Update #1: Click here to see!
Update #2: Click here to see!
Update #3: Click here to see!
Update #4: Click here to see!
Hi there! We're Divine Games, a small team of indie developers, and we're trying to create a user-friendly, easy-to-use, modern gamebook editor!
What's a gamebook?
Gamebooks are a special kind of books in which the protagonist is none else than you.
You impersonate a character and make choices for him, and each different choice may lead you to different results: will you succeed in defeating the main enemy or will you lead your character to an early death? When you discover the evil plans of a secret organization, will you fight them or join them? These are only some examples of the situations you can find yourself in while reading a gamebook.
As you can see in our video, you can also make good use of condition-based statistics and items, much like a real rpg game: you can use money as a stat, and there you have shops. You can then use experience, and there you have levels.
The possibilities are nearly limitless.
That sounds fun! How can I create one?
The bad news is, all of the features you see in the video are written in code language, which is very difficult to learn and use if you have no experience in computer programming.
So, here's what we want to do: we want to make a user-friendly gamebook editor which will do all the technical work for you - stuff like navigating through pages, generating trace maps, and most importantly exporting your book as an html page (like the one you see in the video) which you can send to your friends to play with, or publish it anywhere on the internet.
Our goal is to give you a really intuitive tool with which they can create what they have in mind without effort, using simple yet effective commands.
Why is our Gamebook Maker better than other Gamebook Makers?
We have browsed the internet far and wide, and we have found a few gamebook makers, but they are all either incomplete, very hard to use or extremely limited.
On the contrary, our tool will be very easy to use - we will also provide documentation and sample books as tutorials at the release - and will allow you to turn your creativity directly into an interactive html book, without any restriction caused by technical issues.
With your help, our program will set a milestone in the gamebook community.
Note: the program will be developed in .NET 4.0, therefore it will not work outside of the Windows environment. The HTML output, instead, will work on any HTML5-compliant browser, even on smartphones!
What will I get for helping you?
We will start making the editor as soon as we reach our goal, and we will release it shortly after.
Here's what you can get by supporting us:
$1: Newsletter: Every dollar counts! We will send you a Thank You mail and keep you informed about development and release (you can choose not to receive any mail if you so wish).
$3: Pre-Purchase: All of the above + a copy of the program (price will most likely raise after release).
$10: Special Thanks: All of the above + your name will be included in the special thanks area of the program.
$25: Collector's: All of the above + we will send you a copy of a very cool gamebook made by us.
- $50: Divine Associate: All of the above + we will add a link to your website/blog inside our software, and you will get to test the release candidates during the end stage of development.
Help us making this true!
Please consider funding us if you like gamebooks: we guarantee that our tool will be very easy to use while offering the same freedom of choice of a pen-and-paper made book. The only limitation will be your creativity.
Other ways you can help
Tell your friends about this campaign! If they are interested in gamebooks, they may be willing to support us.
Link this campaign on your website/forum.
Share this campaign on your social network(s).
Keep visiting! We will update the campaign as the development goes on.
We have received so many questions, comments and suggestions in the last few days, we'd like to thank you all for your interest :)
Moving on to more important things, in this brief update we'll answer some of your questions and tell you more about our plans for the Gamebook Creator.
1) Will our software allow exporting of pdf/rtf gamebooks?
Yes. We guarantee you will be able to export gamebooks in pdf and rtf formats, however they won't have all the features included in the HTML version, for obvious reasons. You can't possibly have a dynamic content RTF gamebook, although you can write a simple branching path book without using variables and conditions. We will explore our options for the PDF format.
2) What are the other options to export and publish your gamebook?
You will be able to export your book in a single-file HTML format, just as the one you can see in our introduction video. This format will allow the writer to use dynamic content such as conditions and variables, which can be used to create advanced gameplay mechanics such as character attributes, inventory, shops, experience levels, dynamic battles and much more.
As for the accessibility of the HTML format, you will be able to read and use HTML books on most of the modern digital platforms: all of the operative systems, tablets and most smartphones. It will also be compatible with most of the screen reader softwares.
3) Will writers be able to include pictures in their books?
Yes. Larger pictures will be resized to a thumbnail which you can click and view full size.
4) Will our tool allow to print a tracemap of the book?
Yes, we will include an option to generate a PNG image showing a color-coded map of all paths and locations in your book.
5) Will our software feature a random generator of events?
Yes. We will include a random number generator which you can use to skill-test or luck-test the reader. I will provide a couple examples:
You are trying to break through a wooden door: you will succeed if a sum of your strength attribute and a random value is greater than 15, otherwise you'll fail.
You are looking for an elusive creature that you need to kill before you can advance in your adventure: each time you visit its lair, a random number is rolled and if it is greater than 10 you will find your creature in there.
6) Will you be able to create graphical adventures with our tool?
No, we are talking gamebooks and text adventures only. Graphics you can use are limited to pictures you provide.
7) How do you write a book using our tool?
Most of the features required to write a gamebook or a text adventure will be performed through the use of three simple commands: [condition], [operation] and [jump].
The [condition] command will check if a a condition is true, i.e. if you own a certain item, if your strength is greater than a certain value, if you killed a certain enemy, if you have enough money, if you invited someone to your party and so on. If the condition is true, its associated text will be displayed, otherwise it won't.
The [operation] command will be used to declare and edit variables, i.e. if the reader collects some money you must use an operation to increase its money value.
The [jump] command will be used to create choices and branching paths.
These commands will be used in a bbcode-like fashion, which we find to be the easiest to understand and to use in a text editor. Here are some examples:
[condition=Strength>10]This text will be shown only if your strength is greater than 10[/condition]
[operation]Money = +50[/operation]
[jump=Page 3]Go to page 3[/jump]
In addition, there will be many other utility commands for text-formatting, reader input and more.
8) What makes our tool better than other tools already out there?
We aim at providing the simplest and and most complete tool ever made in the field of gamebooks and text adventures.
We have browsed through other existing softwares and I can say without a doubt that none of them offers BOTH the ease of use and all the features of our tool.
Usually gamebook editors are very limited, poorly structured and bad looking: more often than not they don't include a dynamic content system (no variables and conditions, no RNG), they force you to create tons of copypasted pages for each choice you want the reader to make, or they have a very bad internal navigation system, meaning that when you reach a considerable amount of pages, you won't have a clue where to go when looking for something.
Our tool will not suffer from such problems as it will include dynamic content and an excellent internal navigation system with a tree-view of the book structure, the aforementioned tracemap and a jump-detect system that will show all jumps FROM and TO a certain page, creating buttons you can use to navigate directly through pages. Moreover, our program will include all the features of an advanced text editor such as automatic keyword highlighting, color coding, auto-complete and text folding.
On the other hand, text adventure editors are complete and not very limiting, but they are incredibly complicated to use. The large majority of those require some sort of programming knowledge, and the few ones which don't have 30+ pages of documentation describing features you will likely never use. A writer at his first book will feel overwhelmed and confused by the sheer amount (and uselessness) of options these softwares provide, and readers will probably miss the opportunity of having a new good book or adventure to play.
Our tool will not require any kind of programming knowledge and writers will be able to understand how it works intuitively and immediately, although we will provide a detailed documentation anyways.
Hello again folks,
we worked very hard last week in order to ready something for you to see, and we managed to build an alpha version with some of the basic commands which our software will have at the release. Please note that this is a very early stage of development, therefore you will not see all of the features which will be present in the final release. In the following pictures you will see examples and demonstrations of:
An early stage of the editor UI, including the tree structure;
The three main commands: condition, operation and jump;
Some basic text-formatting;
The random number generator;
On to the pictures:
This is the “root” folder, where you set the name and starting page of your book. When those features are ready, you will also be able to set the summary page (left page), stats points and stats themselves in this folder.
This is an example of a page and its HTML output.
These are the three main commands: [cond] stands for Condition, [op] stands for Operation and [jump] stands for… well, jump.
Some advanced features you can use with the three commands.
This is how the random number generator works.
Some text formatting.
Folders can be useful to create an organized structure of your book, i.e. when you are in a large area and you want to name your pages after it, but you don't want to repeat that title every time, you can use a folder Prefix.
Folder: Book Folder
Finally, this is a page featuring all we have showed thus far. Your book pages will look something like this, perhaps with more formatting and longer text.
You will probably notice that output pages have a lot of empty lines corresponding to unverified conditions, resulting in a bad looking text. Don't worry about this. We have already planned a [trim] command to remove any unwanted space.
With this update we proudly present you our updated website: http://www.divinegames.it ! There you will find FAQs and screenshots of Divine Gamebook Creator as well as some info about our team.
Last week we managed to produce an early version of the book you see in our presentation video, this time using only our tool. In the following pictures you will see examples of:
The Summary (Left) Page;
Advanced jumps using from().
On to the pictures:
This is how you add stats to the book using the root folder.
This is the summary page.
This is an example of how a reader can input its player name.
Here you can see how you allow readers to input their stats. Notice the [statsleft] command, which manages stats points to distribute.
In this (apparently) complex page you see how the program acquires stats points through the get() function, and how you can use advanced jumps.
Here you can see an example of a real book page and initialization of many of the summary page variables.
Another example of a real page: here you chose to take the money from page 1, therefore the summary page has updated your possessions.
Hello folks, this is our fourth and last update. You may have not heard much from us recently, but we have been working on the project and we are finally approaching the polishing stage. Release candidates will be sent out soon to anyone who is entitled to see them.
Due to the shortage of funds we couldn't improve very much on graphics and language support, however the basic code structure is very solid and we've tested lots and lots of features such as tracemaps, RTF/PDF exporting and visually impaired support.
We hope you will enjoy our product!