Interface for a text-based game

Story taken from The Forbidden City by Ian Page and Joe Dever

I’m a sucker for interactive stories. Similar to CYOA books, they're based around a single user interaction: choose one of the choices to advance the plot. As such, everything surrounding this interaction should be quick and snappy: changing settings, referencing backstories, checking how your character is doing - like flipping pages in a book, all options should be readily available.

Yet, most text-based games suffer from long animations, menus in menus and too many buttons to check one thing. In this simple design, I kept the story front and center, while menus slide in from the sides whenever necessary. 

A hoverstate of one of the choice buttons

Modern like a video game

Most tools used to create choice-based games like ChoiceScript and Twine limit your gameplay options, and for a reason: choice-based games are interactive stories, nothing more. But as I worked to reimagine the interface, I began thinking about how buttons don’t necessarily have to be just that - buttons. What if I stray from the CYOA framework and make a new game altogether?

Combat in a text-based game

I experimented with converting text-based combat into a solitaire-like gameplay element, where you chain together keywords to create your own choice. String together ‘Aim’ and ‘Fire’ to create a specific attack. 

While I ended up coding my own tokenizer, parser and lexer for ChoiceScript in order to facilitate this new gameplay, I never fully realized it. Still, I think about it from time to time, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up working with text-based games in some other way in the future.

Visual editor for CYOA games

I also tried to come up with an IDE (visual editor) for ChoiceScript. Story and script courtesy of Choice of Games LLC.

This is a personal project and is not affiliated with any of the names mentioned in the post.

This is a concept and has not (yet) been fully realized. I'm posting it because I think the idea is interesting enough to share.