Story Explorer - Simple, in-browser, gamebook writer

Hi folks,

Anyone looking for a way to write simple interactive stories, as quickly and easily as possible, should check out our recently released site:

You can create your stories through your web browser, with no code to learn or files to keep track of, and when they’re done you can publish them on the site completely for free. Forever.

We’re currently in the beta testing phase, but all stories and progress will be kept exactly as they are when we launch properly. Go and take a look and let us know your thoughts, we need the feedback at this stage so we can improve and adapt.

If you enjoy using it, please spread the word!

Cheers :wink:

EDIT: I’ve started a new thread about Story Explorer under ‘general / off-topic’ to introduce our exciting pre-launch fund raiser! Here’s the thread:

So far, I have woken up, eaten some breakfast, read the newspaper, retrieved a briefcase, and got stuck in traffic. I’m sorry, but: boooooooooring. Seriously, man, you have ‘escapism’ right on your front page, I shouldn’t be making decisions about toast. Stateless, tightly-linear CYOA is inherently pretty boring unless the writing is top-notch.

I am getting serious Left Behind Fridays flashbacks here.

But seriously, I can’t emphasize this enough: if you’re launching a new platform, it’s a really good idea to launch with a really good game, one that shows off the strengths of your system and makes people go ‘hey, cool, I’d like to do something like that.’ That means a game that’s interesting, well-written and above all substantial. Something that takes an hour or two to finish, at least. A genre pot-boiler that cuts off with To Be Continued… after ten minutes of play, and before you get to any of the good stuff, is Not A Good Idea.

Broader point: what distinguishes your platform from a half-dozen other platforms that can do stateless CYOA? To me the answer seems to be that it’s extremely simple: zero-code, graphical-interface-driven. (Twine does this, but Twine involves a download, and you have to deal with webhosting yourself, which is probably a deal-breaker for low-tech or low-investment authors.)

I don’t know that is your target audience for writer recruitment; more or less by definition, this is a community of folks who have basic proficiency with code, or would like to. And that given, people are unlikely to consider no-state-tracking an acceptable trade-off for a GUI. Similarly, it looks as though you’re angling for a stock-genre kind of approach – narratively, the same sort of zombies / manly snipers / full-platemail fantasy content that’s popular on Flash-game sites. But I assure you, the first thing that that crowd will want is the ability to pick gender and roll stats and, well, a bunch of stuff that you can’t really do without state.

So I think that you haven’t quite identified your niche yet.

I’m inclined to agree with Maga. Also (putting on my editor hat), the word you want on your home page blurb is “renowned,” not “renown.” The latter is a noun (no pun intended); the former is an adjective.

Thanks Jim, I’ve fixed this now.

Hi maga, thank you for your comments. I agree the initial story really falls short at this time. We’re definitely more web developer than writer, our aim is to produce a platform for others to use, and we have limited time to do so (and zero budget). The first story there was bashed together quickly for site testing, and as a means to display the ‘reader’ portion of the website. We’ve been focussing our efforts on producing a much more substantial, engrossing, and complete story though, which will replace the hitman story until it can be rewritten and completed.

Very good point indeed, and thank you for it. Initially we had been aiming for people who fall into one of two categories; those who had not come across interaction fiction at all, and those who had played CYOA-style games and want to dabble in writing them. Essentially, we aim to keep things simple for the beginner, and to grow a community around basic interactive fiction. I have here a list of possible features to add to Story Explorer in the near future, to improve user experience and enhance the website’s offerings, and ‘variables’ (tracking/logic) has just been shunted right to the top. :slight_smile: