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Gustavo6046

Text Adventures and Interactive Fictions (e.g. Zork)

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Posted (edited)

Hello, my very dear, lovely, and beautiful people!

 

I have been tinkering with a very awesome tool called Inform 7, a tool that allows you to easily create interactive fictions (Zork-like games) using an English-like programming language. I've played a bit with it, and this is the result! Use the convenience Batch script (so you don't need to drag and drop anything, or select files, or– gwaargh! Just the thoughts of the inconvenience of computer interfacing...) and play! Glulx interpreter included.

 

A fraction of the experiment above:

A medikit is a kind of thing.
Every medikit has a number called heal.
Every person has a number called health.

Before taking a medikit:
	say "You use the medikit, which heals you[if the heal of the noun is less than 11 or the health of Yourself is greater than 89] a bit[end if]. [if the health of Yourself is less than 30]You feel much better!";
	increase the health of Yourself by the heal of the noun;
	if the health of Yourself is greater than 100:
		now the health of Yourself is 100;
	now the noun is nowhere.

The result:

Spoiler

World War II has been generating death and building destruction all around the world, especially thorough on Europe. It is up to you whether to settle it or doom Humanity with it. You now are trapped in a bunker; you somehow sneaked in to steal weaponry, contradicting to your assignment: wiping the bunker's inhabitants with a flamethrower. Be wary!

Medley of Danger
An Interactive Fiction by Gustavo Ramos Rehermann
Release 1 / Serial number 180814 / Inform 7 build 6M62 (I6/v6.33 lib 6/12N) SD

Storage Room
A small place, further clogged by every kind of item. East to the Stairwell; northeast to the Stair Corridor.

You can see red apple, war ration, soup, leather bag (empty), the pistol and the box of missiles here.

>take pistol
Taken.

Your health is 100.

>e

Stairwell
A moderately-heighted vertical shaft, in the middle of the which is a stairway. West to the Storage Room; north to the Stair Corridor.

You can see table here.

Your health is 100.

>n

Stair Corridor
A corridor, with smoothened stone extending into a not-so-long distance in the walls. This seems a bit creepy... You will likely get used to it! Northwest to the Craftsman's Hole, southwest to the Storage Room, and south to the Stairwell.

You can see a medikit and Dankhmann here.

Dankhmann aims the the Luger towards the snake, and POW! Dankhmann shot the snake with their the Luger!
The snake dies!

Your health is 100.

>fire pistol at Dankhmann
You aim the pistol towards Dankhmann, and POW! Dankhmann took pelt from your the pistol!

Dankhmann aims the the Luger towards you, and POW! You ate lead from their the Luger! It hurts intensely! You can't imagine yourself getting used to it.
You take very burdening damage, like you never felt before!

Your health is 80.

>fire pistol at Dankhmann
You aim the pistol towards Dankhmann, and POW! Dankhmann took pelt from your the pistol!
Dankhmann dies!

Your health is 80.

[Your score has just gone up by thirty-five points.]

>

 

 

So, have you ever played a text adventure before? When you were (if you have ever been) a kid in the 80s, you might have had a computer like Commodore 64, or a similar "microcomputer" (oh, did they even imagine Raspberry Pi was coming in a near future?) back then. Did it have any interactive fictions? Let's talk about these!

 

wait, I'm 15...

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I didn't really have a computer as a kid. Throughout the 90's I only had an old computer from the mid-late 80's. I did a lot of different things on it (did some BASIC programming, which was fun). I had some text adventure games. A couple Zork games, Hitchhiker's guide to the Universe. I never really made it far in any of them, but I sure did try. The computer was second hand, so it didn't come with any manuals. I remember being stuck in Zork Zero because I needed to look at some physical things that came with the game, that I didn't have. 

And that's a short story about some of my experience with text adventures.

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Huh, that tool is really interesting! The only text adventure game I've played is Colossal Cave Adventure, and while I thought that the concept was pretty fascinating, it started to test my patience before long, mainly because of how specific you have to be with some words.

 

9 hours ago, Gustavo6046 said:

wait, I'm 15...

 

That's ok! I'm fairly young and I like learning about old stuff a lot, too.

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I had a Zork interpreter thing on my old phone (Nokia 9300i, that was a goddamn beast) when I was like 10.

 

I remember there being some sort of house, then you climb onto the attic and then you go to some sort of canyon and I've never made it further than that. In my defence I was stupid at 10

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Been tinkering with IF on and off for several years. I have an idea of what I want to make but nor time nor motivation. I also find playing IF game boring which I strange when I enjoy the process of creating them.

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I never played a real text adventure game but I played many hours at an indie game called SanctuaryRPG: Black Edition, it's a mix of text-based game, roguelike and JRPG, I had a good time on it. I discovered this game with that youtube video.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, NeedHealth said:

are you one of those ... "influencers"?

This topic just remind me this game. It was not my intention to influence people. Sorry I guess.

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In a somewhat related note, I've tried playing Castle Wolfenstein by Muse Software in a Commodore 64 computer. It was difficult to figure out the control scheme; it's a very hard game!

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I played Zork a long time ago and I dare say I played it a lot. Even then, it wasn't for me, but that was the best a C64 could muster before actual visual graphics. Multiple choice would have been good instead of having to take your best stab at logical things to do. It felt like trial and error that would lead to game overs. I never felt like I got that far, but the catch is without visuals or an in game clock, how could you have a feeling of wow I'm getting further?

 

Maniac Mansion and Shadow Gate felt a lot more streamlined even if they too were a bit cumbersome.

 

As for the Sanctuary RPG, the developer turned publisher seems pretty scummy in general. He's one that bundled and bulk sold Sanctuary RPG to the people that offer $1,000 for 100,000 copies of the game. He became a publisher and started to take on a lot of shitty shovelware in favor of the Steam card farm market. He had a system to cruise through Greenlight. Then when Steam did away with instantly granting cards for any game, because of people like him, he stopped taking on so many games as there was no way for him to make a profit on shitty games. Like a lot of failed publishers in the "no cards era," now he just gets money from idiots to marked their game. The publisher's only success story is a game that manages to hit a lot of good PC keywords and have 2 good keywords in its name.

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18 hours ago, geo said:

As for the Sanctuary RPG, the developer turned publisher seems pretty scummy in general. He's one that bundled and bulk sold Sanctuary RPG to the people that offer $1,000 for 100,000 copies of the game. He became a publisher and started to take on a lot of shitty shovelware in favor of the Steam card farm market. He had a system to cruise through Greenlight. Then when Steam did away with instantly granting cards for any game, because of people like him, he stopped taking on so many games as there was no way for him to make a profit on shitty games. Like a lot of failed publishers in the "no cards era," now he just gets money from idiots to marked their game. The publisher's only success story is a game that manages to hit a lot of good PC keywords and have 2 good keywords in its name.

 

 

You are a real reporter in the soul. It is very rare that I inform about developers and publishers. In general I don't care about people behind the scene, the games themselves are more interesting and important to me. Maybe my way of thinking about this suject is strange.

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2 hours ago, FrenchGuy said:

 

You are a real reporter in the soul. It is very rare that I inform about developers and publishers. In general I don't care about people behind the scene, the games themselves are more interesting and important to me. Maybe my way of thinking about this suject is strange.

Normally I don't care about petty stuff like what "evil companies" do, but since they're a small 3 person organization, they usually get to slide under the radar when they're part of the reason why Steam has had to change its rules over the past year or two. When I review games, I keep the developers, publishers and drama out of the reviews, but this publisher is special to me. I've had to review a lot of their shovelware at the request of people. Unlike Youtubers, I've gained no fame in wasting my time reviewing their published games.

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@Gustavo6046 good luck developing your idea, but remember: it won't get authentic enough if you won't die by throwing tree leaves at yourself.

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I actually made a text adventure game for a project in school. It was basically about this detective who had to climb up this skyscraper solving puzzles along the way with the goal to arrest this mafia boss. The game is based in the 1930s and I got to be really creative with the setting. I actually had so much fun with it the first time I decided to even make a sequel for it a year later. 

 

But other than that I haven't actually played many text adventures.

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Posted (edited)

I played a fair number of them back in the day, but I don't think I ever got into any of the big name Infocom ones like Zork, it was mostly Colossal Cave (in a few variants) and a few other oddballs from the shareware market like Conrad Button's ones (the island one and the South America one).  Some of them I even had fun with, although maybe more so in messing around than actually solving them in many cases, but it's always tended to be a genre with serious problems that aren't necessarily the fault of the format itself so much as the oft-repeated design tropes common to them.

 

I did even try making a couple myself, both of which have long since been lost, and neither of which were exactly good anyway.  One was made in QBasic and could most concisely be described as "an Indiana Jones game made by someone who had never actually seen Indiana Jones but was imitating the imitators" (it took place in a cave/ruin system underground and had a mine cart ride, a snake pit, bejeweled idols to nab, etc... no whip though!)  The other one was made with AGT and I guess was kind of Quake/Quake II/Chasm influenced since it was themed around infiltrating a military techno-pyramid full of soldiers and guard dogs and blowing it up.

 

As for Inform 7, I remember trying it once and utterly hating the "English-like" approach to the syntax.  There are probably articles arguing against that approach to a programming language far more eloquently than I can but the basic points are: you still have to memorize which constructs are valid, and you end up having to type a whole lot more needlessly verbose commands to do the same thing which is a pain once you know what you're doing (cf. would you rather use Pascal-style "begin" and "end." blocks or C-style "{" and "}" ones when you know you're going to be typing them a zillion times in the course of making stuff?)  I guess if it works for you, cool, though.

 

Ultimately, though, I sometimes feel like it's a genre that I've enjoyed more in the parody thereof than otherwise.  See, for instance, a little game called "Pick up the phone booth and die" which is a pretty good send-up of the sort of nonsense these games often included.  There's also the first segment of this which might well be my favorite AVGN segment of all time (it's AVGN, so, y'know, loudness and language/crude humor warning)

 

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