Zombie Runner

Zombie Runner

This is a beta-test of not only a new story, but a new medium. I’d love to get feedback on both!


The typing text effect is too annoying, I couldn’t persist for more than a couple of choices. I think it should either be removed, or made considerably faster.

I’ll second Dannii’s reaction. The text is far slower than I read - it’s even slower than I speak out loud. I’m just not willing to plow through.

Maybe you could add an option for “print all the text at once?”

Thirded. Although when Dannii says he couldn’t persist for more than a couple of choices, I was dead after two choices so I didn’t get the chance to persist. If you’re going to have unclued death choices you should definitely make sure the player doesn’t spend a lot of time getting there or recovering from them.

Thanks for the great and quick feedback!

I’ve added a feature to increase or decrease the speed of the text by using the keyboard buttons:

< for slower

for faster

Not sure it was apparent, but you can go back a scene whenever you die by clicking ‘Go back a scene’.

I’m sure everyone knows what I’m about to ask for.

Do you think that, once you’ve gotten the game past beta stage, you could distribute all the files in a zip file for offline play?

Also, I opened the link even before I read the posts about printing speed, and my reaction was “Egad, not another typewriter. I’ll just max out the speed while I can.” FYI.

It’s open-source, at github. Feel free to take the code and use it as you’d like, although you’d need to setup a Firebase account to truly have your own version. I make updates regularly.

Since RTA is client and cloud based, it fits well within an IOS app phonegap package.

Four thumbs down on the typewriter! :slight_smile:

Thanks for the feedback, all. I’ve disabled the typewriter effect.

I’d love to get feedback on the authoring tool as well. I’m happy to make changes, as you can see! :slight_smile:

Can I ask, what’s new about the medium? Aside from the typewriter business (and thank you for the update on that), it looks like a straightforward CYOA or whatever you call them, except that so far everything I’ve done has been a more or less blind choice where one option is an insteadeath. (The rewind code does work, BTW; my complaint earlier was about the time it takes for everything to type out.)

If someone asked you “Why should I use this rather than Twine (or any other CYOA system)?” what would your elevator pitch be? Not trying to be hostile, but this is something you need to communicate if you’re going to attract new players.

(Also, it’s “pus” rather than “puss.”)

What’s new is the mobile-first focus (try loading the story on your phone), the single-page authoring experience, and the cloud db storage.

Ideally I’d like to make a video about the authoring experience, which is fast and doesn’t require a download.

I appreciate the feedback.

Thanks about the pus, changed.

Ah, OK. The video might be useful. I don’t have a smartphone and think cloud storage is what the sky does, so I might not be the target audience for the rest.

Inklewriter is another platform that offers an online authoring experience; you might want to check it out to see what you’re differentiating yourself from.

Also, if I can make a gentle suggestion: Maybe make the game itself more distinctive? Everything’s a zombie game these days, and the “make the right choice or die” structure is everyone’s least favorite kind of CYOA unless the deaths are really funny. The best way to get people interested is to make something really cool and get them thinking “How can I make something like this cool thing?” And, not to be too harsh, but another zombie apocalypse game is not it.

Oh, dear. Has inklewriter slipped into obscurity already?


Obscurity? I think people at Quest are replacing Quest with Inklewriter. It’s been veritably booming. Very few of them are any good, though, I’m afraid.

We get a pretty steady trickle of people who are making new choice-based platforms but haven’t fully checked out the existing ones yet. I don’t think it says much about inklewriter, other than that the general idea is a) zeitgeisty and b) seems a lot simpler to put into effect than it actually is.

This. Even if you aren’t going to have unclued death choices! Is there ever a good reason for death recovery to take a long time or even require a command? Never seen an example where it improves the experience. (Even Infocom/Inform’s standard death recovery seems quite tiresome and unnecessary.)

I think I lot of people code their own CYOA systems simply as a matter of joy and exploration. I know I did! Naturally it is more difficult than it appears but isn’t that true of every fun hobby project. The error comes in believing that a gajillion people haven’t thought of adding the same features you have already. I’m not exactly a ‘try-everybody-else’s-stuff-first’ kind of guy, and I don’t usually need to be b/c my ideas tend to be idiosyncratic, but just by poking around in here I could clearly see that my CYOA system would be nothing but an also-ran unless I was willing to devote tons of time to making it competitive which I’m not really wiling to do b/c although I am not hostile toward CYOA it is not my favourite form. It was an experiment, a hobby, and now I use it for rough interactive drafting of ideas - I definitely do not regret it and I think everyone should be encouraged to write their own CYOA/parser systems if that’s the way their coding muse takes them. Just not necessarily to think of them as revolutionary.

Not that you are trying to discourage them, I’m just saying CYOA systems are a cool thing. Somebody else wanted to implement one themselves: I say kudos! (However I tried it and it does not seem very revolutionary. I see however that the initial problems were fixed.)

Thanks for the feedback and discussion!

I tried the others out, but my first impressions were bad. I didn’t want to have to download Twine, and Inkwriter seemed to have too many features for such a simple idea. Also, I use a real-time database that allows for some very interesting behaviors, such as multiplayer choose your own adventure. The idea was to implement the multiplayer aspect if people liked it as a platform.

Although there’s nothing new under the sun, new and better mousetraps are built every day. I’d be surprised if people were still using Twine five years from now, but who knows…

Anyhow, open to ideas. Anything about Twine or Inkwriter that is a pain?

I have not really seen this done before and it sounds interesting. Don’t take my word for it as there are a lot of systems I haven’t even tried, but multiplayer CYOA seems rare, possibly by virtue of crossing over features that are treasured by entirely disparate communities. There has not been a lot of overlap between the ‘write-something-more-personally-expressive-in-a-shorter-time’ crowd (the essential ethic of the modern CYOA community) and the multiplayer/MUD crowd. In fact I would describe them as occupying opposite ends of the design spectrum in terms of expectations and definitions of ‘fun’. I very much approve of such artistic ‘camps’ being forced into collision by an unusual game/system design. This is very healthy because without cross-pollination camps become entrenched against each other and blind to each other’s virtues.

Whatever is your product’s killer feature, you need to lead with it, not implement it later when people like all the also-ran features. IF is very much a ‘show me first and then I will be enthusiastic – maybe’ sort of community.

I’d be surprised if they weren’t. Once successful, IF systems do have a way of becoming entrenched even when there are better alternatives. People don’t like to learn new systems unless they feel there will be a big advantage.

I think Laroquod is spot on, considering that Twine was released in 2009, and its predecessor, Tweebox, a couple of years earlier.

Twine is very modifiable. It seems you need to do a lot of forum lurking and research outside of the standard documentation to do cool things. I personally hate the way the default output looks.

Inklewriter is pretty awesome. Downside for some will be that it’s all online - you must edit on inkle’s site to edit. Your story gets a specific website that is open, but not very guessable so it’s pretty private unless you give out the url. Inklewriter output looks great and very readable and book-like, both on a screen and on a mobile device with nicely tappable selection areas. There are ads for other Inkle properties to the side on a full browser.

My personal sense of the present CYOA space is that the main thing missing is something that will do complex world-modeling, state-tracking and sophisticated variable text natively - without having to learn both the CYOA platform and Javascript, or whatever. Most of the existing platforms support only relatively simple state-tracking - which you can do a lot with, but awkwardly. I want to be able to manipulate lists and refer to object properties and incorporate the results easily into text.

(But I also don’t really want GUI editing unless it’s at a Twine-like level of simplicity - Quest and Varytale’s tabbed GUIs feel really awkwardly slow to me - and I really don’t want something where I have to edit online. So what I’m after and what you’re interested in making are probably very, very different.)

I’m working on mid-sized projects in Twine and Undum, and my feeling from that process is that I can get along with it, but my ideal CYOA system at the moment may very well be I7 with a Vorple wrapper. Which is totally over-engineered if you don’t really need the parser or much of the standard world-model - but that may be better for me, personally, than working with something that’s way too simple).