The Vast Sea Surrounds You (Inform 7 Simulation + Horror)

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The Vast Sea Surrounds You (Inform 7 Simulation + Horror)

Postby Outsider » Tue May 21, 2013 2:43 am

My game for this jam will be made with Inform 7.
The game is about catching and collecting interesting fish.
Some fish are relatively normal, with hopefully fun/interesting descriptions, while other fish will cause something special to happen.

I'm interested in researching fish-related folk tales and mythology to help inspire the game. Other inspirations include the book The Raw Shark Texts, the idea of the "Wind Fish" in Link's Awakening, and occult horror fiction (e.g. creepypasta, Gideon Keys). The game will likely not feature huge and/or Lovecraftian fish.

I'm learning how to use Inform 7 alongside this, so what these "special" happenings are will depend on what I learn to do while making the game. Not knowing a whole lot about the workings of Inform 7 makes it seem like there are endless simulation possibilities. I intend to start very small and simple; I'll work up to more complex things as I go on.

Some Early Goals:
  • simple "catching fish at random" simulation
  • rudimentary implementation of time & sleeping on the boat
  • strange happenings
  • secrets

Later Goals:
  • more objects to interact with
  • more complex simulation aspects
  • very strange happenings
  • more secrets

Oh, this is also my first game jam, and this may end up being the first game I release.
If my influences pique your interest, do also check out my friend's game for this jam, "The Loch" (viewtopic.php?f=3&t=65).

Monday Update
This was mostly an exploration of Inform 7's features. I laid down my foundations: one can fish, and acquire fish randomly. It looks like I may want to find out more about tables so I can add new fish to the game efficiently. I need to figure out if I want it to be possible to catch "normal" fish more than once, and also what to do with the fish after they've been caught. Not sure if I'm going to need to implement anything with the water yet. Still exploring and learning at this stage, about kinds, understanding, actions and rules. Made this thread at the end of day and became very excited about doing more.
Last edited by Outsider on Mon May 27, 2013 7:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The vast sea surrounds you, so that's pretty nifty

Postby Outsider » Wed May 22, 2013 3:55 am

Tuesday Update
I figured out how to use tables, so I now have tables for "normal" fish and "special" fish that contain some of their properties. :)
I still do need to figure out an efficient way to get "special" fish to do their stuff, as what they do should vary quite a bit -- maybe there's no practical option there.
I also gave the player a record-book that will keep track of what fish they've caught, and how many times they've caught certain types of fish.
Other things I did today had to do with establishing some interaction rules. I've started making fishing more complex -- allowing them to cast a line and reel it in, but preventing them from engaging in distracting behavior while the line is cast. The implementation of time will be more meaningful once I can make fishing last a few turns, in addition to simulating fishing a bit more realistically.

So, in short, my goals are now:
To make fishing last a few turns, implementing what happens when a fish bites
To implement the passage of time
To implement some special fish

Ideally, I'll have the first two items done tomorrow and at least one special fish implemented by then as well.
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Re: The vast sea surrounds you, so that's pretty nifty

Postby Alexander » Wed May 22, 2013 2:59 pm

Sounds like it's coming along groovily, can't wait to play it. :D

I'm mega-intrigued by what form the weirdness and quote-unquote "special" fish will take, especially if you're incorporating mythology and weird folk tales into the mix as well. Aaaagh this is so coooool~
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Re: The vast sea surrounds you, so that's pretty nifty

Postby Outsider » Thu May 23, 2013 6:08 am

Wednesday Update
My original update was lost because I took too long to write it, very frustrating. Here's an unfortunately shorter version.

The passage of time and a more complicated fishing system has been implemented. Time phases are dawn, day, dusk, night, and predawn. Fish can only be caught at a certain phase.

Fishing is no longer instantaneous, requiring more player interaction (in the form of casting a line, waiting for bites, and fighting against the pull of the fish). I hope to add textual and environmental variation to both of these parts of the game.

"Special" fish have not yet been implemented, but here's a sneak-peek. Each special fish has a conditional trigger; they can only be caught once certain conditions are met. One will learn what makes them "special" upon catching them, in this case. Other times, special fish can be caught without much fanfare. However, they may not reveal their special properties until a condition has been met. Still, the main character may have a sense for which fish are special and which are not. The boat contains a fishbowl which can hold one special fish at a time. There they may stay until triggered.

Special fish can't be recorded in the record-book until they're triggered. I hope the game will have 3 endings: one after all of the normal fish are caught, one for when all the special fish are caught, and one for when all fish (including secret fish) are caught.

Secret fish are just as unique as special fish, but may be extremely rare or have very occluded triggers. I hope to provide hints on how to trigger special fish one way or another ;)
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Re: The vast sea surrounds you, so that's pretty nifty

Postby Outsider » Fri May 24, 2013 3:44 am

Thursday Update
Slow going today. I had to rearrange some code in order to make fish able to be caught at only specific times. The good news is that I have figured out how to best implement special fish and got a test case working for that. The player's really going to have to think in order to catch some of these fish :)
Tomorrow, I'm aiming to implement and finalize a good number of fish, special or otherwise. The ideal for the rest of the jam is to have at least 20 special fish implemented along with 30-50 normal fish, and an undetermined amount of secret fish, probably around 3 to start out with. Accomplishing that, in addition to some more environment affects and ambiance, on top of implementing saving and loading and the win conditions, should be enough to occupy me for the rest of the jam!

Tomorrow I may be giving some hints on how to catch the special fish I've implemented on that day :)
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Re: The vast sea surrounds you, so that's pretty nifty

Postby Outsider » Sat May 25, 2013 6:00 am

Friday Update
Today I worked on some "special" fish, but didn't get nearly as much done as I wanted to. This was probably my least productive day. The special fish which aren't triggered immediately upon capture have their true names hidden. Their physical appearance may still give hints as to what to do in order to "trigger" them, however. The decision to implement this led to some problems with my tables and I spent a fair amount of time getting things set right. It looks like I'll need to step things up tomorrow to get both the special fish implemented as well as those additional effects!
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Re: The vast sea surrounds you, so that's pretty nifty

Postby Outsider » Sun May 26, 2013 4:21 am

Saturday Update
The end of Saturday already, wow. I implemented some special fish today, as well as some additional material necessary for their existence, but not nearly as much material as I wanted to get in the game. We'll see how many more fish I can get in tomorrow. It may be that the more secret fish will have to wait, as the special fish are pretty obscure as it stands for the moment. I also got a decent number of normal fish "finalized" in the game. Sunday's version will be version 1.0, that'll hopefully have all of my initial goals completed. I've learned a lot from this jam so far, but it's not over just yet!
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Re: The vast sea surrounds you, so that's pretty nifty

Postby Outsider » Mon May 27, 2013 7:53 am

First Release
Here's the first release of The Vast Sea Surrounds You, as it is tentatively titled. First thing to note -- this game is intended to contain disturbing content, be warned. I think it's in there, but maybe I failed at that, who knows. This is the first jam I've participated in, the first Inform 7 game I have written, and the first game I've released to the public.

Current Version (0.21) [at least one major bug-fix]
The Vast Sea Surrounds You (0.21).ZBLORB

Known bug in the current version: Around turn 900, night will no longer end. Trying to figure out how to fix this.

Buggy End-of-Jam Version
The Vast Sea Surrounds You.ZBLORB

You'll need an interpreter of some sort: Gargoyle works pretty well for me. I would have liked to release it in Parchment, to make it more accessible, but I was having some trouble with that, haha.

Here's a basic tutorial. All-caps signify commands that you can use in the game. Or you can just experiment with commands to find out what things do. If you try something that should have made sense to try and nothing happened, let me know so I can improve the verb recognition.
Code: Select all
LOOK will give you a description of your surroundings. You can LOOK AT various things and check your INVENTORY (i is also a shortcut). Be sure to check your record-book with CHECK RECORD once you've caught some fish.

Remember that you can FISH if you CAST your line. WAIT for bites, use Z as a shortcut, or REEL IN LINE to give up. If you have a bite, you can set your hook with various commands including SET HOOK. Then, you can PULL ROD to wear down your fish. I've made a few variations of these commands, so some variation of casting, reeling, setting, and pulling will hopefully work.

You can SAVE your progress. Loading your save is actually done with the command RESTORE.
Use the up arrow to repeat your last command. Great for waiting for fish & pulling the line.

There are 30 normal fish and 6 special fish in the game right now. There's no "ending" implemented yet, but there are your goals!
I might take a break from future development for a day or two, but I'll be watching the thread for any feedback. I definitely want to add more special fish to the game and make the game experience better as a whole.

Oh, and two hints for the special fish!
The 6 special fish correspond with the time periods of the day -- you're only able to catch one special fish per time period, except during daytime.
For two of the fish, you'll have to get really abstract. Use your head while you wait for some bites.
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