My own personal method is to come up with a vague idea of what I want
to do, then go from there.
For instance, my next game (and the first one I'll release to the
Internet community, once I learn Inform) was thought up of as follows:
I'm sitting around, reading UseNet, and I suddenly think, "I wanna
make a game where you play a wizard." (hence my recent question on
spell casting systems in Inform :> )
I go about doing whatever else I'm doing, and then I get the idea,
"There should be a war going on, and the wizard will be the Commanding
Officer for the whole army."
10 minutes later: "That's a stupid idea. Wizards don't command
armies, at least not in my world. I know! The Wizard will be a
hermit who doesn't want a war happening."
the next day: "I got it! The Wizard will know the war is happening
because of a miscommunication, and will be valiantly attempting to
stop the war."
5-6 hours later: "But the Wizard will need to gain the trust of both
sides, so he can have multiple quests to prove his loyalty."
Anyway, what all that comes down to is: I basically sit around and
wait until I'm suffciently inspired. I'm sure by the time I learn
Inform well enough to start my IF, the game will be even more
Anyway, back to the question: How do you design and plan out your
(Too bad my game almost definately won't be done in time for the 1998
IF Comp... I love entering contests like that.)
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"This is still a .SIG quote... it still sucks."
That sounds just like my process the other day that came up with the
idea for my current game (which may go in the comp, but probably
not...and because I want to vote in it, not because of time (though keep
me on the list, ddyte)).
I'd detail my thoughts, but (a) it would give too much away and (b) it's
slightly embarassing where it came from. Maybe once I release it.
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DGlasser @ ifMUD : fovea.retina.net:4000 (webpage fovea.retina.net:4001)
Interactive Fiction! MST3K! David Eddings! Macintosh!
I start off the same way I start off other fiction--I get an image of a scene,
or a setting, in my head, then I build around it. (Who are these people, why
are they doing this, where is this place?) I try to at least code up a
'skeleton', usually in small groups--for example, if the game includes an
office building, a long street, and a ruined hospital, I'll do a sketchy
coding of the office building, then fill it in before I go on to the street,
The problem I run into most is the conflict between getting bogged down in
detail ("No, I have to code up every item in the room before going on to the
next one") vs. trying to keep things simple and forgetting details later
("Geez, I remember I had a good puzzle involving something in this desk...what
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This is linked to my personal malaise which is caused by my unwillingness to
get down to dirty coding. I end up scribbling all over jotters and planning
wild plot extensions, even drawing sketches of locations, rather than
actually finishing the implementation of the prologue! So now I have an epic
genre plot distributed among sheets of paper and brain cells, but a handful
of real coded locations and uninspiring 'puzzles' that deter me from
continuing with the coding process.
Sorry - no help with the initial question. Just wanted to whinge and indulge
in self pity in front of an audience. Thanks :-) yet at the same time :-(
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