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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 4:49 am 
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Happy Speed IF New Year! I've written a new game! For the first time, in Inform 7!

Oddly enough, it seems exactly like one of those games written by the guy who made Tale of the Kissing Bandit and ASCII and the Argonauts. So I'm very pleased to point you to the URL for Moonbase Indigo:

http://raddial.com/if/games/moonbase.html



Happy new year! Enjoy.


Rob


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 11:28 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:34 pm
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Location: Burlington, VT
I have hit a dead end:

Spoiler: show
>wear orange jumpsuit
You put on the orange jumpsuit.

An echoing voice announces, "All workers prepare for launch."

>take flight kit
Taken.

>w

Evil Canaveral
A distant stream of scientists in lab coats and worker drones in colored jumpsuits busy themselves preparing a set of three specially-designed space vehicles for launch.

The nearest space shuttle is up a gantry from here. A room just east of here is labeled, "Changing Area."

>u

Vehicle Entry Gangplank
Across a small walkway to the north lies the entry portal for the spacecraft. A line of people in orange jumpsuits, carrying flight kits, waits to board.

>n

Flight to the Moon
It's going to be a long ride without something to read. Fortunately, your spy training enables you to slow your pulse rate, and you take a nice 82 hour nap.

>wake
The dreadful truth is, this is not a dream.

The shuttle begins its docking procedure.

>z
Time passes.

The shuttle door opens automatically.

>out
But you aren't in anything at the moment.

>l
Flight to the Moon
It's going to be a long ride without something to read. Fortunately, your spy training enables you to slow your pulse rate, and you take a nice 82 hour nap.

>x door
You can't see any such thing.

>z
Time passes.

>exit
But you aren't in anything at the moment.

>enter door
You can't see any such thing.

>dock shuttle
That's not a verb I recognise.

>n
You can't go that way.

>look
Flight to the Moon
It's going to be a long ride without something to read. Fortunately, your spy training enables you to slow your pulse rate, and you take a nice 82 hour nap.

>put capsule in noze
You can't see any such thing.

>put capsule in nose
You'll need to keep that.

>x flight kit
You can't see any such thing.

>i
You are carrying:
an oxygen capsule
a P59 Strafe

>s

Vehicle Entry Gangplank
Across a small walkway to the north lies the entry portal for the spacecraft. A line of people in orange jumpsuits, carrying flight kits, waits to board.

>x line
You look just like them now.

>join line
That's not a verb I recognise.

>i
You are carrying:
an oxygen capsule
a P59 Strafe

>d

Evil Canaveral
A distant stream of scientists in lab coats and worker drones in colored jumpsuits busy themselves preparing a set of three specially-designed space vehicles for launch.

The nearest space shuttle is up a gantry from here. A room just east of here is labeled, "Changing Area."

>e

Changing Area
A concrete and steel room that smells like it was recently packed with busy workers experiencing high stress levels. The launch hour being so close, the room looks pretty picked over.

The dead worker lies on the floor.

You can also see a row of pegs (on which are a red jumpsuit and a white jumpsuit) here.

>n
You can't go that way.

>w

Evil Canaveral
A distant stream of scientists in lab coats and worker drones in colored jumpsuits busy themselves preparing a set of three specially-designed space vehicles for launch.

The nearest space shuttle is up a gantry from here. A room just east of here is labeled, "Changing Area."

>u
"Hey WHO ARE YOU?" come the obvious cries, when they see you don't even have an orange jumpsuit. A scuffle ensues, after which you are locked into another small concrete chamber, one that turns out to be the exhaust catch for the giant rocket boosters. You recite the countdown to your own demise.



*** It goes something like 5-4-3-2-1-ow-yowie ***


I was able to undo out of that, but what am I supposed to do? [ETA: Oh, hmm, the answer was "check the walkthrough" and... I think I had to do something else before then to trigger something there? OK, PSA:

Spoiler: show
It looks like you have to open the flight kit and eat the paste before you leave the changing area or the the next event won't trigger.


By the way the game is playable in browser at http://iplayif.com/?story=http%3A//raddial.com/if/games/Moonbase%2520Indigo.gblorb, unless that's leading to problems I'm missing. And it is quite charming and smooth-playing for a pretty big speed-IF, up to the point where I got stuck--see spoiler above. And with some multiple solutions too!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 12:52 pm 
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Posts: 1115
Yeah, I had exactly the same experience. After I'd gotten past that point, though, things ran smoothly again.

Overall, a lot of fun; in particular it does this thing (also common in some of Rob's past games) where it cuts instantly to a new scene when you've run out of useful stuff to do in your current one, and that makes for a very cinematic feel and pacing that's different from a lot of parser IF. And there were a couple of points where I had to do something a bit surprising in a timed situation and yet the game did such a great job of cluing me in that I did succeed at it -- which makes for some above-average IF action and chase scenes.

Spoiler: show
I did flinch that you have to kiss a couple of women in dubious-consent situations; this is totally on-trope for the source material, though, and it fits in also with the ridiculous fight scenes towards the end.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 4:23 pm 
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Location: Burlington, VT
And as Speed IF this has an amazing amount of content. Was this really done in three hours? Wow.

Spoiler: show
I flinched at that too, though I only counted one woman I had to kiss (Erika at the warehouse), but her response definitely brought out the dubiety of the consent. The flavor may change a bit the more or less you talk to her, though.

...actually on another replay you don't have to kiss her. If you talk to her enough you can just go down to the warehouse:

Quote:
>ask woman about father
"Who is your father?" you ask.

"I don't know why I should tell you, but his name is Hans Zimmer. He's a scientist. A very famous one."

Of course! No wonder she looked so familiar, you think.

>tell woman about zimmer
"Quite frankly, I'm trying to find out what really happened to Dr. Zimmer. I don't believe he did die in an orbital shuttle explosion." Laying out all your cards, you live to gamble big.

She looks astonished. "I've been trying to prove that for years. It's led me here."

"Well, then we should work together, or get out of each other's way," you say.

>tell woman about zimmer
She regards you sternly but silently.

>s
You can't go that way.

>enter warehouse
You'll have to make your way down the hill first.

>d
"Look, whatever happened to your father has something to do with that compound down the hill, and I intend to have a look in that warehouse," you tell her. "Shoot me if you want to stop me, but I have work to do. Good day, Miss Zimmer."

You crouch low, and make your way in a quick zig-zag down the hill, staying hidden in the brush.


The first couple times through I just typed "take shotgun" and then "kiss her" because it seemed like the thing to do.


There were other nice bits of streamlining too, like the way examining the spy gear auto-took it, and examining Ochs just moved you into the scene. (Though I suspect one of those contributed to the bug I hit, by auto-removing an item from my inventory.) And a lot of it gave me pleasure that as a reasonably experienced parser IF player I can only get from a parser game--when the game gives you something clear to do and understands the way you want to do it it can move along very nicely. Rogue of the Multiverse was like this too.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 9:36 pm 
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Posts: 4
The "I'm back in Evil Canaveral, and don't know how to keep going" bug is *the* bug of the game, introduced late in the process. I'm going to do a second release to correct it, but I believe the solution is to go >OUT rather than >SOUTH, and then the rest of the game continues.


Thanks for the feedback,


Rob


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 9:42 pm 
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emshort wrote:
in particular it does this thing (also common in some of Rob's past games) where it .. makes for a very cinematic feel and pacing that's different from a lot of parser IF.


I decided, after some pacing around and chatting with a professional, that though my thing to do is kind of on-rails and gimmicky, it's my thing that I do, so I better just get busy and do it, especially because I enjoy the process. Who else is writing IF that is like these things I keep doing? I asked myself. I'm already trying to think of the next one.

Quote:
Spoiler: show
I did flinch that you have to kiss a couple of women in dubious-consent situations; this is totally on-trope for the source material, though, and it fits in also with the ridiculous fight scenes towards the end.

Spoiler: show
I acknowledge the flinch; I felt it when I was writing. But I was writing this particular thing, which has sexism built into it. Also, I marked it as being from 1982. But recent events in games and this particular issue have not escaped my notice or sensitivity.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 4:10 am 
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matt w wrote:
And as Speed IF this has an amazing amount of content. Was this really done in three hours? Wow.


Pretend I am John Cleese, your favorite IF author, because he wrote something 40 years ago, and you still like it.

"No." It was not done in three hours, any more than the parrot is on its perch without having been nailed there. In 2003, I could write a game like this, in 15 hours. Now it takes a few more than that, but --

I'd like to introduce the concept, of "Speed-IF", which means a player with no preconceptions, plays it fast -- and intuitively -- in a little while of playing. And, enjoys how it seems to go. When they type something, it goes along. Rather than, Speed IF meaning, regardless of quality, this was written in a short space of time.

Pretend I am John Cleese, one of Monty Python's troupe.

"No." And, "Could I go back to my hotel now, I'm shagged out after a prolonged sqwawk."


Rob


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 7:38 am 
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jrw wrote:
emshort wrote:
in particular it does this thing (also common in some of Rob's past games) where it .. makes for a very cinematic feel and pacing that's different from a lot of parser IF.


I decided, after some pacing around and chatting with a professional, that though my thing to do is kind of on-rails and gimmicky, it's my thing that I do, so I better just get busy and do it, especially because I enjoy the process. Who else is writing IF that is like these things I keep doing? I asked myself. I'm already trying to think of the next one.


Yeah, to be clear, I was citing that as a positive. I really like that aspect of your work, and it's very identifiably its own style; I wouldn't say "gimmicky" at all. Maybe some of Ryan Veeder's stuff comes close, but I think it's focused more on the fluid back-and-forth dialogue between parser voice and player, rather than on narrative pacing.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 7:45 am 
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Location: Burlington, VT
That is a good concept! And I admire how the game accepts a variety of input

Spoiler: show
for instance GIVE CAPSULE TO LENA as well as THROW CAPSULE AT LENA and probably other things.


The cinematic aspect Emily pointed out is also a good thing.

One suggestion for a new release: Include Modified Exit or something like that to convert "out" to going whenever there's only one direction you can go. I think there are extensions that let you do that pretty much plug and play--I'm probably thinking of Small Kindnesses by Aaron Reed actually.

Another one:

Spoiler: show
If you get embroiled in a fight after the moonbase is exploding, I think the game should offer you the chance to turn tail and run by going the opposite direction you came. The action is hinted, it's necessary to avoid a losing outcome, it's funny in my opinion, and most importantly getting in a situation where you're stuck for multiple turns without anything to do while waiting for the base to blow up--or rather, in which you UNDO until you get out of the mess--seems unspeedy. (And goes against general game design principles about having the game take over from the player.) Maybe there is a command to let you escape this situation? I didn't find it.

Or you could cut off the combat much quicker--two turns of futile fighting and you can say something like "Even without a weapon, your dodging skills enable you to survive until the moonbase blows up. [rest of bad ending text]"


Again, though, nice job. This was fun.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:12 pm 
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jrw wrote:
I'd like to introduce the concept, of "Speed-IF", which means a player with no preconceptions, plays it fast -- and intuitively -- in a little while of playing. And, enjoys how it seems to go. When they type something, it goes along. Rather than, Speed IF meaning, regardless of quality, this was written in a short space of time.


I like the concept you're trying to express here, and I think we need a term for it, but the current meaning of "speed IF" is too entrenched to repurpose it. (Based on http://ifwiki.org/index.php/Speed_IF, people have been using "speed IF" to mean "the author wrote this superfast" since 1998.)

What about something like "bite-sized" or "smooth" or "easy-finish"? (I'm not wild about any of these, but maybe they'll spark a good idea from someone else.)

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