Hack Your Own Adventure Story With Yarn Spinner

We are big fans of programmed texts for education. You know, the kind where you answer a question and go to a new page based on your answer. But they can also be entertaining “choose your own adventure” stories. You might say, “You are standing in front of an oak door, two meters high, with an iron handle. Do you a) open it? b) knock on it? c) ignore it?” Then, based on your answer, you go to a different part of the story. These are tough to write, but you can get some help using Yarn Spinner and the Yarn scripting language.

The original purpose of Yarn is to produce conversations for games. There’s a tutorial for that. The difference is to produce a book, you get a choose your own adventure PDF at the end. For the tutorial, you can try to read the text on the left-hand side of the editor or just press Test (at the top) and let it “read” the tutorial to you, which is a little more fluid.

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A Tale Of Tutor Texts

Have you ever had one of those books that let you choose your own adventure? You know, the book will say “The bully tells you to hand over the secret message. If you want to run away, turn to page 48. If you want to fight him, turn to page 70.” While this is normally a staple of children’s literature, there were a series of training books known as Tutor Texts that used the format to teach technical topics.

In fact, one of these books was my first introduction to computer programming more years ago than I care to admit. But it wasn’t just computer programming. There were titles from the same publisher about trigonometry, slide rules, and even how to play bridge. I own four of these old books and it got me to thinking about how we deliver information on the web. Maybe these books were ahead of their time.

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