FeatureRequest: 'Interactive' Series Format

A series format that allows for users to upload Choose-Your-Own-Change style interactive story.

I suggest the easiest way to implement this is make an ‘Interactive’ series format which behaves as follows;

Removes the “previous/next chapter” bar or, replaces it with a “go to first chapter” button only.

Remove the rating feature for individual chapters and instead make it one rating / comment section for the entire series.

Lower the word count threshold to similar to that of a community story.

Allow Authors to upload chapters “invisibly” so the home page isn’t flooded by dozens of bits of out-of-context interactive story chapters, and the designated first chapter only is posted to the home page ‘Latest stories’.

Authors can make their own “go here” or “go here” using hot links (this feature already exists, via just using links correctly so no point making work) and when they submit all 64 chapters of their interactive masterpiece, the website visitors will only see the beginning of series, not have a home page flooded with tiny bits of an interactive story.

In time to come, you could have a “new chapters added” alert for when an author uploads expansions to his interaction, (say they add another 6 mini-branches).
The series would show up again on the Latest Stories, (just like when you add a new chapter to a series) except it would still pop up from the interactive’s chapter 1.

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If this becomes a thing - and I’ll admit, I enjoyed it a bit when CYOC did it - I wonder if we might need a tab on the main page for ‘interactive’. Maybe separating them out would make it easier to show when new branches are added without flooding the front page.

true, it would work as a totally different type of submission to the regular GSS ‘Stories and Series of stories’ format.

The above suggestion was just to make it as absolutely ‘path of least resistance’ work-load wise.

I don’t mind the work if it has merrit. A half-assed solution might not be accepted.

I think the most important part would be to make it easier to add the links. Most people struggle with how to add links. I’m not happy with the editor atm, but changing and/or extending it, is a real bitch-work.

I wanted to work on the editor, to allow easy upload and embedding of images, too.

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I love this idea! CYOC is what got me into some of these genres.

I agree with Derek that it would probably be best to have its own section. I’d want to be able to see new interactive updates (so not making them totally invisible) but agree that I wouldn’t want that spamming the main story page.

I also agree that adding the links would be the tough part. On CYOC they were always at the end of the prose part, a variable number of links to other pages where the story continues. A writer of one interactive part could leave suggestions of what the link would lead to, and if another writer clicked that they could add their continuation or change the name/link and create a different continuation.

That might be better than in-line links in the middle of a story.

True, but keep in mind this is “for Authors to write interactive stories”

Not ‘to replicate CYOC’
CYOC is interactive stories yes, but it’s also open collaboration.
To get that effect here, it would have to be both an interactive story, AND a community story.

I like the sound of this. It feels tidier than the current use of the collaborative tool to create Choose Your Own Adventure-like stories. So my whole support to this. Still, I wonder if it wouldn’t fit better on a sister Gay Spiral Stories site :thinking: Even if the range of genres used were to keep revolving around control, the form would still be completely different from your average static one-way stories.

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This is a bit of a tangent, I suppose, but since a number of folks write interactive stories using the twine engine, could we also make it possible to host those stories here on GSS? Since twine stories are just HTML files, I don’t think it necessarily be difficult, though it might be hard to moderate them. It might be an option to think about at least. If the hosting cost is high, it could be a feature that requires sponsorship of the site.

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Why not just use itch.io to publish Twine stories?

To integrate them into GSS while keeping the general flow, look and feel of GSS intact would be quite a challenge.

I do use itch.io generally, was just curious if it was something anyone else was interested in. No sweat if not.

15 likes and counting on the original post here.
This is now one of the most popular feature requests that hasn’t been implemented.

I’m hearing you, Spiders, however, this is one of the more difficult things to pull of. It encompasses everything, backend stuff, and a huge amount of UI stuff.

There’s a lot of other stuff on my plate and I have to budget my time (and motivation).

I’m not ignoring you!

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Don’t other sites, and lots of them, provide CYOC functionality already? Such a cyoc.net?

I made the wiki and no one used it years ago. It was too complicated and people didn’t understand it. We have stories now that anyone can add chapters to. It does indeed get used, but does it get used enough that it was worth the hours Martin spent getting it to work?

Martin’s got limited time and energy and as he said, motivation. It’s tough to get motivated for a feature like this when a) it’s already done somewhere else and b) you’re not sure it’s going to get used and c) if it will ultimately be appreciated (based on use). Martin isn’t getting paid, so new features better either give him some new and interesting experience or be something he really wants to do. Or at least generate a lot of love from readers and authors.

The suggestions above sound like smart ways for it all to work. Really smart ways to make it work!

But it’s easy to conceive of, and would be easy to implement from scratch. It’s not easy to implement within an existing code base / database scheme, which is really what the ask is here. And just implementing it isn’t the end of it. Time will then be spent trying to explain it to people unless it’s dead simple and easy the first time, and then changes will need to be made and it’s another thing that needs to be tested during updates and maintained.

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On your ‘Martin is busy and does this for free’ point: Yes, I am aware of this.

On your cyoc.net point:
CYOC isn’t ‘lots’ also it isn’t even specifically gey erotica, it’s just that gay erotica gets posted a lot there.

CYOC is also community interactive by default and has zero QA of upload by default. An Interactive story format on GSS/GKS would be theme-specific (gay erotica) Author specific (not community/random branches from random writers) and at least a small bit quality-controlled i.e., admin reviewed before publication.
As such, CYOC is barely a factor in this discussion on whether GKS should support Interactives.

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I’m mostly channeling my inner former administrator of GSS here and projecting. Martin can do what he wants. If he wants to develop this feature, he should. If he wanted any help with it, I’d even pitch in if I had time and it was feasible, which it likely isn’t. If he doesn’t want to deal with it, that should be fine too. He already does so much for this community.

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Exactly.

What I was missing is your feeling to need to point that out here, but I think I’ve got it through context.

Suffice to say Martin is the owner of this site and “my boss” and well permitted to speak, instruct and command me as he will.

I could be wrong but if it’s just hyperlink Interactive stories like text-based Twines or whatnot, that’s largely just simple html and CSS. A browser can play that file very simply with no issue. So long as directories with any resources like images are also uploaded, there can be images and audio too. If there’s no images or sounds, even simpler.

I would suggest restricting uploading interactive fiction to registered users if you’re allowing code upload like that but otherwise…I’m not sure this is that complicated.

But also, itch does fill this niche quite nicely for me on the whole.

It’s not that simple. GSS is not just a host for arbitrary web pages, as that it was you’re suggesting. There are other places for that.

GSS offers a consistent UI and experience. That wouldn’t be possible when just hosting arbitrary websites that could look totally different, work differently, and even do questionable stuff on the user’s browsers.

But I thought about the request for branching story lines for community series. I think there could be a nice way to support that in a “GSS way”. I think it would be rather close to what CYOC is doing. Let’s see what I come up with.

But I’m not a big fan of classic interactive story formats, like “what do you want him to do: a, b, c or d” with branching story snippets.

That’s just not what GSS is about, and I think other pages do a much better job hosting this kind of literature.

You can publish CYOA stories as “real books literally”. I remember reading them as a kid. At the end of the chapter you’re currently on, you simply pick one of two/three chapters to go to next, and then continue reading.

To be honest, I could already publish an interactive story on GSS now if I wanted to, it’s just I would have to do these three things;

  1. Tell the reader to Ignore the next chapter/previous chapter buttons, in lieu of embedded chapter links written into the bottom of each chapter instead.
    (GSS already supports this)

  2. Use ‘community story’, in case any of the chapters are shorter than the allowable chapter sizes of regular uploads.

  3. Upload the first chapter, then all the other chapters (making a series) THEN ask a MOD to change the release date/time of the first chapter to after all the other chapter uploads, so that on the main page, the reader is only presented with “the starting chapter” and not whatever the last chapter uploaded was.

And that would be a fully functioning, fully operational Interactive story on GSS, and I could do that today with zero altering of GSS’ UI or coding or anything. All I would need help with (as an author ask a Mod for help) would be changing the release time/date of the first chapter (the “begin here” chapter) to after the other chapters, thus making it the only visible chapter on the GSS main page.

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Wait a bit, spiders, I think I have a nice solution in mind.

The plan (no promises though) for the my vacation is those things in that oder:

  • Add capability to submit stories to Kinky as main site
  • Add graphic titles and links of the sister sites to the respective main pages
  • Replace markdown rendering and editor and make it possible to upload, manage and embed images into stories.
  • And then, finally, an easy way to create, display and navigate branched storylines within a series.