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Universalis + Ficlets

Started by Robotech_Master, January 23, 2009, 07:38:08 PM

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You know, I wish I had thought to propose this while was still alive.

Up until earlier this month, there was a website run under the auspices of AOL called The site consisted of a content management system that would let people write 1024-byte chunks of story, to which other people could follow up with 1024-byte chunks of their own as prequels or sequels. The story could split into multiple different branching directions if there were writers who wanted to take it that way. (The contents of the site are archived at until, its spiritual successor, can be brought up and running.)

It struck me reading one of the other threads here that there are certain similarities between this and Universalis. In both cases, there are specific limits on just how much any one person can affect the story at a time, and in both cases the fun of the thing comes from not knowing what the other person is going to do next (or, in the case of ficlets, do previously either).

I wonder if there might be some way of using a Ficlets-style system in a way that's more Universalis-like, or vice versa?


Wow, I had never heard of ficlets before, but it sounds just like an unfinished web-app I wrote a few years ago called StoryTree. (I implemented it first in PHP, then again in Rails after I learned that. But it never quite got to the point of being releaseable.) I keep meaning to finish it up, but other projects keep intervening.

You're right that there is some overlap with Universalis. But a difference is that since the story can branch, there doesn't need to be agreement over what direction it takes. In fact, in my StoryTree, there was no way to prevent anyone else from adding to your story ... the most you could do, as the author of the branched-from section, was to vote against branches you didn't like, which would make them tend not to show up as options when people browsed.