Tuesday, September 28, 2010

[ATTACK] New bug-fix build

Get it while it's hot, the new Inform ATTACK (or download the current latest version - it's the same now, but will lead you to any future updates). Changes:

1. The combat states are no longer called "Normal", "Act", "React" and "Reacted", but are now called "at-Normal", "at-Act", "at-React" and "at-Reacted". This was done in order to avoid namespace clashes. (Updating any existing code should be trivial: just search for "combat state".)

2. Several bugs and unintended aspects of the reloading system are fixed.

3. A few other very minor fixes.

The manual and the example game have been updated to reflect these changes.  

You need this new version of ATTACK to compile "'Mid the Sagebrush and the cactus"!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

[Announce] "'Mid the Sagebrush and the Cactus", version 1

'Mid the Sagebrush and the Cactus is a relatively small game based on a combination of Inform ATTACK and several custom conversation commands. In it, the player character will have to interact both verbally and physically with David, the son of the man you have just killed. Will you be able to survive the encounter, and if so, how?

(This game is certainly not what I believe a typical game using ATTACK will look like, so it should not be seen as a poster child of the extension. Rather, it is a project in its own right which more or less happens to use the extension.)

Find out more at the IFDB.

Oh, and for those who are wondering: I'm not planning to release even more games in the next couple of weeks. ;) The next plan is the Spring Thing... but that's still going to be a vast amount of work.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

[Announce] "The Game Formerly Known as Hidden Nazi Mode", version 1

I once wrote a game called Hidden Nazi Mode to make a point about the difference between closed and open software. This was not a success, as discussion with my testers showed me that the game was making lots of points, but not the one I wanted it to make. (I explain this at more length in a short essay that accompanies the current game.) So I decided not to release Hidden Nazi Mode.

But there was still a playable, perhaps even a cute, perhaps even a slightly unsettling game left if you took out the hidden Nazi mode. Which is what I did, thus creating The Game Formerly Known as Hidden Nazi Mode. It is small, it is not necessarily intended for adults, it is not ambitious. But there were those who enjoyed it.

Get if at the IFDB.

[Announce] "The Art of Fugue", version 1

A game currently comprising eight puzzles, The Art of Fugue turns a musical form into a logical challenge. Can you get four player characters to do what you wish, given that every command you type will be performed by each of them... but with increasing delays?

Find out more at the IFDB.

[Announce] "Figaro", version 2

In 2007, I released a small example game called Figaro as part of my entry in Innovation Comp. The main aim was to show that even within traditional IF systems, you can give the player a lot of authorial control. (Of course, it doesn't tackle the problem of how to do this in a larger game.) The secondary aim was to create a fun little diversion.

But Figaro was plagued with some nasty guess-the-verb problems that made it not so accessible and not so fun. Also, I was bugged by this sentence from the IFWiki: "Since the game is only an example, it isn't fully implemented. You cannot, for example, kiss your wife."

So I revisited the game and give you Figaro, version 2. Now with more synonyms, more kissing, more endings, more beta-testing, more cover art, and a source code that has been commented to make it accessible to beginning Inform 7 authors. Of course, everyone is invited to add to the game; it is released under the GPL version 3 or any later version.

These links are to the "unprocessed" part of the IF-Archive, so they will stop working soon -- I will replace them when needed:

[Announce] New Inform 7 extension "Permadeath"

The Inform 7 site now hosts a new extension of mine, Permadeath. This extension implements rogue-like saving. What does that mean? It means that (1) the player can save the game whenever he or she wants, but saving immediately results in quitting the game; (2) every saved game can only be restored once; and (3) when the player dies, his previous save game becomes unusable. In other words, you can only save to "pause" and then "resume" the game, but you can never use it to undo something that has happened. This makes for very tense games, as (to name one obvious example from which the extension gets its name) death is final.

Obviously, this extension is not to be used lightly. Think long and hard whether your game will become more fun by adding this feature, or whether it will only become more frustrating.


The extension also allows the author to switch at will between "normal" and "permadeath" saves. As a somewhat classic example, you can have a town where the player can make normal saves, which can be restored without limit and independent of whatever happens to the character afterwards; and a dungeon where you can only make "permadeath" saves which will become unusable after restoring or the death of the character. This allows you to fine-tune the balance between good tension and bad frustration.

Because it uses an external file to write down data about the save games, this extension is Glulx only.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Thoughts on "Twisty Little Passages", part 2

It's not long, but for completeness:

http://lilith.cc/~victor/?q=content/nick-montfort-twisty-little-passages-chapters-5-8

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Thoughts on "Twisty Little Passages", part 1

Posted on my regular reading blog:

http://lilith.cc/~victor/?q=content/nick-montfort-twisty-little-passages-chapters-1-4

(This is normally in Dutch, but I've made an exception for this IF-related book.)