Good programs for organizing a strongly non-linear narrative?

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Talonos
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Good programs for organizing a strongly non-linear narrative?

#1 Post by Talonos » Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:17 pm

What do you use to organize a strongly non-linear, choice-dense VN? Especially one in which scenes can be viewed out of order depending on choices made, etc? For instance, I've been trying to use Scrivener, and it just doesn't seem up to the task. Are there any alternatives better suited for non-linear manuscripts?

I'm not developing a VN, but a game in a genre related enough that it's "close enough". But I figure if anybody knows the tools for non linear narrative, you guys would. :wink:

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felix
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Re: Good programs for organizing a strongly non-linear narrative?

#2 Post by felix » Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:13 am

This may sound like heresy in the Ren'Py forum, but maybe Twine? It's great for revealing non-linear structures like that. And there's precedent in using it as e.g. a dialog editor for other kinds of games.

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Re: Good programs for organizing a strongly non-linear narrative?

#3 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:17 am

Not trying to be flippant, but a corkboard, index cards, and pins are very effective. It is how Pixar and other studios develop stories, and how I was taught to diagram game flow in my game design courses in college.

Because you have to write everything by hand and fit it on an index card, it forces you to be concise and boil each event / scene / choice down to the bare essence. Then, you can quickly reshuffle the game / story over and over again to see how it flows with different arrangements. Drop what doesn't work, change the order on the fly, etc. Get everything nailed down into a flow chart / outline / overview - THEN move to digital.

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