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Back to game-writing

And the first thing I run into is a topic that I have brought up before–that of the repetitive nature of much of writing video games. As before, I have been stuck on finishing the myriad ways of accepting and rejecting a quest from the wizard Arthur. As he is a possible love interest, there are quite a few ways to run through his dialogue.

He is fun to write, but I ended up just copying and re-using his actual missive about the items that the player is asked to fetch for him. It’s just a list of items, and I really didn’t want to come up with several ways for the ponce to ask you to get him fox bonemeal, a new candle, and a smelly mushroom.

My favourite thing about Arthur, though, is that Callo takes an immediate dislike to him.

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The quests for the other two wizards have been done for some time now. This one is all set up now, but the hard part has come up at last. I have to figure out how to make a failing condition for Arthur’s quest. He insists that none of the items can be replaced by cheaper substitutes.

We have a few ideas of how to make this more interesting than BioWare would (yes, I am looking at you, bearded tongue grass), but I think I’m still a bit stuck on the mechanics. More on that tomorrow, probably. Hopefully I’m through with being stuck. Though that is still dependant on how sick I get. Less than sixty days until my due date.

EDIT: Curse my own imperfection. I just noticed the typo in the second screenshot. (it went from “there’re” to “there are” so that’s how that happened) I’ll leave it. I’m not afraid of people knowing I’m a little dumb. It is fixed in-game, though.

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New books!

And other stuff. I should really wait to post until I have something in particular that I want to write about, but that wasn’t what I did when I was doing 750 Words every day. QED. PDQ. SMS. Moving on.

Every day I take a look at the Kindle Daily Deals. I can’t help it, it’s like a disease. My poor iBooks app hasn’t seen use since I leafed through my softcopy of The Hobbit. It’d be nice if I could read Kindle purchases in iBooks, especially since the Kindle bookstore has prices that don’t make me throw up. But we can’t have it all, can we.

Free books as well. I have actually spent a little bit of money on ebooks in the past month or so… it’s just been under USD$10. Most likely. I’m also still reading a long series that sits happily by my desk, A Year at the Movies, and the odd Overdrive library book.

Yesterday (or was it the day before?) I read The Mysterious Affair at Styles, and had a ball doing so. I love Poirot, and am a big fan of David Suchet. He’s still just as fun to read, this funny little Belgian detective. I’m reading Murder on the Links now. These two immediately made the others on my library list pale into a lower percentage of opacity.

Still working on that one pesky quest in Desiderata. After some late-night conversation, I pinned down ingredients to be sought out, as well as working out a simple fail condition that won’t make me want to scream. That still leaves dialogue for quest acceptance (I wrote it for the end of a certain tree, but not the other branches), all of the NPC dialogue, a related quest… oh this list is making my head hurt.

It’s near bedtime. I’m tired and my hands hurt too much to go on typing. Boo.

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Arguing Faction Tracking

…with myself. I should probably have this discussion with my partner in crime, but at time of writing, he’s very much preoccupied and I’m trying to procrastinate without reading The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Also at time of writing, I am full of ginger. (more literally than figuratively)

crazyUsing this very old “crazy” mood icon to represent the pro faction argument.

nervousAnd the “nervous” mood icon for the opposing side.

But first, an explanation. One of the complexities I have considered for inclusion in Desiderata is that of varying factions. I may have said it before, however if I have done, it will have been months ago. Right now, there are two factions that are technically in the game. They’re entirely plot at this point, and both are 100% optional.

The idea I have is to add another faction, and keep them all optional. But they will have levels of loyalty/friendship, with the varying degrees one might expect in events.

crazy Complexity is already a common element of Desiderata, and Cookiemonger has never shied from (for long) or failed to accomplish a difficult event. Factions are also already present in the game, and would only require addition, not belated implementation.

nervous Adding extra layers to the factions is more work, and as they are all optional, one might argue they are also unnecessary.

crazy They may be optional, but they are also difficult to miss. One is easy to find, another is simply a struggle to figure out, and the third is entirely down to choice of actions. The proposed third faction is part of the main story.

nervous Still not a reason to include extra complexity in something that is already unfinished in its current state.

crazy If further work is already needed, then there isn’t any harm in that list being longer. Desiderata’s greatest asset is character development, and we’ve already done a lot of work to make choices and even sidequests effect change upon the experience.

Hmm. I didn’t expect to come to a conclusion, as I have been arguing this amongst myself for a while, and this is not the first time it has come up. I’ll have a real discussion later, but this was kind of fun.

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Screenshot and some thoughts on eventing

Just one screenshot and not a really deep thought, but no one expects much from me.

This is part of the scene that I worked on today, and it probably won’t be a terribly long one. Although it might actually end up a long one, now that I think about it. Depends on how much explanation is necessary for the questing part. As it is, all that really has to happen is that they explain they need a wizard, and just like the others, before they get to say why, the wizard with whom they are speaking tells them that he is busy.

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As they are accustomed to this sort of thing (and may well have dealt with either or both of the other wizards who said the same kind of thing), our tepid–er, intrepid heroes offer their aid. They need a non-busy wizard, after all.

This one wants an errand run, and it’s going to be pretty clear that the reason is just as much that he isn’t in the mood to go out as it is that he really is genuinely preoccupied.

The errand might end up a complicated mess of eventing, but the last time I had a simple concept that I knew would be an eventing mess, I managed it in a matter of days. So we shall see what happens with this one.

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Back to work on Desiderata

After a six month hiatus, I’m actually working on the game again! Yaaay…

I had meant to at least review the game yesterday, but I was delayed by the weather (it rained and that does a number on me) and then my own equipment. As to the latter, I was unable to sit up for very long, so using my desktop PC was out. I had to resort to my netbook. It had been a while since I’d used it, so I knew I’d have to update my AVP.

My AVP locked up after I turned on the netbook. I restarted it. And as it rebooted, it had to run checkdisc. Once it had done that, I had to spend three hours letting it update and scan for any other problems. Halfway through that, I had a visit from my mum and spent the time much better than I otherwise might have.

But then when she left, the weather and my health won again and I had to sleep. And so nothing got done! :D

Last night, my wonderful hubby moved my PC to the living room. So now I have the telly as a giant monitor and I can stretch out on the couch. I feel less dizzy this way. It wasn’t done util late, though, so I didn’t get a chance to start working until today.

First, I reviewed a bit of the game, to get myself used to the characters again, and un-overwhelm myself. My notes are all intact from where I left off, and I had some crazy complex plans. I scared myself off again while reviewing, thanks to realising how much complexity I had always injected into the project.

After finding a couple of difficult-to-fix bugs, I played a bit more and realised that I would only be using up time by continuing to review, and that I really ought to pick up where I had left off at this point.

Where I had left off was the first step of a set of choose-one story quests. Rather, the last step of the first part. There are three choices, and technically, I think players can choose all of the first step quests, but then they have to commit to a choice between those three options. I had two of them pretty much done (barring a sort of bridge quest for one of them) and this one I had absolutely nothing done.

Partially because the second one I did was a LOT of work, and this one as I have it planned, will be nearly as complicated. If not more so. I also had no concrete characterisation for this character, which was scaring me off as well.

But I have the beginning of the conversation, and once I get that event out of the way, I can tackle the ridiculous quest part of it. It’s good to be doing something again. I left this for far too long, never mind how good a reason I had.

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Silly map things

There are these screen shots of a certain map from Desiderata that have been sitting in my pictures folder for a while. We took them with the intent that I put them in my blog, but I have been kind of a dork lately and haven’t remembered to do it.

Dither completed this map a long time ago, but when he was first working on it, I noticed something funny about it. The actual map looked like this before some necessary changes were made.

But tilted to one side, it looks rather like a man playing a cello.

Or doing some kind of jig.

I probably won’t need to do another pictures-heavy text-light post after today. My wrist is feeling a little better, so I don’t need to baby it quite so much.