View Full Version : Interactive Reading/Storytelling App for iPad

02-17-2013, 08:34 AM
Ok, so this is going to be a little unorganized, because I'm not entirely sure I totally understand this app yet & it's only available for iPad so I can't play with it. But I'm posting here because I think it's an interesting concept as far as writers go. But if the mods feel it would be better suited to Games, or Tech or something that's fine too.

Anyway, a friend sent me these links to an article (http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/186262/Linden_Labs_Versu_wants_to_make_hobbyists_storytel ling_superstars.php#.USBYDmfgqSp) about a new iPad app (http://www.versu.com/) by the makers of Second Life.

Basically, it seems that the app is an interactive reading/creation game...thing? Players create the characters, or become the characters, and create the story, and then the finished story can be "published" for free or for pay? Like, crowd-sourced fiction? I think? (Apologies for the question marks, I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around the concept behind this thing).
From the article:

Importantly, Versu's stories require reading and electing options, but go well beyond the "choose your own adventure" model. players can choose among multiple characters to play as within the story, and non-player characters have an array of reactions and responses depending on the player's actions. It's interactive reading, but there's also a sense of engagement and agency.

That Versu also wants to create an ecosystem for independent creators and storytellers is a major part of its story. "The back end for Versu is pretty robust," Humble says.

"There's a whole bunch of AI going on. The first tool will be a character creator, so you get to create characters with motives, and then put them in settings and play with them," he adds. "And then there'll be a scene and a plot toolset, and that will complete the circle. Then we allow you to upload them to our servers."

Players can sell their stories free or paid; in the latter case Linden takes a percentage in a fashion very similar to the user-generated content economy of Second Life.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I think this sounds like it could be a fun game/reading/experience/thing. On the other, as a writer, I don't think I would contribute any "serious" characters/storylines to it. I'm enough of a traditionalist that I want my stories and characters safely confined between the covers of a book, even if they're just electronic covers. And yet, this sounds like it is just another way to write electronic books in a collaborative way (I think?) sort of similar to what Neil Gaiman was doing recently with Twitter and the Calendar of Stories thing.

Sorry this got a bit away from me. Any thoughts, explanations, experiences, concerns...predictions of the end of publishing? ;)
Is collaborative fiction the wave of the future, or just a novelty?

02-17-2013, 04:11 PM
I'll just sit here so I can listen to the conversation.

It's interesting and I wouldn't mind being able to check it out. I don't have an iPad, though. :/

S. L. Saboviec
02-17-2013, 05:37 PM
I think I'd love this but as a great game to pass the time with rather than story inspiration. I stopped playing Sims 3 only when the bugs made me tear out my hair: I got one of the characters I had worked on for weeks stuck in France because she got pregnant and didn't have a proper backup of her saved game. To this day, I don't know if they fixed that bug because I'm afraid if I go back into the forums, I'll be tempted to play again (and what if there are MORE bugs in MORE expansions that will make me mourn the unfair demise of my lovely little Sims?). I never got into Second Life, but that was more because of life circumstance than interest.

I'll be excited to check this out when it comes to Android.