Game release: "Portcullis"


Written for the 35th anniversary of Zork, and released today with the New Year’s minicomp games, “Portcullis” is an old-school-feel, comic fantasy game.

It’s a parser game written using my javascript engine, and should run straight in your browser:
Edit: as requested, there’s also a zipped version for offline play.
Save and restore are implemented using local storage [which seems to work in the offline version too.] There are help and hints pages linked to from the game.

Hope you enjoy it - and all feedback is appreciated.


Excellent stuff. Though, could I persuade you to also provide a zipped version of your game, for offline play? :slight_smile: Cheers!

Zipped version:

Huuray you! Many thanks!

This is very impressive! I didn’t get far but I love the old school green-monitor feel and the artwork of the characters is a nice touch!

I don’t know java so this doesn’t really apply to me, but is your engine something that authors might be able to use in the future?

Thank you!

It’s Javascript, not Java - very different; as far as I know, it only got called Javascript because Java was fashionable at the time. It’s some marketing people’s fault, probably.

I’m happy for other authors to use the engine, although I don’t particularly expect them to, there’s no documentation, and there are ways that my younger, worse-at-programming self chose to do things in 2003 that make certain things annoyingly difficult. I do have vague plans to give it an overhaul and make it into a Proper IF System some day, which may or may not happen. I like creating games with it because I like having control over the DOM, I feel like I have more complete control over the feel of the resulting game, and I like being able to distribute the game as an instantly working click-to-play link (I know there’s Parchment, but it takes a while to load, doesn’t seem to be visually configurable, and save/restore is a pain.) And, I guess, because I’m weird.

I would encourage you to think about it seriously. “Aunts and Butlers” and “Hamlet” both surprised me on the strengths of the parser. It’s a very solid system, probably the best I’ve seen that isn’t a big name like Inform, or Tads, or Hugo, or Alan, or ADRIFT, or Quest. In fact, it felt like an Inform game.

I’d only been this impressed with “The Adventurer’s Museum”.

Of course, changing the engine from “something you know how to use” to “something that anyone who’s interested can use” is a pretty big deal, and probably not fun at all. But I thought I’d take the chance to praise your system, because it’s been on my mind. :slight_smile:

I have to ask and I apologize if this is not the proper place for the question. You can PM me if you do not want to post a spoiler.

I completed the game but only scored 31/45. What gives? Where could the possible extra 14 points have come from?

Also, two minor things you might not have intended that I noticed. First, is Staunton supposed to continue to react to the hellhound after the hellhound has been vanquished? If so, I understand maybe he was in shock or having PTSD (or something like that) but it wasn’t very clear if that was intended. Second, when I tried to “open door” on the roof, I got the message “There’s no need for that, just tell me what direction to move” which is the same message I get for the door that leads to the kitchen. Again, not a big deal, but didn’t know if it was intended because it didn’t really fit the scene properly. The remark earlier about that went something like "You cannot go in there. You better wait until the other four are present.

Overall, excellent game. Very nostalgic. Difficult but not annoying puzzles! I will have to try your others now. Well done! 9.3/10 =)

EDIT: Oh, maybe… I could get more points if I found a way to ummm… you know… be the bad guy?


There are three main endings and more than one solution to some problems, some of which are higher scoring than others. There are also a couple of “last lousy point” type actions where you get a point for finding a funny message, so it’s possible to win without getting all the points. I’ll make this clear on the help page.

Nope, that sounds like a bug. Thanks for finding it. I haven’t been able to reproduce it - can you tell me any more about what happened? How did you vanquish the hellhound?

That’s currently working as intended, but I suppose I should change it for the couple of spots where getting a door open is part of the puzzle (which I think is just the kitchen door and the roof.) Thanks.

Really glad you enjoyed it!


You’re thinking along the right lines![/spoiler]

I believe I just typed “pour water on hound” and from that point forward, when in the same room as him, I’d get the occasional random message that he’d flinch or say something to the dog as if it were still there.

Good luck!

Ah, great - I know what to do to fix it, and will do when I get back to my home machine.
For now, feel free to interpret it as Staunton having post-traumatic flashbacks :slight_smile:

EDIT: Fixed now.

If you don’t mind my asking, I love the simple drawings you have that accompany some of your objects. What software/hardware did you use for that? I’d love to incorporate something similar into my own games. Keep in mind I don’t want to learn to use something complex like GIMP / tried that, didn’t go so well!! Simple and effective is what I want! Thanks!

Thanks. I just drew them in marker pen (much larger - an A4 sheet each), scanned them, and inverted and colourised them in Gimp.