New Game - "The Axe of Kolt"

Edit: Having released the game, someone has started playing it and found several bugs which need to be eliminated. I have therefore withdrawn the game from the ADRIFT website and deleted it from my dropbox.

I am grateful to ralphmerridew for his input.

You’re going to feel really bad about what I’m going to say, because it’s exactly the sort of thing a beta-tester would say - and you looked so hard for a beta-tester, it’s hardly your fault…

There’s a tendency in some ADRIFT games (and then again, in non-ADRIFT games as well) to go overboard with coloured text. Some authors make dreadful assumptions about what the background colour is. They shouldn’t. Let me show you what a strain on the eyes AoK currently is for me.


Mind, you’re not the first author to do this, in ADRIFT or otherwise, and you won’t be the last. I’d very much like these screenshots to be a lesson to authors: if you’re going to mess around this much with the text colours, then lock the game’s background colour to the colour you want. Or offer the choice to the player, whether to have coloured text or not. Normally, when I open a game and see what I see in these screenshots, I just quit.

If FoF also makes this heavy use of colour, you might wish to consider revisiting it.

ADRIFT does have options to allow games to override the game’s colours and fonts. I have to leave it on because a) if the author intended a visual effect, I want to see it, and b) there was a game about witches, I think, in which some visual trickery like this was crucial for winning the game (and as it happens I never got to see it for some reason. I think the game respected my decision to use my font too much). Best option seems to be, again, to lock the background colour to whatever you think is best. “Endless, Nameless” did it shamelessly, and to great effect too.

Hi Peter,

I am quite shocked by this. You are the first person EVER to mention this to me. You must have your ADRIFT Runner set to this background colour as standard? (Yuk! :smiley: ) I use a cyan font on a black background. AFAIK, there is no setting in the Runner to lock the colours and it would be difficult if not impossible to give the player any choice in the matter.

Right from the early days of my adventure playing and writing I have always found plain white text on a blue background (as in the I7 games I have played recently) to be really boring, and thought that the games that used a bit of colour were much more fun to play. Hence my use of colour in my games, which is mainly on the Title and Playing Instruction pages, etc. The majority of the text in AoK is cyan, but there are messages which often contain important info for the player which I use a gold colour for.

Yes, FoF is the same as will be SoCC. I have now inserted a message on the start options page of the game which asks the player not to change the background/font colour and to use cyan on black. I don’t see any reason to change my style.

Incidentally, my playtester has NEVER criticised my use of colour in AOK and neither did any of the three other people who playtested FoF.

Ok, let me just say right off the bat that use of colour, per se, does not bother me, and it’s a valid - and fun - authorial right. I’m only displeased when an author makes assumptions about the colour the player has as background. I mean, you actually use the colour “white” as a font colour… you may think my background colour of choice is “yukky” (I’m fine with you thinking that, btw. :slight_smile: To each his own. This is the colour and fond (Baskerville Old Face) I found to be easier and most pleasing on my eyes), but white-background is very common nowadays, and your game would be partially unplayable even then.

Shame that ADRIFT doesn’t allow you to set background colour, maybe that feature should be implemented?

A good idea, but I’d lose the “Please don’t change the default colours” bit, because if a player has changed them, there’s a very good reason for it. Instead, why not just say the last bit? “This game was envisioned as being playable Cyan On Black. Since ADRIFT does not yet support an authorial override of a player’s background colour, be advised that if your background colour is not black portions of this game will not be easily readable. For maximum experience as intended by the author please ensure your background colour is set to BLACK”.

I do agree. No reason to change your style. I was merely saying that, as an author, you can’t take certain things for granted.

Yeah, well, they can try staring at the screen through my eyes if they want to.

You may not see any reason to change your style; and I do not see any reason to change colours to something that’s harder on my eyes when it’s clear, from the outset, the author didn’t even spare a moment’s thought to the matter and just assumed everything would be exactly how he wanted it to appear in every interpreter.

BUT, if I see an explanatory note saying that the author intended the game to be played in a certain configuration, I’m a lot more lenient. That tells to me that the author has thought about it, weighed pros and cons, and decided to sacrifice a bit of player friendliness in favour of his intended experience. I can totally get behind that.

If I don’t see any such note, my confidence in the game drops to below zero instantly. Am I going to trust my time and energy to a game with puzzles where the author didn’t even consider that different people might not have the same background colour in their interpreter?

Just saying. So you got four people to play the games and they weren’t bothered. That’s great, if you ever only want four people to play your games.

EDIT - Just FYI, this is what I’m used to seeing when I play IF. It’s a combination of colour, font and font size that’s taken me a long time to get right, and takes into account my screen resolution and the size and type of my monitor, as well as the colour settings on my monitor and my overal Windows theme. It’s not random, and I’m sure that what you’re seeing on your computer, in my screenshots, is not the same thing I’m seeing here.

If you think I’m going to throw away these precise and specific settings, in games which are 100% text and require me to stare at letters on a screen for a long time, for no good reason, you’ve got another think coming. I’m glad to play games that aren’t standard in their format - if they are considerate enough of my setting and my eyesight to either override my settings OR explain what I have to do and why.


Hi Peter,

Your comments have all been taken on board, thanks for your input. Yes, I suppose I have been a bit thoughtless in this respect and I apologise for this.

It IS possible for me to change the font colour as can the player.

I’m sure, otherwise we wouldn’t be having this chat. :smiley:

That’s the thing, though. Some authors “hide” certain things in highlighting words in a certain way. I can’t override everything in all games because I risk getting hopelessly stuck in some of them. Also, if the author changed the colours, it’s for a reason, and I do want to play the game the author had in his head.

I still think if Adrift were able to lock the background colour to whatever the author wishes - like Inform does, and I’m sure TADS as well, it’s hardly a non-standard feature, though probably one not much thought about - the situation would be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.

I have to admit, that yellow background is yukky.

I have now amended the game with a message for the player on the start options page using your exact words (thanks) and have uploaded a new blorb to the ADRIFT website and an executable version to my dropbox. This message will also appear in all forthcoming games.

I have also had my first bug notification from fellow Drifter ralphmerridew, mere hours after uploading the game! Fortunately it was something minor but I fixed that in the new version.