We first heard of this when Timofey Rechkalov wrote to us towards the end of December. I’ve been playing with it since and it presents as a cool and interesting tool to managing the creation of a larp. Let’s start with the best way of learning about The Story Toolkit – and that is an introduction and tutorial. Watching this will give you a very good idea as to how NIMS helps you develop both story and characters in a structured way.
If this has whetted your appetite for having a go at using the Story Master Toolit here is how you get it.
This is the project page on the Atlassian BitBucket system for NIMS. Its a good place to check for updates and these do look like they are coming in nice and frequently. The introduction is in Russian, followed by an English translation. If you click on download on the left hand side you’ll be able to select your preferred version.
Once downloaded just extract it from the zip file it comes in and double click on nims.html. It should immediately start working in your browser.
You might notice that I haven’t mentioned if its for Windows, or Mac etc. There is a reason for that. It runs in the browser and is operating system independent. So far I’ve run it equally well on computers operating under both Windows 10 and Ubuntu. Top marks for making it able to work anywhere!
So what is it like to work with?
Well it is structured. There is a methodology and workflow implied in the software. So I’d recommend watching the video first. The example story in the video comes bundled as part of the download so you can follow along and try things out (ace!). It’s based on building up information. You start with a broad outline of story and then add events and characters. Using the elements of your story you delve deeper into its structure. You can classify things such as particular character types or antagonist and protagonist relationships. This is nice. It means at anytime you can take a high level view of things and confirm that the story balance is right. If you’re the kind of person who spews out ideas into disorganised mass of notes and then struggles to figure if you’ve got everything just so then Story Master could really help.
When I’m writing a larp I’m fairly sporadic. That means I’ll come up with a plot make notes and then brainstorm ideas. Then I’ll turn these into fairly organised notes – and at this point I’ll start looking at opportunities for drama or better ways to use a character. I think this is the kind of tool that would help me out. As I work out an idea, then put it into the system, see how it fits in, move things around and eventually come up with something more polished. Also having everything to hand means that when forget something I can just look it up (yes I am a database groupie).
The more I played with it the more I thought that yes I like this, its an interesting tool. So I would say that if you write larps, or just want a toolkit to help you write a larp then this could work out for you.