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June 2003 Issue 7
Welcome to Inside ADRIFT! With summer approaching fast, this will be the last
issue of the newsletter that I will be putting together. KF has agreed to take on
the responsibility. I wish him the best of luck, and encourage everyone to
contribute.
Contents
News
-Get the latest
ADRIFT News.
Feature Article
-
Development of the NPC-
by Mystery
Interview
-Special Guest
Ken Franklin a.k.a. KF
Review
-To Hell in a
Hamper by Jason Guest
Manual
-Information right
from the ADRIFT V4
Manual.
BetaDrifter
- Sign Up and
find Beta-Testers
Announcements!
KF's Adrift Summer Minicomp 2003
The Summer Minicomp will be run during August
2003. Entries will be due in by 15:00 GMT on
Sunday 20 August 2003. There will be a week of
judging time where anyone who wanted to can
download the entries and have a vote on the
result. To view the rules, please visit the
Announcements section of the ADRIFT Forum.
All entries should be sent to KF at
competition@kfadrift.org.uk
by 15:00 GMT on
Sunday 18 August 2003.
Happy Birthday Drifters!
En Kerklaar-17, Mattaius-17, Seciden Mencarde-
14, The Amazing Poodle Boy-33, Matt (Dark
Baron)-14, Blakk Matt-17, Nicky Dude-34,
Kinvadren-20, Cannibal-33
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News
A hot topic around the ADRIFT forum lately has been about off-topic threads.
Every forum seems to have them, so why is this such a big issue.
Some feel that the ADRIFT forum should be strictly moderated and everything
not related to ADRIFT or IF be removed immediately. This doesn't sit well with
some, myself included.
I, along with others feel that the ADRIFT Forum is a thriving community of people
who share the same interests with other people from all over the world. We
would like to get to know our fellow Drifters better, and the forum seems the
logical place to do that.
Although Drifters have different views on this subject, they are seeking out ways
to find a solution that will be satisfactory for everyone. I am happy to say that I
am proud of everyone for being peaceful and addressing issues they feel
strongly about in a collective, mature manner.
Feature Article
Development of the NPC
By Mystery
After talking with several people about Non-Player Characters (NPC’s), I have
come to the conclusion that the NPC is highly feared. I think that this is because
both the player and the author tend to have the same problem. Neither knows
how to interact with a NPC. I think the NPC is extremely valuable and more is
needed to help both the player and author to understand NPC’s.
No matter what kind of game you are making, or the location of the NPC, there is
something the NPC should always be able to converse about. What is it. The
NPC’s environment! If your NPC is a shop owner, then he should be able to
converse about everything in his shop. If the NPC is standing by a fountain, he
should know why he is there and be able to tell you something about that
fountain. Using that example, I will show you how to build NPC conversation. All
we know right now is that there is a man standing by a fountain.
You are standing near a fountain, joined by a man on the other side.
>Ask man about fountain
"It is a fine marble fountain, and really compliments the park well. I like to come
here to think."
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Now you know, through conversation, that the fountain is located in a park, it is
made of marble, and the man comes here to think. Based on the information that
the man gave, we can continue to ask him questions.
>Ask man about marble
"It’s from Sherman’s Marble Shop, across the street. It’s the finest marble shop
around. I should know. I’m Sherman."
Now we know that the man is named Sherman, he is a marble salesman, and
owns the shop across the street.
>Ask Sherman about street
"Oak Street hasn’t changed much. My shop has been here for over thirty years."
So what do we know so far through conversing with the man.
He is an older man named Sherman. He is a salesman who owns a marble shop
on Oak Street. His shop is across the street from the park, and has been here for
over 30 years. He enjoys going to the park and standing by the fountain to think.
You use his response to direct the player into more conversation subjects. It
really is rather simple. If you practice, you will be creating fully interactive NPC’s
in no time.
I hope this gets you started on building better conversations with your NPC.
(Please note that there are other NPC interactions that are not covered here-This
was just an exercise to get you started on building better NPC Interaction.
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Interview
-
Special Guest, Ken Franklin a.k.a. KF
Interviewed by Mystery
It is a pleasure to have you join us, KF. For some time now you have been
hosting many competitions for the ADRIFT Community, and we thank you for
that.
Q. What made you decide to hold that first competition.
A. Can' t claim to be first with the idea. Campbell actually suggested a minicomp
as a way for people to demonstrate their skills. The first was run by Michael
Reese and won by DuoDave. I then realised that it might be useful to have
regular events that drifters could work towards.
Q. It must take great organization skills to keep a competition running smoothly.
How do you manage to keep everything together.
A. You think I keep things together. Actually they don' t tend to be too bad as
there aren' t many entries or judges, but of course I would prefer more entries and
judges to make it more worthwhile. The thing is that you gradually develop a
system that can be applied which means you can just rehash what you did last
time.
My basic process runs, announce competition and set up web page with rules.
As closing date approaches begin putting together judging pack and associated
page. Post up pages and games as soon as possible to allow judges to start. Set
up a document to keep track of marks as they arrive. When judging is complete
post up results as soon as possible, sending scores and comments to the
entrants. As you can see it isn't too difficult.
Q. You have decide to put up prize money for competitions, or at least the last
few, what made you decide to go that extra step. And is it worth it.
A. The prime reason was the hope that it would give an incentive for people to
enter, although that may seem mercenary it gives a reason to work harder to get
their game completed. It has worked in the sense that some early comps had
one entry, hardly good! Now we are up to three, which is the right direction.
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Q. Participation has been weak in the past couple of comps, despite a monetary
prize, how would you like that to change in future competitions.
A. Not sure I can do a lot more, I know from the games that I have tried to write
that it is a difficult process and rarely goes as you planned. That is why you get
many more people who say "great I' ll start writing something" than actually
submit something at the end. In the end you do have to acknowledge that the
active writing base for Adrift games is reasonably small.
It is always encouraging to see newer writers enter a competition, as with Syke in
the recent Spring Competition. I hope that it gives an incentive to build on their
writing skills as authors see their weaknesses.
Q. What do you think is the most important part of holding a competition.
A. To act as an incentive to actually write a game. This is why I think that a
minicomp, with some size limitations, gives the author something out of the
ordinary to do. It gives a focus on your game delevelopment, even if you didn' t
initialy start out to enter it in the competition. I' d like to think of it as giving a
showcase for authors, and a way they can get feedback from the judges.
Q. How would you like competitions to change in the future.
A. Hopefully things will evolve and this will get more entries, but I have made
quite a few recent changes. In the last year I brought in the installable
competition download, which I think gives a more professional way of running the
games, while at the same time giving the straight web option. The new web
voting form was well received and used by all who judged the Spring Comp.
I am now trying to stick to a formula for the competition types. In April there will
be a competition for complete new games. August will be a minicomp, timed for
school holidays and aimed not to clash with the Annual IF Comp where I would
expect bigger games to be heading. Finally in December comes the End of Year
Comp as a kind of beauty contest for Adrift games released this year.
Q. Last of all, where can people contact you to donate prizes for future
competitions.
A. Just e-mail me at the usual address (kf@kfadrift.org.uk), I tend to be a bit wary
about third party prizes if only because of the logistics of delivery.
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Review
-
To Hell in a Hamper
By Jason Guest
David Whyld
The winner of the Adrift Spring Mini-Comp 2003, To Hell in a Hamper is the best
example yet of just how good really small games can be. Then again, it’s not
really a small game as such – only one room, true, but there’s a fair sized game
in there and one quite a bit larger than several “proper” games that have made
their way onto the downloads page over the past few years.
The storyline follows the efforts of one Professor Pettibone who is an “eminent
Victorian balloonist” determined to circumnavigate the world in a hot air balloon.
Off he sets, accompanied by a single companion, the strange and quite
demented (not to mention bizarrely-named) Hubert Booby. Problems soon
become apparent as the balloon seems to have great difficulty attaining the
necessary height to pass over an erupting volcano, leading you to the sneaking
suspicion that your companion might well have smuggled aboard several heavy
items in his ever-expanding overcoat.
Every bit as strange as the writer’s first game Goldilocks is a Fox, To Hell in a
Hamper is, if anything, even better. I have to admit that I wasn’t sure whether a
one-room game would be much of an entry in the competition but this proved me
well and truly wrong (it beat my game as well, but any between-the-lines insults
are purely coincidental). There are enough ideas packed in here for several
games and the seriously over-the-top humour is always top notch. In particular,
Hubert Booby is the sort of character who is just crying out to have a game
written about him.
Despite being confined to a single room, To Hell in a Hamper isn’t an easy game
by any means. It’s fairly straightforward making a little progress here and there
but problems soon hit when you get a further and have to discover new and
ingenious ways of getting Hubert to relinquish his remaining items – killing him,
alas, isn’t an option. Nor does murder work on his Aunt Gertie despite her nasty
habit of constantly whacking me with her cane.
Several amusing features add to the replay value and show a definitive flare for
the imaginative: throwing the Egyptian mummy out of the balloon results in an
ancient curse being activated; get rid of the dog and it climbs back into the
balloon (quite a feat for a dumb animal though not one I appreciated at the time
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considering the hassles I had gone through to get rid of it in the first place);
throwing Hubert’s troublesome Aunt Gertie out doesn’t work well either as the
canny old bird grabs hold of the anchor rope and climbs back inside.
As far as one room games go, it’s hard to imagine a better one that this coming
around any time soon. Indeed, it’s one of the most amusing games I' ve ever
played and will probably take some beating in the comedy stakes.
Logic: 6 out of 10
How logical a balloon risking being destroyed in an erupting volcano due to your
travelling companion smuggling a vast horde of items – including his Aunt Gertie,
a dog and an Egyptian mummy among other things – under his coat is I' m not
sure, but then this was never meant to be a logical game and I don’t think it
suffers for it at all.
Problems: 9 out of 10 (10 = no problems)
Nothing major but some of the tasks seemed overly complicated – the one
involving the ear-trumpet and the dog in particular.
Story: 7 out of 10
There’s an amusing little back story at the beginning of the game which sets the
feel for the adventure well enough. A one room game is never going to have – or
need – a lengthier storyline and this one did its job.
Characters: 9 out of 10
Three, although Hubert Booby takes the cake. I tried hitting him with just about
every item I could lay my hands on just to see if I could get another of his daft
responses.
Writing: 8 out of 10
Very good indeed.
Game: 8 out of 10
Definitely the best one room game I' ve ever played and more than a match for
quite a few of the full size games.
Overall: 47 out of 60
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In The Manual
Page 14 of the ADRIFT V4 Manual
Objects and Locations
If the object is static, then you have to say in which room(s) the object is present.
Usually this will just be a single room, but there may be reasons you would want
it to span more than one. This might be a river that was in more than one room, a
generic object such as the sky, ground, walls etc, or just a door, which you can
view from either side. To choose the rooms, click on the room names in the list
on the right hand side. Clicking on
All Rooms
will highlight all the rooms in the
list. Similarly
No Rooms
will deselect all the rooms.
A special case for the static object type is if it is part of a character. Instead of
selecting a room for the object, select the location “
Part of Character
”. This will
activate the Character dropdown list. You can then select whether this should be
the Player or a specific character. You can now only examine this object when
the particular character is in the room.
If the object is dynamic, you have to select the initial position for the object from
the pull down menu. This can be either Hidden,
Held by someone
,
Inside an
object
,
On an object
, a specific room, or
Worn by someone
if the object is
wearable.
If you select
Held by someone
, the
Held by who
pull down menu becomes active.
You should then select whether the Player or another character holds it.
Similarly, for
Worn by someone
. If you select
Inside an object
, or
On an object
,
the
Inside/on object
pull down menu becomes active. This will then give a list of
all objects that have a surface or are containers.
Copyright © Campbell Wild 2002
Thanks to everyone who made contributions to this, and past issues of the
newsletter. It couldn' t have been done without you.