I've apparently been lax in my duties.

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Gerry Kevin Wilson

Feb 11, 1994, 5:24:52 PM2/11/94
Having neglected to post any good literate messages lately, I feel that I
have been remiss in my duties. I shall commit hari-kari immediately to
placate my honor.


Ah, now, having gotten that out of the way, let the message begin...

This week's topic is:
The Creation of your first game
(In light of our new readers.)

Welcome to IF 101, the Infinite Permutations of Story in IF. You
may be asking yourself, "Why the heck would I want to write a dumb old text
adventure?" The answer is simple, but different, for each of you. Maybe
you're a writer looking for a new way of doing things, or maybe you were
weaned on Infocom? Whatever your reason, doubtless it's a good one. On to
the meaty part of this message.
There are a few different starting points you can use when writing a
game. They are:
1) Setting
2) Atmosphere
3) Plot
4) Characters
(Wishbringer started from the plastic rock packaged with it.)

I tend to start with atmosphere. Once I have in mind the sort of
game I want to write, everything begins falling into place. Just as an
example, you decide to write a horror game. Ok, now you have a starting
point, which is often the hardest part. Now, concentrating on horror, begin
to narrow your focus...is it going to be a thriller, something really campy,
exotic and terrifying like H.P. Lovecraft, or how about mixing horror with
another atmosphere like space opera to come up with an unusual setting? I
think we'll go with the exotic one for now. In horror, you need to think of
something that is WRONG. Maybe a monster, disease, or madman. It just has
to feel WRONG. We're going with disease, that's always a nasty one. So,
what does our disease do that's so bad? Infectious madness? Gross
deformities? A craving for human snacks? Horrific transformation? I like
the last one. We now have a game about a disease that causes humans to
transform into something horrible. But what? Hmm, that's a stumper, so many
disgusting monsters, so little time...Ok, let's give em claws, pointy teeth,
big scabby armor-plated growths to ward off bullets, a funky hairdo, the
effects of a 6 month exercise program, and a predilection for homo sapien.
We need a catchy name...umm...er...Grunts, maybe. It'll do for now. Let me
warn you now to use a good ASCII text editor to write your games with. I use
one called dcom. You don't want to waste time converting back and forth from
ASCII everytime you want to compile. Just make sure it has global search and
replace capabilities, you'll need them. Ok, now we have our disease, so we
need a few more things to go on. We need a cause for the disease, a reason
why the hero is trying to do something instead of heading for the hills,
and of course, a setting. We'll start with the disease's source. That will
likely have some ramifications in the final solution of the game. So,
what do you suggest? Mad scientist, government plot, meteor/comet, ancient
Indian burial ground, toxic waste...? I like the government plot, being from
Berkeley, home of the conspiracy theory. So, germ warfare gone astray.
Now why the heck is the player dumb enough to get wrapped up in this mess?
I'll tell you why, he's a member of the local SWAT team, the only survivor
of a drug bust that was apparently a covert site for the govenment's testing.
Unfortunately for the player, there was no communication between the local
and the federal government on the matter. Now, a nervous trigger finger and
a broken vial have unleashed a squad of Grunt/scientists/SWAT team members
on the world. Perhaps the scientists killed all the SWAT members after
changing, or maybe the SWAT team was changed too, except for the player.
Anyways, I would say it likely that he was far enough away from the vial and
quick-witted enough to put his gas mask on. If he looks around, he's likely
to find out the story behind the disease and an antidote, or maybe he has to
find some simple way of changing them back or killing them. The setting?
Some woods on the outskirts of <insert major city here>. He has to stop the
Grunts before they get to the city and begin changing the populace.

Well, there's your basic premise. Start vague, and work your way
down. It never fails for me.
< V R I O Software. We bring words to life! | ~~\ >
< T | /~\ | >
<_WATCH for Avalon in early '94!____wh...@uclink.berkeley.edu_|_\__/__>

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