Gone Out for Gruyere, The Making Of

I want to thank everyone who tested and played Gone Out for Gruyere, which was one of the games that I submitted to this year’s IFComp.

This was definitely the lightest and easiest game I have written, and much a departure from my Bullhockeys. If you have played those games, you might find the PC in GOFG familiar–indeed, it’s loosely the same guy! Also, there is the motif of putting something together to solve one central puzzle, which here is getting rid of the giant cheese.

The easy part of this game was coming up with the scenarios for each of the 8 exits. Well, most of them. I wanted them each to be unique. One from fantasy; another commonplace and present-day; another from early 19th century; another scene was noir; one science-fiction; another surreal. And yet another, purely utilitarian. The 8th one, the one with the rope, I just could not resist basing on a scene from one of my favorite movies, and I just never worked out a better one, so I left it in!

By far the hardest part was implementing the cheese. That took a good fraction of the code of the game. I wanted there to be a response for every action the player could conceive. And I wanted the cheese to repeat back everything typed as a command, and not always in the same way! I wanted the player to want to positively feel like strangling that cheese before solving some of the puzzles in the other rooms. So if this is what you felt like, that was the goal I was aiming for! And the cheese evolved. It started out only repeating back ‘the current action’, which was rather odd, because the player might type ‘grab’, and the cheese would say ‘taking’. Now the cheese will repeat everything, thanks to ‘the player’s command’ and other little tricks.

A distant second was implementing the hold-all–which is a ‘hole’ of sorts. Putting it together with the cheese was also a challenge, as was the ‘surreal’ exit. If you’ve played this game, you know exactly what I mean. I have to say that it was a real high once I got these things working right.

I am glad that I got a high rating on the ‘Cheese Scale’. An 8–Stilton. I feel honored. I LOVE cheese. I really like Gruyere, but I’ve never tried Stilton. I’ll have to.

If you enjoyed this game, I’m glad. And thanks again for trying it!

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Yesterday I found out that this game lagged, at 30th, way behind my other game, Frenemies, which placed 17th, and which I did not expect to do all that well…?? I made this game to be much more ‘lighter and breezier’ than Frenemies. Anyone have any theories about how this might have happened??

I gave Frenemies a better score than Gone out for Gruyere by one point. They are similar in length and both are parser puzzlers. Judging by my notes, I think I did this because I found the final puzzle in Gruyere to be a bit buggy or at least not so robust to user input.

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Thanks for your take on my game. I am currently working on a post-Comp edit of GOFG, to address those issues.

Also, I wanted to mention about the ending–

In the feedback, one player expressed not being sure how to avoid the misunderstanding between the PC and his girlfriend. Actually, this is the ‘correct’ ending, that misunderstanding was part of the comedy, and there is no way to avoid it :laughing:. I like making quirky situations like that :crazy_face:! Sorry if this was off-putting! I like creating well-defined PCs, flaws and all.

Thank you all for trying my game!

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I played only one of the games, so I can’t say – although I would say that ‘light and breezy’ does not necessarily translate into higher votes! But I wouldn’t overthink it. The number of votes isn’t that high, the standard deviations are pretty big, the difference in average for your games is quite small: one placing ‘much’ higher than the other could just be random noise.

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Just wanted to add something here about the final puzzle in this game–spoilers here.There are actually three holes–the big hole (your holdall), the gaping hole (the one in the floor) and the small hole (which is in the firework)–in the mix. I am trying to think of a way to disambiguate this. Also, in one transcript, I found a player who obviously knew the solution to the puzzle, but was trying to light the firework without the fuse in it. The fuse was in the player’s inventory, but I don’t think the player noticed that when s/he typed TAKE ALL, s/he had taken the fuse out of the firework. S/he obviously had the complete, right idea, just that the fuse was not in the small hole in the firework. So I may disable taking the fuse out once it’s in the firework, as there’s really no other use for it.
I hope there weren’t too many other nasty little details.

I did a quick statistical analysis and can confirm this. Based on the score data alone, there really is not much evidence to think that people liked one of games better than the other one. (More specifically, an exact Wilcoxon–Mann–Whitney test gave a P-value of about 0.19. That is, one would expect to see differences in the score distribution as large as the one we see for these two games about 19% of the time even if the games were really equally liked. Usually, a P-value of 0.05 or less is required to claim evidence of a difference.)

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