Adventures in Interactive Fiction

Success is North of Failure

New game in progress

I’m very, very hesitant to actually post this, because then it means I’m accountable (even if only in my head) but over the last few weeks, this game has been forming itself in my head, dominating my thoughts as I drive to work.  As I tell myself the story and explore the nooks and crannies, I realize that I have to at least try to get this down.  So here we go again, years after my last attempt.

What am I doing differently this time around?  Well, for starters, I am taking a different approach to the overall process.  Last time, I started with a sort of half-cobbled story idea and a few puzzle ideas that I wanted to incorporate, and started with the implementation before having a clear plan.  This time, I have a fully formed plot, a very clear sense of the geography, detailed thoughts about key events and turning points, and a few set puzzles that play into it.  My plan now is to actually flesh out the plot into a narrative, and then mapping out the corresponding locations and events.  I think having a clear design will make implementation easier this time around.  Well… we’ll see, won’t we?

Wish me luck!

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February 9, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

3 Comments »

  1. OK, I jumped into the middle of this blog and floundered around a little. Anyway, now I’m here in 2012 and I am interested in how the pendulum swings.

    Comment by Robert D DeFord | November 1, 2012 | Reply

  2. HI Robert, it’s interesting that you stumbled across the blog and commented when you did – I was just recently going through my notes from the project that I had started earlier this year and thinking very earnestly about starting it up again.

    Unfortunately, almost immediately after I started in February, life threw me a whole volley of curve balls, and I had to shelve it while I moved across the country. I’m finally settled in, though, and was just remarking (to no one in particular) that it seemed like the perfect opportunity to roll my sleeves up and try to dig back into it. Your comments seem like the perfect confirmation that the time is right.

    In particular, your comments about the “onion approach” really woke up the part of my brain that really seems to be the most energized by the whole prospect of writing IF – I think for me, writing IF is almost a multi-faceted puzzle game in its own right. There’s the technical puzzle of learning how to make the game do what I want, but even more rewarding is the people puzzle – learning how to craft the game to make the people feel the way I want them to feel. That’s a bit of an awkward description, but hopefully you get what I mean.

    So to answer your question, the pendulum was sort of stuck in the midst of an upswing, but you may just have given it the last little nudge that it needed to get back into motion…

    Comment by Jules | November 1, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Jules…

      I am happy to provide confirmation– I myself am frequently guided by confirmations. In fact, you might almost call it my modus operandi, but that’s another area of discussion best left to a non-public forum.

      One thing up front: Reading your blog was like reading my own IF authoring dairy, if I had a diary that is. In that regard, it was fascinating reading. I really hope you continue your IF authoring efforts because I sense a kindred spirit in you.
      —–
      Regarding: I think for me, writing IF is almost a multi-faceted puzzle game in its own right. There’s the technical puzzle of learning how to make the game do what I want, but even more rewarding is the people puzzle – learning how to craft the game to make the people feel the way I want them to feel. That’s a bit of an awkward description, but hopefully you get what I mean.
      —–
      YES! I get what you mean. I personally enjoy authoring IF. It is indeed a multi-faceted puzzle game in its own right, a game that ever evolves, and ever grows more interesting as the scope of my technical skills increases. And, beyond that, learning how to craft a game that makes people feel something, anything, and beyond that, to get them to feel something that I intended. For me, there is nothing else like it. I’ve stopped playing my beloved RPG’s and stopped reading Sci Fi and Fantasy. It’s like a drug.

      I authored my first IF game, the first part of one that is, about ten years ago using TADS3. I wrote my second IF game about two years ago using Inform7. Both of these games were non-trivial projects and I did learn those languages. However, TADS3 was too big and arcane for me to truly master. Inform7 was too quirky for me to master once I got past the easy stuff. I decided that I would seek a new authoring tool and I decided to try Alan3. I wrote a very short little test project in Alan 3 and entered it in the 2012 IF Comp. The game is going to be a flop (based on the early reviews). But I liked Alan so much that I am in the process of writing my my latest IF game using Alan 3 Beta. Yup, I am searching for the perfect IF authoring tool, perfect for me that is. I found that Alan 3 is just about right. You might wish to take a look at Alan yourself.

      For me, now that I am reasonably competent with Alan 3 and can stop focusing on learning the programing language, I am up against two big hurdles. The first is to remember that good IF requires good writing. The second is learn how to “pour” my story idea into the IF world model. Beyond the coding, the narrative must still flow and it must keep the reader/player turning the pages as he or she works within the IF world model to assembly the story you were forced to chop into chunks.

      So far, with all three of my IF works, I’ve failed on both accounts. And, judging by the alpha tester comments on my current project, I still have a lot to learn. My ego is badly bruised. I am knocked down, but not out. I shall rise and start slinging words again with both fists.

      If you desire to communicate with me via email, you can find my contact info at: http://www.dragonfarm.us

      Comment by Robert D DeFord | November 1, 2012 | Reply


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