Monthly Archives: April 2008

Drama and Choice in Games

An interesting blog discussion is forming between TRC (over at Tales of the Rampant Coyote) and Scorpia (over at her lair) about the apparent conflict between drama and fun in games, and the differences between heroes in movies (who often start off as accomplished heroes) and heroes in games (who typically must work their way up from the embarrassment of “level one”).

Mostly, the two points being made are that (1) conventional stories where the protagonist or hero never suffers setbacks or defeats are dull, and (2) games typically allow players to proceed through the game story without having to suffer these setbacks (mostly via save and reload). The player’s constant desire to win — and the ever-present ability to save and restore [More...] Read the rest

Posted in story in games | Leave a comment

Foggy Times at Pastel Games

A new flash game called “The Fog Fall” was recently released by Mateusz Skutnik of Pastel Games. Skutnik, as some of you know, is the incredibly prolific creator of numerous flash-based point-and-click adventure-style games, such as the Covert Front series that earned the #2 spot on’s Best Freeware Adventure Games of 2007. The Fog Fall would appear to represent the start of a new series, although other series (including Covert Front and DaymareTown) are still being produced.

The game has the same haunting look and feel as the Covert Front series, although The Fog Fall takes place later in time, in an alternate post-nuclear history around the Cuban Missile Crisis. The overall series objective is not entirely clear, but the graphics style [More...] Read the rest

Posted in adventure games, indie games | Leave a comment

Vespers: The Power of the Bool

One of the things that has always been nagging at me since starting development on Vespers is game performance. We haven’t really been developing with frame rate in mind, our thought being that we would leave optimization until we had most of the content plugged in. Most of that optimization would come from the graphics end — LOD, portals and zones, textures, things like that — but that’s a lot of work for the artist to do, and it’s not terribly exciting work at that.

Still, after trying out the game on a number of different systems, I was not very happy with performance even at this unoptimized stage. Frame rates on the better systems would rarely get to 30fps, even at lower screen resolutions. [More...] Read the rest

Posted in 3D/if, adventure games, Vespers | 6 Responses

Milliways: More IF Archaeology

The interactive fiction world was surprised and excited last summer when Dennis Jerz uncovered a true relic of IF history, discovering the original code to Colossal Cave. Fascinating stuff. Then, more recently, Jason Scott had the chance to view another historical slice of IF when he was able to mingle in Steve Meretsky’s basement, a treasure trove of Infocom antiquity. Now, IF archaeologists have apparently uncovered another prize: a complete backup of Infocom’s shared network drive from 1989, which includes not only design documents, email archives, internal meeting notes, source code, and game files, but also code for a game made by Infocom but never released.

Milliways: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is the unreleased sequel to Infocom’s (and [More...] Read the rest

Posted in interactive fiction | Leave a comment

You Want Art With Those Games? (Part 2)

This is the second part of a series of blogs that aim to contribute yet more internet detritus to everybody’s favorite age-old argument: Seriously, are computer games an art form?

Part 2: “Games as Art” = “Games as Storytelling Medium”

In Part 1, I proposed that computer/videogames are not yet a true art form, but are capable of being one. To do so a game will need to come along that has a substantial impact on its players because of its beauty, insight, or emotional power, in the same manner as some of the successful works from other forms of traditional media like film, theater, or literature. Without a form-defining piece, the medium will likely continue to make some advances and convince some individuals, [More...] Read the rest

Posted in games as art, interactive fiction, story in games | 11 Responses