For EL405 (New Media Projects), I finally finished my Inform 7 Hospital game after attempting several other programs. These new programs I had been recently introduced to in the past three months lost the race for being chosen Tiffany's Favorite Program for her Final Project. I've had several disagreements and face-to-computer-screen arguments with Blender 3D and Adobe Flash. Although in EL236, freshman year, Inform 7 and I had our differences. I came into EL405 dispising this program, but it really has earned a special place in my heart. We get along now and I know how to correct and comfort Inform 7's spastic-broken clock, error message, outrages. I've realized it takes time to work at a program and learn how it ticks.
The Hospital Game is my very first completed IF game. There is an actual end to the game. You can win when you obtain all objectives and find the secret way out. You cannot win points, but you can definately win some dignity and gratitude that comes with completing something you started.
My very first Interactive Fiction game in November 2006 was similar to the Hospital game in such ways of its ridiculous humor and random characters and actions. In a way, I've used some of the same concepts of my very first interactive fiction game. In case you're interested in progress, here is the coding and ideas I had two years ago.
Another influence for this game was of the amnesia-lost-in-a-hospital genre game also called, The Hospital, by Ian Osbourne. I definately did not copy any of his ideas inside the game. His game is fairly realistic, portraying what actually might happen to you if you are a patient stranded in a hospital with amnesia. I chose to take a different, comical route. I don't like to be serious because I'm not good at it. Inform 7 allows you to be as creative as you want without any restrictions. It's a different version of creative writing without an outline paving your way. It takes a wild imagination to create an entire world and story through writing. Inform 7 is just a different program which has the same use as a pen and piece of paper.
My previous blogs will tell the player alot of the information about my hospital game. tricks, hints and clues are scattered throughout these blogs that players really should not know because it will destroy the secret pieces of the puzzle. I wrote about the secrets because I had problems my alpha testers came across and had to correct them. By publishing the information on my blog, I was given the opportunity to recieve comments by my classmates and others who could leave helpful tips.
Now, there really is not a full thorough synopsis of my game posted.
So here it is:
You are a patient and you wake up in a hospital unaware of your surroundings or situation. Your objective is to get out of the hospital. Right away you will notice all exits are blocked or inaccessible. There is one character you can interact with. So be careful what you ask her, she could have valuable information.
What was I trying to accomplish? Well since day one of Inform 7 this semester, I knew I wanted to focus the most on creating objects that can be interacted with. There were several IF games that I played which placed me in a room with objects I could do nothing with. For example, I was placed in a kitchen. "A small kitchen with flowery yellow walls, an open stove warming the chill from the apple pies cooling on the windowsil. The clothed table had a vase of flowers with springtime freshness." As a player I want to be able to touch or interact with every object that is shown to me. If the apple pies are only part of the setting and the player does not need them, there should be a short description, "The crisp apple pies are intended for the upcoming dinner gathering." That way, when the player tries to eat the pies, they do not have to read the default description, "You can't see any such thing." The player obviously knows the pie is there. It is in the description of the kitchen. If the object is there, I want to examine it.
In my hospital game, I was very articulate when it came to creating objects in each room. Each object either serves a purpose and/or has a clever description stating what it's use is. Although, my objects are limited and the game is fairly short in some people's opinion, there is a beginning, middle, and end with interactive surroundings. To me, that is an extremely important element in interactive fiction and writing in general. You do not want to lose the player/reader, therefore this was my initial goal.
There are a few coding tricks I've utilized while creating my IF game. You can watch it here in my short video.