Fiction is a Three-Edged Sword

Fiction, interactive fiction and narrative

inkle’s Frankenstein is released!

2 Comments

Frankenstein's icon

After four months development, inkle‘s first project, Frankenstein, written by Dave Morris and published by UK publisher Profile Books, is now available to buy in the App Store.

This isn’t my own writing, but it’s my – and inkle co-founder Joseph Humfrey’s – design for how the UI works, how it guides the reader’s eye and helps keep the interactivity unobtrusive. Big shout-out to Undum here; no-one designs from scratch, they just 1-up the last best thing.

We also designed the back-end authoring format: I hadn’t really realised before quite how much the writing tool affects the kind of story you tell – the ink format is great for providing quick branching and rejoining of stories and flexing the text around based on the minutiae of the choices you’ve made so far (the game remembers everything you ever did).

Dave – author of a huge number of gamebooks, including a couple of Fighting Fantasys and the Knightmare books – took our format and ran with it, producing an entire novel’s worth of content, that alters, rearranges and bends as you influence the story’s two central protagonists. This isn’t so much about number of endings, although that number is greater than 1; this is about numbers of middles.

(Last night, for fun, I tried running the source through the Kindliser tool, which produces static gamebooks; the result was a file 4Gb big, containing ~3.5 million paragraphs, and it hadn’t finished.)

It’s possible in the ink format, but a bit more work, to make object/state-based puzzles: Frankenstein has none, but our next release, due in a month or so, has a few, and our late 2012 game has a lot.

But more on those later. For today, I’m going to sit back, and watch some analytics.

If you do play Frankenstein, please let us know what you think, either here, or on inkle‘s own blog page.

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Author: joningold

Jon Ingold is a writer and games designer from Cambridge, UK. He is co-founder of inkle, a company specialising in interactive narrative for mobile devices. He has written prose, plays, short films as well as interactive fiction, both in hypertext and parser-based systems. His short stories have appeared in Interzone magazine and his IF works have won competitions and awards.

2 thoughts on “inkle’s Frankenstein is released!

  1. Is there any chance of this and future pieces being released for different platforms? (I’m particularly thinking about the PC, myself.)

    • We hope so! A HTML-5 web-app version would be possible, we’d just have to work out how to distribute it and charge, etc. Hopefully we’ll be able to settle into a regular pattern of releasing games, and then start work on supporting new platforms.

      But this all relies on Apple users liking it now, so poke your iPhone-using friends!

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