Too Many Puzzles

Once in a while I get bored with life in general, and with composing electronic music in particular. At times like this, my mind drifts off in the direction of interactive fiction. I start to wonder, would I enjoy writing a new text adventure?

Yesterday I started taking a look at Eric Eve’s adv3Lite, an alternative library for the TADS 3 authoring system. “adv3Lite” is an unfortunate name, as the project has grown well beyond its initial concept. Yes, it’s somewhat easier to work with than the original adv3 library distributed with TADS — but it also has some spiffy features not found in adv3. My initial impression is that Eric has really accomplished something with adv3Lite (more especially as Graham Nelson appears to have lost interest in supporting Inform 7). Eric has written a number of games, and he knows what’s needed.

So I’m thinking, maybe I could take this 1/4-finished game that has been languishing on my hard drive for a couple of years, recode it where necessary for adv3Lite, and finish it.

The basic difficulty with this notion is that the game is simply too large. It’s huge. It’s unwieldy. It’s bloated. We’re talking more than 80 rooms, most of them containing lots of scenery and at least one or two significant objects, and more than 75 puzzles, some of them requiring that you do several tricky things in the proper order. Even if I finish writing it, nobody is ever going to play it all the way through. Hell, not even the beta-testers (assuming I could recruit a couple of them) would have the patience to play it all the way through.

It’s a fun idea for a game, in my opinion. It’s a sequel to the very first game I wrote, back in 1999, “Not Just an Ordinary Ballerina.” It has more characters than “Ballerina,” more rooms, more complex puzzles, more magic, more oblique literary references — oh, and it’s a love story. Sort of.

Finish it? What a depraved idea.

Footnote: Only eight years later (September 2022), I’ve finished and released it. It’s called “The Only Possible Prom Dress.” It’s just as large as I feared.

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