We recently announced that we're building Night in the Woods for mobile! We're super excited about this, so we thought that we'd share a bunch of technical behind-the-scenes stuff on our blog over the coming weeks and months. This is the first of those posts!
Yarn Spinner is the dialogue engine that we wrote, and was used in Night in the Woods. It’s open source, freely available, and we think it’s pretty powerful.
One of the reasons why we think Yarn Spinner is powerful is that it’s designed to focus on as little as possible. There’s literally only three things that Yarn Spinner can do with your game: it can send lines of dialogue, ask for a selection among a group of options, and send a command for your game to interpret.
The idea behind this is that your game can add what it needs to on top, rather than being forced to fit inside the ideas that we had when we first wrote the system. There are several excellent dialogue systems that are designed to be very good at operating within the structure of a role-playing game, or a choose-your-own-adventure system (Twine is a great example of this last one), but for Yarn Spinner, we wanted the system to be more generalised, and able to be applied to a wide variety of games systems.
The consequence of doing that, however, is that a game needs to do more work to add the features that it needs. While we built Yarn Spinner with NITW in mind, there are several features that are quite specific to the game.
In this post, we’ll highlight some of the cooler things that Alec Holowka, the lead developer of Night in the Woods, built on top of the Yarn Spinner system to support its needs.
Here’s an example of the kind of dialogue that exists in Night in the Woods. Here’s Mae and Gregg, planning on going to Donut Wolf: