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Int Fic October 15, 2007

Posted by jmoran21 in Uncategorized.
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I have a confession to make: IF bores me. intficA lot of games bore me, actually; even very good games that I enjoy at first can get really old really fast. So despite my best efforts to the contrary, I’ve never gotten deep into an interactive fiction game in my life, let alone finished one. I know that this is my failing, a lack of discipline on my part that haunts my gaming life. This was quite a burden on my mind when I set out to create my own text game for New Media class.

I thought about submitting my first text adventure, created in QBASIC for my Programming Logic class. It was a simulated lightsaber duel based on KOTOR, with the player being able to attack, parry, or use a medkit while their computer opponent randomly chose its own action. It was basically an elaborate rock paper scissors game, but I created it for myself as part of a grand scheme I had for creating an action-text-adventure. In other words, I was challenging my own preconceived notion that a text game can only be about puzzles and logic by injecting a certain amount of strategy and chance. Obviously it was really boring to play, but maybe someday I’ll continue on with that concept for myself.

 What I ended up creating with Inform I call “The Wretched Hive,” a nod to Star Wars I picked when I started the game and it was still in its original setting of a dive bar. It evolved to something quite different as I worked, both because of my creative process, as well as the limitations of the software and my unfamiliarity with it. My goal was to get the player to take the simplest route to victory on their first play through and end up getting themselves killed, only to think about the finale a bit harder the second time through and win through trickery and deceit. The environment is oversized in order to fit the context of the assignment, and the coding for the end game was tough to get a handle on, which forced me to make the climax a lot simpler than I intended.

 So what did I learn about IF from my experience? It’s not that IF is boring- it just depends on the compatibility between the writer’s thought process and the player’s. So for me, someone with a thought process capable of baffling many of the best educators and doctors in the state, it’s just hard finding IF that suits my taste.

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