Dark Forest Crow Notes - Interactive fiction, text-interactions based and roleplaying games

Monday, June 20, 2016

Classical text-quest mechanics explained: first attempt to play Make It Good

I want to give a brief overview of 'how to play in usual text-quests' topic. We start with an example as - I chose Make It Good game since it contains a lot of classical text-quests mechanics examples and it's plot is detective story. You can find and play it here, although it's not that easy (at all).

As game introduction says, 

MAKE IT GOOD is a detective game. A murder has been committed at No 15 Brokentop Boulevard. A man lies dead, and unfortunately, they called you. Now either you can get the evidence together to make a conviction - or you'll be out for good.

It was under development for 7 years (wow) and is dedicated to one of the best Infocom titles: Stu Galley's Witness.

This game reminds me of Ed McBain's stories about detective Steve Carella. Let's start the game

The call comes through. Of all the dicks; you get the call, sitting in the front seat of your car, hands shaking on the steering wheel. An urgent call; but all you were thinking of was the bottle in the liquor store and so that's where you went first.

Now you're pulled up outside the house. The rear mirror's showing two steely eyes. You adjust your hat, stiffen up your collar and grab your badge off the dash. Here goes. You've one last chance to... Broken Top Boulevard, Outside No. 15 (in the black chevy) The boulevard through the windscreen is lined with ash trees, thick trunks casting shadows and gnarled roots mangling up the sidewalk. You're sat in your car, parked too high up the kerb; just outside the gate to No. 15. Just an ordinary house. With a body inside.

"Homicide. One Jack Draginam, accountant. Married, no kids. Stabbed. Yadda yadda, blah blah. We got the call from the maid - geez, who has a maid? Apparently she wanted to stress there's a lot of blood."

"Oh, Inspector. Word is, if you don't crack this one, you're out of a job."

The glove compartment is closed. Sat on the passenger seat is a whiskey bottle.

Don't know about you but first I would like to check the bottle :3

"Uncle Stan's Golden Malt"; yeah, it's bargain bin liquor at 80% proof and 80% off. Your body's crying out for it. To slip back, let the whole goddamn world ride all the way to the glass at the bottom. Oh yeah.

I'll play a bad cop so let's try to drink it

(the whiskey bottle)

The bottle's not open. You can suck the cap all you like, it won't do you no good.

Then open the bottle

Shaky fingers unscrew the cap. Oh, yeah. Finally, drink

(the whiskey bottle)
You slug back a shot; it's rough-coated like a beauty queen rolling around on a beach. You can feel it tingle your face, slap down your brain, it's smooth like cell-wall plaster. Another slug, and the stomach is warming and the day isn't looking so bad. Drinking on the job; it isn't so evil. Of course, eventually they'll work out what you've done - probably when they drag your drunken body from under a bush. It'll be your career over, your whole goddamn life. But who gives? You've got a good two hours, just you and the whole, to scrape back and let drop. Maybe you could beat someone, maybe you could wrap your car round a tree. Plenty of time, plenty of liquor. Oh, yeah. *** It's all over *** Would you like to RESTART, RESTORE a saved game, UNDO your last move, roll the CREDITS or QUIT?

Damn, I lost! Actually, that was not expected.

Well, as you can see:

- Items in game have different properties like 'description' and 'state'
- Game really tracks states of items (bottle was closed so I could not drink the whiskey)
- You actually can lose the game. I managed to achieve the loss during the first minute of the game. Hardcore!

Next attempt to complete at least first scene will be made soon. Stay tuned.

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