On Friday, I hit a totally unexpected snag. I went to the StoryNexus website with the intention of poking around and starting the design portion of my game. And I couldn’t find the login to the site! I went looking around online to see if there was an announcement that the toolset was being discontinued, but couldn’t find anything. So at that point I tweeted to Alexis Kennedy, CEO and Creative Director of Failbetter Games (the company that created the toolset), asking about it. Earlier today, he replied:
@ShaunaKosoris it’s there, but you need to dig for it. We’re really not recommending people use SN any more
— Alexis Kennedy (@alexiskennedy) August 9, 2015
After hearing that (and in all honesty, from the point I discovered the login was missing), I began to fear the worst for the toolset (and, by extension, my game). And this response confirmed my concerns. I knew Failbetter was no longer directly supporting StoryNexus (it’s been in maintenance mode for almost two years). But it was my understanding people were still free to use the toolset. I relished the challenge of creating a game for a toolset that was somewhat difficult to develop for. But now, if Failbetter is not recommending people use StoryNexus anymore, I am hesitant to continue developing a game for the toolset. I could keep developing the game because I did manage to figure out how to login. But if the creators of the toolset are discouraging people from using it, I don’t think I should start using it now; I’d be worried that the toolset (and any game I was working on) might disappear in the (possibly very near) future.
So with that in mind, I talked the whole thing over with a programming friend of mine. Together we came up with a solution that I think will work: build my game with RPG Maker instead of StoryNexus. I’ve wanted to use RPG Maker for awhile, so why not with this project? I have finished a lot of the background work, but haven’t done a lot with the game design yet, so now is pretty much the perfect time to switch to RPG Maker. With the change in toolsets, the design of the game is understandably going to change quite a lot; I’m going to end up with a much more visual game rather than the text based one I was originally envisioning. But that’s okay – I think this setting will be a lot of fun for players to actually be able to walk around and explore.
I’m not going to lie though, I am a bit sad about this change. On Friday I spent a fun hour working with the StoryNexus character creation screen, where I figured out a fun way to make a character that worked very nicely with the game I had in mind. It’s a shame to lose the little things like that.