I’ve been prototyping an interactive fiction engine that would allow users to create “choose your own adventure” styles of content in WordPress. Here’s a demo, which you can find live at the following link if you’d like to play along:
In addition, here’s a walkthrough of how this works inside of the Gutenberg editor:
This is just in early stages, but I’m excited by the possibilities of using Gutenberg to create interactive content. It’s very simple but potentially powerful; having choice blocks that are fully compatible with the rest of Gutenberg means you could create all kinds of interactive multimedia content, such as:
- “Choose your own adventure” YouTube stories
- Interactive comics
- Audio stories with branching paths
- Marketing and educational content
- Multimedia posts incorporating elements from all the above
This is currently in MVP state; ideas for further development include:
- Dropdown menu and/or drag-and-drop functionality to allow for easy configuration of choices
- Support for multiple parent conditions
- Support for custom CSS transitions
- Node or graph view for better authoring experience
- Support for hyperlink choices within paragraph text
More broadly, one could create blocks to support additional styles of interactive fiction, as well as enhance overall capabilities. Some ideas:
- Chat fiction block
- Image mapping (making each part of the image map to a different choice)
- Custom clickables (making elements configurable to execute arbitrary story logic)
- Dynamic audio
- Support for game logic (if/else, custom actions, state)
- Community integration (see how many other people have made different choices)
Each of these tools has its strengths and weaknesses, many requiring some amount of technical knowledge — and Gutenberg, with its WYSIWYG, wide deployment, web compatibility, community support, and ease of use, could fill a unique role among them.
In fact, it could become one of the more powerful means of creating IF, and giving everyday users the ability to make this kind of content easily accessible on any WordPress website could be, if nothing else, another element in our toolbox.
As mentioned, this is just an early experiment and I would love to hear any ideas, feedback, or suggestions.
I plan on presenting this plugin at Wordhack on Thursday, October 20th. This is an evening of performances and talks around the intersection of language and technology, where technologists often present innovative ideas related to digital publishing. The event is in NYC and will also be livestreamed if anyone is interested in tuning in!
Other IF links: