Zarfplan: On through July

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tagged: interactive fiction, zarfplan, zarf, if, noshowconf

At the beginning of July, I had three rituals implemented in my game engine. I now have seventeen. Plus their unit tests (130 tests in total!) That's pretty much my July, as far as Hadean Lands goes.

I had hoped to finish all thirty-odd of the game's alchemical rituals. But it turns out that the ritual engine isn't as separable from the rest of the game as I'd thought. For example, some of the recipes include mixing chemicals -- pouring one substance into a beaker of another substance. Well, that means I need a chemical-mixing engine, distinct from the ritual engine. (The player might go pouring acid into water, or vice versa, in any situation.)

So I had to spend some time setting that up. And then some rituals create potions, so I need to implement potion-drinking; some rituals create lenses, so I need to implement a "peering through" action; and so on. All of this infrastructure is still base cases -- none of the potions do anything yet -- but IF infrastructure is always harder than the specific cases that will make use of it.

Given the rate of progress, I can confidently say I'll finish the alchemical ritual code in August. (The remaining bits of ritual infrastructure are: burning bits of wood, and an alchemical retort. The glassware kind, not a smart remark.)

In other news, I released a Dreamhold bug-fix update, and have made excellent progress on the secret project. Hopefully that'll show up in August as well.

More July news: we had an IF meetup at NoShowConf, a new game-dev conference here in Boston. In the course of that weekend, I unexpectedly wound up sitting in a panel discussion next to Jim Munroe (IF guy and filmmaker) and Randall Munroe (xkcd guy, no relation to previous). You can find a link to audio of that discussion in this blog post. The rest of NoShowConf is also streamable online. None of the presentations were specifically about IF, but various IF-known people were among the presenters. I intend to plan IF events at next year's NoShowConf, so stay tuned.