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Twine Version: 2.3.5
Story Format: Harlowe but thinking of changing to Sugarcube
Hi, I’ve written an interactive story that I’m looking to make in Twine. It’s quite long, currently several hundred MS Word documents. I’ve had a go at making some of it in Twine, using Harlowe (1 long and 2 shorter demos, see - https://kpaulo.itch.io/ ). But now I’m not quite sure how to proceed and so have decided to stop and put a couple of questions to put to the community:
1) So, Sugarcube… right?
My story is quite long and ultimately, hopefully, will include things like timed choices, an in-game lives system, music and artwork… I’ve started with Harlowe, but would I be wise to change to Sugarcube? That seems to be the prevailing wisdom, from what I’ve read.
2) How to separate a long story into separate parts
This may be a stupid question, but it doesn’t seem at all practical to write my project as a single twine “story” - it would be much too unwieldy. I would much rather write 7 or 8 chapters as separate Twine “stories” that link to each other and all the variables are remembered. Is this possible, and does one Twine format facilitate this better than others?
I think that’s all the queries I have for now, but any general tips for a Twine novice undertaking a big project would be much appreciated.
If you’re looking to do advanced things, I’d highly recommend switching to Sugarcube. There are relatively few things that Harlowe can do that Sugarcube can’t, but there are many things that Sugarcube can that Harlowe can’t.
As for the separate files thing, if you don’t mind ditching the user interface of Twine, you can use tweego, the command line compiler for twine (created by the same person that created sugarcube). It lets you feed as many source files into it that you want, which is great for organizing your story.
Honestly? I wouldn’t. I know of at least one Twine game that’s currently verging on 1 million words, and it isn’t even done yet. (They do monthly updates.)
However, the Twine editor will likely struggle once your game reaches that size, so you might want to use the Tweego command line compiler to compile various text files written using Twee notation into a Twine HTML file.
I’d recommend putting out periodic updates as you compile it all into one game, so that people can play it, help you spot problems early on, make suggestions, and even support its development financially, if they like where it’s going. Quite a few Twine games follow this development model.
If you want the save files from one “chapter” to work in the next, then you’re already doing all of the work necessary to make it all one single game, so why fragment it unnecessarily? You can still break it up into chapters conceptually, if that helps, but there really isn’t much to be gained by making them separate files.
You might want to check out my “Game Making for Dummies” post on my Patreon page, it has a bunch of hopefully useful suggestions. You can also find links to my free Twine/SugarCube sample code there as well.
Thanks for the answers and pointers, guys and sorry about the slow reply. I’ve made the switch to Sugarcube (not been too painful) and am doing it all as a single Twine story in a chapters-as-rows structure (see pic)
I haven’t started using Tweego yet, I’m hoping that if need be I can convert into that format later, even if it takes a bit of time. At the moment I’m enjoying working in Twine and being able to test easily and see the story structure.
I like the idea of enlisting the community to help with feedback in the development of the game - I’ll definitely look into that.