Science and technology

Comparing Twine and Ren’Py for creating interactive fiction

Any skilled expertise educator is aware of engagement and motivation are key to a scholar’s studying. Of the various strategies for exciting engagement and motivation amongst learners, storytelling and recreation creation have good observe data of success, and writing interactive fiction is a good way to mix each of these strategies.

Interactive fiction has a decent historical past in computing, stretching again to the text-only journey video games of the early 1980s, and it is loved a brand new reputation just lately. There are many expertise instruments that can be utilized for writing interactive fiction, however the two that will likely be thought of right here, Twine and Ren’Py, are perfect for the duty. Each has totally different strengths that make it extra engaging for explicit kinds of initiatives.


Twine is a well-liked cross-platform open supply interactive fiction system that developed out of the HTML- and JavaScript-based TiddlyWiki. If you are not aware of Twine, multimedia artist and contributor Seth Kenlon’s article on how he uses Twine to create interactive adventure games is a superb introduction to the software.

One of Twine’s benefits is that it produces a single, compiled HTML file, which makes it straightforward to distribute and play an interactive fiction work on any system with a fairly trendy net browser. But this comes at a value: While it would help graphics, sound recordsdata, and embedded video, Twine is considerably restricted by its roots as a primarily text-based system (although it has developed quite a bit over time).

This may be very interesting to new learners who can quickly produce one thing that appears good and is enjoyable to play. However, after they need to add visible results, graphics, and multimedia, learners can get misplaced among the many totally different, artistic methods to do that and the maze of various Twine program variations and story codecs. Even so, there’s a powerful quantity of sources obtainable on the right way to use Twine.

Educators usually hope learners will take the talents they’ve gained utilizing one software and construct on them, however this is not a energy for Twine. While Twine is nice for growing literacy and inventive writing abilities, the coding and programming aspect is weaker. The story format scripting language has what you’ll count on: logic instructions, conditional statements, arrays/lists, and loops, however it isn’t carefully associated to any widespread programming language.


Ren’Py approaches interactive fiction from a unique angle; Wikipedia describes it as a “visual novel engine.” This signifies that the mixing of graphics and different multimedia parts is quite a bit smoother and extra built-in than in Twine. In addition, as contributor Joshua Allen Holm defined, you don’t need much coding experience to make use of Ren’Py.

Ren’Py can export completed work for Android, Linux, Mac, and Windows, which is messier than the “one file for all systems” that comes from Twine, significantly for those who get into the complexity of constructing builds for cellular units. Bear in thoughts, too, that completed Ren’Py initiatives with their multimedia parts are quite a bit larger than Twine initiatives.

The ease of downloading graphics and multimedia recordsdata from the web for Ren’Py initiatives additionally gives an important alternative to show learners in regards to the complexities of copyright and advocate (as everybody ought to!) for Creative Commons licenses.

As its identify suggests, Ren’Py’s scripting languages are a mixture of true Python and Python-like additions. This will likely be very engaging to educators who need learners to progress to Python programming. Python’s syntatical guidelines and strict enforcement of indentation are extra intimidating to make use of than the scripting choices in Twine, however the long-term good points are price it.

Comparing Twine and Ren’Py

There are varied the explanation why Twine has grow to be so profitable, however one that can enchantment to open supply fans is that anybody can take a compiled Twine story or recreation and import it again into Twine. This means for those who come throughout a compiled Twine story or recreation with a neat characteristic, you possibly can take a look at the supply code and learn the way it was carried out. Ren’Py permits a degree of obfuscation that stops low-level makes an attempt at hacking.

When it involves my work serving to individuals with visible impairments use expertise, Ren’Py is superior to Twine. Despite claims on the contrary, Twine’s HTML recordsdata can be utilized by display reader customers—however solely with issue. In distinction, Ren’Py has built-in self-voicing capabilities, one thing that I’m more than happy to see, though Linux customers might have so as to add the eSpeak package to help it.

Ren’Py and Twine can be utilized for related functions. Text-based initiatives are usually less complicated and faster to create than ones that require creating or sourcing graphics and multimedia parts. If your initiatives will likely be extra text-based, Twine is likely to be your best option. And, in case your initiatives make in depth use of graphics and multimedia parts, Ren’Py would possibly go well with you higher.

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