Most of all I remember "Creature of Havoc" ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creature_of_Havoc ) as being amazing and extremely hard. Instead of being an adventurer you play a monster with limited IQ forced to unravel the mystery of your own existence. It employed various techniques that prevented cheating like "If you have the key, add the number written on the key to this page number to open the door". One of those puzzles still has people discussing it http://laurencetennant.com/bonds/creatureofhavoc.html ( contains spoilers ). At 13 years old it took me and a friend 2-3 months to finally crack it.
But surely the whole point of Fighting Fantasy books is for me to experience something different to my everyday life?
In computer science terms, that would be an "indirect jump" or "computed goto"; and somewhat relatedly, indirect jumps/calls are for the same reason a little trickier to deal with when reverse-engineering --- without keeping track of other state, it's hard to determine where one will go.
The differences are interesting, like which are more linear and which are more branching; some have relatively early choices that fork into two long separate branches.
There was (potentially) a typo in the book:
Now I wonder if Third Planet from Altair did that. As a kid, I was frustrated to never get to the best ending, so tried to backtrack the references. I was stumped to find that no page seemed to take you there.
A play-through can be attempted very quickly, every time experiencing something new -- you are racing through the world attempting to return to London in 80 days.
The creator, Inkle, have a more traditional RPG, Sorcery. Also good for re-creating feel of a classic D&D adventure, but I enjoyed encountering automatons in Vienna in "80 Days" more.
The map will be more linear-ish, or rather one mail path with side loops -- imagine passing levels in a game, you are provided ways to practice a new skill until you are able to pass to new level.
More interestingly, the progress through the book can be itself constrained by a kind of crypto.
The chapters in the book will be numbered and ordered at random. At the end of each chapter it will say "goto chapter 234." or "goto chapter 34 mod 12"
Now imagine the player wants to cheat and starts with a random chapter in the middle of the book. He won't be able to find previous chapter (it's kind of a one-way function). Morever, if progress to chapter N+1 is gated by a puzzle that requires skill learned in chapter N-1, he can't move forward either.
Some initial notes are here: https://github.com/sustrik/crypto-for-kids
BTW have you looked at tools like http://twinery.org/ ? I might help you organise the content (although perhaps not with random ordering)
It allows you to turn videos into 'Choose Your Own Adventure' like guides.
You can map where the user goes next based on the choices they make.
It seems like it'd be a great tool for entertainment or educational purposes.
The only issue I found was that the videos couldn't be captioned, so it's not ideal for accessibility.
This seems likely to arise in education as well. Not merely spoken dialog systems, but mentors that watch you and adjust to your interests. Not just show a youtube science video, but use eye tracking to identify what aspects were of interest, and follow up on them. 'Was it the nanoparticles, the microscope, the chicken, the laser, cancer, or the friendly graduate student? Well, here is some related content.' Done well, science education is like studying history - it's such a densely interwoven tapestry, that good advice is to start with what interests you, and by pulling that thread, pull in the world.
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/01/30/alternate-endin... tells a story of Interlude/Eko and CYOA-ish innovation.
An audiobook format would be interesting too. Might be tricky to do in the car though, ha.
This is all so obvious but it never solidified concretely like this for me until now.
The following domains have a bunch of stuff taken away from them, you're left with a narrow domain of very few concepts, and once narrowed it is intuitive to make a visual tool:
webforms - google forms
relational forms - airtable
computer aided design
music - OneNote
video games - unity
website - squarespace
crud app - hyperfiddle.net
world wide web - internet explorer, or html
What other ways can we attack a large domain like "enterprise business apps" and take things away until left with a few simple composable primitives?
Web blurb, slightly different from print⁽¹⁾
Meanwhile began as a series of seven increasingly complex flowcharts. Once the outline of the story was structured, a computer algorithm determined the most efficient way to transfer it to book form, using a system of tabs to interlink the panels and pages. The problem proved to be NP-complete; it was finally cracked in spring of 2000, with the aid of a V-opt heuristic algorithm which ran for twelve hours on an SGI machine.
As a kid, I played 'City of Thieves' by Ian Livingstone. When entering that city, there is a crossing and one can pick three roads, all leading to the same city market.
I always wondered: what is the best route of the three?
To do so, I first ported 'City Of Thieves' to console and desktop and Nintendo DS (after mailing the book company for permission, which I got). Then I wrote an AI that assigns payoffs to the different chapters. Not only did this result in such a map, but also the payoff it assigns to each chapter: https://github.com/richelbilderbeek/CityOfThieves/blob/maste...
The question is still unsolved though, as I do not trust the implementation of the AI :-)
I didn't like the idea of lying about reading but I was OK with gaming the system by reading 'choose your own adventure' books.
I would pick the dumbest options because I knew it was likely I'd die fast and the book would be over.
Problem was, I was reading mostly adult books at that point, and they didn't have any tests for those.
However, I realized that the tests were both multiple choice, and -didn't penalize you for wrong answers- (or if they did, it was fractional, i.e., 4 possible answers, a wrong one was -1/4, a positive one was +1, so doing just slightly better than random chance would give you a positive score). So I started taking them for books I'd never read, and just guessing.
I then picked up a little abridged version, breezed through it, and easily passed the simple multiple-choice test. Looking back, there was really no reason for that book to be in there.
I only read a few of these way back when, so I don't remember exactly if this happened, but another possible take would be a sort of 'where were you when the big [whatever] happened'. How do different choices early on determine how you're affected by the Plague/ day Dublin's streets ran with Guinness/ Chicxulub impact.
I ran into a lot of unexpected technical complexities in the compilation step, for example trying to remove unreachable branches of the story, and optimizing situations where branches merged back together, or removing variables that were being tracked that no longer had any effect on the story from that point on. It was a fun exercise. It makes me wonder how earlier CYOA books and series were actually written. How hard was it to keep track of the various branching plot lines? Were there ever cases where "bugs" were published? I was a massive fan of CYOA, especially Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy series.
"No one can chose to visit Ultima," says Elinka. "Nor can you get here by following directions. It was a miracle you got here, but that is perfectly logical, because Ultima is a miracle in itself." The End
Japanese Visual Novels are basically CYOA with pictures. The number of decision points varies depending on the book in question, but the basic structure is still there.
Twine  is a system that allows you to create stories, essentially CYOA but with the option of adding variables. For instance, you could have an option that is only selectable if you found a key earlier. This bridges the gap between CYOA and classic text adventure. Since Twine outputs HTML it is also easy to port wherever you want.
Finally, there are a number of online community CYOA. This being the Internet, the quality is varied and many of them are pornographic. Probably the biggest is Addventure
In one short story he proposes a kind of reverse CYOA book: A book with many beginnings but only one ending.
Some games work like this (eg Dragon Age: Origins). It's not as mysterious as it sounds.
Still the maps match up with a lot of the examples I have seen of flow charts/maps/grids from authors who scope out their stories and then fill in where its important and interesting with the actual text we get to read
I didn't play their later game but I hear that their new one 'Detroit' is going to really build on the idea of failure and continuation.
Secondarily, you also likely have pressure to make a game that is enjoyable for as long as possible and caters to as many people as possible, which discourages building/allowing critical failure points like the pie in King's Quest V, and maybe also discourages branching too hard so that all content that can be experienced is mostly easily digestible in one playthrough (the subtext being, if you're only ever going to be paid once per user in the context of a single player game, that any path not explored by most people is essentially a massive waste of money so the experience should be streamlined to a tunnel as far as possible to a cost limit the minimum expected adventure).
Lone Wolf was one of the best series in this genre back in the 1980's, and doesn't get nearly enough mention in comparison to the CYOA or Steve Jackson stuff.
They are long out of print, but I still have a soft spot in my heart for the GrailQuest series... a very loosely King Authur-themed series with a much more whimsical and campy style. I remember mailing the author a fan letter when I was about 10 years old, and receiving a very nice handwritten reply from Ireland (which I probably still have tucked in an old photo album somewhere). In the age of email, social media, and $50 autograph lines at cosplay conventions, younger people will probably never know the magic of contacting a favorite author and unexpectedly receiving a tangible reply later on.
The fact that you control the choices of a person from childhood to adulthood, with astonishingly different outcomes depending on those choices, has the sublime effect of making you consider the direction your real life is going, and how your everyday trivial decisions shape it. Sometimes what appears to be a minor choice or even an evil decision can lead to a better outcome than the alternative.
New paperback and ebook editions were released a few years ago.
There are far more of those in Japanese than English or any other language.
One more that I don't think was reachable from the article is on the blog These Heterogenous Tasks:
Or I was maze-solving. Probably both.
I really enjoyed http://chooseyourstory.com/story/ground-zero and http://chooseyourstory.com/story/dead-man-walking-(zombie-su...
I wrote my own gamebooks using a simple notepad and "turn to page XXX"-style narratives. In the end, they are just programs that you follow. :)
To this day, I'm still fascinated by them and recently wrote some sites that let you create CYOA-style adventures yourself and with others; http://www.thiswayorthat.club is one of them.
After we were done I added some code to output the graph structure of the game, rendered it with GraphViz, and gave it to the artist, who came up with this: https://twitter.com/rmodjeski/status/455184159401472000
I've had a blast reading this together with my 7 year old son.
Huh? Lets say each node is a page, and the book is 256 pages. I don't see why the graph could be any (cyclic) or not graph? True, binary choices probably makes it easier to make an easy, and natural feeling narrative - but I don't see this as a hard limitation?
I mean, in the extreme case (with one very long first page) you could have a "2-page" story with beginning, and 255 alternate endings? And you could modify that, so that 254 lead back to the first page, with an additional hint...
[ed: See the map for "cup of death" for an actual book that uses "four road fork".
It is curious that all of these concrete books seem to use binary choices. I can't remember the CYA books I read when I was a kid (Author, name of series) - but I seem to recall there was frequently three, four choices - often one or more choice would loop back (often literally, as in a path that forked around and led you back to an earlier fork in the road...).]
(Disclosure: I am one of the programmers)