Twine 2: project-breaking file management bugs?

Twine Version: 2.3.5, but issue carried over from 2.3.2
Story Format: Harlowe 3.1.0

My 15-year-old sister has been working on a Star Trek twine story for a while now, and it’s got 50+ passages. But we’ve been running into multiple confusing, interface-breaking bugs that I can’t find mentioned online, to the point that she’s afraid to even open Twine lest it vanish or be overwritten.

The most recent issue: since the new family computer runs Linux, she installed Linux Twine 2.3.5, copied all her story files, and tried to use the “import from file” tool to add in her two story files from Windows Twine 2.3.2: “Stardate 1234” and “Replacement Story”. First, it told her that these files were already in the library and would have to be overwritten. (The library folder did not have them.) Then, both imported as “Replacement Story”, and after clicking on one of them and then exiting back to the main Twine interface, all of the stories had vanished. Closing and reopening Twine made them show up again. She tried to rename one of them to “Copy of Replacement Story”… and ended up with THREE stories. She deleted them and tried again, and both were named “Replacement Story” again, and after another attempt the “import from file” dialog stopped working entirely.

I don’t think this is an issue with the Linux version or 2.3.5, though. Similar (though less severe) problems with stories in the library folder not showing up or not reflecting name changes in the main Twine editor have been bothering her while using the earlier version as well. We were hoping that 2.3.5 would be more stable and would fix these problems, but here we are.

Surely there’s a way around these issues, or a reason that nobody else seems to be encountering them? The fragility renders Twine almost unusable, which is tragic, because it’s such a good tool.

Unfortunately, this really is a known project-breaking bug, which has gone unfixed for way too long at this point, IMHO. (See the “Random duplicates that contains various versions” bug report.)

The problem appears to stem from the fact that the newer versions of Twine aren’t renaming files properly. All they’re doing is changing the filename, without also changing the information within the file to match. This means that if you make a copy of a file or rename a file within Twine, you may start seeing this problem.

Fortunately, there’s a solution:

  1. Export as HTML the file you want to keep.
  2. Open that HTML file in a decent text editor (like Notepad++).
  3. Verify that this file is indeed the correct version (and not a bad duplicate version).
  4. Once you’ve verified that, delete all copies of that story from Twine and close Twine.
  5. Delete any copies of that file from the “Twine\Stories” folder.
  6. Make a backup copy of the current HTML file, just in case you make a mistake when fixing this.
  7. Search the HTML file in the text editor for <title> (you’ll find something like <title>Title Here</title>) and put the correct title in there (generally the title and the filename should be similar).
  8. Search the HTML file in the text editor for <tw-storydata (you’ll find something like <tw-storydata name="Title Here") and put the correct title in there as the name (again, the title and the filename should be similar).
  9. Save the now-fixed HTML file in the text editor.
  10. Open Twine. If the story is already there, delete it, close Twine, delete it from the “Twine\Stories” folder again (if it’s back), and repeat this step.
  11. Import the fixed HTML file.

Hopefully that should do the trick.

Unfortunately, until this bug is fixed I’d recommend avoiding renaming or copying stories and you should be fine.

Hopefully this bug and the position bug will both be fixed in the next update (whenever that is), since they’re both major problems with the current version of the Twine 2 editor.

Let us know how it goes. :slight_smile:

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Going to try that, thank you!
What version of Twine would you recommend that she use, given that she’s using Linux and wants the most stable version possible?

Twine v2.3.0 was a major update to the Electron engine, which also added a bunch of problems. Most of the major ones have been ironed out (except the two mentioned above), but it’s still not as good as I’d like.

So, until they fix those problems, the most stable version is still Twine v2.2.1.

The downside is that Harlowe v3 doesn’t come with that version of Twine, so you’ll need to download the Harlowe v3 files from here and in Twine (under Formats) import that the story format from that file. Hopefully that works in Twine v2.2.1.

Personally, I’d recommend using the SugarCube story format instead of Harlowe (it’s more flexible, has more built-in tools, and I know it works in any version of Twine), but hopefully that all works.

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Depending on how dependent your sister is on the visual story map provided by Twine, and how comfortable she is with command-line tools, she might want to consider tweego. It’s strictly text-based and command-line oriented, and available for Linux, MacOS and Windows. It uses the same story formats and can import from and export to Twine compatible html. By itself tweego does not use an Integrated Development Environment, so it’s doesn’t have the kinds of bugs your sister is seeing. However, I understand that people have successfully integrated it into several different IDEs.

Personally I use just tweego, emacs, and a browser, otherwise forgoing graphical development support.

More information about tweego is available at https://www.motoslave.net/tweego/

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