The Quaking of WarCrysis 3:
Resistance of Black Doom

By Shamus
on Jan 18, 2010
Filed under:
Projects

Some months ago I started noodling around with Inform, a “natural language” programming language for making interactive fiction. (That’s text adventures to you old timers.) My impressions of the language have gone through the following stages:

1) Bullcrap. You can’t code without writing code.
2) Hmph. Okay, so it works. Kind of an interesting novelty.
3) You know, it’s actually kind of useful and unique.
4) Unbelievable. This thing is amazingly powerful!

As a programmer, learning to code with prose is like a mathematician learning to do math with his feelings. I think I would have found it easier if I hadn’t known how to program in the first place. But even so, the complexity and functionality you can compress into a few simple sentences is boggling.

I managed to make a game with it. I’ve been sitting on this for a while, trying to get up the enthusiasm to finish the thing while at the same time worrying that I’ve wasted all the time I’ve already spent. I’ve never written puzzles before. Heck, I’ve never written interactive fiction before. Is this any good? Is it too hard? Too easy? Are there spots where the game just stops being fun?

And then I realized the best way to answer these questions is to let other people play it and ask them what they think. Genius, I know.

Below is the game. It needs some Javascript applet dealie to run. If it doesn’t work in your browser or you don’t trust it, then I can’t really do much to help. The thing is also stone-age simple. You can’t even use the up arrow to recall previous commands. Sorry. I’d fix that if I could. That’s all handled by the applet, and is out of my hands. If anyone has a better web-based Z Machine interpreter I’d be happy to use it. If you have your own Z machine interpreter, you can get the .z8 file and run it yourself.)

I want to stress that the game isn’t done. It ends at about the 90% complete mark. The game needs a good day or so of work on my part to finish it up, and what I do with it from here will depend a lot on the feedback I get. If you want to play something polished, then it’s probably best to hold off for now.

Controls:

Up, Down, North, South, East, West
jump (something)
take (something)
verbose – Gives the description to a room every time you enter.
save
load
restart
look – Will describe the room you’re in.
inv – lists all the stuff (weapons) you’re carrying.

Things I’m looking to find out:

1) Some people will plow through, others will stop and examine every little thing. But I would like to get some sort of ballpark figure for how long the game is.
2) How were the puzzles? Where did you get stuck? Which puzzles seemed sort of insultingly easy?
3) Any situations where the parser seemed to be excessively idiotic? I usually try to set things up so that if you need to use a butterknife to turn a screw you can call it a “knife” or “butterknife” or “screwdriver” and the game will get what you’re talking about. But it’s very easy to screw this up and leave the player baffled as to how to tell the game to do a thing.
4) Occasions of tpyos, spelling errers, and bad grammar is to be reporting.

Go ahead and post spoilers or exchange puzzle solutions in the comments. A primitive map is also available, if you like.

And to be clear – you’ll know the end. There’s a little text from me saying “Thanks for playing” or somesuch.

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A Hundred!2010There are 130 comments here. I really hope you like reading.

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  1. Tango says:

    Ah, the nonsense name in the authorization popup I got made me hit no, I didn’t realize it was for the plug in that was farther down the screen.

  2. Marrkle says:

    I was glad you liked Inform. I’ve been coding in it for a few years now, and was hurt when you said that Inform was a terrible language a year before.

  3. Psithief says:

    This is hard. Why do the descriptions of rooms like the Catwalk stop showing up if I use the look command?

  4. Turbosloth says:

    got as far as the rotunda in 30 mins, searched futilely for a way to open the northern security door for 12 mins, gave up and went back to reading novel.

    I assume its in the room with the dead scientist, but i couldn’t find a way to interact with anything in there meaningfully.

    I like the humour tho. All the puzzles up until the point I got to were pretty simple.

  5. Fukiku says:

    Being a Java programmer myself, I have to correct You – this is a Java applet, we’re talking about here, not a JavaScript thingie. Two very different worlds.

    The other thing I had to say – the authorization dialog from Java came from out of the blue on Your site, so I instinctively also denied access to it, because I couldn’t even see that there was an applet embedded in Your post. This looks scary at first anyway.

    Why does it need authorization anyway from me? Usually applets only need authorization to do something scary on my computer.

    Edit: Hmm, had to restart firefox to play the game after my initial refusal to run the applet.

  6. Dacendaran says:

    Its cool but i keep having issues with this civilian getting stuck in the doorway.

    Seriously though, this is my first time playing something like this But it seems good. Although it took me ages to figure out how to get past the light pole.

    Edit: Aaaaand posting that made me lose all my progress… I am so such a fool.

  7. BCR says:

    Can you put up a link to a download so we can run it in a desktop interpreter instead?

  8. SeekerOfThePath says:

    1. Loved the team members and FPS games stereotypes
    2. Controls could be presented over time (once first required), not all at once; this way I had to scroll back to them to remember; I’m not sure but I don’t thing ‘take’ (medkit) was listed among available commands.
    3. Could be a Firefox thing, but the scrollbars on the applet are acting weird
    4. I had no problem with the parser
    5. Civilian-in-the-door puzzle solution is hilarious.
    6. I ended outside the factory, I think that could be the end (plus I really want my breakfast now)

  9. Got stuck on civilian in the doorway, also took me ages to do the light pole because jump isn’t in the help. Neither is take

  10. Rehtul says:

    Got to the generator, looked around catwalk, went back, shot generator a few times and then went to fan room, saw it wasn’t spinning so I shot it and then went to security station, I went from security station to West and I went into Darkness(???). Wandered around a bit more, gave up. Unsure what to do after shooting the generator. First puzzle was probably the most obscure, didn’t understand what you were going for until I re-read it and saw you meant it satirically, then it made perfect sense.

    Not enough time to finish now though.

    Quick Solution of Puzzles:
    From Overhang(south): hop/jump/go over light pole
    Factory Room: Push Button three times to get rid of stupid civilian
    Stairwell (This one took me ages): Go up stairwell
    Generator Access: Shoot Generator
    I don’t have a solution to the fan room, this is where I got stuck.

  11. Awetugiw says:

    Ah, “Examine” seems to be what I was looking for.

  12. Varil says:

    Sadly, I can’t get it to run. Firefox just gives me a black box. My Java is all on, so I’m not sure why it’s spazzing. I didn’t even get an authorization warning. I turned to Internet Explorer, which first demanded I install an ActiveX add-on, then refused to do so because it didn’t know who made it. It didn’t bother asking me my opinion, so I told it to bugger off pretty promptly. First time in over a year I’ve felt the need to use you, and instead of attempting to prove yourself you have to go and give me grief! Back to the depths of my system, you! Return not again unless I summon ye!

    EDIT : Aha, I’m an idiot! Turns out Firefox needs a Java update to go with its recent update, or all Java dies horribly. Just in case anyone else has this problem >_>

    Also : Dude below me, you clearly haven’t read the post itself yet.

  13. Samrobb says:

    Shamus – just a heads up: when I loaded this page today, I got a warning from MacOS X asking if I wanted to accept an incoming connection from the page; it was signed with a security certificate from We-Ju Wu. It wasn’t until after the I denied access that I realized you had an embedded applet in your page :-/ You may want to warn people up front in your post, and let them know what to expect.

  14. I set the graphics to low and thought it was a single throwaway joke until I typed “look”. Seriously, that was awesome! You’re game is quite a bit more advanced than many I have played in that the intro sequence can easily be skipped. You should tell some of those C++ guys how you did that. Ok, now to venture down the bridge…

    P.S. This is my favourite game about playing a game. Did you include in-game pinball and other arcade machines in at some point? I must find out!

  15. Brendan says:

    On repeat visits to places, the descriptions disappear. This means that if you go the wrong way in places like the vents, you have to grope around in the dark or backtrack your way to the beginning then follow your footsteps. Very annoying. Its taken me an hour so far, and I’m stuck at the alien in the doorway of the office.

  16. Brendan says:

    Also, you’d think that after seeing the LED screen inviting you to ENTER PASSCODE, you would finish the puzzle by ENTERing the PASSCODE. Or perhaps USE KEYPAD, or TYPE PASSCODE or ENTER SECURITY DOOR. I can’t remember my final solution, but that one was trying.

  17. Florin-Vlad says:

    I can’t shoot doors, that’s railroading!!!!

  18. Awetugiw says:

    The puzzles mostly seemed quite doable, perhaps a bit too easy. The only two puzzles I got stuck with for some time are the keycode and the alien stuck in the doorway.

    In the first case the problem is that it is obvious what needs to be done, but finding out which command does it is hard. I haven’t found a solution to the alien in the doorway, and I am actually starting to suspect there is none. After all, this is supposed to be caused by a bug, so there is no in-universe reason for this puzzle to be solvable. Or perhaps I just missed the rocket launcher somewhere.

    The puzzles would of course be a lot harder for someone who doesn’t know the cliches though. Especially the generator, I guess.

  19. Huckleberry says:

    I just died in “a spectacular cataclysm of fire, shrapnel, and industrial waste. Your body is liquefied by the force of the explosion, then torn apart by shrapnel, then roasted by fire, then corroded by toxic waste, and finally crushed under the collapsing ceiling.”

    Way to go! :)

    Now, next time, I’ll try to find a way around that… ;)

    EDIT:
    @Brendan: you can trigger the description of a room that you have already visited by typing “look”.

  20. Brendan says:

    Ah. The zorcher. Left behind, right back at the beginning of the game, behind at least 2 unopenable doors. Oops.

    Huckleberry: Ah, that works. Thanks.

  21. axilet says:

    Hmm, you might want to mention that the Zorcher is an alien gun rather than just an alien. I spent some time trying to kill the Zorcher before figuring it out. Or maybe it’s just me XD

    Also: “go up stairwell/stairs/steps” didn’t work, but “go up” did. Seemed a bit odd.

  22. spelling mistake in the description of Air Vent – should be ‘wrecking’

  23. Clint Olson says:

    When you first get the shotgun, a nondescript alien attacks you. But when you “shoot alien”, it says:

    You use the shotgun to violate local noise ordanances in the direction of Ambusher for 8 points of damage.

    Two things:
    1. “ordanances” is properly spelled “ordinances”
    2. If “Ambusher” is a proper name, shouldn’t we be told that in its initial description? If it isn’t, shouldn’t the message read “in the direction of the ambusher” instead? It doesn’t make sense that we suddenly know the name of the alien by shooting it.

  24. Nicke says:

    Heh. Hilarious.

    Got through the game without too much of a problem. The alien in the doorway and the room with barrels took some testing, but nothing too hard.

    Agree with some commenters above. Backtracking is a bit annoying. I would probably prefer getting the description again without having to “look”.

    Very well written and visually appealing! I noticed a few typos (that I don’t remember anymore, but a spellchecker should pick them up). I kept examining stuff hoping to find loot (apparently crates are brown). It was fun running into the fan while it was still running…

  25. Also Toxic Waste Facility-Rear Entrance, ‘labelled’, ‘stairway’ and ‘Access’. And now I appear to be stuck in the drainage area.

  26. Varil says:

    It’s cute, though the finicky treatment of ‘look’ and ‘examine’ made me think I couldn’t actually look at anything until I noticed one of the comments.

    Equip doesn’t actually seem to work, I had to use ‘use ‘ to change weaponry.

    ‘Open keypad’ is possibly the most obscure thing in the history of obscure things, especially since examining it prompts you to ‘ENTER PASSCODE’.

    On the bright side, I thought it made a pretty good little satire. The bit with the crates outside the factory, the battlehog, and the graphics setting puzzle were all clever little things. I actually liked that the solution to most puzzles seemed to be ‘shoot something’. Vent in the way? Shoot it! Generator won’t go off? Shoot it!

    The verb usage was generally pretty good, though the game itself was sometimes inconsistent. The ‘power lever’ became ‘power switch’ in my inventory. Attempts to collect the machinegun failed, but I could pick up the ‘gun’. This seemed to reverse once I owned it, though I confess to not really experimenting.

  27. DrMcCoy says:

    Hmm, I dunno if it’s me, frotz, or your game, but “restore” doesn’t work in frotz, it spits out “[allow putting things on the keychain rule]” and the like.

  28. Broc says:

    I got stuck in the very beginning with the annoying looping sounds. Gave up.

    Couldn’t go very far ever with any adventure game, I always miss something important.

    Ain’t got the patience, although I can do long RPGs no problem.

  29. Nidokoenig says:

    It’s great so far. The puzzles are good, especially since I’m not too familiar with text-based gaming and it’s helping me to learn the mind-set.

    I’ll type up issues as I find them(Spoiler warning):

    The game understands PUNCH as SHOOT but not KICK. And here I was hoping for some flavour text about engaging aliens with lasers in fisticuffs.

    The description for D5(I’ve been using the map) says “You are crouched in a T-intersection of a large air duct. From here the passage continues west, east, or south.” However, EAST yields an error, you need NORTH to get to the dead end with the medkit.

    God damn, I love unlocking stuff with a shotgun.

    Toxic Waste Facility-Rear Entrance description mentions a “sairway”

    I assume the BattleHog cutscene a deliberate joke, and/or is there a way to get there with it? I just walked and got the cutscene, which fits the humour.

    The button by the Maintenance Access door’s button doesn’t respond to red button or worn red button, only button. That’s what I get for pedanticism. Ah, after shooting it, I see it also responds to dirty button.

    I’ve run into the same problem as others have with the clipped alien blocking the manager’s office. I thought the alien Zorcher was an actual alien too, so I tried talking to it after I shot it and the answers and it having a capital in its name seemed to imply it was sentient and harmless, so I continued on. Might be an idea to let you loot some alien weapons, at least from the problematic one. In fact, I tried various permutations of “take gun” and “loot alien” on the first alien brute I killed.

    Overall, a fun game with only one semi-serious flaw. I’ll probably come back later and finish it, seeing as how the map says I was almost done.

  30. Awetugiw says:

    Oh, the Zorcher is a weapon! That explains why it didn’t try to kill me by itself.

    I think there is also an area in the ventilation tunnel where the description of the exits does not match the directions you can go. I think it was D5.
    EDIT: looks like someone was just a little faster with that observation.

  31. Turbosloth says:

    had a second go once people here made me realise there was an “examine” command. Once I knew that the keypad puzzle that had me stuck before was fairly simple. Would suggest adding it to list of commands.

    All the puzzles were pretty simple once I got the hang of how to play. The humour was great. I particularly liked the series of scenes describing you doing a vehicle section without a vehicle, followed by a cutscene where you suddenly had one.

  32. Will says:

    When the civilian blocked the door I jumped it.
    The game told me I jumped over it.
    Which would mean I could get through!
    But sadly I had to kill him.

    And I didn’t save, died to the fan, and was demoralized. Sort of my fault there though.

  33. Helgi says:

    Damn it, I blew myself up.

    This is the first text game I have ever played and I’m having a hell of a lot more fun than I was expecting.
    Oh, and it’s very funny.

  34. Florin-Vlad says:

    “shoot ladder
    You unleash all of your considerable firepower on the door. When the dust clears, you discover that your attack has left no lasting impression whatsoever. Apparently they should have made your dropship out of doors.”

    uhm, ok, but i was shooting at a ladder

  35. Nathon says:

    Well, you really meant it when you said it didn’t use anything like readline. I instictually hit C-a and it selected everything…then I hit backspace for some unknowable reason and now everything’s gone. The interpreter doesn’t even respond any more.

    Note to others: don’t hit control-a, and if you do, don’t delete everything.

  36. ok, how on earth do I get out of the parking area? I’m in the car, but I can’t figure out what command I presumably need to use to drive up the ramp
    EDIT: It’s use ramp, rather than a specific verb

  37. Yeah, backtracking around the airvent is annoying, but to me that fits the theme (stupid FPS backtrack-forcing level designers).

  38. Brandon says:

    Shamus,

    Use my buddy Atul’s Parchment software. It’s a web-based interpreter. No Java needed.

    http://www.toolness.com/wp/?p=49

    http://parchment.toolness.com/

  39. Jeremiah says:

    Very amusing. Loved the humor throughout. The thing with the battlehog cutscene threw me for a bit until I realized that was all part of the joke. I even tried going back and turning the thing over somehow.

    I’m guessing tallying points up is something that comes later since at the end I had no points.

    Other than that, I think everything I noticed has been mentioned so far.

  40. Is there a good reason why the applet needs to access my computer? Or why the certificate is not in your name?

    UPDATE: nevermind, I like the link you provided, thanks!

  41. Florin-Vlad says:

    for the room with the Iris door and the civilian stuck there, i didn’t kill the civilian to get past it, instead of typing “north” i typed “go iris” and it pased the civilian withouth even saying anything about it

    also:

    “north

    Air Duct
    You are crouched in a T-intersection of a large air duct. From here the passage continues west, east, or south.

    Using Shotgun>north

    Air Duct
    You are crouched in a large air duct at a dead end. What possible value a dead end might serve in an HVAC system is anyone’s guess. From here the passage goes south.

    You can see a Medkit here.”

    oook….

  42. Incognitia says:

    Good work Shamus; I enjoyed that quite a bit, though I admit I needed the hints given in the comment thread to complete a couple of the puzzles.
    I especially enjoyed the description of the maze, and the BattleHog cutscene.

  43. Drew says:

    Clever. And fun. The only puzzle that I really didn’t get was the alien-in-a-door one, and while your solution is absolutely clever, I’m not sure I’ve played a game where you can shoot corpses. Of course, it’s been a long time since I’ve played a FPS, so maybe they’ve come a long way since then.

  44. after the ramp, no further issues. I quite enjoyed it, but it took me quite a while (I guess 3-4 hours whilst being distracted by TV)

  45. Noah says:

    With Chrome on Linux, the Java applet doesn’t work at all for me. The parchment interface seems to work fine, though.

    I *love* the intro, but I’m like that.

  46. Derek Davis says:

    I made it through the wecked fan!

    Air Duct
    You are crouched in a large air duct. To the south is a wecked fan and the ventilation passage. From here the passage continues north and west.

    Note: wrecked is not spelled wecked. Wecked may be spelled wecked, in which case, what does it mean for a fan to be wecked? Also, why is it wecked? I just walked through it. Does wecked mean recently passed?

  47. I love this game. It’s one of the more entertaining Inform games I’ve had the pleasure of playing (though my level of enjoyment might be linked to my placement on the Venn diagram of “enthusiastic IF fans” and “enthusiastic FPS fans.” Parts of it might have given me more trouble if I was less familiar with one or the other.) I think I got about 45 minutes of decent gameplay out of this (counting the backtrack time when I stayed in the barrel room to see what would happen).

    Puzzles:
    For the most part, none of the puzzles gave me any trouble. The only exception to this was the alien-in-door puzzle, which confounded me for a while until I remembered the zorcher disentigrated. Then it confounded me for a while longer because “equip zorcher” didn’t work, nor did any permutation I tried. (I felt silly when I read the comments and realized that “use zorcher” would do just fine.)

    The rest of the puzzles I would qualify as “easy, but not insultingly so. Amusingly so, in fact, as the narrator comments make me giggle.”

    Bugs, typose, etc in no particular order:

    In the flow control room, “gage” should be “gauge.”

    I figured out the alien-in-door puzzle but could not solve it until I read the comments and discovered that I had to “use” the zorcher to equip it. The equip command does not work.

    In the first area, you can e(x)amine the sound to get a description of its bump mapping (or presumably flat textures, but I had the graphics set to high at the time).

    The machine gun is listed at the prompt as “machinegun” (one word), but responds as two words: “machine gun” or “gun.” You cannot examine your “machinegun,” as you have no such item. IIRC you should be able to just add “machinegun” as a synonym for the item.

    There is no “reload” verb, which makes sense as there’s no need to reload. I, personally, would find it amusing to have a reload verb anyway (particularly since, for some reason, I automatically typed “reload” after the first alien. XD)

    Things I tried to e(x)amine but couldn’t (included for completeness, I won’t be saddened if you stop reading here):

    “BattleHog” at highway north (the crash site). This one seems pretty significant to me.

    The “smoke” coming from the dropship.

    You can’t examine “lights” or “floodlights” in the first parking lot, which I felt like doing.

    The “desk” and “chairs” in the factory lobby. (This may be because the desk is the one in the reception area, where you can examine it.)

    In the reception area, you can’t examine the “receptionist”, despite being clearly told that (s)he is dead. :)

    “monitors” and “lockers” in the factory security station.

    “valves,” “gauges,” “gages,” and “lights” in the flow control room.

  48. Andy says:

    I managed to get through the hole thing in about 40 minutes or so. I used to play these text adventures when I was a youngster and it was nice to explore a new one!
    I thought the writing was pitched just right; suitable amounts of humour and just enough info hidden in the text to get me through the puzzles.
    I would say the difficulty was about perfect for a player of my calibre, so it is probably a little on the easy side. Probably the first text adventure I didn’t have to resort to underhanded methods to solve (usually this involved going to a bookshop and reading a walkthrough guide in the pre-internet days)
    Look forward to the mothership!

  49. Nidokoenig says:

    Shoot Black Doom Mothership could probably throw up some kind of message, whether you’re doing it at the catwalk or at the vehicle section. Of course, it’d just be telling you how dumb you are, but saying I can see no such thing right after it’s been described is a bit off.

    Just finished my second run, though, and I love it. Can’t wait for the ending.

  50. Mark says:

    Shamus, you might be interested in reading Inform 7 For Programmers, which analyzes the “natural” language syntax.

  51. Theo says:

    You can “take” or “get” all the buttons and levers, as well as the generator. After I died to the pile of barrels, I took to doing this on purpose. If you push the Big Red Button anywhere but the control room where it’s found, the iris door will open, there’ll be no ambush, and the civilian won’t get stuck in the door.

    This practice still didn’t prevent me, or rather, my player, from having to backtrack through the sewer maze several times, though.

  52. Viktor says:

    Stuck on the drainage room. No way to turn down the visuals, and it wouldn’t let me jump the pipe.

  53. Stormkitten says:

    I’ve gone through the entire opening sequence, and the first few areas so far. Initial comment, it would be useful to repeat the valid exit directions in the minimal description for a room. As it is, I have to use the ‘look’ command a lot.
    For example:
    Factory Lobby
    There are exits to the East and North.
    You can see a Factory door here.

  54. HgmE says:

    @ Viktor: it’s “graphics low” for graphics settings.

    I just played through. Loved the whole battle hog sequence. I’m upset that I only got to use the machine gun once, it has the best description text.

    This is the first text adventure I’ve ever played all the way through so here’s my comments on the whole thing.

    You can’t “use medkit” at least not in the sewer level anyway. Seeing as how you consume them on the spot like that I found “use” to be more intuitive for medkits than “take” at least, after the first one (this may just be me though).

    Changing the graphics settings I found to be a bit vague (I only figured it out after reading the comments here)

    The response the game gives you when you try to talk to people is priceless.

    Writing: GOOD, no GREAT! I found the entire experience to be very enjoyable, the jokes all hit home, and I can’t wait to play the finished product.

    One last question though; Why don’t you write/consult for developers over programming? Your writing (both here and on the escapist) is nothing short of stellar, and your points are always valid. Do you prefer coding to writing? I’m just curious is all.

  55. Matt says:

    Kinda fun. The most frustrating thing for me was seeing the alien use a gun on me that did more damage than mine, but not being able to take the alien’s gun after I killed it.

    I then amused myself by thinking about the article you’d write complaining about a situation like that in a game.

  56. CDG says:

    I liked this alot. Fairly easy puzzles, although I did get stuck a few places because I ignored the room description.

    Having equip in the help command list threw me off because it didn’t actually work. Using the gun worked though.

    “A Alien Brute” really bugged me. This is seen in the sewer Locker Room and in Sea of Crates (south). The Alien Brute is also described twice in the locker room.

    Otherwise good stuff! It was a hilarious time waster and I’d love to see the end.

  57. steve? says:

    I liked the RPG quip when I tried to talk to the alien. Unfortunately the parser didn’t understand the first thing I tried which was “greet alien”. I also tried “loot alien” after he died; I guess I play too many RPGs.

  58. Simply Simon says:

    It’s quite amusing. The part where you enter the sewage plant confused me though. There was no description indicating where I could go. Also there were a few instances where the game described in detail various pipes, walls and/or valves, but when examining them it said that there were no such things.

  59. Shawn says:

    I only played for a few minutes, but I’m deeply disappointed that shooting crates does not cause them to explode. I only hope there are some exploding barrels later on.

  60. Heather B says:

    Finished in about 5 hours, would have probably been 2 or less if I weren’t playing it at work (don’t worry, I’m tech support at a call center; it’s not like I’m neglecting actual duties, just waiting for the phone to ring) Almost got stuck at the parking lot; I only figured out how to leave while on foot. Which was lucky, as it turns out, because the narration of the dramatic driving scene as experienced on foot is hilarious. I also enjoyed that the Battlehog somehow caught up with me when I reached the next cut scene. The way you handled the maze was great, too, I was all ready to start drawing my progress.

    Had trouble with the Equip command. Tried a dozen permutations (which reminds me to ask, can you record these to see what people tried?), eventually went to ‘use’, which worked. Saved game at a few points, was surprised to learn that ‘load’ was not a valid command. For some reason I never thought of ‘restore,’ might be nice to have that in the help text. Only typo I found was in the description of the Manager’s office over the sewer – ‘acroutraments.’ Looking up the correct spelling lead to my surprising discovery that while the singular is accoutrement, the plural is accouterments. I hate French.

    I think I’m going to play it again, see if there’s anything I missed.

  61. Heather B says:

    Reading through the comments, I realize I stumbled through a few puzzles without even realizing they were puzzles. This flowed a lot better and was less frustrating than the two other text games I’ve played.

  62. SteveDJ says:

    Bug report (and response @58) – I too tried to take the alien’s weapon after killing it. In this case, it was the alien in the Factory Storage Area. I had already taken the shotgun – which causes the alien to first appear through the steel-plate door.

    After killing it, I tried to take his gun – and it told me (again) that the Steel-Plate door burst open and an alien charges into the room. Of course no second battle, but it did startle me at first.

    Also in this room (and others), I got confused at which direction some doors were. I didn’t realize that going West from the Factory Storage Area (into Darkness) was just going in through the now-open steel-plate door (and where the alien had come from).

    Finally – the fan. It shouldn’t be described as “wrecked”, but simply “stopped”.

    I’m now stuck at the Drainage (West) location – gotta try some more things out. But so far, I’m liking this very much!! Great job!

  63. Heron says:

    “If the aliens take New York, Earth is finished!”

    Is SHADOWY GUY #2 actually Ironclad?

    Edit: ROFL! “The dead alien ragdoll twitches convincingly as you shoot it.” This is awesome, Shamus :)

  64. Yar Kramer says:

    I got stuck for a bit in the toxic waste area because I didn’t know you were supposed to type “jump basin.” I was trying “go east,” or “jump east” … and now I don’t know how to unlock the door to the north of the control room. Also, it’s sort of jarring that you mention the window on the inside of the control room but not the outside, and when I try to shoot or examine it, it says “You can’t see any such thing.” (PROTIP: if you mention anything in the description, include it as something you can examine or interact with, even if you just end up setting it as Scenery.)

    I’m glad you’ve warmed up to Inform 7, Shamus. Honestly (I cound’t come up with a good context in which to bring this up previously), your previous article had always bugged me. It’s like you read the advertisements instead of the instruction manual, and then blamed the system for not being able to make an IF game out of a description that read more like a general walkthrough. Good to see you’re having fun with it now.

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