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Thursday, November 03, 2005

NaNo, Day 2

I'm not even bothering with a word count at this point. For one thing, writing an interactive piece forces me to break one of NaNo's basic guidelines .... don't rewrite. Just write, and move on. Fix it later. But, see, that doesn't work so well when you have to completely rewrite a page of dialogue because it's not even in the right structure anymore.

The other thing about IF is that it's dense. Not in terms of narrative style ... in fact the basic prose is pretty shallow. However, since you have to account for multiple departures from a single point ... you spend a lot of time running in place. In fact, I've mostly spent the last two days in one place, with one character. I pretty much keep running to the same point and wondering ... would the player try this? Or this?

At least the framework is coming together. It's beginning to feel more like a game and less like a proof of concept. I'm starting to have to make serious decisions about the "interface". Mostly, I'd like to avoid having one. I liked that the old text games didn't give you a menu to choose from or even had pictures to represent things. There's something gritty about having to read, having to process and having to input text to get stuff done. I've capitulated that some of the text will have links in them. For instance, where it tells you what is to the east or west, clicking on east or west will take you there. This is in lieu of a compass style widget to "move" around. Also, some dialogue text will have links to essentially continue the conversation in a semi-natural manner.

But there won't be a master list of verbs, or the ability to click on nouns within the text to bring up choices or to try and pick them up by default or the such. The main input will still be typing things in, with only a very few shortcuts for brevity (for instance, a look/refresh or inventory button might be added).

What I'd like to do is get this "demo" version done by this weekend, and then post it up on for people to preview and give feedback. Hrmmm, might need to add a forum to TB. Oh, and there's little point on venturing over there just yet ... the ironically named site has no content yet. I'm considering opening it up to a function other than just a showcase for my limited IF work, but not sure what just yet.

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