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The place to discuss the ADRIFT Interactive Fiction toolkit

The Superhero’s Sidekick

Here you can share your "work in progress" with your fellow Drifters.

Re: The Superhero’s Sidekick

Postby Denk » Tue May 07, 2019 2:59 pm

David Whyld wrote:I have to admit, talking about my game as I'm writing it is actually helping me write it.

That is exactly how I feel. This W.I.P. thread has made me much more productive.

BTW, sounds like an ambitious game you are writing. Hope you manage to finish it.
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Re: The Superhero’s Sidekick

Postby David Whyld » Wed May 08, 2019 9:29 am

I hope so, too. I've embarked on plenty of ambitious games over the years and most of them are still lying around my hard drive in an unfinished state. Some of them I spent ages on and I'd love to finish one day, but I know I never will. Hopefully this one will actually make it to the finish line.
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Re: The Superhero’s Sidekick

Postby Lumin » Wed May 08, 2019 11:50 pm

I'm getting pretty excited with all these huge games everyone's been working on, and they all seem to be shaking up the usual IF formula somewhat so that's a bonus. Hoping everyone can see these through.

Gotta say, the W.I.P. board was a fantastic idea, it's been such a long time since I've seen everybody taking such an interest in each other's games.
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Re: The Superhero’s Sidekick

Postby David Whyld » Thu May 09, 2019 1:34 pm

It'll be interesting to see how many of these games ever get released, mine included. I've known a few times in the past when we've had a flurry of activity and people seem to be talking about games they're writing (though admittedly, this time seems a lot more active than in the past, or maybe it just seems that way because of how quiet the forum has been for years now), but ultimately most of the games get abandoned or suffer that age-old problem of “my hard drive crashed and I lost everything”, which has an unfortunate tendency to happen to plenty of games too ambitious for people to finish.

I really hope my own game makes it, but it’s still very early days and anything could go wrong between now and whenever. It’s going well so far, though. I'm writing it quite a bit faster than anything else I've written for a good few years now, but a lot slower than I used to write them when I was finishing one every month or two. So long as I can combat the feature creep and the desire to include a thousand locations and two thousand objects just because, it should see the light of day before the end of the year.
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Re: The Superhero’s Sidekick

Postby P/o Prune » Thu May 09, 2019 2:38 pm

David Whyld wrote:It'll be interesting to see how many of these games ever get released, mine included. I've known a few times in the past when we've had a flurry of activity and people seem to be talking about games they're writing (though admittedly, this time seems a lot more active than in the past, or maybe it just seems that way because of how quiet the forum has been for years now), but ultimately most of the games get abandoned or suffer that age-old problem of “my hard drive crashed and I lost everything”, which has an unfortunate tendency to happen to plenty of games too ambitious for people to finish.

Even though this has nothing to do with the Superhero (or maybe I could be the sidekick?) I, for one, have every intention of finishing "Just a fairy tale" in time for the Annual IF Comp this year.
As for D-Day, I really would have loved releasing it on the 75 anniversary of the invasion but I'm afraid that impossible. I have been away from it for too long and are only just now getting back into the story. Maybe the 80th anniversay? :wink:
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Re: The Superhero’s Sidekick

Postby David Whyld » Fri May 10, 2019 9:35 am

Hey, steady on there mr-super-fast-game-writing-guy.

100th anniversary, maybe?
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Re: The Superhero’s Sidekick

Postby David Whyld » Tue May 14, 2019 9:09 am

My game is still making pretty good progress. I've mainly spent the last week drawing a map of the first part, hence why the number of locations has jumped up massively from last time (105 now, 40 before), but most are nothing more than a heading and directions to other locations. I'm planning to spend the next week or so fleshing them out and actually adding things to do. At the moment, there's literally nothing to do other than wander around and gawp at the lack of anything like objects, characters or events.

After much umming and ahhing, I ditched the original combat system because I wasn't fond of it. I then went with a much more complicated system which seemed great at first, but ended up being entirely more effort than it was worth. It was shamelessly ripped off several games I've played over the years with certain attacks causing minimal damage but adding ‘combat points’ which could be used to activate more powerful attacks. I thought it could have worked out really well in a different kind of game which was more combat-focused, but as combat is only intended to form a small part of this one, it just seemed like overkill. It also meant that in order for you to be able to use your best attacks, combat would have to take quite a time so you could build up your ‘combat points’, which wasn't the idea I had. Combat here is meant to be fast and done with in a few moves.

So I went with another combat system which is more complicated than the first one but much less so than the second. In this one, you're given three basic attacks to use – punch, kick and head-butt – which start out fairly low-damaging but become more powerful through continued use and defeating enemies. Combat is still intended to play a fairly minor role in the game, but if you can’t figure out a way to defeat an enemy using your brain or with any special gadgets you might have acquired, you can always fall back on fisticuffs and hope for the best.

Stats as of today:

Size: 64kb
Rooms: 105
Objects: 62
Tasks: 344
Events: 8
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Re: The Superhero’s Sidekick

Postby P/o Prune » Tue May 14, 2019 9:38 am

David Whyld wrote:My game is still making pretty good progress. I've mainly spent the last week drawing a map of the first part, hence why the number of locations has jumped up massively from last time (105 now, 40 before), but most are nothing more than a heading and directions to other locations. I'm planning to spend the next week or so fleshing them out and actually adding things to do. At the moment, there's literally nothing to do other than wander around and gawp at the lack of anything like objects, characters or events.

Just a remark to your mentioning of drawing a map.
I have been using Trizbort mapping tool for some years now and I can highly recommend it. http://trizbort.genstein.net/

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Re: The Superhero’s Sidekick

Postby R2T1 » Tue May 14, 2019 11:18 am

Actually Trizbort has moved to http://www.trizbort.com/
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Re: The Superhero’s Sidekick

Postby P/o Prune » Tue May 14, 2019 11:24 am

R2T1 wrote:Actually Trizbort has moved to http://www.trizbort.com/

Isn't that what I wrote? :wink:
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Re: The Superhero’s Sidekick

Postby David Whyld » Tue May 14, 2019 1:58 pm

I've used Trizbort before but not for quite a few years. I remember finding it useful, but ultimately I could achieve the same result with a pen and some paper.
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Re: The Superhero’s Sidekick

Postby David Whyld » Mon May 20, 2019 10:31 am

Update:

Well, the last week was meant to be about fleshing out the locations I’d added the previous week so there was actually something to do in them. And... I didn't do that. I intended to but when I saw just how many locations I’d added, and how much work it'd be to implement them all, even if I did it vary sparsely, something in me died a bit.

There are parts of writing games I like – putting in a clever twist no one thought would happen (or which I assume no one thought would happen), creating a really incredible NPC, pulling off a very cool puzzle – and others that I don't. Like fleshing out locations and adding in all the hundred and one tedious little bits of scenery that need including in case the player decides to search for the lost treasure under the doormat or something. So I decided to push all that boring stuff to one side and come back to it later* and do more interesting things in the meantime.

* For ‘later’ read ‘when I can be bothered’ or ‘when I can’t put it off any longer, likely the day before I intend to release the game’.

More interesting being some conversations with NPCs who clue you into the location of a supervillain. At this stage of the game, you've only met one actual supervillain and that was in the introduction and he wasn't much of a supervillain anyway, just a big guy in a metal suit of armour (any similarities between him and Iron Man are 100% coincidental, I can assure you), and you had a lot of help taking him down. This time you're going to be on your own, which should be pretty cool and certainly a lot more interesting for me than adding lots of scenery objects in the form of doors, windows and shelves.

Stats as of today:

Size: 73kb
Rooms: 111
Objects: 68
Tasks: 456
Events: 9
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Re: The Superhero’s Sidekick

Postby Lumin » Mon May 20, 2019 6:18 pm

I'm very much of the attitude of screw useless scenery objects and have been for a long time. That has always, always been the thing that killed my interest in WIPs. And as a player, really I wish sometimes whether it leads to "immersion" or if it just adds an obligation to sigh and dutifully go down the list of nouns in case the shadows on the wall are hiding a loose piece of wallpaper that's important somehow and not indicated any other way.

I think it's perfectly viable just to cover the most obviously important objects in a room and include a catch all task for the rest. I'm sure there's some nitpicker out there that would be like 'well the characters, plot, and puzzles were all engaging and delightful BUT I couldn't examine the grass so I hated it', but are you even writing the game for that kind of person to begin with?
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Re: The Superhero’s Sidekick

Postby David Whyld » Mon May 20, 2019 8:25 pm

After I posted that earlier, I went and had a good long look at some of the locations I’d added recently and was quite depressed to see how much pointless cr*p I’d included. One good example was an office which included a single important item – a computer – but countless other items which served no real purpose. There was a desk, complete with drawers that could be opened and closed and contained other items – a stapler, a pen, an eraser – which didn’t do anything and were instead there simply because they're the kind of things you expect to find in a desk drawer. There was a window, just because an office has to have a window, right? And through the window you could see a garden. With trees. And bushes. And a pool.

So much pointless, time-wasting nonsense.

In a fit of annoyance at myself, I went and re-wrote the room description and left it with the computer and nothing else. No desk. Maybe the computer’s floating in the air or maybe there's a desk there but it’s invisible. Either way, it can’t be referred to so it’s one less thing to worry about. The window’s also gone. And the garden with its trees and bushes and pool. Players may wonder about the lack of a window but I'm sure they’ll get over it.

And you know that? The room’s much better for it. I've put in a lot more descriptive text and added a few memories of previous times the player visited the office to give it some depth. It’s the same basic room as before, but now instead of being filled with lots of meaningless stuff for the player to waste time on, it’s been cut down to the basics. I like it a lot more. Players probably will, too. Instead of not knowing what's relevant and what isn't, and likely wasting a good deal of time opening and closing drawers, playing with staplers and pens and erasers, staring out of the window and pondering over purpose the pool has (i.e. none), their attention is now drawn to the only important item in the room: the computer.

Much better. And a whole lot less work, too, which is much better +1.

At some point I'm going to go through the other locations and pare them down to the essentials. I guess if this was the kind of game where important items are being hidden behind paintings or under creaky floorboards, it would be fine to have so much detail in the location descriptions, but it isn't, so it’s not. Another added bonus is that now I've come to this conclusion – and kicked myself for not coming to it sooner – I can concentrate on the game itself and stop fussing over every little tedious detail.
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Re: The Superhero’s Sidekick

Postby Lumin » Tue May 21, 2019 12:27 am

Sounds like you made the right decision for your game then, so awesome, glad to hear it. There's times when brevity makes for the strongest writing.

So much depends on the type of game and the intended focus and pacing too. I'm making one right now that has a lot of useless cr*p to fiddle with, but looking it to only fun cr*p. And when I think of super heroes I think of something faster and more plot driven.

e: The censorship on this board is cr*p
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