World Creep

Could just have easily titled this one “word creep” I guess. One interesting thing about interactive fiction as a genre (medium? something?) is the way it’s very easy to end up in a highly additive relationship to the game you’re making. Once you have the framework and you’re busy writing descriptions of things, conversation branches, possible reactions of the game to player actions, there’s not really any end in sight. It’s not like a game could ever be too responsive to the player, and because an interactive fiction facilitates adding more and more in words, and because words seem cheap, it’s not clear when to stop. My current rule on when to stop is that there ought to be at least 200 to 300 “turns” worth of stuff the player could see that’s unique in some way. That’s about the length of one of the simulated games of football in the game if it goes to overtime, for the record. But the universe has no boundaries. Even in a two “room” game such as this, with very few objects and few interactions, there’s no limit to how many varied reactions the world could have. It’s words all the way down.

13 August 2012
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