Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
or say differently, then follow that line. The other is to write one menu at a time,
pausing at each to consider all of the options, and keep track of which ones you've
written and which you haven't. All of this branching can get rather dense and bushy
if you keep at it in such a manner, and generally each conversation in and of itself
doesn't need to have more than a few beats back and forth. You might want to use
a large sheet of paper and draw arrows around, or use some system of note cards.
It seems like a software tool that aids game writers in keeping track of branching
dialogue as they write it would be useful, but as of the time of publication, such
a tool does not yet exist, even for IF games. (In the larger game world, the game
editor that comes with the Neverwinter Nights CRPG has an internal tool for writing
conversation trees.) In terms of programming conversations, whether ASK/TELL
or menu-based, each IF language has its own methods for handling it. In general,
though, there will be a way of designating topics and a way of assigning variables to
lines of dialogue that (1) keep track of whether the line has been spoken yet or not,
and (2) whether speaking that line activates (or deactivates) other dialogue options,
so that the next conversation menu that is printed is up-to-date. (See Appendix G for
examples.)
19.7 Notable IF Games
While there is a lot of difference of opinion out there, what with the IF community
being conspicuously composed of prickly, opinionated, and voluble personalities,
there has shaken out, in the scheme of things, a modern canon. These are the games
that, for one reason or another, have risen to the top and are continually cited when
newbies pop up looking for a list of games to try, or on blog threads about IF where
people make random recommendations of games that struck them the most. Some
of these games have buoyed up in general estimation since their initial release, where
they were regarded as interesting but flawed or controversial, and are now seen as
modern classics.
1. Shade (Andrew Plotkin)
2. 9:05 (Adam Cadre)
3. Galatea (Emily Short)
4. Photopia (Adam Cadre)
5. Spider and Web (Andrew Plotkin)
6. Shrapnel (Adam Cadre)
7. Slouching Towards Bedlam (Daniel Ravipinto and Star Foster)
8. 1893: A World's Fair Mystery 2 (Peter Nepstad)
2 This game is for sale on CD by its author, Peter Nepstad, rather than being freeware. Demo available.
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