Above is a live demo of a game made using text-engine.
(The demo game designed to be a little obtuse. Try typing something and hitting ENTER. Don't trust everything it tells you.)

text-engine (source on Github)

What is it?

A JavaScript REPL-style text-based adventure game engine. Small (~200 lines) and easy to use with no dependencies.

How do I use it?

To create your own adventure, use game-disks/unlimited-adventure.js as a template.

Include your 'game disk' (JSON data) in index.html and load it with loadDisk(myGameData).

What good will it do me?

The end product will be your very own text adventure game, similar to this one.

That was a little fast...

You're right. Here are some more in-depth instructions...

The loadDisk function

text-engine uses a disk metaphor for the data which represents your game, like the floppy disks of yore. Including index.js from this repository in your index.html <script>s adds a single function to the global namespace: loadDisk. loadDisk accepts a single argument, which is your disk -- a standard JavaScript object (JSON).

What's a disk?

A disk is a JavaScript object which describes your game. It has three top-level properties:

  • roomId (String) - This is a reference to the room the player currently occupies. Set this to the ID of the room the player should start in.
  • inventory (Array) - List of items in the player's inventory. items will be discussed in more detail below.
  • rooms (Array) - List of rooms in the game.

Note that you can also add any custom properties you want anywhere on this object. You will be able to access and modify them via the use functions on your items, which will be passed a reference to your disk. More on the usefunctions later...

What's a room?

A room is an object with the following properties:

  • name (String) - The name of the room will be displayed each time it is entered.
  • id (String) - Unique identifier for this room. Can be anything.
  • img (String) - Graphic to be displayed each time the room is entered. (This is intended to be ASCII art.)
  • desc (String) - Description of the room, displayed when it is first entered, and also when the player issues the look command.
  • items (Array) - List of items in this room. items can be interacted with by the player.
  • exits (Array) - List of paths from this room.

What's an exit?

An exit is an object with the following properties:

  • dir (String) - The direction the player must go to leave via this exit.
  • id (String) - The ID of the room this exit leads to.

What's an item?

An item is an object with the following properties:

  • name (String) - How the item is referred to by the game and the player.
  • desc (String) - Text displayed when the player looks at the item.
  • isTakeable (Boolean) - Optional - Whether the player can pick up this item (if it's in a room). Defaults to false.
  • use (Function) - Optional - Function to be called when the player uses the item.

Use functions

Use functions accept a game object, which is a JavaScript object with the following properties:

disk (Object) - A reference to your game disk. Can be used to add or change properties. For instance, to make an item which previously could not be picked up takeable.

println (Function) - The function which prints output for the player to see. Accepts a string.

getRoom (Function) - Convenience function for retrieving a reference to a room on the disk. Accepts roomId as a String.

enterRoom (Function) - The function which moves a player to a room. Accepts roomId as a String.

Use functions are just JavaScript functions, with the full power of the language. You can make an item do whatever you want when a player uses it. Knock yourself out.

That's everything! If you've made a JSON object with all these properties -- that is, a disk -- you've got a playable game!

How do I play it?

Just pass a reference to your disk to the loadDisk function. Take a look at index.html to see an example. I've saved my disk to a const variable called unlimitedAdventure in game-disks/unlimited-adventure.js. I've included that file and index.js in my HTML file, and added a script tag with a single line to call loadDisk(unlimitedAdventure). The game boots when index.html is loaded in a browser.

You can use the included index.html file in your own project, or you can create your own. If you make your own, note that you will need to add two elements:

  • A div with ID output. This is where the game text will appear.
<code><div id="output"></div>
  • An input with ID input. This is where the user will enter commands.
<code><input id="input" autofocus>

Useful Tools


Release date Jan 08, 2017
AuthorBenji Kay
LicenseMIT License
LinksSource code



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