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Board Writing :: About

Board Writing (or BW for short) is an interactive story (IAS) and collaborative writing (CW) environment that allows the members of Reality's End to create any type of story they wish -- whether or not it is related to the site.

If you are confused or scared by the term IAS, think of it as nothing more than an RP that you would actually want to read. Roleplaying is generally about winning; collaborative writing is about making a good story.

Board Writing can trace its origins to Vap Bab, an interactive story written by the web master and the notable Mad Goblin at a now extinct (at least in their view) forum of Azure Heights. The web master wished to recreate the experience on his own site one day, as such a thing has a high focus on creativity, something every RE game strives for.

Originally, it was supposed to debut in 2004 under the name Bestiary Warrior, a comic that would be finished in a narrative written by members of Battling Dragons. The idea was nixxed after the web master's faith in the patrons' writing ability was shaken. Nevertheless, the Bestiary Warrior code is still used today in Board Writing.

RPs on RE got their next big push after Role Playing functions were added to the forums and even received their own board. Of course, neither these functions nor the board were supposed to be used for actual role playing. That did not stop some members from trying, however. These efforts resulted in the first interactive stories on Reality's End, and were surprisingly successful.

The same problems existed with these new forum IASes that existed with the original Vap Bab, most notably the problem of two authors making a reply at the exact same time. And so the REWS arrived... sort of.

The REWS originally debuted under the name of Black and White, most notably because of a color scheme radically different from the rest of RE. It played off of the original initials of Bestiary Warrior, which existed to signify much the same colorful lacking. The name was later changed to simply Board Writing, but the project as a whole failed after about six months of existence. Many of the authors dropped out, leaving it weeks without any sort of activity.

The biggest difference between BW and the current system was voting that judged a post's fate, not moderation. Despite having readers, few bothered to vote. This allowed especially foul additions to survive and corrupt stories, eventually leading to the feature's downfall.

The web master concocted another theory, however. It could be that the patrons of Reality's End simply do not care about creative writing. It could be that all of Kato's efforts to make a site that encouraged creativity in as many forms as possible wildly failed its goal. It could be that the only thing that even attracted members to the RP forum were those wretched letters "R" and "P", of which there was actually none in the entire Role Playing forum, but still they drew in the members, drew in idiots.

When BW was sufficiently dead, its code was copied and pasted into a new directory. Its looks and feel were changed just enough so that members would not believe that the two features were in fact the same thing (which surprisingly worked, again not saying much for the members of Reality's End), and this Role Playing Experiment got underway, dubbed the RPeX. Regardless of the results, on April 1st, 2006, the predetermined criteria for success or failure would come to light and the experiment exposed for what it truly was...

And amazingly, the experiment was wrong. The letters "RP" did not attract the attention as not one RP or even an attempt at it was made in the RPeX's early life; only true IASes were made.

It also introduced new features lacking in the old Board Writing (as an attempt to make it look different), causing the old stories worth saving to migrate to the new writer as the superior IAS board. The innovations included the dismissal of a voting system in favor of user reporting and moderation (which ensured that inappropriate posts were rid of instead of staying around since "they were funny") and discussion boards on every story.

It seems that the RPeX was fated to the same bleak existance as other interactive writers on the web, with one notable difference. Despite all of our disgust for going-ons in stories at times throughout the multi-year history of writing on RE, this site still has the best crew of interactive writers ever assembled. Other places suck. Trust me; I've checked. There was a place I wanted to go into a sort of writing war with, but they fizzled out before I had the chance!

Thus we enter the newest generation -- the Reality's End Writing System. It trickled onto this site over a few months, bringing with it even more features. One of its hardest driving points was being idiot-centric: the layout departed from a more convenient form to a more informative one, specifically designed to ease newcomers over older authors. Links were thrown about with wreckless abandon, and more features were added to ease writers' lives, such as the exclusive Author Channel, spots, goals, and summaries.

There was still one feature to be added, however. It is one I had always considered, but it was difficult to implement and even more difficult to demonstrate to readers. It was the Splinter System -- the ability for a single story to have multiple paths. Each was like an alternate reality, progressing independently of all other outcomes of a story. Such an idea could only be represented as a graphical tree, something far beyond the capababilities of HTML.

Then, I discovered SVG.

This new language allowed text-based vector graphics. All I needed was lines and circles. The branching storylines could now be represented for the visitors of the site, so the feature could finally be added. No longer can stories be ruined; the ReWriting Splinter, the final incarnation of Reality's End writing, not only goes through every possible step to ensure that stories are written correctly, but now it also promises that they shall never be ruined again. Any story -- those which have already fallen and those yet to be written -- can be saved by splintering away from the destructive writing. Now, the one last excuse which kept so many from writing has been removed. Will they find another, or will IAS on RE once again flourish?

How will this next generation of Reality's End writing fare? Only time will tell... and quickly told that still no body cares but me and my brother.



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