Announcing Tiny Text Adventure for Android


I’m new to this forum and to IF in general (apart from playing a little in my youth) so I’d first like to say hi :slight_smile:

I have recently released my first Interactive Fiction game in the Android play store. It is written in Java rather than an IF interpreter - you can find all the source code on github if you are interested.

It is a fairly small adventure and I had a lot of fun writing it. You’ll notice that it is different from most text adventures in that you don’t have to type at all. Options available to you are presented as buttons for convenience and also because Android devices (and all such smartphone/tablet devices) tend to be rather hard to type on.

I’d appreciate any comments/thoughts if you have time to try it out. And most of all I hope you enjoy it! :smiley:


Just installed it now; thanks for the heads-up!

I’m about 28% complete, and really digging it so far :slight_smile:

I restarted my phone last night, and it wiped my save :frowning: I wasn’t too far in, so I restarted and played through the entire game in one go, but this is rather undesirable behavior.

Hi genericgeekgirl,

I’m very sorry you lost you save game! The game is designed to save every time the app loses focus, so restarting the phone should have triggered this. I’ll look into it right away as I can appreciate it must have been annoying. Could you possibly tell me what phone model and what version of android you were running on? You can find your android version under settings/about phone. I would very much appreciate this, perhaps this is a quirk of a version of android I have not tested for. Thanks for the bug report, it is appreciated.

Can I also ask how you found the rest of the game, did you enjoy it?

It’s an HTC MyTouch 4G, running 2.3.4. (Old…)

I really loved the game, and I’m looking forward to the next part :slight_smile: And the interface is a nice compromise for playing text adventures on the phone. (Frotz on the iPhone was fantastic, but I have yet to find something that makes me entirely happy for Android.)

Excellent !

I was hesitant about attempting to relive my text adventuring youth on the limited Android interface, but you’ve adapted it brilliantly.

The click dialogues handle ‘item manipulation’ and ‘character conversation’ very well, The only possible drawback being that a solution may need to be ‘revealed’ in the clickable links offered, gone are the days of speculatively typing ‘JUMP’ or ‘SING’ to test the parameters of a problem. But I think that really poses more of a problem for you as an author rather than us as players.

The hyperlink ‘movement’ links offered in the dialogue also work very well, much better than a clickable direction pad or similar. They open up the possibility of descriptive directions like ‘Deer Track’ or ‘Ante Room’ as well as the ubiquitous N S E W U D. These are more imersive when relevant, and you mixed them in very well by keeping enough N S E W to allow mental (or paper and pencil) mapping. These also actually improves the Garden maze experience, as well as overcoming the ‘DROP’ item maze mapping methods of old, nicely done.

I think the only feature I would ask for would be an actual location name in the title bar, eg ‘Friary Gate’ and maybe a move count / score next to the game completion percentage. Other than that I’d only ask for more of the same please.

A very very competent game.
Well done.

Best wishes

best part of it: requires no special permissions

worst part: it’s as lame, minimalistic and gratuitous text-adventuring as old Scott Adams ones

I don’t get it about the interface option of showing the links: it takes up about as much space as a virtual keyboard. Typing on Android (at least the best models) does not involve typing, but swiping over the keys to get words formed. It’s not hard at all and I much prefer to play IFComp classics on terps such as Son of Hunky Punk (which also handles TADS) or Parchment than old crap such as this.

OK. Found this game yesterday and am at about 50 % now. Hope the Kickstarter goes well, and I loved seeing that all the source code is open and available (I guess) for tinkering.

I like the input system. It might be better if uninteresting choices are disabled, because it gets tedious to try things just to see “Nothing happens” printed over and over. If some mildly interesting responses are added there might still be enough valid options that it does not become too easy if the nothing-happen-options are removed?

Maybe replace the generic ‘use’ verb for a greater selections of things you can do with items, to avoid it at times feeling like one of those silly Flash try-everything-with-everything-else-“adventure”-games? But overall I enjoy the freedom that is much like in a parser game, but without the typing (and without sitting with my phone guessing verbs forever, which is more time than I typically have when playing something on my phone).

Minor thing that annoys me with the game is that the directions are subjectively out of order. I would at least prefer to see East to the right of West. Gets a bit lost at times.

Mechanics aside, I do to some extent agree with namekuseijin about the story. It could be a bit more interesting. I don’t mind the short descriptions though (perfect for a small phone screen, and for the attention-span I have when playing on a bus or train), but just moving around and stealing everything not bolted down, fixing machines for no obvious reason other than that it seems like a puzzle to solve, talking to random people just to see what they say etc. I wish for some more long-term purpose. Also when playing on a phone I’m not too keen on taking notes or mapping, and while I just barely so far have managed to keep going without either, memorizing what items I am looking for, and some codewords, are stretching it. Also one location looks like a maze, and I really hope there is a solution not involving mapping that maze, because I simply refuse to do so. Sorry. :slight_smile:

Also the map can get a bit tedious to navigate, and solving some puzzles requires moving back and forth all over the place. You go to one place, learn something new, then have to walk around to already visited locations looking for some new options to appear, and many locations just seem like they are there to make the place bigger. It should be possible to squeeze everything in a much smaller area. The entire town could be just one or two locations, with lists of houses to visit for instance. I don’t see much point in walking around just for the sake of walking. Especially since clicking the navigation buttons often fails for some reason (like the active area is a bit too small or something?).

Often when there is a named destination, when going back there is instead a direction. So I go into some house, and then I can choose to go west or east and have to remember if the entrance to the house was to the west or east when I entered (which I probably didn’t register at all and it is not visible on the screen anymore).

Compared to the choicescript games, and some much higher-budget “CYOA games” I tried on Android, this user interface is a lot better really, and the I very much prefer the structure of the game, with a proper world model and freedom to explore things.

tl/dr: Game engine, world model, GUI almost perfect. Game and story OK.

Hi Pelle, Gavdalf and namekuseijin

I appreciate the feedback, especially when its constructive and points me in the direction of something I can improve. Let me give you a quick bit of history about how I got to this point because it was all kind of accidental…

I’m a software developer by day and love the Android smart phone eco-system. I wanted to get a bit of experience developing on it and in particular wanted to figure out how to apply Test Driven Development to create an app, so I might be able to translate some of my experience to my day job. I had a little time to fill in my evenings so just over a year ago I started to write an Android app. I wanted to write a quick and easy game, something not too graphical - not my strong suit - so chose to write a quick text adventure as I remembered them from when I was a kid. I knocked this first version out quite quickly, put it on the play store so my friends and family could have a quick look and forgot about it. A month later and to my continuing suprise I’d had over 200 downloads and several emails asking me if I was going to develop the game anymore or do a sequel. I had to explain to everyone that the game was really just a quick demo for my own purpose and I hadn’t spent anytime on the story. As some comments have pointed out the story is pretty loose and doesn’t even start to develop until you’re at least a third into the game. This was the original end point of the first version, hence it probably seems quite disjointed.

Several friends egged me on to continue it, so I did and elaborated the story, bringing it to a somewhat abrupt conclusion as I ran out of energy! I released this as version 2. More very kind reviews (some not so kind) and a high average rating followed. I remain fairly perplexed about what people enjoy about it but since they seem to I am very happy to continue. I enjoyed developing the game and would have done so whether there were downloads or not, other people actually finding some entertainment in it is a very unexpected bonus.

The game is about to hit 10,000 downloads in the next day or so, a good half of the installs from the US, quite a few from the UK and the rest split between Germany, Canada, Australia and the Phillipines and a number of european countries. There is very obviously a market globally for dedicated interactive fiction apps on Android in particular, not just the interpreter based IF.

With the kickstarter (see another thread on this board) I recently started for the sequel I intend to focus a lot more on the story, make it much larger and of a higher quality, as well as elaborating the user interface to make it a bit more impressive and professional and less like the prototype that it currently is. All your feedback is being noted and carefully considered to see how I can address it in the future version.

So that’s pretty much it. Maybe my experience will be helpful to other budding IF writers/software devs about to dip their toe in the smartphone/tablet waters. At any rate I’ll continue to do this until it is no longer enjoyable but it looks like it will be fun for quite sometime yet and I’m sure I’ve got a decent story or two in me that IF is the perfect medium for.

Thanks again for the encouragement :slight_smile: