine, if you’d like. Any web page can be made to look like Hypercard with the right stylesheet.)

Something else?

I guess I always wanted to use Twine more like Macromedia Director. Something more graphics based than text based. With a fixed resolution. Something that feels less tied to a browser. I don’t know.

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That makes sense! Supporting resizable GUIs is one of the hardest things to do in any GUI builder. (How should the buttons layout when the screen gets very small, like a phone? Or very wide, like a 16:9 monitor?)

When Hypercard launched, Macs had a standard screen resolution. Every Mac sold had a screen resolution of 512x342 pixels, so you could know for sure how your cards would look on any Mac.

On modern Macs, Xcode uses a sophisticated constraint solver / theorem prover to allow developers to build resizable UIs in a GUI; it works pretty well, I think, but it’s never going to be as easy to learn as “drag the button onto the screen and it’s going to look exactly like that everywhere.”

It is possible to use CSS to design a page where all of the content is in a rectangle with a fixed aspect ratio, but that requires adding some background around the rectangle, when the user’s screen doesn’t fit the dimensions of the card.

FWIW, Decker cards are extremely unpleasant to use on an iPhone in portrait mode… the buttons and menus are much too small to tap with a finger.

Even “Fullscreen” mode doesn’t work at all on iPhone, so the buttons are pretty small even on iPhone in landscape mode.