Designer Diary: De-making King’s Quest: Where to Start?

Not De-made

I’ve wanted to make a video game for, well, I don’t know how long it has been. Pretty long I’m sure. I can remember (just like everyone else can) drawing out dozens and dozens of level designs for my game. What type of game was it? It was a racing/platformer hybrid where racers in these pods would race through tubes that had a number of hazards. It was either going to be really stupid or stupidly hard. I never got anywhere on working on that game. I’ve never got very far on any of the games I’ve ever worked on. The problem always being have to learn a programming or scripting language. I’m not very good at it…

I still want to make a game though. So, what am I to do? Use Inform 7! Inform 7 is a  programming language for making Interactive Fiction (IF) that uses natural language. What does that mean? It means that if I type in as a line of code:

The Castle is a room. “You stand before a majestic castle it’s walls are imposing.” To the east is the Moat. To the west is an Empty Field.

The compiler takes these sentences and from it knows that the Castle is a room and when you are there will display the quoted text. The compiler also knows that to the east is another room,  Moat and to the west is a room called Empty Field. While you can do much more than create rooms with Inform 7 all of the coding is done in complete understandable English sentences like the ones above.

I figured the best way to learn Inform 7 was to start creating a game right away. But, I didn’t have any ideas for a IF game and I didn’t want to hate own of my own good ideas after implementing it so poorly on my first attempt at using the language. This is where Roberta William’s King’s Quest I comes in. King’s Quest wasn’t the first adventure game to have graphics (that was Roberta’s Mystery House) but the graphics were line drawings and static. KQ1 was the first to have a moveable avatar and detailed (for the time) visuals of your character’s surroundings. The player still has to type in commands at a prompt in order to interact with the game and there is still a lot of text to go through. Why not take that text and that premise for my own first attempt at game making? So, that is what I decided to do. I’ll just jettison the graphics and re-make the game in Inform 7. It shouldn’t be that hard should it?

Next time: Drawing Maps, designing a world


Author: falselogic

Doesn’t mix well with polite company; his two favorite topics being politics and religion. Would rather be out cycling, swimming, running, or camping. Misspent his youth reading genre-fiction; today, he is making up for it by reading large quantities of non-fiction literature. The fact that truth, in every way, is more fascinating than fiction still tickles him.