Twine: Create Your Own Stories and Games

Product: Twine is a free tool that allows kids to create interactive, nonlinear stories and games. You can create simple stories with Twine, then extend your stories with variables, conditional logic, images, CSS, and JavaScript. Twine publishes directly to HTML, so you can post your work anywhere and use your stories any way you like.

Glows: Twine has a clean interface, lots of documentation, and a large user base. It’s highly versatile, and you don’t need to know how to code before you start creating great interactive stories.

Grows:  It’s is a pretty advanced program, so younger users will need a lot more guidance and support when working on their projects. It’s also really easy to accidentally delete your work. Projects are saved to your browser history, so remember to archive often as you’re working.

Bottom Line: Twine makes it easier to create web-based interactive fiction and games by providing a clear, user-friendly interface and extensive documentation. Probably best for ages 10 and up.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

What Is Twine?

Twine is a free, open-source, downloadable application that enables kids to create interactive stories and games, and publish their work directly to HTML. It only takes a few minutes to get started with Twine, so you can jump right in and start creating stories right away.

You don’t need to be able to write code to create stories with Twine, but if you’d like to add to your stories with images, CSS, JavaScript, variables, and conditional logic, you can do that when you’re ready. The software includes a wonderfully simple visual editor, and you can share your stories with anyone who has access to an internet browser.

Twine is a great tool for game designers, writers, students, or anyone who is interested in creating interactive fiction.

Editing a Story in Twine 2.0: This is a screenshot of what the story editing interface looks like. The project pictured has many passages and lots of branches.

How Twine Works

With Twine, you can create hypertext, which is a form of text that gives the reader some agency over the story (as opposed to a linear story you would experience when reading a book or watching a movie).

Twine provides a clean interface for creating non-linear stories using HTML code. This means that stories you create are run on your internet browser, and can be published almost anywhere on the web.

Although Twine is easy to use, there is a lot to learn with this tool, so it’s probably a good choice for a child who already has some familiarity with coding. Younger kids (under 10 years old) who haven’t written interactive stories before might want to start with a simpler program, like  Inklewriter.

This software is open-source, which means it’s completely free for anyone to use for any purpose. Chris Klimas, the original creator of Twine, runs a Patreon page, where they take donations to support developing and improving the program.

The Story List in Twine 2.0 This is what Twine 2 looks like when you open it. It lists all your projects, each with a graphic depicting the complexity of your story. More circles=more complicated story.

Finding Examples of Twine Stories, and Getting Help if You Get Stuck

There is a passionate community of Twine users, and they help make the tool better by sharing stories and adding to the tutorial section of the site. You can check out examples of interactive stories (some of which were built with Twine) at the Interactive Fiction Database or get answers to your Twine questions using their wiki and Q&A pages.

Here are a few examples of projects!
No Parents by @roscoecarrier, 2017 > IFDB
Who Wants Ice Cream by Max Aronson

How to Get Started with Twine

To get started with Twine, you first have to download and install the program on your computer. It’s completely free and the download is safe if you use the official website.

Go to http://twinery.org and download the application using the links in the upper right side of the page. You’ll need to choose the right version for your operating system (Windows, Mac, or Linux). There’s a also an online version if you want to try it out without downloading the full program.

Please note: Unlike regular word processing software like Word or Notepad, Twine 2 saves your projects in your web browser.

Deleting browser history will also delete your stories, so new users need to avoid losing their work by regularly using the Archive feature provided in Twine 2. This feature saves your projects as files on your computer, that you can import and continue working on them later.

References: What Can You Build with Twine? Getting Started

Research for this review is courtesy of our very own Connected Camps counselor – Catherine Fox.

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