Monthly Archives: August 2008

Orange River Studio, LLC

Many indie game projects start out as fun side pursuits among a small group of friends. Often at the start there is an idea, a concept, some talent, and motivation. A lot of projects, along the way, fall short in one or more of those areas — the idea isn’t as cool as it first sounded; the concept doesn’t work as well as expected; the talent to achieve the goal is lacking; or some folks just lose their motivation and the project fizzles out.

If things work out and you have a reasonably good mix of those elements, you reach something of a milestone: that point when you’re convinced that you can really do it. With Vespers, that occurred sometime after the first year [More...] Read the rest

Posted in indie game business, Vespers | 2 Responses

Playing the Protagonist Part, Partly

A blog entry and discussion over at Corvus Elrod’s Man Bytes Blog about character and plot got me thinking about that tricky relationship between the player and protagonist, and the expectations (and allowances) game authors often place on their players.

In some games — typically non-first person games — the player is asked to play the role of a particular character. In Dreamfall, the player starts out playing the role of Zoe; in Tomb Raider, Lara Croft; in Deus Ex, J.C. Denton. In many interactive fiction games, the same applies, such as the Abbot in Vespers. In many instances, the protagonist has a history, and in some cases a personality, but inserting the player into that role can produce a frustrating [More...] Read the rest

Posted in adventure games, game design, story in games | 2 Responses

The Rise and Fall of Full Throttle

If you’re anything like me (and really, you know you are), then the classic LucasArts adventure game “Full Throttle” holds a special place in your gaming heart. It was a great combination of artwork, gameplay, writing, and design that few games have been able to match since its initial release for DOS in 1995. Some didn’t like the fact that it was a very short game (able to be completed in a few hours), but personally I think that probably led to the game being more polished, well-designed, and memorable.

Over on Adventure Classic Gaming, Marshall Ratliff and Philip Jong have posted a nice summary of the history of Full Throttle, particularly of the time following the game’s success and during the planning [More...] Read the rest

Posted in adventure games | 3 Responses

Vespers on the iPhone…for real?

My last blog was mostly tongue-in-cheek, referring more to the IF version of Vespers on the iPhone running in Frotz. Still, there has been speculation over on the GarageGames forums that the Torque engine was being ported to the iPhone platform. I didn’t give it much consideration, though, since I figured (a) it would be a long way away, (b) licensing would be more than it’s worth, and (c) they’d be far more likely to port their 2D engine rather than the 3D engine. Plus, I can’t imagine Vespers truly running on the iPhone in 3D — surely there’s no way the phone could handle the load. It would beg for mercy, maybe even spontaneously ignite.

Well, so much for (a), (b), and (c) at [More...] Read the rest

Posted in Vespers | 6 Responses

Vespers on the iPhone

Now that would be cool. But not this Vespers, the original text game.

So I hear Frotz, a popular Z-machine implementation used for playing interactive fiction, is now available for free on Apple’s iPhone App Store. Apparently there was some question about whether Apple would allow it in the store, probably because it is an interpreter used for playing separately downloaded game files. But it looks as if, for now at least, it is approved for downloading.

The software comes pre-packaged with a number of good IF games, and it looks like Jason’s original text version of Vespers is one of the ones included. Very sweet. Even better, the program can connect directly to the IFDB, allowing users to easily download and [More...] Read the rest

Posted in Vespers | 4 Responses