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crazyishone

Criticism Wanted

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Story The general outline of the story: Main character (we'll call him John for now) is running from the Roman Catholic church, a short time before the life of Nostradamus. He has been accused of sorcery, witchcraft, etc. A scholar deeply involved in human anatomy, astronomy, alchemy, physics, and other sciences/pseudo-sciences in a time when the Earth is believed to be flat and the center of the universe, John is considered a radical. While on the run, he continues his pursuit of knowledge. In his travels, he meets people who will teach him things considered revolutionary at the time. Gameplay The player will use items in the environment or inventory to solve puzzles, accomplish goals, and defeat enemies. There will be little or no direct combat. Being text based, the focus will be on the creative use of surroundings. This will by no means be a "free roaming" exploration RPG. I envision a very linear text-adventure style. The player will not "learn something" in the game and have it be an available skill. The player will use knowledge gained throughout the course of the game to accomplish tasks. Some Info and a Question I am a beginning C++ programmer, with basic experience in other languages. I'm a lurker on these boards, not posting much because I don't have anything especially useful to say. ;) As you can see, this game relies heavily on the combination of items and objects. Think Kirby, and those old "USE 'hammer' ON 'window'" situations in text-based games. What is the best way to accomplish this? I don't expect anybody to explain it to it to me, but if somebody could link me to a decent source. "Item combination in games - programming concept" is a pretty obscure thing to search for without some help. :-p More importantly, I'm looking for both negative and positive criticism. I honestly don't care if its overly constructive or not, as long as I can figure out what you don't like. "teh game iz teh suk" won't get me anywhere. Feel free to ask any questions, as I actually make decisions as I'm answering them. Helps the thought process and all that. [Edited by - crazyishone on November 14, 2006 10:55:09 PM]

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It sucks, you suck, no one will ever play the game and,... oh, wait, did you mean serious and constructive criticism? :P

Don't mind me, I just woke up.


but the background story sounds interesting, I would be worried about how well it worked in texted based style. You will have to have a very limited number of use words, don't have us play 'guess the word' style text games.

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It's certainly one of the more doable projects I've seen posted on here. The challenge is making it flexible enough to be able to write multiple games and make modifications to the game without having to recompile. As far as ways to accomplish it, there are many. I think there are a number of open source muds that might be a good place to start (for their data management, not the networking code [wink]).

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Finally someone with brain!
Sorry, I mean your idea is not to make Orcs & Elves part 312 but you actually thought up your own story, which I find highly interesting.

As far as tips, not sure if I can give any, maybe one... make a small prototype of all "features" of the game like a conversation, the discovering part and maybe a quick combat part. I am not sure why people are so obsessed by design documents, I think a quick prototype hack will show you better what works and how you can make it better.
If you got the prototypes working (consider that at best the content should be easily replaceable to keep your workflow steady at a later point) all you need to do is get them to interact with each other nicely where it is needed.

Good luck, I would like to beta test that game if you want so :).

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Thanks for the feedback.

I was a bit worried the idea would be ill-received since it doesn't follow the traditional formulas for success. I find your posts rather encouraging.

@Talroth: I got into computers after the time of text-based games, so I had to go download and play a few to get a feel of how everything should work. I fully agree that the challenge shouldn't come from figuring out which words to use.

"You see a large chest in the corner of the room..."
> Open Chest
Invalid Command
> Open Box
Invalid Command
> Open Container [0]
Invalid Command
> Exit

:-p

@tstrimp & kiome: I have considered using an open source mud or text-game engine to prototype the whole game, but I am trying to use this as an opportunity to practice with all the crap I've shoved into my mind. I'll probably do what you (tstrimp) suggested and take a look at some of the code for reference. Kiome, I liked the idea of prototyping the individual parts and doing the early development in a modular pattern. That never really crossed my mind, so thank you.

In related "news": I've decided not to talk much more about the story. Has nothing to do with "leik omg peepl will steal my idea", its just because a good storyline can be the only saving grace for a text game. Sure, I intend to have the whole "environment interaction/item usage" thing emphasized, but without graphics, sound, or free movement, alot of the "fun" will probably lie in playing out the story.

Maybe...maybe... "fun". ;)

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The concept's historical context kicks megatons of ass. Good on ya for breaking with tradition. ;)

That said, I'm actually a little disappointed that the game is presented solely as a text adventure, but I realize you've got to work with what you've got, and you deserve another pat on the back for being realistic. (We're all sick of the "I'm going to make an MMOFPSRPG with ten million unique NPCs" concepts.)

All of *that* being said, and speaking from a purely design standpoint, I would suggest striving to hook all your puzzles (or as many as possible) into the historical/social context of the game. So instead of "use hammer on window" stuff, you focus on puzzles that incorporate the character's unconventional knowledge (fulfilling the parts of an occult ritual, for example) as well as exploiting the powder keg social dynamic that would surround the controversy of the subject matter (science vs. religion, etc.)

For the social side of things, the puzzles/gameplay could be as simple as dialogue trees (with an NPCs personality providing context and clues for the "correct" answers) or as complex as implementing concepts like "memory" and "reputation", where you could (potentially) play NPCs off each other through clever interaction, and so forth.

-Josh

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"All of *that* being said, and speaking from a purely design standpoint, I would suggest striving to hook all your puzzles (or as many as possible) into the historical/social context of the game. So instead of "use hammer on window" stuff, you focus on puzzles that incorporate the character's unconventional knowledge (fulfilling the parts of an occult ritual, for example) as well as exploiting the powder keg social dynamic that would surround the controversy of the subject matter (science vs. religion, etc.)"
-Invicticide

Oh definitely, I was just using the hammer/window thing as an example.

My friend was having a hard time understanding how this game would work, and I gave him an example of using knowledge of magnetism to steal a cell key, etc etc.

I will probably not use that in the game, but that is generally how things will work. "Oh I have (this) and (that), and I need to do (whatever)... hmm... I bet (some idea) would work!"

I would love to go into all the details and various ideas I have for this game, but I don't want to a)bore everyone & b) jinx it.

Concerning the delivery: Yes, it pretty much has to be text-based. I can say "oh I plan to do it in 3d and make use of Shaders and advanced physics" if it makes you feel any better. ;)

To be honest, anybody could take this idea and make it and that would thrill me. Not going to happen though, so I've got to settle for an experience that may not appeal to a player's senses, but hopefully their curiosity.

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I think that in the times since most text adventures came out, there have been a lot of advancements in natural language processing, to the point that it means that a true "text" adventure becomes possible. That is the player can write in natural language and the system will be able to interpret what they mean and parse it correctly.

Just a random though: What about using voice recognition software (is there middle ware available for this?) to allow the player to speak, instead of type their commands in.

As for the story/theme it is a refreshing break from the stock standard fantasy or sci-fi cliché that fills the shelves.

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Thanks for the feedback.

I don't think I'll be employing any voice-recognition in the design because frankly I'd like to finish this project. :-p

I'm aware of my skills and lack thereof, and at this time I think I need to keep my game within the realm of "fairly easy to do".

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Quote:
Original post by crazyishone

"You see a large chest in the corner of the room..."
> Open Chest
Invalid Command
> Open Box
Invalid Command
> Open Container [0]
Invalid Command
> Exit

:-p
From your mouth to God's ears. I love text adventures, but after the fifteenth time I hear, "Yeah, that's tricky, you can't stab or slash the giant with the sword, you have to "Eviscerate Titan" or else it doesn't work," I'm pretty much done with the genre for a couple years.

I recommend a sort of handy help feature, like have the "Inspect" command give suggestions. "The BEJEWELLED BOX is cold and octagonal, too firmly mounted to TAKE, but there's a keyhole on the side. Perhaps there is something you could UNLOCK the BOX with."

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