Galactic Travails

Lately, I've been working on an experimental text adventure engine, and a 2D adventure game built on top of that engine: "Alice and the Galactic Traveller."

A month ago I managed my first beginning-to-end play-through, compiled a few pages ( you know, only 12 or so.... ) of notes and issues, and identified a few critical story and user interface issues I want to fix before beginning to share it around. I just now finished up on the most important of those, and need to start testing on the AppEngine version.

"Alice" is a point-and-click based game. The code is split into two main parts, a Go-language backend and a browser-based Angular JS front end. The engine also supports command-line text adventuring, although the parser is extremely bare-bones: ordered lists matched against regular expression commands.

Currently, the graphical bar is also fairly low. All art is sourced from other people's Creative Commons and public domain work: namely Liberated Pixel Cup,  Skorpio's "Sci-Fi Pack", Sithjester's tiles, Sheep Art, Font Awesome's icons, and Glitch. Oh yeah, and nothing animates.

Part of the point of keeping the graphics simple has been to keep focused on the game itself. The design of engine, however, allows for arbitrary front ends that can be plugged on to it. I'm impatient to write a standalone Unity ( or, Lumberyard ) version -- but, I'll also need some more appropriate art.

In the long term, I have lots of ideas for both the browser front-end and the engine. The high concept would be an open-source web-based platform where anyone can easily make graphical point-and-click games; a visual editor to formalize some of the ideas raised by declarative scripting, subtext, and data scripting. I would like to put together full examples for stories like A Day for Fresh Sushi and the Cloak of Darkness. I would like to experiment more with engine fundamentals like relationships and queries, event filters, prototypes, object states, scenes, and chapters. Add visualizations of play. I could go on.

For now, I'm doing what can only be called the slog. Staying focused on making a fully playable game demo -- even if the graphics and the highfalutin tech ideas have to sit by the wayside... for now.