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CORRESPONDENCE, RUNAWAY and CONFESSION – part 2

By Failbetter, January 3, 2013 · Fallen London Tagged with ,

I talked here about the first big tech update – the ability to message your players, automatically or manually, and apply quality effects en masse. Christmas disrupted the hell out of everything, but it’s now in limited testing (and in use in Fallen London) and we’ll be rolling it out to players soon.

Now. Linked storylets, the key feature of the RUNAWAY release.

We avoided this for the longest time because the storylet-based StoryNexus approach was always intended to avoid the need to do any actual programming, but also to avoid some of the pitfalls of branching, CYOA-esque interactive narrative. Pitfalls like their accidental complexity, their explosion of branches, the fragility of half-finished content, their unsuitability for episodic play.

Hence at the moment, you get a situation (an event root) some choices (the branches) and the results (the results). There’s no easy way you can have a more complex tree – there’s no way you can build a dialogue tree in SN, for instance. But creators are constantly pushing up against that limit, and hacking around it  using Must storylets… and if people keep trying to use your chainsaw to dig holes, maybe digging holes is a real, important need, and it’s time to add a shovel attachment, as it were.

So here’s the shovel attachment! As of RUNAWAY, you’ll be able to link a result to a storylet. You can use this to direct people from one storylet to another – to build complex trees – to allow access to opportunity cards straight away rather than being dependent on the luck of the draw – and lots of other things we haven’t thought of. There’s much more information here.

Avatars. As a bonus, RUNAWAY enables avatars in StoryNexus worlds! This jumped up the roadmap because Liam, our UI developer, thought of a quick and cunning way to do it. An avatar is just another quality of category – and the Level Image / QLI feature on qualities allows you to set custom images for different levels. So you can specify a quality as an Avatar-category quality, apply a different image to each level, and then just change the level with storylet effects to let your players change their avatar! There’s more in the manual.

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Zero Summer: Fifty Miles South of Lexington | Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling Jan 14, 8:32pm

[...] They felt like a less obvious fit for StoryNexus specifically. But they didn’t not work, either; and Failbetter’s recent additions to StoryNexus suggest that they’re listening and paying attention, and expanding the StoryNexus engine so that it can do a bigger range of possible things, particularly with the incorporation of linked storylets. [...]

Erik Harrison Jan 6, 7:12pm

My mouth waters! Graduate school application must come first, but hopefully come February I can start playing with this. So many ideas!