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

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Third attempt to play Make It Good: no bottles allowed edition

During the previous attemps, we discovered some interesting mechanics that are present in classical text-based games:

- Usual games of such type have pretty strict boundaries and rules.
- If you break the rules, you lose or stuck. In a very unnatural way sometimes.
- Some games try to 'fix typos': shoot -> shout, shot -> shit. Probably it does it based on the current game context in which there is an ability to shout, but no opportunity to shoot.
- Still it's not that flexible: some actions and replics are allowed, some not (even if it's synonyms) - dictionaries are not usually huge.
- Items can have different properties like 'description' and 'state'
- Games can track states of items (bottle was closed so I could not drink the whiskey)

And I lost the 'Make It Good' game twice because of the whiskey bottle. 

Let's try to make it good without any bottles. I start from

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.

The glove compartment is closed.

>> go out

(opening the black chevy first)
You open the car door.
You clamber out of the driving seat.

There'd better be some faces too: you need the slam. What did the peep at the station say? Inspector, the only case you cracked open last year was the Michaelmas liquor. He has a point. If you come up blank (or facedown in a gutter) you'll be off the payroll. And then you'd really have a problem.

Down the street there's a dog, running about.

Let's check that doggy

>> examine the doggy

>examine the doggy

-- "doggy" isn't a word I know.


>> examine dog

The dog's somewhere else down the road. You can hear its damn yapping.

Sunlight trickles through the trees; your neck itches under the heavy coat.

>> go to the dog

The dog's somewhere else to the west along the road. You can hear its damn yapping.

>> go west

Nice houses. Your car, to the east. Down the street, some yammering dog. You're standing right by a streetlight, on the edge of the kerb.

>> go west

Broken Top Boulevard, Outside No. 11
Nice houses. Your car, to the east. Down the street, some yammering dog.

>> go west

Broken Top Boulevard, Outside No. 9
Nice houses. Your car, to the east.

There's a dog here, sat on his haunches, dribbling.

>> pet the dog

You pet the dog, and it rolls its eyes and dribbles in return.
The dog leaps up again.

>> examine the dog

A small, sleek white mutt mongrel thing, with a voice he seems sure proud of. No doubt the pride and joy of some old dear on the street. If you had the energy you'd hit him with your car.

>> take the dog

The dog squirms out of your grasp.

God. This was worth it. Go back, go back, go back...

>> knock the door

You knock a smart rap on the door.

After a short wait the door opens, Angela's face appears, then the rest of her. She looks just like she should considering, no time to do her face. "Yes? What do you want?" she says uncertainly.

At least now she talks with me.

>> Hello

"Well? What do you want?"

I watched some detective movies, so I know the business.

>> I am from police, can I ask you some questions?

-- I only got as far as wanting to inventory.

>> I am from police

-- I only got as far as wanting to inventory.

Game doesn't understand me sadly.

>> Examine Angela

Thirty-something, maybe forty on a bad day; Angela is housewife through and through. From her thick black ball of hair down through her one piece long dress, she's sophistication via mail-order. Sure, maybe she could be pretty, if you'd lost all your teeth and were three notches out in the belt, and she wasn't pinched and blotchy, like she is today. Yeah, today is not a day to be sizing her up, that's true enough.

>> you are pretty

-- "you" isn't a recognised verb.

Damn, game just saved my life. But, still, it seems there wont be any dialogs unless I mention some keywords. Maybe show my badge will do the trick...

>show badge
(to Angela Draginam)
"Oh, Inspector! I'm sorry.. do come in, I'm glad you came so quickly." You follow her into the house. It has a smell you recognise, all right.

A wood-panelled hallway, with the front door to the south next to which is a dark polished roll-top desk. Stairs in the northeast corner of the room lead to the upstairs landing where the bedrooms are, and a passage northwest runs through to the kitchen and blue wallpapered living room, which you can't quite see from here.

In the lefthand corner is a hat stand. Hanging off the stand is Jack's hat.

Mrs. Draginam closes the door shut behind you.

"The man on the phone told me to make sure nothing was touched. They told me you were coming, but they said there'd be more of you." She fusses a little. "Shall I take your hat?"

Here we go! It was hard, to be honest.

>> go upstairs

You make your way upstairs around the curve of the staircase.

Upstairs Hallway, North End
A neat little corridor, running with the stairwell to the east down the length of the house. The carpet is a worn-down brown pattern; the wallpaper a lurid yellow colour, like flowers stuck in another guy's wedding cake. The closed doorway to the bedroom lies north of here, another door is open to the west; by the look of it a guest bedroom.

"The body's just in there," Angela says, pointing to the north door.

>> go bedroom door

(the master bedroom door)
(opening the master bedroom door first)
You open the door. And catch a glimpse of the corpse - a crumpled heap of dead human, nothing but the knife wounds in its back between him and you. Stabbed in the back - oh yeah, stabbed in the back.

Angela follows you in, and looks uncertainly at the body, her eyes a little cold. "I'll be in the living room if you want to ask me any questions, Inspector," she say thickly, before stepping out the room and closing the door.

Master Bedroom
The master bedroom is relatively tasteful, and dominated by the bed sticking out of the east wall. Opposite is a mirrored dresser shoved in the corner at an angle, just by the large windows overlooking the garden. These are shut tight like normal. The closed door is in the southwest - in fact, lying on the bed you could probably see it in the reflection. The carpet's beige-with-dried-bloodstain, and there's more rancid wallpapering. Between the window and the bed is a little yucca tree in a pot.

Sprawled in a messy heap, pining for attention, is Jack's corpse.

On the dresser is a green-shaded table lamp.

"Then you can meet the others," Angela calls. "There's the maid, and William Matheston, outside, in the shed. Good. Well, all right then." You hear her footsteps move off, but they don't go downstairs.

Hooray. Finally, we reached the body. Actually, it's only the beginning of the game. I'll try to continue my glorious investigation later.

Short summary:

- We finally found the body. Third attempt!
- Sadly, we couldn't talk with Angela. It's a common thing not only for this particular text-based game - NPCs are not truly NPCs. It's very strange - compelling characters and dialogs are must-have in text-based games in my opinion.
- We found a doggy. Doggy escaped :(

Cheers, DarkForestCrow.

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