Tea Ceremony postmortem

Oh wow, I am seriously blown away by having made the top ten! Now that the discussion ban is lifted, I thought I’d post a bit about the game.

So, Tea Ceremony. Emily Short’s review had some great ideas for how to do etiquette-based puzzles, and I would love to see that game. Despite the subtitle, though, I didn’t really arrive at Tea Ceremony through the idea of using etiquette for puzzles; I just liked the idea of an alien Lady Bracknell. I don’t think I quite achieved that, being much less funny than Oscar Wilde, but the name Brc’nl is a tip of the hat to the original inspiration.

In the “what went right” column: the implementation. I’m very proud that even reviewers who weren’t really into the game complimented me on making it run smoothly and without bugs, including the tricky bits like pouring liquids and looking up entries in books. Thanks again to all my fabulous beta testers!

Things that could have gone better: the puzzles. I was vaguely aware that I was not the first person ever to use a measuring cup puzzle in IF, but I hadn’t realized so many people were going to get that far and go “oh, God, another one.” (And I was really hoping no one would notice that the teacups had a capacity of 1.) Unfortunately, the measuring cup puzzle takes up most of the second half of the game, and the other puzzles are all fairly straightforward. I mean, the fhlaz is literally displayed on a pedestal drawing your attention to the shiny object.

I deliberately limited Brc’nl’s ability to speak English in a bid to avoid having to implement a conversation system. In hindsight, though, it would probably have been better to plant information about the etiquette rules in her dialogue, rather than forcing the player to do research in the library. That said, it could have been much worse; I could have expanded the library to include a card catalog and Dewey Decimal sections. Yes, this was a feature I actually contemplated before coming to my senses.

Why yes, I did make the cover art in MS Paint. I make no apology; sometimes you just have to do the best you can with the tools you’ve got.

Finally, some of the reviews speculated that Tea Ceremony was my first IF game. This is close to the truth, but wrong; I made a parser game called Lair Repair for MolyJam 2013. It’s here, if anyone is curious. So while I haven’t made an IF game that got nearly as much time or beta testing as Tea Ceremony, I had the advantage of more or less knowing my way around Inform 7.

Can’t wait for next year’s comp! Next year I will know better than to do another measuring cup puzzle [emote]:)[/emote]