I’m currently writing and creating art for an interactive fiction game. I’ve had previous experience working with point-and-click development platforms, but I’d really like to create a game where the primary medium of interaction occurs within the realm of language.
I was wondering if you could help me decide on an IF development system. A few things that are really important to me are the inclusion of graphics and the ability to host the game on a website without forcing viewers/participants to download anything extra. I’m really drawn to the old-school look of graphical text adventure games like The Hobbit and He-Man. For me, it’s important to have control over aesthetic layout/font/colours as well as story/branching paths. This is the closest playable example of what I’d like to do, haha: homestarrunner.com/dman3.html (Homestar Runner’s Thy Dungeon Man 3).
What is the best way to do this? Do I have to use Flash and AS3, or is there another program available that specializes a little more in this sort of thing?
Have a look at Quest
It has a GUI interface, which makes setting up rooms and objects very easy, but you can also switch to code mode for more complicated interactions. Once your game is written, you can publish it to the Quest website, so anyone can play it (I think this is true of most systems nowadays), and you can easily include images. You can control fonts and colours, however, there will be a problem with fonts that it can only use fonts that are in the player’ computer (and I would guess that that is true of all web based systems, though I know there is a plan for the next version of Quest to have built-in fonts to get around this). As far as I know, there is not much control over how the image is placed in the text however.
I rather like Inform 7, which has graphics available through the glulxe format. But the webrunners available for it are restricted to links, not actual images in the game, and the webrunners don’t really depict font styles and colors effectively. The developers are making progress on this end, however.
It’s worth a look, though, you might try writing a simple game in Inform just to see if you like it.
And in the interest in fairness, you might also like to take a look at ADRIFT, which supports graphics in WebRunner with no downloads necessary.