How StoryNexus will work

[color=#009900]This is an open thread for questions about how StoryNexus will work, and why. We don’t promise to answer everything, but ask away…[/color]
edited by Alexis Kennedy on 7/24/2012

So is it like a game engine for choose your own adventure type stories?

[color=#009900]It’s a platform for making games on the storylet model - more like Fallen London than CYOA.

Anyone looking for a CYOA resource would probably be better off with (eg) Varytale, inklewriter or Choice of Games: although you can make CYOA-esque games with the storylet model too, as the Iron Republic demonstrated.[/color]
edited by Alexis Kennedy on 5/30/2012

Being a hobbyist game developer, I am rather interested in your business model. As in - will there be a fee for using the platform? Is the platform itself going to be free (or financed by advertising), but with certain ‘premium features’ (such as subscription/Fate-locked storylets - or ability to have more than, say, 100 users) only available to paying customers? Are you going to ask for a little bite of the Fate transactions that happen within the games created using / hosted on StoryNexus? Or is it going to be something entirely different?

What features does StoryNexus include for analytics, ratings and players to communicate with the creators?

How is version control and content management handled within SN?

[color=#009900]Cost of building: The platform will be free to use. (We might charge an admin fee for things that require manual intervention on our part, but to discourage frivolous use, not because we expect to make money on it.)[/color]
[color=#009900]Revenue: we’ll take a cut of Fate spend in creator games. We are still considering limiting Fate charging to trusted/verified creators, although we’ll add a tip jar throughout.[/color]

[color=#009900]Content management: the same tools we’ve been using for FL, with a facelift and an upgrade.[/color]
Version control: very limited, by design. We experimented with this in-house and people just wanted to make the changes over again, or do their own VC offline. (This is exactly the kind of thing Varytale handles in a more sophisticated way, and folk should be looking at that for ‘power user’ options if they want better VC.)[/color]
[color=#009900]Analytics: storylets played and choices made by number of players is the key one, and it’ll be in there. We’ll talk about other stuff later.[/color]

When it comes to programming I’m about as useful as a vegetarian in an abattoir. How user friendly will StoryNexus be to we computer un-friendly?

When it was first mentioned, I believe StoryNexus mentioned being a new way to make and PLAY games. What sorts of changes are in store for regular players? Any desired features getting implemented through this, like being able to add friends without using social networks?

Is story nexus going to interconnect and make all the games kinda like one big meta narrative? Also how soon can we mess around with thus thing?

Oh god, if I could make a game check one of your Fallen London qualities…

[color=#009900]Programming: the SN back-end is drop-downs and text boxes, no code. This sharply limits what you can do, but also makes the learning curve much, much smaller. It is possible to build complex structures with a quality-based system, as you’ve seen in Fallen London, so you will still be able to do ambitious things and also to build things that break… we’re building a variety of ways to help with that.[/color]

[color=#009900]This is a major design decision: we want to make it easy to build certain kinds of game in certain ways, not possible to build any kind of game.[/color]
New features: Friend interaction without social network links is one thing under discussion: no promises. One confirmed (in fact implemented) feature is multiple Opportunity decks - so you have a choice of which pool(s) to draw from.[/color]

[color=#009900]Interconnected games: there’s a blog post coming on this at some point, and it’s quite complicated. Very briefly, connections between games will be possible. We’ll keep careful control over what meta-effects a world can have, but it will be easy for community creators to decide what meta-effects a world will respond to. It will be possible in principle to respond to events in Fallen London, but it might not always be possible in practice.[/color]

[color=#009900]As an aside, we’re still discussing to what extent we’ll allow community creators to build worlds that make some use our IP (either Fallen London or other projects). We know a lot of people will want to, but there are a bunch of both commercial and creative reasons why we’re cautious, as I’m sure you can imagine.[/color]

[color=#009900]Release date: there will be a quite limited closed beta in mid June, and we will be opening it further carefully from then on. Whenever you get in, you’re likely to see games on it before you have access to the back-end tools.[/color]
edited by Alexis Kennedy on 5/31/2012

Oh, I can definitely understand limiting the extent to which other creators can use your IP, even if the other writers are as good or better than the FBG staff, it wouldn’t be the same, and a lot of detractors would cheapen the experience. I was mostly envisioning a bonus of sorts for someone who’s excelled in another game. For instance, having enough Master Thief quality in Fallen London would have your character keenly understand the mind of a thief in another story. Or perhaps when a question in one story asks your orientation, your choice of constant companion and chosen gender can allow a response of “gay” “straight” “bi” or in the case of a rubbery companion “Um… it’s complicated.”

I’m also very excited to hear about multiple opportunity decks. Opportunity cards are one of my favorite parts of the game, or at least one I think about the most. Whether it’s getting a rather lucrative card on a good day, or cursing my luck on yet another day flipping for a desired card.

Is it possible to use this tool to submit a proof of concept to the development team for something the author would like to see in Fallen London or one of your other games? Or are you still bound by the standard “we don’t read content submissions” clause?

[color=#009900]'a bonus of sorts for someone who’s excelled in another game’: This is definitely the kind of thing that’s possible in principle.[/color]

[color=#009900]Submissions: We won’t be looking for submissions for stuff to include in FL. The copyright issue aside, we have more ideas for content than we know what to do with already, and it’s easier to write it ourselves than to modify something that’s even mostly right :-)[/color]
[color=#009900]We might at some point create worlds that are intended from the start to be open to community submissions - this is something we’ve talked about - but FL will never be among them, I’m afraid, and this is all still speculative.[/color]

So if one were to make an extraordinary game through this system, could one potentially quite there crappy day job and spend the rest of there life making amazing stories?

[color=#009900]Well, we use this tech to make a living, and we didn’t have the advantage of someone building it for us. :-)[/color]
[color=#009900]It hasn’t made us rich, and the last couple of years have been very hard work. I wouldn’t advise anyone to expect to quit their day job. But if your game finds an audience, then with dedication and luck it might get you an income.[/color]

Can I call dibs on making the first Zombie game?

[color=#009900]Zombies: [/color] [color=rgb(0, 153, 0)]Go for it, once the tools are live. But [/color][color=#009900]nobody gets dibs on anything, and zombies are a popular subject. [/color] [color=rgb(0, 153, 0)]:-)[/color] [color=rgb(0, 153, 0)]You might want to work with a team of like-minded friends.[/color]
[color=rgb(0, 153, 0)]
[color=rgb(0, 153, 0)]Illustrations: we will provide a library of appropriate images that you can use. These images will often be symbolic rather than specific, so you can reuse them on different stories without it being too jarring. We expect that people will want to upload their own images, but obviously that can get tricky… I can say that we will probably allow people to do this and we will probably apply some limits and controls.[/color]

A stupid question: Why isn’t this whole thing called Jonathan instead? :)

Two proper questions: You said that in principle stories on StoryNexus can react to Fallen London. Does that mean FL is already running on it?

I probably have missed it, but I assume there won’t be hosting provided compared to Varytale. But if you do, how are you going to handle games that somehow got a very large amount of players?

Another stupid question: Any famous authors you’d like to see using StoryNexus?