If you ever wanted to be able to create your own interactive stories for others to enjoy then read on! In this article, we take a look at three different free tools that will let you create ‘interactive stories’ that can combine photos and videos and maps, as well as stories and pages that exist out there, with your own narrative.
We present three interactive-story tools: Meograph is a great site that tells your story using Google maps and a Facebook-like timeline-based approach, Storify will let you create, share and swap stories with others in a network and Twine has a simple interface that will let you create your own text-adventure style stories!
Meograph: A great place to start your own interactive story experience
Meograph is one of the best ways I have found to get started creating your own interactive stories, and it has been featured by some pretty high profile sites and channels simply because it is so easy to use. Right on the splash page it tells you that you don’t even have to sign up to get started, and that’s a rarity in this day when everyone wants your email address and life story. Best used for things like biographies and other things that can be connected through Google maps, Meograph excels in simplicity and scope. There’s a demo you can watch on the home page that will give you a much better idea of exactly what can be done with it, and using it is as simple as following step by step instructions. While I wouldn’t think it would be that great for the young kids, it sure is ideal to create a fast and easy interactive ‘timeline’ style story. It should be familiar to those who use Facebook, as it works on a timeline system that lets you add moments where and when you want along the way, and view the playback at any moment. All in all, it’s a great place to start.
Storify: Share your stories with the world for free!
Storify could almost be considered the Facebook of the interactive story world, and it lets you create what they call ‘social stories’ that are interactive by allowing others to engage in a community based on those creations. It follows many of the social conventions found on sites across the ‘net that allow us to connect and discover new people and their social stories as well as creating our own. It allows you to sign up using your existing Facebook or Twitter account to get a head start on the social aspect that is so strongly emphasized on Storify, and will also allow you to easily get your friends from those networks involved with your stories.
You’ll also be able to use Storify’s interface to connect various media elements from social networks, like photos and video clips, even status updates from your friends or people you admire, to your topic, which creates an engaging and eye-catching experience for those that are taking part in your creations. Whether they are just reading or helping it to grow, people will see immediately that your story there is rooted in the concepts of social media sharing. Essentially, you might look at Storify as a new layer to the online social communities that we already use on a daily basis. For those that want to create something interactive but also dynamic that can evolve and change over time through those interactions, Storify is the way to go.
Twine: A program for the more advanced story teller.
Twine is a free downloadable program for Windows and Mac that will let the storyteller with a more advanced background and idea to create interactive stories through a series of menu layers that will add depth to the subject matter.
At it’s heart, Twine is a great program to create text adventure programs, which can be exported as a single, simple web page but it also allows you to add more than what you’d find in a standard text adventure. There are a number of great video tutorials to learn how to use Twine, and you’ll find that you can use the graphic interface just as easily as the command line within Twine to create and edit your story any way you want. You can even add links to other web sites into your text based story, which can give you the option to connect videos, photos, and anything else you can find on the Internet to the whole experience.
While Twine allows you to create a static story that doesn’t change unless you want it to, it also allows you to go further into the concept of story ownership as well as giving you the option to publish your story in nearly any way you can think of, including selling it if you so desire. Twine is absolutely free and you will be able to create your first stories within minutes of downloading and installing it. It’s my favorite way to create interactive stories and then share them with my friends.
So there we have it; a great line-up of awesome ways to create and share interactive story experiences with your friends or even strangers across the world! Until next time, my friends!