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interactive fiction in the workplace, anyone?

Hi everybody,
I've been thinking for a while about using twine in my workplace.
The first application I can think of is a simple "IT self-service help center" where my colleagues could find various info about our work environment (programs, printers, email sistem etc.) and how to solve some minor problems by themselves.
Twine looks to me a very good tool because it's both quite powerful and easy to use for me and really easy to use for all my colleagues due to the hyperlink navigation system and the clean layout of the "story".
Does anyone has any experience to share in this field? Both positive and negative feedbacks are more than welcome.
Thanks a lot,


  • That sounds more like a wiki, though, doesn't it?
  • Yeah, but Twines structure makes it much better to maintain a workflow or mock up a design.
  • That sounds more like a wiki, though, doesn't it?
    You're right, storymasterq, but I hope that twine's visual design will help me maintain the system.
    Moreover, if I choose a wiki I will have to use sharepoint's one, that I don't like very much.
  • mykael wrote: »
    Yeah, but Twines structure makes it much better to maintain a workflow or mock up a design.
    Yes, that was one of the pluses I hope to get by using twine.
    I wonder, though, if my users will be able to easily navigate the help center: I don't expect them to always choose the right path (my wording could be ambiguous and/or they understanding of the technical problem poor).
  • I think this is a good idea.
    With Twine you could build something that is very easy to navigate, and it's also quite easy to update in case something is missing.

    I haven't tried this myself, but I think it could work.
  • Losing typed search function might be an issue. You'd probably be better off having a front-end landing page that can be searched, and then link to separate sub twines for individual issues.
  • edited October 2016
    You would probably also need to create a Table of Contents and some way to search the content, both are common features of a Wiki.

    After that your colleagues may want to be able to update/correct the content themselves, then comes the request to store related PDF / Document / Image files and before you know it you have a Content Management system like Plone or Sharepoint. *smile*
  • Good points from both of you, greyelf and Claretta.

  • With regards to searches, if you maintain a master list of all current passages (IIRC you can pull these directly from Twine), you can compare to those via regexp or something similar and build a list with links to appropriate passages.

    I've never actually considered using twine for a work environment but the idea got bounced to me several times over the course of the past two years. It's definitely a much smoother experience than wikis for small content volumes (eg departmental wiki or a small business). Provided you structure it set up with foresight, there really shouldn't be too many issues.

    Anecdotally, having maintained small wikis in the workplace before, I've gotta say I'd have much preferred to work with Twine. We never had more than 50 (usually business critical) articles and they were always badly linked due to how annoying it was to set up a coherent structure. Net result was no one could find what they were looking for and editing was a nightmare. Some sort of "what kind of info are you looking for" followed by a list of articles would be much simpler than an over-cluttered frontpage with too much information. Also, the visual node editor would be very useful for figuring out what references what... traditional wikis are sorely lacking in this function.

    Now that I think of it, the ingame codex I use in my most recent Twine project is more readable and accessible than any Wiki we ever used in the office - and that's without any search functionality at all. A simple hierarchical structure with links within the passages works really well. It was also much easier to create and maintain despite having some 150-someodd entries. So, yeah, I'd definitely say this is a viable option.
  • MoLoLu wrote: »
    With regards to searches
    In my experience people generally wanted to search the article body text for key terms, the result would list the title of the relevant article(s).

  • greyelf wrote: »
    In my experience people generally wanted to search the article body text for key terms, the result would list the title of the relevant article(s).


    Right. I did not think of that.

    Though... you could still use a similar technique by silently displaying (or grabbing the content directly?) passages and then regexp that? Not quite sure how you'd build such a contraption in practice (or how to rank results & relevance). Definitely not perfect or performant but it will work.

    Bet there's an even better solution no one has thought of yet.
  • There is an old saying around my way:
    You can use a hammer to put a screw into a piece of wood but using a screwdriver is better.

    I personally think that if you want a something that allows multiple people to access / update it, that behaviours and has the features of a Wiki / Content Management system then you should think about using a Wiki / Content Management system. *smile*

    But then again I've become lazy in my old age, and the thought of having to develop and maintain something in my personal time that is bound to grow in scope as more people access it seems like to much hard work. lol
  • edited October 2016
    Oh, I perfectly agree. If there's a tool for the job, use that. But it was an interesting question. Not just for application in the workplace, but for Twine games in general (a search feature could have numerous applications).

    So I tested my earlier concept (grabbing a bunch of passages from a list and iterating over the raw with regex). It works and is reasonably performant (read: at 50 passages iterated on, I get no noticeable hitch). Not that the results in my barebones version are sorted or sanitized or displayed in a manner that resembles anything useful. But it's definitely possible to build a search function that scours the passage content in Twine.

    Edit: using twine also has an interesting gimmick for workspace applications: the computation load is shifted to the local browser rather than being run in the backend. In large user environments this could actually be quite useful for complex help guides / instructions, shifting the load away in cases where server-side operations aren't really required for the average user.
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