Dark Forest: Reborn - romance&adventure IF, need feedback!


I want to share with you some of my ideas about interactive fiction and I ask for your feedback.

I noticed that interactive fiction community is actually very small. Our world contains tons of AAA-shooters,
2d platformers with pixelart, minecraft clones and even visual novels, but it’s so hard to find a good classic
interactive fiction game. Interactive fiction developer or writer is such a rare case in modern gamedev and it’s sad.

So, below is our concept of Dark Forest: Reborn game with several pre-alpha footages. I’ll add more soon.
You can find more information here in our blog where you can also subscribe and be the first to play Dark Forest: Reborn demo :wink:
If you are familiar with games like Colossal Cave Adventure or Make It Good, basic mechanics will not be new for you.

What do you think?

[size=200]Dark Forest: Reborn[/size]

  • Escape from the last underground citadel of devastated Earth and find your new world where you will save, romance, trick, betray or even kill people…using magic of words in this immersive text-based roleplaying game!

[size=200]Key features[/size]

[size=150]1. NPCs that support natural language interactions and relationship modeling using a modern chatbot’s AI core. Multiple romance options.[/size]

This simply means you will interact with cool characters using phrases like ‘Hello!’, ‘How are you?’ ‘I am your friend, trust me!’, ‘Do you prefer human meat or maybe I should bring some fruits?’.

You will test your perception, charisma and conversational skills. Based on your words and actions, our characters will decide if you are nice person or not. If not, watchout!

[size=150]2. Choices and real consequences. The game won’t tell you how to play.[/size]

[size=150]3. Nonlinear and replayable game world that adapts to your personality.[/size]

Do or say an evil thing and the world around you will look (or even become) evil.

[size=150]4. Real-time combat system with a bit of gore and awesome finishing moves.[/size]

[size=150]5. Game setting inspired by Arcanum and old fallouts in the style of Andre Norton and Stephen King’s fantasy novels.[/size]


Distant future. Humanity is doomed. Earth is dying. You are imprisoned in a sealed citadel deep underground. Old machines give you everything you need to live. You spend your time trudging through the citadel and researching its chambers. You have almost accepted your lonely fate, when a tragic accident changes everything.

It appears that a group of brilliant Earth scientists were living in this citadel before you, until the day they all mysteriously disappeared. They left behind, however, a monstrous ancient device that gives you a second chance, a way of once again reaching the world outside.

The world of Dark Forest: Reborn is full of ancient swamps, poisonous hills and abandoned strongholds of fallen civilizations. During your journey you will face strangers, and change their fates forever. Some of them will curse you. Some of them will be ready to give their lives for you. After your adventure you will be judged, and the fate of every character and the world of Dark Forest: Reborn itself will be revealed.


Dark Forest: Reborn mixes classic text adventure game mechanics with mechanics of interactions with NPCs via natural language dialog.

For example, in location ‘House of Cannibals’ you may find daughter of the Cannibals, Qara, 21 y/o slender black-haired girl with tired face who lives with her family in the depths of the forest. Your main task will be to escape the House of Cannibals. Qara’s motives are not clear so it’s up to you to choose your way of completing the quest: you can try to capture her and force her to help you, you can try to gain her trust or just ignore her and escape the House of Cannibals on your own. Everything depends on your personality, kindness, cruelness or even madness.

Maybe Qara doesn’t like her family and wants to escape the House of Cannibals too? Or maybe she just wants to eat your entire body alone? She definetly prefers red wine so maybe your fate is just to become a part of her dinner…or maybe this girl will be your best friend.

Test your perception, charisma and conversational skills and find out the truth!

This type of ‘flirting’ with NPCs like Qara is not okay. You will learn it after the meeting with her family:

This style is more suitable:

[size=200]Combat system[/size]

The world of Dark Forest: Reborn is cruel. You will face local conflicts with highwaymen, clashes of criminal groups and even war. Every event in the game tests your abilities.

Your forces are carving towards the centre of enemy army through the infinite waves of mad savages. They surge forward and it seems their strength is infinite. Your rusty sword is the only weapon you have.

What will you do?

  • You can try to run away
  • You can join friendly forces in their attack
  • You can try to hide
  • You can cry and ask for help or just wait for a miracle

    Your main task is to survive, but it is a really difficult task in the world where your allies are dead and the battle is lost.

Your opponent will not wait for your actions and words, he will keep fighting and hitting you until your death.

[size=200]Concept arts[/size]

[size=200]System requirements[/size]

Your imagination :wink:

[size=200]Questions to you[/size]

Would you like to play Dark Forest: Reborn? Maybe participate in beta test?
Should we change the concept a bit and add pictures of our characters like in a usual visual novel?

Feel free to leave a comment or follow us to get the most important updates!

Not as hard as you’d think. This is, in fact, exactly where you’d go to find good classic interactive fiction. Particularly around IFComp.

Immediate feedback: You addressed your audience as “guys” three times, and the first example you provided started out “She looks like a slut; to you, every girl looks like a dirty slut.” I recognize this was intended as an example of how your system changes, but you’ve communicated some basic expectations about your audience that are completely repulsive (in the sense of pushing away).

Speaking only for myself - you may have some good ideas, but whoever you’re writing for, it doesn’t seem to be me. If that’s unintentional, then please consider revising your approach.

I had much the same reaction as Carolyn to the pitch, and I’m a heterosexual guy. Every single example you’ve given is about flirting with female NPCs… well, you mentioned romance up front, and romance is fine in itself. But combining that with a declaration that “This is a game where you can do bad things” makes it sound like it could easily go into territory that would be very squicky if not handled well… and then leading off with the “dirty slut” example doesn’t instill a lot of confidence that it’ll be handled well. “She smiles–and her smile for you” isn’t really much better to me, because it sounds like the reward for Good Karma is that girls will like you, which is something that can end with reducing women to slot-machines for the player’s gratification rather than real characters, which is important in a character-based game. (The line about a guide to “flirting with real girls” is kind of off-putting too. We just met, I don’t want to hear about your real-life romantic exploits.)

And the female NPC on exhibit is described in a totally exterior way. In a graphic adventure you have to make a decision about her hair color and so on, but in prose you don’t… so when you describe her strictly in terms of her black hair and slenderness, that makes it seem like those are the most important things about her, and that’s not just very interesting if you want to be treating her like a human being. And if that’s not the point in a romance game… again, squick.

Also, I don’t think you’re really putting your best foot forward by giving examples of the writing when you haven’t hired the native English writer yet. It’s kind of like putting out a screenshot with programmer art.

Now, on the other hand… though there are a lot of text adventures being made these days, you seem to be taking a much different approach, and that’s interesting. If you can pull off a chat-style interaction system that would be fascinating, as would complex relations with NPCs and emotional simulations. This is all very hard to do, especially the chat stuff, but maybe modern chatbots can do something.

But do think about how you’re presenting yourself, because if you lead off with “she looks like a dirty slut” I’m never going to get to whatever good stuff you’ve accomplished.

Your project sounds very ambitious, and I am a big fan of steampunk and post-apocalyptic environments.

Not to belabour on what’s already been said, but you’d probably be putting a better foot forward with passages written by the native English writer, not least because the dialogue would probably sound more natural. That said, the AI idea does sound interesting, and I’d like to see how it’s used in dialogue as well as other in-game actions (moving around, picking stuff up, what about “stick ball to the green dangly thing”?).

Other than that, I have only things I’d love to see, which is probably not what you want to see. See, the less images you have, the more the text is so crucial. We’re not picking on this because we don’t like your idea - it’s just that we have very little to go on.

That’s a really good feedback! Finally, feedback about screenshots.

I’ll send it directly to our authors. I hope I got what you are talking about - some of the examples look primitive and are too harsh for you.


I think you are right, that’s a good point, thanks.
Also, our NPCs will have different genders.

matt w:

Well, that wasn’t connected with karma and that wasn’t connected with character’s gender. She just smiles to protagonist, and that’s all. Extremly negative Karma level produces descriptions of the environment and characters like ‘dirty slut’, ‘pathetic whore’, ‘doomed animal’. Our game concept supports roleplay of different kinds of human beings including complete bastards. Game will punish those who enjoys this way of playing though. We will focus on the particular descriptions and will try to make it poetic, but still. Positive Karma shows you a regular game world.
I hope it’s clear now. It should be obvious, we will redesign this pre-alpha footage.

Billy Mays:

Thanks a lot, we are doing our best and the project is improving constantly!


Thank you! I think so too since in text-based game text is crucial, obviously. Interactive fiction with unnatural dialogs has no chances.

If you have something that you always wanted to see in interactive fiction, just leave a comment. We have plans for extra features.

Sorry for the lack of updates. DF: Reborn is in heavy development. Here’s some news for you, friends:

1.) As you can see, we improved visual style and color scheme. We also polished our pitch (your feedback helped a lot).

2.) DF: Reborn second character that will support natural language interactions revealed: Lady Taliet.

More details here.

What’s next? Details about DF: Reborn combat system, announcements of other characters (yes, we have not only female characters)

Cheers! :wink: