Choose Your Own Adventure - Epub Gamebook

I love reading, and one of the things I enjoyed a lot as a child was reading Choose Your Own Adventure books. Well, technically they are called gamebooks, but as many others I tend to generalize the brand name as the book type. In any case, they were really simple books with branching paths and narratives, often with multiple endings.

I already have an unfinished but working project for building web CYOA readers, but as I really enjoy reading at bed from my Kindle, I wanted to do a little experiment: try to build ebooks that have branching paths and act like a classic gamebook.

The idea is really simple: Each relevant page number (as in "go to page XXX") becomes a chapter, and as ebooks support links as references to chapters (and they are trivial to set even with minimal formats such as Markdown), build the navigation based on chapters.

A quick search, reading a bit about Pandoc and using its official Docker image, and I was able to quickly build something: https://github.com/Kartones/cyoa-epub.

The sample generated in the repository is a very simple ebook with few chapters, but serves as a, introduction tutorial on how the metadata works, how to add a book cover (of course you can also have images at normal pages), how to add a table of contents, and a minimal "adventure" sample that puts to the test the approach.

And it indeed works! Here's an almost final version being tested:

Testing the ebook in my Kindle

I now guess if with some OCR and a bit of text cleaning and processing I could build digital versions of those childhood books... 🤔

2021-03-27

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