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johnki
08-09-2012, 08:25 PM
I randomly remembered a game called Alabaster (http://www.inform-fiction.org/I7Downloads/Examples/alabaster/index.html) today. It intrigues me for two reasons - one, the depth of the conversational system (it is, after all, the entire game), and two, because it was authored under a system of open authorship.

There have been other examples of open authorship, the one that springs to mind immediately is Farbs' PlayPen (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/04/23/playpen-wiki-rah-rah/), but Alabaster seems to be unique in the fact that it was openly authored by, I think, twelve different people, and not only does the tone of the story stay the same overall amongst the different authors, it all makes sense. Nothing is just some random spin-off.

I think it's really interesting, and, as proven, can lead to great results. It seems mostly to be a matter of choosing the right medium and the right topic, and garnering the interest of people that are genuinely interested in it.

So here's my question - what do you think of open authorship, especially open authorship of projects like Alabaster that are free (in cost) and/or open source?

Personally, I'd be interested in seeing more projects like it, especially in a system like Inform (http://inform7.com) that's so easy for anybody to pick up and just start writing.

Hypernetic
08-09-2012, 08:40 PM
It could be good or bad, just like anything else. It depends on what is written.

johnki
08-09-2012, 08:45 PM
It could be good or bad, just like anything else. It depends on what is written.
It didn't occur to me when I wrote this post that most of the responses would end up probably like this. Now, I'm kind of wondering.

But yeah, I kind of have issues with the way PlayPen is done, in an unmoderated sort of manner that makes no sense whatsoever to anyone actually going through it. I mean, it's an interesting social experiment, but when you don't set guidelines, it leads to...less than desirable results. I don't know what it's like anymore, but when it first launched it had some of the weirdest pixelated porn I'd ever seen.

gundato
08-09-2012, 08:46 PM
I think Second Life basically sums things up.

You can get some really nice stuff. And you can also get some REALLY kinky trash. It all depends on who is attracted to the project.

Vague-rant
08-09-2012, 08:54 PM
Personally, I'd be interested in seeing more projects like it, especially in a system like Inform (http://inform7.com) that's so easy for anybody to pick up and just start writing.

Anyone have any experience with Inform? Seems pretty straight forward, and I've always wanted to try my hand at a narrative driven game.

johnki
08-09-2012, 09:04 PM
Anyone have any experience with Inform? Seems pretty straight forward, and I've always wanted to try my hand at a narrative driven game.
I have some minimal experience. At times, it's like writing anything in English. At other times, it's like trying to piece together sentences in the form of some foreign language using English words. It really all depends on what you're trying to do. Games closer to Zork are usually a piece of cake to write when compared to other languages, but once you really start delving into custom verbs and AI, it can get a bit messy.

The site I linked to for Alabaster has the source text linked at the bottom of the menu on the left. It can give you an idea of what a very intricate game in Inform looks like. Keep in mind when reading that that it has a very complex AI, though, and most of the source is the AI.

EDIT: Probably the hardest thing to overcome with Inform is the desire to write everything like a normal sentence. While it is "like writing normal sentences", it does require some oddly structured sentences every now and then, which can be a hard thing to get used to.

frightlever
10-09-2012, 10:44 AM
Anyone have any experience with Inform? Seems pretty straight forward, and I've always wanted to try my hand at a narrative driven game.

I bought this book:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Creating-Interactive-Fiction-Inform-7/dp/1435455061/

Definitely not the place to start though. It's an odd book because it lays out the initial fundamentals then takes a long meandering detour writing a game with anything BUT simple fundamental principles. If you already had a couple of small adventures under your belt (written I mean, not played) and were looking to make something more ambitious then it'd be a good way to dig deeper.

Frankly this is the best introduction to Inform I found:

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Beginner's_Guide_to_Interactive_Fiction_with_Infor m_7/Getting_Started_with_Inform_7

It's a single web page that'll show you exactly how to write a very simple IF. I would have saved myself fifteen quid if I'd found this first.

Inform 7 itself is a real joy to use. Just download a copy, bookmark the forums and have at it. Seriously though, your first attempt should be dead simple or you're going to get frustrated very quickly. Though that may just be me.