Node Notes

 

1. What is Node Notes

In 2014 I made an experimental forum role-play detective game (a failed experiment, people didn't play it much), it was called Mainstream. In it, instead of creating a topic for each Act or for each group of players, I created a topic for each place. And in each place/topic there were links to places nearby. The benefit for such approach was ease of content creation. I would fill topics with descriptions whenever I feel inspired. And whenever players return to the place in their respective stories, all the location-specific information is there from before. 

 

2. Mindmap

It was easy to recover the information because I remembered in which topic it was. And it was easy to find that topic thanks to interlinked structure. Without realizing it, I made a mind-map. Then, some time ago I discovered a bunch of mind-map apps, specifically the one called Mindly. Nice one, very elegant, good enough to inspire and push me in the right direction. 

 

3. Node Notes 

The main thing for me was always an ease of creation. You may think I'm selfish, lazy or something else, but in my opinion if an achievement took too much effort, stress, resources ... it becomes slightly less of an achievement. I'm aware that most have stopped reading after the previous sentence. But in my experience to make something truly great one should be able to try many things. It's never just a single idea, but many details done right. And to experiment and explore one needs to have enough room. I don't believe in motivation, I believe in method, a process, and Node Notes is a method that directs the flow of creation. Creativity is not about making something out of nothing. I think it is a process of recognizing things you should and shouldn't do. Constraining yourself rather then freeing. And then finding a solution within those constrains. Board games are the best example: can't put too many rules to follow, can't break the flow with long turns, can't put too much emphasis on chance, etc.

 

4. Game Nodes, Logic & Sharing

So what makes Node Notes different from a regular Mindmap app is the three things in the headline it this paragraph: the special game nodes, logic & triggers and sharing options. I'm struggling to describe them in a comprehensive way. But the first Game Node is a Dungeon & Dragons roster node. I'll tell about it. 

 

4.1 D&D Master's world

As I play Dungeon & Dragons, I love the paper & the dice - tangible things. Apps that streamline the fights, track stats & loot, play ambient sounds or do math for you may be OK. But overall an app for D&D can subtract from the experience. All being said, there is one side to being Dungeon Master that requires really good memory: let's say players saved a caravan, and because of that prices are now cheaper in certain shops and there are special items for sale. Later, they helped a ghost to pass to another plane, and now the dead are nicer to the party. This small cause & effect events make world feel more immersive and story interconnected. Sure, a great master would be able to keep track of this things ... but ... it's a bit hard, and it's too easy to forget if there are too many of those. So I used Node Notes to create a mind tree of the world put conditional reminders. During game I input the choices players made and in return it gives me the hints I prepared beforehand.

1. First I make Results: Example: "If players opened the cages the dogs are released"

2. Second you can make the conditions: "if dogs are released there will be no goblins" (because dogs ate the goblins).

It's pretty much as straight forward as it sounds. 

3. In this example we are using Node Notes to make some sort of a branching story. With Sharing you can send your story(Node Book) and your variables to a friend. Variables and stories are not directly linked. Your friend can write the second part of your story, so he doesn't necessarily need the first part if he knows what it is about. He only needs the variables you made to have his story branch based on some decisions player made in yours.

4. Now the final thing is the Game Nodes. Game Nodes are basically everything else that I may add on top of that. They are like special modules that do a very specific things. I can make one to help user create and manage a character, for example. But, as I mentioned earlier, it's more fun to use pen and paper for that. So I made a node only to manage shops and random encounter rosters, which will change based on the actions players did to the world, locations etc: something game book would never ask Dungeon Master to do because it's tedious work (Imagine: Add 50% chance of skeleton encounter because party opened the tomb). But if it's done automatically - then it's fun!   

 

 

PC Releases folder: 

Google Drive

 

Android:

Link to first open beta build.

* The BG effects has too many particles and Debug UI is unusable on a phone. No reason to really download it right now.

 

Story Copy test (Custom Serialization):

 

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