IF Jedi master helps lowly warrior

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IF Jedi master helps lowly warrior

7 Feb ’12 IF 6

I am still exploring how best to share IF with a younger audience – after writing my 3rd ‘delivery model’  I email accomplished IF writer and Digital Media student Aaron Reed for hie advice.

Delivery Model x3
Step 1 Play IF – Map, review and discuss
Step 2 Decide upon a theme, location and lead character / hero and villain*
Step 3 Draw out either a 1 room game or a 3-4 room game
Step 4 Design how the rooms are connected and interconnected
Step 5 Design the room puzzles, challenges, obstatcles and barriers
Step 6 Map where these operate and connect in the game
Step 7 Flowchart the pathway through the game
Step 8 Write room outlines and outline game narrative
Step 9 Introduce basic logic used to code the game interactions and puzzles
Step 10 Build the game and develop the puzzles, maintain the continuity

Aaron, as he was before, was kind enough to reply… Amazing, where else could you simply email one the best writers of any genre and get such a supportive reply?

Hi Kristian,

I don’t have a specific flowchart that I use when planning projects– each one tends to be so different from each other. Your flowchart looks good to me. My one suggestion would be to move Step 7 (Flowchart the pathway through the game), maybe just before Step 5? In general, you want as much of the design to happen before you start building things. Knowing a general flow the story and movement will better inform decisions about designing puzzles etc.

Good luck!
–Aaron

Who is this IF warrior to argue with

Delivery Model x4
Step 1 Play IF – Map, review and discuss
Step 2 Decide upon a theme, location and lead character / hero and villain*
Step 3 Draw out either a 1 room game or a 3-4 room game
Step 4 Flowchart the pathway through the game
Step 5 Design how the rooms are connected and interconnected
Step 6 Design the room puzzles, challenges, obstatcles and barriers
Step 7 Map where these operate and connect in the game
Step 8 Write room outlines and outline game narrative
Step 9 Introduce basic logic used to code the game interactions and puzzles
Step 10 Build the game and develop the puzzles, maintain the continuity

Meanwhile, the writing of Lil Red continues….

Having reflected on the model some more…. I realist that a linear flowchart is not the best model. Reading Aarons email, to move the flowchart through the story to point 4, would mean that the game map had not yet been constructed?

What have learnt in writing Lil Red, is that there are times where there is an organic development of the story-line and associated puzzles. What this means is that the delivery model may have a clear start and finish, I believe the model needs to contain within it, a  core ‘mini-cycle’ which exemplifies the designing, writing, and construction phase. A cycle, within a cycle. Otherswise I think I may need to bounce this back to Aaron and see what he thinks. Looks like I will be writing delivery model 5 in the not to distant future.

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6 Responses

  1. Gideon Williams says:

    I am your padawan

  2. Gideon Williams says:

    Dear Qui-Gon Jinn

    I have a cup of coffee in a microwave with the option of taking it or drinking it. They need to take it as the hot coffee can be used on a termperature sensor to open a door. If they drink it they are stuffed.

    How can I stop Quest from letting me take the coffee after I have drunk it?

    C3PO

    • Kristian Still says:

      I would suggest 3 parts.

      Setting a flag when the coffee is in the inventary.

      Destroying the coffee it is drunk. (Game over)

      Creating a ‘hold near sensor’ verb.

      If the player then has the coffee, hold near sensor, (If flag is…. then) open door.

  3. Joe Pereira says:

    Kristian, I have to hand it to you for diving straight into the deep end! Getting right into IF authoring is not an easy thing to do (for you and your students) and it looks like you are doing a great job so far. I meant to post before on your Deliver Model # 3 – mentioning that you’re making good progress and thinking along the right lines – and now having it blessed by Aaron Reed…It looks like it’s all coming together. I hope to do what you’re doing now a bit down the line (but most probably with Inform 7) and your final Force-imbued Delivery Model will most certainly be useful to me. If I can give you an obvious piece of advice, it’s this: Stephen King has said that to be a good writer, one needs to be write a lot and to read a lot. And I know that finding the time to play a lot of IF is not easy – but it is a necessity. By playing lots of IF (and I’d suggest a mixture of old Scott Adams games, a few Infocom classics and a lot of IF comp winners including works by Emily Short, Adam Cadre, Andrew Plotkin, Aaron Reed) you’ll get an overview of the different takes on puzzle vs narrative and simple participatory story vs experimentation – and importantly, on what you don’t want your game to be – and this will help you further develop your Delivery Model. I wish I had the time myself to get into Quest and to be involved in your project.

    • Kristian Still says:

      Thanks Joe. I think that the Quest platform is very accessible. Plus Alex Warren is very supportive.

      I think that learning to teach, to write and play as well as being an Assistant Principal it is alway a question of time, it’s quite demanding. But I know that the rewards of seeing the students proud of their game – it’s hard to resist. Unsurprisingly their engagement is kind of camouflage for their learning.

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