A quick survey of LARP writing tools I know about (including some I have never used). I put these in alphabetical order and added some that other gamers told me about. If you tell me about another one I’ll add it to the list. 🙂
Stuff designed by LARPers
Akkar: this is from some folks in Norway and from what I can gleen from their page it is a web service you can install on your own server. I have never used it.
Créa’GN: I think it’s an online collaborative tool, but the whole site is in French, and regrettably I don’t read French. (It looks like the site may require a paid subscription for writers? I am having difficulty reading the page, so I’m not 100% sure on this.) I have never used this system.
GameTeX: a LaTeX based system for writing LARPs. If you’ve spent any time writing academic papers you probably either love or hate LaTeX (it is very powerful but not very user-friendly).
Edit: You can now get a copy of GameTex from http://web.mit.edu/kenclary/Public/Guild/GameTeX/ or a newer fork on https://github.com/dwhalen/SGSTeX
You may also find this tutorial for getting it working on a Mac helpful:
Gender Swap: a tool for managing gender changing LARP characters to match casting needs, by me. This is not a full system, just a markup processing tool for gendering characters at casting time. It supports standard pronouns for male, female, they-neutral, and ze-neutral genders.
Larpwriter: looks like a web page based cloud system that can generate PDF sheets. I know nothing other than what’s written on their page.
NIMS: This is a web page based LARP writing tool with either an online or offline version available. It used to be Russian language only but has recently had an English language release. I have never used NIMS.
A Tutorial for using the system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxGeTzGlCiw
Querki: another online cloud service based system by Justin du coeur. Alan saw a demo of this one at Intercon and was super impressed with it. I have never used this system.
Spindle: also a cloud service system, and what I know about it is pretty much what it says on their IndieGoGo page. (As a spinner who uses a drop spindle, I <3 their logo. 🙂 )
Vellum: a collaborative writing tool developed by Nat Budin. It’s an online service based system. I have never used this system.
Stuff for general collaborative writing
Any Wiki System: Any wiki system you like will probably work fine for collaborative online editing as well. I find wikis tedious for small to medium games but some people love them. I’m in the middle of working on a game with Kathleen Leeds De Smet and Katie Zenke via a private wiki.
Dropbox: a cloud storage system for files that can be used to share collaborative projects. When used for LARPs there is the caveat that the version of Dropbox that functions in your file system can’t really handle concurrent editing of a given document (I believe their web system can). The free version of their service offers more than enough space for most writers to store many games. I’ve used Dropbox to write several games collaboratively.
Google Drive: more cloud storage of collaboratively edited documents! Google Drive is great for letting multiple writers concurrently edit documents, but you are stuck with their document format (the exporting capabilities aren’t terrible, but once you export you don’t get to edit collaboratively any more). Managing file organization is a nightmare because they have no tools for anything more complicated that “copy this file.” It does have a nice editing history to let you review other author’s changes. I’ve used Google Drive to write games collaboratively.
OneNote: a cloud storage system for notes that lets you share and collaborate with others. Katie Zenke tells me this works well for working on games alone or with other writers. I haven’t used OneNote.
Scrivener: a writing tool intended for other forms of writing like novels, but can also be used for LARPs. Julia Ellingboe tells me that there are LARP specific templates available for Scrivener and their site confirms that it will hook up to various cloud services like Dropbox to allow for multi-writer collaboration. I’ve never used this software.
Source Control Software: Those of us who are programmers will be familiar with various source control systems like Git or Subversion. To use them for collaboration you need all your writers to be comfortable using something a little more cryptic and technologically confusing. Some source control systems have only command line tools and others have relatively easy to use visual clients. Git is notable because of the existence of GitHub, which will allow you to have a centralized online place for writers to connect their copy of a git repository so you can share your writing easily. GitHub is free, but the things that you put there are (by default) visible to anyone on the web. You can give GitHub money to get a private place to put your stuff. I’ve used various source control systems at work and in my personal collaborative projects.
If you can think of any others I should add leave me a comment. 🙂
Git. Or any other scm, but really, git.
We’ve never used git for a whole game, but one could-and we do use it someetimes for game-specific software. (like card generators). With markdown or similar, though, it could be used well for a game–and branching is the killer app here.
Thanks Joshua! I’ve added a note about source control software. 🙂
As a Spindle co-creator I would like to say that we naver stated to be the firs larp-writing software. In fact, in all discussions we give propper credits to previous systems, like Larpwriter, Crea GN (maybe worth adding here? http://www.creagn.com/ ) and Akkar. However, we do state to be innovative and based on unique approach 🙂
Also, we are live already: http://spindle.pl
Thanks, I’ve updated the link. 🙂
I think what I was reacting to was the sentence “SPINDLE is the first IT tool to operate on various parts of larp scenario content which understands their meaning.” on Indigogo.
Oh, this in fact may sound a bit pretentious. What do we had on mind is that if piece of info is modified in a plot, or character, is it updated at the same time in all other characters which have this piece. So, you are applying the changes to couple dozens of characters at the same time, and changes are always fitting the context of particular character. Tx for noticing this.
We will be very glad if you will add our LARP writing software in this post – story master toolkit NIMS.
Last week it was released in English. NIMS is created for making complex personal LARP handouts with rich event series. Initial NIMS release happens a year ago in Russian language. For this year there were written 8 games and a dozen in progress now.
We made a full system overview in video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxGeTzGlCiw
This is site with our software (including NIMS): http://trechkalov.com/index-en.html
Sure thing Timofey. I’ve added it to the list above. Thanks for letting me know about your software! 🙂
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