Monday, March 11, 2013

what now?

With my last Roodylib update, I hit version 3.0. Admittedly, my version numbering is nothing more than adding a .1 with every release. Still, the next things on my Roodylib to-do list are inconsequential enough that I may make use of the clean version number and finally upload a version of Roodylib to the IF Archive.

One of the things I'm debating adding to Roodylib in the future is some replacement of DescribePlace. The problem is, I think that my "does everything" version of DescribePlace is kind of an eyesore so I'd like to either clean it up or put a somewhat less feature-ful version in Roodylib. The recent configuration-file-writing stuff could be cleaner, too.

As far as new extensions go, the remaining ideas are ones that I'm comfortable putting on the backburner for a while, so I really have no excuse to not dig big into my game ideas. Just the same, I'd like to mention them here right now as a bit of a teaser.

The first extension idea is a "Scott Adams game" extension, which would hopefully make it easy to hide a Scott Adams-type game in another game. Basically, I thought it'd be hilarious if multimedia-using games opened up as Scott Adams type games in multimedia-incapable terps.

There have been a couple difficulties with this. The first was figuring out a way to make the Scott Adams game grammar coexist with the regular game grammar. I'm pretty sure I've come up with a good solution for this.

The second one is a bit harder. Somewhere along the way, I decided that I wanted to copy actual-Scott-Adams-game behavior by putting all of the non-prompt game text in the status window (which would take up the top half the screen). I think that last time I worked on the extension, I began a string saving system to handle this, but I haven't gotten the extension into a compilable state yet. Part of the difficulty has been trying to decide if default messages should ever be anything other than "OK!" and "I CAN'T DO THAT!" or whatever.

Anyhow, as much as the idea behind the extension amuses me, I'm not currently working on any multimedia games that would use it, and I am likely the only person who would use such an extension.

My other extension idea is a "beginner interface" that could be popped into most games that'd show basic information that player's could click to add to the command line. This idea grew out of the idea that most plain text Hugo games played in a fullscreen or near-fullscreen window have more space than they know what to do with (at least if you aren't using Hugor's cool margin size feature). The general layout of the interface would look like this:
There are several things that have kept me from writing this one, too. For one thing, I've been avoiding the headache of writing the code that figures how many windows are available with the given space. Something like the inventory window would be especially troublesome, where it could conceivably be a long list comprised of long names.

I also had this idea before I did the "default menu" for newmenu.h. That provides a page with common commands, and doing that took some of the wind out of my sails for this project.

Lastly, I think this design demands the use of at least three colors, and I don't even want to think about how I'm going to determine that third color.

So, yeah, there are those things. Hopefully, the next time you hear from me, I'll be knee deep in game code.

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