Aviva Directory » Computers & Internet » Computer & Video Games » Game Design & Creation » Text Game Creation

The focus of this category is on resources that can be used to help create a text-based game, popularly known as interactive fiction.

Text adventure games can be created in C++, C#, Python, or some other programming language, but several game engines can be used to make the job easier for non-programmers, although many of those include their own programming languages, designed specifically for text-based games, and all of them will require learning to use the program, with varying degrees of difficulty.

Creating text adventures involves writing computer code to represent objects and behaviors, while also creating in-game characters, an interesting plot or storyline, as well as puzzles and surprises for the player to discover along the way.

Gameplay in a traditional text adventure requires the player to enter text commands, which are interpreted by the parser, which is the part of the game that translated the command into something that the computer can understand.

A well-written text adventure game will associate common synonyms that are likely to be used by a player, and will consider such commands as "get key", "get the key", "take key", and "take the golden key" to be the same command unless, of course, there is more than one kind of key in the room, in which case it might have trouble figuring out which key the player wants.

Nevertheless, in every text adventure game, there will be times in which the player has trouble getting the game to understand what it is that he is trying to do. This is particularly likely to occur when the player is new to text adventures. When this occurs, the game will return a failure message.

One of the weaknesses of text adventure games is that new players tend to get frustrated when the game seems to reject everything they type. Reducing these incidents is not an easy task for the game author, and eliminating them may prove impossible. However, there are ways in which the author can make the failure messages less frustrating.

When the player is on the edge of a cliff and wants to move forward, but doesn't yet know about the ladder, he might try flying. Unless flying is among the characteristics that the player was given in the game, the parser won't understand that command, and it will fail. However, consider the various ways in which the command can fail:

* I don't understand the word "fly".
* You're not a bird. You can't fly.
* You haven't learned how to fly.
* You don't have a plane.
* You try to fly but the winds here are far too strong.
* You approach the edge, but you are afraid...

The first failure message will probably frustrate the player, especially if he receives several such messages in response to his efforts to continue in the game. The second one tells him that flying is not an option, and does it in a playful way that is not likely to frustrate the player. The others generally serve the same purpose but could confuse the player, who might then assume that there is a way that he can learn to fly or find a plane, but any of them are probably better than the first failure message, which is likely to be the default.

Game writing packages, such as Inform 7, TADS, Twine, and ADRIFT, can make it easier for the author to make the game less confusing to the player. Although many of these tools will require the author to learn a programming language, it will be a language that was created specifically for making text adventure games or interactive fiction, so the complexity of the coding is apt to be reduced, while the number of available options will be greater.

Any resources that are intended for writing text adventure games, interactive fiction, or other text-based computer games, are appropriate for this category. This may include game creation engines, mapping tools, tutorials, or guides for interactive fiction authors.



Recommended Resources

Search for Text Game Creation on Google, Bing, or Yahoo!