Order for writing a game

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MTPletsch

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Nov 27, 2001, 5:26:59 PM11/27/01
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I'm still very new to writing IF; I've only written two little tiny games. The
order I used for implementation was a little strange, and I was wondering what
the best method is. I was just thinking if you implemented all the rooms, then
all the objects and npc's with their NECESSARY functions, reactions, etc, so
that you could play the game through, this would be the best start. From here,
you would have the skeleton of the game, and you could add more detail to
descriptions, and more verbs that make the game more realistic. What is
everyone else's view on this?

Thanks!
Graeme

Gregg V. Carroll

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Nov 28, 2001, 4:27:18 PM11/28/01
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mtpl...@aol.com (MTPletsch) wrote in message news:<20011127172659...@mb-fl.aol.com>...

> I'm still very new to writing IF; I've only written two little tiny games. The
> order I used for implementation was a little strange, and I was wondering what
> the best method is.

[snip]

I'm writing my first game, so I'm not expert, but I've been doing it
in layers. The map area is pretty large, so I got that coded first.
Just bare bones, room titles only, and I didn't concern myself with
obstacles and the like, I just made all the pathways accessible to
start with. That way, I could ensure that movement around the map was
bug free (initially anyway, since implimenting doors and so on
requires modifying that code, but at least I know it worked orginally,
so it's easier to track down a bug).

Then I worked on coding some basic items, and making sure they worked
properly (beds and chairs and doors and so on). Then I coded the first
puzzle, which I just finished. What I think I'll do now is work on the
major game elements first, and then code in "atmospheric" details
later. Only because, even though I have an 80% idea of what the game
is going to do, there's still that 20% of flexibility, and if I decide
to change something later, I don't want to have to go back and recode
and/or delete a lot of details to avoid continuity errors, etc.

When I don't feel like coding, I've been doing the writing, but I keep
myself from getting too perfectionist about it, and just treat it as a
first draft. When I'm reasonably confidant that the code works, I'll
go back and rewrite all the text and fill in details for atmosphere.
Which will be something of an undertaking, but since the code will be
pretty close to finished, redrafting the writing will be the "fun
part." At least for me. I get a certain satisfaction out of getting a
block of code to work, but the writing angle is what I'm most
interested in.

My two cents (start with a base and work down to the details).

Also (this is in TADS 2, I have no idea how other languages work) I'm
able to create multiple files and then have them stitched together at
compile time, so I've been using that feature to organize the code.
For example, all the elements for the first puzzle - items, rooms,
scripts, etc - are all in one file, which helps me to keep everything
together so that I don't have to wade through lines of code to find
things that are closely associated with each other. All my new verbs
are all in one file, everything having to do with the elevator, even
the rooms it opens into, are all in one file, etc. I have a few items
and one NPC in particular that will be fairly complex (relatively
speaking), so they're in their own files as well. It helps a lot with
debuging. Just open the one file and you have everything you need to
look at right there.

Gregg

Tyler Powell

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Nov 28, 2001, 6:16:51 PM11/28/01
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I'm interested in hearing what others have to say about this as well.
I'm currently writing my first IF after a few false starts.
Originally, I approached it the way you describe -- build the map
first. And I did build a map. A huge map that wound up depressing me
as I realized that I had included very little detail as I went, and
still the bulk of the game was in front of me and *really* I didn't
have much to show for my work except the ability to walk in some
cardinal directions.

So, I gave up on that approach. What I'm trying now (and is so far
more successful for me) is to build the game "organically." That is,
to code the first room first, and then decide what I want the player
to do first, and code in that sequence/puzzle, creating the necessary
locations/objects/npcs as I go along. This has proved beneficial in
that, every once in a while, I get a feeling of accomplishment that I
didn't get with the other route. After a hard day's programming I get
to see my story advance, rather than just have a few more rooms to
wander. But that might just be me and my need for instant
gratification; if you're better about keeping in mind the long-term
goals, then programming room after room might not prove as wearying.

The other reason why I might suggest my method is that it's keeping me
essentialized. When I went map-first, I created locations because
they seemed logical to me in the context of a map. I likely would've
taken the same approach with objects, etc. The problem is that I
wasn't trying to create a realistic map, or a realistic setting, but a
game. By creating the game world according to my plot, I think I'm
less likely to spend time creating superfluous objects and/or
locations. Again, this might just be me. Another person who had a
stronger and more clearly defined understanding of exactly what was
necessary, and what was not, would be able to use the map-first
strategy more efficiently.

Tyler

mtpl...@aol.com (MTPletsch) wrote in message news:<20011127172659...@mb-fl.aol.com>...

Plugh!

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Nov 29, 2001, 3:44:17 AM11/29/01
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Hi guys, this may be a little off topic, but I hope that you'll bear
with me.

I am pursuing the holy grail of I-F authoring by trying to produce a
graphical system for I-F development (and earn eternal glory in
ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/info/rec.arts.int-fiction.FAQ, section
4.10).

I have posted previously, though maybe not recently, to r.a.i.f asking
for input and would like to ask for your opinions.

I started the project last year, worked for about 6 months & abandoned
it when I came to a particularly tough bit of implementation, just as
I went off to Japan to work. I have since picked it up again, licked
that problem & believe the system to be viable (if not quite
imminent).

The bad news is that I currently only support TADS, the good news is
that I might an Inform version, once the TADS one is stable.

Could you please visit http://plugh.tsx.org (sorry about the pop ups)
and read the description, look at the screenshots & maybe answer some
of my questions on the 'feedback' page, or inform me of your prefered
priority for the to-do items.

You could even download the program (about 700k ZIP) and run it. I
don't particularly need bug reports at the moment, what I want is
feedback as to how the program should work.

(I must take a pause from coding to make the web site more
presentable/prefessional & upload a new interim version).

I ask for opinions at every opportunity, as this is a major
undertaking and I do not want to complete it, announce it, and receive
a steam of comments telling me the GUI should function differently.
So, I would like your opinion as to whether a system which handles
the housekeeping & leaves you free to be creative is desirable and, if
so, how it should work.

Sorry again for interrupting your thread; sorry for the length of this
post; sorry that the program is still pre-beta; sorry for all of the
aplogies.

Joshua Scotton

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Nov 29, 2001, 6:08:21 AM11/29/01
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mtpl...@aol.com (MTPletsch) wrote in message
news:<20011127172659...@mb-fl.aol.com>...
> I'm still very new to writing IF; I've only written two little tiny games.
The
> order I used for implementation was a little strange, and I was wondering
what
> the best method is. I was just thinking if you implemented all the rooms,
then
> all the objects and npc's with their NECESSARY functions, reactions, etc, so
> that you could play the game through, this would be the best start. From
here,
> you would have the skeleton of the game, and you could add more detail to
> descriptions, and more verbs that make the game more realistic. What is
> everyone else's view on this?
>
> Thanks!
> Graeme

When I program my games I divide it into sections. Then I build the rooms in
the first section, then the main objects and then the NPCs. After this I start
with the writing of that section and then start all over with the next section.
This focuses mainly on the structure side and makes it easier to fix bugs.

This method works okay with small games but when you have a big game or mutiple
methods of finishing the game I still use sections but only do the irrelevant
bits to the plot and then do the NPC's and the rest of the game in one go or in
a couple of gos.

This can get a bit boring but it still works and if you test the game after
each section it will show up all the bugs in the program hopefully ;-).

Scottie
y=mx+c
*****RE: To email me remove -X- from e-mail*****
/\ O
/--\/\
/ \

Plugh!

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Nov 29, 2001, 11:02:46 AM11/29/01
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sh*t! this wan't intended to start a new thread. It should just have
been posted into the middle of an existing thread, where it might have
been topical, rather than disturbing everyone. I am very much not
ready yet to make a global post.


http://www2.prestel.co.uk/schapman/pages/wavs/fr-ted/sorry.wav

Alistair

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Nov 29, 2001, 11:01:01 AM11/29/01
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Get rid of your nasty porn pop-ups and I, for one, might start taking your
project seriously.

"Plugh!" <pl...@subdimension.com> wrote in message
news:98ef019f.01112...@posting.google.com...

Plugh!

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Nov 29, 2001, 11:03:48 AM11/29/01
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Alistair

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Nov 29, 2001, 11:20:22 AM11/29/01
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And another thing (if you are actually interested in what anyone here has to
say):

The pop-ups on your page that can't be closed DO NOT somehow magically
convince me to purchase products. They piss me off.

Marketing 101. Don't irritate your customer.

Web space is cheap. If you need sponsors, find ethical ones. It makes you
look bad otherwise.


"Plugh!" <pl...@subdimension.com> wrote in message
news:98ef019f.01112...@posting.google.com...

Robb Sherwin

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Nov 29, 2001, 1:22:11 PM11/29/01
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On Thu, 29 Nov 2001 16:20:22 GMT, "Alistair" <alis...@sum.com> wrote:
>And another thing (if you are actually interested in what anyone here has to
>say): The pop-ups on your page that can't be closed DO NOT somehow magically
>convince me to purchase products. They piss me off.
>Marketing 101. Don't irritate your customer.
>Web space is cheap. If you need sponsors, find ethical ones. It makes you
>look bad otherwise.

Well, in Plugh's defense, tsx.org didn't initially serve up
pornography banners as part of their redirection service. The same
thing happened to me with a site I write for -- since I always had the
"real" URL bookmarked I didn't even know it was going down until I was
informed by somebody.

Robb

=-=-=-=-=-
Robb Sherwin, Fort Collins CO
Home Page: http://www.joltcountry.com
Reviews From Trotting Krips: http://joltcountry.dreamhost.com/trottingkrips

Darma

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Nov 29, 2001, 2:08:12 PM11/29/01
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Fair enough Robb,

But when someone knows about it (he apologized for the banners in his
message) I think: time to decide.

I wouldn't want my friends having to Ctrl-Alt-Del tasks in Windows because
they can't close the window with the animated GIF of a woman rubbing
herself. I find it distasteful. But that's just me....


"Robb Sherwin" <bea...@zombieworld.com> wrote in message
news:3c067bde.1103886334@voder...

Robb Sherwin

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Nov 29, 2001, 2:20:30 PM11/29/01
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On Thu, 29 Nov 2001 19:08:12 GMT, "Darma" <da...@oyster.com> wrote:
>But when someone knows about it (he apologized for the banners in his
>message) I think: time to decide.

Ah!

Right.

Er, didn't see that in the opening post for the thread. Whoops. (It's
three months later and tsx.org is still making me the jackass.
Blast!!)

SteveG

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Nov 29, 2001, 3:16:50 PM11/29/01
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On Thu, 29 Nov 2001 18:22:11 GMT, bea...@zombieworld.com (Robb
Sherwin) wrote:
>Well, in Plugh's defense, tsx.org didn't initially serve up
>pornography banners as part of their redirection service. The same
>thing happened to me with a site I write for -- since I always had the
>"real" URL bookmarked I didn't even know it was going down until I was
>informed by somebody.

An interesting new "feature" of tsx.org is that my MS IE5 homepage has
now been changed to one of the popup ads!

This level of intrusion is a bit of the top. I'd email a grumpy msg to
tsx.org if I didn't fear getting my email address added to umpteen
spam lists! Instead I just won't open in tsx.org URLs in future.


--
SteveG
(Please remove erroneous word from address if emailing a reply)

Plugh!

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Nov 30, 2001, 3:37:05 AM11/30/01
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Sh*t! (again)

Sorry, guys, when I started using tsx.org it was a very reputable
service. I use a pop-up closer, so I never actually see the ads. I
can't believe that they'd have porn ads (but if you say so, then I
believe you), then again, I can't believe they'd hijack your home page
(but I believe you if you say that they did).

The thing is, I'd like a URL which will stay around and
www.plugh.com/org/net are taken. If anyone can come up with a good
name for the project which still has a free URL, I don't mind paying
to host it. Hmm, anyone know about the 'new' domain endings?

Otherwise, I have to look for a free, ad-free hosting site. The
trouble with those is that they don't always stay free and ad-free.
So, I thought I'd hit a bright idea with a URL redirecting service, so
that I could continually move the site to some where free & ad-free
and still have people be able to find it. I see now that that was a
mistake too.

I may look for another URL redirector at
http://www.emailaddresses.com/email_url.htm (which is a great source
of information - if you ignore the pop ups :-)

In the mean time, I have probably doubly pissed you all off - once
with the pop ups & once by starting a new thread when I only meant to
continue an existing and relevant one.

http://www2.prestel.co.uk/schapman/pages/wavs/fr-ted/sorry.wav
(again)


Despite all of that, my intentions are of the purest. I'm not selling
anything and, as a professional programmer with about 25 years
experience, I want to give several hundred, or perhaps thousand hours
of my time to the i-f community - for free.

The program is still somewhat rough & ready, but I've seen others,
like Visual Inform rise & fall over the years & think that so far I've
gotten further than the others & this time I intend to complete it.

So, pretty, pretty please, go to
http://www.subdimension.com/community/scitech/plugh/index.html (which
is currently ad free but which won't host my site if becomes not so,
so please don't bookmark it or anything) and have a look around.

I really would like to know if anyone is actually intrested in a tool
to take the tedium out of the housekeeping of i-f and, if so, how they
would like it to operate.

I'm sorry if I got off on the wrong foot with you guys & would like to
make up for it by providing you a useful tool.

Btw, if you think this isn't useful, but would prefer soemthing else,
please let me know that too.

Sean T Barrett

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Nov 30, 2001, 3:56:51 AM11/30/01
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Plugh! <pl...@subdimension.com> wrote:
>Sorry, guys, when I started using tsx.org it was a very reputable
>service.
[snip]

>The thing is, I'd like a URL which will stay around and
>www.plugh.com/org/net are taken. If anyone can come up with a good
>name for the project which still has a free URL, I don't mind paying
>to host it.

If you were willing to take 'plugh.tsx.org' or whatever it was,
and you're willing to just get a real domain and pay for it,
then get your own four-letter-random-combination.org and put it
on plugh.four-letter-random-combination.org. Or just go for
'ifplugh.com' or 'plugh-if.com' or any other combination thereof.
The longer the name, the more likely it's available.

SeanB

Magnus Olsson

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Nov 30, 2001, 4:07:55 AM11/30/01
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In article <98ef019f.01113...@posting.google.com>,

Plugh! <pl...@subdimension.com> wrote:
>The thing is, I'd like a URL which will stay around and
>www.plugh.com/org/net are taken.

Have you tried the small for-sales top-level domains like .nu, .to?
A check with www.tonic.to shows that plugh.to is presently available...

--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se, m...@pobox.com)
------ http://www.pobox.com/~mol ------

Plugh!

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Nov 30, 2001, 5:39:35 AM11/30/01
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ok, http://plugh.cjb.net forwards with no pop-ups

Joe Mason

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Nov 30, 2001, 11:28:32 AM11/30/01
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In article <GnLvI...@world.std.com>,

Or simply get a free dynamic dns account (try dyndns.org or dhs.org) and set
plugh.dhs.org to point to www.whatever.com/the/long/and/complex/path/to/plugh.
Then find a free webhosting account, looking only at how intrusive the pop-ups
are and not caring about what long filename it'll give you.

Joe

Robin Munn

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Nov 30, 2001, 12:42:23 PM11/30/01
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On 30 Nov 2001 00:37:05 -0800, Plugh! <pl...@subdimension.com> wrote:
>Sh*t! (again)
>
>Sorry, guys, when I started using tsx.org it was a very reputable
>service. I use a pop-up closer, so I never actually see the ads. I
>can't believe that they'd have porn ads (but if you say so, then I
>believe you), then again, I can't believe they'd hijack your home page
>(but I believe you if you say that they did).
>
>The thing is, I'd like a URL which will stay around and
>www.plugh.com/org/net are taken. If anyone can come up with a good
>name for the project which still has a free URL, I don't mind paying
>to host it. Hmm, anyone know about the 'new' domain endings?
>
>Otherwise, I have to look for a free, ad-free hosting site. The
>trouble with those is that they don't always stay free and ad-free.
>So, I thought I'd hit a bright idea with a URL redirecting service, so
>that I could continually move the site to some where free & ad-free
>and still have people be able to find it. I see now that that was a
>mistake too.
>
>I may look for another URL redirector at
>http://www.emailaddresses.com/email_url.htm (which is a great source
>of information - if you ignore the pop ups :-)

Well, this may not be what you're looking for, but the email redirection
service I use (pobox.com) has basic URL redirection included in the
basic package -- going to http://www.pobox.com/~rmunn/ or
http://www.pobox.com/users/rmunn/ would re-direct you to my homepage. I
was able to get the rmunn.com domain, so I don't actually use that
redirection service -- but it's there. This may not be what you're
looking for, as pobox.com isn't free, but it's cheap (only $15 a year --
yes, year, not month) and I've never had any problems with their
service, in the two-plus years I've been using it. And one advantage to
the paying service -- it's ad-free.

Disclaimer: I am not in any way affiliated with pobox.com, nor are they
paying me anything to say this. I'm just a satisfied customer.

--
Robin Munn
rm...@pobox.com

M. D. Krauss

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Dec 1, 2001, 9:46:15 PM12/1/01
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plugh.biz is available, and godaddy.com will register it for under $9/yr.

What I recommend, though, is get your own domain (your last name, or
whatever you like) for all your projects. You can have as many names under
a domain as you like, just like tsx puts a name under their domain.

-M


On 30 Nov 2001 00:37:05 -0800

pl...@subdimension.com (Plugh!) wrote:


--
To email me convert my address to something resembling reason

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