m. c. de marco: To invent new life and new civilizations...

Graphing a Global Blackout

About a month ago I reviewed a few modern hyperfiction stories from my then-free trial of Kindle Unlimited. I also decided to graph the one children’s book among them, Can You Survive a Global Blackout? (You Choose: You Choose: Doomsday) by Matt Doeden, in which, my assiduous reader may recall, I got shot for “looting” an apparently abandoned bike store.

I was curious about the back buttons at the top of each story passage which at the time seemed to imply a lack of merging paths in the graph of the story, so I graphed the whole story. (I typed the choices by name into Twine and made the graph with DotGraph.) While going through all the paths, I noticed that sometimes there were two or even three back buttons at the top after all, making the graph more traditional than I expected.

The stats I got out of DotGraph (39 nodes, 17 leaves, 42 links, and 1.08 links per node) still didn’t quite add up to the advertised numbers (40 choices and 17 endings), but then “choices” is a bit vague.

choicemap of Global Blackout

Myrmex 1.2

Myrmex is one of my JavaScript implementations of Decktet games. The new version, 1.2, is slightly less buggy than the previous, unannounced versions, so you should just be able to play without obvious bugs. (If you do experience a bug, the solution is to save the game with the Save button, then restore it immediately with the Resume button.) Myrmex is also set up so you can play it offline and/or save it to your iDevice home screen.

DotGraph 2.1.0

I used DotGraph during this NaNoWriMo, and besides my intermittent minor updates (to 2.0.5 and 2.0.6), I made some semi-major changes now dubbed DotGraph 2.1.0. The new version lets you trace a word or phrase though your story, and also lets you pass your desired DotGraph settings in using the StorySettings special passage.

NaNoWriMo 2017

Another year, another NaNo: this was my fourteenth National Novel Writing Month, and my fourteenth victory. (I took a two-year vacation a few years ago.)

nano 2017 winner

The NaNoWriMo forums continue to suffer from strict regulation of threads. The entire month of Scrivener discussion was once again crammed into one infinitely long and not particularly informative thread, while any separate requests for information were immediately locked, with advice to ask in the Scrivener thread. I used Scrivener again this year, in combination with my gamebook project template, Scree.

I wrote earlier about getting started up this year on another hyperfiction story, still using Scree, Scrivener, and Twine. Once again it started out much easier than a linear novel, but about halfway in the overhead in complexity began to cut into my lead. I didn’t need to untangle too much, but I did try, not always successfully, to reunite the diverging threads of my plots. One major simplifying factor was the two-part structure of the novel, where if you survived the apocalypse, you got to participate in some brave new world thread which, despite not being a single bottleneck, turned out to be a sort of simplifying reset button regardless.

For cat-vacuuming distraction, I made several improvements to DotGraph, some of which I blogged along the way and some of which I still need to release, and started on a new format, PrePub for (eventually) converting my stories to ePub format. Early on in the month I even reviewed a few print hyperfiction books, before my word count dipped below on-schedule.

DotGraph 2.0.6

DotGraph got another little version bump today, to fix some node-miscounting behavior that My Assiduous User may or may not have experienced, but that I did while NaNoing. More importantly, this version adds display macro support for Harlowe stories.