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Games That Never Were

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Games That Never Were

Postby Lumin » Tue Sep 17, 2013 3:19 pm

It's like pulling teeth getting people to have a discussion these days, so I guess I'll try and start one. It's been too boring doing the lurking thing lately anyway. :roll:

Okay, so this topic is about abandoned games. I know we all have bookoos of those or we'd be having a whole lot more released games these last several years. Tell us what it was supposed to be about and why you decided to give up on it.

I know for me, there was a phase I went through where I really really wanted to write historical games. Not just games in a historical setting, but real, actual events told through the medium of IF. Well...obviously I hit a problem with that pretty early on, since it's kind of hard to make a story interactive when all the characters have to stick strictly to their 'roles' to be historically accurate. I've recently been toying with the idea of trying to write one of the shorter stories (dealing with an encounter between early settlers and some Comanches) as a CYOA, with the 'choices' giving side information about the historical context and people involved.

Even if I managed to finish I kind of have an idea not many would be interested in actually reading it, but I rarely see educational or historical IF of any kind so I guess I can just tell myself I'm filling a niche? :anyone:
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Re: Games That Never Were

Postby David Whyld » Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:03 pm

A lot of the games I've worked on over the years that I haven't finished, I haven't officially given up on them. They're works in progress. And, um, have been in progress for a decade. And, um, I haven't actually worked on them for years, but they're still intended to see the light of dawn one day. Kind of…

One game I got really miffed with myself for not finishing was a huge detective game called “Without a Clue” (which is nothing at all to do with another game I wrote called “Without a Clue” in which you also play a detective, but the original “Without a Clue” will definitely need a name change if I ever finish it) which seemed to spiral out of control every time I worked on it. I kept adding more locations, and more NPCs, and more things for the player to do; and the storyline, which was initially quite straightforward, became steadily more complicated… until I reached the stage where I was getting bogged down with it and decided to give myself a break and write something less complex instead. Years later and I've barely even touched it since I pushed it to one side, and every time I open up the game file I get pretty depressed at how big and unwieldy it is, and quickly back away from it. One day, hopefully, I’ll get it finished, but I'm not hopeful of that being any time soon.

Other games? My superhero epic, “Scarlet”, was another game I had high hopes for but which never went anywhere. I had two different ideas for the game – one a kind of comedy where the superhero(ine) is remarkably clumsy and as much a danger to the people she's trying to save as she is to the villains she's fighting, and one a darker themed version (think Batman as he was in the last three films as opposed to Batman in the earlier ones or the TV series) – and I never really could decide on which idea to go with. In the end, I wrote the intro, wrote a few other locations, then couldn’t decide on which theme was best and stopped work on the game while I decided. Years later and I'm still trying to decide.

Another game was “Twist of Fate”, which was intended to be my ‘epic fantasy game’ (yes, we all have one in us whether we know it or not), about a teenage girl who gets sucked into a fantasy world, learns magic and ends up battling a fairly generic Dark Lord of Mordor type villain. I really liked this at first, but began to sour on the idea later on, when I found myself unsure about which direction it was going. It also seemed to bear a remarkable similarity to a game I wrote years ago about a girl who gets sucked into a fantasy world, learns magic and ends up battling a fairly generic Dark Lord of Mordor type villain. So… another one I decided to take a break from until such time as I’d had a good long think about it.

As far as historical games are concerned, I'm kind of divided on the subject. Certain types of history I find interesting – the Crusades, the Knights of the Round Table, that sort of thing – but the rest doesn’t hold much enthusiasm for me. I've never really been into cowboy films or the whole Wild West genre, so a game about settlers and Comanches wouldn’t appeal to me much.
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Re: Games That Never Were

Postby ralphmerridew » Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:05 pm

"From Beyond the Reaches of Your Wildest Dreams" (series)

From the late 80s when I was in elementary school. Everything was either stupid, illogical, or blatantly ripped off of something from Infocom. Never got beyond the maps on paper stage. Said papers are probably in a landfill somewhere. If I ever find them, I'll be sure to burn them.
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Re: Games That Never Were

Postby P/o Prune » Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:21 am

The first game that springs to mind is "Through Time"
I was going along the same path as Lumin in wanting to make a historic game with correct historic details.
Very short. In a distant future, the galaxy has finally agreed to stop hostilities and an inter galactic union has been formed (a little like our present UN)
Unfortunately a mad scientist and member of this counsil managed to build a time machine, and by going back in time and change historic facts he will eventually be the head of this powerful galactic counsil and thus rule the galaxy.

My idea was that the player would have to use the internet in order to find out what date and year a certain incident took place and then set a time machine and travel there and correct. It was actually quite interesting digging up the historical facts and I had managed to create a true (text) replica of the theater where Caesar was murdered.
I'm not sure why it didn't get finished and who knows one day I may even go back and start over. I still like the idea of using the internet as a platform to solve games.
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Re: Games That Never Were

Postby Lumin » Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:45 pm

David Whyld wrote:A lot of the games I've worked on over the years that I haven't finished, I haven't officially given up on them. They're works in progress. And, um, have been in progress for a decade. And, um, I haven't actually worked on them for years, but they're still intended to see the light of dawn one day. Kind of…


I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about! I assure you nothing like this has ever happened to me at all! Or at least definitely notwith, like, 90% of every game I've ever started... :whistle:

It also seemed to bear a remarkable similarity to a game I wrote years ago about a girl who gets sucked into a fantasy world, learns magic and ends up battling a fairly generic Dark Lord of Mordor type villain. So… another one I decided to take a break from until such time as I’d had a good long think about it.


Which game was this?

I've never really been into cowboy films or the whole Wild West genre, so a game about settlers and Comanches wouldn’t appeal to me much.


I still enjoy the typical Western stuff now and then as entertainment (it's not my fault, my parents picked up a huge box of Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour books in a garage sale one summer and there was literally nothing else to do but read them! I was also exposed to an unhealthy amount of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood whenever I visited my aunt and uncle...The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and The Outlaw Josey Wales are STILL fantastic movies even now) but what I'm talking about is not the genre as a whole but specific historical events.

The story of Matilda Friend and the Legion Valley Massacre in particular is one I've always been fascinated with. It's horrific what those women went through, but at the same time I always found it inspirational to think about what a total freaking badass Matilda had to be...seriously, even if you're not a fan of US history, check out the story in that link.

And of course, no offense, but I naturally just assume anyone not interested in the Comanches just doesn't know anything about the Comanches...it kind of amazes me how even people living right here in part of their old stomping grounds don't realize that it's kind of a big deal that we basically had our own version of the Mongol Horde running around less than 200 years ago. Once those guys got horses they got scary and just started steamrolling all their neighbors, they had a huge amount of territory and they were the ones who fought to the bitter end for it even after all the other tribes were giving up and being relocated. Empire of the Summer Moon is definitely worth at least a quick browse.

...and I'm rambling some (okay a lot but the Comanches were awesome) and also the forum is doing that weird laggy moon-language thing it always does so I guess I'll stop typing now. :(
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Re: Games That Never Were

Postby David Whyld » Thu Sep 19, 2013 1:00 pm

Lumin wrote:Which game was this?


That was "Sophie's Adventure", my entry into the IFComp 2003. The weird thing is that when I started writing "Twist of Fate", I honestly never saw the connection between it and my earlier game, and happily went on writing it until I stopped dead one day and thought "Hang on, didn't I already write this game before?" It was a pretty surreal moment. Of course, I'm perfectly entitled to plagiarise my own work, but it was weird how much of "Twist of Fate" I wrote before realising its similarity to "Sophie's Adventure". I do still hope to finish it one day, though.

Lumin wrote:And of course, no offense, but I naturally just assume anyone not interested in the Comanches just doesn't know anything about the Comanches...it kind of amazes me how even people living right here in part of their old stomping grounds don't realize that it's kind of a big deal that we basically had our own version of the Mongol Horde running around less than 200 years ago.


Well, I live in England and we don't tend to have a lot of Indians here (people from India, yes. Indians who ride around on horseback and shoot cowboys? Not so much) and my knowledge of Comanches is pretty much non-existent. But like I said I don't have much interest in the whole Wild West genre. Fantasy, sci-fi and horror are more my thing.
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Re: Games That Never Were

Postby Lazzah » Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:07 pm

David Whyld wrote:Indians who ride around on horseback and shoot cowboys? Not so much

I'm not so sure about that! Try going to Butlins at Bognor Regis when there's a Country & Western weekend on. Cowboys and a few Indians in full get-up, even in the restaurant at breakfast time! I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw two cowboys on horse-back trotting slowly down the main street in the holiday camp as if they were riding into a wild west town! :haha:
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Re: Games That Never Were

Postby Mystery » Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:43 pm

The earliest one that I started and never finished was Max Blackstone, Private Eye. To be set in Phoenix, where I had lived at the time, centered around Steel Indian School Park. The park was built around the site of an old Indian School. Back in the day when the US Government decided it was their responsibility to rip Native Americans from their homes and families to educate them.

As always, I mapped the entire location as accurately as I could. I kept a notebook on the the different story ideas that I could have played out..none of which I can even remember. I'm terribly bad at coming up with a good story. Someday...maybe...but doubtful.


-------
The other that comes to mind, and always gets me excited about working with ADRIFT again is...The Bounty. I love pirates, and not the movie fantasy pirates or the stereotypical shiver me timbers lingo. I wanted to create a game that depicted the real, crude, raunchy, disgusting side of pirating...with blood, guts, gore, whoring. Have the choice to play as a man or woman. Have day/night system, body hair growth system, battle system both on land and at sea...The choice to earn your right to be captain, ship hand, or to just take a job or land-loving profession. There are so many things I wanted to accomplish with this.

Since I tend to be overly ambitious, I intended on creating it as a module based system so it wouldn't become too overwhelming. I had completed one portion, including graphics and sound, and even had it thoroughly beta tested. And that is about as far as it went. Time went on...I'd look my hand drawn graphics and think I could do better..it didn't portray the realistic look I wanted to convey..because I just wasn't able to bring that talent to the table...and probably still can't. I get a much greater satisfaction if I can do everything myself..graphics, sound effects, music etc.

-------
And the last, that I have probably started over a dozen times and have been planning for well over twenty years (feck I am old). It is another based on an actual physical location of a very spooky house. The kind people would talk about being haunted, see things, hear things, and had a very rich history in its prime. I got the privilege to live in it for a few months in my preteen years, and the fondness for this place will stay with me for my entire life. I love creepy, and it was pretty awesome...it did not disappoint.

I have mapped the property a dozen times, know it like the back of my hand. Know the stories inside and out. I know the layout of the surrounding land, where the cemetery was, the apple grove, the milk house, the tenant houses. I had intended to pull it to modern times, making the home of a very unique horror prop designer and integrating some of the real stories that have floated around for decades about the place. If I ever complete another game, this probably would be the one. Just the sheer amount of oddities that I have initially put into it, and some of the puzzles were just fun.

But as always, if I decide to work on it again I would remap it from scratch...I've probably mapped it well over a dozen times. Any time I leave it for a while I start over. I did take special care with this one though. I have a physical notebook with every detail documented to allow me to quickly bring it back up to speed quickly. This one...is the one that keeps me coming back to the forum and keeps me from letting go of IF.

I haven't had the best of time adjusting to V5, and still don't feel like it is a completely functional, well polished package, with a strong core support on how to use it. I know it will get there eventually, but I want to know before I put all the time, effort, and energy into something so important to me, that the software is up to par, and a bug or unimplemented feature will not halt production. I don't want to go back and use V4 for them because I really want a complete stand alone package for the final product.

But anyway...I am great planner and a poor plotter, which leads to a sea of sunken treasures. :(
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Re: Games That Never Were

Postby Lumin » Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:39 am

Wow, those both sound really great. And believe me, I know what it's like having these huge amazing projects get inside your head and just never let you go even if there's only something like a .000001% chance you'll ever successfully bring them to life. And of course, if there's one thing I've always said ADRIFT needed, it was an accurate body hair growth simulator. :wink:

But like I said I don't have much interest in the whole Wild West genre. Fantasy, sci-fi and horror are more my thing.


No David your opinions are all wrong! UGH. :P
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Re: Games That Never Were

Postby Duncan_B » Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:45 am

I did an "Off the Rails" segment on "EnTHRALLed" and "Mirror" in InsideADRIFT #39 and 40, respectively. Anyone curious might check those out.

Any game I had in the ADRIFT IntroComp 2009: "Dung Beetles Are Aliens!," "Dish Duty," or "To End All Wars," with the notable exception of Yon Astounding Castle! of some sort.

Another I've had stewing for some time is "The Revenge of Dr. Deadkovich." I originally imagined it as a game that tangentially tied together elements from two of my previous mad scientist titles (I Was a Teenage Headless Experiment & Attack of Doc Lobster's Mutant Menagerie of Horror) using a Dr. Phibes inspired re-animator shtick. You would be a mad scientist with three wacky, terrifying weapons with the goal of eliminating your rivals. Originally started it for Ectocomp in 2010, if I recall correctly.

Another is "The Hyperbola," one I started way back when just as surreal, wacky venue for futzing around with ADRIFT. It featured a my apartment setting, a game-within-the-game, and a custom hint system. Also a puzzle where there's a bag jumping around a room and you can't catch it... yeah, um. Implemented a whole supermarket, even. 'Twas a strange game, based off a short story and a comic that I wrote back in high school (in 2003/2004?). I'd pictured it as a Douglas Adams style zany romp, but it generally seems more like... blandness with an occasional stroll into Nonsequiturville.

Then there are "Irvine Quik and the Escape from the Ralthagorian Ship of DOOM" and "Irvine Quik and the Ransom of the Third Moon of Ymir," both of which would have expanded on the character of my IFComp entry from last year but never really went anywhere.

"Space Mercenary" was a game I was writing in ADRIFT that was more CYOA-based than your typical parser IF. You played as a mercenary who was actually the great-grandfather of Irvine Quik, colluding with rebel forces on alien planets, supporting of either of two evil emperors in your pursuit for money. This was to include a minimalistic space trading/resource management aspect, two hacking minigames, and a space combat. I did come up with a system for ground combat that wasn't overly repetitive, but I never got around to implementing a system for space combat.

... what else is there? I dunno, probably lots more.
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Re: Games That Never Were

Postby Lumin » Mon Sep 23, 2013 3:36 pm

Duncan_B wrote:"Space Mercenary" was a game I was writing in ADRIFT that was more CYOA-based than your typical parser IF. You played as a mercenary who was actually the great-grandfather of Irvine Quik, colluding with rebel forces on alien planets, supporting of either of two evil emperors in your pursuit for money. This was to include a minimalistic space trading/resource management aspect, two hacking minigames, and a space combat. I did come up with a system for ground combat that wasn't overly repetitive, but I never got around to implementing a system for space combat.


You know, it's just cruel talking about something like this if you never intend to finish it.... :(
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Re: Games That Never Were

Postby Duncan_B » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:20 am

It sounds like most people have a bunch of unfinished stuff. How would people feel about sharing unfinished work in the Demos section of the main site? I would be okay with sharing. It seems as though there is certainly interest.
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Re: Games That Never Were

Postby J. J. Guest » Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:52 am

The largest game I ever abandoned was actually complete and playable. It was an adaptation of an old 8-bit game called 'Stranded on Iloofrax', originally by one Matthew O'Donnell. I wrote it in ADRIFT 4, re-writing the weakest parts of the original completely and adding about as much again of my own material, some of it adapted from my earlier abandoned game 'Once, on a Blue Moon'. The game had around 85 locations if I remember correctly, easily the largest map of any game I've written. It was a stranded-on-an-alien-planet type of game that included gnomes, a werewolf wearing a tie, a one-eyed witch called Gangron and an 8-foot hairy humanoid capable of drop-kicking the player into orbit when he got angry. The game got as far as beta testing when I just decided not to release it. I just didn't feel it was strong enough. My intention is to cannibalise it for a new game, but I still have it on my hard drive somewhere if anyone's interested.
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