Believe that this is quite possibly the longest article ever written on this website, and it will take some time to read.
Spoiler Alert: This is a long article.
TL:DR; There's too much to talk about in a TL:DR.
Future of StoryDev
Many work-in-progress features have made its way into the public
development branch of the StoryDev repository on GitHub, which makes sense on paper, but in practice is doomed to failure.
StoryDev was meant to be an interactive story development tool, not a video game development tool, and it seems a lot of the features that have been slowly worked on shouldn't really be there.
First was the Data Modules section, which was designed to allow the user to create their own forms and modify it for custom data. This was then put on hold to work on a simpler version. Then that stopped.
Then, work started on the Scene Designer. It seemed fitting that with any video game development tool you would expect the ability to design scenes. This also seemed far-fetched. Work on it paused, and nothing seemed to have been done for a while.
Most of these recent additions seem unfit for the purposes of StoryDev. The Data Modules section, the Scene Designer, and anything related to them, just seems like a waste and doesn't look like it should go anywhere.
For all intents and purposes, most of the
development branch should not be interpreted as what to expect in the future. Most of it could be considered like a "playground", where ideas are thought out and coded, and if they don't seem to fit with the overall goal to provide a professional story development environment, they should go.
Please do understand that if work appears paused or that updates are not coming as fast as they should, it may be because of circumstances beyond our capable hands; or perhaps they are and much of it is psychosomatic.
Which brings us onto the next topic.
What's this? A Recruit?
Although the word "Recruit" is being used loosely here, for lack of a better word, there may be an opportunity in the future for us to bring on board an addition to our lonely "team". As mentioned above, progress may appear slow but this can also be because we are focusing on our own video game, using StoryDev.
This means actually testing the software, of course, using a real world example as we have discussed before.
However, for me personally, I would like to focus more on the actual game rather than the editor. Most of the editor is complete for me, but it is very clearly not production-ready.
However, one idea did come to mind recently, and that was to implement Simulation Previews. In other words, you would play the game and record each manual action taken, play the recording and determine what the variables are.
Effectively, this new feature could become part of the next release, except that it is far closer to the original goal of the editor than the other ideas.
This could also effectively replace the current Variable Tracker which seems a little misplaced. UI could have used some more work, but overall its purpose was to determine at which point in the story – whichever conversation you are working on – what condition values to use when best identifying potential player choices.
This UI is prone to errors from a human level, with it being not so easy to understand. It's easy enough for a programmer, perhaps, but it's not very user-friendly. The Simulation Preview should help with that.
You may or may not have noticed, but we have also released a new website for StoryDev.
There are learning resources as well as information relating to what you can do with StoryDev. In addition, there is a community forums for all who wish to contribute to discussion or receive help on something you're unsure of relating to StoryDev.
Short answer: Maybe. Long Answer: Well, okay, maybe.
Believe me when I say this: I would be interested in cross-platform toolkits if not for their overall tediousness and boilerplate requirements. In the vast majority of cases, where it is an API I am unfamiliar with or the language being used is something I have never worked with before, the concept of using anything but C# and WinForms for editing tools is quite the leap.
This is not because I don't want to. But the current format and design of the editor would not fit into the language and framework I would prefer to use to make cross-platform possible, which would be Haxe and Kha. Obviously, it would, but the effort would be profound.
Last but not least, documentation for StoryDev – or at least StoryScript in full – is on its way. With the features mentioned above, it may be worth considering that a future full release of StoryDev may come sooner than expected.
In addition, the actual video game to be developed will be templated as part of the StoryScript engine, effectively turning the codebase for
sd2 into an actual platform for the implementation details rather than simply being a parser for conversations and storytelling.
More on this later, but first, a new Simulation engine is in order. Until next time.