Discussion in 'PC/Console Game Discussion' started by Jacquelle, Nov 26, 2012.
I looked into doing something with Inform a few years ago. It's not straightforward.
As much as I've wanted to like text adventures over the years, I've just got no patience for them. But as much as I hear about how far IF has come, I guess I need to try again.
Which would be the best Emily Short game to start with?
it's not a game, per se, but I'd try "Galatea".
If you have an iOS device, you might want to try zarf's The Dreamhold to see some of what he's thinking for bringing them to touch devices. It's free.
I started with Bronze. It's a good game and very beginner-friendly.
EDIT: The great thing about IFDB is that it has tons of lists. Here's one for games for beginners.
Eric the Unready was probably the first IF game that I finished without help. Lot's of fun pop-culture references and some interesting puzzles (the lisping room was particularly fantastic). Still, I feel if I played it today I would get frustrated by how brutal the timer in it is.
Was the visor actually in the game, or are you remembering a picture on the cover? On the cover of Planetfall your face is covered with a visor.
Were you trying to stop your spaceship from crashing into a star? That might be Snowball, from the Silicon Dreams trilogy.
For whatever reason, I never actually played that one; from what I gather reading about the two games, if I liked AMFV, I really should play Trinity.
...although, having read the synopsis of the game, I've spoilered away a good chunk of the impact, I suspect. That was one of the great things about AMFV for me -- "An Infocom game where you play from the perspective of an AI? Cool!" The narrative took me completely by surprise.
Thanks for the reminder that I need to use Frotz more on my iPad. My main claim to fame when it comes to game development is that my name is somehow on the thank you list in Graham Nelson's Inform Designer Manual, but I have played far to few text adventure games in the past ten years; I should probably try to catch up. And also play Trinity again. Inspired by the thread on Tomb Raider, I did play through I-0 by Adam Cadre last summer. A game that caused some controversy when it came out, and rightly so, as failure can actually get you raped and killed, so be warned. I remember some posters took strong exception to it on the IF newsgroup. It did win awards though, and it still holds up as a game. But it possibly ought to have a stronger warning than "pornographic" on the IF Archive.
Adam Cadre actually commented on I-0 in my LP thread a while ago, if you're interested in reading that. It's personally my least favorite Cadre game, but to each their own.
That's cool. I hadn't read that before. And I certainly agree that Cadre's other games are better. His comments on I-0 also are reasonable; the game probably dosen't hold up all that well without the nostalgia-(if that term may be used for this game)-factor. But as the awards indicate; the game was really something new when it came out.
Take a look at Twine: http://www.auntiepixelante.com/twine/
It makes a slightly different form of IF. The player is clicking on hyperlinks instead of typing into a parser. But it looks very easy to use, and builds as a webpage.
Thanks to all that took the time to comment on the cat mustache issue. I'll give iPhone Frotz a shot. I like that it comes with some curated games already (but I'll skip Jigsaw for now, and try this Photopia thing).
Do MUDs count? A group of us at university would sometimes go down to the computing lab at night and sign onto a MUD as a party. This was back in the late 80s before the internet became widespread; the MUD was running over the UK's Janet academic network. We mostly just faffed about, griefing one another but it was a lot of fun. I guess it was an early LAN party of sorts.
For a couple of years in the mid-90s, I played quite a bit on the Discworld MUD. I spent a lot of time larking about but eventually became a domain admin and was able to create content. The mudlib was actually surprisingly sophisticated and allowed the creation of some pretty interesting content and behaviour. Good times.
The best, most-challenging, and rewarding Text Adventure is Inform 7 itself. Sometimes, its natural language scripting is a little too clever, but with a little imagination and the ability to plot something out on paper, Inform 7 is practically one of those legendary "press button to make game" tools.
There's a decent book out there by Aaron Reed (the guy who did Blue Lacuna) on it, too.
And it includes that timeless (to me) phrase "splittin the kitten" :)
Hadn't heard that one when I first played I-0 many, many moons ago.
I think the only text adventure I ever finished was Scott Adams' Pirate Adventure on my Atari 800. Hitchhiker's Guide was my favorite though. I need to play that again.
Honestly, I like Inform 6 more than Inform 7. Not only does it not try to pretend that it's natural language, its manual (the DM4) is probably one of the most wryly-written programming reference/tutorial books of all time. I still have a copy in a binder somewhere.
Granted, Inform 7 is a whole IDE with some really awesome tools, and I wouldn't recommend anyone without either oodles of prior I6 experience or a desire to make things more difficult than they have to be use I6 over I7.
You guys have intrigued me with the whole Inform business - I think I may need to dream up a new text adventure. You mention it's a complete IDE, what does Inform cost?
No real argument here -- scripting "to the metal" is always going to be more efficient than going through yet another abstraction layer. However, for IF, I actually like the abstraction -- that way, I can spend more time on the writing than remembering if I dumped a curly bracket in the wrong place. Then again, I come from a BASIC background for "real" programming and an AGT background for IF scripting :)
Zero dollars. http://inform7.com/
Warning: you will want to play with this thing immediately and I highly encourage it :)
It costs free dollars.
Whoa, for real? Now I gotta try it.
Some of them kind of do. Kyrandia definitely had a lot of adventure elements to it.
TinyMUDs (if I'm remembering the right term from 19 years ago) were essentially text adventures rather than RPGs. At least, the one I tried back then was.
The Land of Drogon certainly was closer to multiplayer IF than anything else.
I wrote some Inform 6 games 10 years ago (including a high-placing ifcomp game and another xyzzy-nominated game), and I've poked at Inform 7. I'll second the suggestion to investigate Twine if you don't want to do the full-on IF thing. Are you looking for tips beyond what authoring system to use? If so, I think that's a little too open-ended a request to answer usefully. I guess "playtest, playtest, playtest" is probably the most important one, but that's aimed more at the second half of development.
This thread really has me going down memory lane - anybody remember the game Cyborg? At least I think that was the name, you were a cyborg with no memory and you had to worry about keeping yourself fed to keep your organic self going, but also keeping your robotic parts charged. I don't remember much else about it - but I know I never did beat it. Wonder if I can find a copy for download somewhere ...
Was Cyborg the sequel or the prequel to OO-TOPOS?
EDIT: not a sequel, just by the same guy. Who also wrote Infocom's "Suspended", which was awesome.
I don't know! I don't remember too many details, but I think Cyborg was my first text adventure. If it was by the guy who made Suspended, that does explain why it was so cool. I need to do some research.
Are there any notable text adventures/IF that are third person instead of second person? I was thinking about how your perspective often shifts in graphic adventures between watching the protagonist and being the protagonist, while every text adventure I've ever seen is strictly a case of the reader being the protagonist.
The game that peterb and I were discussing, Suspended, involves a cryogenically frozen person who manipulates various robots around a spaceship to perform tasks. I doubt that's what you mean, but it's the closest I can think of offhand.
Soft Porn Adventure, the ancestor of Leisure Suit Larry. It explicitly wasn't you, it was "your puppet" to whom you gave instructions.
Try this. It's first-person rather than second or third-person, but the protagonist is definitely not the player.
I started playing around with Inform 7 using some of the online tutorials. It seems powerful but hell of tedious. Is trying to do all of that in natural language really preferable to doing it in a more structured (and concise) programming language?
I'm genuinely asking, since I'm a programmer first and a writer second. But if MY first reaction to something is that it's too wordy and long-winded, that's a particularly bad sign.
What parts do you find tedious, out of curiosity? I've found it's quite difficult to get the hang of, because the natural language approach means it's much easier to accidentally screw up, but once I got used to it I didn't have a problem with it.
Well, there's this example, which takes a page to implement an elevator that lets you go to multiple floors. It seems ridiculously over-wordy and imprecise; I'd been imagining that it would be use a more programming-language-like environment to establish the structure and something more like a word processor to write the text.
It seems like if anybody could understand the problems with expecting consistent results from natural language, it'd be people who make text adventures. Knowing "understand" vs "instead" etc. would come over time, obviously, but readability and structure seems impenetrable overall. It's difficult to distinguish reserved words in the language from identifiers, e.g. "let the other place be the floor corresponding to a level of the current level of the Lift in the Table of Floors."
So when is NaInFiWriMo?
Hasn't happened in three years, sadly.
Arguably the yearly http://www.ifcomp.org fills the same ecological niche as NaNoWriMo, with the added bonus of giving you a clearly defined rating of which ones to bother looking at afterwards.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy game (co-written by Douglas Adams himself) had the player occasionally flip between characters as a result of mucking about with the improbability drive. At one point you go back in time and replay a scene from the POV of the other character. You're always the protagonist though, so It's not exactly what you mean.
Separate names with a comma.