Interactive Fiction has a variety of meanings. This step-by-step article is focused on interactive fiction that features pages with branches. (This guide doesn’t cover interactive fiction with language parsers that understand a lexicon and can parse commands.)
To learn more about interactive fiction, please read our web journal article on interactive story telling:
LodeStar 7.3 Build 10 or later.
This step-by-step guide borrows a couple of pages from an Interactive Fiction based on the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War Two.
To see the entire project created with a different authoring tool, click on the following:
The Japanese-American Internment interactive fiction is presented in the form of a game and was created by an author with the username of TFickle. The game presents a narrative and then offers choices to the readers. I’ll build an example project based on a few pages from “Inside the Japanese American Internment”. I chose this example because of its educational value. You can build whatever project you wish.
- Select the ActivityMaker Mobile template
- Name your project “Interactive Fiction” or a name of your choice.
- Once the project has loaded, type in a description of the first scene.
- Type in “Introduction” in the page ID field.
Set Project Settings
- With the “Interactive Fiction” project open, select Tools > Project Settings.
- Set the following:
- Display ADA** icon > False
- Display Print Icon > False
- Display Page Numbers > False
- Display Navigation Buttons > False
- Display Transcript Icon > False
- Display Notes Icon > True
- Display Page Level Accessibility Icon > false
** This project contains text and links that will be cleanly readable and navigable with a screen reader.
- I’ll create four pages based on the Japanese American Internment game. You can create as many pages as you wish that represent the landing pages for the reader’s choices (i.e. the branches). Think of this as a “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure”. In the traditional text, the choices direct the reader to turn to a page in the book. Similarly, this interactive adventure will present hyperlinks to the reader – and then jump to those pages. It is like creating a whole web site in a reading project.
- Name your pages. Type in a name in the Page ID: Use only regular alpha numeric characters. Do not use apostrophes, asterisks or special characters. The links will break.
I named my pages ‘Fred’, ‘Surgery’, and ‘No doctor’. Of course, if I were trying to recreate the entire Japanese-American Internment game, I would add many pages. These few pages will suffice to illustrate the branching.
Link to Pages
- In my example, the introduction page ends with ‘Play as Fred’. It appears that TFickle has not yet completed this Interactive Fiction and will add other characters at a later time. I highlighted ‘Play as Fred” and chose the ‘Insert Link’ tool in the HTML Editor. Please do the same for your project.
- In the ‘Insert Link’ dialog, select the Pages(UID) pulldown menu. I selected Fred. You select the page that you wish readers to jump to upon clicking the link. Do not select ‘Display as Overlay’ unless you wish to pop up information rather than jumping to a page.
- To see a visual graph of all of your branches, select the ‘Branches’ titled pane, found on the left side of the authoring tool.
- Links from one page to another start on the left side of the icon and terminate in a large black dot. Links from questions and page branch options start from the space just to the right of the icon and terminate in a large black dot.
- Click on an icon to navigate to the corresponding page.
- Select an icon and then the > ‘Change Page Type of Selected Page’ button to change the page layout if you wish. For example, from Text to Wall.
- Save your work.
- Select the Preview button to see your work. As of this writing, the hyperlinks are displayed in a different color and not decorated (underlined).
- The Interactive Fiction project can be exported as a SCORM 1.2 or 1.3 learning object (and imported into Moodle, Blackboard, D2L Brightspace and other platforms) or to a simple zip for moving the project to a web site. All other options are supported as well.
Interactive Fiction is a great way to engage your readers. Again, to learn more about Interactive Fiction, please see https://lodestarlearn.wordpress.com/2018/09/25/a-case-study-prerequisite-interactive-storytelling/