CYPHER: Cyberpunk Text Adventure

Not sure if anyone here noticed, but there’s a new text adventure being published by Cabrera Brothers. It’s a commercial release. It’s not a CYOA or anything like that; it’s a real text adventure with a parser and graphics.

I have to say this looks quite interesting. I don’t suppose anyone here has already played it and can comment on whether this is worth buying? (There doesn’t seem to be a demo of it.)

Looks amazing. I hope those fairly complicated commands don’t mean guess-the-verb.

This was mentioned on ifMUD earlier today; the general impression was that it had shiny peripherals but distinctly-less-than-spectacular writing, and perhaps has a higher opinion of itself than is entirely justified. Then we complained a lot about the website design and made some Malinche jokes. We are bitter old sceptics.

(The comment thread at rockpapershotgun suggests that the parser has all the usual failings of homebrew systems, too.)

First time I’ve heard of it, but it does look super interesting. Did you notice in the demo video how they replace text in the transcript?

The website is really painful to read, in many ways.

The website didn’t bother me at all. The comment thread at RPS is a bit damning, though.

It’s a bit hard to tell from the video, but it looks more like clear screen + implicit look (or examine) after every command rather than modifying the transcript itself.

Three major no-nos.

Number 1: you can’t skip the introductory screens. I don’t mean the intro, I mean the “This game brought to you by”. Two or three non-skippable screens every time you load the game.

Number 2: You have to type “MORE” at the prompt when there is too much text. Seriously. No “press any key”, no “press spacebar” - you actually have to type “MORE” and press return.

Number 3: No “x” for examine. Have these guys ever played a text adventure after the 80s?

Bonus no-no: in the RPS comments, the authors alluded to the myryad of typos and bad grammar as “bugs”. They say that bugs are natural in games and software and will be resolved (which is true) and say that typos and such as the “bugs” (which does not put me at ease and makes me think the game itself might be buggy as hell, if these guys don’t know what bugs are).

Presentation? Very slick. Looks cool. And I have absolutely zero desire to play it.

I guess it is a starting point, anyway. I’m thinking about the same interface (graphics, sound et al.) around an Inform or Tads parser.

What I don’t understand is that much, offensive hatred generated in RPS.

But you see, the same interface around an Inform or TADS parser would automatically be better, because TADS and Inform have been improving their parsers for decades.

And as for “starting point”… Legend Entertainment was a starting point too. So was, in a sense, Textfyre. Surely we’ve had enough of “starting points”, we want quality now. And CYPHER seems to fall short on some key points on the briefest of glances (and while there may be a good game under there, who’s going to actually pay for it if the very first impressions are like “have these guys even been playing IF lately?”).

I bought the Textfyre games, and I’m glad I did, and I’ll keep buying them. I couldn’t afford to help Kickstart Haedan Lands, but I’m buying it when it comes out (for PC, anyway). But this? It isn’t worth my money.

…ok, so I turned a bit hostile myself. But maybe you can know understand the reasons. :wink:

They’ve certainly done a good job generating publicity for their game - I think we could all learn a thing or two there. Disappointing as it is, people will lap up any old shit if you cover it in enough baubles and come up with a wanky video for it.

(This is why more HTML5-based presentation aspects - WebFonts, backgrounds, JS text effects etc. - are some of my priorities for Quest 5.3)

I don’t care about the sub-par parser too much. If I’m able to play old Scott Adams text advenutes, I should be able to cope with that. The real deal-breaker for me is this:
(Someone posted that on RPS.)

OK, that’s an atrocity. Reminds me of “all your base are belong to us.”

I’d actually skimmed the text when I looked at it. I knew it was badly written and full of typos from previous comments. So I managed to miss it.

And you know what? “Atrocity” is the correct word.

But about the sub-par parser… the thing about the Scott Adams text adventures is, they were like that for a reason. Nowadays there’s no excuse for a sub-par parser.

That’s why we are all waiting for the next Scott Adams game. :slight_smile:

Anyway, Peter: hostility is a thing, calling people names is another entirely. Some of the comments in RPS are simply ridiculous.

I must be credited, though, that my inglisc is way better than theirs. or not? :blush:

This is what I was meaning myself.

James, your very first released version of Andromeda Awakening was, English-wise, far superior to the screenshot RealNC posted.

Peter, Jesus Christ man, you almost kill me!

(Another hostile comment: the cyan --not cyanotic-- hue for the text is, what?, EGA graphics? God Almighty.)

So much fail.

Modern retrogaming is a reason. That works for me and many other people. See Gemini Rue for example and its 320x200 graphics. In today’s computers with 1920x1080 (or higher), that’s just ridiculous. There was a technical reason why games in the early 90’s used that resolution. GR used it on purpose.

But anyway, I doubt that Cypher was actually aiming for that; I rather think that’s the result of them doing zero research on non-ancient text adventures. Or simply their inability to implement a decent parser.

Mrm. I’m not inclined to blame them too much for weak English, (given the amount of effort they’ve spent on graphics, you’d think a little more work on translation might be in order, but it looks as though they’re a team of two and their budget probably doesn’t allow for it). But even if you fixed all the grammar issues, it’s… sort of bland, no? Like someone just piled up a big heap of obvious cyberpunk/noir tropes and felt honour to be satisfied.

But that’s a visual thing. It’s like playing the enhanced versions of Monkey Island 1 and 2. The gameplay remains the same. Even “ASCII and the Argonauts” had a superior parser than the Scott Adams games it emulated. Low-res graphics don’t actually hurt gameplay. A sub-par parser can seriously hurt a game. A better example would be something like a point-and-click game where you could only move the cursor with the arrow keys - I actually played old Sierra games that way because I had trouble getting the mouse driver to work in some games in DOS. Now imagine this being implemented for real for “modern retrogaming”, emulating, say, “Manhunter”. Chances are the “feature” will be balked at.

Low-res? PC-Speaker? Heck, even mazes and dungeon crawls and hunger limits? Those are certainly staples of modern retrogaming. But one would be wise not to mess with the parser unless under controlled circumstances, “Treasures of a Slaver’s Kingdom” is a severely controlled parser - but hardly sub-par.

Yeah, I was going to say that… such a huge visual production for a retro parser would be just weird.