10 Jun 13
A long, long time ago—it looks like over five years ago, actually, which makes me wince—I posted a blog article here about an analysis of verb use in some well-known IF games. These were based not on actual player transcripts, but rather on the published walkthroughs of these games. The walkthroughs weren't necessarily the quickest solutions to the games—they included commands that were technically unnecessary for solving the game, but which provided a more complete experience of the game for players who followed them. Still, they were by no means game transcripts, so they didn't truly reflect the typical use of verbs that one might expect from players. The idea was to get a sense of the breadth and depth of verb usage in these games, and one of the things I found was a surprising range of verbs required, with one game requiring a total of 65 different actions. I also looked at Vespers, which required fewer verbs in its walkthrough than some of the other games, and was dominated by movement, talking, and examination.
6 Jun 13
In the last post, I talked a bit about my game design documents for Vespers, although technically they're really more like level design documents. Vespers doesn't have levels, of course, but it does have Acts that are organized chronologically, so design docs for each Act help to organize the content and action into discrete compartments. I thought this would be an interesting look at how the game is structured, where the action takes place, and how the docs have helped in the design and development of the game.
3 Jun 13
Since Vespers has mostly been a one-man operation, I haven't spent too much time on formal game design documents. Some detailed information can be helpful for collaborators, particularly on the art side with N.R., but I've mostly dealt with those issues as they've arisen. But one area that I've found helpful for myself has been mapping out the locations and activity in the game, so I can keep track of what happens in a particular Act and where it happens.
Vespers is an independent game currently under development by Orange River Studio. It is an adaptation of Jason Devlin's award-winning interactive fiction (IF) work of the same name. It is an experiment to discover what kind of horribly disfigured offspring might result from the mating of an IF engine with a 3D first-person graphics engine. For more details about the game, click here.