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5.1.1 • Public • Published


Inkblot is an interactive dialog graph language inspired by Ink by Inkle, intended for text adventures or interactive fiction.

Inkblots consist of descriptive text and options. Inkblot runtime engines trace the dialog, entering at the top of the file and exiting out the bottom. The dialog accumulates options and presents a prompt for the interlocutor to chose the direction of the narrative.

Hello, {"World!"}

+ [You s[S]ay, {"Hello."} ]
  You are too kind, hello
  again to you too. ->loop
+ [You s[S]ay, {"Farewell."} ]

The End.

To run an Inkblot, use the command-line interactive reader:

❯ inkblot
Hello, "World!"
1. Say, "Hello".
2. Say, "Farewell."
> 1

You say, "Hello".
You are too kind, hello again to you too.
1. Say, "Hello".
2. Say, "Farewell."
> 2

You say, "Farewell."
The End.

Inkblot scripts can be loaded and bound with scenes in a web page.

  • The archery prototype illustrates a shop and gambling game.

    An Archery Shop

  • The journey prototype illustrates a survival game over a procedurally-generated infinite road.

    A Journey through Ælfland

  • The airship prototype illustrates a narrative that includes a simulation of the control and behavior of a steampunk airship.

The command line tool can also:

  • produce a transcript of a interpretation of the story.

    ❯ inkblot -t hello.1
  • verify that a transcript continues to produce the same narrative after alterations to the script. The Inkblot test suite uses this mechanism to validate itself against its examples and test scripts.

    ❯ inkblot -v hello.1
  • generate a JSON representation of the script. The JSON script can be embedded in a web application as a module and interpreted by the lightweight Inkblot engine.

    ❯ inkblot -j
  • interpret a script from precompiled JSON.

    ❯ inkblot -J hello.json
  • Inkblot can also produce a diagnostique view of a story. The first column is the thread label, then the instruction type, a description of the instruction, and an indicator for the next thread. In the absense of an indicator, the engine proceeds to the next instruction. A forward arrow indicates a jump and a backward arrow indicates a return to a calling thread, a processsion to the next thread of a question or answer sequence, or an exit.

    ❯ inkblot -d
    start     text    -Hello, “World!”
    loop      option  (Q loop.0.2 loop.0.3) (A loop.0.1 loop.0.3 loop.0.4)  -> loop.1
    loop.0.1  text    -You s-                                               <-
    loop.0.2  text    -S-                                                   <-
    loop.0.3  text    -ay, “Hello.”                                         <-
    loop.0.4  text    You are too kind, hello again                         -> loop
    loop.1    option  (Q loop.1.2 loop.1.3) (A loop.1.1 loop.1.3 loop.1.4)  -> loop.2
    loop.1.1  text    -You s-                                               <-
    loop.1.2  text    -S-                                                   <-
    loop.1.3  text    -ay, “Farewell.”                                      <-
    loop.1.4  goto                                                          -> loop.3
    loop.2    prompt
    loop.3    text    -The End.


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