Frenemies, The Making Of

I want to start by thanking everyone who has tested and/or played my game, Frenemies; Or, I Won An Andy Phillips Game!. I entered this game into the Comp, along with my other game Gone Out for Gruyere.

Frenemies was my first attempt at a one-room game, and I must admit it’s a very odd room. It was modeled after a summer cottage top-floor room I once stayed in, in Colorado, back in the 80s. It was an A-frame, two storey house. There was a wall in this room that did not go all the way to the ceiling, and the roof peaked over that wall. The door to the room was on that wall, and there was the stairway just beyond that door, with the crossbeams laying over that wall. The acoustics were such that I could hear anyone coming up the stairs, and I could hear talking going on downstairs.

This was mainly a tribute game–I had played all (but one-- Time: All Things Come to An End, but I would play it later) of Andy Phillips’s games, and my initial intent was to write a game that included objects from those games. And, I wanted it to be a comedy. One thing about my games is that I prefer to have a solidly defined PC (and this is somewhat true of the PCs in Andy’s games), with some established relationships/interactions with some of the NPCs. When you play them, you are ‘in character’. I intended my PC in this game to be socially inept, naively optimistic, and a bit overweight. I thought this was fitting for a comedy, and I can see how some players, who are more focused on ‘playing and winning’ might be put off by this (and I apologize if you were), but the comedy and the tribute were the ‘main things’ about this game. I had one reviewer say that my PC in this game was ‘detestable’, and that the game was lacking in sarcastic and snarky comedy. The funny thing was that that was exactly my intent–an ignorantly optimistic PC.

I must also admit it was not an easy game. I was rather fond of the old Rube Goldberg/Professor Butts cartoons, and I put together several things that might be found in a bedroom into a ‘device’ to serve the purpose of freeing the imprisoned PC.

Though this is a one-room game (and my other one had 11), it was far more complicated to implement. It has a number of supporters. There are several possible positions within the room for any large supporter. I felt I had to differentiate between sitting on and standing on. Reachability was very complicated. There are many text substitutions in the room description to reflect the positions of things in the room. Implementing the implements (the staff, the halo, the bodysuit, etc) was an easy part. Implementing the bed was perhaps the hardest. The code of this game has 37,000 words–7,000 more than my other game (which is 11 rooms with puzzles).

Perhaps the most fun was implementing the body pillow. I have to thank Mike Carletta for suggesting this. Otherwise it would have been just a prop. Now it’s a prop with personality!

Just after I started on writing this game, I had to slow myself down. I reached out to Andy Phillips to let him know that I was writing it and intended to enter it into the next Comp. I didn’t want to do it without his blessing. I gave him a sketch of what the game was about, what objects I would be borrowing, and how I intended to use them. I told him I would be happy to implement any suggestions he may have. Or even pull the plug on the whole thing if he didn’t want me to do this. He was actually flattered and told me he was happy for me to do this, and happy that his games, all of which are at least a decade old, were again getting some attention. He even asked me why I didn’t have an object from Time: All Things Come to An End, like the pendant. So I took a break, and played Time. Which I thoroughly enjoyed. And then decided to use the pendant as a hint dispenser. Warm thanks to Andy for his support and suggestions.

If I learned only one thing while making this game, it was about absolutely thorough implementation. Lots of ‘moving parts’ and need for distinction between placements within one somewhat large room.

If you played this game, I hope you enjoyed it!