Finally getting around to it: The Quiet

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wayward
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Finally getting around to it: The Quiet

Post by wayward »

Hello again. It's been a very very long time, and while some of you may remember me others of you might not. I did some ZZT stuff back in the day -- none of it great but it was still a great outlet for me. I'm glad this community/commune is still around -- I was worried everything might have puttered out entirely.

If you hadn't guessed by now, I'm posting because because after nearly a decade since making anything I've made good progress on a game that's been sitting in my brain for awhile. I was originally thinking of some kind of side story to Octagon (a game that I made that, honestly, give far too little guidance for solving its puzzles), but as I started working on the game it has gone in an entirely different direction.

Working Title: The Quiet

Some Screens:
Image
Title Screen

Image
After Zeke's first full day of work.

Brief Synopsis:
Zeke Alton awakens on the first day of his new job at Paper Pushers Inc. with the usual inconveniences: strange lights in the bathroom and his cat Scribble peeing in cryptic patterns on the floor. But finding out his new job as "document processor" involves mortal danger at every turn is only the beginning of his problems, especially when he comes home to find Scribble has been catapulted into another dimension.

Some Thoughts:
As those screen shots show, I am nowhere near a great ZZT artist. The same applies to programming and music. But my other games have been praised for their story -- and that's what I'm focusing on here too. The difference this time? I'm trying my best to make it an actual game instead of just an interactive book/movie (see: Within v1.9 or Apud).

Release Date: Probably this summer. Probably over multiple files.
Genre: Puzzle? Adventure? Not sure just yet.

edit: picture change
Last edited by wayward on Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Commodore
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Post by Commodore »

I'm looking forward to it. I thought the puzzles in Octogon were pretty fun so I hope there are nice puzzles here.

The graphics aren't as bad as you make them out. I think the title screen would look better if the text was in one line and a little more centered. The stray random blocks of fade look a little unnatural, I'd either get rid of them or make them more numerous.

The black in the grass fade makes the board look a little empty and I'm not sure what the white block in the corner is but if it's the moon you'd be better off making something closer to a circle using white on blue text otherwise get rid of it.

Just some ideas.
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wayward
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Post by wayward »

Commodore wrote:I'm looking forward to it. I thought the puzzles in Octogon were pretty fun so I hope there are nice puzzles here.

The graphics aren't as bad as you make them out. I think the title screen would look better if the text was in one line and a little more centered. The stray random blocks of fade look a little unnatural, I'd either get rid of them or make them more numerous.

The black in the grass fade makes the board look a little empty and I'm not sure what the white block in the corner is but if it's the moon you'd be better off making something closer to a circle using white on blue text otherwise get rid of it.

Just some ideas.
Thanks for the ideas and feedback. Graphics pointers are always welcome. Yeah, I'm not a fan of the letters for the title at all but I figured, "screw it," I can always get back to it later. The title might not even stick when all is said and done.

So far I'm about 2/3 of the way done with the first file -- though I'm reluctant to release it one file at a time episodically. I'd rather do it all at once. Expect a lot more puzzle variety than Octagon and as far less "Point A or Point B" in terms of branching story paths. I don't want to get overambitious too early...but at least right now the idea is to work a few interweaving story lines and try and give the player some choice that could bring them back from one to the other -- or to a totally different one entirely.
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superbowl shuffle
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Post by superbowl shuffle »

Wayward! Good to see you. This is Oof.

Can't wait to play your game. I guess if we're giving graphical advice I would suggest making your crossover fades a little less discrete. You can clearly see in the sky the solid, normal, etc sections. It will look better as a continuous gradient -- ie, normals are more likely to appear on the left side of the solid section than the right because it is closer to the normal section. Am I making sense?

Anyway, good luck!
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wayward
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Post by wayward »

superbowl shuffle wrote:Wayward! Good to see you. This is Oof.

Can't wait to play your game. I guess if we're giving graphical advice I would suggest making your crossover fades a little less discrete. You can clearly see in the sky the solid, normal, etc sections. It will look better as a continuous gradient -- ie, normals are more likely to appear on the left side of the solid section than the right because it is closer to the normal section. Am I making sense?

Anyway, good luck!
Oof! I do remember!

Yeah, I see what you're saying. I probably also need to make more of a gradient anyway. I still have plenty of work to do with puzzles and stuff as well graphically. I got the basics working, but so far a few of the rooms are just "puzzle" and that's it.

Almost done with the first file though. Thanks for the encouragement and I'm glad you and others are still around!
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wayward
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Post by wayward »

Image

Decided to make an actual title screen for the game. I need to go back and make the plateau on the left set a little higher than the horizon on the right, but otherwise I'm pretty happy with it.

Actually, most of my work that's left for the first file is to fix a lot of the graphic assets -- especially in puzzle rooms. For all but one room I can think of, I only threw the puzzle down and otherwise left black and ugly everywhere else. Need to work on some music too, though that will come in time.

Finally, a question: my computer does not have a PC speaker. I know I can listen to the music in kevedit just fine, but can someone suggest to me a zzt player that will play the music in the game without need for PC speaker?

Thanks!
Last edited by wayward on Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Schroedingers Cat
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Post by Schroedingers Cat »

Uhhh.... DOSBox?

VDMSound might work, too.

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mmm puzzles

Post by RobertP »

Puzzles!

Great improvement on the title screen. I'm looking forward to this game.
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Post by Commodore »

I agree. it sets a better tone than just some text on some fades
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wayward
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Post by wayward »

I am done with file 1. Hooray! However, this does not mean finished with file one, but instead merely that I have made it to the end of the file and now have to go back through and clean up graphics, programming, and do a second draft for all of the writing

But it's progress! Still happy with the whole thing. Nice to be working on a project that's pretty easy to pick up and work on.

One annoying, and I mean really annoying, question that I do not know if there is an answer to. How do you clean up the wall left by a blinkwall (listed in kevedit as a horizontal or vertical blinkwall ray)? I have a dirty way of doing it in game, but I'm wondering if there's an easier way to code it. I'd just like to be able to snatch up the blinkwalls and their rays if possible.

But if not, there are other solutions.
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Post by Dr. Dos »

Since ZZT has no way to #change away a blinkwall ray, the best I can come up with is having some objects that become blocked when the ray is on, and only #changing the blinkwalls away if they aren't blocked so the path will be clear.

wayward
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Post by wayward »

Dr. Dos wrote:Since ZZT has no way to #change away a blinkwall ray, the best I can come up with is having some objects that become blocked when the ray is on, and only #changing the blinkwalls away if they aren't blocked so the path will be clear.
Thanks for the suggestion. I ended up using a hybrid of that and having some objects clear walls manually as they entered the level. Since the blinkwalls were going at different times, checking to see if an object is blocked wasn't full-proof. But now I have a 100% success rate with far less code. And as I have about 100 bytes to spare on that board (assuming 20k/board is a hard limit in zzt and not a system memory limit), the space saving helped big time.

Image

Still have work to do on file 1, but decided to do a little bit of file 2 work to give myself something to look forward to. I'm pretty set on making the game two files and from where I'm sitting the two files are going to be pretty different. Same type of game, just different.

First thing is first though: cleaning up the story arc in file 1. I kept getting ideas, but I need to do more to give the player a chance to get to know Zeke Alton.

I'm starting to feel like I'm beginning to knock off the ZZT rust. Hopefully this game can live up to my expectations.
Last edited by wayward on Tue Jun 15, 2010 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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asiekierka
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Post by asiekierka »

Well, 20k/board is a hardcoded limit, ZZT 4.0 bumps it up to 32KB and ZZT 4.1 (in the upload directory) bumps it up to 64KB.

...without touching the file size, though. So you can have 64KB boards but up to a ~300KB file.

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Post by Commodore »

I really like that one! is it a door and a flower in some industrial wasteland? that building looks seriously menacing.
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wayward
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Post by wayward »

Commodore wrote:I really like that one! is it a door and a flower in some industrial wasteland? that building looks seriously menacing.
Glad you like it. You're on the right track though I'll go so far as to say that the file 1 title screen and the file 2 title screen are looking at the same area.

Of course looking at it again this morning I now realize the building fails the "penis test." So I need to do a slight adjustment, but that won't take long.

And thanks for the zzt file info reminder. I think I'll stick with 3.2 compatibility. Good to know about the 300k limit staying the same. Shouldn't be a problem. If anything, probably a good way for me to stop myself when it's finished instead of continuing to add on.
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