Help with creation of a text adventure

20 views
Skip to first unread message

D.LODGE

unread,
Sep 29, 1994, 8:03:16 AM9/29/94
to
Hi,

I am currently coding a new text adventure, basically to test out my new parser,
Unfortunately, I have reached a point where I am blank of (sensible) ideas.

I wonder whether any generous people would like to devote ideas, puzzles,
descriptions etc.

The game is only going to be freeware, so I don't expect to make any money out
of it and will be coded in 'C' (haven't got round to using inform yet)

Could anybody who would like to help please email me...

regards

d :)

--
Dave 'I just get these headaches' Lodge, D.L...@UK03.wins.icl.co.uk
Disclaimer: All opinions expressed in this message do not represent the opinions
of ICL, in fact they do not even represent my opinions; they are, in fact, the
opinions of Malcolm the Ant, my Lord and Master...
*argh* The ants are taking over the world. Gibber.

TEAddition

unread,
Sep 29, 1994, 11:20:01 PM9/29/94
to
Someone recently asked for puzzle ideas to test his parser (again, forgive
my refusal to utilize quoting). My reply:

I'd love the help you out, but I don't see where you'd get much
satisfaction from coding other people's puzzles. If you just want to test
the parser, try programming a couple of puzzles which you've already seen.

I know there are a lot of IF writers on this forum, so let me ask all of
you: how do you come up with puzzle concepts? Do they leap at you from
the shower? Do they creep into your dreams? Most of mine come at me from
album covers.

Anyway, just looking for more lively discussion.

-TEA-

Ville Lavonius

unread,
Sep 30, 1994, 2:57:31 PM9/30/94
to
TEAddition (teadd...@aol.com) wrote:
: I know there are a lot of IF writers on this forum, so let me ask all of

: you: how do you come up with puzzle concepts? Do they leap at you from

I've basically two methods... First: think up the scenery and try to fit a
puzzle to it, second is just vice versa. As to the puzzles themselves,
they just materialize, and usually, indeed, in the shower or sauna (must
be something stimulating there).

: the shower? Do they creep into your dreams? Most of mine come at me from
: album covers.

I haven't yet dreamed about Field Trip... But it's a possibility. The
worst part about my coding style (w/ regard to this game) is that it was
totally unplanned and has just grown and grown. Right now, after inclusion
of a Really Nifty[pat. pending] time travel sequence, it's approaching
250K in .gam. Far too big for a game that was supposed just to be a test
case for the tads features.

I still think it's going to see the light before christmas. But the progress
is going to be hindered by my forthcoming move.


: -TEA-

--
Ville.L...@Helsinki.FI ministry*farside*infocom*biohazard
http://www.cs.helsinki.fi/~lavonius/ jyhad*lagavulin*tarantino*spelljammer

David Baggett

unread,
Sep 30, 1994, 4:14:50 PM9/30/94
to
In article <36haec$4...@nntp.interaccess.com>,
S.P.Harvey <sha...@interaccess.com> wrote:

>Also, I've begun writing out room descriptions longhand on the clipboard
>before keying them into the code.

Handwriting? What's that?!

I don't think I have the patience to write any significant amount of prose
with a pen :), but I do tend to outline puzzles, plot, etc. on paper before
doing any coding.

>Another thing I do is saturate my brain with the raw material of what I'm
>writing about. I'm at work on a paranormal adventure about UFO's and the
>government, so I read sheafs of Internet UFO documents, study photos and
>charts, read UFO books, watch X-Files like a religion, and so on.

I'd say this is great advice for any writer. It's interesting that you
mention Usenet -- I think that, despite many of its problems, Usenet gives
us an opportuinity we've never had before -- to spend serious amounts of
time in subcultures that we're not part of. If you want to learn about the
psychology of mountain climbers, for example, you can read the relevant
newsgroup for a few months and get a good idea. For the first time you
don't need to be a mountain climber to "hang out" with mountain climbers.
It's virtual people watching!

>Hope this adds to the discussion. I'd be interested in hearing any other
>writer's "secrets of the pyramids".

I tend to design puzzles from the objects up -- I think of a bunch of
interesting objects, and then ways to combine them (i.e., puzzles) just
sort of pop out. But sometimes, as you mention, puzzles come up where you
didn't expect -- when you realize, for example, that the player has no way
of getting from point A to point B.

On the other hand, sometimes I do sit down and say, "Now I'm going to make
a puzzle with such-and-such properties." For example, getting into the lab
in UU2 was my tribute to the Babel Fish puzzle in Hitchhiker's.

Dave Baggett
__
d...@ai.mit.edu MIT AI Lab He who has the highest Kibo # when he dies wins.
ADVENTIONS: We make Kuul text adventures! Email for a catalog of releases.

Gerry Kevin Wilson

unread,
Sep 30, 1994, 6:28:50 PM9/30/94
to
In article <36hrjq...@life.ai.mit.edu>,

David Baggett <d...@ai.mit.edu> wrote:
>In article <36haec$4...@nntp.interaccess.com>,
>S.P.Harvey <sha...@interaccess.com> wrote:

Well, ok, since everyone is jumping off the Empire State Building and all
that....

>I don't think I have the patience to write any significant amount of prose
>with a pen :), but I do tend to outline puzzles, plot, etc. on paper before
>doing any coding.

To be honest, the only thing I ever write down is a map, at the very
start. And that's because it's too hard to draw them in ASCII.

>I'd say this is great advice for any writer. It's interesting that you
>mention Usenet -- I think that, despite many of its problems, Usenet gives
>us an opportuinity we've never had before -- to spend serious amounts of
>time in subcultures that we're not part of. If you want to learn about the
>psychology of mountain climbers, for example, you can read the relevant
>newsgroup for a few months and get a good idea. For the first time you
>don't need to be a mountain climber to "hang out" with mountain climbers.
>It's virtual people watching!

Excellent suggestion/point. Of course, I tend to only write about stuff
I know a decent amount about in the first place. But then, not everyone
has my eclectic hobbies and can do this.

>I tend to design puzzles from the objects up -- I think of a bunch of
>interesting objects, and then ways to combine them (i.e., puzzles) just
>sort of pop out. But sometimes, as you mention, puzzles come up where you
>didn't expect -- when you realize, for example, that the player has no way
>of getting from point A to point B.
>
>On the other hand, sometimes I do sit down and say, "Now I'm going to make
>a puzzle with such-and-such properties." For example, getting into the lab
>in UU2 was my tribute to the Babel Fish puzzle in Hitchhiker's.

Me? I write a story. I flesh it out with lots of NPCs, I wrack my brain
for witticisms and such, and then I fill in puzzles where they make sense
and don't detract from the story. The point in Avalon seems to have
steered more towards a virtual novel at the moment. Right now I'm
shifting it back the other way with the land of Faerie. Lots of
interesting things to do/see there. Then, afterwards, I'll let the
betatesters beat the crap out of it and see what they think it needs.
So, it's not so much ME creating puzzles as my STORY creating them.
--
<~V~E~SOF~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~CYBER~CHESS~~~~~~~~~~~~~NO~RELEASE~DATE~~~~~~|~~~~~~~>
< RTI T In the distant future, entire planets are won or lost | ~~\ >
< G O WAR E in a single battle. Vertigo's first strategy game. | /~\ | >
<_____DONT-HOLD-YOUR-BRE...@uclink.berkeley.edu__|_\__/__>

TEAddition

unread,
Sep 30, 1994, 8:42:06 PM9/30/94
to

DB >For example, getting into the lab
DB >in UU2 was my tribute to the Babel Fish puzzle in Hitchhiker's.

Funny -- that's exactly what it reminded me of.

The plot to Firegods -- or, I should say, the entire saga which I've
planned beyond it -- comes from the glimpsed cover of a Faith No More
album cover. Now that I've taken the time to think of it, though, all of
the other puzzles come from different inspirations. M.C. Escher (if you
hate mazes, I might consider making them optional -- this one's tough),
Trek, Bosch ("Heironymous" ?), and one dream in particular have all made
their contributions to Firegods, and the sequels are built in such a way
that any other inspirations I might have WILL have somewhere to go.

I think my aspirations may be getting a bit out of control here, but who
knows? There are worse things to do with your spare time than write an
interactive fiction epic.

-TEA-

DBlaheta

unread,
Oct 1, 1994, 2:07:01 AM10/1/94
to
There are two basic approaches to writing games (IF or otherwise).

The first I term the "Hobbit" method: You create a universe and a story
for the game, then create puzzles to fit. So named because of the zillion
or so Middle-Earth based games which (obviously) had the universe and
story come first.

This method tends to result in a totally coherent story, one or two
puzzles that seem awkward, and a bunch of average-difficulty puzzles.
Seldom is there a puzzle that is really esoteric. This is, of course,
because the puzzles must fit into the story; something really bizarre
wouldn't.

The second method is what I call the "Lord British" method. You examine
the capabilities of the system you will be writing for, and create puzzles
to exploit them. Then, with a series of puzzles, you write a story that
uses them. So named because Lord British (of Ultima fame) works this way;
for example, the harpsichord bit in Ultima V. He worked out a
play-instrument algorithm and worked it in.

This method results (usually) in games with really great puzzles, but
which are lacking in plot. For example, early IF (Zork, Adventure) were
written this way, and it shows. However, when done well this method is
eminently appropriate for writing *games* (as opposed to fiction with
puzzles).

Most often the actual method is somewhat combined. For example, I suspect
Graham got a story idea and wrote a few puzzles which became Curses
version 1. Later puzzles were worked out and worked into the game...
(right, Graham?) Most games will probably be written in some sort of
combination.

I think that's enough for now...

Don Blaheta
dbla...@aol.com

S.P.Harvey

unread,
Sep 30, 1994, 11:21:48 AM9/30/94
to
TEAddition (teadd...@aol.com) wrote:

: I know there are a lot of IF writers on this forum, so let me ask all of


: you: how do you come up with puzzle concepts? Do they leap at you from
: the shower? Do they creep into your dreams? Most of mine come at me from
: album covers.

Well, honestly, most of mine crop up from the edges of sleep. When I'm
stretched out (after absorbing an hour or so of science & technology from
the Discovery channel), I get these odd ideas that crave to be written
down. In order to minimize the disturbance to my sleep, I've taken to
keeping my omnipresent clipboard next to the bed. Honest.

I'm not a good creative person when the sun is shining. After about
10pm, the ideas start to flow. That's when I start to fill pages of
looseleaf with notes and diagrams and figures. Some of these become
puzzles, others parts of the plot, others just quirks and tidbits I love
so much.

I am simply unable to sit down and say "time to make up a puzzle" - it
just doesn't happen.

Also, I've begun writing out room descriptions longhand on the clipboard

before keying them into the code. This forces me to think exclusively
about the atmosphere I'm trying to create without being distracted by the
syntax. This way, minor puzzles often present themselves, such as ways
to get in and out of rooms, based on the type of room I'm designing.

Another thing I do is saturate my brain with the raw material of what I'm
writing about. I'm at work on a paranormal adventure about UFO's and the
government, so I read sheafs of Internet UFO documents, study photos and

charts, read UFO books, watch X-Files like a religion, and so on. This
way, I've got plenty of raw material for my subconcious to chew on. I
know it sounds metaphysical, but I learned most of these techniques in a
novel writing class in college. Often I even dream UFO's, and wake up
and jot down what I've come up with during the night. I've come up with
several good puzzles this way.

Hope this adds to the discussion. I'd be interested in hearing any other
writer's "secrets of the pyramids".

Scott

--
----------------------| S.P. Harvey |--------------------------
"Most of the world was mad. And the part that wasn't mad was angry.
And the part that wasn't mad or angry was just stupid.
I had no chance. I had no choice." - Charles Bukowski, 'Pulp'
----------------------| sha...@interaccess.com |--------------------------

Bob Newell

unread,
Oct 1, 1994, 8:22:17 PM10/1/94
to
>: you: how do you come up with puzzle concepts? Do they leap at you from

Since I've only published one game I may not have many of the answers, but
what I'm finding works for me is to sit at the keyboard and just start
typing into an editor or even better an outlining program. Not write code,
just start typing in plot, rooms and locations, and ideas. Sometimes things
come together as I type, often as I later reread and add/change/correct.

The nice thing about an on-line approach is that the notes can take
progressively better and better structure, eventually forming the basis of
some pseudo-code.

It helps to have the omnipresent laptop in your briefcase, of course.

Bob Newell

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages