Most of yesterday afternoon and this morning, I’ve been thinking about one of two things: text-based adventure games, or my homework for CALLIHOO. (The latter of which I’ve nearly finished.) Moreover, if I were to write a short text-based adventure game, how much plot would I need? How many puzzles or interactions would be needed to fill the space? How much programming does it entail?

Simple games don’t need a whole lot. How simple is a “simple” game? How long does it take to play through? In my mind, I’m thinking that I’d like to write some games that provide a solid 2-3 hours of gameplay. I want something that plays out somewhere between a couple episodes of a TV show, and a movie. Sure, movies vary in length between 2-3 hours, but a work of interactive fiction is probably more detailed.

I want to write short romps of interactive fiction that can keep a person occupied for the full two to three hours, giving them plenty to read about and interact with. The game doesn’t have to be complicated, and the plot of the game doesn’t have to be multi-layered or anything. I’m looking at something that’s more than a “mission” in your average video game, but less than a “side-quest.” Definitely less than a “quest.”

It seems to me that I’m going to have to learn how to code a lot of things in order to “reduce” the complexity of the game to something I think is manageable. In my own play-tests of my demo game, I find that I ask a lot of questions to try and get more information out of the machine, but it doesn’t understand my requests. All of them are things I’m going to have to account for when I’m writing the game.