Freeware Garden: (The Aptly Named) 3DTextAdventure

Freeware Garden searches the corners of the internet to highlight one free game every day.

Sometimes experiments don’t need one of those fancy imaginative titles and, appropriately, 3DTextAdventure doesn’t have one. It’s content with attempting to do what it says on the tin and, crucially, succeeding.

3DTextAdventure then, a game most obviously in 3D, lets you navigate its space via the traditional WASD-mouse controls but only allows you to meaningfully interact with it via a simple text parser. Not surprisingly, the thing tends to answer back in competently written text too and actually plays more like a 3D version of an early Sierra adventure than a full blown interactive fiction.

I suppose I was expecting to type in cardinal directions in order to move around and rely more on prose for the world building, but that’s only old-fashioned me. Innovation-loving me found the experiment extremely intriguing (and, yes, successful) and would love to see it evolve into a full game, maybe incorporate one of the many highly versatile open source text adventure engines out there, and polish up a few rough edges here and there.

What really matters though, is that this particular fusion of mechanics and graphics works; I mean, it really, properly works and it works well. Graphics, descriptions, the parser-based interface, the mouse-based exploration they all combine seamlessly into a new and exciting adventure gaming sub-genre and I am certain this could lead to some amazingly atmospheric offerings.

As for the game itself, well, it’s definitely worth a try, even if you are not interested in exploring its genre-fusing interface and mechanics. Provided you are aware of the number π, playing through 3DTextAdventure will require less than an hour of your time and provide you with an interesting sci-fi story and some fun puzzles.

11 Comments

  1. Cinek says:

    Really? All of that and they didn’t even bother to release one gameplay video on the website? Oh come on… basics of marketing! Basics!

  2. wwwhhattt says:

    Looks pretty cool :-)
    Was Dead Cyborg like this? I remember it being similar (FPS & typing), but haven’t touched it in a while so I can’t be sure.

    Also, you forgot the ‘Read the rest of this entry’ break.
    Edit:and it’s fixed.

    • wisnoskij says:

      Dead Cyborg was inspired by text adventures, while not having a parser itself. Just lots of text descriptions.

  3. ElfinNut says:

    Um, this 3D I’m seeing was done by a good 3D artist Tor Frick back in 2011 as an exercise in modular texturing in level design. The author of the game credited him in his Youtube video. But again, the level was never intended to be any type of game.

    • JonasKyratzes says:

      It’s used with permission, though. Says so on the game’s IndieDB page as well. I guess the author thought it would be cool to turn this environment into an actual game, an impulse I can understand.

      (That sounds like a cool premise for some kind of game jam thing. Might have already been done, of course. There’s been a game jam about everything.)

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        Phasma Felis says:

        The Assemblee jam involved a Phase 1 where you make some kind of assets–sprite sheets, 3D models, music, sound effects–and a Phase 2 where you make a game using other people’s assets.

        IIRC the assets all went to the public domain after. There were a couple of really popular roguelike tilesets that I still see popping up in Flash games now and then.

  4. Spacewalk says:

    I stopped playing when I wasn’t allowed to use the keypads until I found the codes. A game that doesn’t let me enter random numbers into a keypad is a game I want nothing to do with.

  5. CMaster says:

    I was expecting a text adventure that let you type “go up” and “go down” as well as your normal N S E W. A text adventure version of Decsent perhaps. Would that be more or less disorientating than the original?

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      Phasma Felis says:

      Most text adventures did do that. (Sometimes they also added “in” and “out.” It took me an infuriatingly long time to get into the gazebo in Zork II.)

  6. HyenaGrin says:

    I would play the heck out of a game in this style. I genuinely miss the old text adventure style, and a three dimensional world actually turned out to be a great way to bring it to life in a time when people are spoiled with graphics.

    I particularly liked the ‘left click to spot objects’ thing, that was clever and turned what could have felt clunky and slow into a pretty smooth experience, for one with a lot of required typing.