I wanted to know what people think about size. I prefer a longer adventure as long as it's natural, and not made arbitrarily long via mazes, empty locations and backtracking.
My game currently has 50 fully described and interactive locations, 31 inventory items (including about half a dozen red herrings), and the solution runs to about 200 moves, excluding things not necessary for completion.
It features, on top of the inventory items, hundreds of 'objects' for scene setting - just things you can examine for world building and realism, such as windows, sinks, tables, trees, etc.
Would you class this as a medium adventure in your opinion?
I suppose parsers canot use such parameters anymore. I believe the use of 'moves' as you did is a good measure, as these days we have competitions involving single room games. So I guess we may say you got a medium to big game. If it was a gamebook, we could measure it using word count, but parsers are tricky.
I guess it depends on what your version of "classic" is. Old school like Zork? Or just what is common now a days or at the peak of Interactive Fiction popularity? There is a game called Anchorhead, which I highly recommend it to anyone to play. Unfortunately for what ever reason, you can not load a saved game onto Quest from the gaming page. But you can play the game using other means and you can load saves.
Anyway, in it's credit section this is posted- "Thanks to Dr. Graham Nelson for providing the programming language and the compiler. Thanks to Andrew Plotkin for helping me streamline the code. Thanks to Irene Callaci for reminding me to breathe when I hit the 64k limit, and thanks to L. Ross Raszewski for excellent suggestions on how to dodge it."
I am not sure if the 64k limit is the limit of the machine it was to be played on, the limit of the system he was using or it was the competition he was sending it off to probably had a restriction on how big it could be. But I am sure others can tell you better than I.
I have not taken a look at it yet, but there is apparently a documentary about the pioneers of Interactive Fiction called Get Lamp. It may have the answers and so much more that you are looking for. I plan on checking it out myself.
My first is quite short if you only do what you need to do to 'beat' it. It's my first real try in Quest and I made it that way.I split the game in three acts where the first one is the shortest. Act II is set during a big trench war and is a lot bigger, both when it comes to story and number of rooms (it's not quite finished yet). The third one will be set in the same city as Act I and will be the final chapter.
I've moved on to making 2d games in Gamemaker studio 2 since the 'release' of Act I so I'm not sure if they'll ever be finished. I do however like the characters so I might make a "more traditional" PC game using those.
Sometimes less is more. I have a lot of characters in my game that provide clues and objects, so I didn't want players to have to travel for miles and get peeved with long journeys to and fro.
The massive maps are ok if they are kept interesting by linear progression.
Mazes were mostly annoying in the original text adventures of the 1980s especially if they were completely random and couldn't be actually mapped by dropping objects etc.
I like both short and long text adventures, but my ADD often leads me to playing shorter games. As the saying goes, I don't care too much about size, it's what you do with it that counts.