Charted Territory

Some weeks ago, we spoke of a desire - impossible to fulfill - of mapping all the game. One reader, John Lindberg, took up the challenge with the opening scenes, free to play at the this year's Spring Thing IF showcase. In this 2 part interview, we talk to John about his work, and show some of what he's come up with.

A high-level overview of the first 30 minutes of the game. You can really see the expanded scene choices, followed by contracting transition points! Then there's that last part...

That's a cool image. What drives your interest in mapping games?

There's a lot of different things driving my interest for it actually:

a) I like reading the entirety of an IF-work "at once". My preferred way to consume IF like this is to first play it through once or twice as intended and then to see all of the workings laid out in front of me to really appreciate the entirety of the work.

b) I like visualization, taking some complicated structure or process and getting it to make intuitive sense. It's an interesting challenge of first trying to figure it out enough for yourself to understand what relevant information it actually contains, then seeing how you can make it as clear as possible. (Which may just reveal another layer of information that can be visualized.)

c) I like automation, finding some rote task that you could be doing manually and getting a machine to do it for you instead. First, instructing a machine (aka programming) requires you to really understand what you are attempting to do which can be enlightening on its own. Then, it's interesting to see how the act of automation can transform a task qualitatively.

Playing through a game book a few times may bring you some idea that it works as intended, but try running through every possible combination of choices and you have a whole other level of information on your hands. You just need to make sense of it, bringing us back to visualization. Then give the author of the book a chance to see his changes reflected as he makes the changes and we've probably changed how his writing process works in a big way.

Thanks, John. We'll pick this up next week with a refined map of the opening scene, and more on how John develops these maps. See you then!

About John Lindberg:  I'm a programmer from Stockholm, Sweden. Developer of business software by day and mad mapper of IF by night. When not programming, I mostly enjoy reading, gaming, biking, traveling, cooking, running, one-on-one conversations and watching tv-series.

 The Adventures of Maid Marian and the Sheriff Continue

Read the entire adventure to this point, starting on the post of July 26th.

Marian meet's Will Scarlet

Not much of a rescue...

"I do," says Will. "Now come, Marian, we need to get out of here."

How dare he, after all this time, after everything that's happened, waltz into the the castle and expect me to follow his every word? I've been getting by just fine on my own, thank you very much.

1. "Mount up and follow me."
2. "We're not leaving yet. But I could use your help."
3. "The thought counts, Will, but I work alone. I'll be fine."

Marian's decision at this juncture has been made. To continue her adventures, check out the latest dev blog and vote on her current actions. Read the entire adventure starting July 26th.

We always wanted a treehouse, by Amanda Spaid

This is the Nocked! True Tales of Robin Hood development blog. Every week I’ll discuss some aspect of the game’s development, show off some art, and give you the opportunity to create an entirely new Robin Hood story. Be sure to check out the butler's take on the Sheriff of Nottingham, occasionally updated @ManOfNottingham, and mention us in your tweets with #whosyourrobin.