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Monday, June 12, 2006

Dev Day Diary: Text And Graphics

I haven't done one of these in a while, where I just chatter about stuff I'm actually working on, but it's a really slow news day (basically it's this or me ranting about silly rumormongering).

Two projects are on the front burner for me right now. The first is another piece of interactive lit called Rain and Wind, which is about two samurai chosen to protect a town. Something funny happens along the way to a bordello and much hilarity ensues. Well, not exactly ... but I'm still flushing out the details. Instead of either a traditional parser or a Randolph Carter style interactive text, the story will progress out of a combination of card games. You try the prototype of the card game out. During different paths of the game, variants of the card game might arise instead of what's in the prototype ... like playing against a series of three card hands or having the trump card hidden during play. Other parts of the story will vary simply by having the player choose one card over another, with the card portraying a preview of the text they would be choosing. Part of me shivers at the idea of including what is essentially multiple choice, since it's an aspect of the old Choose Your Own Adventure design I've always hated. This is a more subtle method, and a secondary one at that, however, of letting the player control the direction of the narrative somewhat.

The other project is Atlas. Largely it should play like Asteroids meets Nethack. Right now it doesn't play like anything because I'm still adjusting to the changes in the latest Torque Game Builder, so it took me a few hours just to get a modded version of their demo working. I had previously gotten the Asteroids portion mostly working, but I'm trying to go without my C++ modifications for great portability. Once I get around that, I'll work on the mission aspect of the game. One of the notions is that because it's outer space, missions can be strung together by merely defining points in space as opposed to laying out complete levels. I'm trying to define specifics like how the "economy" will work and I'm leaning to a military motif of prestige and medals as opposed to the scavenge & trade economy of most Nethack clones.

Rain and Wind might be ready in a few weeks. Atlas is months away.

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