Wadjet Eye Games

Author Topic: A Blackwell fangame (just starting!) - the Blackwell Consequence.  (Read 8905 times)

Offline Sslaxx

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Find it here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/67740160/BlackwellConsequence_Day0.7z

So, yeah. This is a fangame, or at least the very beginnings of one. And, well, I'm hoping it's (going to be, when it's finished) fun to play. Right now, there's very little to it - it's just the start. But considering how slow my work speed is (and the fact I never complete 99.9% of anything I work on!) I thought I'd share what there is of it, now. So be gentle! Please?

I do plan on fleshing this out before I start on the next major part of the game, don't worry.

But do tell me what you think of it. What you think of (what little there is so far) the writing, the descriptions. Is it easy to understand what's going on? Is it comprehensible? It's all pretty rough anyway, but knowing where I'm going right (or wrong) can give me pointers about what to do. I'm planning on doing another release next week taking on-board things people have to say about this, and then cracking on with the next part of the game. I'm planning on making releases every time a major part of this gets done; it gives me something to aim for at least. I've even included (what passes for) the design notes for this part of the game, if you're curious.

On a more technical note, you're going to need the TADS 3 interpreter for this game. You can find one for Mac OS X, Linux and Windows on http://www.tads.org/tads3.htm - some Linux distros, by the way, do come with a TADS interpeter (QTads).

Hope you enjoy, and/or give critique. Thanks!

Offline Jackie

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Re: A Blackwell fangame (just starting!) - the Blackwell Consequence.
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2014, 04:51:25 PM »
There doesn't seem to be any way to open this file. The extension .7z means nothing to me and I don't have program to open it with.

Just thought that you might like to know.

Offline Sslaxx

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Re: A Blackwell fangame (just starting!) - the Blackwell Consequence.
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2014, 04:53:07 PM »
7Zip is a means of compressing files, like Zip files. You can find software to handle them (for Windows) here: http://www.7-zip.org/

Offline Jackie

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Re: A Blackwell fangame (just starting!) - the Blackwell Consequence.
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2014, 06:00:28 PM »
Thank you.  I downloaded and installed that program but the game still will not open.  I don't know what I'm doing wrong but I tried.
Sorry
Jackie

Offline DaveGilbert

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Re: A Blackwell fangame (just starting!) - the Blackwell Consequence.
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2014, 07:51:04 AM »
I can't get it open either! :(

Offline Sslaxx

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Re: A Blackwell fangame (just starting!) - the Blackwell Consequence.
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2014, 09:26:46 AM »
I can't get it open either! :(
Which one, the 7Zip file or the T3 file? Is it giving any error messages beyond a "Windows does not support this file type" message or something?

7Zip on Windows or Linux should handle the former (other compression software might be able to deal with the format too). Dunno about Mac options, but I'd imagine there are.

The T3 file requires the TADS runtime, from http://www.tads.org/tads3.htm

Offline Jackie

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Re: A Blackwell fangame (just starting!) - the Blackwell Consequence.
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2014, 10:54:01 AM »
After I installed the zip file was suppose to open the game; I had the same problem with the other file. Don't have the program to open it with and I'm not going to download and install another program. Sorry

Offline Sslaxx

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Re: A Blackwell fangame (just starting!) - the Blackwell Consequence.
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2014, 06:05:13 PM »
Hmmm. I'm getting the idea I'm going about this the wrong way somehow. The game isn't very accessible, is it. Shall have to see about finding an easier way to get this playable. Apologies.

Offline Sslaxx

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Re: A Blackwell fangame (just starting!) - the Blackwell Consequence.
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2014, 03:29:46 AM »
Bump! If anyone's still interested, https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/67740160/BlackwellConsequence_Day0.7z - now includes a version that'll run under Windows without needing to download any extra software. There's also a little bit added/changed.

Offline Jackie

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Re: A Blackwell fangame (just starting!) - the Blackwell Consequence.
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2014, 08:55:28 PM »
I don't know if it is something that I'm doing wrong or what.

Here's a screen shot of what I get from the file that I save.  Also there is a screen shot of what comes up when I click on the .exe file. And the last screen shot is what I get when I try to close the file which I guess is the game, but there is nothing that I can do to play the game.

I hope some this helps
Jackie


Offline megazver

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Re: A Blackwell fangame (just starting!) - the Blackwell Consequence.
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2014, 10:04:23 AM »
I don't know if it is something that I'm doing wrong or what.

Here's a screen shot of what I get from the file that I save.  Also there is a screen shot of what comes up when I click on the .exe file. And the last screen shot is what I get when I try to close the file which I guess is the game, but there is nothing that I can do to play the game.

I hope some this helps
Jackie

It's a text adventure. You're supposed to press SPACE twice to skip the text (after reading it), like it says at the bottom of the window, then play it like you play all text adventures - by typing in commands at the prompt.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2014, 10:21:20 AM by megazver »

Offline megazver

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Re: A Blackwell fangame (just starting!) - the Blackwell Consequence.
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2014, 04:29:30 PM »

I gave this a try. Am I right in understanding that the walkthrough at the moment is basically "ask shamus about ghosts, z, z, z, z, z, z, z, z, south"? EDIT: I actually missed the appearance of the lost spirit until I read the notes. Oh well. (As a sidenote, your .txt files don't have any paragraph breaks. A <i>little</i> annoying to read.)


I thought the game has promise but I do have a few pointers:


Controlling Player's Focus: You draw attention to the writing on the board both in its general description and when you x it, but it's just a random useless detail. If you mention something in the text, you are telling the player it's significant unless you deliberately craft the description to imply it's not. Managing this is one of the fundamental skills of text adventure writing.


To fix this, I'd change the basic description to something like "a board with faded chalk scribbles on it" and emphasize that the writing doesn't matter with something along the lines of "I think that's the board they used to write down stuff during the autopsies? Well, there's nothing legible on it right now. Eh, whatever."


Character descriptions: You have examine descriptions for both Shamus and the lost spirit but they could use some work. Don't describe by listing physical details. It's boring and it doesn't gel into an actual picture. Elmore Leonard recommended leaving out the parts that readers tend to skip and telling the reader the color of their pants or what's their haircut is it.


Instead, give a couple of evocative details that tell the player what the character is about. Give the player an attitude or use a colorful simile. (x is like y) Try "Shamus is casually leaning against [elaborate code to figure out what he's leaning against in any given room], a ghostly toothpick in his teeth. Cheeky bastard." or "Shamus stands at ease by your side, his squinty eyes taking in everything. The buttons on his uniform shine even through the ghost filter." Adding some detail that hints how old Shamus is as a ghost would be a good idea, as well.


(By the way, did you deliberately pick Shamus because it's an old-timey word for private investigator and would bring up associations with Joey? It would probably be more interesting if you made the ghost companion not a Joey clone. Try a civil war officer or a puritan or a 50s housewife or something.)


Protagonist's personality: There isn't any. I have no idea even what gender the protagonist is or name or if they have any skills or... There are some games where the creator deliberately leaves the protagonist without a gender or personality, but an adventure like this isn't really one where this would work well. You should change the starting textdump a bit to tell the player who you're playing as and make the custom replies to command reveal more about the protag's personality.


Story premise: Ehhhh. Okay, you start the game and then all the ghosts disappear. Now what?


The Blackwell games are ultimately about investigating ghost deaths. If you were making a Need for Speed fangame, you probably wouldn't make it a 3-in-a-row game, right? If I were you, I'd just make a short game in the time frame of the first four games that focuses on the same investigative gameplay.


Tech: I'm actually in the middle of learning Inform 7 with a book so that I can screw around with prototyping a short adventure or two. If I do, I'll probably cut down the parser to the modern point-and-clickesque examine/use/use item on object, possibly with a keyword parser like Walker & Silhouette. Frankly, I can do without most of the responses you have to write to make the regular IF parser properly reactive. That's what I'd recommend you do as well.


PS The .exe worked but Gargoyle (which I think is the best multi-platform client at the moment) failed to load the .t3 file. I suspect it's because you used a different library? Dunno.