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Showing posts from October, 2012

A dagger for Kerkerkruip

Erik Temple has been drawing -- or I guess I should say collaging -- some amazingart for Kerkerkruip. And he is asking for your participation! You don't need to be able to draw, as long as you can scale and rotate about ten or fifteen letters and other typographical signs so that they together form a dagger, you are good to go. It sounds like something even I could do. Check it out here, and thanks if you decide to contribute!

Project Eternity

Did you know that the long-awaited sequels to Planescape: Torment and Baldur's Gate 2 are in production right now?

OK, they're not. But something very much like it is, namely, Project Eternity, a game that Obsidian Entertainment is funding through Kickstarter right now. Who are on the team? Well, the guys who made the original Planescape: Torment, as well as people responsible for Fallout, Icewind Dale, and a number of other classics of the genre. So when they say that they want to make a spiritual successor to the great 2D PC RPGs of yore, it's more than an empty boast.

This game is going to be 2D. (Yes!) It will be party-based, with you actually controlling the party instead of mainly controlling one member of it. (Eat that, all too many recent games that I will not deign to mention!) There will be copious opportunities to pause. (It's a tactical RPG, my friends, not a shooter!) It will be PC-only. (No compromises with console interfaces and audiences!) There will be…

[IF Comp 2012] J'dal

The second game: J'dal by Ryan Kinsman.

A dangerous quest through a fantastic world in search of a piece of treasure: that isn't just the summary of many Dungeons & Dragons scenarios and CRPGs, but also of a substantive amount of interactive fiction. And it is not hard to see why. IF is good at exploring a world and IF is good at puzzles that can introduce challenge into such a scenario. When done well, a quest game can be extremely satisfying.

Of course, an author has to do something to make the game interesting, fresh and memorable. Puzzles of the "you can only pass the door/goblin/chasm once you've found the key/sword/rope" type are as unlikely to impress as a bunch of tunnels or cellars set in some bland fantasyland. That has all been done to death, if it was ever alive to begin with. We want something more unique. Something special.

For J'dal, that special something is the party. You won't be entering the mine alone, but with three other people:…

[IF Comp 2012] Eurydice

Here we are, back for some IF Comp reviews. Topping my randomly generated list of games was Eurydice by... well, Anonymous. O, and by the way, all of my reviews will be full of spoilers. You are warned.

Interactive Fiction has a tendency for remoteness and impersonality. Not only are interactive NPCs hard to program, which has led to many uninhabited worlds, or worlds inhabited only by cyphers; but a focus on puzzles has also tended to put mechanical means-ends relations at the centre of attention, while the human meaning of things recedes to the background.

Remoteness can, of course, be avoided -- we've become pretty good at that. Or it can be turned into an aesthetic strength, as in much of the work of Andrew Plotkin (Hoist Sail for the Heliopause and Home is a good example). But you must do either the one or the other.

This brings us to the surprisingly popular genre of "serious mythological afterlife IF". Here the protagonist dies, or one of the protagonist's lov…