June 27, 2019, 12:20:07 PM

Author Topic: Spirit of Christmas  (Read 1153 times)

Offline DaiHard

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Spirit of Christmas
« on: November 13, 2018, 08:54:42 AM »
OK, I'll break cover: I'm spending quite a lot of time thinking about this, and maybe confessing will give me the incentive actually to write the game engine...

The core problem is this: you owe the building society a lot of money, and your house will be repossessed immediately after Christmas unless you can get £1 million. Bank robbery seems the only option - or is it?

Why is that Christmassy? Wait and see....

Initial plans revolve around essentially a text-based adventure, though I'd like to "illustrate" at least parts of it if possible, though my art skills border on the non-existent! Photography may help... If I manage that, some navigation may be (optionally) point and click, but actual interactions will be text-based. The key will be working out a usable parsing system, particularly for speech interactions...

:-)

D

Online Derron

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Re: Spirit of Christmas
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2018, 09:00:08 AM »
Of course you would need a "festive costume" during your bank robbery. You might fetch some ideas from "Bad Santa (2)" :-)


bye
Ron

Offline Xerra

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Re: Spirit of Christmas
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2018, 06:58:49 PM »
OK, I'll break cover: I'm spending quite a lot of time thinking about this, and maybe confessing will give me the incentive actually to write the game engine...

The core problem is this: you owe the building society a lot of money, and your house will be repossessed immediately after Christmas unless you can get £1 million. Bank robbery seems the only option - or is it?

Why is that Christmassy? Wait and see....

Initial plans revolve around essentially a text-based adventure, though I'd like to "illustrate" at least parts of it if possible, though my art skills border on the non-existent! Photography may help... If I manage that, some navigation may be (optionally) point and click, but actual interactions will be text-based. The key will be working out a usable parsing system, particularly for speech interactions...


Good luck with this. Nice to see someone else is having a crack at a proper old-school adventure.

What language are you going to develop the game in? I'll give you my parser code if you're using GameMaker Studio 2, and it would save you some time. Although it may be too limited if you're doing spoken interactions.


Offline DaiHard

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Re: Spirit of Christmas
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2018, 09:05:11 AM »
Hi Xerra,

Thanks for the offer, but I'll be using BBC Basic for Windows (or maybe the BBC_SDL variant, which would make it accessible on (some) non-Windows platforms). Anway, writing the parser is really the key programming challenge!

:-)

D

Offline DaiHard

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Re: Spirit of Christmas
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2018, 04:50:18 PM »
A quick update: I finally feel like I'm making some progress. I've settled for a text-only adventure, a la Infocom games of the ?80s. I have all my locations and objects in place (unless I add some more!), and am starting on the other characters. I can wander around the locations, get things, and solve the first puzzle!

D

Offline MrmediamanX

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Re: Spirit of Christmas
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2018, 07:19:04 PM »
Nice ... depending on the scope time is ever fleeting. 13 more days to go.
that should be plenty.

Offline round157

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Re: Spirit of Christmas
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2018, 12:17:57 AM »


Thanks for the offer, but I'll be using BBC Basic for Windows (or maybe the BBC_SDL variant, which would make it accessible on (some) non-Windows platforms). Anway, writing the parser is really the key programming challenge!

:-)

D

Hello,

Was your entry made with this BBC_SDL? I hear that there is a virus problem. Has this virus bug been solved completely?

Offline DaiHard

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Re: Spirit of Christmas
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2018, 04:19:17 PM »
No, it's made in BBC4W, though it should run unchanged in BBCSDL, I hope. The hires font looks horrible. though...

Online Derron

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Re: Spirit of Christmas
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2019, 11:14:51 AM »
Congrats to all the submitters (who are also winners in this compo ;-)).

Seems Xerra's costs for the artist at least partially got covered by Qube. Hah.



PS: I did only have time to play the Ascii-Adventure for 5 minutes 2 minutes and it did not work for me (only got syntax error, command not recognized or similar stuff ... and as "h", "help", "?" "/help" was not recognized here - I know there was a statement about help which I skipped too fast ;-) - so I stopped playing with the plan to resume later on). Also I was a bit "discencouraged" as there are only 3 submitters and I would have had to vote biased (only 2 of 3). With the "text one" being not really my kind I am sure I would have had to vote for something I would not have voted for with more options to choose from (sorry guys, do not want to upset you!). Glad at least some votes dripped in an winners were able to get choosen.


For next compo: back to the generator script? Maybe this time we should really plan time span 2 weeks ahead so that there could be a little "ad posts" on other forums to attract people. Maybe we could have some kind of "thread" containing forum/page links which might be interested in - and who wants to create a thread there (would be good to be an active user there already - as "1st time 'ad'-posters" are often ... ignored or not welcomed well).

Also I encourage people to put some screenshots next to their competition entries - so people see what they can play (advertise your game!). Maybe we should put it into the rules for submission then (title, description/help, screenshot, downloadlink)



Again: congrats for finishing but as always: there is _a_lot_ room to improve (for all of us) in some aspects of game programming.


bye
Ron

Offline DaiHard

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Re: Spirit of Christmas
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2019, 01:55:18 PM »
Hi Ron,

I'm sorry you struggled to get anywhere with the game: "help" should have worked - and I like your idea of adding "h" and "?" as options - I'll probably do that in my framework. Help should bring up a full list of all commands, with their syntax. Common commands (like n/s/e/w) have abbreviations/alternatives.

People and objects already have multiple aliases, to increase the chance that the program can interpret your instruction, but it's certainly something that could be improved. Like Xerra, I pretty much went for a minimalist syntax, on the assumption anyone playing this game would have played similar games in the 80s/90s! Also I didn't have time to get into a "natural language" interpreter.

I'm surprised you got syntax errors/crashes: not impossible, but it's designed simply to ignore commands it can't deal with (though I try to get it to say "I don't understand" or something, it doesn't always pick it up). A report during the "bug-correction period" would have been useful.

As I commented elsewhere, it's always a fine balance between making puzzles discouragingly hard and putting people off, and so facile that they aren't interesting. I tried to find that balance by giving clues, but if you couldn't work out how to read the clues, then I'm not surprised you found it frustrating...

Best wishes,

D

Online Derron

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Re: Spirit of Christmas
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2019, 03:54:59 PM »
Was able to replicate the issue:

- start the game
- "help" (works)
- "h" (works)
- see that there was a list of items - a desk
- "open desk" -> error
- "h" and "help" ... and all does no longer work




@ Qube
Feel free to move to an approbriate thread.


bye
Ron

Offline DaiHard

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Re: Spirit of Christmas
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2019, 05:34:33 PM »
Thanks, Ron.

That's annoying: I had written PROCPRINT when I meant PROCPrint... I obviously never tried opening something that doesn't open... That's what happens when you are trying to meet a tight deadline rather than test to destruction, I guess.

Once you've crashed out of course nothing will work (except RUN to restart the program!). I finished with END (which makes sense while debugging, and because I find it annoying when crashing programs simply disappear rather than telling me there is a problem), but would you have preferred if it simply QUIT, and disappeared?

Qube/Ron, maybe this should move to the worklog?

Best wishes,

D

Online Derron

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Re: Spirit of Christmas
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2019, 06:12:53 PM »
Ooops...missed this worklog - else I would have posted here.

Once Qube moved our posts of the other thread into this one it will be "in order" again (post timestamp).


@ quit when crashing
I do not understand why the game continues to do something if the parser unexpectingly exited.

Couldn't you simple wrap it in a "try catch" thing so that potential errors do not crash the whole program. Also in all cases you should have an "else" or "default" (in switch/select statements). So unhandled input gets catched correctly: "cannot open XYZ", "cannot speak with XYZ" ...


Especially as the game seems to continue somehow I think it might confuse people playing it (if there are some outside of this community).


bye
Ron

Offline DaiHard

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Re: Spirit of Christmas
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2019, 09:52:43 AM »
Hi Ron,

BB4W is an interpreted language: even when it is "compiled" to an exe, what is really under the hood is the basic code bundled with a run time engine. When the program crashes, you end up back in the interpreter, so it's no longer the game continuing, it's BB4W. You could type "RUN", and the program would restart. You can also PRINT variable%, to find out what has gone wrong, for example.

Yes I could, perhaps should, include an error-trapping routine that simply ignores errors (or quits cleanly). I'm not really used to writing code for others, except under very controlled circumstances, and when I'm writing for myself I WANT to know when something has gone wrong!

In this case the problem wasn't the parser - that DOES drop through safely - it was a fundamental coding error crashing the program. I should have tested more thoroughly, but time was short...

For what it's worth, a slightly improved version (including a fix of that bug) is now available at the same link, if you are interested in trying to get a bit further - but I'll quite understand if you're not!

Best wishes,

D