Introducing Texture

I've been working with Jim Munroe (Everybody Dies, Guilded Youth) on developing a new kind of text game authoring system. It's called Texture, and it debuted yesterday at the WordPlay Festival in Toronto.

Stories authored with Texture are structured like books. Each scene or node is one page that has about one screenful of text. On each page under the text are some verb boxes. Dragging and dropping the verbs on the text changes the story, resulting in a sort of e-book that mutates and evolves based on the reader's interaction.

The interface is designed for touchscreen devices. It's possible to play with a mouse but dragging the verbs with a finger is the more natural way of interaction.

The writing tool looks almost the same as the resulting story, with added authoring controls.

Texture writer

There's very little modal difference between the reader and the writer. You write the text on the page directly and create commands by first adding some verbs and then dragging them on nouns, just like you do when you're reading the story.

A prompt that lets the author choose how the command alters the story text

The writer's user interface steals borrows heavily from Twine 2 which I think does a lot of things right and having similar elements hopefully makes the interface easy to learn. The system itself is Jim's vision, my role is mostly on the implementation side.

When's it out, you ask? Right now! You can try the alpha version at (Disclaimer: early alpha. Not tested in IE, use Chrome or Firefox if possible. In Safari you need to save the page manually after clicking the "download" button. You may also need to try dragging the verbs twice before it responds to dropping the verb on words.)

The one major feature that's still missing is setting and reacting to flags, which would let you change the output based on earlier interaction. At the moment the system is basically stateless although not linear – you can branch the story by having different actions open different pages.

One thought on “Introducing Texture

  1. N00b here, knocked flat after stumbling upon certain IF/ games and now fired up with a strange compulsion. Finding out about what can be done with Twine and other hypertext html authoring tools causes me to have a powerful urge to see how they would deploy on a $30 "android tv box system" (ebay your friend) stuck in say, public spaces and/ or art galleries. Because they need to be there. And because one could run cables, load a browser into kiosk mode on a desktop and hide the box and all the cables to the nice big black screen on the wall, but it would be a real bear to set up, and would cost more than $30-40. A web search of gallery presentation of IF / games seems to indicate that presentation is clunky and not very sleek. This can be fixed. I am surprised it hasn't already. Perhaps I am wrong and am trying to re-invent the wheel and everyone who does Twine seriously already knows this trick? If not..
    Thanks for your blog writings

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