Sometimes I’m a mystery to myself. For months I’ve been somewhat disgusted with interactive fiction. Other than fielding a few requests for help on the newsgroup or the forum, I haven’t been doing anything with it.
And now, suddenly, I’m interested in putting together a huge new game. Go figure. It’s a game that I first envisioned a couple of years ago, and started writing. But I began to feel it was so large and complex that no one would ever finish playing it — so why bother?
One change in the weather is the impending release of the new version of Inform 7. Not that there’s anything radically wrong with the old version (or at least, there’s nothing radically wrong with the old version that’s going to get fixed in the new one … we can chat another time about things that are radically wrong with I7 that aren’t going to change). But I always get a charge out of playing with new software, and I’m sure other people do too.
Also, I’m in a “fuck it” mood. Life is meaningless from top to bottom. There are, in consequence, no activities I could conceivably engage in that would be more meaningful than writing a ponderously large and moderately pretentious text game involving a roving octopus, a malicious mannequin, a dance orchestra of badly trained monkeys, and Zarbolphung the evil-tempered wizard.
Some of the work that I did on the game was in a different development system — TADS 3. On the whole, I prefer TADS, but some very bright people are actively at work building the tools for playing Inform games in your browser. This is good news for anyone who wants to make their game widely available to casual players. The traditional way of playing text games is to download the game file and a separate interpreter program, and that’s too much hassle for someone who isn’t yet a committed fan. I’ve tried to nudge the TADS developers into taking steps in that direction, but it’s not clear when (or if) they’ll take the necessary steps.
So tonight I’m working out a way to emulate a TADS AgendaItem object in Inform. In principle, there are sure to be ways to make it work, but … well, it’s an interesting intellectual challenge, and I need one or two of those right now. Nothing takes your mind off of the stunning meaninglessness of life like a good coding puzzle.