I used to be a fan of Interactive Fiction/Text Adventure Games about a
decade ago. But due to worsening vision I had more and more
difficulty playing the games. Fortunately I have recently discovered
WinFrotz and HTML TADS, which are godsends to visually impaired people
such as myself. I have gone bananas downloading Z-code and TADS
files, and I was deliriously happy to discover that Activision has
released Zork 1, 2, and 3. I never got around to playing these
classic games, and I am happily wandering around the Underground
making sure I don't get eaten by a grue...
My question involves mapping. I know that there are several graphical
mapping utilities in the if-archive/mapping-tools section. I have
tried all of the ones available for Windows/DOS and unfortunately they
are all too difficult for me to see. I briefly experimented with a
general purpose diagramming tool called Epigram which actually was
more helpful than the IF mapping tools, but I am at a loss on how to
map in 3d with a diagramming tool. I even toyed with the notion of
building maps using an Excel spreadsheet where I can click on buttons
to jump to a different "level" (up or down, for example) but that
seems to be a bit too much of a hassle.
My question is whether anyone has a good plain vanilla text system for
keeping track of rooms visited, the directions they go in, what is
contained in the rooms, the names of the rooms, etc. I was trying to
figure out if I could use TreePad Lite for this purpose, as it is a
cross between a Tree structured text editor and a freeform database
program, but I can't for the life of me figure out how to make it work
for that. I know this question probably sounds stupid and
inexperienced to most of you, but I would really appreciate some tips
on how to do "mapping" without actually having to resort to some kind
of graphical interface (such as the mappers in the IF-archive. If
there is some kind of special database program especially for
Interactive Fiction that would be a tremendous help.
Thanks in advance,
Sam Campbell III
I use a spreadsheet. Well, not all the time. Most of the time I just
keep it in my head. You can get good at this if you practise.
But if there's a gnarly maze or just hundreds of locations then I'll
make spreadsheet. I keep it quite simple: each row is a room, one
column for the room "label" (in a typical maze where all the
descriptions are the same I'll use numbers or whatever object I've
dropped to help me), then one column for each of the 10 common
directions (NESW, NE, etc, UP, DOWN), extra notes go in another
column. The contents of the cell are the label of the room that you
get to by going in that direction. In a maze, blank means untried
(yet) and "-" means "You can't go that way".
I don't know of any more useful tools, sorry.
Did you try IFM, from the IF archive mapping tools? The way that works is
that as you play the game, you type in the rooms you visit and the
directions you go in (into a plain text editor) and IFM calculates and
writes a map in one of various formats (e.g. PostScript, for printing).
Yeah, I found a good basic freeware database utility called "Table"
that is perfect for doing something like you described. And you're
right after playing it for a while you do tend to remember. The only
thing is that if you have to stop playing for a while you can end up
forgetting where you've been already.
I've tried IFM, yes. My question though was how to keep track of
where you've been without using any kind of graphical (or DOS based
mapping) at all. I think the best way is just to keep a table of
Rooms visited in some kind of basic database or spreadsheet program.