This is more of a technology demo than a full-blown game. Seems like it would be a fitting entry for IntroComp.
So I guess I’m going to review Egamebook first.
- It’s definitely nice that it’s designed to work well on mobile.
- I suspect that the “infinite scrollback” feature won’t work well once the game history gets a little bigger, e.g. it’ll negatively impact old Android devices once the scrollback gets long enough.
- I tested it on iOS Voiceover and it didn’t work. I wasn’t able to navigate past the first die roller animation.
- When I refresh the page, it restarts. That’s too bad.
- Offline support with service workers would be nice.
- My feeling is that the die roll animation is nice but not cool enough. The goal of a die roll animation is to build tension and look great. Compare with Tin Man Games’ Fighting Fantasy series, where they have 3D animated rolling dice. This animation looks nostalgic (why is the X pixelated but the heart isn’t?) but doesn’t make anyone say “wow, that’s cool.”
- Seems like you’d want to offer a back button. Maybe with a limited number of uses? (That’s kinda what stamina does.)
- Why is there a little loading bar after success/failure? At first I’d assumed it was doing work on the server side, but DevTools says it’s not making any network requests on success/failure. So why the loading bar? Or, more to the point, why is it so slow that it needs a loading bar??
- Repetitive text-based descriptions of battles are surprisingly boring. When you watch a spiky-haired protagonist swing a sword at a troll and the number “73” pops up over the troll’s head, it moves fast; feels tight. “You swing your hammer at the troll and do 73 points of damage” is just not as fun, especially when the text is repetitive. ("… and do 48 points of damage" “… and do 87 points of damage”)
- Seems like the game might be more fun with a character sheet, experience points, upgrades, etc.
Overall, this tech demo plus the home page egamebook.com/ doesn’t convey to me Egamebook’s “unique selling points.” Why would an interactive fiction author prefer Egamebook over Twine, ChoiceScript, or Undum/Raconteur?
I sense that the primary answer to this question is: “It’s written in Dart!” I do not approve of that answer.
From time to time, IF enthusiasts come to the table with alternate IF authoring systems in which authors can develop IF in a “real” programming language, typically one of the top 20 languages on the TIOBE index or at least a language that ranks highly on StackOverflow’s “most loved languages” list. insights.stackoverflow.com/surv … and-wanted
But none of the most popular IF systems require authors to use a “real” programming language. Instead, since most IF authors see themselves as writers first and coders second (if at all), all of the most popular systems use a domain-specific language for IF, ideally one that makes it easy to write extensions in another “real” programming language (typically JS).
And, ah, if you’ll forgive my bringing it up, Dart appears more highly on StackOverflow’s “most dreaded” list than on its “most loved” list.
Having said that, you’ve still got a shot. The language of your IF system is arguably the least important factor in making it popular. The most important factor is to implement an entire complete “admirable” game. Most people decide to use an IF system because they see a game that they admire, and they say, “I want to make a game just like that! Whatever system the author used to make it, I’ll use that system, too!” Admirers don’t seem to directly care about any of the details of the system, except that if it’s too hard for them to learn the system and finish a game, that’s a major factor in achieving true popularity.
So that brings my attention to the game itself. It feels very much like generic Fighting Fantasy. The story has some hooks, but little/no narrative payoff in the game itself. Despite that, if you make an entire finished game, people might try to emulate it. From there, you know what to do: write more gamebooks, talk to authors, and refine the system to make it easier for you to do what you need and easier for authors to pick it up.
Emily Short has a good blog post on IF Tool Development in general; it covers much the same ground. emshort.blog/2017/02/21/if-tool … n-general/