Thank you all for your extremely kind words and excellent feedback!
@doula I really believe that audio games are a barely explored niche of the IF genre, and there is nearly unlimited potential for their future. One benefit to writers these days is that a single person with a normal computer can do create really cool audio with synthesized speech and sound effects.
Should you or anyone else be interested, I wrote a lengthy tutorial on exactly how to do this (it seems intimidating at first, but SSML is no more difficult to learn than HTML).
@levviathan Yes, a funny meeting of the minds between us I’ve long been interested in different ways that stories can be told, so when I was hired to work on a “voice command” project in 2019 for a customer who works with the UN to give greater accessibility to folk knowledge and wisdom, I immediately began wondering if I could build a voice-driven game on my own, and Starship Zumanji is the result.
Previously, I used the built-in voices on my Mac (see here for more on that) to create stories, but Apple does not let you use SSML markup to change the inflection, tone, etc., so they all came out rather “robotic” and flat sounding. Starship Zumanji was my humble effort to add some atmosphere, sound effects, etc, to create a richer experience than just a screen reader could provide.
@acer Your enthusiasm is greatly appreciated! I know I love working on my stories and games, and my friends and wife support me, but the fuel that keeps me going is the thought that someone out there is experiencing the unforgettable spark of playing a truly fun game.
I recently saw a documentary about the early days of Atari, and I found it very touching that the coders who built the top-selling games of that era were all driven first by a love of playing games.
As for my next game, it will be less a “skill game” than a charming series of “Mad Libs” stories from Big Papi, an aging, beloved family patriarch who is getting close to the end of his life. His sometimes comical, over-the-top stories will serve to tie all of my games together thematically (I hope), as already previewed in my game Blackjack Mama.
When I was a kid, long before even CYOA books existed, Mad Libs were the first form of “interactive fiction” I ever played, and I remember many happy afternoons spent with my friends filling out simple Mad Lib sheets and laughing our butts off so I simply had to pay tribute to their impact on my life.
After that, it’s endless rounds of fiddling with the code, adding new features, cleaning up some persistent bugs, and then going for broke and trying to LAUNCH the omnibus!