Throughout the competition season, I’ve been talking with Porpentine, the author of howling dogs — about Twine, about participating in the IF Comp, and about the meaning of various passages. After a little while it seemed like a good idea to ask for a straight-up interview, which Porpentine was kind enough to agree to.
ES: You and I have spoken a lot lately about how you feel Twine makes authoring interactive stories possible for people who hadn’t been in a position to do that before. What about Twine makes it especially awesome at that? Do you think it’s more effective in that respect than other hypertext or CYOA tools?
Porpentine: I’ve agonized over which tools to use, lately there have been so many, and despite everything that’s come out this year, I keep coming back to Twine’s ultra-minimal elegance.
1) Twine isn’t owned by a company. It isn’t going to restrict part of its functionality behind overly specific social networking sites that not everyone has access to (ahem), start charging to modify the HTML (ahem), or dramatically change in any way. I like that Twine simply exists and doesn’t belong to anyone except everyone.
3) Instant feedback from the node map showing you the shape of your story as it forms, beautiful, spatial. Stories written in Twine have their own unique structure, like creatures under a microscope or root networks carrying information. I feel most in my aesthetic element when I’m working with Twine.
4) I can work with Twine when I’m too tired to deal with anything else. You don’t have to wrestle with anything between the emotion and the page, your fragile thoughts survive.