Mage’s Tower is a text adventure game involving portals leading to different worlds. It’s not completed, but I decided to submit it because I did spend my weekend trying to put something together. Even if I failed, I’d like to know if my general idea was interesting for anyone.

To the point

I did submit  a game. This is good. The bad thing is that I didn’t manage to finish it, so the experience is incomplete. This is fairly important for a Twine game, so I’m a little heartbroken, especially since I took another day to work on it (I could use only a couple of hours out of it though) and had to submit it as a Jam entry.

You can play my game here: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=5431

As I said, it’s not going to be a complete experience, but if you fancy similar games, you can at least look at what I tried to do.

Theme

Can’t believe I’m going to write this, but the theme was actually okay. Right from the start I had this idea for a text-adventure game, and while I wasn’t sure how to start, I knew that I wanted to use Twine and/or some custom JavaScript. At some point I knew I wanted a random way to transfer the player between different places, and maybe this is where I actually should have started in the beginning, because I wasted waaay too much time on the not-very-important beginning of the game.

Tools

It turns out that Twine is a very good tool to make choose-your-own-adventure style games. This was my first time using it, and in the end I was surprised how interestingly complicated things you can do using such a simple tool.

I’ve had some problems with it at the beginning, though. Using a lot of community-made macros, it turned out some things look different under different browsers (Firefox vs. Chrome vs. mobile browser), and I really wanted for the game to be consistent. In the end, some transitions don’t work as they should in Firefox. And I’m reassured that developing something for the web (HTML5+CSS3) is still a hellish experience. Some of the macros were outdated and I tried to fix them, with little success.

Coming close towards the end of the Compo, I even managed to implement some simple JavaScript to manage player’s inventory. This helped a lot, but the original idea was to use extensive JS to have even more interaction (think canvas elements on some of the paragraphs) – this wasn’t really realistic though, given my fairly poor knowledge of JS (on top of how TiddlyWiki works, and Twine too).

Also, not knowing Twine did come with a price. It took me too much time to think about how to organize things like dialogs, quests, inventory – I actually started to figure things out towards the end of the competition, and some experience here would have helped.

Learning

I learned a lot – maybe not in terms of technical knowledge, but more about my limitations. I learned that creating a compelling story in English is not as simple as I thought it might be (mainly because I’m not English), and I gained a lot of respect for IF creators in general. Maybe reading more books in English would have helped.

Also, it’s not enough to know some MilkyTracker to create something that sounds okay (hence no sound in my game, which is a bummer because I did spend some time on creating some very bad music and I did adapt Twine to play it).

There’s this saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words”. I know exactly what it means now.

While I was really crushed when Compo ended knowing that I might not be able to finish any game even under Jam rules, I’m glad I did submit something in the end (otherwise my weekend would have been wasted). I’m not satisfied with my work, but Ludum Dare is a good time to take risks.

Effect

After you’ve visited all 9 worlds, and tried to get all 3 achievements (involving repeatable actions), there’s not much more to see, so there’s no point playing after that. Sorry.

It should be playable on mobiles, though all the effects work as intended only in Chrome.

TL;DR

  • don’t bother with effects, music, etc. at first – this should be something you work on at the end of the compo
  • if you’re going to dive into a completely new software when making a game – take an evening or two to have a look at it first
  • if you’re not able to finish your game during LD, remember it’s the process of making it that counts

Anyways, congrats to everyone that did finish a game this weekend! :)

Tags:


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

[cache: storing page]