Sunday, 23 September 2012

Interactive Fiction

Proof that the internet has a page for everything (I think we already knew that) is that I found a good many sites full of love for the old Choose Your Own Adventure book series from the 1980s, of which I had a shelf full. Those old books were about 100 pages long and featured a branch-like narrative with multiple endings. With titles like "The Cave of Time", "The House of Danger" and "Journey Under the Sea", these books worked for readers of my age (which was about ten).

"You reach a fork in the road and find an old man sitting there. To turn left in the fork, go to page 45. To turn right, go to page 56. To talk to the old man, go to page 80."

That sort of thing.

Later on, when computers came along, I fell in love with the text adventures of Magnetic Scrolls (yes there's a website for them too). With games like Jinxter, The Guild of Thieves and Corruption, I was hooked by the way that these games built worlds in your head.

Even now there is a cult following for these old style games, but interactive fiction lives on in the form of hyperfiction (hypertext fiction where you navigate the story through hyperlinks on a web page).

I've decided to have a go at creating a piece of interactive fiction for the Android phone. As a fan of the old Myst-style point and click adventures too I wanted to try and merge some of those elements in there too. As a writer I could combine a number of passions into one. Who knows, I might even end up with an App I could sell for a small fee.

So I've been having a heap of fun (a little bit of sarcasm in there in case you didn't notice) installing the Java Development Environment, along with all the necessary stuff to create and build Android Apps. Let's see where I end up. I have a story, which I am building into a game narrative, and I've devised a few puzzles to challenge the reader. And I've even dug out some of the old MP3s of music I wrote on my trusty Yamaha V50 synthesizer back in the 1990s, to add a little atmosphere.

I'm very excited about this little project, and will post more as I progress on this new journey.