Adventures in Interactive Fiction

Success is North of Failure

And there was light, and it was good.

Happily, I’m getting back into the swing of things. Most of my descriptions are done, in that they are written, which has made it possible for me to sort of move on. They’re still not quite complete, but I have at least overcome the obstacle of not being able to put anything down at all. Tweaking, for me, is far easier than the initial process of writing.

So in the process of creating a closet, I got (happily) sidetracked by creating a light. It’s a fairly simple and straightforward construction: a cord and an outlet; plug the first into the second and voila, there’s light. Took only two minutes to realize it wasn’t as straightforward as I initially thought. How do I keep people from plugging frogs into candles, for instance? So I set about defining what can be plugged in, what can be plugged into, and how to handle any deviations from that.

And I figured it out, without needing to turn to the documentation. *insert happy dance* Now, the fact that I did it on my own means it is probably the least graceful approach, but it works. It’s also good for the confidence; I’m really starting to feel like I have the makings of a game that will at least be passable, even if it falls short of being brilliant.

Next Challenge:

My next task is to figure out how to automatically supply the right second noun if someone says “plug cord”, or how to handle attempts at things like “plug in cord” instead. The question is: if I define an action as “applying to two things” how do I handle attempts that only apply to one thing? (Mostly rhetorical; I plan on posting the question to raif shortly. [UPDATE:  Got it working thanks to the kind and knowledgeable souls at raif.]

The fun part of today’s exercise has come in thinking of new ways to expand the story. The game isn’t puzzleless, but it also isn’t going to be very hard; I guess my aim is towards something that is really mostly an interactive story; all the player’s actions are geared towards developing the story. The trick is figuring out how to do that in a way that doesn’t feel too mundane or tedious, without bringing in arbitrary puzzles just to give the player something to do.

Three day weekend ahead – if I get my way, much of it will be spent working on the game.

May 23, 2008 Posted by | Game Progress | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Various Random Musings from Days 4 and 5

It’s funny the things I have taken for granted in my decades of playing text adventures.  Little things, like “look behind”, that I try in just about any game I play, and have always assumed were just standard commands.  Of course, when I decided to put something behind a painting, I quickly realized the folly of my ways.  I couldn’t just write a simple “Instead of looking behind” statement, I had to first explain to the thing what “looking behind” was in the first place.

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March 29, 2008 Posted by | Game Progress | , , , , | 4 Comments

Frogs and Fuschias

Today marks the third day of effort on the game (titled, by the way, “The Things We Don’t” or TTWD), but the first day of real progress and achievement. First, some facts that I think are significant for putting this whole exercise in context:

I am not a programmer. The extent of my programming abilities lies in designing Access databases (which, I should say, I am pretty damn good at) and very basic HTML coding. I am using Inform7 because its natural language approach appeals to me – my first half hearted attempt was with Inform6, and I soon realized that unless I was going to be happy with a one room game that consisted of a look command and possibly a door that opened, I was never going to get anywhere.

I am a flake. I am what I call ODD, a blend of OCD and ADD. I get incredibly, hopelessly, horrendously obsessed with some new interest, then throw it all over my shoulder when I lose interest a few days later. It’s one of my more endearing features. I am also easily distracted, which explains why this part is so long when I really just want to get to the good stuff…

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March 27, 2008 Posted by | Game Progress | , , , , , | 3 Comments