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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 11:13 am 
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After my failure to resolve the inconsistencies in Cloak of Darkness as a test for new IF systems, i started wondering about a new example demo standard for modern IF systems.

From time to time, many people pop up with emergent new IF systems. Some give up, some plod along and some get going, and it would be really great if there was an example demo standard that could be used as material.

So what i had in mind was a kit that consisted of bunch of text files and media including a game specification. There would be no code and the material would not be predisposed toward any specific kind of engine. The kit could be hosted somewhere like the IFDB, the IF archive, the IFWiki or even somewhere like the IFTF.

The kit would contain:

  • game specification
  • story text files; locations, descriptions, objects etc.
  • map layout diagram
  • location pictures
  • object pictures or icons (3D models?)
  • event sounds
  • scene graphics, animations? audio?
  • background music/sound
  • title picture
  • title music/audio
  • credits (eg HTML with links)
  • logo
  • recommended color themes
  • fonts (or recommendations thereof)
  • dialog voice?

A lot of the above wouldn't necessarily be there for version #1 and not all things would apply to all systems, but they could be added to the kit. Some things could be optional and people could contribute updates such as improved pictures, more pictures, sounds etc.

There have been a lot of great mini games, things done for competitions etc. I was wondering if an author out there would be interested in donating (subject to attribution) a work for this purpose. It would have to be something quite small; perhaps only a handful of locations, a few objects at most and a very simple game specification that's not necessarily dumbed down, but is easy to understand.

If anyone's interested, I'll try to get something working and build the debut kit.

Any takers?


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 4:40 am 
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I'd suggest making things like images and audio optional, and maybe have a core spec that focusses on the story, while some kind of spec++ would also define the usage of the provided media. This way it wouldn't discourage people from using the kit for engines that don't support rich media.

Some things I would like the story to demonstrate:

- Interacting with an NPC, such as having a little dialog and involving the NPC in some kind of puzzle
- Conainment and locked containers, e.g. a locked treasure chest with a key hidden somewhere
- Reacting differently to the same input depending on how often the input was used to show that the system can keep track of stats
- Reacting differently to the same input depending on the location of the player


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 6:49 am 
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And something about meta commands. I think at least save and restore should be there (automatically when closing/starting the game and/or as a user command). Others could be transcript, verbose, test, restart, ...


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 8:39 am 
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An NPC could follow a path through the rooms so that they are not always in the same place.
An NPC could hide inside of an object.
Finding objects should involve looking inside, under and behind other objects.
You could have an event, something that happens after a certain number of turns.
As well as basic doors/containers locked with a key, you could have a latched door you can only open from one side, a safe with a combination lock etc.
Names of objects or NPC's could change, eg. "A tall man" could become "Mr Bloggs" after you ask him his name.
Elevators are always interesting as they are controlled by buttons inside and called to a location by an external button. They also demonstrate having the player inside a container which then moves itself to a different location.
Connecting several objects together to create a new object would be a good puzzle.
Dropping/throwing an object and having it land in a different location, eg. off a balcony.


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 10:31 am 
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You might consider using Mystery House http://ifdb.tads.org/viewgame?id=clc9a8hnvx79pabw for this purpose. It is a "Hi-RES Adventure" from the 1980's. It was released to the public domain in 1987.

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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 1:33 pm 
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Thanks for all your suggestions.

Regarding the "kit" list. I agree a lot is optional!

I wanted to at least suggest an aspirational list that might eventually be fulfilled. If assets such as music and animation were collected, they would have to **not** be essential for making the game. So, for example, you couldn't have a puzzle based on hearing a sound.

It would always be important that the IF be narrative driven, whilst the accompanying media act to add depth.

@jfhs, Yes there ought to be one character in the game, with some, albeit limited, dialog. Let's say ASK or TELL would work, either by command line or GUI drag-and-drop.

Hang on...

There are so many good suggestions from people here, I've started a working document called [ifkit.md](https://gitlab.com/strandgames/brahman/ ... t/ifkit.md).

This contains the suggestions made so far.

Regarding using "Mystery House" as the game, it would be cool, but unfortunately not practical now we have a hit list of requirements for our mini game.

What's needed is the smallest idea for a game that incorporates the requirements in the kit suggestions - certainly a puzzle in itself!


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 1:34 pm 
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When I asked a similar question a while back, someone mentioned Balances, by Graham Nelson, but I never got around to actually trying it out or looking at the source code.

http://ifdb.tads.org/viewgame?id=x6ne0bbd2oqm6h3a


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 1:45 pm 
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Thanks, will check it out.


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 3:57 pm 
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For my authoring system XVAN I made a short test game (7 locations and an npc) that meets the requirements mentioned this far.

Maybe "You must escape!" can qualify.

Attached is a transcript of playing the game in the XVAN interpreter. I can make a per room spec as with CoD.


Attachments:
Escape - solution.txt [12.53 KiB]
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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 4:30 pm 
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Marnix' XVAN Escape demo screenshots

Image

Image


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