InsideADRIFT ISSN 1743-0577
1
Issue 15 April 2004
Contents
News and announcements.
1. Main news (Next release on
the way soon)
1. Competition news
(Fourth One Hour Competition:
results; Spring Competition;
Summer Minicomp)
3. Forum news
(Forum availability problems).
Regular features
2. Editorial
3. Drifters birthdays
4. Events diary
3. Drifters toolbox: PowerBullet
Presenter
8. ADRIFT recent releases
7. Interview: Woodfish, Captain
Obvious & Mystery interviewed by
KF (about comp)
Articles
5.
The (big) idea by KF
: Why
should I write reviews.
5. At Home with the Underdogs:
part 1 by J. J. Guest
8. Competitions – who needs
‘em. Part 1 by DavidW
10.
Failed game intro: Lab of
Horrors by KF
Reviews
10. Sorry, none this month
Reference
10. Manual: Characters
Issue Details: March 2004
Issue 15 (Vol 2 no 6) Editor KF
Issue 16 due out 15 May 2004
News and announcements
Next release on the way soon
Campbell Wild has been going through the bugs/enhancement
list and from the hints he has dropped, we seem to be on the
verge of receiving release 44 of ADRIFT 4. Although the latest
release has been pretty stable there have been some problems
where multiple tasks/characters were wiped inexplicably.
Quite a few bugs and minor annoyances on the list now have
next release by them, so it will be nice to see some more rough
edges knocked off.
Competition news roundup
Woodfish’s One-Hour Game Competition was really the competitive
highlight of the month in the world of ADRIFT with sixteen entries vying
for the crown.
One Hour Competition: the results
Woodfish has announced the result of this event, with the winner
being
“Vagabond”
written by Scott Meridian (a.k.a. Captain
Obvious). In what was a rather tight contest, decided on the
average marks received by each game, the gap between the first
and fifth placed games was just 0.4.
There is more information later on in this newsletter, with a brief
interview with the organizer Woodfish. Everyone seems to be
agreed that this was a highly successful event and that many of
the games have the potential to be developed into fuller releases
for the future.
InsideADRIFT Spring Competition 2004
H. Lee Parten (sfzapgun) became the first entrant to the
competition when he entered
Sommeril
. Initially this game was
targeted at the Annual IF Competition but, after a short discussion
he decided to enter the ADRIFT Spring Competition instead.
With DavidW committed to an entry, Milestyle hopeful of entering,
and Mystery battling a bug attack to enter, it could be an
interesting event.
InsideADRIFT Issue 15 April 2004
2
Editorial
Glad to say that things have
been a bit quieter this month,
so no blood on the carpet.
It has been a difficult month in
terms of thinking of things for
the newsletter, but I would
thank Jason Guest for sending
his two part article which looks
at how his use of ADRIFT ties
in with his early influences in
IF. I am pleased to say that my
roots are similar, except I
started out with a BBC Model
B computer, the older brother
of his Electron. Jason’s article
also reminds us of the
remorseless march of
resource hungry computers.
With the travails of the forum it
has been a chance to play with
actually writing something –
don’t panic, you are unlikely to
see a result from my dabbling!
It is though quite fun to do
some work with ADRIFT,
rather than my normal fiddling.
Contact
Send any suggestions,
requests or comments
concerning InsideADRIFT to
editor@insideadrift.org.uk
Find the newsletter at:
http://www.insideadrift.org.uk/
InsideADRIFT merchandise
You can now purchase an
exciting InsideADRIFT mug, if you
so desire.
The store is really not fully
operational, if you are interested
look at
www.cafepress.com/insideadrift
With judging taking place from 18 April to 2 May there is still
plenty of time to make a game to enter in this competition, and
with up to $100 in prize money some incentive to have a go.
Further details can be found on the newsletter website at
http://www.insideadrift.org.uk/comp_spr_04.html
InsideADRIFT Summer Minicomp 2004
Still very much in the distance, particularly with the range of
competitions that we have had recently, the Summer Minicomp in
August will take shape in the next month or two.
At the moment I was thinking of a kind of UberMinicomp, with
perhaps three different minicomps in one. Something along the
lines of a three hour comp, a five room comp, and a comp with
certain required elements. Each event would have a winner, as
well as there being an overall winner. This is just an idea that
came to me as I typed, but I like the idea of giving people scope
to work within their own limits.
Wider IF community events
The
XYZZY Awards 2003
had their prize presentation ceremony IFmud
at 13:30 EST on Saturday 28th February. Unfortunately the
community’s hopes for “To Hell in a Hamper” where not fulfilled as
Jason Guest (The Amazing Poodle Boy) didn’t pick up an award
despite five nominations.
The awards were dominated by “Slouching Towards Bedlam”, by Daniel
Ravipinto and Star Foster which picked up four of the ten awards on
offer. No one else picked up more than one award, with Adam Cadre
and Emily Short picking up their customary awards.
I know that Jason was a little disappointed to not win an award, but
getting the recognition in an IF community wide awards is very
important. In many ways I would put the achievement up alongside that
of Hanadorobou’s “The PK Girl” picking up sixth place in the 2002 IF
Competition as they represent high water marks in the progress of
ADRIFT.
The above can to some extent be proved by the fact that the game has
since been reviewed twice, one by Emily Short and then by J. Robinson
Wheeler in the latest issue of SPAG.
InsideADRIFT Issue 15 April 2004
3
Drifters birthdays
April 2004
1
Echo
(19)
2
KFAdrift
(43);
Deadman
(41)
3
sfzapgun
(39)
7
WebMonster
(15)
8
TedEBearNC
(43)
9
JamesBaldwin
(34)
11
ToddWat
(37);
Slayerized
(18)
14
kICkAdEviL
(21)
15
Onierosv7point0
(17)
17
Leaflander
(51)
18
Spring Comp
22
Boredom Man
(29)
25
wolf
(24)
27
flea
(15)
Forum news
Another very up and down month for us as Campbell’s server was
down several times leaving a group of frustrated ‘drifters to wander
cyberspace looking for each other. Certainly, in my opinion, things have
reached the stage where something has to be done as it must be
putting people off ADRIFT. While it is understandable that Campbell
likes the control that having the forum hosted on his own PC gives him,
this is fine when it isn’t impersonating the proverbial tarts knickers.
The forum has always been the very hub of our community, but recently
nearly every day there has been the site of the server not found
message . This is surely reaching a situation where Campbell might
think about using some of the money he has received from ADRIFT
registrations for the greater good of all, or he might be able to find
someone with enough space.
Campbell says that he has been having problems with the IP address
changing, but hopes to have it cured real soon. I am sure we all have
our fingers and toes crossed that it will be.
STOP PRESS: Campbell has acknowledged that is things do not
sort themselves out soon he will start to look for an alternative
hosting solution.
At least many people have discovered Mystery’s ADRIFT Network
Forum which acts as a fallback when we cannot get to the real thing.
Trouble is at the moment most of the forum content there is us drifters
bemoaning the fact that the main forum is down.
This month the forum, when it has been accessible, has been a much
more pleasurable place to inhabit. There has been plenty discussion,
but it has been lively and civilized.
Drifters toolbox
PowerBullet Presenter reviewed by KF
I am often on the lookout for unusual free software and
PowerBullet fits the bill as it allows you to create a slide show
which is converted to Flash on web pages. This is an ideal tool for
those wanting to create a tutorial or demonstration of a technique.
With it’s full control of fonts, the ability to include graduated fills,
use of graphics and animation, along with simple drag and drop
editing.
InsideADRIFT Issue 15 April 2004
4
Events Diary
April 18, 2004
InsideADRIFT Spring
Competition 2004: entries due
in
This is a competition for new
ADRIFT games, there is no limit
on th game size except that it
should be less than 400kb OR if
larger it should be hosted
elsewhere and a link supplied.
Judging will take place in the 2
week period to 2 May 2004.
May 02, 2004
InsideADRIFT Spring
Competition 2004
This is a competition for new
ADRIFT games, there is no limit
on the game size except that it
should be less than 400kb OR if
larger it should be hosted
elsewhere and a link supplied.
Judging will take place in the 2
week period to 2 May 2004.
May 15, 2004
InsideADRIFT Issue 16 out
today
The May/June Issue of
InsideADRIFT should be out
today.
22-19 August 2004
InsideADRIFT Summer
Minicomp 2004 (Provisional)
Provisionally there will be a
Summer Minicomp in August.
Entries in 22 Aug, judging ending
29 Aug.
The feature list from the web site is displayed below:
Drag and drop images (PNG, JPEG or GIF) straight into the location
you want them. Transparency in GIF and PNG supported.
Bring in images from your scanner or camera (TWAIN acquire).
Drag and drop sound (MP3 or WAV) files. One for each page.
Create new pages with a click of the mouse. Navigation buttons are
automatically generated, or auto-advance feature can be used.
Preview your work in a web browser. C licking the Export button brings
up a preview in a separate browser window.
Good support for text: copy and paste formatted text from MS Word,
HTML etc. Mix up formatting within a single word.
Create animations for any display element by simply selecting from a
drop-down list and specifying the start time.
Create new animations without any limit on length or complexity.
Automatically generates a web page that hosts your slideshow
I consider PowerBullet Presenter to be a valuable addition to any
software collection. As it is free, with no ads or restrictions it is
difficult to see a reason for not keeping it in mind.
For more information check out the website at
http://www.powerbullet.com
InsideADRIFT Issue 15 April 2004
5
The (big) idea by KF
Why should I write reviews.
This seems to be quite a hot
topic this month. Funnily
enough it ties in with the
compliant against those
who do write a review
without perhaps knowing a
system well enough.
I do think that when you
play a game downloaded
from the ADRIFT adventure
pages it is a courtesy to
make some remark back on
those pages. Just putting a
rating is a bit unfair as it
doesn’t give the author a
chance to respond. This
would tend to be anything
from a sentence to two or
three paragraphs, and not a
really detailed review.
To write a proper view I
believe requires the writer to
understand their
responsibilities to the IF
community. A review written
by someone that is more
based on reputation or
personality issues is a
disservice to all. The
reviewer must also have a
good grasp of the features
of the system they are
playing on. It would be
unfair to spend a review
criticizing a game for an
inherent failing in the
system or for something
readily changed by the
player.
When all of this is said I
would put the reviewing of
"At Home with the Underdogs" by J. J. Guest
Part 1: A Life among also-ran IF
At the recent XYZZY awards, after failing to win a single one of
the five awards I was nominated for, somebody (I think it was J.
Robinson Wheeler) was seen to shout "Go the ADRIFT
underdog!" Whilst I appreciated the support, which was heartfelt,
it made me smile, because when I look back on my life in the
world of Interactive Fiction, I've always been at home with the
underdogs.
My first contact with Interactive Fiction was back in 1983 when
my parents bought me and my siblings an Acorn Electron. The
Electron was effectively a baby version of the BBC Micro, a
popular home computer found in homes and schools all over
Britain and mainland Europe. It featured the 6502 processor, 32K
or RAM and 32K of ROM. To put this in perspective, 1K is roughly
a thousand bytes. 1 Megabyte is roughly a million bytes. My
current computer (soon to be upgraded) has 512MB of RAM,
roughly 16,000 times that of the Electron. Another thing that may
come as a surprise to younger readers is that the Electron, in
common with most home computers at the time, had no hard
drive for storage. When you turned the computer off at the end of
a session (or, heaven forbid, there was a powercut), that was it,
everything you'd been working on would be gone. Unless, of
course, you'd saved it on tape. That's right, cassette tape, those
dusty things your parent keep a box of in the trunk of their car
with handwritten labels saying "Supertramp" and "Queen -
Greatest Hits." A typical game, recorded on one of these tapes
took fifteen minutes to load, if it loaded at all. More often you
would get a message saying "error, rewind tape."
Even among these dinosaurs the Electron was an underdog.
Users of its big brother, the BBC Micro, or Beeb, looked down
their noses at lowly Electron users. Even more aloof were the
owners of the ZX Spectrum, which had a whopping 48K of RAM.
Just don't mention the one-colour graphics. The Commodore 64
and AMIGA were in a different league altogether. I can still
remember people whispering in school corridors when one
particular boy walked past, "He's got an Ameeeega!"
As an Electron (or "Elk") owner my experience of IF was rather
different from that of other people my age. My first experience of
the legendary Zork, for example, was last year. That's right, last
year, 2003. The Infocom classics were never available for my
computer, it simply didn't have enough memory to run them.
Amiga owners would talk about such classics as Leather
Godesses of Phobos and Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or
InsideADRIFT Issue 15 April 2004
6
competition games in the
same light as for the
adventures page. A
competition reviewer will not
really be able to review as
in depth, and in something
like the IF Comp is unlikely
to have an in depth
knowledge of all of the
systems. This leads me
back to a responsibility of
the game author to try to
cover any non standard
areas of the game or
system in a way that will aid
those less familiar with it.
As writers for ADRIFT it
really isn’t going to gain any
friends if we just say
“that’s
how it works, tough”
when a
player points out a problem
they had.
If Jason has whetted your
appetite for this early IF then
you can find some of it at
http://www.if-
legends.org/~adventure/Topol
ogika_Ltd.html
The second part of this article
will be published in the
May/June issue of the
newsletter.
Tail of it, but I could only listen in awe. Even games by Level 9
and Magnetic Scrolls, Infocom's UK equivalents, were denied us.
But that isn't to say that there weren't some good games out
there for the Elk. They were just different. A few loyal companies
produced games that would push the capabilities of the little
machine to the limit, even using screen memory to store
information that wouldn't fit in normal RAM. This meant that the
games often had two bands of what looked like noise at top and
bottom of screen; this was actually stored game code.
Probably the most well known producer of games for the Elk and
the Beeb were Acornsoft, which later resurfaced as Topologika.
They produced such games as Philosopher's Quest (or Brand X),
an early cave crawl along the same lines as Zork, Acheton, and
the excellent Doom trilogy, a series of games based on the planet
Doomawangara, and featuring incredibly complex puzzles
involving time travel and alternative dimensions. The Doom
trilogy also suffered from a preponderance of bad puns and
instant-death rooms, faults which were a lot more forgivable then
than now. These games survive and are currently still available
on the IF Archive, converted by the original authors into z-code.
In the Electron-only market, the next biggest names were Epic,
and later Robico. Epic Adventures were the bee's knees in the
world of the Electron. Well-crafted, with clever puzzles longer
than average descriptions and upwards of 200 locations each,
they were for a ong time the front runners in the Electron market.
According to Merlin, Electron User magazine's resident Adventure
game reviewer: "I think having now tried all three of the Epic
adventures, that they must be the yardstick by which all future
adventures for the Electron should be judged." I still have fond
memories of playing Kingdom of Klein, Castle Frankenstein and
The Quest for the Holy Grail, though I don't think I actually
completed any of them. Robico were most famous (as famous as
it's possible to be in the world of 8-bit text adventures) for its
James Bond-like Rick Hanson trilogy, "The Saga of a Spy" as
they were collectively known. According to Merlin: "RICK
HANSON is nothing less than brilliant and Robico must now join
Epic as being the software houses for adventures on the
Electron. I look forward to spending time on the follow-up version,
RICK HANSON II, which from initial impressions seems to be
every bit as good." Rick Hnson was good, I completed it, and I'm
considering playing the other two on my trusty Electron emulator.
But oddly enough, the games I remember most fondly from my
mis-spent youth weren't the timeless classics I've mentioned
above. They were the underdog's underdogs - home grown
games written largely by teenagers like myself using ADRIFT's
spiritual ancestors, Graphic Adventure Creator and The Quill.
InsideADRIFT Issue 15 April 2004
7
4
th
One Hour Comp
Results
1
st
Vagabond 6
2
nd
ARGH'S Great Escape 5.89
3
rd
Topaz 5.7
(Goblin Hunt 5.67;Wreckage 5.6;
An Evening with the Evil Chicken
of Doom 4.89; Get Treasure For
Trabula 4.56; Agent 4-F From
Mars 4.4; Cruel and Hilarious
Punishment 3.7; Cat in the Tree
3.6; ADRIFT Maze 3.5; Undefined
3.3; Woof 3; Ice Cream 2.9;
Shred' Em 2.8; Quest For Spam
1.56)
Each game is followed by the
average mark received judged
out of 10
Interview: Woodfish questioned by KF
Just thought I'd ask the organizer of the Fourth ADRIFT One-Hour
Game Competition for a few reflections on the event just past.
How do you think it went. Certainly seems possible to get in
entries for such a competition, indeed the last two such
competitions have had almost as many entries as that monolith
the Annual IF Competition.
I thought it was a very good competition. It's a nice feeling when
there are lots of people involved in an event, and everyone is
looking forward to playing the games, and seeing who the winner
is. And its certainly helpful for people like me who never seem to
be able to finish writing a game, but this is an excuse to try
something quick and experimental. Plus a real bonus is being
able to read all those comments about something you've written.
I'm sure you know that I feel this format is a little to speedy for an
old lump like me. Do you see any changes to format and rules in
the future.
After four one-hour games competitions, I think that its time for a
change in the rules. Maybe, as was suggested on the forum, a
two-hour competition, or a weekend comp. Possibly then some
of the, uh, forum "elders" might be able to produce something
*cough kf*...
Yes, well er, you never know, now back to the questions!
So Scott Meridian won the event with “Vagabond” this time, but
what did you and those judging think of the overall standard of
the games this time around.
I think Vagabond was a worthy game to win the competition. Lots
of people voted, and there was a real mixture of scores. Overall, I
think that people have come to expect more from one-hour
games now we've had a few competitions, and this does reflect in
the standard of entries received. In general, a very good
response from everyone!
Thanks for answering the questions and well done again on
another great competition.
InsideADRIFT Issue 15 April 2004
8
ADRIFT recent
releases
This will hopefully be a new
regular feature, bringing you
the details of recently released
games, as described by their
authors on release. The details
listed here are as posted on
the ADRIFT adventures page
on Campbell’s site
The Fourth One-Hour Game
Competition (4th1hrcomp.zip
84 Kb)
By
Various
, released 02-
03-04
All sixteen entries of the Fourth
One-Hour Game Competition (run
by Woodfish), complete with a
judging form. Have fun playing
them! The Competition was won
by Scott Meridian with Vagabond.
Monsters (Release 2)
(monsters_r2.zip 20 Kb)
By
Daniel Hiebert (Tech)
, released
22-02-04
Monsters exist! Under the bed, in
the closet, down the darkened
hall. With Courageous Pooky the
bear and your Siss y's aid, you'll
defeat and escape from their
slimy, tentacled clutches. Release
2 features a new bonus monster
to vanquish.
From the Demos Page
ADR IFT Maze (adriftmaze.taf 2
Kb) By Mystery, released 02-
03-04
This is a 37 Room maze,
complete with monsters that
randomly move to hamper your
progress. Viewed in the
generator, the MAP displays the
word ADRIFT. UPDATED from
the Feb/March one hour comp.
I also asked the victorious Scott Meridian/Captain Obvious for his
reactions and thoughts on his victory.
We have a fair number of talented authors in the ADRIFT
community and it was great to see so many participate in this
competition. To tell you the truth, it was intimidating and I was a
bit hesitant at first to try my hand at the mini-comp, but the results
have given me a boost of motivation and I plan on releasing a full
size game in the near future. Currently, I'm expanding my
minicomp game, but I also have a few other games simmering on
the back burner. I don't want to say too much about them right
now because it seems that that would just doom them to a fate of
perpetual uncompletion. All I can say is that one is fantasy and
the other is another sci-fi game. Hopefully I'll have one ready for
the Spring Comp but if its not finished by then, I'll save it for the
Annual IF comp.
… and completing a whistle stop trip through the competition Mystery
said ..
Um, I thought there was a good turnout. It was nice to see so
many interested in taking part. Some of the games displayed
ambitious idead, and I hope to see them develop their works into
large IF projects.
Competitions – who needs ‘em. Part 1
A response from DavidW
I did a short “Big Idea” item last month on what the role of competitions
was in the ADRIFT community. DavidW fleshes it out with his views
here.
As it is quite a long article I have split it into two parts, so you’ll have to
wait for next month for the conclusion.
Are competitions a good idea. And, more importantly, do we
need them even if they are.
On one hand, competitions are good for Adrift – they get people
to write lots of games (see the third and fourth One Hour Game
Competitions for proof), they produce some pretty decent efforts
and they also get quite a few people to write games who
otherwise never seem to bother.
On the other hand, it could also be argued that they're bad –
people tend to work on their competition games at the expense of
InsideADRIFT Issue 15 April 2004
9
Question/input demo
(inputdemo.zip 2 Kb) By KF,
released 29-02-04
Demo of a question being asked,
with a numbered list of options.
An input is then taken and used.
Makes use of variables and the
ALR within V3.90 limitations
without text variables.
Rechargable Lantern w/ turn
counter
(rechargablelantern.taf 3 Kb)
By reelyor, released 24-02-04
Rechargable Lantern Demo I
had a need to create a lantern
that could be utilized by turning it
on and subsequently recharged
by winding a small crank on a
built in generator. However, after
a certain period of time, the
power would fade and go out
unless the player recharged it.
To do so necessitated my using
a "turn counter", which is also
incorporated. The length of time
can be modifed by changing the
"turns" required in the event
"Lantern" and in the initial setup
of the variable "LanternLight." I
suggest that the event be called
to occur 3 turns less that the
variable is set for a nice action of
the whole effect. I have further
included the changing
description of the room, and the
presence/absence of an object in
the room. Oh yeah... you can
also turn the lantern off and
everything resets. Hope this can
help someone else, too. If there
are any suggestions, please let
me know. Roy reelyor@msn.com
their larger efforts (competition games generally tend to be
smaller than most other games as they're written within strict
limits) and their larger efforts seldom get completed. After all, a
game which takes an hour to write is far easier to finish than a
game which takes a month or two months or a year… How many
full size games, you could ask, have been left unfinished as a
result of the writer taking time out to write a small competition
game and then never being able to get the full size game finished
once the competition game is out of the way. Probably quite a
few.
And then there's the fact that a fair few games written for
competitions are downright awful. Of course, the same could be
said, truthfully, about a fair few of the games not written for
comps.
Personally, I like competitions. One reason is for the feedback
they generate. Feedback is, and always has been, and probably
always will be, a major problem in the Adrift community. Most
times you release a game and you never really know what people
think about it. You might get a review after a while, you might
even get two or three if you're really lucky, but considering the
size of the community and how many people regularly post on the
forum, the amount of feedback you get on any game you might
write (which is, after all, one of the main reasons the forum is
there) is quite poor. The forum sees maybe a couple hundred
posts a week from several dozen people, yet of these perhaps 1
in every 10 (if that) ever provide feedback on the games written.
Disappointing, and hardly an encouragement for people to write
games. After all, we’re not doing it for the money, are we.
Feedback for competition games tends to be a little more
forthcoming. People seem to feel they have an obligation to at
least scribble a few comments about the games they’ve played
and some even go as far as writing full length reviews which give
you good pointers on what you're doing right and wrong in the
game-making process. More often than not, you get more
feedback from a single comp game than from two or three non-
comp games. Games entered in the IFComp (the biggie as far as
comps are concerned) are likely to garner at least three times the
reviews and feedback as a game written at any other time; while
the feedback won’t always be glowing, most will at least be
helpful. And sometimes, negative comments are as useful as
positive ones. Someone pointing out what you're doing wrong so
you can improve your game-making techniques in the future is
every bit as valuable as someone heaping praise upon you. And
negative comments now that you act on mean there's a better
chance of getting praise heaped on you the next time.
InsideADRIFT Issue 15 April 2004
10
Failed game intros
Lab of Horrors
This was the most recent
game that I started, but it really
headed along a well worn
track of being non-interactive
and derivative. Nevertheless I
do like the intro.
You are at the same time excited
and fearful of your job as a junior
laboratory technician in the
genetic research department of
U-Gene Inc. Everything is pretty
high tech, but you are worried
that R uby Clarke, your boss and
the head of genetic research, is
just a bit too dedicated to the
science.
Dr Clark e is well on the way to
producing a machine that can
rewrite an animals DNA at the
lowest level. This seemed a really
great development, the prospect
of curing genetic defects was
nearing reality, but you were
beginning to wonder whether the
benefits were outweighed by the
possible harm that could be done.
Your main concern was that Dr
Clarke was looking into ways to
add in extra variations, that is
options like blue hair, which do
not currently exist in nature.
Although just a junior member of
the team, you have been a bit
outspoken in your opposition, and
have actually handed in your
resignation letter.
This was where the intro
ended, and was the start of
where you found out just how
far your boss is prepared to go
to keep her experiments secret
for the moment.
Do you have a game that has
hit the rails, but you would like
to share with the community.
If so, send it in to me.
Another reason I like competitions. The sheer thrill of it. Writing
games tends to be, for the most part, a long and arduous
process. You plot out your game, you write your game, you have
you game tested, you amend your game, you release your game.
True, you might enjoy the actual writing process but after you’ve
played it through half a dozen times to get rid of errors, bugs and
guess the verb problems, you're probably pretty glad to see the
back of it. Entering it in a competition and pitting yourself against
other entrants tends to be interesting and, dare I say it, exciting.
Maybe even worth writing the games in the first place. And while
there’s no guarantee that you're going to win, it’s always well
worth following the progress of the comp as it winds its way
towards the deadline date just to see what happens.
To be continued . . .
Game reviews
Sorry folks, after last weeks bumper bundle of four reviews, this month
things are thin to the point of being non existent. Hope the other
sections make up for it in some degree.
Reference
Despite it being quite a big subject, I have included the whole of the
charactesr section from the manual in this issue.
Manual pages 28: Characters
Characters are independent people or animals within your game.
The Player can interact with these characters by having
conversations with them, and they can wander around interacting
with objects and running tasks.
To add a character, either select Add > Character from the
menus, or click on the icon. This will bring up the Add a
character dialog box.
Character Details
The Details tab displays the following window:
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You must give each character a name. You can additionally give
them a description, which consists of a prefix and an alias. This is
another way that the character can be referenced, much in the
same way as the alias for objects. Again, as with objects, any
number of aliases can be supplied.
You can give the character a description, which appears when the
player examines the character. You can give a different
description depending on whether a certaintask has been
completed. Just select the task from the pull down menu, and
enter the alternative description.
The Gender of the character must be supplied. This would
normally be Male or Female, but for monsters and some animals,
you might want to specify it as “Unknown”. This means that it
could be referred to as “it” in the game, rather than “he” or “she”.
You must also specify in which room the character should start
off, from the last pull down menu.
Movement
The Movement tab displays the following window:
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Character movement can easily be created by adding a series of
walks.
If you want to be notified when a character enters or exits the
room that the Player is currently in, check the check box. This will
enable the two description boxes at the bottom of the screen. You
can modify what it says when the character moves. You would
typically put “enters” and “exits” in these boxes so it displays
“<Character> enters from the east.”, but you may want to change
this for the different ways a character can move, such as “run”,
“shuffle”, “trot” etc.
Usually you will want to display a message to say if the character
is in the current room. You can modify this by changing the
relevant message. This message appears when the player types
"look", or moves into a room.
Any number of walks can be created. To add a walk, click on the
Add walk button.
This brings up the following dialog box.
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You can select a task to start the walk. As soon as that task
executes, the character will begin the defined walk.
You create walks by adding a sequence of movements. A
movement consists of a destination and a length of time. To
create the walk, click on the Add button. This will bring up a
dialog box where you can select these. You can move the
character to Hidden, Follow Player, a particular room, or to a
roomgroup. If the character moves to Follow Player, they will
move to the same room as the Player. If the character moves to a
roomgroup, they will move to an adjacent room within the
roomgroup -–if none are available, they will move to a random
room within the group. This is a good way to create a random
wandering character.
You must also specify how long the character should stay at that
location before moving onto the next step of the walk. For a fast
moving character, this might just be 1.
Continue to build up locations to make a complete walk. If you
want the character to endlessly loop in that walk, select the Loop
walk when finished checkbox. You probably want to ensure that
your start and end rooms match up before doing this, otherwise
the character will “jump” from one room to the next.
You can run a task if the character comes across another
character or the Player, by selecting from the If character comes
across character dropdown menu. If this is the Player, and you
move into the same room as that character, this will also execute.
You can also run a task if the character comes across a particular
object on their walk, by selecting from the If character comes
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across object dropdown menu.
You can update the standard description of the character in a
room by adding text to the Description of character in room (look)
changes to textbox. This new description will appear any time you
view the room the character is in, and supersedes the original
text.
Finally, you can terminate a walk by selecting a task from the
Walk can be terminated if completed task dropdown menu.
Conversations
The Character Conversation tab displays the following window:
Conversations are created simply by adding a subject and a
reply. You can enter any number of subjects.
Clicking on New subject brings up the following dialog box:
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The subject is the word that you want to ask the character about
in the game. The player would need to type "ask <character>
about <subject>". You can enter any number of words in the
Subject(s) box, separated by a comma. So for example, if the
subject is "fast car, Porsche", then the character would respond
to "fast car" and "Porsche", but not "fast" or "car".
You can also add a reply to anything by entering an asterix "*" in
the subject box. This means that the character will reply to
anything you ask them about, unless you have defined other
subjects that correctly match what the player types.
You can give two different replies to any subject, depending on
whether or not a particular task has been completed. Simply
select which task you want the reply to depend on from the pull
down list, and enter your replies in the text boxes.
© Campbell Wild, Oct 2003
Information is copied and pasted from the manual and while every effort
is made to be accurate, there are no guarantees that it is error free
© 2004 Edited by KF.
Please send any contributions or suggestions to kf@kfadrift.org.uk.