text adventure

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i am wondering. what is peoples reactions an opinions towards a text based adventure game like Zork of hitchhikers guide to the galaxy. i was thinking of making one and before i go to doin’ it, it’d be nice to know the current standings for that type of game. thanks to all who share their thought and what they know.

 
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Google: interactive fiction. That’s what it’s called these days, and there is still a handful of fanatics who enjoy making/playing these games. Enjoy!

 
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I used to play Text games years ago. I remember playing Zork that was a blast. Also really enjoyed playing the old MUDs (multi-user Dungeons), and also building MuDs as well. But for popularity, I would say very small percentage of people still play text adventures. Some of us old school gamers play them just to remember the good ol’ days of gaming.

Lord SilverStone

 
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Not as interactive as most other games, but can become pretty good when good humor is incorporated.

 
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HGttG was infuriating to play, but had some moments that partially made up for it. Mostly, it was just for HGttG fans (not Interactive Fiction fans in general). In today’s gaming world, you would lose most people by not having graphics and sound, unless it is spectacularly well written (i.e., more of a fantastic novel than IF, per se). Even among those few of us who used to play IF, I’d imagine most would rather play something else, except as maybe a brief nostalgic reminiscence. Because there are no graphics or sounds to distract the user, all attention is on the writing and the textual interaction, so it becomes much more important for them to be done well.

A good IF has to take many, many commands into account (even ones that you’ll never use) in order to keep it from being frustrating (trying to find usable commands), or simplify the UI so you take that possibility of frustration away (but thus narrowing the feeling of freedom). For extreme examples, you could compare Zork (there are better examples, but I can’t recall them) to a Choose Your Own Adventure book.

Do it if you aren’t expecting much (as far as response) and/or if you are an outstanding writer (in the latter case you’d likely be better off just writing a straight story). Don’t do it if you’ll be hurt or lose motivation by a lacklustre response (or worse).

 
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thanks for all this help. i was expecting not much of anyone would enjoy playing a IF game (at times i think i am from the wrong generation), most people care too much about how a game looks and sound now days. i thought it would be fun to try programming one and if there is still some people out there that will play them, that’s encouragement enough. any to-do’s or not-to-do’s you guys can think of?

 
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Locations and items should always have long and short descriptions. Long descriptions should be shown the first time the object or location is encountered (unless a command for brief descriptions is given), and short descriptions otherwise (unless the player issues a look/examine command, or gives a command for verbose descriptions). Locations should be descriptively compelling and unique, for the most part (i.e., a bunch of mostly non-descript or uninteresting rooms will quickly tire the player). I’m sure you’re already familiar with these concepts from playing IF.

Mostly it depends on the style and dynamics of your intended game. Zork was mostly location driven with items that you use to solve various puzzles. This bypassed the need for decent dialogue (and more importantly, dialogue choices for the user). Getting a “doesn’t work” message when you try to use a tool in an unintended manner is far less frustrating than trying to figure out what you can/can’t say to an NPC (you can use pre-selected dialogue choices, though) — the tool itself is usually a huge hint in how to use it.
You can have unorthodox uses for items to solve puzzles, but make sure they are within the realm of reason (don’t make the player search for random combinations: the goal is to have them figure out what to do, not guess what you had in mind), and make sure that if there is a comparable part (e.g., hammer and nail) that they work together even if that is not the intended puzzle to solve with it.

 
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If there is one type of puzzle game that makes it easy to accommodate multiple solutions, it’s really IF, so use and abuse this feature. Don’t just code in the solution you had in mind, code every solution you can think of. Your players will thank you for it. Most of the time, it’s just a matter of changing the text slightly. Example:

> Open door with crowbar
Although the crowbar was designed as a weapon to bash headcrabs, it works reasonably well as a lever.
You manage to find purchase between the frame and the lock. You put all your weight behind the crowbar
and force the door open.

You may now go EAST.

-----

> Open door with key
The key you stole from the helpless orphan fits perfectly in the lock. The door swings open silently as
you push upon it.

You may now go EAST.

-----

> Attach grenade to door with tape
You tape the hand grenade firmly to the door using the duct tape. You have used the whole roll but
you feel confident the fix will hold.

> Pull pin
You remove the pin from the grenade. It doesn't make a sound. Maybe it is a dud?

> Take cover
You do not see any blanket here.

> Run
You run around in circles. You feel fit, but a little tired.

> Run away!
You cannot go in that direction. Available exits are: NORTH, SOUTH.

> N
Before you can move, the grenade explodes, sending sharpnel in all directions. Your body is torn
to shreds. On the bright side, the blast rips the door off its hinges, destroying it utterly.

You may now go EAST.

You are DEAD.

(R)estart, (L)oad or (Q)uit?

Ah, text adventures. Good times, good times.

 
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If you want to do a straight-up text adventure game, there are actual text-adventure programming languages you can use, such as INFORM 7 or TADS 3.

If you want to do a hybrid, such as a Choose-your-own-adventure game or a text RPG game with some music and sound, you can use FLASH. Here’s an example: http://www.kongregate.com/games/Pimgd/textrpg-the-rise-of-diablo?acomplete=text

 
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No need to resurrect dead posts.