Diagrams used for writing without coding

My experience was that if I got fancy then I just ended up with a lot of wooly text with no clear intention.

I found it more useful to flesh out the scene interactively, playing through the game (ideally after it having been coded for a while and then laid aside) so that I was adding responses prompted by the text. I guess that I’d still have a bunch of work to do incorporating feedback from beta-testers, but no project of mine ever got that far, alas.

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I made a video a while ago on how to use Vizon/Puzzlon, maybe it’s useful?


Thanks for all this. You might want to turn this into a podcast tutorial.
I didn’t know about Vizon or Dialog but now I want to try them. I also agree with your minimal path approach being expanded to flesh out the story. I learned that lesson from compiler design. I also agree with you about the different parts of the brain that codes a story vs. creates the story.

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I want to add the introduction of beta players. They are essential. They ALWAYS think of things, or read the output, in ways I never thought of. When I handle their comments, my story always grows, and becomes more stable.


I think you may be crediting me with a little too much! The video was made by @adventuron. Only the half-ass philosophizing is mine. :slight_smile:

The Dialog manual is really well written and should give you a good insight into whether the language will be a good fit for you or not. It’s still in beta, so you have a chance to be involved in shaping it. @lft (Linus Akesson) is very good at responding to user suggestions. There’s a whole other section on this site devoted to Dialog.



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I just stumbled onto this tool today and it looks really cool. It’s kind of like Twine but focused on flowcharting. I’ve seen similar things done before but they usually cost at least $60 and are windows only. This one is free and is precompiled for windows and linux and compilable for Mac.

I haven’t had a chance to play with this myself, but it seems really intuitive from the video.


Wow, first time I see this one!

I actually did my diagrams on Arcweave. I’m very positively predisposed towards it, because it’s a friend and colleague who develops it. It’s freemium, so you can make small projects for free.

This is a sample project, which you can also run, when pressing the PLAY button up right.

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Arcweave is pretty awesome.

When I get around to developing for grade school level students the graphics tracking would be very nice.

What do you mean “graphics tracking?”

The images that are embedded in the flow chart.

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It’s unfortunate that it’s online only. I’m always wary of creation services like that. I don’t mind an online version as long as it also offers an offline desktop version that can sync with the online database when you want. Arcweave doesn’t seem to offer that option.


I agree; I’m an offline kind of person, too.

I understand that the app focuses heavily on live collaboration, like Google Docs. But I would also prefer a desktop version that could optionally connect online.

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Check this out: Strand IF Authoring, Part 1

There’s also a game of theirs in the Spring Thing 2021.

Here’s another technique for design and analysis, possibly the most sophisticated I’ve seen so far.
It uses Petri Nets. Authors are Manuel Araújo and Licínio Roque. From DiGRA 2009.

I’m still in the middle of fully grokking this, but it seems to have the virtues of both simplicity and scalability.

From the short time I tinkered with it, this Trizbort-thingamajig looks and handles a whole lot like the Adrift-mapping tool. It’s probably got a lot more bells and whistles, but creating rooms complete with descriptions and objects and connections to other rooms straight onto the map is pretty much why I love to work in Adrift.
In Adrift you then go one step further and create the commands to go with the room and the objects in it. Et voilà, you’ve got yourself a game. (Okay, to get a halfway decent game there’s a bit more to it than that, but the basics can all be done straight from the map.)

I know many people reading this will have their objections to Adrift, but this visual way of"writing straight from the map" is extremely appealing to me.

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I don’t know if you noticed it, but there is an export settings in the drop down menu that lets you export your map to TADS, Inform 7, and a few other source formats (I thought I remembered hearing it supported Dailog, but I don’t see it). So in effect you can use it just like Adrift to quickly sketch up your world.