Playfic is an application that allows users write and play fictional stories in an way that is interactive without using any added media such as sound or images. All that users have at their dieposal to make these stories come to life is text. Users can create games online, publish the games and share links to the games with friends and others. By simply typing in text, users can play games and search for information in a manner that is interesting and easily interactive. Reading the preceeding text enables users know what to type or how to navigate to the next set of instructions. It can be similar to receiving game instructions from a computer or another person, but the feedback is interactive and based on the previous information that was received.
The founders of Playfic, Andy Baio and Cooper McHatton, built the site as a tool for sharing text-based stories especially work-in-progress. The inspiration behind Playfic came from the need to share certain types on work online and for Andy Baio, this desire to share work revolved around his interest in interactive fiction. Without being a programmer, Cooper McHatton was able to write his first game on Playfic in as little as 30 minutes. However, it can be somewhat intimidating and confusing when beginning to use Playfic. Hence, using tutorials and reading documentation is highly recommended. Sample games are also available to teach users how the application works.
The application uses Inform 7, which is a programming language, to help users develop Playfic games. No additional programs are required to use Playfic. By grabbing the game source information entered by the user, the Inform 7 compiler is able to work in the background using specified interpreters that play the games users create. There are also tutorials available to help users understand how to use Playfic. Within the application, users can view the source of any existing game to see how it was created. This helps make Playfic useful and a learning community of users.
There is a lot of information on the website. However, there are numerous hyperlinks that can help users focus on the information that is needed. Moving from one part of the application to another is relatively easy to do and it is also easy to start a new game or exlore existing games. Users can view the game source which is easy to read and also relatively easy to understand how to code.
To use Playfic, new users need to sign up for an account by providing their full names, email addresses, a user name and a password. Exisitng users are prompted to sign in to their accounts by using a user name and password. To create or start a game, users must log in.
There is no cost for using the Playfic applications. Users simply have to provide their information to register for a free account. There is also no cost associated with viewing source codes, featured Playfics, recently published Playfics and popular Playfics.
This application would be recommended to those who have an interest in creating online games that are purely text-based. It provides a nice interactive text-only interface, which can be a refreshing change from the world of predominantly graphics-based user interfaces and games. However, the challenge with Playflic will be creating content which is text based but also interesting enough to get the user engaged and remain engaged throughout the duration of the text-based game. Users or participants must be willing to read the interactive text to be able to comply with the instructions or play the game.