It’s been a while coming, but I have finally started on my first IF game in earnest. In my defense, it was hugely worthwhile playing a range of IF titles from start to finish to establish some IF etiquette, experience the scope of IF and to gather a few simple puzzle ideas (even if I probably wont be able to code them to that level). I played and tested the BETA version of Quests first iOS release Bump, now available on both Android and iOS (and web) plus a few games on the FREE iOS Frotz player, Zork and Anchorhead. With the students at school we dipped into www.textadventures.co.uk and played ‘As Darkness Falls’ and ‘Zombie Attack,’ so I think I am as ready as I am ever going to be to start writing. A second motivation for writing a game is that the titles we played in class were rather challenging, perhaps too difficult to engage Year 7 / 8 players and reluctant readers. So my first game was aimed at that Year 6 through Year 8 age range.
With the input from a small group of my students at Hamble College, we conceived a game idea, loosely themed on Little Red Riding Hood, with a good dose of Shrek, Hoodwinked and some real life family relationships. The game was collaboratively mapped out in Google Drawings, a diagram in constant flux (still in constant flux) and the storyline was being written in Google Docs. Very quickly the document became unworkable and the tree-like framework of Quest just not replicable. Today I have moved the game file to a shared Dropbox folder and I am reviewing Workflowy as an alternative.
Now, as for Lil Red, it was supposed to be a small scale game, but I have learnt that it does not take much for an IF game to grow. Just brining about our basic ideas and structure created twenty eight rooms and three hours of Questing, albeit some spaces are split into parts, eg the subway is split into two east and west sections for story telling realism. I have taken heed of the advice of Bump author Tim Hamilton, and constructed the game into parts with mini achievements as a gatekeeper to their progress. I have discussed with Alex how to create a HINT system (work in progress) to support these players and a scoring system to inform ‘badging’ or achievements (again, a work in progress). So in the meantime it is on with the game narrative and basic interactions and simple puzzles.
That is where I am right now. I think its time I add IF to my categories.