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Work in Progress / [TAC] Pulse

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Seppuku Arts
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Posted: 21st Jul 2008 18:12 Edited at: 21st Jul 2008 18:16


I'm working on an entry for the Text Adventure Competition run by Matt Rock in DBPro, and this is what I have.

It's called 'Pulse'.

What is it?

It's a 'select the option' text adventure instead of something parser based, the system I've used is fairly basic and runs off of LUA scripts - this of course will be the first project I'll actually complete. (wooohoo!) I did have another more complex system, but I found it was too buggy and thought I'd revert to a more basic and stable version of the engine so that I could work on the more important aspects - the Text Adventure. So I'm not going to score for having a decent engine (but it does the job)

What's it about?

Disclaimer: This isn't anti-religious (I will explain later)

It's a dystopiate soft sci-fi - that's the best way I'd define it. Or in more detail it's a game set in a future world where technology has advanced (but not a lot in this case), the future of course not being so bright and the emphasis will not be on the technology.

The story itself, you - Byulf and your childhood friend Krem have grown up in one of the worst parts of town, but you have always stood for what is right and have not fallen victim to the life of pimps, gangsters and the sort. Society has fallen under a religious obsession - there was a crusade that many soldiers went on to their holy land and rid it of all 'heathens', these 'heathens' being similar to that of pagans. During the crusade, Kings and Emporers got obsessed with this new faith, allowing religious leaders and groups to become more powerful than themselves, Kings had to give in to the demand of their 'god' of course, with absolute power, comes absolute corruption - this is where it paralells the Catholic Church of the medieval times - they sought to use the word of god to control people, to convince them to do and believe what they say or be cast out as pagans.

With diplomats becoming a dying breed it has meant society has been difficult to maintain and places away from the main city centres have become lawless, they have become 'condemned' by the leaders and that is why there are dangerous pimps, gangster and prostitutes roaming the streets.

Byulf and Krem however stand out from some of these types, they're not weak - though earlier in life in order to survive they resorted to thievery and bounty hunting. Their moral instinct kicked in and they read books, various 'banned' books they could buy from the market, these were books of philosophers and even relgious people - this lead to a dislike for the preachers - not only because they're responsible for the decline of society, but also because they've indoctrinate so many into a life of wrong doing, to conformty, which is what religion and philosophy isn't about. Incidentally this leads them to act out against this 'church' and this becomes their business.

But who is behind the face of indoctrination? A fearsome man they call 'The Preacher', who manages to force his words onto those who disobey his will, he calls it "god's will", he refers to them as 'pagans' and is set on removing all 'paganistic' things in existence - killing off proud history and encapsulates these 'pagans' in his propagandic speech. But it's not that you should fear, facing death in the hands of the preacher is lucky, escaping his grasp is near impossible and the things he can do to you...well I won't spoil it for you.

That should give you enough detail on the story.



Media

The media I'm using isn't essential as the game shouldn't rely on media, but I'm using it for atmosphere, of course the media I'm creating on my own (backgrounds and music)

What does it look like?

Screenshots, what everybody likes to see - as a text adventure screenshots don't show a lot, but this should give you an idea:

[Edit] That screeny has just made me realise, all the other options are MISSING! Seems I forgot to change a variable, doh!





Demo?

No demo? Shame, well this is where you come in, I hope to have one released by the end of the week - do you know what that means? You get to nag me to death until I give you one - it's a good system I think.

How Much Have I done?

In the grand scheme of things? Not much compared to what I plan. I worked on Proloque and chapter 1 of my first idea before decided I didn't like it. Then found a lot of bugs in my engine and now am implementing chapter 1 into the engine.

And how much will I have? Who knows, I've already written a lot and I can write a lot more, it all depends how much I can have done by the due date for the entry. By the end of the week, they will be enough for you to explore and to discover to make a judgment on the game itself.

Cheers!

"Experience never provides its judgments with true or strict universality; but only (through induction) with assumed and comparative universality." - Immanuel Kant
Roxas
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Posted: 21st Jul 2008 19:10
Ah looks intresting I really look into some nice looking Background art too And nicely arragned text fonts and styles. Those increase the charm of this text adventure program

Blobby 101
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Posted: 21st Jul 2008 19:49
Quote: "Those increase the charm of this text adventure program"

umm... I think it's a game.

Looks good Sepp, is that background the same for the whole game or does it change? because a series of that type of background would be great.
Seppuku Arts
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Posted: 21st Jul 2008 19:57
Thanks for the comments - the background does change as does the music - they will change with the atmosphere. I'm hoping to make all of the music myself, but I'm a newbie at making music, so I might use someone elses for the competition (with their permission of course)

"Experience never provides its judgments with true or strict universality; but only (through induction) with assumed and comparative universality." - Immanuel Kant
Darth Kiwi
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Posted: 21st Jul 2008 22:13
I love this idea! Making philosophy and religion central to the plot was a good move, I think: it makes it fundamentally intriguing and important.

I won't ask for any more plot details because I'd rather play the game and have that tell me, but I'm looking forward to this very much.

I'm not actually a Kiwi, I just randomly thought it up one day.
tha_rami
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Posted: 21st Jul 2008 23:57
Will be interesting as well. Seems your game will be more dependant on the story than mine/Kiwi's, which seem more focussed on the dynamics, Kiwi's even more so than mine.

Good to see what the competition brings this year .


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Seppuku Arts
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Posted: 22nd Jul 2008 01:12
Thanks and likewise - yeah I thought the writing was more important for mine, probably because I probably couldn't come up with anything hugely dynamic - maybe next year, I'm really tempted by the idea of a pacman text adventure or something like that.

Enjoy!

"Experience never provides its judgments with true or strict universality; but only (through induction) with assumed and comparative universality." - Immanuel Kant
Cian Rice
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Posted: 22nd Jul 2008 02:49
Oh man this is going to be awesome because it's done by that crazy brit named Seppuku.

He makes Hooch from Scrubs seem sane.

All that aside though it sounds really interesting the story is very original. But for some reason it reminds me of Assassin's Creed. I'm not sure why.

Anyways I think the layout of the screen could be better but that's my only gripe from what I can see. How to improve it? Not quite sure...

Roxas
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Posted: 22nd Jul 2008 12:28
Quote: "umm... I think it's a game."


Computer game is also program.. Whatever, who cares anyways.

Seppuku Arts
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Posted: 22nd Jul 2008 12:45
Quote: "But for some reason it reminds me of Assassin's Creed. I'm not sure why. "


I can't understand either, I know I've nearly completed Assassin's Creed but I'm sure the plot hasn't effected me...unless you mean the religious aspects and there being a Crusade beforehand and there being a level of corruption, then I suppose. What I was going for was a parallel to a corrupt medieval Catholic Church in a dystopiate sci-fi world.

Quote: "Oh man this is going to be awesome because it's done by that crazy brit named Seppuku.

He makes Hooch from Scrubs seem sane."


Haha, long time no see Cian, but I think I'll take the Scrubs things as a complement.

Anyway thanks, as for the layout - it could be improved, I'll get down and see what I can do.

"Experience never provides its judgments with true or strict universality; but only (through induction) with assumed and comparative universality." - Immanuel Kant
Dazzag
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Posted: 22nd Jul 2008 14:21
Does look good. The plot sounds well interesting, and hopefully will equal a great game if you pull it off. No pressure...

Quote: "I know I've nearly completed Assassin's Creed but I'm sure the plot hasn't effected me"
Heh, almost impossible to say things like that from your own perspective I remember a book I used to use to write game ideas in, back in the Speccy days. Obviously I never completed anything fully (apart from a graphical maths helper for my sister), and only half finished some of the projects. But looking back at the book, over 20 years later, I realised just about all of my original ideas (I thought of the time) were obviously influenced by games I played at the time. Some massively I remember a Guantlet type game I designed where you were some kind of insect (transformed by a wizard), and you could fight other creatures using spells which worked like word games. Anyone remember Ranarama?

Cheers

I am 99% probably lying in bed right now... so don't blame me for crappy typing
Current fave quote : "She was like a candle in the wind.... unreliable...."
Seppuku Arts
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Posted: 22nd Jul 2008 14:37 Edited at: 22nd Jul 2008 14:44
How's this for an appearance revamp? The background of course will still change depending on the scene:



[EDIT]

Quote: "Does look good. The plot sounds well interesting, and hopefully will equal a great game if you pull it off. No pressure...

Quote: "I know I've nearly completed Assassin's Creed but I'm sure the plot hasn't effected me"
Heh, almost impossible to say things like that from your own perspective I remember a book I used to use to write game ideas in, back in the Speccy days. Obviously I never completed anything fully (apart from a graphical maths helper for my sister), and only half finished some of the projects. But looking back at the book, over 20 years later, I realised just about all of my original ideas (I thought of the time) were obviously influenced by games I played at the time. Some massively I remember a Guantlet type game I designed where you were some kind of insect (transformed by a wizard), and you could fight other creatures using spells which worked like word games. Anyone remember Ranarama?"


Cheers, but I suppose it may well have been what got me on having a crusade as part of the history (as that's an idea that occur after playing it) but the Roman Catholic corruption thing comes from a point of view and perception of history I've had for a while and have argued in discussions (not on here of course - the argument being along the lines of the fine line between religion and religious institutions) The Preacher guy is an adaptation of a character I used for something at uni - who was originally the Grim Reaper, but I decided to think of something to replace old Grim because he's such a cliche and then The Preacher appeared.

"Experience never provides its judgments with true or strict universality; but only (through induction) with assumed and comparative universality." - Immanuel Kant
Dazzag
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Posted: 22nd Jul 2008 16:31
Quote: "How's this for an appearance revamp?"
Oooh, that doesn't really appeal to me for some reason. At all. Don't know why actually. Try wrapping a black outline around the text. I use the D3D DLL these days (for speed), but is easy enough in normal DBP. Just do a routine for text that puts a black version of the text 1 pixel above, below, left, and right, then puts the coloured version in the correct place in the middle. Always looks miles better.

Might be an idea to go with Themes and skins so we can change ourselves in options. Personally I much preferred the look of the first screen.

Quote: "the Roman Catholic corruption thing comes from a point of view and perception of history I've had for a while"
Fair enough. I know nothing about Assassins Creed. I'm just saying that a lot of ideas are actually inspired by other things and you don't even realise it. Not a bad thing, and hopefully it isn't normally as bad as my Ranarama example

Cheers

I am 99% probably lying in bed right now... so don't blame me for crappy typing
Current fave quote : "She was like a candle in the wind.... unreliable...."
Roxas
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Posted: 22nd Jul 2008 17:23
I dint like that text too. Outlining is great idean and changins color of middle text when outlined to something that fits the background is good.

Seppuku Arts
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Posted: 22nd Jul 2008 17:30
I could try that text change - if you want themes - as I have a changing background, what I might have to is either set up the setting to include borders or to exclude them - the background itself will change dependant on the atmosphere.


Or would you prefer a selection of specific backgrounds to play throughout?

"Experience never provides its judgments with true or strict universality; but only (through induction) with assumed and comparative universality." - Immanuel Kant
Dazzag
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Posted: 22nd Jul 2008 18:04 Edited at: 22nd Jul 2008 18:05
Hmmm. A changing background based on atmosphere would be really good (I assume, for example, a similar background, but blood soaked, for a violent scene) actually. Just make sure it isn't mandatory to solving a puzzle or somesuch. Yeah, an option to stick with one out of the backgrounds available would be good.

I would deffo go with outlined text if I was you. Makes a massive impact. Even for scores, HUDs, and menus etc. Non-outlined text just looks naff and gets lost a little on background images. Outlined text looks crisp, neat, and more professional. Remember it's a text adventure, not a frame sapping FPS, so doesn't matter too much if you sap some of the power doing 5 times as much text on each word (plus a colour change on the font). Use the D3D DLL too and apparently uses a *lot* less FPS than the built in DBP text commands (the demo is nutterly faster for loads of text).

Cheers

I am 99% probably lying in bed right now... so don't blame me for crappy typing
Current fave quote : "She was like a candle in the wind.... unreliable...."
Darth Kiwi
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Posted: 22nd Jul 2008 19:10
I like the new screen, except for the purple text - the outline idea seems good. I'm not sure about how your engine works, but such a change wouldn't be that much of a problem for mine because the screen is drawn only once, then the main loop only checks input.

Seppuku Arts
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Posted: 22nd Jul 2008 19:54
Cheers Dazzag, I'll pick up that DLL.

Well I've made it so that you can turn off the border - though it doesn't save the setting yet, but that shouldn't take much as long as LUA does its job.

As for implementation, there's only 3 drawings for text - the title, main body and options, so it's not a problem.

With the border I didn't like how I did it myself, so I've put a softer border in and updated the text with better colours and the outlines:



"Experience never provides its judgments with true or strict universality; but only (through induction) with assumed and comparative universality." - Immanuel Kant
Roxas
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Posted: 22nd Jul 2008 21:04
That looks much much better I like it.

Dazzag
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Posted: 22nd Jul 2008 22:39
Yep, thats a lot better. I like the faded edges of the boxes, and the outlined text stands out a lot better.

Cheers

I am 99% probably lying in bed right now... so don't blame me for crappy typing
Current fave quote : "She was like a candle in the wind.... unreliable...."
tha_rami
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Posted: 22nd Jul 2008 22:45
Much better, indeed . Me likes.


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Darth Kiwi
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Posted: 23rd Jul 2008 00:44
Ooh, nice. Shadowy...

I'm still not sure about the colour of the text, but that might just be me. Keep up the good work!

Seppuku Arts
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Posted: 23rd Jul 2008 01:05 Edited at: 23rd Jul 2008 01:06
Hehe, thanks - now I can get onto getting a demo done by the end of the week, pressure's on, it's Wednesday tomorrow and I have work in the morning, can I do it? *Cue dramatic music and American voice over*

As for the colour, I've sat around with Paint.NET and DBPro open trying to find the perfect colours, but I don't think such a thing exists, or at least I'm incapable of finding them - colours I did like meant the main body text didn't stand out enough, which being the main part of the text it needs to strike the player. I suppose it's a question of practical graphology or being Trinny and Susanna.

"Experience never provides its judgments with true or strict universality; but only (through induction) with assumed and comparative universality." - Immanuel Kant
draknir_
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Posted: 23rd Jul 2008 01:54
Looking and sounding very good indeed, I have no doubt you will manage to convey a suitably Orwellian atmosphere.
Dazzag
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Posted: 23rd Jul 2008 09:32
Quote: "As for the colour, I've sat around with Paint.NET and DBPro open trying to find the perfect colours"
Why not make them configurable? There is a nice code snippet hanging around somewhere that creates a nice colour picker inside DBP. I used it inside DarkMUD infact for the very same reason. I'll dig it out if you want it and can't find it. Another option is to use one of the DLLs to show a dialog. I own BlueGui and I'm pretty sure it has that option (I use a dialog for file open for example).

Cheers

I am 99% probably lying in bed right now... so don't blame me for crappy typing
Current fave quote : "She was like a candle in the wind.... unreliable...."
Seppuku Arts
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Posted: 10th Aug 2008 18:55 Edited at: 11th Aug 2008 17:24
Ah sorry guys, I've gotten way behind of schedule...so my promise of a demo with Chapter 1 and 2 hasn't been fulfilled yet. Though I have the prologue done and I wouldn't mind some feedback - incase there's any bugs I've missed.


So download-eth the demo (prologue only)

ATTENTION: On the bottom of 2 posts you'll see a red download button, don't click that! It don't work, click the above link.

How to Play:

Cursors keys: move along the lists
Return key: Selects
Space key: Skips typewriting effects
Escape - quits

You'll notice I've updated the engine and I've already cleared a few bugs, so lets hope it works smoothly on your systems as it does mine.

"Experience never provides its judgments with true or strict universality; but only (through induction) with assumed and comparative universality." - Immanuel Kant

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Darth Kiwi
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Posted: 11th Aug 2008 16:09
Um, maybe it's just me but the file is "1567420" (no extension) and it has a size of 0 bytes.

Fix fix fix fix fix wanna play wanna play!

Seppuku Arts
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Posted: 11th Aug 2008 17:04 Edited at: 11th Aug 2008 17:26
Weird...forum bug? I'll try again, if not then I'll upload elsewhere and report it to Rich.

[edit]

It did it again - I'll edit the download post with the file.

[Edit2]

Uploaded to filefront - download works on there, tried it myself - the link is in my original download post.


And uh, I shouldn't think you'll find it that exciting (in terms of game play at least, you don't do much yet), it's just a prologue - however I need to seee how well it works for people, so I can stomp out any bugs now and get general feedback.

"Experience never provides its judgments with true or strict universality; but only (through induction) with assumed and comparative universality." - Immanuel Kant

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Darth Kiwi
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Posted: 11th Aug 2008 19:43
I played it - I like it a lot! I'll do criticism first, though:

1) If a punctuation mark was right on the end of a line, it would get moved to the next line. For example:
+ Code Snippet
It was only a slight problem, though; didn't really detract much from the game.
2) When I first selected "options", it crashed the game. So I started it up again, played through, then tried "options" again - but this time it worked. It also crashed at the end of the credits (selected from the options menu) but it might have been intentional to have it quit there.
3) I got confused with some of the dialogue! I noticed you'd put lots of spaces between one piece of dialogue and the next, but I still found it very difficult to read dialogue fluently when there was more than one person speaking - so a "new line" function or something might be a good idea.
4) I also noticed a few typos, such as "breathe" for "breath", and some places where there were too many or too few speech marks, but I always understood what you meant so it's not really a big deal.

Now the good stuff:
The presentation was minimalistic but I found it very pleasing and easy to read. The little orange flare-things at the sides added to the background but didn't get in the way. The text outline made it seem professional and made it easier to read when the text did go over those flare-things. The music was not blaring or annoying, and made reading the text more interesting.

The story is good so far, and it sounds like the plot is going to have lots of potential for power-hungriness and so on. The Preacher already has a very strong personality.

tha_rami
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Posted: 11th Aug 2008 19:56
Still can't download it. Appears Filefront does not serve Egypt.


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Seppuku Arts
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Posted: 11th Aug 2008 20:17 Edited at: 11th Aug 2008 20:19
Thanks for testing it - in regards to your problems:

Quote: "1) If a punctuation mark was right on the end of a line, it would get moved to the next line."


Hmmm, I've had a look and you're right, it would have something to do with the d3d_textbox command (from cloggie's D3D dll)- I found it worked better than my word wrapper because it successfully wrapped whole words, but it seems the command doesn't treat punctuation in the right way. Unfortunately the DLL carries to many advantages to go back to my system - but I'll look into solutions.

Quote: "2) When I first selected "options", it crashed the game. So I started it up again, played through, then tried "options" again - but this time it worked. It also crashed at the end of the credits"


Very odd - do you get anything like this with the rest of the game - the scripts shouldn't be treated any differently to the rest. Though I just tried it...Options works fine for me, but credits doesn't and checking the script I've found the source of the problem - the command count is '5' when I only have 1 command.


Quote: "3) I got confused with some of the dialogue! I noticed you'd put lots of spaces between one piece of dialogue and the next, but I still found it very difficult to read dialogue fluently when there was more than one person speaking - so a "new line" function or something might be a good idea."


I've been trying to figure out how to get a new line from within the lua scripts - looks like I might have to resort to something similar I used in my old system. I'm loving the convenience of word wrapping, but of course it won't stay if it doesn't help with the reading.

Quote: "4) I also noticed a few typos, such as "breathe" for "breath","


Hehe, no excuses for that one - I went through it trying to pick out typos, mind you, I had quite a few like 'he' instead of 'her' and 'drivers passed' instead of 'drives'. Extra speak marks probably came from edits in scripts during because of different changes.

But I'll sit down and try to fix these problems during the week - Thursday - Monday I'm at a Metal Festival and work towards a demo that offers more of a game.

Quote: "Now the good stuff:
The presentation was minimalistic but I found it very pleasing and easy to read. The little orange flare-things at the sides added to the background but didn't get in the way. The text outline made it seem professional and made it easier to read when the text did go over those flare-things. The music was not blaring or annoying, and made reading the text more interesting.

The story is good so far, and it sounds like the plot is going to have lots of potential for power-hungriness and so on. The Preacher already has a very strong personality."


Thanks and I'm glad to hear you like it and am glad the preacher has already taken your notice - but the hard bit will be making him scary - but the main imagary I have for him is him tall and always over shadowing you with his book and holy water, speaking with a voice that echoes fear into your heart.


[edit]

Rami, anywhere you can suggest that I upload it? I could try the Black Draco Games forum if KeithC don't mind me uploading it.

"Experience never provides its judgments with true or strict universality; but only (through induction) with assumed and comparative universality." - Immanuel Kant
tha_rami
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Posted: 11th Aug 2008 21:21
E-mail?


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Darth Kiwi
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Posted: 11th Aug 2008 21:34
Try this:

http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=abc99930d933e439d2db6fb9a8902bda

It's a one-shot upload (so I didn't register or anything) so it might be gone in a month or something. Seems to work for me, though.

If the punctuation line-wrap thing is too much bother then I don't mind about it too much - but I do think that paragraphing would not only add to clarity with dialogue, but also allow you greater freedom of expression.
My own textwrap function basically works like this:

+ Code Snippet

"Form" means "page", so "form(1)" means "page 1". Then, when it comes to printing, the code is basically as follows:

textwrap(0,0,form(1).prose1)

where the function is "textwrap(x,y,text)"

But it records what height the last paragraph ended at in the variable "cursory", so the full code for 3 paragrpahs is:

+ Code Snippet

Seppuku Arts
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Posted: 11th Aug 2008 21:50 Edited at: 11th Aug 2008 21:51
Yup, I've sent it to you now.

[Edit]

Kiwi, that sounds like a sensible solution, cheers.

"Experience never provides its judgments with true or strict universality; but only (through induction) with assumed and comparative universality." - Immanuel Kant
Dazzag
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Posted: 12th Aug 2008 12:16
Yeah, I posted a text wrap routine in the TAC thread. It was before I used the text DLL, but there is an equivalent command (text width and height basically). It supports paragraphs too (shove a ¬ where you want it to stop word wrapping).

Cheers

I am 99% probably lying in bed right now... so don't blame me for crappy typing
Current fave quote : "She was like a candle in the wind.... unreliable...."
Seppuku Arts
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Posted: 12th Aug 2008 12:43
Cheers, I'll check it out and see if I can get it to work.

"Experience never provides its judgments with true or strict universality; but only (through induction) with assumed and comparative universality." - Immanuel Kant
tha_rami
11
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Joined: 25th Mar 2006
Location: Netherlands
Posted: 12th Aug 2008 18:12
Well, there's enough stuff introduced to make for a good story, and that should be your focus. I enjoyed the ride till now - bring it on!


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Seppuku Arts
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13
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Joined: 18th Aug 2004
Location: Cambridgeshire, England
Posted: 12th Aug 2008 18:31
Cheers, I suppose now's the time to get the handbags and claws out for the compo? Who cares about the games? Lets just all get in the ring and wrestle it out.

But yeah my main focus is the story - I'll just finish with the engine parts and get back down to the writing.

"Experience never provides its judgments with true or strict universality; but only (through induction) with assumed and comparative universality." - Immanuel Kant
Seppuku Arts
Moderator
13
Years of Service
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Joined: 18th Aug 2004
Location: Cambridgeshire, England
Posted: 12th Aug 2008 21:35
Woohoo, I've worked out how to get my text to start a new line!

The principle is similar to C++ "\n", except only not using '\n' of course, in my scripts when you write "hello [world" the '[' sets a new line (I'll change the character to '*') and of course when the engine reads this it presents the text that follows as a new line - so I can still use D3D.dll's Text box command.


Or as a code snippet:

+ Code Snippet



"Experience never provides its judgments with true or strict universality; but only (through induction) with assumed and comparative universality." - Immanuel Kant
Darth Kiwi
12
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Joined: 7th Jan 2005
Location: On the brink of insanity.
Posted: 13th Aug 2008 13:25
Well done - that's a real improvement! As for the comp, well, I'll just try to make mine as good as I can but I'm also really looking forward to playing everybody else's.

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