I
N
SID
E
A
D
R
IFT
(… being the newsletter of the ADRIFT community…)
I
I
I
s
s
s
s
s
s
u
u
u
e
e
e
3
3
3
0
0
0
J
J
J
u
u
u
l
l
l
y
y
y
/
/
/
A
A
A
u
u
u
g
g
g
u
u
u
s
s
s
t
t
t
2
2
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
6
6
6
pg_0002
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 2]
C
C
CC
C
C
C
C
O
OO
O
O
O
O
O
N
NN
N
N
N
NN
N
T
T
TT
T
T
T
T
E
E
E
E
EE
E
E
E
E
N
N
N
NN
N
T
TT
T
T
T
T
T
S
SS
S
S
S
S
S
Editorial .....................................................................................................4
Hot Off The Press
[ADRIFT On Vista; One Room Competition; A Place In The Interactive
History Books; Reviews Exchange Issue 9; Summer Comp Results; The Hourglass Comp;
Drifter Birthdays; Recent ADRIFT Releases]
..........................................................5
ADRIFT Forum Digest..............................................................................11
Musings On The IFComp by David Whyld .................................................13
101 Things You Love & Hate About IF ...................................................16
And Then There Were (100)0 by David Whyld..........................................21
View From A(n Almost) Newbie by AndrewF ...........................................25
Drifters’ Think About ...............................................................................27
In The Hot Seat
[Interview with Robert Street]
....................................................28
In Progress:
“Divine Harbour” by C. Henshaw .........................................................35
“Scarlet” by David Whyld ....................................................................37
Dead But Not Lovin’ It by David Whyld .....................................................39
pg_0003
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 3]
Reference.................................................................................................42
Word Search
[answers to issue 29]
...................................................................44
Contributions...........................................................................................46
Looking Ahead .........................................................................................47
pg_0004
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 4]
Editorial
Editorial
Editorial
Editorial
W
elcome to the Big 30!
Yes, issue thirty of the newsletter and the second with yours truly at the helm.
(“Yay, ma, made it! Second issue! Top of the world!”)
The last issue seemed to be a reasonable success and hoping this one will be the same. It’s a
little slimmer than the last issue (though the novelty hasn’t begun to wear off quite yet
.
)
but I’m sure there a few things in here that might catch your fancy. Ever wondered what the
most popular and unpopular things in IF games are. Well, this issue we have 101 of them so
there ought to be a few things in there to include, or not as the case may be, in your first
game.
David Whyld
pg_0005
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 5]
H
H
H
H
H
HH
H
O
OO
O
O
O
O
O
T
T
T
TT
T
O
O
OO
O
O
O
O
F
FF
F
F
F
F
F
F
F
F
FF
F
T
T
T
TT
T
H
H
H
HH
H
E
E
EE
E
E
E
E
P
P
P
PP
P
R
R
R
RR
R
E
E
E
EE
E
S
SS
S
S
S
SS
S
S
S
S
SS
S
(… being the latest news from the big wide world of interactive fiction…)
A
A
AA
A
A
D
DD
D
D
D
D
D
R
RR
R
R
R
R
R
I
II
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
F
F
FF
F
F
T
T
TT
T
T
TT
T
O
O
O
O
O
OO
O
n
nn
n
n
n
n
n
V
VV
V
V
V
V
V
V
V
i
i
ii
i
i
s
s
s
s
s
ss
s
t
t
t
t
tt
t
t
a
a
a
a
a
aa
a
As an experiment, I recently downloaded a beta of the new Microsoft version of
Windows, and installed ADRIFT on it. Aside from a few slowdown issues*, it ran
fine so any qualms about whether or not ADRIFT would work properly on Vista
have been put to rest. Although with Microsoft’s ever-sliding release schedule for
Vista, we might well be on ADRIFT 10 before it materialises…
* Of course, pretty much everything I did on Vista suffered slowdown issues to
some degree, so whether there are any actual slowdown issues with ADRIFT on
Vista or just
everything
on Vista is difficult to tell at this stage.
The ADRIFT Generator under
Vista…
pg_0006
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 6]
…and the Runner.
O
OO
O
O
O
O
O
n
n
nn
n
n
e
e
ee
e
e
R
RR
R
R
R
R
R
o
oo
o
o
o
o
o
o
oo
o
o
o
o
o
m
mm
m
m
m
m
m
C
C
CC
C
C
o
o
oo
o
o
m
m
mm
m
m
p
pp
p
p
p
p
p
e
ee
e
e
e
e
e
t
t
t
t
t
tt
t
i
i
ii
i
i
t
t
tt
t
t
i
i
i
i
i
ii
i
o
oo
o
o
o
o
o
n
nn
n
n
n
n
n
The results of the One Room Competition have been announced at
http://www.avventuretestuali.com/orgc/orgc-2006-eng
There was a single ADRIFT entry out of the nine games, although as seven were in
Italian the competition was of limited interest to those of us (myself included) who
don’t speak the language.
The results in full:
1) Final Selection by Sam Gordon
2) Lo sforacchiato giallo by Veronica Auretta
3) Il diavolo a Venezia by Lorenzo Carnevale
4) Forma Mentis by Paolo Maroncelli
5) Galeotto fu il canotto (tre modi per buttare l'ancora) by Andrea
Rezzonico
6) It's Easter, Peeps! by Sara Brookside
pg_0007
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 7]
7) Lazy Jones e l'ultima crostata by Gabriele Lazzara and Carmelo Paterniti
8) De Reditu by Massimo Corso
9) Frankenstein III by Corvo di Odino
A
A
AA
A
A
P
P
P
P
P
PP
P
l
l
ll
l
l
a
a
aa
a
a
c
c
cc
c
c
e
ee
e
e
e
e
e
I
II
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
n
n
nn
n
n
T
T
T
T
TT
T
T
h
h
h
h
h
hh
h
e
e
e
e
e
ee
e
I
I
II
I
I
II
I
n
nn
n
n
n
n
n
t
tt
t
t
t
t
t
e
e
e
e
e
ee
e
r
r
r
r
r
rr
r
a
a
aa
a
a
c
c
cc
c
c
t
tt
t
t
t
t
t
i
i
ii
i
i
v
v
v
v
v
vv
v
e
e
ee
e
e
H
HH
H
H
H
H
H
i
ii
i
i
i
i
i
s
ss
s
s
s
s
s
t
t
t
t
t
tt
t
o
o
oo
o
o
r
r
rr
r
r
y
yy
y
y
y
y
y
B
B
B
B
B
BB
B
o
o
oo
o
o
o
o
oo
o
o
k
k
kk
k
k
s
ss
s
s
s
s
s
“Let’s Tell A Story Together: A History Of Interactive Fiction” by SPAG editor Jimmy
Maher is available from
http://home.grandecom.net/~maher/if-book/index.html
While certainly an interesting read, its coverage given to ADRIFT (the easiest to
use IF system, and the one that produces the most games per year) is sparse to
say the least. Unfortunately it seems that while ADRIFT might not have the terrible
reputation it once had in its early years, it’s still a long way from being considered a
viable alternative to TADS or Inform for most of the IF community.
R
R
R
R
R
RR
R
e
e
e
e
e
ee
e
v
v
v
v
v
vv
v
i
ii
i
i
i
i
i
e
e
ee
e
e
w
ww
w
w
w
w
w
s
ss
s
s
s
s
s
E
E
EE
E
E
EE
E
x
x
xx
x
x
c
cc
c
c
c
c
c
h
h
h
h
h
hh
h
a
a
a
a
a
aa
a
n
n
n
n
n
nn
n
g
g
g
g
g
gg
g
e
e
e
e
e
ee
e
I
I
II
I
I
II
I
s
ss
s
s
s
s
s
s
s
s
s
s
ss
s
u
u
uu
u
u
e
e
e
e
e
ee
e
9
9
99
9
9
Issue 9 of the Reviews Exchange is available from
http://adrift.sitesled.com/
A little slimmer than previous issues due to the recent sparseness of new ADRIFT
games, it still managed a total of twelve reviews.
ADRIFT Games Reviewed
For Love of Digby - reviewed by Robert Street
The Potter and the Mould - reviewed by D.L Sun, David Whyld and TDS
It's Easter Peeps! - reviewed by David Whyld and TDS
SERE (Survive, Evade, Resist, Escape) - reviewed by David Whyld and TDS
The Warlord, the Princess and the Bulldog - reviewed by Lumin
Non-ADRIFT Games Reviewed
The Reliques of Tolti-Aph - reviewed by David Whyld
Damnatio Memoriae - reviewed by David Whyld
pg_0008
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 8]
Pantomime - reviewed by David Whyld
pg_0009
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 9]
S
SS
S
S
S
u
u
u
u
u
uu
u
m
m
m
m
m
mm
m
m
mm
m
m
m
e
e
e
e
e
ee
e
r
r
r
r
r
rr
r
C
C
C
C
CC
C
C
o
o
o
o
oo
o
o
m
m
m
m
mm
m
m
p
pp
p
p
p
R
R
R
R
R
RR
R
e
e
e
e
e
ee
e
s
s
s
s
s
ss
s
u
u
u
u
uu
u
u
l
l
l
l
ll
l
l
t
t
t
t
tt
t
t
s
ss
s
s
s
The ADRIFT Summer Competition 2006 is over. Although the rules originally
specified a minimum of four entries, the organiser (KFAdrift) graciously decided to
go ahead with the comp even though only three entries were received. The results
in full:
1. The Reluctant Vampire by David Whyld
2. Pestilence by Richard Otter
3. Spooked by TDS
The voting was as follows:
Pestilence by Rotter 4 2 4 4 - 5 4 Av=3.83
Spooked by TDS 2 3 2 3 3 3 3 Av=2.71
The Reluctant Vampire by David Whyld 5 - 3 5 5 4 5 Av=4.50
T
T
T
TT
T
h
hh
h
h
h
h
h
e
ee
e
e
e
e
e
H
HH
H
H
H
H
H
o
o
o
oo
o
u
u
u
uu
u
r
r
r
rr
r
g
g
g
gg
g
l
l
ll
l
l
l
l
a
a
a
aa
a
s
s
s
ss
s
s
s
ss
s
s
s
s
C
C
C
CC
C
o
o
o
oo
o
m
m
m
mm
m
p
p
pp
p
p
p
p
No sooner has the last ADRIFT Comp finished than a new one is underway. This is
slightly different in that competitors have to write an entire game within a three
hour time limit (the 3x hourglass comp.)
Full details:
http://www.adrift.org.uk/cgi/iB/ikonboard.cgi.act=ST;f=1;t=5450
D
D
DD
D
D
r
rr
r
r
r
r
r
i
i
i
i
i
ii
i
f
ff
f
f
f
f
f
f
f
t
t
tt
t
t
e
ee
e
e
e
e
e
r
rr
r
r
r
r
r
B
B
BB
B
B
BB
B
i
ii
i
i
i
i
i
r
r
rr
r
r
t
tt
t
t
t
t
t
h
h
h
h
h
hh
h
d
d
d
d
d
dd
d
a
a
a
a
a
aa
a
y
y
y
y
y
yy
y
s
s
ss
s
s
The following drifters are celebrating a birthday over the next couple of months:
July
29 jonrock (53)
pg_0010
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 10]
August
2 Schoolsinger (22)
4 outsider (19)
5 gigabyteman/Corey Arnett (37), Floyd (37), The Angel Gibreel (28)
7 Splink07 (26), loki88 (40)
8 Lena1975 (31)
10 djchallis (17)
11 mjbstein (37)
15 Coolkid (18)
17 jujoensu (24)
18 rocksockm (29)
20 Chenshaw (30)
21 Bacchus (38), malleus maleficarum (33), Scarlettechi (20)
22 Teno (21)
23 Woodfish (18), Damien/damien8000uk (20), White Divine/Mickey Crocker
(22), red assassin (16)
26 Starstream (61)
27 re_volvo (33), Filthy Bill (35)
30 bdenson (35), Scarecrow (35)
September
1 Astridian (23)
4 RansomDchs (49), cewilson (47), Lailokken (50), Generic User Again (19)
5 Campbell (30), Keeling (31)
10 Lycaon (23), brucehum (35)
11 Rabbinical College of Cordova (63)
13 Chaos (21)
16 M3K0 (21)
17 Mystery (34), lyonstomb (27)
18 Psyleid (19), ifjames (18)
20 ondre (28)
24 Jacqueline/Lumin (23), V.A. Spatski (36)
27 MadTom (20)
28 kolya (29), highways (63)
R
R
R
R
RR
R
R
e
ee
e
e
e
c
cc
c
c
c
e
e
e
e
e
ee
e
n
n
n
n
n
nn
n
t
t
t
t
t
tt
t
A
AA
A
A
A
D
D
D
D
D
DD
D
R
R
R
R
R
RR
R
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
II
I
F
FF
F
F
F
T
T
T
T
TT
T
T
R
R
R
R
R
RR
R
e
e
e
e
ee
e
e
l
l
l
l
ll
l
l
e
e
e
e
ee
e
e
a
a
a
a
aa
a
a
s
s
s
s
ss
s
s
e
ee
e
e
e
s
s
s
s
ss
s
s
21 07 06 The Haunted Horror House by TDS
02 07 06 Pestilence by Richard Otter
02 07 06 The Reluctant Vampire by David Whyld
02 07 06 The Wonders Of Science by TDS
pg_0011
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 11]
16 06 06 The New Superstud by Richard Deckmaster
11 06 06 S.E.R.E. (Search, Evade, Resist, Escape) by Skypig
15 05 06 It’s Easter, Peeps! by Sara Brookside
24 04 06 Resident Lust by Night_Owl
07 04 06 The Clairvoyant by Priapus Rex
07 04 06 A Dream Come True by Purple Dragon
pg_0012
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 12]
A
A
A
A
AA
A
A
D
D
D
D
DD
D
D
R
R
R
R
R
RR
R
I
I
I
I
II
I
I
F
F
F
F
F
FF
F
T
T
T
T
TT
T
T
F
FF
F
F
F
O
O
O
O
O
OO
O
R
RR
R
R
RR
R
R
U
UU
U
U
U
M
M
M
M
M
M
M
MM
M
D
D
D
D
D
DD
D
I
II
I
I
I
I
I
G
G
G
G
GG
G
G
E
EE
E
E
E
S
S
S
S
SS
S
S
T
T
T
T
TT
T
T
by Shuarian
The last month was characterised by a rather low activity on the forum; it seems
the heat and the World Cup have taken their tolls. Yet still a few interesting threads
appeared on the forum:
Programming Help
- Comparing Variables
(http://www.adrift.org.uk/cgi/iB/ikonboard.cgi.act=ST;f=4;t=541
Shows a simple way of comparing two numeric variables.
- Conversation, stopping and starting
(http://www.adrift.org.uk/cgi/iB/ikonboard.cgi.act=ST;f=4;t=5381)
Details how to set up a conversation system so as to reflect different conditions
and situations within an ongoing conversation.
Game Design
- Serial IF
(http://www.adrift.org.uk/cgi/iB/ikonboard.cgi.act=ST;f=1;t=5343)
The idea behind serial IF is to separate a bigger story arch into smaller episodes.
All in all, people seemed to like the idea, although it was pointed out that each
episode preferably should be self-contained in some way.
- Do you like writing descriptions.
(http://www.adrift.org.uk/cgi/iB/ikonboard.cgi.act=ST;f=1;t=5352)
pg_0013
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 13]
How complete should the descriptions of rooms and objects be. What can a writer
do in order to avoid boring or useless descriptions.
Player Preferences
- Font Sizes
(http://www.adrift.org.uk/cgi/iB/ikonboard.cgi.act=ST;f=1;t=5325)
What font sizes and styles do people use for the Adrift runner.
- Get if off your chest
(http://www.adrift.org.uk/cgi/iB/ikonboard.cgi.act=ST;f=1;t=5321)
MrToad asks what the other forum members dislike about IF games, and gets
many interesting and helpful responses.
Competitions
- Competitions good or bad.
(http://www.adrift.org.uk/cgi/iB/ikonboard.cgi.act=ST;f=1;t=5372)
KFAdrift is wondering what influences competitions have on the release of new
games. Do people specifically write games for comps, and which amount and what
kind of competitions are reasonable.
Miscellaneous
- Hey, who wants to hear a really dumb idea., ... A collaborative game.
(http://www.adrift.org.uk/cgi/iB/ikonboard.cgi.act=ST;f=6;t=5327)
The idea Sprite had is to create some kind of game lobby from which on players
can enter other short games, all written by different authors. The idea was
welcomed very positively, although the project is currently on hold until Adrift 5 is
out.
pg_0014
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 14]
M
MM
M
M
MM
M
M
u
uu
u
u
u
s
ss
s
s
s
s
s
i
ii
i
i
i
n
nn
n
n
nn
n
n
g
g
g
g
g
gg
g
s
ss
s
s
ss
s
s
O
O
O
O
O
OO
O
n
n
n
n
nn
n
n
T
TT
T
T
T
h
hh
h
h
h
e
e
e
e
e
ee
e
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
II
I
F
FF
F
F
F
C
C
C
C
C
CC
C
o
o
o
o
o
oo
o
m
mm
m
m
m
p
p
p
p
pp
p
p
by David Whyld
I
t’s that time of year again: the IFComp – the
big
comp of the interactive fiction
world – is looming. Although a while off yet (it should start around the time the
next issue of the newsletter is out), for anyone planning to enter the comp, it’s
probably approaching way too quickly for their liking.
As far as competitions go in the IF world, the IFComp is THE comp. The IF
equivalent, if you will, of the Oscars. It even carries a decent cash prize for the first
place and an abundance of prizes for those who don’t fare as well (I came 23
rd
in
2004 and got a nice prize). IF itself might not be a commercial prospect any more,
but the IFComp is the one guaranteed way of ensuring you get
something
for your
trouble. (Of course, it’s worth mentioning that if you're writing a game purely for
the prizes, you're missing the point. Aside from anything else, the sheer amount of
time and effort that would be required to write a game capable of winning a decent
cash prize wouldn’t be worth it on a cash-per-hour-of-game-writing basis. You'd be
better off getting a part time job where you
definitely
get paid at the end of it,
instead of writing a game where you only get paid
if
you do really well.) There are
other comps out there – the numerous ADRIFT Comps, the Spring Thing, the One
Room Comp, the Intro Comp, the Art Comp and so on and so forth – but none of
them carry anything like the same kind of impact as the IFComp, both from the
way the comp is perceived and the amount of feedback you tend to receive for
games entered in it.* Which isn't to say that the comp doesn’t have its own
problems.
* The ADRIFT entries in the IFComp 2005 gained around ten or eleven reviews
each; the ones in the Spring Thing 2006 only three.
For one, while there are undoubtedly a few genuinely brilliant games entered every
year, and quite a few others that are way above average, there are also a good
deal of entries that no one, probably not even their own authors, would try to claim
were genuinely brilliant. Or even above average. Some games are just plain bad:
pg_0015
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 15]
not been tested, written by people who don’t seem to know what they're doing,
some even by people who don’t speak the English language well enough to make
themselves understood let alone write a game in it. You can often tell a true stinker
straight off from the poorly written introduction (generally littered with more
spelling mistakes and/or grammatical errors than you could shake a stick at) which,
being the first thing potential players see, should be as close to perfect as it’s
possible to make an introduction.
Then there are the joke entries. And the IFComp, being the biggest comp around,
tends to attract more than its fair share of joke entries. Why is something of a
mystery, but then I guess every community attracts its fair share of idiots along the
way.
Sometimes it’s difficult to tell a genuinely bad game written by someone who
doesn’t have a clue from a deliberate joke game. Take the notorious Paul Panks, he
of
Westfront PC
fame, who holds the unique, though hardly sought after, record of
coming last in the IFComp for two years running. His entry in 2004 was called
Ninja
and it finished at the lowest placed position in the comp. He re-entered the game
(a breach of the comp rules surely.) with a very minor change the following year,
now calling it
Ninja 2,
where it again came last place. Were they joke entries. Or
just remarkably bad games. Judging from the usual kind of games Panks writes,
and self-promotes to a painful degree on the RAIF/RGIF newsgroups, it’s hard to
say for sure.
Some games are obvious joke entries and don’t pretend to be anything else. One of
the ADRIFT games last year was called
PTbadsixandoneeighth or Have You Seen
The Muffin Man. He Is Quite Large
. Thankfully everyone realised it was a
deliberately bad game (a goal it achieved very well, I might add) and didn’t knock
ADRIFT for the quality of this game it had produced.
This year will hopefully see a stronger ADRIFT showing than ever in the comp.
While I doubt very much we’ll see an ADRIFT game finishing in first place, or even
in the top five, it’s possible one might crack the top ten for the first time since
The
PK Girl
in 2002. Last year we came close – games at 11, 12 and 14 – so hopefully
this year we’ll do even better.
As to whether an ADRIFT game is ever going to win the IFComp, I really couldn’t
say. As it’s my chosen system (and this
is
the ADRIFT newsletter after all), I’d like
to say yes… but at the same time, if I'm going to be perfectly honest, my actual
response would more likely be no. The stigma of ADRIFT’s early years, when it
produced countless terrible games and gained for itself a terrible reputation as a
result, might finally be dying down, but there's still a long, long way to go before it
achieves the same kind of recognition as Tads and Inform have*. Maybe ADRIFT 5
pg_0016
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 16]
will change all that, although only having a few glimpses of what it will be like, and
no experience of using it, it’s difficult to say. Hopefully in a few months, and
certainly by the IFComp 2007, we’ll see just what ADRIFT 5 can do, and then we’ll
be able to tell whether it can hold its own against the big boys.
* Although it’s worth mentioning that the worst games in the IFComp for the past
two years haven't been ADRIFT games.
So will an ADRIFT game win the IFComp this year. No. Not a chance. Next year.
No. In five years time. Ten years.
Who can say…. But it'll certainly be interesting seeing how things stand in another
five years.
pg_0017
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 17]
1
1
11
1
1
11
1
0
0
00
0
0
00
0
1
11
1
1
1
1
1
T
T
TT
T
T
H
H
HH
H
H
HH
H
I
II
I
I
I
I
I
N
N
NN
N
N
G
G
G
G
G
GG
G
S
S
SS
S
S
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
YY
Y
O
OO
O
O
O
O
O
U
U
U
U
U
UU
U
L
L
L
L
L
LL
L
O
O
OO
O
O
V
VV
V
V
V
V
V
V
V
E
E
E
E
E
EE
E
&
&
&&
&
&
H
H
HH
H
H
A
AA
A
A
A
A
A
A
A
T
TT
T
T
T
T
T
E
E
EE
E
E
A
A
A
A
A
AA
A
B
BB
B
B
B
B
B
O
O
O
O
O
OO
O
U
U
UU
U
U
T
TT
T
T
T
T
T
I
I
II
I
I
II
I
F
FF
F
F
F
F
F
A couple of recent threads on the ADRIFT forum attempted to list a 101 things that
people love and hate about interactive fiction. It didn’t get to
quite
a 101 in either
category but a fair total was reached. Thinking on writing a game. It might be an
idea to check out the following lists:
Things People Love…
Things People Love…
Things People Love…
Things People Love…
I like humour where it is appropriate, so if I was playing a game based on Red
Dwarf.... I'd expect to see a lot of humour.
I like to see good english composition.
I like puzzles or problems, appropriate to the situation in the game, with logical
solutions - preferably with more than one way to solve it.
Games with interesting storylines.
Twists in the plot that make me think "wow! I wish I'd written that!"
Puzzles that make sense (i.e. you solve them and you understand them
afterwards).
Games that make sense (i.e. you don't finish them and sit there wondering just
what they were all about).
Games that have been spellchecked and grammar checked.
Games that aren't buggy.
Fully implemented scenery. If there's a great big tree in front of me, I want to be
able to examine it and get more than YOU SEE NO SUCH THING.
pg_0018
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 18]
Horror games that are actually creepy as opposed to "oh,
more
blood and
more
guts and
more
dead bodies. Ho hum."
Fantasy games that don't fall into the cliche of sticking a goblin, orc and zombie in
every other location.
Games that don't have mazes in them.
Puzzles that make sense. If there's a puzzle in the game, make sure it makes sense
or don't include it.
A proper introduction. None of this "let's just dump him in the first location and he
can figure out the storyline for himself".
NPCs who haven't been cut from cardboard.
Lots of location, but only if those locations have something worthwhile to do in
them. If there are 1,700+ locations in your game and 1,500 of them are empty,
why not chop out the empty ones and just leave me with the ones that make a
difference.
I like Noir, so I like the idea of Noir endings - a victory, but always a slightly hollow
one. I have an epic game that, if I ever finish it, will be something like that (as it's
Noir).
…and hate
Games that are set in an ordinary suburban house / school / college / office (with
one or two exceptions) ie games that are set wherever the unimaginative author is
most familiar with, usually with badly implemented bathroom / kitchen furniture
that doesn't really do anything but which he/she put it in anyway because every
house has a bathroom, right.
Games of the above type that start off in a bedroom. Just because you're writing
the game in your bedroom doesn't mean the game has to take place there.
Games with dozens of non-interactive cut-scenes. Just write a short story, for
crying out loud!
Games that look like games but which turn out to be completely on rails from start
to finish.
pg_0019
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 19]
Generic fantasy settings. Even humorous generic fantasy has been done to death
now.
Locks and keys. Yes, I admit, I have them in my games, but I'm intending to avoid
them in future.
Generic sci-fi settings with lots of corridors and doors that open with passes etc.
And robot guards with lasers. And computer terminals.
Games which exist solely to put across some kind of moral or message, and do so
in a very heavy-handed way.
Any game with a bland, generic hero as PC. The PC is a character; even James
Bond has likes, dislikes, quirks and a sense of humour. Too often you get the
feeling this hasn't been thought about.
Mazes. Yes, I hate mazes. I don’t care if the author likes them because I don’t and
it’s a fair bet the only person who doesn’t hate them is the guy who puts them in
his game.
Mazes. So bad they deserve two whole points to themselves.
Lack of hints. I always get stuck and my initial reaction when getting stuck is to
type HELP. If HELP doesn’t produce a decent response, you can bet your bottom
dollar the next thing I'm typing will be QUIT.
Pointless puzzles. Like the player is wandering through a featureless landscape and
comes across a set of building blocks that he has to arrange into a set order to
progress to the next stage of the game. Why does he have to do this. Er… because
the writer felt like putting this puzzle in a game.
Games that don’t implement descriptions for things you can see.
QUOTE
You are in a field. You can see a tree and a bench here.
> x field
You see no such thing.
> x tree
You see no such thing.
pg_0020
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 20]
> x bench
You see no such thing.
> quit
If they're there, they need a description.
Serious games that have jokey bits in them. Don’t put jokes in a serious game. It
just spoils the mood. Particularly if you're writing a horror game.
Item carrying restrictions. If there are fifteen items in the game, then I want to be
able to carry fifteen. Is this realistic. No. But I don’t care.
Games littered with speling mistkes bad and grammar and punc!tuat,ion in. the!
wro-ng place’. And Lots Of Words Starting With Capitals That Don’t Need Capitals.
These are text adventures, so if you don’t have a good grasp of the English
language, don’t write a game.
Adrift games that haven't had the default “talk to” response overridden. It never
fails to annoy me whenever I talk to an NPC and get told to “use ask Alice about
subject instead”. C’mon, people. It breaks mimesis*, for crying out loud!
Bugs. The worst offender. Every bug lowers my opinion of a game and the more I
come across, the more I wonder why I don’t just give up and find some other less
buggy game to play. Yes, bugs are difficult to get rid of completely but with careful
testing you can eliminate the worse offenders.
Bugs - so many things too numerous to go into that can go wrong and get you
stuck
Mazes (most of them) - for obvious reasons
Bad room descriptions/map layouts - where you have to go through so many
identical corridors, rooms in a building, paths through a forest, etc.
Bad NPC implementation - everytime you encounter an NPC they say/look like/do
the same thing all the time
Not describing things - reading 'You see no such thing.' over and over and over (I
mean substantial objects in a room description, not every tiny thing). At least have
a new stock phrase, like, 'I don't have time to inspect every last thing.'!)
Really difficult puzzles, GTV issues, etc. - I don't like to spend too much time in a
pg_0021
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 21]
location or having to go back and forth through the same rooms to try to solve
something, at least not unless there are interesting things happening the whole
time and/or I seem to be making lots of progress whilst doing it.
My pet peeve is puzzles which don't give a good connection between obstacle and
solution beforehand, doubly so if the connection is not clear after the fact.
For an example of the first, if an npc is blocking my way, and to get past, I have to
"GIVE MACGUFFIN TO NPC", then I should have a good reason to expect that the
npc would react to the macguffin.
For an example of the second, in _Temple of the Orc Mage_, there are a number of
objects where: If you try to pick it up while holding a particular second object, you
will succeed with no hint anything was unusual. If you try to pick it up any other
time, the attempt will simply fail. Worse, the walkthrough gives no clue why this
sometimes works and sometimes doesn't.
I can't stand overly long mazes, or adventures with a million locations and a grand
total of three objects. And games where I have to open it in the generator to see
what the heck I was meant to do irritate me.
Also, for some reason I can't get through any game that starts on a spaceship. I
don't know what it is, I like sci-fi, but for some reason it's a real turn-off.
One thing I CAN'T STAND in IF is the verb USE.
Personally I find particularly young player characters in games not as engaging as
an older character simply due to the fact that it makes things more difficult to
relate to. For me, if an author really wanted to use the perspective of a child to
play the game with, it would be preferable if it was only for a small section.
1. Mazes - I rarely play a game with a maze through to its conclusion.
2. Bugs
3. Bad story
4. Boring Puzzles
5. Bad writing and description - This is a killer. So many games had really bad room
descriptions it almost makes no sense.
I also dislike when the fourth wall is broken to be used as a crutch for poor game
design.
pg_0022
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 22]
A
A
AA
A
A
AA
A
N
N
N
N
N
NN
N
D
D
D
D
D
DD
D
T
T
TT
T
T
H
H
HH
H
H
HH
H
E
EE
E
E
E
E
E
N
N
NN
N
N
T
TT
T
T
T
T
T
H
H
HH
H
H
E
E
E
E
E
EE
E
R
RR
R
R
R
R
R
E
E
E
E
E
EE
E
W
W
WW
W
W
E
E
E
E
E
EE
E
R
RR
R
R
R
R
R
E
EE
E
E
E
E
E
(
(
((
(
(
1
11
1
1
1
1
1
0
00
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
00
0
0
00
0
)
)
)
)
))
)
)
0
00
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
A Musing On Populating Games With Huge Amounts Of NPCs
by David Whyld
M
ost games feature NPCs. They're one of the inescapable factors about writing an
IF game (or a non-IF game for that matter). NPCs are everywhere.
But games seldom have anywhere near enough of them to be realistic.
Take your average village. How many people, roughly, would you say live there. A
hundred. Two hundred. Say three hundred. Assuming you were to write a game
set in that village, how many NPCs would you put in your game. Certainly not
three hundred. It would take forever. Just writing descriptions for each of them
would take weeks, or even months, in itself. And as for dialogue for each of them…
I've thought a time or two over the years of creating a huge game world, with
literally hundreds of locations, hundreds of objects, hundreds of NPCs. The main
issue that’s always stopped me is that it would require such a vast amount of time
and effort, and take such an age to finish, that I've pretty much quit working on it
before I've even begun. The very idea of creating separate personalities,
descriptions and conversation dialogue for hundreds of NPCs has just left me cold.
Recently, though, I've been playing the much-heralded
Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind
and its expansion packs
Tribunal
and
Bloodmoon
. Despite containing some
remarkable gameplay flaws (wandering along a wind-blasted wasteland for an hour
is
not
fun, nor is accidentally killing your ally when trying to strike an enemy
because they moved in the way of your attack), it’s also been a very interesting
game, and some parts of it, namely the way it handles NPCs, has got me
wondering about the huge game world idea in an IF game again.
Morrowind
itself
is populated with literally hundreds of NPCs, maybe even thousands. A mammoth
task, even considering that this is a game designed not just by a single person (as
pg_0023
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 23]
is the case with the majority of today’s IF games) but by a whole production team.
Read the credits list at the back of the manual for an idea of just how many people
worked on the game. Lots and lots and lots of them. But
Morrowind
has a neat
trick as far as its NPCs are concerned: it has a central store of questions that the
player can ask them about, and the responses from any one of a hundred NPCs
might be the exact same thing.
Now, that might not seem like a huge amount of fun, and you'd probably be
forgiven for thinking it must get very repetitive speaking to the eleventh NPC in a
row and getting the same responses as you did for the last ten. In a way, you'd be
right. But at the same time, when there are so many NPCs in the game that can be
spoken to, if every single one had a unique set of dialogue options, it would be
pretty impossible to get anything done. There would be so much choice that finding
one of the NPCs you actually
needed
to speak to would be a nightmare. So in those
circumstances, when you have hundreds of NPCs but only a percentage of them
have anything worthwhile to say, it becomes much easier to find the unique ones.
It also gives the game a degree of believability in that it
seems
much more like a
real world. Every house has an NPC, every street has a few of them wandering
along. Most of them don’t play an important part in the game, or even do anything
but just add up the numbers, but including them gives the village more credibility
than it would have if the only NPCs around were the two you actually needed to
speak with.
Apply the same idea to an IF game. Take the village mentioned earlier with three
hundred NPCs. Clearly three hundred is too many, but let’s assume we had one
hundred. Give them a central pool of information that each of them have the same
answers to. Make some of them, maybe a dozen in total, have different dialogues.
It would be achievable.
Of course, you're still faced with the descriptions for a hundred different NPCs
which would be a lengthy process in itself. But then it depends what level of detail
for the descriptions you go for. You could always go with a generic description for
almost every NPC in the game (and if you have a game with a hundred NPCs, it’s
unlikely that players are going to want, or even expect, a full length and varied
description for each of them), or just base their descriptions on a set of variables,
thus making each of the NPCs different in appearance every time you play the
game.
The conversation pool would be an easy enough thing to set up, with a brief
mention at the start of the game of precisely how it works to clue players in on
what it is they're expected to do. It would still take a while to complete, but overall
it would be considerably less time consuming than creating a separate dialogue for
each NPC. A typical conversation might go along the lines of:
pg_0024
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 24]
> talk to bob
“Hi,” says Bob. “What do you want.” (politics/weather/sports/bob/his wife/his
family/his job/me)
> politics
“I'm not one for politics,” says Bob. “Ask me about something else.”
(politics/weather/sports/bob/his wife/his family/his job/me)
> me
“I barely even know you,” says Bob. (politics/weather/sports/bob/his wife/his
family/his job/me)
> his wife
“Keep your eyes off her, stranger,” says Bob, with a hard look in his eyes.
(politics/weather/sports/bob/his wife/his family/his job/me)
Now the conversation topics “politics” and “me” would be general conversation
topics (i.e. ones that just about NPC in the game would have). The “his wife”
conversation topic would be unique to Bob (unless you want it so that every NPC in
the game responds unfavourably to questions about their wife :) )
It would even be possible to vary the responses. “politics” could be a variable and,
together with the ALR, you might have:
> talk to bob
“Hi,” says Bob. “What do you want.” (politics/weather/sports/bob/his wife/his
family/his job/me)
> politics
politics%politics% (politics/weather/sports/bob/his wife/his family/his job/me)
In the ALR:
politics0|“I'm not one for politics,” says Bob. “Ask me about something else.”
politics1|”Interesting subject,” says Bob. “I’ve always liked that sort of thing.”
politics2|”I doubt I could care less if I tried,” says Bob.
Of course, varying the conversation topics in this way for every NPC in the game
would probably be almost as time consuming as writing out individual conversation
topics for each of them. Or you could have it that each time you question an NPC
about a specific subject, a variable is determined and the answer based off that.
The positive side to this is that you'd have different responses from different NPCs
pg_0025
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 25]
without having to program multiple responses for each of them. The negative side
is that you'd get wildly varying responses from the same NPC when asked
repeatedly about the same subject.
While hardly an ideal conversation system, this is at least a way of doing one that
could handle hundreds, even thousands (if you wanted to go that far), of
conversations with NPCs. If you're going for the huge game world idea, and intend
to populate it with enough NPCs to make it seem like a real place, it’s certainly an
idea to think about.
pg_0026
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 26]
V
V
V
V
VV
V
V
I
I
I
I
I
II
I
E
EE
E
E
E
E
E
W
W
WW
W
W
F
FF
F
F
F
F
F
R
R
RR
R
R
RR
R
O
O
OO
O
O
M
MM
M
M
M
M
M
A
A
A
A
AA
A
A
(
(
(
(
((
(
(
N
NN
N
N
N
N
N
N
N
A
A
AA
A
A
L
L
L
L
L
LL
L
M
MM
M
M
M
M
M
O
OO
O
O
O
O
O
S
S
SS
S
S
SS
S
T
T
TT
T
T
)
)
))
)
)
))
)
N
N
NN
N
N
NN
N
E
E
E
E
E
EE
E
W
WW
W
W
W
W
W
B
B
BB
B
B
I
II
I
I
I
I
I
E
E
EE
E
E
by AndrewF
Ok, I may not actually be the newest Newbie on the proverbial block, but I only
started using ADRIFT the second week of March ’06, so I’m not really an old hand
either (despite what some people might say about my age).
Back then, when I first thought about trying my hand at writing IF instead of
stories, I had a quick search around the net for an application to help me with the
setting up and writing process. I wanted something that would be quick and easy
to pickup and would also do a lot of the background work for me (tying rooms
together, controlling objects, etc.)
I had a brief look at TADS and INFORM as well as ADRIFT and found that ADRIFT
was the only one that would let me setup a series of rooms and put something in
them almost instantly with no need to touch the manual. That boded well for what
I wanted to try so off I went creating and testing my theories.
After only a day or so of writing, I encountered the limit on the free demo version.
“Arrgh!” I thought... “I can’t stop now!” So with a swift mouse click or three, I
purchased my registration (at a very reasonable price I might add) and continued
on from where I had been interrupted.
So far in my experience, writing in ADRIFT has been both easy and frustrating,
strange as that dichotomy may sound.
There have been times when creating locations, objects and tasks seemed to flow
as smoothly as water. When my intent has translated into my game with little or no
resistance and has even worked first time.
There have also been times when what I was trying to achieve had seemed
impossible, and that there was no way to bend ADRIFT to my needs.
pg_0027
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 27]
But even in my darkest hours, I knew that there is a community of ADRIFT experts
who are willing to offer support and guidance even for the most impossible-
seeming tasks. A community of writers from many varied walks of life who are
willing to put aside their own tasks and apply their own unique combination of
talents to helping each other.
pg_0028
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 28]
D
D
DD
D
D
DD
D
R
R
R
R
R
RR
R
I
I
II
I
I
II
I
F
F
F
F
F
FF
F
T
T
TT
T
T
E
E
E
E
E
EE
E
R
RR
R
R
R
R
R
R
R
S
S
S
S
S
SS
S
’’
T
T
TT
T
T
H
H
HH
H
H
I
I
I
I
I
II
I
N
NN
N
N
N
N
N
K
K
KK
K
K
A
AA
A
A
A
A
A
A
A
B
BB
B
B
B
B
B
O
OO
O
O
O
O
O
U
U
UU
U
U
UU
U
T
T
TT
T
T
……
The IFComp 2006
KFAdrift
The IF Comp remains, as should it should be, the highlight of the IF year. If for no
other reason than being the one time when people will try systems that they
otherwise avoid it is very important, which is also a problem if the systems fail to
work simply.
While I doubt that, as things stand, an Adrift game could win the comp, I do think
that Adrift games performing well is important to the profile of the system. Games
that finish in the upper reaches of the annual comp will have an attraction for
players coming to the IF community as they have the stamp of approval. What
happens next year if Adrift 5 is with us, and is a much more powerful system, then
we might see a break through. Of course we could also be back at square one so
far as compatibility with other operating systems is concerned.
pg_0029
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 29]
I
II
I
I
I
II
I
N
N
N
N
NN
N
N
N
N
T
T
T
TT
T
H
H
H
HH
H
E
E
EE
E
E
E
E
H
HH
H
H
H
H
H
O
O
OO
O
O
O
O
T
TT
T
T
T
T
T
S
S
S
SS
S
E
E
E
EE
E
A
A
A
AA
A
T
TT
T
T
T
T
T
Interview with Robert Street
And this month we have an interview with prolific ADRIFT (and Inform) writer
Robert Street, aka Rafgon, now the editor of the Reviews Exchange. Let’s see what he has
to say for himself.
First of all, who is Rafgon/Robert Street. Tell us a bit about yourself.
For a few basic facts, I'm Australian, 23 years old, and beginning a career
in the financial industry. I only discovered IF at the start of 2004, so I'm a
relative newcomer to the scene. I hadn't even heard of Infocom until I started
reading the various IF forums/newsgroups. I've always read a lot of books, and
liked the graphic adventure games, whilst not being a fan of action or strategy
games. I guess I started playing IF, as after discovering a few sites, it seemed like
a good source of free interesting games I could download from the Internet.
If anyone is wondering where the name Rafgon came from, it was just a random
word I made up at the time I joined the forum. I didn't want to use my real name
initially in case I made a mess of my first IF games. I could then have taken the
coward's route by abandoning the name and pretending that I was a newcomer
again later. I didn't end up needing to change my name, as it went much better
than I had expected.
< ------------------------- >
Q
A
pg_0030
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 30]
Why did you choose ADRIFT to write your games with. You can use a
programming language (more about that in the next question), so what
was it about ADRIFT that made you choose it.
After the IF Comp in 2004, I wanted to try writing some games, so I
entered the two competitions that were on, which were the Inform C32
minicomp and the ADRIFT 3-Hour comp.
After having tried out these two languages (and I had a quick look at TADS and
Hugo as well), I found that ADRIFT was just easy to use and I could focus on the
writing side rather than the programming. This is a hobby with limited time, not a
job, and I want to focus more on the writing, which I find more fun.
< ------------------------- >
In 2005, you entered an Inform game in the IFComp and came 6th, a
remarkable achievement. Why did you choose to write your IFComp entry
in Inform – specific problems with ADRIFT or did Inform just seem 'right for the
job'.
The main reason for writing an IFComp game in Inform is really that I
wanted to see if I was capable of writing a game in the language. I always
like a good challenge.
< ------------------------- >
Also, do you think you'd have done as well if your game had been written
with ADRIFT.
Q
Q
Q
A
A
A
Q
A
A
A
Q
pg_0031
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 31]
No, and it isn't a simple reason such as people don't like ADRIFT. The first
problem I see is that Scare is not a good substitute for ADRIFT on non-
Windows systems. I appreciate the effort put into Scare, but it never seems to
work fully as intended. I worry that people who play through Scare are going to
find issues that don't appear on the normal ADRIFT, and cannot be easily fixed.
I think it is also just difficult to get a polished game in ADRIFT. It is easy to get a
solid game programmed, but it is very difficult to get to the polished stage. By
polished, I mean that all the commands entered by the player receive reasonable
responses. It's the little things that are important.
Whenever you play ADRIFT, you tend to get strange responses with inappropriate
default messages (such as the ever annoying response to punching items) and
where not every variation of a command is covered. Using the alr, synonyms and
tasks you can fix these issues to a certain extent, but I find it difficult to fix it
completely, whilst not introducing in new problems in the process.
In Inform it is a lot harder to get to the solid stage of writing a game, but it is a lot
more polished when you get there, as Inform has a stronger base than can be
customised more effectively.
< ------------------------- >
What aspect of Inform do you wish ADRIFT had. Is there anything you've
ever tried to do in ADRIFT that can't be done, but is easy enough to
achieve in Inform.
I guess from my response above I would prefer a lot more control over a
default response to any given verb.
In Frustrated Interviewee, I also had a lot of trouble implementing in some more
mechanical puzzles with carrying the tree trunk and putting the sticks in the holes.
ADRIFT is not really made for complicated if-then structures, and these puzzles
needed a lot of tasks. In Inform, I find mechanical puzzles, with lots of cases and
variables, are much easier to implement. I have to admit a few times in ADRIFT
I've just given up and changed the puzzle to something that can be implemented
more easily.
A
A
A
Q
Q
Q
A
A
A
pg_0032
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 32]
I know you can implement in a CYOA style system of choices for conversation in
ADRIFT, but it is not easy to do right. It was difficult to figure out initially, but the
gtalk addin I used in Inform gave me a lot more flexibility once I understood how it
worked.
< ------------------------- >
You've turned a few of your smaller works into full size games in the past.
Any plans to turn either "Take One" or "Too Much Exercise" (or either of
your Intro Comp entries) into full games.
Probably not in either of these cases, as I can't see a good way to extend
the games whilst keeping the premise interesting. I may borrow some of
the same ideas in later games, but I have no plans to do this at the moment.
Generally, I'm not a huge fan of writing sequels or series, as I find that I like
working on different ideas in each game. I only wrote the expansions for Must
Escape! and Veteran Knowledge when I had a lot of new ideas.
< ------------------------- >
Which IF (ADRIFT or otherwise) games have you played lately and which
would you recommend.
I haven't played many ADRIFT games recently, which is mainly due to the
fact I have played most of the good ADRIFT games previously and
unfortunately not many new games have been released so far this year. For non-
ADRIFT games, I have been playing through some of the Robb Sherwin games,
which I really enjoy. I always like a good action IF game (and I mean by this that
lots of action occurs, not that there is a combat system).
< ------------------------- >
Q
A
Q
Q
Q
A
pg_0033
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 33]
What are your hopes for ADRIFT 5. What killer features do you wish it
had.
I'm really not sure what I want from ADRIFT 5. Probably more of the same
as ADRIFT 4, except with a greater ability to customise and fewer limits. An
example of a limit is that you can only copy tasks, not for example objects or
events, and you can only move dynamic, not static objects. Both of these limits
should be removed. There are a lot of minor design issues like this that could be
improved to make the program even more user friendly. I'm happy to wait and see
at the moment.
< ------------------------- >
Where do you see your game writing going. Bigger games in the future.
More ambitious works.
I have noticed that my game ideas are becoming more ambitious, as I get
more experience. I started off with medium size games, but my games
have been steadily getting larger in size. I think I just feel more confident now that
I will actually finish writing a larger game. At first, I didn't want to risk aiming for
too much, becoming bored, and never finishing.
< ------------------------- >
"Veteran Knowledge" and "Veteran Experience" were both set from the
viewpoint of an anti-hero, an unusual approach. Do you think it's important
for the player to associate himself with the main character in a game. If so, why
choose to write a game from the 'villain's' viewpoint.
I think it is more fun for a game author to write from the 'villain's'
viewpoint than it is for a player to play as a villain. It is easy for the author
to get into writing a villain, but it can often not connect with the player. This
Q
Q
Q
A
A
A
Q
A
Q
A
pg_0034
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 34]
depends on whether you want to write a popular game, or one you will enjoy
writing. Of course, you can do both at the same time, which is probably a better
option. In hindsight I think I went a bit over the top with the character.
< ------------------------- >
Which of your games so far do you think has been your best work and
why. What would you say sets that game above all the others.
I think I get better with every game, as I learn from my previous mistakes.
I liked "The Potter and the Mould", as I felt it had a far stronger storyline
than my previous games, whilst maintaining large areas to explore and reasonable
puzzles.
< ------------------------- >
How many of the games you start reach completion.
Most of them actually. For all of the games I've really started work on, I've
eventually got around to finishing them. I admit some games have been
abandoned very early on, when I realised that I couldn't make the ideas work in
that format. For example, there were too many holes in the plot where it just didn't
make sense. Often I've used the best of these ideas in a later game.
< ------------------------- >
What are your IF plans for the future. Continue to use ADRIFT. Switch to
Inform. Or something else.
I'm going to stick with ADRIFT for the time being. I've had a quick look at
Inform 7, and whilst it looks interesting, I just don't have the time to learn
Q
A
Q
Q
Q
A
A
A
Q
A
pg_0035
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 35]
a new programming language right now. It might be easy to use, but it will still
take too much time and effort to figure out.
< ------------------------- >
What are you working on now. Tell us a bit about your works in progress.
I'm working on an ADRIFT game, but I don't want to give out any details
yet in case I want to enter it in a competition. I don't have as much time to
write now as I did last year, so it is coming along very slowly.
_______________________
Robert Street is the author of seven ADRIFT Games:
23 11 04 1) Veteran Experience
Veteran Experience
Veteran Experience
Veteran Experience
11 02 05 2) Veteran Knowledge
Veteran Knowledge
Veteran Knowledge
Veteran Knowledge
17 04 05 3) Frustrated Interviewee
Frustrated Interviewee
Frustrated Interviewee
Frustrated Interviewee
21 08 05 4) Must Escape!
Must Escape!
Must Escape!
Must Escape!
25 09 05 5) Take One
Take One
Take One
Take One
18 03 06 6) Too Much Exercise
Too Much Exercise
Too Much Exercise
Too Much Exercise
31 03 06 7) The Potter & The Mould
The Potter & The Mould
The Potter & The Mould
The Potter & The Mould
and one Inform game:
01 10 05 1) The Colour Pink
The Colour Pink
The Colour Pink
The Colour Pink
“Veteran Experience” came 2
nd
in the second Three Hour ADRIFT Comp in 2004;
“Frustrated Interviewee” was joint 1
st
in the ADRIFT Spring Comp 2005; “Outline”
came joint 4
th
in the ADRIFT Intro Comp (2005) and “Must Escape!” came sixth; the
full length version of “Must Escape!” came 4
th
in the ADRIFT Summer Comp 2005;
“Take One” came 2
nd
in the Finish The Game Comp (2005); “The Colour Pink”
came 6
th
in the IFComp 2005; “Too Much Exercise” came 2
nd
in the Writing
Challenges Comp (2006); “The Potter & The Mould” came 2
nd
in the Spring Thing
2006.
He runs a website at
http://adrift.sitesled.com/
http://adrift.sitesled.com/
http://adrift.sitesled.com/
http://adrift.sitesled.com/
which is the current home of the
Reviews Exchange.
Q
Q
Q
A
A
A
pg_0036
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 36]
I
I
II
I
I
II
I
N
NN
N
N
N
N
N
N
N
P
P
P
P
PP
P
P
R
R
R
R
RR
R
R
O
OO
O
O
O
O
O
G
G
G
G
G
GG
G
R
R
RR
R
R
RR
R
E
E
EE
E
E
S
S
S
S
S
SS
S
S
S
SS
S
S
SS
S
Works in progress from members of the ADRIFT community. How many will ever
get finished. Only time will tell…
D
ivine
H
arbour
By C. Henshaw
You are a young woman who lands a job at a private mental institution called ‘Divine
Harbour’. It’s small, exclusive, and friendly. The patients are very easy to deal with. Too
easy, in fact. Very quickly you begin to wonder if these people have any real problems at
all, and why the assistants of Dr Baedika, the director, mindlessly worship the ground he
walks on. What is going on here. And what are these strange suspicions that the patients
know you as well, or better, than you know yourself. All is obviously not as it seems, and
you realise that no one except yourself can do anything about it.
This is a medium-sized, 17 room game, of the drama/thriller genre, due for release in
autumn 2006.
Introduction
The interview
'Miss Ishaque, thank you so much for coming. Welcome to Divine Harbour.'
Self-consciously leaning over the table between you and the three interviewers, you
shake the hand of the trim moustachioed man in the middle. 'Thank you for inviting
me,' You say with a smile. The man wears a waistcoat over his flowing white shirt and
his eyes twinkle at you. On his right sits a demure young woman with red hair, pulled
back in a severe knot, and on his left a bright-eyed young man with sideburns.
'And you are... what... Pakistani.' He asks, peering from your job application to your
blond curls.
pg_0037
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 37]
'Well, no,' You say, a little taken aback, 'I'm Bangladeshi and Persian, actually.'
The three mumble a bit, along the lines of, 'Oh, you sound so British,' and 'Very
interesting mix,' etc. You've heard this kind of thing before and decide to take it in a
positive way - maybe you'll stand out a bit from the other applicants…
So begins your very first job interview in the field at which you have worked so hard:
abnormal psychology. This hardly counts as a first job, being merely an internship of
only one month. But so far you've had little luck elsewhere. Too many Oxford
graduates, bespectacled brunettes and ambitious people with good connections. One
old doctor even patted your hand and said you were too beautiful to be doing this kind
of work - that it would distract the patients.
'Now, tell us a little about yourself, and why you want to work in this field...' the man
begins.
The interview finishes, and you step out of the room. You managed to refrain from
tossing your hair and remembered to look through your fake glasses, not over or under
them. Although you refused to dye your hair for this interview, you did leave off
washing it for a few days so that it would look a bit darker and stringier, and kept it off
your face with a simple alice band. You have mixed feelings about the irony of being
Asian with naturally blond hair and blue eyes - the cause of numerous requests for
marriage from friends and relatives 'back home' with eligible sons.
Smoothing your long shapeless cardigan over a knee-length pleated skirt, you wait
outside in the corridor. Suddenly the door opens, and the handsome older man (who,
you learned, is Dr Baedike, and runs the facility) reaches out again to shake your hand.
'Miss Ishaque, you're hired.' He twinkles at you and bustles off down the corridor. The
other two follow him out. They are, you have learned, Dr Carstone and Dr Minan. 'See
you Monday' they call out as you leave.
First day…
Monday morning, promptly, you arrive at the front entrance to Divine Harbour and the
receptionist lets you in. She remembers you from your interview the previous week.
'Welcome Miss Ishaque. Richard will be here any minute. I'm Tia Holdyne, by the
way.' You shake her manicured hand. 'I think you'll find Divine Harbour a wonderful
place to work. It's a shame you'll only be here for a month!' She smiles in a dreamy
way, and settles back down in her seat.
Entrance Lobby
Divine Harbour's entrance is a large room of glass with a row of black leather chairs
pg_0038
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 38]
positioned artfully between potted palms. The receptionist's desk is tubular steel and a
giant artwork in pinks and greens dominates her corner. A set of spiral stairs in polished
wood leads up to the first floor, and a metal door leads south. The large glass doors
leading north to the outside are locked and can only be opened by holding a staff
keycard to the lock, or by the receptionist pressing a button near her chair.
To be continued…
S
carlet
(How Suzy Got Her Powers)
by David Whyld
Introduction
“La-dddyyyyyyyy!”
You blink. Jeez, that was loud! Does the kid have a pair of loudspeakers in his lungs or
something.
“Lady, he-llllllllllllllllp!” the kids screeches.
You're more inclined to cover your ears to block him out, but instead you find yourself
(cursing your ever helpful nature as you do) saying to him, “what’s the problem,
kiddo.”
The kid – is it a boy. A girl. Something different. – points towards a building at one
end of the parking lot. Smoke is rising in thick clouds (how come you didn’t notice that
before.) from the building and there's what looks like flames licking at one of the upper
windows.
“My mummeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” the kid wails, apparently not one for keeping his/her voice
down when he/she has the opportunity to screech instead. “She’s inside!”
Your usual response at this point would be to say, “yes. And.” but you stop yourself.
There's someone trapped in a burning building. There's you and that someone’s kid
here. And, as sheer bad luck would have it, the rest of the parking lot is empty.
“Hellllllllppppppp!!!” wails the kid, tugging at your hand and trying to pull you towards
the burning building when every instinct is prompting you to run like hell in the other
direction.
pg_0039
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 39]
< ------------ >
How Suzy Got Her Powers is the first part of a larger work, a superhero (or
superheroine actually) game which has the working title of Scarlet.
I've written a superhero game before – A Day In The Life Of A Superhero
(entered in the IFComp in 2004 where it came a lowly 23
rd
) – but Scarlet is
intended as a more serious game. Which isn't to say it
is
a serious game, just that
it won’t feature the kind of over the top and outlandish humour that Superhero
did. Scarlet is more down to earth, the villains more villainous, and the setting not
quite so silly. Think the first X-Men film as opposed to Superman wearing his
underpants on the outside.
Scarlet is intended as a big game. And by big, I mean
huge
. I've been meaning to
embark on a truly huge game for a while now, but many of my recent games
haven't really had a lengthy enough storyline to justify it. While the option is always
there in any game you write to just add extra sections onto it, this is never really a
good idea. Some games are best as short games, and trying to stretch out a small
idea into a huge one is sure to fail as you inevitably end up with an idea adequate
for a short game taking up something five times the size.
But Scarlet
feels
like a big game. Or a huge game. Or maybe even an epic game. I
haven't plotted out just how big it will be yet, but there are expected to be half a
dozen supervillains, each with their own cronies and base, scattered across a city of
perhaps three hundred locations. There’ll be other areas as well – an island base, a
cloud castle, maybe even somewhere deep underground depending on how it all
pans out – not to mention several flashbacks and extras thrown in to add
background and depth to the storyline.
How Suzy Got Her Powers is one such extra, detailing what happened one day
when Suzy Loman – AKA Scarlet – crosses a parking lot on her way to work, has an
encounter with something completely unexpected, and winds up with powers that
she never even wanted. But which she has all the same. As Peter Parker’s uncle
once told him: “with great power comes great responsibility.” And in a world
inhabited by Krusher, the Vortex and Fyreball, great responsibility is going to be
thrust upon little Suzy whether she wants it or not. After all,
someone
has to stop
them…
pg_0040
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 40]
D
D
DD
D
D
E
E
E
E
E
EE
E
A
AA
A
A
A
A
A
A
A
D
DD
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
……
B
B
B
B
B
BB
B
U
U
UU
U
U
T
TT
T
T
T
T
T
N
N
NN
N
N
NN
N
O
O
O
O
O
OO
O
T
T
TT
T
T
L
LL
L
L
L
L
L
O
O
O
O
O
OO
O
V
V
V
V
VV
V
V
I
II
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
N
N
N
N
NN
N
N
’’
I
II
I
I
I
I
I
T
T
TT
T
T
by David Whyld
A game of mine that is now every bit as inactive as the subject matter…
A D
ay
I
n
T
he
L
ife
O
f
A
G
rave
D
igger
(…introduction…)
A grave digger’s lot is not a happy one. There's the rain for a start, and the snow, and
the sleet, and the mud, and the people who aren’t quite as dead as they ought to be,
and the mourners, and the body snatchers, and the local police who come snooping
from time to time to make sure you're not burying hidden treasure, and the packs of
wild dogs, and the…
But it’s an easy enough job. Sure, you don’t get much in the way of conversation
what with the only people you meet being somewhat on the dead side, and the
chances of you scoring with any hot chicks aren’t helped by the fact that you always
smell of death and decay (for some reason, the hot chicks find it a bit off putting), and
the pay – 50p per corpse buried, 75p per really fat corpse buried – isn't great. Still,
it’s a job and you do get your very own grave digger’s hut and as many personal
belongings as you can steal from the corpses that their loved ones have missed. It’s
not a bad life…
But now everything seems to be changing. As explained by Smigg, the head of the
Graveyard Division at the last Annual Grave Diggers’ Association Meeting: “the
government’s getting computerised, lads. And that means bad news for us honest
grave diggers. They're bringing in computer-operated spades and coffins that crawl
into the graves and they might even splash out on soil that digs itself.”
pg_0041
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 41]
”What we gonna do then.” someone asked. It might have been you but you can’t
remember.
”We’re gonna work harder is what we’re gonna do,” said Smigg, slamming his fists
down on the table. “No three hour coffee breaks, no leaving corpses out in the sun to
dry, no chucking several of ‘em in the same hole so as you don’t need to dig another
hole, and no swiping headstones to sell on the black market.” His beady eye fixed on
you as he said that and you felt something – probably your bank balance – wince at
the prospect. “We’re gonna show them computers what we’re made of, lads. We’re
gonna show ‘em who digs the graves around here.”
It was quite an inspiring speech. Afterwards, several of you got drunk and went for a
swim in the local river. Then, after being fished out by the river police and charged
with polluting the river with your bodies, you got down to the business at hand.
Today, it seems, is the day when the graveyard inspector is going to come and pay
your graveyard a visit. Today, you’ve got to be sharper than sharp. Today, for
perhaps the first time in recorded history, you're going to have to do a full day’s
week.
And, by God, you're going to enjoy it as well…
________________________
Yes, this was a silly game. A downright silly one. I'm not sure where the idea came
from but I started it not long after I’d written another comedy game –
A Day In
The Life Of A Superhero
– and I felt like doing another game with “A Day In The
Life…” in the title. Several discarded ideas later (one of them –
A Day In The Life
Of A
Pirate – I actually made quite a bit of progress with before losing interest) and
I came up with
A Day In The Life Of A Grave Digger
. It was the silliest of them all.
In tone, this game would be similar to
Paint!!!
Lots of bizarre things happening, but
this time spread out over five locations instead of just one. It was also intended as
a big game (or as big a game as it’s possible to get in five rooms anyway), with
locations changing depending on what had happened in other locations. There
would also be random elements to the game – characters showing up in one game
that didn’t in another, puzzles solved in different ways each time you play it –
lending to lots of replay value…
…and lots of trouble to write it.
pg_0042
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 42]
Grave Digger
went quite well at first. I wrote the locations out in one afternoon –
the grave digger’s hut (the “centre of operations”) and then the four ‘rooms’ which
comprised the graveyard itself. I made a few NPCs – a zombie who would wander
about the graveyard at random, a little girl looking for her doll which she’d lost, a
man who had been buried alive and wasn’t happy about it – and spend some time
thinking up puzzles. The random side of things I would leave, I decided, until the
rest of the game had been written, and then once all the easy stuff (i.e. all the
non-random elements) were done, I’d go and randomise everything to my heart’s
content.
All went well until I found myself liking the idea less and less the more I tried to
write it. At first I thought the five room limit I'd imposed was too restrictive – when
you’ve got as few locations as that, and 80% of them are composed of rooms full
of gravestones in them, you're inevitably going to end up with some similarity
between the locations. But at the same time, I wasn’t really sure that adding extra
rooms was the answer. Aside from anything,
Grave Digger
was intended as a game
that takes place in a small number of locations. Making the graveyard itself larger
was an option, but then how many locations do you really need in a graveyard.
Once you’ve described one grave, you’ve described ‘em all.
Stuck for ways to make any further progress, I pushed the game to one side with
the intention of taking a short break from it and returning to it at some later stage,
hopefully when I’d found fresh inspiration and knew how to proceed, but I guess it
wasn’t to be. Nearly two years after I originally came up with the idea,
A Day In
The Life Of A Grave Digger
holds no more appeal for me now than it did when I
gave up working on it.
pg_0043
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 43]
R
R
R
RR
R
E
E
E
EE
E
F
F
F
FF
F
E
E
EE
E
E
E
E
R
R
R
RR
R
E
E
E
EE
E
N
NN
N
N
N
NN
N
C
CC
C
C
C
C
C
E
EE
E
E
E
E
E
Who’s Who & What’s What
Who’s Who & What’s What
Who’s Who & What’s What
Who’s Who & What’s What
(…being a list of individual sites within the ADRIFT community…)
http://www.adrift.org.uk
The main ADRIFT website.
http://www.thephurroughs.com/projects/atts
The ADRIFT Tutorial. (Written for ADRIFT 3.9 but mostly still relevant.)
http://web-ring.freeservers.com/cgi-bin/webring.showring=K5G14H
The ADRIFT Webring.
http://sourceforge.net/projects/jasea
The homepage of jAsea, a program that allows people on non-Windows systems to
play ADRIFT games.
http://www.geocities.com/legion_if/scare.html
The homepage of SCARE, a clone of jAsea which allows ADRIFT games to be run
on non-Windows systems.
* * * * *
http://bbben.aifcommunity.org/
- “BBBen. Yes!”
AIF writer BBBen's website.
http://ccole.aftermath.cx/
- “Christopher Cole's AIF”
pg_0044
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 44]
AIF writer Christopher Cole's website.
http://www.delron.org.uk/
- “Delron”
Richard Otter's website.
http://www.geocities.com/shenanda976/garden.html
– “The Garden Of
Life”
Renata Burianova's website.
http://www.insideadrift.org.uk/e107/news.php
– “Inside ADRIFT”
The home of InsideADRIFT.
http://www.kfadrift.org.uk/news.php
– “KFAdrift On The Web”
KFAdrift’s website.
http://home.epix.net/~maywrite/game.htm
– “Maywrite”
Eric Mayer's website.
http://mysite.verizon.net/dlgoodwin/bob/pkgirl
– “The PK Girl”
Hanadorobou's website [home of the ADRIFT game The PK Girl].
http://adrift.sitesled.com/
- “Reviews Exchange”
Rafgon's {aka Robert Street] website.
http://www.shadowvault.net
– “Shadowvault”
David Whyld’s website.
pg_0045
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 45]
W
W
W
W
W
WW
W
O
OO
O
O
O
O
O
R
R
RR
R
R
RR
R
D
D
DD
D
D
S
SS
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
E
E
E
E
E
EE
E
A
AA
A
A
A
A
A
R
R
R
R
RR
R
R
C
CC
C
C
C
C
C
H
HH
H
H
H
H
H
Issue 29 contained a word search in which were hidden the names of twenty
different ADRIFT games. How many did you find.
Here are the answers.
Adrift Maze
Akron
Fire In The Blood
House
Humbug
Lost Mines
Old Church
Regrets
Saffire
Shadowjack
Shuffling Room
Test
Time
Undefined
Unravelling God
Vagabond
Vendetta
Wheels Must Turn
Woods Are Dark
Wreckage
pg_0046
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 46]
A V A G A B O N D I O P L F R F E E G I
W O O D S A R E D A R K G S F F T R B A
B T Y Y T L Y U H G N B G A E Y B T G D
H Q T U A O E E U I G G E F E F T T J R
B J K L X S W E F A E B N F B S R G G I
E Q B S E T G L V E H U I I R D U I T F
V A G U B M U H N E N T H R F F T O T T
R S F G U I H U U Z S T Q E T Q T I H M
T R C T Y N K H M K H Z V G H G U I P A
O F T W H E E L S M U S T T U R N I M Z
C I H G G S D E N I F E D N U N R M N E
V E N D E T T A T O F S D R B A N R U M
S R X Y U N R A V E L L I N G G O D T N
H H H E Q D E Q R S I X T G J T R S S H
A T S Q D J K D O I N I T U T G K S S G
D U T T T F I N G U G V B B S G A I N G
O I G E E Y U X T Y R B G T R T U U Y R
W O T Y Y R T Y I O O Q E Z S T G B T E
J P W Q R E G U U O O A D F G E O C I Q
A O P S S D T E L I M X F T Y U T J C X
C X E G A K C E R W G H C R U H C D L O
K I Q W E G F I R E I N T H E B L O O D
pg_0047
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 47]
C
C
C
C
C
CC
C
O
O
O
O
O
OO
O
N
N
N
N
NN
N
N
T
T
TT
T
T
R
R
RR
R
R
RR
R
I
I
II
I
I
B
B
B
B
B
BB
B
U
U
UU
U
U
UU
U
T
T
TT
T
T
I
I
II
I
I
O
O
O
O
O
OO
O
N
N
NN
N
N
S
S
SS
S
S
SS
S
Many thanks to:
AndrewF for ‘View From A(n Almost) Newbie’
Chenshaw for “Divine Harbour” introduction
Robert Street for agreeing to be interviewed
KFAdrift for hosting the newsletter on his site and for “Drifters’ Think About…”
pg_0048
Inside ADRIFT Issue 30 July/August 2006
[Page 48]
L
LL
L
L
L
L
L
O
O
O
O
O
OO
O
O
O
OO
O
O
K
KK
K
K
K
K
K
I
II
I
I
I
I
I
N
N
NN
N
N
G
G
G
G
G
GG
G
A
A
A
A
A
AA
A
H
HH
H
H
H
H
H
E
E
EE
E
E
A
A
AA
A
A
AA
A
D
D
D
D
D
DD
D
If everything goes according to plan, the 31
st
issue of the newsletter should be out
on 30
th
September 2006.
Have any ideas for articles/features for it. Let me know: dwhyld@gmail.com