So I’m in Paris… on vacation. Which means I’m reading a lot of books (and rereading PDF versions of my collection of ArM5 products, including the recently released in PDF format, Against the Dark) , mainly via my Kindle app on my iPad Mini (saves on luggage weight definitely). In addition, I’ve been stumbling my way through two old favourites, the first two books of Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, except this time around they’ve been reinvented as by Inkle apps with graphics, an interactive map and some basic animation. The whole presentation gives the same effect as the original books but in a smoother format.
The basic engine behind the app is Inklewriter, an online editor that allows writing, tracking and compilation of multi-path stories (without graphics and animation effects admittedly). A bookmarking system and in-built logic allows for conditional events to restrict or open up various options in the main story line depending on choices made earlier eg. the paths available become dependent on choosing a certain route earlier, obtaining a particular item or otherwise interacting with the non-linear story in a definite way. Importantly, the site includes a tutorial using the same format to clearly demonstrate how the editor works and a sample story “The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual”, a Sherlock Holmes piece that highlights the reading process. Additional optional functionality includes capacity to publish to e-Book and Kindle format but requires registration and/or a small conversion fee.
I think the format has a lot of potential, although perhaps its application to Ars Magica may seem limited at first when faced with the complexity of the ArM5 magic system and the near limitless number of options available to a beginning Hermetic magus. However, a story based around grogs, Companions (including Redcaps) and perhaps even apprentices seems very possible.
Perhaps next years’s NaGaDeMon or NaNoWriMo challenge?