Re: Clod's Quest demo

A forum where new and old games can be reviewed - an alternative to the reviews on the Adventures page of the main ADRIFT site. Also the place to ask for any assistance if you are stuck playing a particular game.
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Duncan_B

Post by Duncan_B »

I’m curious to know if anyone has given Clod’s Quest a go and, if so, what thoughts they might have had regarding their experience.

This needn’t call for outright review writing; I am interested in establishing a dialogue, if possible. The ultimate question, I think, is whether or not its style of gameplay warrants an attempt at a full release. Does it feel rewarding? Is it too boiled down? Was the demo too short, is it too early to tell?

Thoughts, please.
alsnpk
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Post by alsnpk »

Okay, I have now tried it.

I like the story. I don't think it was too boiled down or too short. And I think it would feel rewarding... except that having to press enter in addition to having to scroll through each possibility and go back and forth all the time takes a lot of the fun out of playing it, even though the idea is definitely cool.

So, unfortunately, I guess it's the actual gameplay I find issue with. I don't mind either scrolling through options OR pressing enter after each command, but with this particular type of game, it gets too cumbersome too quickly to have to do both at every little step, all the time. It kind of felt like each actual step was taking ten times as many moves as it should.

But I like the story. I know it'd be sad for you if you changed from the system you got working, but regular commands or a list-type selection system seems like they might make the game more appealing to players.

Maybe the gameplay system would work great for a more intensive type of game than a lighthearted adventure? Or for only certain parts of the game you have instead of the majority of it? I don't know. It seems like the system could still be useful, though.

Wow, I still need to work on my own game with list-type selections...
Released:
For competitions: Business As Usual; Oh, Human; Existence (intro); Motion
Shared names demo: "Guys, Guys"

Works in various stages of progress:
Y'know, things and stuff...
ralphmerridew
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Post by ralphmerridew »

Game played under Gargoyle (SCARE).

As Abbi said, with as many times as you have to do it, having to push return after each action gets old fast, but there's nothing you can do about that in ADRIFT. I also noticed that you have 1200+ tasks for a small game; take that as a sign that you need to recode your design to have less code duplication.

I found an annoyance: it wouldn't accept single apostrophe; it required a double apostrophe. I did notice one significant error; after getting killed at one point, the computer wouldn't accept "1" or "\" at "Bag the emerald".

(The first problem could be avoided in Inform; it's possible to replace the standard loop and act on each keypress immediately. See The Resident or Promoted. The second could also be avoided in any Tier 1 language, possibly also in ADRIFT. And anything that helped problem 2 would avoid the error; I think it was a case of fallthrough.)
Bloodhounds can make you laugh and cuss in the same breath. They are endearing, faithful, and can sling drool ten feet in any direction. -- Virginia Lanier
Duncan_B

Post by Duncan_B »

Thanks for taking some time out for this experiment… especially to ralphmerridew, for testing it in SCARE. Anyone else want to try it out?

Sounds like the verdict so far is… leaning towards a re-write?

I tried to set up the controls so that pressing enter after each key wouldn’t be much of an issue… although the controls felt fairly natural to me, from the reports I’m hearing, it sounds like “ease of use” probably didn’t translate from the author to player position. Shanda.

The large number of tasks involved in writing the game is somewhat deceiving… something in the vicinity of half the tasks involved are just bookmarks I used so I could sort out what would otherwise be a mess of 1s, ‘s, and \s in the task list.

I find the double-apostrophe phenomenon quite curious, since entering two apostrophes should produce the response: “One command at a time, please.” Haven’t had any other complaints about not accepting the single apostrophe—perhaps this problem is limited to SCARE/Gargoyle? If anyone else encounters this problem, let me know.

ralphmerridew, when killed, how were you killed? How much health/how many lives did you have maximum/currently? What were the relative positions of the emerald/ruby? I haven’t been able to re-create this error.

I have also received a report that in some cases the screen has not cleared after the intro… can anyone else confirm this?

Unfortunately, I don’t have the intention of trying to learn I7, TADS, or any other IF platform at this time. However, I have downloaded both The Resident & Promoted to give them a look. Thank you for the recommendation.
ralphmerridew
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Post by ralphmerridew »

The methods used in the demo scale poorly, and are very susceptible to combinatorial explosion. For example, from task 1010 to task 1032, I counted 18 tasks that handled the player leaving the privy while carrying the long-glove, depending on what else the player is carrying. Are you sure you got every possibility?

It's very difficult to modify such a game. Suppose you were to add an optional puzzle: The player can rub the pedestal with chalk to reveal the last line of the poem. In doing so, you added an additional dynamic object. In how many places would you need to adjust your code to account for that?

I think you're partly aware of these problems, since you've followed some steps to limit the explosion; objects are removed once no longer needed (the key, glove, and gems), areas are closed off (the portcullis and stone slab), or the game just arbitrarily keeps an object in an area (the glove / privy). (These might also be a result of the rigid inventory limit. Or the rigid inventory limit might itself be part of your attempt to contain the combinatorial explosion.)
Bloodhounds can make you laugh and cuss in the same breath. They are endearing, faithful, and can sling drool ten feet in any direction. -- Virginia Lanier
ralphmerridew
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Post by ralphmerridew »

I put up a script of the problem at http://www.geocities.com/ralphmerridew/clod_script.txt
Bloodhounds can make you laugh and cuss in the same breath. They are endearing, faithful, and can sling drool ten feet in any direction. -- Virginia Lanier
ralphmerridew
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Post by ralphmerridew »

For comparison, I put together a quick port to Inform. I focused more on testing the engine than the game itself, so it's probably rough in places, but it's at least playable to the end. Consider this stage more a proof of concept than a true port.

http://www.geocities.com/ralphmerridew/clod-inform.zip

(No hints / save / restore at present. Controls were changed to use arrow keys, and I didn't always update the text to mention that. I left out some text blocks. I didn't always check about matching order in which options appear.)
Bloodhounds can make you laugh and cuss in the same breath. They are endearing, faithful, and can sling drool ten feet in any direction. -- Virginia Lanier
Burblesnot
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Post by Burblesnot »

I played this as well, found it a good bit of play. But I have a couple of problems. At no point during the game could I use the auto-erotic asphyxiation command, which I thought puzzling as the leather belt fit tightly around my characters neck and I could get my pants down around my ankles, but not take off my underwear or command the lesbian midgets to wack my ball sac with the hammer.
Second, when it came time to slaughter the horses, I could not use my bare fists to beat them into submission like Conan the barbarian, which would have been amazingly cool. Instead I had to settle for using the bolt gun. Even though I could use it multiple times until the horses dies of mass trauma or blood loss, I thought it was a curious omission that I could not beat them with my fists.
Other than that I love the game, especially at the end when you take off in the hot air ballon made from your grandmothers carcass and get to bomb Pennylane road with bags of your own feces.
In my opinion, this was a great game.
The things I've seen...Clthuluths attacking Neko warships off the coast of Japan, the deadly twinkle of board raids and thread sages deep in the black of night. All these things and more. And now, time. Time to *FAP*

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{ifreality=1setvalue=false,ifreality=0setvalue=false}
Duncan_B

Post by Duncan_B »

Hello, again...
methods used in the demo scale poorly

Of greater concern to me at the moment is just being able to write them.

Are you sure you got every possibility?

Short answer, yes. I maintain a supplementary database that I use to track possible versus written entanglements of the game elements. The battiness with the emerald turned out to be a case of combination fatigue/impatience… while it was correct in the main game file, when I created a module from which to make the demo, all of the actions which changed variables changed them to blank [for some unknown reason] in the module, so I had to re-record them all. In my impatience, I decided to get this all out of the way in one fell swoop. For one of the tasks resolving character death at the pedastal, a variable change was recorded incorrectly— had I been patient enough to check over it, I’d’ve caught it before hand (admittedly, a supplementary database is only worth something if you use it). This has since been fixed, and I will re-upload the corrected demo. Thank you.

Aside, I don’t think this question is often asked of IF, let alone answerable as “yes.” In my view, limitations on control help to achieve just that, though they might require more work.

It's very difficult to modify such a game.

Each area is pre-planned & very boring that way.

the rigid inventory limit might itself be part of your attempt to contain the combinatorial explosion

Indeed it is.

Played the Inform version… very snazzy, I certainly wouldn’t mind having made something like it, but I still plan to use ADRIFT to complete the project, if it does indeed go forward at some point. With my current coding literacy (practically zilch), I personally find I7 somewhat inaccessible & difficult for authorship. If learning it were made easier somehow, I might be encouraged to, but as for now I’m running with Tier 1’s little brother and encourage everyone to support ye family members (so to speak).


Ha ha disregard Burblesnot.
ralphmerridew
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Post by ralphmerridew »

Actually, I used I6, not I7. You don't have to understand much I6 to be able to use it. (And to learn any language, the real part is trying to write something, and asking for help when you have trouble.)
Bloodhounds can make you laugh and cuss in the same breath. They are endearing, faithful, and can sling drool ten feet in any direction. -- Virginia Lanier
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