The internet is sometimes an exhaustingly terrible place, but one of its redeeming qualities (for our purposes, at least) is that it’s made making video games easier than ever. Another tool of this democratization might be inklewriter, a suite of interactive fiction tools developed by Inkle Studios. Inkle, you’ll recall, are the dudes responsible for some of the best gamebooks on the App Store, like Socery! 2 ($4.99), 80 Days ($4.99), and most recently, Down Among the Dead Men ($2.99).
As noted by PocketGamer, Inklewriter is a free, browser-based program that allows authors to write, visualize, organize, and link complex, branching stories. It can also help track key decisions and apply some conditional logic throughout your story. In the example in the trailer below, the reader chooses whether the story takes place in Europe or the United States, and inklewriter substitutes euros and dollars accordingly.
When you’re finished, you can export your game to any number of social media sites, or bundle it all up as an ebook and send it straight to Kindle.
While Inkle doesn’t explicitly say that they use inklewriter to pen their games, they point out that Stoic Studio used the program to write at least parts of The Banner Saga, the Nordic-themed tactical role-playing game which, incidentally, is headed to iPad, uh … eventually. (It was supposed to be out this summer. Oops.)
I’m not a fiction writer or game designer myself, so I can’t say with any expertise how inklewriter stacks up to, say, Twine or Failbetter’s StoryNexus platforms when it comes to designing text-based games, but the learning curve seems particularly generous, especially compared to Twine. Also, inklewriter doesn’t appear to have a text parser, so you can’t exactly re-create Zork.
Still, if you want to give Choose Your Own Adventure-style stories a go with some seemingly robust tools, you may as well give inklewriter a try. There’s never been a better time to make your own game: Undefeated recently became the first RPG Maker-produced game to be approved by Apple. The granddaddy of do-it-yourself game development tools will make its App Store debut in October.