Hello. I hope the title partially explains itself. I’m a beginner to Inform and am currently learning the language. I’ve only got the basics down so far, but I am already full of ideas I can implement. Creating this thread was an attempt to dump these ideas publicly and understand which of my ideas or plot structures can hold interest. Simultaneously, I look forward to receiving criticism and commentary. Hopefully, this thread will also be of use to others who wish to share concepts they feel they will never expand upon in the future so that it may serve as inspiration to another. I was slightly surprised at the lack of such a thread on the forum, or perhaps I missed its existence entirely.
Anyways, enough chitchat.
I should begin by saying that I adore the scope of metaphysical spaces in IF. It makes me feel a sense of freedom unreplicated by quite anything in the genre. I have not yet played parser games that take place in such a world, so I look forward to what you all recommend. I have some rather silly ideas about puzzle creation in such an environment, such as altering the directions of movement for a specific puzzle (after a checkpoint in the story) and allowing the player to chart which input leads to which direction. Of course, UP and DOWN will be interchanged. Perhaps, the lead-up to this puzzle can be “having the laws of physics inverted”. I don’t know if this is implementable, but for the duration of this puzzle, interchanging the commands UNDO and WAIT could be great additions to the theme. Perhaps, JUMP can unlock a completely new area inside the puzzle room.
Another concept I’ve been playing around with is the ability to reimagine mazes, especially inside metaphysical spaces. I’m blissfully unaware if anything similar has been done before, so please correct me if I’m wrong. If Wikipedia is to be believed, mazes are a concept looked down upon. I feel that with the correct feedback and ‘fun’ exploration mechanics, we can create mazes that do not feel hopeless but are fun instead. I’m probably talking too big right now, and it’s possible that implementing it may be hellish, but I have the liberty to daydream. Inspired by Hadean Lands’ RECALL system, I have thought to code a MAP function into the game, essentially allowing the player to solve the maze within the game itself without requiring pen-and-paper mapping. I don’t know how this concept will come together once I learn Inform. It’s still primarily at the conceptual level.
Yet another funny little plot I have in mind is creating an IF around the town of Salem. For those unaware, Salem is a fictitious town involved in the play of a social deduction party game called Werewolf (or Mafia). According to the lore, Salem is the town where the events of the game occur. It’s an easy setting to start building around and create puzzles and an element of mystery due to the inherent nature of the party game and the flavour that traditionally accompanies it. However, this will also involve a cast of NPCs, and the thought is quite daunting for a beginner. Switching POVs is also a possible mechanic to be put in this game.
Salem works well for IF as it often is pictured as an isolated town amidst nature, contributing to the requirement for a closed setting. Solving a local tribal legendary riddle as the PC and stepping into the spirit realm to weed out the Werewolf faction can be a simple plot progression in this project. Exploring nature near Salem also sets the stage for exploration- or environment-based puzzles.
I happen to bear a weakness towards meta-commentary and meta-humour done right. A Stanley Parable equivalent in IF is an idea that seems so alluring to me as a concept. (Disclaimer yet again: I have NO idea if this has been done before. I am writing this post entirely based on my thoughts and no knowledge of existing works in the category). Meta-commentary for IF also can take the form of exploring IF in the eyes of a beginner, as opposed to meta-commentary based on an experienced player’s actions. In my opinion, this may serve as a fantastic premise for a short non-linear game. Perhaps, merging the player with the parser and narration from a collective persona through both eyes is also worth exploring.
In the above scenario of seeing IF, through the eyes of a beginner-narrator fusion, a plausible error message that keeps ties with the theme and simultaneously evokes meta-humour can be: “Surely that does not mean something.” Proper customisation of Error Messages becomes an integral part of this project.
Speaking of error messages, I had this shower thought yesterday about enforcing undo prevention in a game exploring a metaphysical human body (See: The mind in Inside Out, something akin to Tartarus in The Heroes of Olympus) with the error message: “Life is thermodynamically irreversible”.
I suppose that was quite random, but I wanted to put this out there for the hilarity of it.
As always, I do not have a clue about concluding my posts. Therefore, I ask for recommendations on games similar to Counterfeit Monkey that play with the English Language to end this ramble.
I look forward to hearing people’s thoughts.