Parser game focus or not? Anyone tried hybrid game engines?

I notice a keen focus on parser games from Inform, Adrift and similar software though the IF games I prefer this past few years are ones blending images, sound and of course, text. I like the storytelling format that appeals to both gamers and readers where a CYOA format presents itself with a use of text and images. Rather like the Choicescript games and some IF games seen using Unity tools like Cradle which boosts the uses of Twine. Anyone tried Twine or these tools? If so, what was your experience a) as a player and b) as a designer. Thanks in advance.

As a player, I’ve definitely enjoyed games written using Twine, Windrift (Liza Daly’s engine), Ink, Undum, Choicescript and Elm, among others. Games like Bogeyman, Harmonia and Heretic’s Hope just look so good (and with great writing!)

Unity is a little obnoxious because it’s usually full-screen and slow. It’s like hiring an enormous body builder to carry around a little whiteboard that you write on. But some Unity games are worth it.

I really didn’t like writing in Twine at first because the little boxes were alien to me as a parser author. But then I started laying them out kind of like a map and it all clicked in my head.

Choicescript also took getting used to but I found it easier to get used to than Twine. Ink felt completely natural.

For making something look good quick, nothing was better for me than Chapbook Twine. For pure flexibility, it was probably Sugarcube, but that assumes you’re going to do a lot of work changing the CSS and javascript to make it look nice.

I’m sure other people have had different experiences than me! Also in France they’re doing incredible CYOA work with Inform!

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I’m on a journey creating text adventures with generic web technologies. Here’s a CYOA-style game I did for a recent game jam: Tower of Rapunzel.

The server-side code is all Python. So there’s no limit to what kind of game logic you can implement. I’m also keen to make sure everything still works if the player chooses to switch off Javascript.

I tried a bunch of CYOA/hypertext IF engines and none them did exactly what I wanted so I wrote my own.

My issue was that Twine was great for games that reused locations, had inventory and item use, and complex things like battle systems, but it really fell apart if you tried to do a choice based conversation system like Ink or ChoiceScript. Likewise, Ink and ChoiceScript are great for writing forward moving branching stories using choices for advancement, but it’s nearly impossible to do literally anything else with them. My own system combines the two styles.

This is it:

I personally prefer my own engine over the other options, but that’s probably a given since I wrote it to suit my own preferences. I’d have to choose Twine as the runner up though. I like the freedom that it offers even though it can be really clunky at times.


Hi. I am sure it is a very good IF game but like other coding languages, Python just looks alien and repulsive to me. I have found ways to avoid coding and scripting of any kind to create a IF game.

This really does look brilliant and kudos to you on combining the elements of Twine and Choicescript but for me, too much scripting. True what you said about choicescript but they also have an IDE now that helps non-scripters like me create the adventure with a focus on the creative drive and away from too much coding complexity. Cradle on Unity has done the same thing for Twine but my worry with Cradle is the lack of updates. I am also looking at using a 3D engine to create the IF game to combine 3D worlds with the text so a 3D version of the visual novel. Twine may be used to plan the game, as it’s perfect for that job.

Yeah, I understand. It’s all a matter of preference. I prefer coding over drag-and-drop style creation. I’m the type of guy that’s like “This GUI is nice, but how do I fire these commands from the command line?” :stuck_out_tongue:

As for the 3D engine, isn’t that even more complex than Twine, Sadako, and Tuberfield? Even if you managed to find something already done up for you, I think Unity still requires quite a bit of C# to do what you need.

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