What is Ficdown?

Ficdown is a set of standards using the Markdown formatting syntax that can be used to create choice-based interactive fiction. Formatting of text is done using standard Markdown, with a few Markdown elements taking on additional story-defining properties (for example, level-two headings are used to separate scenes).

Why Ficdown?

There are a ton of systems out there for defining choice-based interactive fiction. Many of those systems involve learning a new scripting language, and require the use of specialized development environments (either online or installed on your computer). The majority of them produce games that require Javascript and can only be played in a web browser. I created Ficdown for three reasons:

  1. I want to write interactive fiction in the text editor of my choice,
  2. I want my interactive fiction to be playable on devices like my Kindle without Javascript or an internet connection, and
  3. I want to use Markdown instead of learning some new scripting language.

Using Ficdown, you can focus on the writing. Ficdown only uses existing Markdown syntax to define everything in your story, so you can write in any editor you want and don't have to learn any new scripting language. And while Ficdown stories can be played interactively in a web browser, they can also be converted to standard ebook formats or static HTML for offline play.

How do I Ficdown?

The first step, if you are not already familiar, would be to learn the Markdown formatting syntax. It is a general purpose syntax used to convert human-readable plain-text into HTML, and it rocks.

The next step would be to check out the documentation and tutorials available here on the Learn page, which describe how Ficdown works. Once you have a handle on it, start writing! You can use the free tools available on the Write page to export your games to a variety of formats for publication.

If you just want to play some interactive fiction that has been written using Ficdown, check out the Play page.

If you're interested in writing your own Ficdown-related tools or contributing to the ones used by this site, the source code for all of my Ficdown projects are linked on the Source page.