Introducing Elm Story — a free, no-code pro tool designed to help authors, game designers and students develop and publish interactive, narrative experiences


Motivation

Supported by my family and inspired by Legend of the Red DragonGabriel Knight and Life is Strange, I set out to create my first story-focused, interactive fiction adventure. Not wanting to write any code during planning, I started researching tools. Everything I found required learning a DSL and/or had clunky UX.

Knowing these were creative blockers to start (at least for me), I focused on solving the problem. After 3 months of design and 3 months of development, here we are!

Download Elm Story

I've made a lot of software in my life. Elm Story is different; a true labor of love that I hope to commit my remaining working effort to improving and, most importantly, using.

Without further cliché, on to alpha features and roadmap.

Alpha Launch Features

  • Fully offline app*, with zero account creation or analytics
  • Dashboard for managing studios and game libraries
  • Designer that enables working on multiple game components in parallel
  • Global variables that support types boolean, string and number
  • Drag-and-drop GameOutline for organizing content by chapter, scene and passage
  • Intuitive, graph-based SceneView that supports pan, zoom and a minimap
  • Passage routes that support state conditions, effects and jumps
  • GameView for testing games while you work, with live render and state updates
  • Cross-platform (Linux, macOS and Windows) support

Roadmap

April thru May 2021 (Alpha)

  • Alpha M1 (114 closed tickets; release April 27th 2021)
    • Initial release with features listed above
  • Alpha M2 (currently 28 tickets; target May 19th 2021)
    • Import/export game data as clean JSON for use in building story format parsers and compilers, and importers for Godot, Unreal and Unity
    • SceneView cut, copy and paste
    • Passage template support for variable identifiers i.e. "Hello, {PlayerName}."
    • Choices that support text input
    • Tag support and search by tag
    • Light mode
    • Bug fixes and QOL enhancements

June-December 2021 (EA)

Early access is expected to run through the end of 2021 and is focused on learning from the community — user experience, overall polish, undo/redo/shortcuts and improving the GameView renderer and developer tools. This includes live-editing current state and renderer styles.

2022+ (Elm Story Cloud)

ESC is a hosted subscription service that brings Elm Story and publishing support to the browser and mobile devices. More details will be available closer to the end of 2021.

Support Elm Story

There is so much left to build!

To help this project thrive with full-time, active feature development and updates, well into the future, consider a donation via Itch.io or become a monthly patron.

I will continue focusing on Elm Story. With your support, my family will breath easier and Elm Story Games will grow into a small team of dedicated contributors, absent of outside, institutional funding.

ECS will support a paid tier that covers service and hosting costs, but the offline app will remain the platform backbone as a free tool.

Elm Story Support

Open community support: r/ElmStoryGames

Follow updates on Twitter: @ElmStoryGames.

The Elm Story Games Discord server is available to monthly patrons.

Tutorials and live streams will be available via YouTube and Twitch, respectively.

*For spellcheck to work on Windows, users will download (in the background) a dictionary from Google's servers

Get Elm Story

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