Progress Report

Hi all!

It's been a rollercoaster of a month, that's for sure. After updating the code to work with the latest version of the engine (6M62), we found that it was way too large and complex for the compiler to handle. Even talking to some Inform 7 experts didn't help because they reached the same conclusion.

But then in a remarkable deus ex machina plot twist, one of the two developers of Inform 7 got in touch directly to say that he was willing to look at the problem himself. And a little bit over a week later, lo and behold he had created a new version of the compiler just for us that was able to handle the size of the project and its source code! So we owe him a huge debt. And I'm sure if Deadpool were here, he'd agree that this was pretty lazy writing from the scriptwriters of Reality.

Anyway, since then I have been working very hard to explore the new possibilities open to us in this new environment which can handle much more complexity. Among what we've achieved so far includes...

  • Loads more windows! Each can be opened and closed at will: Inventory window (has several different 'tabs'), Graphical Inventory window, Graphical Clothing Window, Graphical Location & Cutscene window
  • These windows work in tandem, so if some are closed then others will pick up the slack in the most appropriate way possible
  • They have clickable buttons!!! So each item can be clicked on to examine it, and interacted with (at least in the most common ways)
  • NPCs have visible health bars
  • The player has visible health and fatigue bars
  • Map window has clickable buttons for navigation and common actions
  • Map window has stickmen that indicate stance (and you can click it to stand or kneel)
  • Map window has zoom
  • Internal windows resize themselves immediately upon you resizing the game window
  • "Roguelike Permadeath Mode" where the game automatically saves every turn and won't let you keep multiple saves

Stuff that still needs fixing...

  • Hyperlinks aren't working with 'yes / no' decisions.
  • Lots of stuff is still creating a lot of lag, including patron validation
  • We've lost numbered disambiguation so need to make extra care that this is never necessary

Stuff that I still intend on implementing includes...

  • Every verb now needs a clickable 'button' coded for it, and rules for when and where it should be displayed.
  • Every single item and environmental object now needs an image, which is going to take a lot of work, money and time (but there'll be a new version before this is done)

Here's a screenshot of what the game looks like at the moment:

But this is still a very early work in progress, who knows maybe one day soon it'll look something more like this:

So, what's next? Well, alpha patrons already have access to a very unstable demo of the new stuff. For everyone else, you'll have to wait probably another 2 - 3 weeks for me to polish and test this new stuff before I'm willing to make even half of it public.

Next:  Some Well Overdue Engine Maintenance