The Ink Programming Language

Ink is a programming language for interactive fiction type games with a strong default for “choose your own adventure” type games. It was invented by a game studio (Inkle) and they eat their own dog food. Games can be published on the web or integrated with the Unity game engine and development platform to add graphics (and other stuff, I’d guess).

The writing tutorial starts ok but quickly gets sort of reference/language toury like. There isn’t a real running example and the features aren’t built up organically. By the time you get to the tower of Hanoi example you’re pretty well lost. There’s some hand waving about some design choices (“it’s ok to use global variables all over the place because it’s a story!”) which is a bit annoying. I don’t know what writing a game with 50,000 words would be like or at all how to structure it.

Indeed, writing interactive fiction is at least as hard as writing any other sort of fiction! (Victoria Smith has a cool post about fighting tools when making IF like games which hints at the space of tools that Ink is competing with.)

Ink seems so easy to get into and publish for basic stuff, it seems a good platform for exploring educational uses. You could explore complex case studies (perhaps) in a more manageable for many readers way. Not only more manageable but more active learning like. Just as with lectures, it’s clear that many students treat reading as something fairly passive. They don’t question, anticipate, backtrack, jump up and down levels, interrogate structure, etc while reading. Like with light weight clicker use, an interactive text approach might incline them to be at least a little active.

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2 thoughts on “The Ink Programming Language

  1. Pingback: More Spilled Ink | Mitigated Frenzy

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