The IF Trainer project

As you might have heard from elsewhere, I've been asked by the author of In the Company of Grues blog to design and code a game that would be suitable to teach newcomers how to play IF. This is a pretty sweet deal because we're having the entire development process completely transparent. The development wiki is at where you can see how the game is coming along and leave your own comments.

We're aiming to release at the beginning of September, in time for PAX Prime and before IFcomp starts to avoid being overshadowed.

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The TADS fatigue

I have two things to say about TADS 3: a) as a programming language it's most excellent and b) the library is huge.

TADS's learning curve is very steep at the beginning but I have a feeling that once you get a decent grasp of the language you can do advanced stuff quite easily. With Inform 7 the learning curve is almost the opposite: you can get in with no effort at all, but when you get to the advanced stuff you hit a brick wall.

This is the third time I've started trying to learn TADS. The first two times the library was just too overwhelming and I didn't get very far before just becoming tired. Now I've picked it up again and it's going better than before. While I've never had as much fun programming as I have when working with Inform, TADS is also fun but in a different way: the feeling of harnessing its raw power is what makes TADS a pleasure to work with.

Just to tame this beast I'm going to do my next project in TADS. An old acquaintance is about to return...

Designing the puzzles of Escapade!

(Please note: the following article discusses the game Escapade! in some depth, so it will contain spoilers.)

I'm not much of a puzzle enthusiast myself. The problem with puzzles is that they tend to come in the way of a good story. Now, to contradict myself completely, so far I have released mainly puzzle games myself. With Escapade! the purpose was to make a puzzle game I myself would enjoy as a player.

In Escapade! your goal is to escape a jail cell. The twist is that there are many ways of escaping, but after all but one of the escapes (the final puzzle) you are caught and returned to the cell. At the end of 2008 the game was submitted to the One Room Game Competition 2008 where it took the second place.
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Raising the Flag on Mount Yo Momma released

Here the game finally is. Once again what was supposed to be a short distraction between "more serious" projects turned out to be more work than called for. It started its life as an idea to a speed-if, so forgive the rather silly premise. Puzzler enthusiasts will hopefully get some enjoyment out of the game as it has a good bunch of more or less traditional IF puzzles (no mazes!) As usual the Inform 7 source code is available.

For some reason Parchment hangs after displaying the banner, so no online play before I get that sorted out. Sorry about that. (edit: the recent version of Parchment seems to work fine.)

It occurs to me that this game is very similar to the previous one. I swear, this is the last comedic one-room (or one-area) puzzle game from me for a while. Then again it has been very educational and I might just write a couple of posts of the things learned making these two games, so stay tuned for more!

New year's IF under betatesting

Taleslinger organized the third New Year's speed-if event, Newer New Year's Speed IF, some weeks back (although due to many happenstances it's still a sort of ongoing event). I had an idea for a game I had been thinking about for about a year and decided to finally make it.

Apparently making speed-IFs isn't my forte because the end result was something more the size of an average IFcomp game than a speed-if. It's large enough to consider a proper game, so I'm having it tested before it's released to the general public. If you have some extra time in the next couple of weeks (the planned release is sometime in February), it would be great if you'd see the call and blurb here. I can be contacted by e-mail, juhana dot if at nitku dot net.