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Twine is an interactive fiction open-source tool that runs in a web browser and can be developed through a browser. It could be used as a tool for interactive digital storytelling, e.g. to teach creative writing.

According to Twine (Retr. May 2019), “Twine is an open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories. You don't need to write any code to create a simple story with Twine, but you can extend your stories with variables, conditional logic, images, CSS, and JavaScript when you're ready. Twine publishes directly to HTML, so you can post your work nearly anywhere. Anything you create with it is completely free to use any way you like, including for commercial purposes. Twine was originally created by Chris Klimas in 2009 and is now maintained by a whole bunch of people at several different repositories.”



Twine games can be either authored with an authoring tool running under Win, MacOS and Linux or online.

In twine 2, stories are saved in the browser. However, one also can export these as portable archives using the archive button. Individual stories can be saved to files.

Basic game development is fairly simple:

  • A games is organized as of set of connected "passages" (i.e. places)
  • Each places is defined by text that includes descriptions and code segments.
  • Links between places are made with the [[label->target place]] syntax.
  • It is possible to extend functionality with standard client-side web technology (JavaScript/HTML/CSS)...

See also more classic interactive fiction games and other 2D engines, such as DEIG, a free for non-commercial purposes game engine for dialog-based 2D adventure games. Irene Pynn (2017), in her PD dissertation [1], mentions that Twine is not optimal for creating "visual novels" and selected TyranoBuilder instead.

In education

Hahn (2016) [2] describes the use of Twine to support collaborative creative writing scenarios and conclude that Twine is interesting tool to support collaborative writing. He presents and discusses an educational scenario organized in twelve lessons and several steps. The teacher provided an initial setting (time period, place, narrative perspective) in the form of an initial paragraph that groups had to develop into a story in a second step. This lead to different threads that were then, in a third step, used to create a tree of possible plots. In a forth step, participants were ask to develop characters. In a fifth step, students then worked again on the plot tree and finally produced a multi-threaded story with a good arc of tension.

In the conclusion of his paper, Hahn (2016)[2] starts with a postulate by Faistauer (1997) that ““writing shall be liberated from its image of isolated and solitary individual assignment and writing in groups should be seen as a further educational objective, which supports not only linguistic, but also personal development skills.” (Faistauer, 1997)” [3]. They conclude that “The presented project encouraged students to interact and construct meaning in a collaborative way. Despite its name, collaborative writing also has a positive effect on oral expression, as students must articulate their thoughts, suggestions and critiques. This process of reflective thinking might be just what Faistauer had in mind when she referred to “personal development skills.” The approach of using Twine for collaborative storytelling enables teachers to share the creative process with relative ease with their students and a wider audience.”

Lundberg and Lyons (2019) [4] developed a "grammar adventure game" that “served both as an alternative to a traditional grammar assignment, and as a pre-writing activity for a creative writing assignment, in an intermediate English as a Second Language (ESL) course.”






  1. Pynn, Irene L., "School Has a Bad Storyline: Gamification in Educational Environments" (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5652.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Hahn, R. (2016, June). Collaborative creative writing in the L2 classroom using the software Twine. In Proceedings of the 6th Future of Education International Conference (pp. 137-142).
  3. Faistauer, R. (1997). Wir müssen zusammen schreiben! Innsbruck, Vienna: StudienVerlag
  4. Lundberg, Karin, and Catherine "Katy" Lyons. "Using Twine to Deliver a Grammar-Linked Creative Writing Assignment in a Hybrid ESL Course." HETS Online Journal, vol. 9, no. 1, 2018. Academic OneFile, Accessed 6 May 2019.