Choose Your Own Wookie

Gamebook News, one of the gamebook blogs I follow, rounded up a budding Star Wars CYOA series beginning with A Han & Chewie Adventure. The series is named “Choose Your Destiny”; if that sounds like too good a series title to be true, that’s because it was, indeed, already taken by an old series of teen angst CYOA stories. Besides no longer being about teen life, the purloined series title is made doubly inappropriate by not being about the eponymous you at all; your choices decide Han Solo’s destiny in this third-person tome, not your own.

It caught my attention, however, because the author and illustrator were interviewed at about the process of writing a gamebook—as it turned out—with no experience. The tie-in and illustration angles are, perhaps, more informative.

Scapple to Twine to Scapple

Scapple is mind mapping software from Literature and Latte, the makers of Scrivener. I’ve used similar software in the past and not found it particularly useful, but it seemed very popular on the Twine Discord server, where I got into a discussion about using it to write Twine stories. I got a look at the underlying XML format which, while not perfectly structured, seemed structured enough for conversion to or from Twine.

So I made DotScap, a Twine story format that converts a Twine story into a Scapple mind map, not unlike DotGraph, my previous foray into graphing Twine stories.

Going the other way, from Scapple to Twine, couldn’t be done with a Twine story format, so scap2tw does it with some XSL (not unlike my BoardGameGeek sorters). I ended up supporting several Twine output formats: Twee, Twee2, Snowman for Twine 2, Sugarcane for Twine 1, and a no-story-format “story” file for Twine 2. (If you need Harlowe, Jonah, or some other format, you just switch formats in the usual way once you’ve imported the story into Twine.)

Most of those formats (except Twee) support position, so the layout of the Twine story exactly matches that of the Scapple file. The output isn’t much of a “story”, just a bunch of linked passages with their links, but I thought it would be useful for pre-planning stories and pre-populating passage links. I’m always happy to save a few keystrokes.

Another project I thought of (but don’t need) would be to use Scapple to re-layout an existing Twine story. Some integration with Scrivener would also be nice, but I’m not sure exactly what I’d want along those lines.