A TA with no clues

OurJud

How would you as a player feel if presented with a TA that gave an extremely minimalist description with no clues as to where you can go / do?

I also wonder how I might handle the fact that 'unusual' inputs would be required.

This GameBook style Text Adventure I'm trying to do isn't really working out so I'm thinking of going back to the traditional input style, but it would require unfamiliar inputs from the player, such as 'craft weapon', 'cook food', 'hunt'.

What I don't want is this:

You're in a forest. Dead and dying trees are everywhere. To the east is a small shack, west leads deeper into the forest. The dead branches look like they could be used to craft a weapon for hunting or to light a fire.

But rather:

A forest. Cold winds. All the trees are either dead or dying.

But would the latter be simply too obscure?


felixp7

It sounds more stylized than obscure to me. But why condense the text so much? Is there a technical reason? And if you're having non-standard commands in a text adventure, you want to clue them properly, if not outright list them in the help. Last but not least, the second version of your desc leaves out the shack...


OurJud
But why condense the text so much>

Just a style choice. Nothing bores me more in TA than lengthy descriptions and walls of text. If I want that I'll read a book.

 Last but not least, the second version of your desc leaves out the shack...

It was just an example, but does illustrate what I mean about not holding the player's hand. In the instance of the forest description, the player will have just come from the shack, so I want to assume he already knows it's there and can return to it.

My main problem, as you point out, is getting round the use of unorthodox commands and somehow communicating this with the player.


felixp7

In the instance of the forest description, the player will have just come from the shack, so I want to assume he already knows it's there and can return to it.

Well, don't. For all they know, the player was just teleported somewhere else entirely. Imagine you were doing this in a 3D game: you go through a door, and bam! You're in the middle of a forest, with nothing but trees as far as the frustum can see. Except there is an invisible shack somewhere around.

Reviewers would laugh you out of the market, and for good reason; it's the same in IF.

My main problem, as you point out, is getting round the use of unorthodox commands and somehow communicating this with the player.

If in doubt, just list them in the help text. Don't fool around. Players want to know what they can do in the game. Of course, it's even better if you can hand the player an axe and some logs such that they figure out to try "cut wood with axe". But if beta-testing shows it's not enough... yeah. Err on the side of clarity.


OurJud
Reviewers would laugh you out of the market, and for good reason; it's the same in IF.

Not that I'm throwing your advice back in your face, but gaming (on whatever platform you care to mention) only advances because every so often someone comes along and does it differently. If developers didn't experiment we'd still be playing Pacman.

Not that I'm claiming I'm about to shake the whole IF genre to its foundations, but I want to do something a bit different, if only for experimental reasons.

I accept you're right about needing to at least mention the shack, even if I don't give its specific direction, but I hope to encourage the user to use plain English to achieve things.


The Pixie

Well, don't. For all they know, the player was just teleported somewhere else entirely.

Really? This seems a reasonable assumption to me. Whether anyone would guess to craft a bow seems far more questionable.

@OurJud
I am not sure if this will work or not, so would suggest keeping it fairly small until you get feedback from the wider public. But it does sound interesting and worth at least a trial.


OurJud

Thanks, TP. I think I'll do exactly that and run a trial.


XanMag

Frustum? What the frucks a frustum? Haha. Had to look that word up...


DarkLizerd

When in doubt... use simpler commands (verbs)...
Include "make" to "make bow"...
"craft bow", unless you hinted at it, would not be my first, (second, third or fourth) choice...
Like wise...
Make fire is easer to think of than build fire, construct fire, assemble fire, create fire...


OurJud

Thanks, DarkLizerd. What you say is certainly worth noting, but for now I'm building a Gamebook style adventure so none of the above applies right now.


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