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Super Sudden Surprise Challenge: Harlowe 1,000

edited May 2015 in Workshop

It's been more than a year since I did really anything with Twine. That was before an official release of Twine 2 and even before the current version of Twine 1, which is 1.4.2. Suffice it to say, I'm rusty, and I was far from an expert before taking a long hiatus!

Twine 2 is now a solid platform for creative works, but I've been out of the scene and thus, know almost nothing about it. I'd like to learn the basics of it's default story format, Harlowe, at least well enough to answer basic questions here in the forums.

Also, I'd like to knock some dust off and give my interactive fiction creative gears a grease'n and make a game.

To get two birds stoned at once, I up and decided to start another Super Sudden Surprise Challenge! Please, always read "Super Sudden Surprise Challenge" as if it were being announced through a synthesized megaphone with lots of echo; you know, like they do in used car lot commercials. It's important to me.

What's a Super Sudden Surprise Challenge you ask? Well, here's an example, a link to the last SSSC:

Keep in mind that thread is from the old forum software and is a bit buggy.

For this challenge, the designations "game" and "story" are entirely synonymous.

You may use either the downloaded offline version of Twine 2 or the online version.

Here's the challenge:
1. Use Twine 2's default story format, Harlowe, to create a new game beginning now. The game can't have been published, began, or even thought about before this very moment. Thought police will scan each file and arrest cheaters.

2. The challenge is to write an interactive, nonlinear story of extreme brevity. The story must be 1,000 words or less according to the Story Statistics using the story menu in lower left corner of the Twine 2 story editor.

3. The story must contain the following value macros:

• (if:)
• (else:)
• (elseif:) or (else-if:)

The challenge ends Monday, May 25 at 11:59 PM in your time zone, whatever that is.

You may use either the downloaded offline version of Twine 2 or the online version.

Post your games here in this thread either as an attachment or as a link. Please don't use temporary hosting solutions such as Dropbox or Google Drive, especially since free solutions such as are quick and easy to use—we want these games to be available for years.

You may submit as many games as you like.

All submitted games are considered licensed under Creative Commons 4.0.

Entries will be compiled and listed in the next post of this thread.

To be honest, I'm not too interested in Harlowe, love and sloppy kisses to Leon, the self-aware AI who designed it. Twine 1's default story format uses a syntax that seems more intuitive, easy to read, and fun to use in my not-at-all humble opinion. That's just me. Opinions on syntax are highly subjective; that's one reason there are exactly 2.734001 million different programming languages in use today. However, learning can be a fun challenge and, you know, "don't knock it before you try it." I'll try my best to give it a fair shake, but it's highly likely if I ever migrate to Twine 2, I'll use SugarCube.

Anyway, if you're like me and are a dead-sexy space cowboy ninja who has never made a game using Twine 2, these following links may prove invaluable:

Here's an example of using the "if" macro syntax so as not to scare anyone away:
(if: $foo is 1)[One is the loneliest number.]
(elseif: $foo is 2)[Mr. T said, "Foo is two, fool."]
(else:)[Fu Manchu is kung fu.]

Pretty simple stuff. To set a variable is just as easy as it was in Twine 1:
(set $foo: 1)

Again, nothing difficult there.

To set it to a random value:
(set: $foo to (either: 1, 2, 3, "Sharpe is my hero!"))

So, now there's no way anyone can pansy out of it just because of the conditional branch requirement. ;-)

Also, everyone, no matter how busy, should be able to make the time to take this challenge if they so desire. There's a lot of time: roughly ten days to procrastinate and most of one day to procrastinate a little more before easily writing a quick story really fast. Time simply won't be an issue and neither will motivation—once began—to actually finish the story. The tight word-count restrictions help prevent participants from getting bogged down or burnt out after starting. As soon as you start, you're pretty well finished!

Don't believe me? Start a new story and write for just a few short moments until your fragile, shorter-than-ADD attention span shatters. Then, check your word counter. I bet you'll be all like, "Whoa, dude, I wrote that much?! Totally radical!"

Okay, so everyone ready? No? Too bad!

The Super Sudden Surprise Challenge: Harlowe 1,000 starts now!


  • edited May 2015
    The Twine 2 Harlowe 1,000 Challenge Submissions:

    THE CHALLENGE and DESTINY both by feliwebwork

    Harlowe Vs. Sharpe by Sage

    Catacombs of Chaos by Dominia

    Thimble and Thorn by AvaJarvis

    An Idiot Tries for a First Date by AngerFork

    Night Crossing by gnustoboz

    Land's End by guinevak
  • edited May 2015
    I'm in. Assuming the challenge ends Monday May 25 and not March 29? :D

    P.S. Even though you've been MIA doing other things, your tutorial posts for newbs have helped me so much. Just wanted to say thanks.
  • You're very welcome! :-)

    Looking forward to your entry. :-)

    But, no, this SSSC requires a time machine to enter. You don't have one? ;-)

    I copy and paste the old rules when I make these and forgot to change the date. Doh! I've got to edit that, unfortunately. I hate editing posts like this, but it's just too far off and confusing.

    It's not this coming Monday, but the next, the 25th.
  • It's really too bad that you didn't wanna jump in with SugarCube..... But maybe we can still do something fun with Harlowe.

    By the way, Harlowe is absolutely beautiful. I'm a big fan. It looks amazingly elegant. I just REALLY need game-saves.

    —still. The contest looks fun.
  • Looking forward to your entry, Sage! :-)
    Sage wrote: »
    It's really too bad that you didn't wanna jump in with SugarCube.....

    Part of the reason for these SSSC's has always been to do something that I wouldn't normally do and probably won't ever do again. It's to expand knowledge and appreciation and for a challenge. Like I say, I'm not really into Harlowe, but it's cool that so many people really do like it. I hope I'm in the minority.
    Sage wrote: »
    I just REALLY need game-saves.

    I think the beta Harlowe has saves.
    L wrote: »
    * (savegame:) and (loadgame:). Basic usage: (save-game:"File A") saves the game under the name of "File A" and (load-game:"File A") restores it. For the moment, though, they can't be used if your game's variables contain complex values (such as changer commands, etc.)
    * $Saves, a special datamap that Harlowe controls, which contains the names of existing savefiles. To check if a save named "File A" exists, check if $Saves contains "File A".

  • Annnd I'm at 1,006 words and feel like I'm only 75% done. :-(

    Removing whitespace would probably save me hundreds of words at the cost of readability (and time and work).

    Dunno. Might just have to publish this one as a stand alone.

    I'm making a basic RPG again. It's my go-to thing, I guess.

    Feel like I know Harlowe just about as well as Twine 1's Sugarcane/SugarCube, so goal accomplished there.
  • Almost done with mine but hating the web-based ui. Among other things, lost connections to passages many times just by dragging and dropping multiple passages at a time. Kept having to close the window and relaunch. Ugh.

    Got some plans that will take time away from the challenge this weekend. Will be done by deadline, tho. :D
  • Wha'cha got cooking?
  • A dungeon crawl. I'm kinda embarrassed by it. But then that's how I feel about most WIPs so ... we'll see!
  • sorry for the ignorance... what's a "WIP"?
  • WIP = Work in Progress.
  • Dominia wrote: »
    A dungeon crawl. I'm kinda embarrassed by it. But then that's how I feel about most WIPs so ... we'll see!
    Yeah, that's what I am making, too. But it's so far past the word count, there's no way I'll ever get it down to size, or even close. So, I'll try to do something different for the SSSC.
  • edited May 2015
    Did you figure out the font thing you were asking in the guide feedback thread? I have a couple of fonts I am using via and they seem to be working fine.
  • Sharpe wrote: »
    Yeah, that's what I am making, too. But it's so far past the word count, there's no way I'll ever get it down to size, or even close. So, I'll try to do something different for the SSSC.

    I'm just going with what I have, fully finished or not. No way will I have time to do anything else!

  • The browser just locked up. Screen went completely opaque/dark grey and I couldn't escape or do anything to get back to edit mode. I had to shut down the browser and ended up losing some work. *Really* not liking the whole saving to the browser cache bit.
  • Oh, I'm not having any font issues. Google Fonts can't be used with Dropbox, but that's just a general Dropbox thing as far as I can tell.

    Lord knows I have like 55 publish files of my game in my Downloads folder. I've lost data a couple times for reasons I can't explain.
  • Well... I'm obviously newer than both of you, but I am writing mine in word and just putting [[ ]] around passages. That way I will have it all done in one place and I can paste it in at the end. I won't lose anything that way. It's probably overkill, but I'll even do that with an email sometimes. But that's more so I don't accidentally send it until I'm ready.

    By the way, question about the (if else) thing.

    So let's say I am in a passage. I write:

    Choose this
    Choose that
    Choose the last

    Do I then say:
    if $this {stuff}
    elseif $that {different Stuff}
    else {final batch of stuff}

    and does all this go in the passage?

    or does it go in the JavaScript for the story? Seems impossible there because I need it to affect things on THIS page.
  • Answered it. I did a magic thing called... scroll up
  • How fun! And Harlowe 1000 sounds like the latest model of android. Possibly one that's hipster, wants to use a typewriter even though they have no need for hard copies.

    Wish I had time right now to join in!
  • Harlowe 1000 is HAL 9000's great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandma.
  • Woo Hoo!
    I just finished the 1,196-word challenge!

    Oh... wait
  • Sage wrote: »
    Woo Hoo!
    I just finished the 1,196-word challenge!

    Oh... wait


  • Well, thank you @Sharpe ! This is my first ever finished Twine story, and having the challenge of writing it in 1000 words or less has been quite helpful in a number of ways.

    1. It motivated me into writing something new and being creative.
    2. It made me realise that my other project (the first one I started) is probably too detailed and long, a it would serve me to simplify it greatly.
    3. Time really does fly by when you "Twine!"
    4. It was a lot of fun.

    So THANK YOU!!
  • OH, so here is my story.

    It is called "THE CHALLENGE" and I hope you all enjoy it.

    Because I am a total noob at Twine and many other things, I relied heavily on this forum for helpful information, google, etc.

    There are probably lots of ways of simplifying the code, or doing things in another way. Hopefully with more experience I will get better at this stuff.

    Use the link above to play the "online version" or download the zip file to play "offline". (The offline version is a lot quicker in loading the images.)

    Thank you @Sharpe and thanks everyone on this forum!!

    Now... let me get some sleep!! (lol!... you'll understand why later!)

  • I love it, Feliwebwork! Very funny! We all know that feeling, and, this one:


    I'll get the second post updated with your story!

    Great job!
  • I am done!!!!!

    Thank you Sharpe!! What a great idea! Now I've actually completed my first freakin GAME!!!


    I agree also that the other thing I was doing was SO BIG it may have never been completed.

    My game is at


  • How do I get you the source code so you can check that I complied with everything?
  • edited May 2015
    Oh! Also... I used some of the forum names of people in here as characters in the story in order to thank you all for your tremendous efforts.

    Those that I can remember (in no particular order):
    Sharpe (freakin obviously)
    That might be it. I hope that including you in the game was thanks enough
  • Sage wrote: »
    How do I get you the source code so you can check that I complied with everything?
    He just has to import it into the editor if he wants to see the source.
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