So you’re looking at Twine for choice-based storytelling and/or game design? When I was learning Twine there were three major things I wish I’d known at the beginning (probably more but lets start with 3 for now):
1) The Technology – creating with Twine can be as simple as just using [[double brackets]] around words to connect passages. At the same time, it can be as complex as hand coding a website using HTML or CSS. You can either keep it simple or explore more complicated coding, the choice is yours. There are some good tutorials for both simple and advanced usage on youtube. For example, this series (from VegetarianZombie) and this series (from Dan Cox) are great places to start.
2) The Game/Story Design – crafting stories with choice can also be simple or complex depending on what experience you’re designing. If possible, I’d recommend a smaller project to start. That way you learn some of the basics to make your future projects even better. When I teach people to make games with twine, I often have them use index cards (or a whiteboard) to plan out the different passages of their story. That way they have a general outline of their narrative before they start writing all of the text.
3) Hosting your game – fortunately, there are free hosting services like itch.io or Game Jolt that require an account, but allow you to host HTML games made from Twine. Preciously, I would have recommended
http://philome.la, but it was shut down on 9-30-2019.
Alternatively, if you have a web host like Bluehost or Reclaim Hosting (I use OU Create through my university) you can host your Twine games on your own rented equipment. This is ideal if you have your own media incorporated into your Twine game. For example, one of my Twine projects is stored under the following file folders on my web server: “/experienceplay.education/tutorial/index.html” meaning it has a URL of https://experienceplay.education/tutorial/. You may notice that the Twine file is named index.html, that is required on my web server to auto-launch the game if someone visits the specific URL. Also, that index.html file is inside a folder titled “tutorial” which is actually the name of the Twine game. In other words, if you’re self hosting a Twine game on your own web server, I recommend creating a folder that is the name of your Twine project and then place the Twine file (as index.html) in that folder. If you have any media in your Twine project, that can also reside in that same folder. Here’s a few screenshots of that web server folder:
If you want to learn more about using Twine, here’s the curriculum for a Twine course I teach for faculty, staff, and grad students at my university. Additionally, here’s a collection of student and faculty made Twine games to spark some ideas.
Have fun! 🙂
This post has been updated to recommend alternative hosting solutions to philome.la.