« Archives in January, 2012

The silence of Sand-dancer

Since Inform 7 became our weapon of choice, we had to learn how to master it. A few months ago, we started to work on a (supposedly) small interactive fiction project set in Cranianth, the citadel of the Horde. Currently called Sands of Torment, this project involves a heavy focus on RPG mechanics and an ambient procedural soundtrack. It uses ATTACK by Victor Gijsbers, a custom behavioural system for the main character’s evolution, possibly a new version of Damusix by Eliuk Blau…

Let’s say there’s a lot of complexity involved. And at the moment, this is a bad thing, because there’s also, naturally, a lot of beginner’s mistakes involved, high expectations, and probably low results if we carry on with all the crazy ideas we want to implement in this first Inform 7 game.

That’s why we’ve bought a copy of the excellent Creating Interactive Fiction with Inform 7 by Aaron A. Reed. We could also mention Blue Lacuna was impressive enough for us to grab its author’s book in total confidence.

This book is meant to teach how to use Inform 7 efficiently, and it does, by providing step-by-step instructions for the development of an example game called Sand-dancer. We’re not utterly clueless Inform 7 dummies. Yet we decided from the beginning to follow the book and complete all its exercises and suggestions before going back to Sands of Torment, which is quite time-consuming, but equally rewarding. The problem here, apart from the noticeable Inform skills improvement, is that the result will be nothing more than a somewhat customized Sand-dancer version. Nothing even close to Europe after the Rain, and nothing related in any way to Streams of Europe.

Hence the idea to go further by using Sand-dancer as a framework for an interactive soundtrack composition. While the game is set in a modern, contemporary context, its atmosphere shares many similarities with what we’re aiming at in Sands of Torment. This is the perfect playground to hear what Glulx sound extensions such as Located Sounds by Mikael Segercrantz or Multiple Sounds by Massimo Stella can do.

So, in the end, our Sand-dancer version will be released as an “interactive musical fiction”, and you’ll probably get a new Streams of Europe’s album as well.