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Scrivener - a very useful writing and design tool

Just thought I'd recommend a piece of 3rd party software that I recently started using for writing my game design documents, especially because I think it works really, really well for adventure games in particular.

I was beginning to get a bit frustrated with the large number of text documents, reference images, maps, TODO lists, uncoordinated ideas, and so on that I was juggling and trying to keep organised in some way - but even with a solid folder structure in the file system, having lots of files open at the same time and switching back and forth between windows still felt frustrating, so I decided to look for a better solution for the very dynamic process of game design writing.

After I'd tried a couple of other solutions, Scrivener almost instantly felt like the right choice. The main idea is that it won't try and force any particular workflow on you, which I really like, so you can use the tools it provides to set up things the way that works best for you.

It basically feels like editing files directly inside Windows Explorer (or whatever it's called on Mac), and being able to jump between them and rearrange them (almost) without effort, all the time keeping an overall structure in place, which means you can easily add cross references and notes and so on.

It has lots and lots of useful features, but you only need to use the bits that work for you, so getting started is quite simple - and then you can expand from there. The interface could be smarter looking, but it absolutely gets the job done.

I think it's very resonably priced - and there's a fully functional 30 days (as in: days actively used, not 30 calendar days) trial version.


  • Hmmm - maybe I should start a blog for this sort of thing instead of spamming the AC forum ...  :-)

    Still think it's a good tool, though!
  • I use Scrivener here as well as a bit of a scrapbook for ideas and information. Very useful. The note-cards are also nice for starting out character-notes and plot structuring - but I've switched to deeper flowcharting software after the basics are in place.

    I've found your posts and suggestions very useful! If it seems too out-of-play, Chris could always add a third-party-tools forum, or similar.
  • What I've found most useful has in fact been chopping up documents into smaller bits and rearranging and combining them - then bringing in all the ideas scribbled on post-its - and then realising that I had lots of duplicated or overlapping material ...
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