Tools to branch your game?

Is there any tool to branch my story first before I start writing it? Or what tools do other authors use to have a draft of their story first?

I’m not able to find a proper tool and don’t know where to find one. Can anyone help with this?

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The GameBook Authoring Tool: I use this to branch out my stories before writing them. You can write full-fledged CS game in them too, although I’m not sure about how good it would be.

Twine : Possibly the most well-known open-source tool out there. You can make full games in them (like this one), or you could just use them to simply branch your story out.

Chronicler: A project undertaken by @BenSeawalker, it’s pretty great for those who finds CS a bit difficult, and it can double as a branching tool as well.

Or you could go the old-fashioned way; MS Word and Paint flowcharts.

I’m pretty sure I missed a couple of these tools, so do your research before you jump right into them.

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I use Simplemind to make the general outline of the branches, it is a lot easier for me to see how the game progress, find branches, *labels, *set variables, track paths, all in a single view.
I guess any mind map would do the job but at the time I searched this one was the most convincing one (and also you can use a black background so it doesn’t burn your retinas if you have to look at it for long periods of time)

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I guess the Chronicler is not available right now, and I heard about Twine and also tried it once. It’s kinda tricky, but I guess the link which you provided as an example might help.

The tool which you use can be downloadable, right?

I like the features of that software! It’s funny that I was not able to find one proper software for branching, and now I have so many options to choose from :sweat_smile:

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Yep, the download link should still work.

Yeah, it requires a bit JavaScript knowledge, but still decent if you only stick to the GUI part.

Then I will give it a try. Which one is the easiest according to you?

Oh yeah, there are a lot of them, and the last time I was searching for a tool like that was a lot of years ago, so I imagine that there are a lot more now, you could try to search “mind map” on google, I’m sure you’ll find a lot of them to start trying and see which one suits better for your job.

absolutely! Thanks for your help a lot

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The first one, probably because of the fact that I don’t need to put some special symbols in there to branch out things.

For example;

No need to code something in. Also, I get the image of my layout, if I want;
Example
But everyone has their preferences. So it’s up to you really.

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It does seem easy, and I want a software where I don’t need to use any coding. This might work out for me, thanks for your help.

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I must be stupid but I just don’t understand the need for tools for branching. What do people gain from them? I have zero visual memory you put me a choice schematic diagram and I don’t understand anything from it.

I just branching out.

Well, I’m speaking from my POV, but I’m a pure outliner and outlining stuff (branching in IFs) helps me to write as I want it. It also helps to prevent stories from ballooning out of scope, something I often suffer from.

TLDR; Outlining helps to keep myself grounded to earth and keeps me focused on the important stuff.

It’s just a different method to write. We all have different methods. If something works, why change it?

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Well, my *labels are numbers, so if I need to make a specific change on one of them I can see better where is it and what could affect, from where the player came and to where it goes and compare it to the other branches just looking at one image and not a giant wall of text.

Maybe my way is not the best but I just learned that way. I don’t think visual memory could have a significant implication when using a mind map, or to the contrary, it could grant you a better view of how the game goes, but to each their own, not everyone work the same way, not everyone uses the code in the same way, some could benefit a lot from it, some not so much.

I tend to have long lapses on which I can’t work on my project, so when I return I can look a mind map and see the state on which I left on a really simplified view to start refreshing my memory. It also let me see where I could add more branches or where I might have too much, stay somewhat centered and not branch out uncontrollably.

Have you tried using one already?

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I tried and I found it stupid like make a square wheel, being 100 honest. I have the game in my head, I know where I want branch when and why and when branches get together or not. I don’t need any kind of graphic. In fact, I don’t even understand those charts because for me doesn’t have any meaning. It is like Egyptian symbols for me. I found, however, fascinating that others use those weird schematics

Yes, I also have the game in my mind, but being honest, if right now I loose all the files, all the chapters, all the mind maps and all my notes I wouldn’t be able to re do it 100% equal again, I could get really close, but for sure not perfect. Either way, I use it more to lay down what I write on a visual way and not for outlining the project, so if I need to know what happens at certain point I can start to zoom in and find what I need with ease, in some way it is just the back bone of the story without the text, but again, not all of us work in the same way…

example of 1 chapter

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It is really pretty.

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I can’t really help you out here as far as tools go. I can, however, say two things:

1: If you’re in doubt about branching narratives, just physically write them on a sheet of paper. It’s how I’ve developed my story, and it’s worked really well for me.

2: Your narrative may not actually need to branch nearly as much as you think it does. It’s possible to use choicescript in a way where the story can run along the same groove, but produce a completely different experience depending on clever use of set, goto, variables, and “fake” choices.

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Beyond the initial design document outlining the intent for each chapter, I just use pen and paper for rough outlining when I’m struggling to get my head around the shape of a scene or chapter. I also use a spreadsheet for game notes but mostly to keep track about facts about characters.

In my view it’s best not to write too much outside of your main project file if you can help it. Choicescript’s strengths aren’t just in branching, but also state tracking, and in-line text substitution which you probably don’t want to be doing outside your text editor of choice.

The value of planning on pen and paper is it’s fast and disposable: the structural diagrams aren’t important, only the final game is, so it’s best to get the outline in place for each part as quickly as possible.

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I agree with you, I decided to do rough outlining rather than going deep in it. Because I wanna give more time to my study and not to its outlining, a rough outlining is most helpful in my choice.

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