Video Game CMS Review: Articy Draft for Game Development

Managing characters stats, lore, story, dialogue, and other recurring video game components is quite a task. Even with popular game engines such as Unity 3D, Game Maker Pro, and RPG Maker all lack a robust solution to solve these issues. That’s where Articy: Draft comes into play its a full blown CMS for video game development. Below I’ve documented my findings on this software so you can figure out if its right for you or not.

articy-draft
A content management system for games.

Organizing Stats

All the data you attach to characters is done in a modular fashion. You can add your own custom game stats such as hp, magic, strength and keep this on the same page as your story components.

articy modules
Character sheets can be customized with as many modules such as stats, background, ect.

What’s even better is you can selectively choose what information gets exported (more on that later). That way you can just export game stats and exclude story writing.

Story Writing

Probably the best feature of Articy is creating dialogue trees. You can quickly link together several pieces of data as so. These can be conversations, menus, and just about anything else you can imagine.

articy flow chart
Flow charts can be used to create ability trees, unlockable skill trees, and many other tree based data structures

The exported data will then look like this. So you’ll have to grab conversation trees by ID in your game. Small price to pay for generating branching conversations.

Exporting Your Data

So, the one con of Articy: draft is it exports every section in XML. You cannot choose which sections get exported. For example, an exported XML sheet will bring along with it characters, levels, lore, flowcharts, and everything else in your project.

articy xml export
Exporting XML is probably the most lackluster feature. It does most of what you need and not much else.

This is a real pain for RPGs since you probably don’t want to load in everything at once. You can easily remedy this by cutting up the XML file you receive into smaller components. Via a post-processing script with Ruby or another language.

Notes on buying

Be warned when you buy a license that the checkout process can take a couple business days. It isn’t like purchasing something on Amazon, as they have a few steps you have to walk through.

Conclusion

Despite its flaws Articy: Draft is almost the perfect content management tool for games. It allows you to keep large amounts of text and programming data all in one place. Currently there is nothing out there like this. So until something better pops up this is by far the best tool for game developers who need to manage a large amount of content with data.

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