Thursday, 5 February 2009


Choosing how the player will interface with the environment in a text adventure is tricky.
There has to be enough choice for what to do with an object or person to allow for complex puzzle solving, while avoiding a cluttered feeling or 'hunt the action' gameplay.
Text parsers can be good for rewarding players for doing exactly what it needed, rather than, by sheer luck, clicking on the right things. But text parsers are also a pain and can leas to 'guess the verb', where the player tries to 'use the switch' only to be refused because they were meant to 'throw the switch', trying to guess every eventuality for what a player may type, including common spelling errors, is a bit of a pain (believe me, I've tried my hand at text adventure writing in the past!)
The most comfortable interface I've found is the 'verb coin', where clicking on an item or area in the inventory or the world brings up a menu of a few basic actions. I've seen a lot of good games that stick to three actions: Look, Speak and Use/Touch. Since I'm trying to be simple here, I may stick to these three.
For now, I'll assume that when you click on an object, the 'hub' with the actions appears and the player chooses which one.

...Oh! Idea! Okay, so as I've said, the spoon is a frequently used item in this game. Would it work to make 'spoon' part of the verb coin, so it becomes, 'Look', 'Speak', 'Touch/Use with hands', 'Use Spoon' symbolised by simple icons.
The bottle may not work here, because it will often change state, being filled and emptied.

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