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Interactive Fiction

Interactive Fiction

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Interactive Fiction

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  1. Interactive Fiction Foundations of Interactive Game Design Professor Jim Whitehead March 12, 2008 Creative Commons Attribution

  2. Game Demo Night • This Friday • March 14, 5pm-9pm • E2 180 (Simularium) • Come to this event if you want to demo your game • Bring laptop and/or game on CDROM/USB Drive • RPG Maker and C#/XNA: best if you can bring your own laptop

  3. Final Class Game Demonstrations • The best 6-7 student games created this quarter will demo their games in front of the entire class • Monday, March 17, normal class time • Judges from the games industry will be present • Selected teams will have 5 minutes each to demo their game • The best game team will win a Nintendo DS for each team member (limit 2) • A fun, intense event

  4. Final Exam • Wednesday, March 19, 4pm-7pm • In Media Theater • Before exam • Create a non-computer game • Board game • Puzzle game • Role playing game • Children’s game • Card game • Bring typed, printed rules to exam, plus everything needed to play the game • During exam • Play the game with others in exam • Write essay reflecting on the design of your game

  5. Final Exam – Game Details • The game must have a name • The rules must be typed, and fit on no more that 3 pages (10pt or larger, multi-column is OK) • Game elements (game pieces, boards, cards, dice, etc.) are not part of the 2 pages • No restrictions on game media (cardboard, plastic, leather, latex, it's all OK) • The game must be playable inside the Media Theater while many other students are also playing their games • A complete game should take less than 30 minutes • The game must not be a drinking game. • Game must be original. No minor variants on existing games. Major variants of existing games are OK. • Game play must not involve breaking laws or campus regulations (the "Don't get your professor in trouble" rule) • No flames, uncontrolled liquids, knives, swords, whips, or functional weapons of any kind

  6. What is interactive fiction? • A story where the reader/player can interact with the storyworld, and where substantial portions of the information presented to the player are in the form of prose. • Text adventure: an interactive fiction where the reader/player controls a player character who sets out on out-of-the-ordinary undertakings involving risk or danger. • Stories progress: • Story presents prose • Reader/player enters a sentence to interact with system • Story reacts to player utterance with more prose (or an error)

  7. Gameplay elements of IF • Exploration • Traveling through a new, and unknown world • Mazes • Successfully navigating through non-standard level geometries • Puzzles/riddles • Solving the puzzle allows player to continue in the game • Acquiring items • Gaining treasure, picking up items used to solve puzzles • Guessing correct verbs/keywords • Learning how to express intent is part of gameplay

  8. Adventure: First Text Adventure • Adventure (1975) • Some variants called Colossal Cave • First text adventure, precursor to modern role-playing games • Will Crowther • Explored caves as a hobby, also played Dungeons & Dragons • Decided to “write a program that was a re-creation in fantasy of my caving, and also would be a game for the kids, and perhaps [have] some aspects of the Dungeons and Dragons I had been playing.” • p. 87, Twisty Little Passages, Nick Montfort

  9. Heyday of Interactive Fiction • Early computers frequently lacked graphics • Interactive Fiction is well suited to this limitation • Early computers also typically slow • Interactive Fiction doesn’t require much processing power to play • Due to this, substantial early interest in interactive fiction • Peak of popularity in mid-1980’s

  10. Major Publishers • Adventure International • Scott Adams • The Adams Adventures series • Infocom • Zork series • Deadline • Hitchiker’s Guide to Galaxy James Willing, (1982)

  11. Today • No commercial activity • A golden age of interactive fiction • Active non-commercial community • IF is generally of higher quality than at peak • More IF being created now than at commercial peak • Yearly interactive fiction contest • Substantial scholarly interest • Nick Montfort, Twisty Little Passages, MIT Press, 2003 • Good tools • Inform (Graham Nelson) •

  12. Interactive Fiction: Pro and Con • Pro • Gameworld described using text • Permits greater expressiveness about internal mental states of characters • Can permit better control over the mood of a scene • Low computational resources, easy to implement • Well suited to early computers • Con • Gameworld described using text • Games that use graphics are more visually interesting • Have pretty screenshots • No real-time action • More deliberative, turn-based gameplay • Natural language interface impoverished • Permits much broader range of expression that game understands • Can be very frustrating