Archive for October, 2016

PG Trivia

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016
  • This might be the first IFcomp entry written primarily in Africa — I wonder if anyone would know of others? Jack outlined the story in Madagascar, and Ben revised/edited from Chicago. Over the next few weeks, a concept transcript was reviewed by Sam and Jacq in Hawaii, while Ben continued to zip around in the US, and Jack in sub-Saharan Africa. By our count, code was added to the repository from Botswana, South Africa, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, France, and the US. Beta-testing included reviewers in France, the UK, and the US.
  • Pogoman GO! was not originally intended for IFcomp. The idea came up in July, when both authors were griping about the frustrating launch of the Pokémon mobile game. When the concept transcript got to a certain point and we realized how much work it would be, we wanted to put it into the comp so it would get wider exposure. We did initially discuss whether it would be better to go with light, fast implementation while PG was a hot title, or whether it would still be on people’s minds in October. I think we guessed right on that one.
  • The game has a ton of objects, but they are all descriptive, e.g., rooms, props, and characters. While the player can collect a hundred pogomen and a hundred pogo-items, these are not implemented as game objects, but are tracked in a somewhat complicated inventory system. This created some interesting challenges since most of the Inform framework is based on interacting with objects. In fact, the player could easily have many more pogomen – we just limited to 100 to make it easier to display them in a listing.
  • After a longish hiatus from working with Inform, we found ourselves playing catch-up (particularly when we started coding — it all came back, though). Similarly, the whole platform seems to be a transitionary period. We used the latest Inform7 build, but had to hack all but the built-in extensions to get them functional. Mostly due to a very compressed development time line, we focused on textual aspects of game, but it’s clear from some of the other entries that there have been advances either in Inform or closely related, that have upped the ante for user interface design.

IFcomp 2016 is live!

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

This year’s IFcomp launched today with a record number of entries: 58 in all. About a quarter to a third of them seem to be parser-based, with a majority being playable on the web. I haven’t had a chance to look at games in any depth, but I’m immediately struck by the production quality of the cover designs and initial blurbs. I’ve clicked on just few games to check out their opening screens and was blown away by some of the work that has gone into user interface design and artwork around the text-aspects of the game. My guess is that this is going to be a strong year for IFcomp.