Beeing a long time fan of the saga of Zork I have tried many times to contribute to my best to maintain alive the (underground) world that I have loved so much.2000 - Return to Zork: Another Story
The first work I did have been a new text-adventure for the annual Interactive Fiction Competition.
The adventure, named "Return to Zork: Another Story ", won the 26th place in that competition and was intended to be a re-visit in text form of Return to Zork with many addictions, some brand new, some with connections to older Zork games.
Subsequently I tried to develop an Rpg/Adveture in 3D that was initially named Zork Rpg (then become Worlds of Zork).2000 - Zork Rpg (Never finished)
Unfortunately some errors in the planning stages lead me, at a third of the develop, to find problems that were not solvable, therefore abandoned the idea.
2003/2004 - Words of Zork (Never finished)
And here we come to the present.
I begun from a very simple idea: wanted to build a new interface and then use it to write a new Zork game.
In the era of complex pixel-shaders I decided to move on the opposite direction and design a cross-out between a text adventure and a mouse driven interface very similar to Return to Zork one.
This is how I designed the Five Senses Interface for my Frobozz Magic Storyteller.
On the game screen you have a description of the room/items like it was on text based games.
If you plane a picture for the story, that would be presented as a photo in the book, like you're reading (and interacting) with a real story-book.
All the items scattered on the table where the story is presented work as interactive items for the game options.
If you click on the old map under the book you open an auto-map for the game, if you click on the compass next to the book you quickly move trought the locations, the candle reminds you if you have you lamp on,
a slice of paper signs the score you have (clicking on it you read your archivments), clicking on the disk you can access to common load/save functions, etc...
Here a work in progress of the desktop:
Everything is thought to let you think you're reading a book, and that is your table.
If you move your mouse on particular keywords in the description you can open up a pentagon with the first level of interaction.
From this menu you can choose wich sense you wanna use on that item/object.
This allows to avoid too many action icons like happened to be in Return to Zork, and makes more intuitive the interaction for non adventurers.
Once you choose the sense, you begin to choose the action, a secondary object to perform it on, etc...
The freedom of interaction is all based on the story as the engine opens menus depending on how you plan the interaction.
Any object can receive actions related to the senses, and when you choose a sense you receive a list of all the actions related to that sense that have been decided for the object, then you can choose between all the objects that you decided that can receive that kind of action, etc...
Any room can also be presented with it's own background music, with ambiental effects and any action may have its sound effect too.
Here you can see when you move over a keywork, the choose of a sense to be used and the available actions:
The story would be presented in a way to stimulate your immagination (with text), you could focus player attention on a particular image (with the images), would let you feel a full interaction (with the senses interface), would create sensations via the music/sound effects, would show you options and stats without using menus but presenting 'em like a part of your desktop...
...in my opinion could be a link between the Interactive Fiction world and graphical games.
And what about the way to build our adventures?
Just plain XML!!
Give a look at this tentative sample:
Here you can see parts of the test XML. The definition of the XML is still under heavy work to be the more flexible:
It's all for the moment.
PLEASE: I would be pleased to discuss this game/enigne with other I.F./Zork fans.
Just come into my forum and give me a call!