Last night I have finished the first IF in my life - it was “The Journey of the King” with great Lord Dunsany story (although with disappointing ending - in original story, not in the game)*. So now I would like to try other IF’s and with this aim I am preparing my software. I would like to recommend two additional programs for Windows besides Gargoyle:
Home Typist (grc.com/freeware/clickey.htm) software, but in comparison with Home Typist it has one sound for all keys, when HT can have different sounds eg. for letters, for space, enter, etc.
Glass2k (chime.tv/products/glass2k.shtml), which will add a transparency to the Gargoyle window, so you can have a nice effect seeing the background wallpaper.
One more thing that I do is to hide the “start” and the desktop icons. So for example here is the screenshot of my desktop prepared for Anchorhead:
Do you have any other software way for helping increasing immersion?
(* My first IF was Hobbit on C64, never ended it. We have written in those times some pseudo-IF’s in basic, and it was much fun. So the other way of immersion that works on me is playing the IF’s in C64 emulator. I recommend the VICE emulator. Back to the Peter Nepstad game of Lord Dunsany story - I cannot recommend it enough, and I hope that the rest of Napstad games will be equally good)
(** Excuse the broken english)
One more thing - I would love a full-screen mode in Gargoyle and an option to add a background picture to the window!
Well, to make an offtop of this topic - after all those preparations for Anchorchead, my contact with it was a fail.
[spoiler]Ok, so I’ve started as a woman looking for the key for new house. The building in which the key should be was closed, the rain was falling, so naturally I went to seek my husband to tell him that I cannot get the key.
But no. As I have consulted the tutorial, this woman, with an umbrella in her hand, should move some filthy trash can, climb on it, open the window to the closed building, break in going through the window, and search through the rooms in quest for the key… It’s the first day in this this town and she should break in into someone’s house, only because the host in not there now… It’s really stupid, so it’s the end with anchorhead for me.[/spoiler]
Maybe The King of Shreds and Patches will be better. Or maybe its better to try some infocom games.
P.S. Regarding immersion software, I have never gone looking specifically with that purpose in mine, but I like to fullscreen Zoom with music playing the background. Unless I’m IMing while playing, as I often am. I actually find that more fun – it turns out socialising around an interactive work is often more fun than immersing yourself in it. It adds discipline to your playing and it gives you valuable insights into the roads not taken. Especially if you coordinate it such that you take different paths or work on different puzzles.
It is curious that that should have been your experience with Anchorhead, and in fact, if you really think that is outrageous, you might be limited to a small amount of IF. In the context, all those actions also make sense - and they open the way to the rest of the game, one of the best IF games ever. A claim I don’t make idly, you see. I have yet to find someone who has nothing but high praise for the game, even if - as in my case - there are a couple of sticking points. Character development, plot, writing, programming, pacing, they’re all excellent.
Seriously, my advice to you is not to be so… well, judgemental. There’s plenty of IF puzzles which are even more ridiculous. Whole games, like Hollywood Hijinx and Not Just an Ordinary Ballerina, would by your definition be “stupid”.
Think of it like this (a mindset which, in IF, will often serve you well): There’s an immediate problem here, how do I solve it? You thought about going to see Mike, which is indeed a good idea (I never tried that, actually. Maybe he does have some helpful information?). But if it doesn’t work, you should start thinking about follow-ups - it’s imperative that you get the key, and the key is in that office, and it’s pouring, and at this time of night… and you don’t even know where Mike is… under the circumstances, it doesn’t seem too odd to do something rather extreme, does it?
You know where the Mike is at the start of the game, he said that he will go to the university and then go back to you. If only the “brilliant” break-in was his idea, when you go to him and tell him about the key. But no - he is not interested, he just asks “do you have the key?” and goes back to reading… It looks like he can sleep on the library floor… Or if only it was a desperate situation of a long struggle… The situation with moving the filthy trash can, climbing small window to break in and rummage in some stranger papers and desks is ridiculous, it’s the last thing that I would think as a woman with umbrella in hand on the first day in a foreign city. There is no cthulhu on her back, nobody threatens her, no danger that she is aware of, the closed building host didn’t kill her pet to justify such a move. It’s just plain stupid, some tomb-raider or poor, forced adventure situation. Maybe it’s the only such moment in this game, I hope so, maybe I should close my eyes and continue?
I suppose you are right that my choice of IF may be very limited.[/spoiler]
I’ve searched for the “Zoom” interested by fullscreen option, but unfortunately its for Mac
There’s gotta be one that can do that for Windows. I suppose you could always go fullscreen in a DOS window, and play with a DOS interpreter… kind of a roundabout way to get there but a lot of emulators go fullscreen, so if you can emulate a text-only environment, and then find an interpreter for it, it might work.
Definitely do continue. Michael’s lack of interest actually has an explanation within the story, it’s not merely a tactic to force the player to break into the office (though it’s that too, of course).
Her breaking into the office is also a bit of characterization–she’s going to have to do a lot of other stuff that “women with umbrellas” aren’t known for tackling before the nightmare is over, and the office break-in is a kind of setup for that. The author could have had you just run to your husband for help, but that is definitely not how the rest of the story is contoured.[/spoiler]