Ink is a hybrid platform for writing branching stories. It’s not really a scripting language, but it does allow you to control text combination and flow in a very programatic way. It’s not really a word processor either, but it does allow you to view your whole story and all its branching possibilities in one nice long view, like you were editing a chapter. It makes for a really powerful tool and certainly one I’m going to use as I get this game off the ground.
I’m working on a demo area that’s going to explore all the elements I want to include in the game. I feel rough on so many fronts. Here’s my current plan of attack:
Technical: Still learning C# and Unity, so it’s tutorial city there. Also little sketches of gameplay, or hacking into other code to see what makes it tick.
Mechanical: Planning out puzzles and how things will work together, without knowing how to create them just yet.
Narrative: Getting this first demo section fleshed out as a story. What’s beautiful about ink is how you can branch and branch and branch and still bring reader back to little common threads between all the branching. This will allow for some fun diversions based on class and choices. Plus, it tracks state, which means a NPC could:
a. Live and you meet them all throughout the game
b. Die early and they end up not being a part of the story at all
The real challenge being — how much choice do you give the reader? While it’s tempting to go the route of some of the old text adventures and just let them type whatever they want, it’s not really an ideal choice. There will always be lines of reasoning, or cases where the obvious solution to the player is not the obvious solution to the writer. So the player ends up trying all manner of commands or progressions that don’t work and just gets frustrated in the end. Is it better to provide finite choice? I think for the demo yes, the story can weave certain directions, down crazy paths, but still be challenging. You get a sense of trying to solve the story as a whole, not just parts of it.