Wiki Based Interactive Fiction System

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Writing interactive fiction using any of the currently available tools requires a fair amount of programming skills which puts rather strict limits on the number of potential authors. However, as we've seen with both Wikis and Blogs, a lot of people can and will engage in the creative act of writing provided the "technical barrier" to do so is low enough. The quality of collaboratively created material can be quite amazing (e.g. Wikipedia) if many people participate.

So an idea to open up interactive fiction to a larger group of authors is to use a Wiki for creating an IF story. In addition to the standard features, the Wiki should also have a "compile" button which generates the interactive fiction story from the content of the Wiki pages (it will be very motivating for an author to immediately see the changes she made reflected in the game). Again, the emphasis on this authoring system is simplicity, so specifying game objects (locations, NPC's plus their dialogs, items) should be as "WYSIWYG" as possible.

Here are some other aspects to consider:

  • The game will basically be the same html as the Wiki pages (plus auto-generated CGI,Javascript for managing game logic). So it's straightforward to incorporate artwork (pictures, music)
  • When a game is "compiled" it should be downloaded to the local machine and run from there (to prevent that edits occuring during gameplay affect the gameplay)
  • To save on bandwidth, pictures and sounds should probably be just stored at links (i.e. a player must be online to play)
  • A sensible namespace convention needs to be defined. For example if people are writing a story called "Story", the Wiki pages for game objects will be called something like StoryLocationHouse, StoryLocationGarden, StoryNPCMailman, StoryItemLetter and so on.
  • ...