Even using only the most basic range of tools, Twine gives you a lot to work with. You can produce a fully featured interactive story with nothing more than plain old hyperlinks, and if you’re willing to sink just a little time into learning how to use variables, you can introduce some very sophisticated adventure game elements with minimal effort. But those tools only take you so far. No matter what you do with them, games produced with only hyperlinks and variables will always be entirely deterministic: the same sequence of actions will always produce the same effect.
That’s actually a perfectly good way to go. Sometimes – if anything most of the time – you want people to know that what happens in the game will be a direct result of what they’ve decided to do. But an element of chance can spice things up, and if the player is going to be coming back to the same passage again and again (maybe it’s a room they pass through several times, or an action they must take repeatedly) then it never hurts to vary the text they see. There’s a really easy way of doing this:
The (either:) Macro:
Simply writing (either: “one thing”, “another”) is enough to display one thing or another. If you don’t have a whole lot of possible options in mind you can just stick this in the story where you want the random text to appear and it’ll do the job nicely.
This looks like a mess, but the text it generates when played is perfectly serviceable. It might look like this:
I don’t think this has actually come up in my writing much, but I quite enjoy a good game of poker. I played through college and university, then for a while in a bar down the road. It was all very amateur, which was interesting because it’s pretty much the only game I’ve come across that people will join without having any idea how to play whatsoever. I strongly suspect this was because I wasn’t playing for money–just in tournaments or against friends–but I also suspect that part of it was down to poker, on the surface, being a game of luck. No matter how bad you are at poker, you will occasionally win a hand just by being dealt the right cards. That’s not something that can be said about chess.
The thing is, some people take this to mean that poker is all about luck, and it’s really not. Having a strong hand is certainly an advantage, but “strong” is relative. The trick isn’t in being lucky enough to get dealt a flush, but in judging whether or not that player who just called your raise has a three of a kind (which you beat) or a full house (which beats you). That’s potentially the difference between winning a ton of chips or losing a ton of chips, and it has almost nothing to do with luck. A game of poker is not a roulette table, and it’s not a slot machine.
Reeelz is not a slot machine either, no matter how much it looks like one. Reeelz is to slot machines what poker is to blackjack. You spin the reels and get a random series of images, but how the game plays out from there is all strategy. The goal in Reeelz is to make combos–“Hot tea,” “Ice tea,” “Holiday house,” etc.–which behave much like poker hands. Continue reading