I heard about Articy:Draft as a game design tool about a year or so ago on the Unity forums. After seeing it on sale on Steam at that time, I went ahead and bought version 1. I tinkered around with it a little as a game design document tool for my first experimental game, but since that game was so simple, Articy seemed a little overkill.
After working a lot on the various systems of my new game Astra, I’m at that point where I need to organize and formalize the design. During another past Steam sale, I upgraded to version 2 and the commercial edition of Articy:Draft, and just spent some time going over their demo projects and manual. I’ve got to say that after initially being a little intimidated by all its features, it’s actually really cool and simple to use. The beautiful interface makes you feel like you’re creating something fresh and of importance!
I’ve had countless handwritten pages and notes about the design of Astra which I had converted to lots and lots of Google Docs. I wanted to use Articy as a unified area to bring in all my ideas, concepts, and documents, and it excels in that role. It’s also really useful for blocking out UI designs using it’s “Locations” feature. That’s the nice thing about Articy… you can use it however you want. I’ve got the project files backed up on cloud storage in case anything goes wrong, and also in case I need to share it with anyone I may collaborate with in the future that also has a copy of Articy.
The only main downside is the price, which can be a little high for most indie developers, especially if you get the server version. If you are the only person on your team, or are working with another person, then the Steam Edition should be enough. There were a lot of people who were complaining about its high price, but with all the Articy:Draft sales on Steam, the price was just right for me. I even made my brother buy it during another recent Steam sale so that he can use it as an organizational tool for writing.
One improvement I’d like to see is increased responsiveness of the program, mainly when typing things in the interface. I don’t think it’s a problem with my computer, as it’s pretty fast by current technology standards, and I don’t see the same jerkiness when typing in any other software. Also, the only thing that’s missing for me right now is JSON export functionality, which seems to be on the roadmap according to Nevigo’s (the maker of Articy:Draft) forums. They do have XML export, but I’ve decided to use JSON as the data format for most of my functionality due to load times and ease of modifying.
And that’s my next hurdle… implementing moddability for Astra. That will be an interesting journey for sure!