Starting earlier this week, I opened up Inform 7 again and tried to build a scene in a woodsy clearing. It’s been quite a while since the last time I messed around with creating a text-based adventure, but I blame cookiemonger and the Quest for Glory series for my renewed interest. And I have to be working on some kind of game.

Actually, the idea began as a way to explore the town and surrounding area for my Wednesday-night Dungeons & Dragons game. I have this creative compulsion to add details to a space I’ve created, and I was trying to take advantage of that. I’ll have to talk about that compulsion a little bit later, but for now, picture it like this:

If I leave the canvas empty, I can ignore it. If I paint a mark on the canvas, I have to add detail to that mark. If I paint a circle or square, I have to paint in or around it. The more I add, the more I feel I have to add, and the feeling grows from there.

Anyway, there are a couple things I picked up this time around that I really missed before, like the “Understand” coding. All I had really used in my previous attempts at Inform coding was to build a large, interconnected map and create elaborate descriptions for fixed objects. This time around, I’m playing with interactions.

Last night, I created my first NPC with a table of topics and replies. I’m still trying to figure out how to make characters a little bit more sociable, or at least recognizable. I want to make a fairly sandbox exploration game, but that requires that I understand how the parser works a little better than I do now. Things are coming along though.

Part of my preparation this time around was to make a table of all the actions a player might be expected to make on a fairly regular basis, so I could create fairly basic responses to them. “Look here, examine this, pick that up,” kind of stuff, except it’s a really broad range of actions, including eating, touching, climbing, and more.