Very preliminary design for "sandbox" game

I have been thinking about an IF implementation of a space-oriented game of the sort sometimes called “sandbox” or “open world”.

There were a number of games years ago that were partly text and graphical. An example would be Starflight.

Some features that would be desired:
Player has a spaceship used to travel about. Upgrade as game progresses.
Skills that can be improved.
Player can take on missions for pay. Quests, transport item, that sort of thing.
Find minerals or artifacts that could be traded or sold.
NPCs in their own ships, with interaction. Trade, information exchange, possibly combat.
Ongoing new missions offered to the player

I am not aware of any IF games similar to this. If anyone knows of some, I’d be interested in checking them out. The old games tended to be fairly menu-driven when it wasn’t graphical.

Assuming I move ahead, I think there would be quite a bit more programming than the typical IF game. My thoughts are that a general-purpose language might work better. That might be due to my not knowing any of typical IF languages. I’m also not sure whether this sort of thing can be fully represented in Z-code or the like.

Thoughts? Questions? Jeers and brickbats?

So, something like Tradewars, but in Inform 6/7 or Tads?

Taipan is “a game based on the China trade of the 1800s” and is available both as source and a z5 file:

Source: … pan.tar.gz


It might help you work out some of the fiddly bits.

I will try to look into those, thanks for the suggestions. When I get a chance I will answer more as to how the similarities and differences to what I am considering.

I had meant to mention in my first message that I am a software engineer (ret.) with substantial experience in C, C++, C#, and Java.

There’s also Ascii Sector:

And Dwarf Fortress:

Which has a procedurally generated planet…

Note, my second post picked up a line saying that based on my programming experience I would probably want to use Inform6. I’m not sure exactly what happened. I suspect that someone with admin privileges meant to quote and hit edit instead. I removed it as it was potentially confusing.

You have to ask yourself where the gameplay comes from.

Is it from exploring an open world with quests or is it from a scripted overall plot, albeit somewhat fragmented. If it’s the latter, then maybe an existing IF system is appropriate. If the former, then perhaps something new.

However, if you think of it a bit like a “star-trek” game, then there’s the star-trek bit and, separately, the beaming down bits with their own mini (and distinct) IF-style stories.

The mini-plots could be an existing IF tech, somehow bolted on to a separate space game implementation.

Shades of Gateway (or if you prefer, Rogue of the Multiverse), but I guess those are just SF IF games with a hub structure.