Sunday, March 8, 2009

Week Four Assignment

Send in your Week 3 assignments! if[dot]month[at]gmail[dot]com

If you've been writing along so far, you've (hopefully) described a place and its contents, and allowed a unique explorer to interact with the environment and animate inhabitants. Another way to expand an IF story is to define new verbs. While gratuitous extra verbs can lead to far less amusing versions of "Guess the Verb" than this one, a well-chosen verb can lend credibility to your story, allowing your player to interact in more natural ways.

Em Short uses a few new verbs — notably, "remember" and "link" — in Savoir Faire that are intuitive and vital to the story. She also just wrote a blog entry about action and agency, which you may find relevent to your writing process this week. (Have you noticed yet that Em Short is awesome?)

And of course, where would interactive fiction be without the spell "xyzzy"?

You can learn about how to make new verbs in in Inform 6 with the "William Tell" example in the IBG, or §6 in the DM4. In Inform 7, check out chapter 12.7 in the Manual.

This week, write a story that includes at least one custom verb that contributes to the story in a seamless way.

This is our last week, so I think it's time to also request that the games be as immersive as possible. This means that there should be no inappropriate "You can't see that here" and "That's not a verb I recognise" messages. Ideally, you should run your game by at least one beta tester: this is a good habit to be in. You may be able to find a willing beta tester on the forums; I can also look at some games, though I can't promise super rapid turnaround.

If you're looking for a more concrete assignment, here is a title to make a story out of: "Synaesthesia: The Text Adventure."

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