ISATEST by Todd Mauldin



No, not really. Look, this isn't really a header, this isn't really even a gamebook right now. It's just an excuse to type and mess around and maybe not, you know, do the thing to myself that I keep wanting to do but I know I shouldn't.

And, yeah. One of the most improtant things about this gamebook is that it is entirely neccessary that a lot of words be typed in. They don't need to mean anything really but they have to be here because my goodness, if... and this is still an IF... IF I do this as some sort of NANOWRIMO outsider project... of as a self-published booky-book (NOT THIS ONE, I mean one I write otherwise that may not be any better but at least I'll be trying whereas I am not trying here honestly) ... other than to fill up boxes with words and link them up... yeah I don't care. This is as bad as I know how to do things. This is a mess.

HOWEVER. There is a design. There is a plan. It is a plan to discover a plan. And to test my might. And to clown around on this here keyboard. Back on the SURFACE! Who would have guessed. But here we are. It's so I can use this tool. Let us tool-use.




Breathe in, breathe out.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Breathe in.



Hello I'm the manager, how can I help you?



If you are anything like me you're probably wondering what the hell this is actually about and why it is being done and why in fact you're doing what you're doing about it anyway. Look, all I can tell you is, every fall, sometime between September and December, I seem to get interested in making games again.

And no less so now, but for some reason I seem more patient with using my Surface again, and am open to screwing around with Choicescript and now, making gamebooks with GBAT. And yeah, even thought I don't have an idea right now for a long gamebook, or really even ANY game book, I am here doing the thing.


Honestly, it's pretty likely I will buy a copy of this damn thing. Maybe they'll make an online version of it that will work with my iPad, or maybe I'll bite the bullet and get a windows-based laptop or tablet that will be fun to use and this can be like my focused, distration-free game-writing platform or something. I'd do it now but I ... I don't know why I don't. I think it's the lame battery on the Surface Pro 2 or whatver this is, and also look I dunno.

Hopefully though this answered your questions.




I see your questions were not answered satisfactorily. That is unfortunate.

Well, let's see if we can find a manager to speak to.



So we're not closing the book, then. Fine.

Look, do what you want. If you want to keep jumping around in here with me I can't stop you. Only you can stop you. I am going to keep filling up these boxes.

If we were going to do something like a gamebook or interactive novel or non-linear story thing as a NANOWRIMO outsider project (or in general, generally whatever) there are many things to consider. LIke for example, there's word count and there's format.

And of course, there's the how much work do I actually have to do to make a bad thing exist. Making bad things isn't significantly harder than making good things but it certainly is commoner.

So what to do, what to do. I guess do the thing. There are some things we need to figure out. One thing I've figured out so far is that filling one of these boxes here on the screen, in GBAT, is about two hundered words, a.k.a. 200 words. So what A guy needs to do is to figure out the things: how many of these boxes does a guy have to fill, and then also what should they be filled with.



This is what passes for a win, in this stupid test gamebook thing whatever it is.

Well done.

You get 100 points.

That is all the points that are possible to get.

You have scored beyond anybody's expectation for sure.



Yeah, so I just noticed this fucker will output it's story in Choicescript format. You know, all marked up and lovely and formatted to run in choicescript. One assumes, from there, one can compile it into an actual runnable choicescript file and put it online or whatever.

You can also I think do the same thing with HTML, which makes this thing essentially a copy of twine, too. Right? Doesn't that sound right?

We should try that out too.



So now that we both understand what's going on here, we find ourselves at the near end of our journey. The only thing we really need to figure out is what a CHOICESCRIPT export looks like and more to the point, how it runs, and then a HTML export as well.

Then we need to tip over, explode and sink.



Over here at 6, we have followed the link we made back at one. Like, that's how this works, right?

Did you know this editor, in addition to making RTF and HTML outputs, it also will export to Choicescript?

True story, it will. It does.



The manager pulls out a gun and shoots you for being obtuse.

You're dead to me. Possibly to yourself, too.



You rot. Which is what happens after you die, and you die, win or lose. Whether you get shot by a manager or win, either way, eventually you die;. So yeah.

Close the book.

Some further thoughts on this: I wonder if it is worth it, to kind of tailor this for the Strip Creator software on the iPad? I could add interesting graphics easier that way if I did that, but there's a whole argument that trying to figure out how to output this stuff and for what platform may be the thing that is most improtant... for example, this thing does choicescript, right, but it also spits out text file and also html, in multi-page or single page format. Right?

So with that said, dropping gfx into either the choicescript format or the html format will take a little doing but it's also possible that slapping a CSS wrapper or one of those WYSIWYG html things like that could make all this kind of work. Dunno. But we're dead now or at least we're done, so this is a matter for further study.




It's 250. The number is in fact 250 boxes, which assumes the word content of each box is 200 words.

That sounds like a lot, but then again, I've never done it before so it might not be a lot. It is probably a good goal though.

I mean, 200 x 250, is 50,000. It's right there in the arithmatic. The maths.

Now it is quite likely that a guy might not have to do that many boxes, because that 200-word-in=a=box thing does not include the words that are in the options, the links, if you will.

Also, here's some information, not for nothing. Well, actually it is for nothing. Because it has nothing to do with anything, like pretty much everything else in this here "book".

It is PAX Online 2020, an 8-day PAX convention that is 100% online this year, mostly on Twitch and Discord. I've watched several little talks today, my Internet Friends did their usual Q&A thing today, and I bumped into a panel on inclusion and representation in gaming, and now I'm listening to the man who co-invented Dwarf Fortress talking about it going to Steam, and him actually getting paid, after 18 years or working on it for free.