A new timewaster I made -- you'll love this if you like reading or writing fiction

Remember Choose Your Own Adventure books?

I used to read them in my middle school library (for some reason they had a large collection.) I was always disappointed when I realized I had chosen every possible adventure.

So I had a thought while on the throne last week: The marvels of the Internet could provide us with an infinite Choose Your Own Adventure! So over the weekend I wrote a little code and now it exists.

Here’s how it works:

Start reading (there’s only one page right now.) At the end of every page is a list of links with various choices that the protagonist can take. There is also a link that allows anyone to add a new choice to any page. All you have to do is write a minimum of 250 words and your new page is live, and linked as a choice on the page you came from.

Anybody can then add choices to your page, and so forth, leading to an infinitely expanding web of choices.

Right now it’s a free-for-all; soon I will add some kind of simple moderation system so established users will be able to quickly eliminate spam and pages which break the rules (i.e. bad spelling, not making any sense, using plot elements that have not been established by previous pages, etc.)

Here is page 1.

Have fun.

Pretty cool idea!

Great idea! I’ll try and add to it when I get some time.

Thanks. :slight_smile:

One thing I forgot to mention: Right now, it’s only set up to allow an expanding tree of choices, i.e., you can’t add a choice that links to an existing page. This is an oversight – I simply forgot to implement that feature. But it will be there soon.

You, good sir, are awesome. I’ll be hitting that up tonight after my return from the dentist. What a great idea.

Very cool. I loved reading those books as a kid. I remember having my fingers slipped between pages to hold my place for the last few choices, just in case I hit a dead end so I could go back and cheat and answer differently.

I may completely flake, but here…now…before Og and everyone, I pledge to think about trying to remember to contribute.

Interesting idea–but second person? How can that be sustained?

What a brilliant idea! Do you intend to release the source?

Reason for asking: I would like to use it to handle dichotomous keys for identification of fungi (actually, I can think of several other uses too)

Choose your own adventure stories are always in second person.

As soon as I finish a couple more features and clean up the code a bit I’ll release it. It is really very simple; about 400 lines of code and a few database tables. And some HTML templates.

Oh, I get it! Sort of like those old text adventures, “You are in a maze of twisty passages, all alike.”

Ignorance fought!


Could we submit beginnings of stories, too?

The way I envision it working is that everything springs forth from the original Page 1. That said, while the story itself never ends, there can be sub-stories within it that have definite beginnings and endings, they just have to branch off from and end at existing points.

But that’s just my idea for the moment, and I may end up changing it. So far, nobody has been brave enough to write Page 2. :p. (Although I note from peeking at the database that two authors besides me have signed up.)

I may end up having to write a few more pages tonight to get things started.

I’m also going to add the feature to link to an existing page tonight, along with some new stuff I have planned.

w00t! Somebody stepped up to the plate and wrote Page 2. (Well, Page 12 since I didn’t reset the table counter when I deleted a bunch of test pages, but that doesn’t matter.)

It’s good, too.

I will definitely give this a go. I do think you should limit it on how many choices you get per page. Otherwise, everyone is going to want to be able to write their own story, start at page 2, and just finish a whole set of pages on their own. Which wouldn’t be a BAD thing really, but it could get complex when you get like 50+choices on just page 2. Or you might want to let people do whatever they like, if so, just tell me to mind my own darn business. But it definitely sounds awesome. A kind of social expierment if you will. Best of luck to you.

I was wondering about that. I submitted page 13 :slight_smile:

I agree with that – my current plan is to create a maximum of five choices per page (although this is turned off at the moment, I will turn it on again later.) That will help ensure that stuff gets spread out enough.

I think what will happen (if enough people contribute) is that certain popular pages will end up becoming hubs of several stories which begin and end there.

I need a little ignorance fighting.

Just wrote something, it is supposed to link to page 13.

Under “choice text” I put in “Talk to the Man.”

Under “page number” I put 14.

I his submit and get, “You must specify a page number OR some new page text.”

So, what am I doing wrong?

Sandy, Page 14 doesn’t exist yet. The page number field is only for making your choice go to an existing page. I’m assuming you also entered some text in the box, right? In that case, leave the page number field blank and a new page will be created for you.

IOW, enter a page number and leave the text block empty, or leave the page number empty and enter some text, but not both. I’ll endeavor to make the instructions and error messages more clear.