Author Topic: A Game Using Inform 7  (Read 749 times)

Jhalem

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A Game Using Inform 7
« on: May 25, 2017, 08:05:21 PM »
I have 3 games currently planned and in production (I work better with multiple things to focus on). The second game I plan to finish is using the engine called Inform 7. Inform 7 is a text-based game engine that is used in the rather popular game called Trap Quest. I was planning to make a similar game with fat themes. Basically, you are an architect/explorer researching a reclusive society. You have finally found them after a long search for their methods of immortality and it turns out that they have a culture heavily embracing fat. You must travel to the base of underground ruins in order to uncover all of their secrets as a society of living myths and legends.

The game isn't completely limited to plain fat people. I plain to have characters with wings and reptilian traits as well as characters with succubus and demon style traits. I will try to make the game not too ambitious because I want to be able to get the thing finished. (For example, I am not planning to implement image and condition systems.) After I complete the game, I plan to continue making updates on it until it becomes a more comprehensive game.

Anyway, the first thing I would like is for people to examine Trap Quest and explain the features which you would not want to be present in this game or ideas I could follow better or things I better make sure to include.

I have also heard some people complaining about Inform 7 itself in relation to Trap Quest, so point out problems with the game engine that you would want me to watch out for. I know that hyperlinks have made Trap Quest possibly function less effectively so you may also want to test the game without using hyperlinks too.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2017, 08:11:02 PM by Jhalem »
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dingotush

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Re: A Game Using Inform 7
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2017, 07:39:17 AM »
I've been playing Trap Quest for a while, I first found it two years ago.

My first problem with it is that the changes I want to encourage are actually disadvantages in the game for the most part, so I rarely play to win - which limits my enjoyment of it. I've never been able to beat the two "boss" monsters.

It's a rogue-like, with random treasure contents chosen from a vast array of items. I'm not against rogue like games (having played Moria and Nethack a lot - even modifying Nethack), but they do need very careful balancing so you feel you have a chance of succeeding. I don't think TQ is that well balanced yet. Firstly the vast majority of the items have negative effects or are cursed. There are items you need to find, but too few opportunites to find them so on some play throughs you are at a real disadvantage because they simply aren't available to find. It would be better if these could be guaranteed to be in the game. Similarly the shop tends to sell random things which aren't often what you want to buy. The shops in other rogue-likes are better stocked, and spending your coin actually gets things you want.

Completely resetting the map after re-spawning seems odd in the sense it isn't really explained. I know the map reset was very broken for a long while, with critical rooms (like the altar and the benches) not always being part of the regenerated map. I can only assume this is really difficult to do in Inform. I actually prefer the way the "map" works in Flexible Survival - small consistent areas that you discover at random (or via quests etc.)

The preferences work well for eliminating the kinds of content you do or don't want to see.

Resting causes the game to pause while it burns through a lot of turns - presumably it is tracking the actions of all the NPCs in the game. Often it triggers the "Not Responding" message, but I think this is really a bug in the interpreter - it isn't doing the interpreting in a separate thread and allowing the Ui to remain responsive.

I don't have a problem with Inform itself - I've played many games written using it. The disambiguation is a bit broken in places, especially with so many items with similar names ("Do you mean the .. or the .. or the ..). I think the hyperlinks help in this regard.
If you know how the parser works you can work around this as a player, but is is a little frustrating.

As far as authoring in Inform goes, it is incredibly picky about some things particularly capitilisation and punctuation. Something it shares with other "natural language" programming systems. The IDE works well though, and the index, documentation, and debug commands are quite useful. A spell checker would be a nice addition (I think the mac version has one). Like any rule-based system it can sometimes do things that aren't what the author intended.

I'm a programmer first, so I tend to have to think of code first and then translate it into Inform's English. I find TADS easier as I don't have to do this extra step, and being more like a familiar programming language the syntax is easier for me.

The map and images in Inform are a bit of a bodge, and you may have noticed that resizing the interpreter window breaks the map display in TQ, but you aren't planning to use those, so it is a non-issue.

Hope that helps!

Jhalem

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Re: A Game Using Inform 7
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2017, 03:46:29 PM »
Ah yes, that reply helps. I felt the same about just about everything you wrote, although I feel like other interactive fiction engines are more picky and unhelpful with player inputs, mostly because Inform gives you a guide if you ask for help. Also, it is worth noting that I plan to be making very little of a roguelike, and more of a dungeon crawler with enemies that move around independently.

I don't remember hearing about Flexible Survival and if I did, I didn't know there was another game like Trap Quest. If you know any other game examples, I might want to look at them.

Also, I may have heard about TADS, but I totally forgot. I thought Inform 7 was my only option for this level of interactive fiction besides using Java/Flash/HTML stuff.
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dingotush

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Re: A Game Using Inform 7
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2017, 04:07:07 PM »
I don't remember hearing about Flexible Survival and if I did, I didn't know there was another game like Trap Quest. If you know any other game examples, I might want to look at them.
I think TrapQuest was inspired by Bimbo Battle Mall which is in turn based on Arena. Gynoid Conversion is in a similar vein.