Quest vs Squiffy: a definitive explanation of differences, pros and cons?

Am I the first to ask this because I sure can't find this addressed clearly and distinctly:

Is there a single definitive explanation of the pros and cons comparison of Quest and Squiffy? Thanks.


If you don't really want to write code (or if you're not familiar with it), you want Quest.

Quest has a GUI.

Squiffy has no GUI.

If you know JavaScript, and want to write code, you might like Squiffy, but you could pull off almost the same thing using Quest.

Quest will produce .quest files, which can only be played in Windows machines with Quest installed OR in the online player (once you've published your game on this site).

Squiffy outputs HTML, CSS, and JS files in a folder, which you can ZIP and publish to whatever website you please. (You can also play the HTML file Squiffy compiles in your browser offline.)

Quest games have a different default 'look and feel', too.

It's sort of hard to explain... There are numerous similarities and differences between the two.

They're both free, though! Try 'em both out, and see what you think!

I actually have both installed. I use Quest more often, but sometimes Squiffy just feels right.


I thought I was going to be more helpful than this when I began to write the post!

That's a start of an answer, and useful. Thanks.

But then, Quest allows Javascript too, no?

Has anyone anywhere anytime taken the time to compare and explain Squiffy vs. Quest? They seem very similar, written by the same developer (I think). But how's one to know which to use and for what benefits (compared!).

Thanks again.

I added a little to the original post, but:

  • You can use HTML, CSS, and JS in either Quest or Squiffy
  • Quest's source code is XML, and Squiffy's source code is... whatever language that is...
  • Alex Warren created them both
  • They are very similar
  • They are also completely different

Are you a developer?

Here's how the creator of both answered this question, back in 2014:

The short answer to your question, though, appears to be: "no. No one has made such a thing. You should do it and post it on here! I bet others would very much appreciate it!"


Do you mean like side-by-side, or something?

Squiffy has no GUI | Quest has a GUI
Squiffy is for developers | Quest is for everyone
Squiffy outputs HTML | Quest outputs .quest
Squiffy runs on any OS | Quest runs only on Windows (and on this site)

Besides that, you use the same programming languages to write scripts for either one.

The compiled games look and act differently by default, but you can alter the HTML, CSS, and/or JS in either Quest or Squiffy to end up with whatever you want.

This may help:

Quest: Easy enough once you get the hang of it.

Squiffy: I don't know any programming language. So I didn't even try it.

Thanks for further technical details. Useful!

To answer your question...
Yes, I am an experienced pro developer, but I'm inquiring into Squiffy and Quest (and any other relevant tools) more as an educator in this instance, looking for an environment that I can use to teach interactive fiction development to young students (ages 8-12 target). Objective is to use slightly enhanced IF (hence, html/js/jquery, etc) to let kids learn creative development w/out (yet) them having to code it all... all the while enhancing literacy skills, content management, story telling, product development process.

Frontend (the students) or backend (me behind the curtain) codability should be useful for not-just-text experiences which would reduce interest in some kids -- graphics, gifs, videos, Google Earth, etc are useful enhancements and learning motivators.

An example of an IF book that uses mixed text and "whizbang features" might be the Nathan Hunt IF game book that integrates Google Maps Streetview into a side pane -- that feature alone is innovative and would add that extra je ne sais quoi that young minds can hook into.

With that brief background in my interests, the basic question remains: Is there a quantitative and qualitative comparison of the pros/cons and features of Squiffy vs. Quest?

Or do my elaborations above suggest one over the other, i.e. Squiffy over Quest?

Thanks so much for further thoughts. I'm certain others must have the same question. I wish textadventures content admin would just post a definitive comparison of the tools. :)

The developer's answer provided in the link you sent is very useful to characterize the broad differences. It seems he recommends Squiffy for anything beyond text-only or simple IF interface. I'm starting to get the picture.

Thanks also to the other responses... It's starting to add up.


Is there a data limit on Squiffy?

In my understanding, the website ( itself has a 20 MB limit for all games, including Squiffy. Don't remember why. Usually that doesn't matter unless you overload it with pics and sound files.

The desktop version has no limit (besides your computer...). Files can be shared by e-mail, or whatever way one usually shares files. (I'm pretty sure Google Docs works too, since I have never tried a Quest file, but I have uploaded small games on there.)

Ah... A learning environment.

This doesn't really answer your question at all either, but I bet you'll find it interesting:

Discovered ActiveLit yesterday and am very excited and enabled by the ability to setup private groups of students to do the IF development work.

To the question about data limits.... I don't know about that... yet!

Quest is best for text adventures. Squiffy is best for gamebooks or CYOA stories. They are really two different, if related, things.

Gamesbook/CYOA is the easier genre. I have not used Squiffy, but I have used a similar system, and creating a CYOA is much less effort. That said, as an introduction to programming, it may be lacking because you can pretty much avoid doing any.

A text adventure is spacially based - the player moves between nodes (rooms) that have meaning in the geography of the world. Squiffy is temporally based - the player moves between nodes (pages/events) that have mean in the timeline of the game.

A Quest text adventure has a world model; it has things built-in to represent objects, characters and rooms. If you want the player to be able to manipulate things in a meaningful way, use Quest. An advantage of that is that in introduced object-orientated programming in a natural way (though Quest's OO is a bit limited).

If you want a game that can loaded up to your own web site, use Squiffy.

Quest Gamebooks are pretty much the worst of both worlds.

Useful information. This helps me think through both my objectives and methods in the workshops I'm conjuring up for kiddos. The chosen tool shapes all of that. My inclination after all this input is that Squiffy is probably closer to what I imagine in the long run -- because of coding enhancement which I might allow me to setup a rich development environment facilitated with multimedia options and tools. On the other hand, I'm going to give Quest a thorough review because sometimes less is more, if you know what I mean.

Thanks again for all the useful input.

I... thought you could do anything in Squiffy.

Glad I didn't choose it, then!!!

I... thought you could do anything in Squiffy.
Glad I didn't choose it, then!!! <<<

It appears to me that if you can work w/ Javascript then you can likely do almost 'anything' software-wise in Squiffy.

My take away from this discussion and from what I've seen so far in the excellent videos linked to above is that Quest is a self-contained text adventure tool that facilitates game-like features and overall content editing through a fixed but pretty rich GUI. That GUI provides a friendly-ish means to create what essentially amounts to program variables and story functions that allow you to weave as intricate an interactive story as you wish, because you set it all up in the GUI's many options.

Squiffy on the other hand, and I barely know what I'm talking about here (except for the coding aspects), allows for a more robust end-product both content-wise and interface-wise... but you must be able to use HTML, Javascript, CSS to create those conditions. Until I've actually put my hands on Squiffy or seens sufficient tutorials, I'm presently not clear about what Squiffy 'comes with' by default without programming enhancement. So, an emerging story here.

It appears to me that if you can work w/ Javascript then you can likely do almost 'anything' software-wise in Squiffy.

Well someone has written a space invaders game for Quest... The question is, why would you want to?

Quest is good for text adventures, Squiffy is good for CYOA. Different tools for different jobs. Of course, if the purpose is education, that muddies the waters. Really the best way is to try them both and see which works for you.

CYOA = Choose Your Own Adventure

Figured that out on my own!

I've been looking at Twine 2, Choicescript, and Squiffy all week. I like Squiffy because once you know the codes and structures, you can focus on the story. BTW, there is a great video of creating with Squiffy on youtube by Carlos Pinto
But for students, I wonder if Twine might not be easier? It does have the ability to show the links between nodes. Like Squiffy, it is based on tiddlywiki (I believe). Or have you considered and rejected it for some reason.
Both have wonderful online versions where you can type code and play the result right in the browser. Both will produce stand alone web ready content that you own and can host anywhere.
ChoiceScript is also very attractive, but having to fuss with formatting may be a problem. My guess is a proofreader/helper/teacher might easily take four spaces for five and be puzzled about why the code fails.
I am boggled myself. by these excellent tools. But I lean to Squiffy for me, maybe Twine for rank beginners.

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