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Introducing the Screentastic alpha, a brand spanking new Twine 2.0 Story format for screenwriters!

edited September 2015 in Workshop
You can download the format here, or pump it straight into Twine using this URL:

Thanks go to Greyelf, Chris Klimas (whose code I stole from Snowman), and that one dude in Starbucks.

Screentastic is a new custom Story Format for Twine 2 which at the moment is a little feature-barren (because alpha), but does feature its own, easy to use markup language. The format takes your input on a line-by-line basis and rejiggers it into twine-readable HTML (here is an example of a published file, with the format.js included). Twine 2 uses the free font Courier Prime, converted into base64 for mobility. It is downloadable here.

So how do you install Screentastic? It's pretty simple. I recommend downloading the file first, then opening it from Twine.
Open Twine 2.
On the right side, you'll see +story, Import from File, Archive, and Formats. Click on Formats.
There will be the popup window that shows you all of your currently installed formats. At the top, on the third tab is "Add a New Format". Click that.
Copy-paste either the folder, or the URL into the box and click "+Add"
Here's where it gets a little funky. Twine doesn't really know when a Story Format's been added, so just wait for 5-10 seconds and it should be completely loaded.
X out of the format popup and click on "Formats" again.
Click on the "Story Formats" tab and Screentastic will show up underneath Sugarcube. There's no icon at this point so it just shows a broken image.

And that's that! Screentastic is now loaded into your Twine.

So once you've started on your screenplay, you'll need to follow the markup, otherwise your formatting will break. It looks something like this:

***>> text that goes into your story.
The first five characters are a formatting code that Screentastic uses to format the rest of the line into an entertainment industry standard screenplay format. After that, it just looks for the end of the line, so be sure to keep from hitting that newline key until you're ready. This was designed this way to help facilitate writing speed.
Here are the codes:
sch>> This is a scene heading. It is autocapped, and appears on the left of the page.
tra>> This is a camera transition. It is autocapped, and appears on the right side of the page.
cha>> This is a character's name. It is autocapped, and is centered, 25px to the left.
dia>> This is dialogue. It is centered, slightly wider than character name.
act>> Action. It puts the content on the left side of the page.

Links are handled in the typical fashion. At this point I've only built links to look like this:
I had to take out the other formats for simplicity's sake, but will be putting them back in later.

**Future markup codes**
par>> Parentheticals... This is a pretty important one, so it'll probably be added soon.
dch>> Dual character names, for when two people are speaking at once.
ddi>> Dual Dialog lines, for when two people are speaking at once.
tch>> Triple character names, for when three people are speaking at once.
tdi>> Triple Dialog lines, for when three people are speaking at once.

**future features**
Back and forward buttons. Yes, I know... It's not in there yet. Version 0.1.0 is very barebones.
Savepoints. Eventually... it's a low priority.
Print button. For printing, cause it's easier to read.
Save as PDF. Because it's a must.
Make the links prettier. Just... because.
Taskbar to house all of these great features.

I would love to hear your feedback, comments, concerns, and everything else regarding Screentastic. Feel free to message me on this forum, reply to this post, or hit me up using the contact form on my website, here.


  • edited September 2015
    A couple of small extra things:
    1) There is a known bug with links, where all the links appear on the same line.
    2) There is now a github repository where you can see all the code in its choppy, messy glory! Here it is!
  • Today marks another day of adding features (Today's release is v0.2.8). So far I've added in all of the item types, made the onscreen page match an actual page of screenplay, and added in a basic menu. The menu is empty, but that's changing in a release or two. The format is attached. :)
  • Some screenshots of what the default look is would be nice. I generally know what a screenplay looks like, but I'd still rather have a visual before I download anything.

    It's pretty neat that a new format is being worked on though.
  • edited October 2015
    Sure thing, and it's great to hear back from you :), Here's a couple screenshots of the latest version (v0.2.9 at the time of writing) in action. On the left is what a sample story would look like in-browser. On the right is a different (not the same output as what's on the left) sample of the markup inside twine (I'm using Windows 10 as my build/test environment).

    I'm adding new features, fixing issues, and making new builds almost daily at this point, sometimes more than once in a day. It'll be that way until my feature wish list is complete, then I'll back off a bit.
  • edited October 2015
    Version 0.3.0 is out, and I've been building on top of what I've had!

    There's a couple pretty cool new features in there now:
    1) Automatic page parsing: Screentastic will now automatically generate new pages for you if your screenplay's passage runs over the standard size for a page.
    2)Sketch mode: (displayed below) Sketch Mode allows you a quick and easy way to jot down your story ideas by writing your story beats in... one beat per line! All you need to do to activate it is make the first line of your first passage this: "sketch>>" and it's activated!

    There's also a few changes under the hood, and I've added a menu (none of the options work at the time of writing, but they're next on the list). Activation is pretty easy, just click the 'v' icon at the top right hand corner of the screen and the menu pops down.

    As always, please hit me with any questions, comments, concerns, or even if you just want to chat!

    Edit: In case you're wondering, yes I did find the bug mentioned in the picture, and it only appears to affect Sketch mode in a small way. It just makes adding bullet points to the beginning of your beats inconsistent and in no way affects the integrity of your sketch. It should be fixed by 0.3.1.
  • edited October 2015
    No new version out right now, the distribution version is currently still at 0.3.0, but I do have a pretty big feature coming down the pipe. It's something that's never been done with Twine before: PDF generation! To make it happen, I use the pdfmake.js javascript library.

    Attached is a preview.
  • That's pretty neat. I think printing to pdf is a good idea for a medium that can change as you go (dependent on choices made).

    I've thought about the possibility of printing Undum stories that way, since they often just read like a novel. But a novel that changes. Rather than play though the game again, you just read the pdf.

    But, I'm sure it has other uses for a screenplay format. Clever.
  • tryguy wrote: »
    That's pretty neat. I think printing to pdf is a good idea for a medium that can change as you go (dependent on choices made).

    I've thought about the possibility of printing Undum stories that way, since they often just read like a novel. But a novel that changes. Rather than play though the game again, you just read the pdf.

    But, I'm sure it has other uses for a screenplay format. Clever.
    It definitely is! Not to say it's not a challenge though, most pdf libraries are pretty barebones, except for pdfmake which has a very nice, organized, declarative system that uses nested objects.

    It'd be a herculean task if not for the fact that I'm working with a very rigid styleguide. If we had the option of including images and other interactivity, I'd still be in research.
  • Version 0.4.0 is out! We've got PDF generation now, as well as PDF printing.
    Printing works best in Chrome.
    Also, making PDFs right in twine is (for the moment) not gonna happen. You need to be in a browser to make it work.

    The format.js comes in at a hefty 1.3MB, mainly because pdfmake comes with 3 embedded fonts. I'll be trimming that fat in a future release.

    Enjoy Screentastic, the very first Story Format that allows you to save your story as a PDF!

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