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Chimère and my opinion about Twine

Chimère

I just released a new interactive fiction, written with Twine: Chimère. It tells the journey of a person leaving his world on the verge of destruction to seek answers from their Creators.

It’s really short, but I hope quite enjoyable.

It’s here if you want to play it, but it is, as usual, only available in French.

My opinion about Twine

This game made me realise that I hate Twine for sizeable projects (and Chimère isn’t even really big!)

First reason: the organisation becomes quickly messy with a lot of passages. I find that the passages network looks cool in a certain “artistic” way, but it’s a hassle when you have to organise them, with all the arrows everywhere. And it’s worse when you want to rearrange them.

Second reason: a different syntax with each format. Twine offers several story formats, each having their own appearance and functionalities. The problem is that each one has its own way of coding. If you want to change your format, you have to code all again. If you want to try another format for another story, you have to learn again everything. It would have been better, I think, to have one unified syntax, with an extension system to extend the functionalities. (I say that, but it must be more difficult to set up that it looks!)

Third reason: the code and the text are mixed together. This troubled me particularly when it comes to placing line breaks properly in the text. More generally, I find that it makes the text more difficult to read.

All these reasons, with the fact that two versions of Twine coexist and are used, makes me believe that Twine is not that good for people willing to try game development. Everyone seems to think the opposite though, so maybe I’m wrong? It also depends on the project: for a small one without special effect nor variables to keep track of the player’s actions, Twine remains a good tool.

I, however, prefer by far parser interactive fictions, so my viewpoint may be distorted! Next time, I’ll try Raconteur, to see.

Reviews of French interactive fictions soon

While I’ve been writing interactive fiction for a few years already (time passes quickly!), I never really played all that was written by the French community since its creation 15 years ago.

I think it’s more  than time I change this, so expect to see here soon a series of reviews which I hope will cover all the modern French works.

Here are some points on how I will proceed :

  • It’s the first time I’m doing this kind of exercice seriously, so the last reviews will probably be fairer than the first ones. At worst, I’ll edit some reviews if my vision changes drastically.
  • The order in which I play the interactive fiction is chosen randomly. However, I’ll likely play short games along a longer one so that the reviews appear at a steady pace.
  • I don’t think I’ll give marks (except on the IFDB), because I find that they do not reflect what a game really is; I will instead draw up good and bad points for each game.
  • At last, every interactive fiction will be judged by modern standards. Older games which did not take advantage of the improvements in the French translations of the authoring systems will not be judged more favourably. I’ll simply try to be the fairest I can be.

That’s it! The first game that will be subjected to my analysis will be Le Cercle des Gros Geeks disparus, by Adrien Saurat. Come back soon!

Result Of The Interactive Fiction Competition 2015

The competion is over, and the results are…

  1. L’Envol, by Yoruk, with 7.12/10;
  2. Sourire de bois, by Natrium729 (that’s me!), with 7/10;
  3. Comédie, by Monsieur Bouc, with 6.75/10.

That was a close one! Thanks to all the voters, and to the all writers of course! See you in 2016!

Ludum Dare 30 Results and Timelapse

A bit late, but here are the results of our Ludum Dare game Grow Your Planet.

Category Mark (out of five) Rank
Coolness 71%
Mood 3.50 #176
Innovation 3.23 #266
Graphics 3.62 #275
Audio 3.27 #292
Humor 2.61 #298
Theme 3.26 #335
Overall 3.24 #374
Fun 2.87 #477

Also, you can watch the timelapse:

As I said in the previous article, we’ll try to do it again in December!

Grow Your Planet Postmortem

We made a game for the Ludum Dare 30 (which began quite a long time ago), but we hadn’t had time to post about it here.

The theme was Connected worlds and our game’s name is Grow Your Planet. You can play it here!

Meanwhile, here is the postmortem. You can skip to the conclusion is you find it too long.

What Went Right

For our first Ludum Dare, it went really well, actually. Following is a list of what we are really satisfied:

The Main Idea

We found the idea of making planets grow in a pot at home quite easily, and we found it really cool. Moreover, it fitted the theme very well, while remaining original (we didn’t want to make a platformer with two overlapping levels or such other quite obvious ideas).

The Graphics

We aren’t so good at pixel art, and hand-drawn graphics add a personnality to the game (I think so, at least). People seemed to like the style, Ylang did a really good job here. Many thanks to her!

The Programming

Stencyl is a wonderful tool that I’ve been using for some while, so everything went quite smoothly. No bugs, no unsolvable problems, no features that needed to be removed due to their complexity… The main challenge was the use of the image API, for the “taking pictures” part of the game, but here again, it wasn’t that hard.

What Went Wrong

Nothing Just kidding. Actually, nothing went really bad. Some things could have been better, though:

The Platformer Levels

To reinforce the “connected” part of the theme, we decided to add levels of some sort—and we chose platformer ones—to make the planets interact which each other. Sadly, this decision was made too late, and I ended up not having the time to make them. As a result, I made a small, poorly implemented one that can be completed in 5 seconds, and duplicated it to make three levels. This is the main thing to rework in a post-compo version.

The Polish

The game is not polished enough: it lacks transitions when you unlock a new planet, and the ends abruptly. For the next time: do not finish 30 seconds before the deadline!

The Communication

I am quite new to this, so I did not really communicate about the game. This is a thing to improve for next time, to gain more visibility.

What Went Neither Right Nor Wrong

The Music

Maple did a quite good job here, but the music was made at the end, too quickly, we did not have the time to record it and I implement it poorly in the game. Next time, we should begin to work earlier on this aspect of the game.

Time Management

We slept enough (too much?), and we respected the delays we fixed ourselves for each of our goals. We took it maybe too easy and relaxed, which caused the not-so-good platformer levels. It is strange to say that, but we’ll need to sleep less next time!

Conclusion

We had a lot of fun and are very satisfied with our first Ludum Dare game. We could do almost everything as planned. Just need to sleep less and to communicate more. Beside that, we did quite well.

We’ll be back for sure in December!

Results of the French Interactive Fiction Comp

Results for the french interactive fiction competition have been announced! I am proud to tell that my game, Noir d’encre (which could be translated as “Pitch Dark”) won the second place! However, if you understand French, don’t hesitate to play the three other great games. My results are below, and you can have more informations at the link given above.

Vote Fun
(weighting 2)
Writing Quality
(weighting 1)
Programming Quality
(weighting 1)
#1 7 9 8
#2 8 7 7
#3 7 8 8
#4 3 8 8
#5 5 8 9
#6 7 8 6
#7 8 8 7
#8 7 8 8
Total: 7,16

I’ll try to win the first place next time ;)

2013 French Interactive Fiction Comp

Votes are open to determine the winner of the 2013 French IF Comp. Anyone can mark the games, so you are welcome to do it. Obviously, they are in French, so you need a minimum of knowledge in this language. But if it’s not a problem to you, you can get more informations on this page and on this thread. Thank you!