Quest – Rapid Fire Ideas
Quest – Rapid Fire Ideas

Quest – Rapid Fire Ideas

Learning never exhausts the mind. Leonardo da Vinci

Working online with Allen Heard means there is no respite. Its keep up or give in. Move aside, step down. Conversation is now via Twitter but most weeks over the phone. Some conversation work so much faster in dialogue. This afternoon we decided to try and write a game asyncrously in the new web editor. No planning, just throwing it up there. Chinese whispers for IF. That should prove fun. The benefit of IF in a browswer.

I think we have come to an unofficial agreement on a few key points.

  1. The starting point is playing games.
  2. Next is game design.
  3. Learn how to build, then build.
  4. Then code.

The mini Quest 3-4 room games like Escape from Byron Bay, are the aspiration. There is more than enough in these mini titles keep students challenged. Also, we seem to agree that one of the strengths of IF is to bring literacy to another subject other than English. Talk with, supporting and leaning on the English team is vital. See Jane Ashes, we need you.






  1. Dannii

    Now that TADS 3.1 has web support it seems like all the major IF systems can produce games that are playable in a browser. This is good news.

    What games are recommending? Lost Pig and Aotearoa must be on the list.

    1. Kristian Still

      That is exciting – however could you just help out this community of IF fans, all very green, on what TADS is? We have worked with Quest, and having a possible TADS advocates view would be vety useful. I think we can work with Quest as it has that game UI on top of the code.

      As for games, as we are teachers, we are finding the games are too long, complex, for our students. Small, simplier games seem to be getter them hooked. Especically if they can complete the game in a lesson. 50-60 mins. Is there a reason IF games have never been coded / star rated for complexity? Is it all subjective.

      Thank you so much for adding you comment here, its great to connect.

  2. Dannii

    TADS is another web design system, whose homepage is at I wouldn’t recommend it for kids however, as the complexity is likely to overwhelm them. Inform 7 however has schools as one of its main intended audiences. I don’t know how successful teachers have been with it, but it has its advocates.

    At the IF Wiki most works will have been rated on the Zarfian Cruelty Scale. It rates fairness instead of cruelty – is it possible for the player to put themself in an an unwinnable situation, and does the game tell them when they have done so? It would be wise to pick works that do not!

    I don’t think it’s really possible to rate their complexity however, it’s just too subjective. But, I don’t think complexity should be the main concern – instead you should be looking for very thoroughly implemented games. Look for ones which respond to lots of input, even ones that don’t appear necessary for the puzzles/plot to continue. Look for ones that are well hinted, and which have explicit inbuilt hint systems too. The winners of the IF comp usually do all of these well, and so do the finalists/winners of the XYZZY Best Use of Medium/Implementation award.

    Lost Pig is a great example of all this. It’s fairly short, and mostly easy, though there are some puzzles that take a bit of thinking. Are your students playing the games individually, or in groups, or as a whole class (shouting out commands in turn)? Playing in groups can help, and is fun too. Even when you do get stuck the inbuilt hints will give the solution to the entire game. Lastly it’s just fun playing an orc who can take his pants off, burn them, and then show them to anyone he meets.

    Another great option would be Alabaster (a conversation game with few if any puzzles). It comes with a good tutorial which will help a lot – just answer no to the initial question, or enter “tutorial on”, and the commands “topics” too.

    For the time length, can you play them yourself and then double the time? Triple it? In any case, if they’re enjoying a game a lot then I don’t think it matters as much if they don’t finish it. The fun is to be had in the playing, not in the completing.

  3. Kristian Still

    INFORM7, strong platform, with younger or less able learners its a still a steap climb. Seing the students pick up Quest last week, I think we have made a wise choice.

    Zarfian Cruelty Scale is a new one to me. I will definitely take a look, so thanks.

    Complexity is subjective, but a crowd soures (mean star rating) must be better than no rating? Perhaps not? I do fully subscribe to the explanation of your point.

    Titles with lots of input, well hinted, and which have explicit inbuilt hint systems too.

    Grunting in agreement about ‘Lost Pig.’

    “It’s fairly short, and mostly easy, though there are some puzzles that take a bit of thinking.”

    Which brings us full circles to rating subjectiveness. I found Lost Pig still pretty tough.

    We have tried all kinds of playing modes – I like the mini groups in classroom with a forum mode best.

    Alabaster (a conversation game with few if any puzzles) – another new avenue.

    “The fun is to be had in the playing, not in the completing.”

    Now, that is not the case with the younger learners. They are looking for in-game progress and feedback, and it is mostly certainly personal. They want to beat the game.

  4. Pingback: Hat Tip to Dannii | Kristian Still's Blog

  5. Dannii

    The IF Wiki isn’t the place for rating games like that. The IFDB has user ratings, but only for how good something is, not how hard it is. More detailed user ratings at IFDB could be good…

    For your audience it sounds like something with lots of small incremental progress points would be good. I can’t really think of any that meet that criteria now haha. You could try searching IFDB, or use its tags to search too.

    Aotearoa has 12 points – I don’t know if that would be enough for your students.

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