Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
as the weather changed from fair to stormy, each location had a custom tailored de-
scription written for how things looked that particular turn. You could stand in one
place and watch the sun set and the clouds roll in, or you could wander around and
feel the change happening while you were busy exploring. No one had ever done
anything like that before, and it was revolutionary.
The programming for an effect like this is relatively simple: use a variable to keep
track of what turn it is (there is always a counter running that totals the number of
turns the player has taken; usually this isn't used for anything). Then, each room's
description property runs a check that says, on turn 1, print description 1; on turn
2, print description 2, etc. There are various programmatic shorthands for this sort
of thing (
statements), but the principle
is simple. (One of the more popular languages these days has tried to replace pro-
gramming code with English sentences that describe the effects the author intends,
as a way of being more accessible to non-programmers. I'll explore that and other IF
language options in more detail in Appendix G.)
My own version of this effect was in a time-travel game called First Things First
(XYZZY Award winner, Best Puzzles 2001), which also kept the story confined to a
fairly restricted geography but allowed the player to see each discrete location within
it at various different points in time. There was also one certain location, set in the
future from the PC's point of view, where the variable effects of what the PC had
been doing mucking about in the past were continually updated and visible. A house
might have weather damage due to inadequate protection. If the player planted a
tree in the past, it might have grown overlarge and fallen over into the house instead
of protecting it. The whole story was about discovering that the future was going
to be a sad state of affairs unless actions were undertaken to change it back in the
past, and so even though it was a classic text adventure game in one sense, containing
a lot of puzzles, they all grew out of the central premise and were highly tied to
the environment of the game. Solving puzzles in one place had reverberating effects
and consequences throughout the story. This overall theme was also repeated in the
NPCs that you met along the way. You could see what happened to them in the
future and see that some of them were heading along tragic paths, and the player had
an option to try to influence lives for the better.
19.5 Player Characters as Storytelling Springboards
Another rich area of creative exploration in IF has to do with player characters. It
took a long time for IF to change from using a generic PC, through the clich´eof
amnesia-suffering PCs, to the modern conception where the PC is a particular per-
son, with a particular point of view on the world he inhabits, through which the
story's events are seen or possibly filtered.
A great deal of interest has been generated by games that explore the friction
between the PC and the player. The tradition in IF of using second-person narration
(“You are in a large cavern of limestone and travertine. Your lamp is starting to grow
Search Nedrilad ::

Custom Search