Designing a story with a Dungeon crawl element.

I am fairly new to Inform but it seems easy enough to get used to. I got into IF because I had an idea that I of coursed wanted to make into a game instead of just a story. Expand my medium as I am a writer.

I did a bit of searching but didn’t come up with anything solid so I will lay my concept and ideas out.

The game will be taking a similar approach to Persona. Social interactions mixed with procedurally generated Dungeon crawling. Combat would be determined by a Shadowrun or World of darkness style dice pool system.

As I am completely new I am not even sure if I would be able to pull this off but it is an idea I really want to try so. Any help, suggestions and extensions that could help me achieve this.

WHen I did search, post containing the Topics generally came down to “Oh yeah X and Y have those features, look at them”

How come you seem unhappy with “Oh yeah X and Y have those features, look at them”? How is that not providing “something solid”?
There is an example in the manual for character stats, and dice systems are easy to make with “To say” substitutions.

…but yes: If you happen to possess a dedicated team of ten people, and can spare a few years, you can probably make a really excellent Persona dungeon crawl game. Inform can totally do that, as long as you realize that it’s a very complex concept and a big project that you’re taking on, no matter what medium you would plan to do that in.

In this case, my first recommendation (assuming you’ve read through the Manuals) would be to look at the Reliques of Tolti-Aph by Graham Nelson. Before Inform 7 was publicly released some well-known authors wrote games in it as “worked examples” to complement the miniature examples in the Manuals. One of those (The Reliques) is essentially a dungeon crawl with some procedurally-generated elements (look at the section on the Maze of Royal Beasts).

That said, I wouldn’t recommend using its combat system directly. Most people agree that it’s the worst part. Instead, look at the extension Inform ATTACK by Victor Gijsbers (an extension is basically a library that can be included into your project). The documentation for it isn’t very good, but the source for his game Kerkerkruip (I hope I spelled that right) is released and shows how to set up the extension (the game is a roguelike, so it also provides examples for procedurally generated dungeons and random monsters).

Isn’t ATTACK one of the better documented extensions out there? Or are you saying that the big PDF manual doesn’t function very well as documentation of the extension?

The problem is that the manual is horribly out of date. Most of the rulebooks it references don’t exist any more, and the example game won’t compile without heavy modification.

True – though you could use the old ATTACK 3, which is fully functional though no longer supported.

Oh I see. So I was wong. I am new to inform and the previous system I tried to use would password protect games so you couldn’t see how certain features were made. So I assumed telling me the name of a Game/IF wasn’t helpful.

It shouldn’t take too long to make. Basically the premise is. There is a town with NPCs that you do simple social events with to gain their trust (or lose it) and you can then invite them into the Umbra where there are 3 shrines containing a mcguffin each. which then allows you to enter the sanctum of the big bad.

The town is built on a district bases system instead of mapping it out block by block. 3 procedurally generated 1 or 2 level dungeons and a handcrafted final dungeon. Without experience to back up my estimate I would say 2 months maybe? I don;t know where the idea of 10 years came from.

Inform games are compiled. This means that unlike the password protected game files you refer to, the game files don’t don’t contain the source code at all. To look under the hood and see how features are made, you need the source code. But some authors have released the source code for their games (separately from the game file).

(You can of course also learn things from game without having access to their inner workings, just by observing how it works.)

It won’t. You’ll just have to figure out how to get Inform to do what you want, and there are a ton of ways about it and people that can help you with specific questions. A huge development team (or even more than 1 person) is not required if you’re using text. If you’re creating something on the level of Persona 4, then yeah, you would need a big team, or 10 years in your spare time to do it. (As well as an understanding of music, drawing, modeling, programming, writing…)

Am I the only one who ended up here due to the mention of Persona? I’ve been spending the last few days working on a Persona fan fiction Inform 7 game, and I can safely say difficult is an understatement, or maybe I’m just over thinking it.

Back on topic, I say the idea would be possible with two or three people working on it, unfortunately with out a group I say the time estimate multiplies exponentially but that all really depends on how complex you decide to make it. As I have found in my multiple failed attempts at dungeon crawlers combat is where the difficult will lie, you don’t want to make it to complicated for the player, and unfortunately you can never understand how difficult a game as the builder. I learnt that when I tried to make a combat system that simulated each limb and tracked damage on the whole players body.

The most important piece of advice I can give you is get a working model out as quickly as possible, don’t focus on one part of the design for too long, and make sure you don’t give up as most large projects have the habit of doing.

I have a few ideas I can PM you with regarding different ways to pull off the different aspects and would be interested in beta testing too.