Finally releasing my text-adventure-3d-graphics hybrid!

I’ve finally decided to release my experiment at combining modern graphics with a text interface. There was a lot of debate previously about it, but now you can try it for yourself and see. Does it work?

The game itself is free and complete. It should take about 30-60 mins or so to complete for the average person. Probably a lot less for the int fiction crowd. At the very least I hope it provides an entertaining evening.

It runs on Windows only, and is 130mb : http://www.indiedb.com/games/3dtextadventure

Oh, did I mention the exploding autoclave?

Looking forward to this one. I can’t believe how beautiful it looks, and still think it might combine the best of both worlds - it’s just that no one has really, AFAIK, undertaken the work of making a detailed, well-constructed 3D world AND a parser (I suppose, after all the work of the 3d, the designer goes "Oh to heck with it, it’s easier to add a P/C adventure game interface). Kudos to you!

That looks awesome. I’ll give it a go for sure!

I also gave a link to this thread to some people who might be interested in this, and they’ve all been banned ("You have been permanently banned from this board.) What is going on?

I’ve no idea, but please don’t send me any links to any threads because I like coming over, 'kay?

Just kidding!

Most likely anti-spammer IP bans. If your friends drop me an email at emily.boegheim@gmail.com with their IP ranges, I can check on it and exclude them from the bans.

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That is too much work for just giving a link to someone. Like you do on the Internet in general. No one is going to bother.

Though I must say I never came across any forum or site that just bans one-time visitors. This is a first. It’s like it’s trying very hard to keep people away :stuck_out_tongue:

Although it would be ideal for your friends to be able to come here and discuss it, or see the discussion, I suppose you can share the author’s link. No need for him to suffer through lack of exposure because of a possibly over-strict anti-spammer precaution.

Does make me wonder, though, how many people would be checking the forum out, seeing the “You’ve been banned” message, and not bothering much anymore. Are we silently losing potential community members and fellow IF enthusiasts?

We’re getting a bit OT, though.

Thanks for the support guys! Oh, and thanks to all of the beta-testers. Any bugs or other issues are completely my fault :slight_smile:

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Let me just say something I’ve been idly thinking about and never got around to saying:

Doing something like this is a lot of work for a single person, and not only that, it requires more than one skillset. There’s nothing wrong with your writing, but if you make more games like this in the future I would suggest that you consider getting someone else to write, because that’ll free you to do the programming and the 3d, and possibly even the design, without having to worry about suitable prose. Especially if you want to try something in a different style.

I’ve seen a particular author in the AGS forums where this was very obvious. His games had great story and great graphics - I mean, really high quality stuff. But his dialog, and his english? Atrocious like you wouldn’t believe. He eventually got a guy to rewrite all his dialog, and suddenly the game was a gem, and he learned something from the experience: he can write stories, he can program, he can draw, but he can’t write dialog, so he’d better find someone who can.

Now, your writing isn’t atrocious like that guy’s was, obviously. :slight_smile: I’m just saying: it’s amazing that you can do all of this yourself, all these different things, but if you feel at any time that you need more time to focus on the visuals or the programming, or that the writing could use more polish but it would really cut into the time you have to dedicate to something else… go for it, ask for an outside writer to compose over your placeholder text. Who knows, maybe he/she could also help with the design, and a little brainstorming could make something greater than the sum of its parts.

It’d be much easier now that you’ve got a proof of concept, too. :slight_smile: Something to show.

Again, this is not directly related to what I’ve played - because I haven’t yet, had no time. I’m just saying; it’s something you might want to mull over if you tackle something like this again, and I hope you do.

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That’s a great point Peter. I did think about asking around in the IF forums for some help, and if I was to do another game in this style would definitely try to outsource that part of the game.

Just to make it even harder, the graphics / level were done by an artist for their portfolio, which had nothing to do with a game or especially an adventure game. I had to invent a story and game that fit within the assets that were already in the level. It was quite limiting in some ways, however in other ways having those limitations really helped. I didn’t have unlimited scope to make perfect puzzles, and often it was a case of accepting a solution that was vaguely plausible. I guess the rules of the game and the limitations are what make things fun, rather than just putting the ball in the goal.

Next time, hopefully I can put together a solid team, including an artist and writer, so that we can all collaborate and make something even better.

That’s great! Little tidbit, though: beware of making it TOO big a team. I’ve seen (and been in) great, creative groups that just didn’t work because there were too many people and not enough commitment. From what I see, it’s easier for a single person to put out a game than a team in the IF scene. That said, if there are two people involved and they work well together, they can make something really great, but they need to have that good rapport. Any more than two and… well, I haven’t seen many of those. Exceptions being group, community efforts, like Alabaster or the Whispers games or Spaceship… but those all had the same thing in common: an organiser who managed that herd of cats otherwise known as “the way too many chefs in the kitchen”.

is it hosted elsewhere?

I got that at first, too, and I thought “Oh great, this’ll be a struggle to download”. I refresh the page five or six times, and at the sixth I was suddenly able to download.

A mirror would be nice, but it’s actually not impossible to get it from where it is.

EDIT - Oh well, since it’s easy to do… But I can’t guarantee it’ll be any more user-friendly than the original link.

filedropper.com/fpabeta16

This is the unsung hero of professional gamedev: the producer, whose job is to keep everyone coordinated and on schedule. Producers (and people under other job titles, fulfilling a similar role) are the only reason why large teams are viable.

I think larger groups could certainly develop interactive fiction effectively - in situations where someone takes on that organization/production role. But even in 4-person game jam teams, someone winds up handling organization for the team. And being the organizer is far less fun than getting your hands dirty in the project, so it’s hard to get someone to focus there.

Isn’t the organiser, in these indie teams, usually also the main designer, or the guy who came up with the main concept, or the consultant, or the guy that makes sure it doesn’t all stray horribly far from what the game should be?

Point being, hopefully the designer should also be a vital driving force of the project, rather than being a talking Excel spreadsheet.

But with zero experience, I may be talking out of my derrière.

Depends on where you are and the size of what you’re doing.

For something like a Global Game Jam game, with 48 hours and a team of 3-5 people - someone might have lit the first flame of the idea, but everyone shapes the idea together. One person might be keeping everyone on track, but they’re probably also a writer or an artist or a sound designer or something. There isn’t enough scheduling/organization/time management going on to occupy someone’s entire 48 hours, and you have to pitch in anywhere you can.

Indie games tend to be similar, though they operate on a much longer timescale. My current company, Giant Spacekat, has 5 permanent employees, and we’re about to launch our first title, Revolution 60. Our head of development is the closest thing we have to a producer, because she’s responsible for keeping everyone on schedule and communicating that schedule to Apple… but she’s also the person who wrote the script, designed a lot of the gameplay, built and textured most of the sets, chose all the music, etc, etc. Everyone pitches in everywhere, because unless you literally can’t do something, “not my job” is just not an option.

But… for a non-indie title, where dozens or hundreds of people work on the game, there are typically multiple producers, and it’s very unlikely that any of them came up with the core idea in the first place.

There will be someone (or maybe a key group of someones) who are responsible for figuring out what the vision for a game is and ensuring that all the work done stays in line with that vision. In my experience, that isn’t the producer. The producers are responsible for understanding and conveying the vision to everyone else on the project, but their role doesn’t include changing it and shaping the vision. Their role is to understand the current timeline, update the timeline whenever it turns out to be inaccurate, and intervene to fix the situation whenever something blocks a developer from getting work done, no matter what that fix involves. It’s pretty far from a talking spreadsheet - it’s more like “everything under the sun”, or “expert problem solver”.

Take Dance Central 3 (because it’s a title I know well, and the credits are conveniently online at youtube.com/watch?v=yPbI_e7q4rE):

Matt Boch is the project director. He’d worked as a designer on the prior two Dance Central games, but this time, he was the “vision holder” - the person actually responsible for holding the concept of the game in his head and ensuring that it would be a good game. He took feedback and suggestions from everyone under the sun, but he was the one to say “no, this isn’t a good idea for the game” or “yes, this is a good idea for the game” whenever the question was “should we do this in the game?” He worked with the producers, designers, and publisher to keep everyone on the same page. (I am likely oversimplifying his job a little. He was incredibly busy.)

Jon Carter, Naoko Takomoto, and Tom Bartlett were all producers on this title. They each worked with multiple teams of engineers, artists, choreographers, writers, QA, etc, etc, to ensure that everything would stay on track, and they worked directly with Matt to ensure that what the teams were building, was what the game needed to be. (Like Matt, they also had a lot of expertise around what a DC game should be - they were all veteran producers who’d worked on the prior two DC games.)

Carolyn Kelly, Jay Magrisso, and Carolyn VanEseltine are credited for “additional production”. (Okay, there’s a reason I know this game well.) We didn’t have teams of our own, and we weren’t directly connected to the development process. Instead, we ensured the game came out on time - by interfacing with first-party (in this case, Microsoft) to ensure that we had all our submission materials in and everything matched Microsoft’s policies and requirements for an on-time launch.

I think I got carried away with this post and have veered off topic. But… look! quasi-interesting insight!


tl;dr: In my large-scale experience, the project director is responsible for “what” and “why”. The producer is responsible for “how” and “when”. Not the same person.