Friday, February 18, 2011

My Deadline Approaches...

As it stands now, I have about two weeks left to finish the "testing beta" version of my first interactive fiction title, Hallow Eve. It is now at about 90 % completion. However, the current situation is much like a friend of mine said yesterday; "Isn't the last 10% the longest stretch?"

The idea of a Halloween-themed text adventure came to me about 18 years ago, when I was around 13. I didn't think there really were enough Halloween-themed games that even felt like they captured the spirit of the holiday. I wrote up a basic story with a simple map, and attempted to create them from scratch in both QBASIC and Turbo C ver 1.1 off and on for about 2 years. Eventually, the result was always some endless loop of sloppy mess after only getting a few commands, objects, and rooms coded. I think I envisioned some sort of text adventure that would be similar to a graphic adventure I had played called Hugo's House of Horrors, only with an "edgier" story.

By now, I've done a lot of other maps and mods for the IdSoft engine games, including a Flood Control Dam #3 map based on the infamous location in Zork I, in addition to other gaming development. However, the thought of attempting another text adventure never crossed my mind again for quite a few years. In the summer of 2010, I'm having a conversation with the same friend I mentioned earlier. After talking a bit with him about the new release of the Get Lamp documentary, and talking about old Infocom games in general, I eventually wonder aloud if there were any better tools available these days to write Interactive Fiction. He mentions Inform7. I immediately began writing my first, rough version of Hallow Eve in Inform and have had a lot of fun learning the language. I also connected with an IF community around this time that I didn't even know existed, and they are some of the friendliest and insightful people I've ever talked to.

My intentions are to enter the game into the Spring Thing and to do so I have to officially claim my intent to the organizers by March 1st. If I don't at least have my game at 99% and haven't placed my game into the hands of a tester or two, I won't feel comfortable entering. After March 1st, I will have one month to turn in the "final" version.

At this point I really have no clue how my game will be accepted by the IF community. A lot of modern IF works utilize innovative schemes that break from old tradition, but mine seems to feel much like an old Infocom title in many ways. I'm trying not to worry about that so much as just ensuring that the game is solid and that the story is entertaining.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Webpage Redesign

Today I started a redesign of my site. I created a Blogger account, and with a few scripts I now have a HTML feed of anything I blog ending up at my homepage provided by my ISP. This will make updating both easier and faster.

For now, I will continue to update the Retro Shard section by manually typing up the HTML code. I have also removed my old forums. The free board provider that I previously used just continued to get worse, plus barely anyone but myself was posting to it. In the future, if Retro Shard ends up with a lot of active players, I will create a new and better forum which will only be for that. Integrating the Blogger account with this page removes the need to have a forum for my other projects, as people can leave feedback now on anything I post.

I founded the Lab of Jizaboz website in 1999, serving as an online portfolio for my personal interests and projects. I hope to keep updating it for many more years to come, and I am always thankful to everyone who has had interest my work.