Greetings, all. I am hoping to finalize the last (?) update to Repeat the Ending by year’s end. There are two feature updates:
- The hints for getting all 33 points have been completely rewritten thanks to player feedback.
- I have implemented a “story mode” that will enable players to “read” the narrative comfortably without engaging with the parser. Players can pause this mode at any time to explore or enter their own commands.
My target audience for story mode consists of players who find parser games inaccessible, or otherwise don’t enjoy parser gameplay.
I’m looking for persons to experience story mode! This is hopefully more of a workshop than it is a traditional playtest. That will free us up to discuss the reading experience.
(scroll down for a discussion of this project’s accessibility offerings/rationale)
Everybody is welcome, but people who usually avoid or struggle with parser games are highly desired. Get in touch if interested, please.
I’d be interested in this. Onno’s game had story mode implemented in it and I found it to be a much more engaging, interesting way to approach a game, as compared to consulting a walkthrough and punching in commands word per word, or even some of the lovely reviews that I experience games vicariously through on here. Not to knock either, both are much better than not being able to experience a work at all!
I tend to stay away from parsers because of feeling like I’m seriously missing out on unexplored content/don’t have the requisite puzzle cracking skills or conventional command literacy to progress. Limited-parsers have been a really good bridge, but in general, I’m definitely a choice meowmeow. Both for authoring and writing.
I am, however, interested in experiencing the narratives those games present, (gravitating more towards puzzleless narrative driven parsers to avoid friction getting in the way of the core story, like Sting) and thus devour reviews and Let’s Play read-alongs like candy. I’d love to help provide feedback on your storymode!
wonderful! I’ll send you a PM.
Definitely I want to read about this exciting experiment.
Please, report publicly the experience and results.
This “Story mode” touchs an idea of mine that’s “triple A games that are controled CYOA style”. That is. most triple A games are games with high attention demands. The player must interact actively with the game (well, mostly) constantly.
I wonder if we could get a triple A experience but with a choosing options interface. WOOOPS! That’s already Telltale Games!!! Yes, but I’m thinking more about CRPG of high caliber, like Baldur’s Gate 3. Actually more like Disco Elysium, that I played it in a side screen while doing any other main task.
Imagine that I7 extension by Emily Short that offers a selections of topics to talk, byt applied to a branch of the general narrative. “So you want to explore the north towards the Baldur’s Gate, or you prefer turn west and go to the coast to pursue your companion ambition?” All in the comodity of your coach, watching the narrative unfold (but with certain agency).
So, this story mode for parser games sounds very intriguing!
I was lucky to have some testers of story mode in my WIP. Feedback was positive about the possibilities! Moving forward, I think there are some big craft questions (pacing, what information is needed to explain actions in the script, etc.).
My goal is for this to be a full and satisfying experience, rather than just a fallback option. I think that ideally involves making story mode part of the playtesting process rather than a pre-release “check” (though that isn’t possible for RTE).
@severedhand has published his I7 code as an extension (here), so some tech is out there for anyone who wants to try this approach in their game.
P.S. I’m still looking for readers!
I’m free to test this weekend. I don’t particularly like parsers so I this will be an interesting experience.
I’m looking for a couple more people. Feedback has been good so far, but I’d love to hear just a couple more takes. Get in touch if you’re willing!
If you’re wondering: what does story mode have to do with accessibility? I’ve taken guidance from the Internet Technology Foundation’s recent report on accessibility testing:
In particular, story mode targets the following recommendations from IFTF:
Parser IF should offer a separate “training ground” for new players: Story mode is a separate training mode that players can leave whenever they feel comfortable. Rather than separate geographies, story mode incorporates separate timelines. Players can experiment indefinitely, without limit, without ever affecting the game’s story. A detailed, organized manual is available at all times.
Offer Hints and Walkthroughs: Story mode is a complete walkthrough that offers interaction and learning possibilities beyond any static walkthrough document (RTE already has comprehensive in-game hints). Players can step off the path at any time without disrupting the walkthrough or risking the state of the game world.
Offer an Undo Command: Story mode’s undo functionality goes above and beyond built-in* parser capabilies for undo. There is no practical limit to how many turns can be undone. Playing in story mode offers sandbox-like capabilities in which any and all actions are free of negative consequences.
Other: an extension will be published to make this technology readily available to Inform 7 authors of all experience levels. This is in addition to Wade Clarke’s extension. Other approaches may yet be on their way.
I’m grateful to everyone who has supported these efforts (be they mine or others’) so far!