The House of Torment: WIP


#1

This started as a choice clone of the old 1992 video game “Alone in the Dark”. It didn’t take long until I began to customize what was seen and what was read compared to the original video game. Like the difference between a cartoon and a painting there is much to see that the video game lacks. I was suggested to customize the back story and so I did and with the help of those “Extra Credits” videos on youtube I steered this beast into different waters.

I used an old XP laptop with no integrated spell checking.
I used Advelh 2000 to create my game. All it does is track section numbers so if I move things around it adjust all pointers.
There is absolutely NO spell correction so if that makes you scream then do not enter.

Right now I just need some blatant play testing of the game layout itself.

I do not mean the dice rolling system but the pacing. The frequency of encountering monsters, their placement, and other challenges may need to be changed. Many are simply hold overs from the original video game’s layout and may need to be removed for continuity. Some sections might need complete rewrites as a result. This is the reason I am reluctant to performing any form of spell correction. That and the spell checking programs always stops at each and every ‘choice’ option.

Right now I have few primary questions.
A. Is it impossible to complete? There is A singular good ending.
B. Is it too similar to the ‘alone in the dark’ game as to be problematic.
C. Are the monsters too difficult to get by?
D. Should I remove custom character creation and stick with the pre gens?
E. Is my ‘rating’ grade for content appropriate?

Considering changes in the layout there are two things that I’ve considered changing.
A. Removing the giant snake & its encounter altogether.
. I think its too much combat and pacing. This might also apply to the ghost girl and the zombie cook as well.
B. Removing the ‘Standing Stones’ jumping test section.
. I think its too much of a ‘platformer jumping test’ held over from the game

Or you can find it in the preffered .html format. beware there are formatting issues that makes it all bold face at points and it’s still not spell checked. Also for some reason google drive list it as a plain text document and not .html. so you will need to download it and re-view. Its plain old text html. nothing fancy.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9tHyMGXPGz3eGhudzdkczJwdEU/view?usp=sharing

I should mention that this is a work of love. I’ve had little to no feedback on this at all. I’ve created it after 10 pm on weeknights and its taken me a few years to complete. Oh I have no qualms about it being cheap. I know its cheap and amatureish. Right now all I am focusing in on is the gameplay itself. That’s what I want to hear about. Any tips and tricks are greatly welcome. As for that enormous code word list, If I listed every object by name, it will almost tell you directly where to look for the codewords you need. If you need “The big spoon” to get past a monster your going to search in the kitchen. No I wanted this to be a Hunt because at the same time you find hints to read and atmospheric things. I tried to research objects from the 1923 timeframe to put in the house so it would seem authentic. Many of the objects are real things you can find online. Some are not. If the code word list needs to be simplified to object names, im open to that. Monsters and their and the player characters unique death/descriptions im sorta proud of. Some have to stay because they integrate into the new story line. Some can be riped right out because there nothing more than video game hold overs. So Yeah, I know its a conversion but at the same time a few things in it im proud of.

Most of all I want you guys to have fun.
I want you to enjoy my creation.


New Member & "Alone in the Dark"
#2

I do like the concept. I use to played the first alone in the dark. as well as the alone in the dark from about 2000 or so. So I do look forward into reading and learning more… :smile:


#3

You have two forum topics on the exact same subject (and with near identical content). Please pick one, and I’ll lock the other one.

The forum is flagging your posts because you’re a new user, and it thinks you are posting too many links.

Also if a game is not in choicescript, which this isn’t, it belongs in the other interactive fiction category. Unless you intend to translate the game into choicescript.


#4

#5

At @b1g0leb0b request I closed the other topic. (New Member & "Alone in the Dark") and reopened this one. I have also changed the categories.


#6

Through out the years I have attempted many creative projects. Hours upon hours of creation and not one thing seen by another soul. Why might you ask? It’s simple. I would learn how to use a program, how to make it work and how to create what I want. Then Get cracking on the real project and at the last moment something always seems to go wrong. No matter how much I bug hunt nothing ever surfaced.

To me it seems as if computer programs simply get in the way of my need to create. They always change, they always update, and eventually whatever format you are using gets abandoned in liu of whatever is the latest and greatest. Not to mention changes in operating system, the hardware, and utilities that are core to what you are working on but are now completely incompatible.

That’s why I started this project as a plain text project. Dice, paper and pencil. No fancy computer program, no compiler, no “oops I forgot to make that special bit of code”. Just me and the text. I wanted to get writing right away, to lay down that haunted house and to be creative. I have a folder of hand written notes, maps and a preview print out of the entire text. I’m rocking it old school back to the 1980’s!

And yes I am aware of the irony that I’m using a word processor to create this thing.

I took a quick glance of the basics of the COG code examples and I noticed right off the bat it seems geared specifically toward a branching structure. Or just the basic example is. My game uses map based exploration where you often come back to the same numbered section through different means. It also uses a variety of code words to open and close certain paths in addition to random number generation. Can the COG code do this?

If not then I’ll continue as I have with the final product being a form of text document. Wither in arrives as an Html or Pdf the final format waits to be seen.

As always I hope you enjoy the game.


#7

Actually choicescript would be far, far superior to what you’re currently doing in pdf files. There’s absolutely nothing, that I can see, that you’re doing in those pdfs that you can’t do with choicescript. If anything choicescript would simplify things for the player, allowing themselves to immerse themselves more fully in the story without needing to be bothered by the mechanics.

I’ll give you a quick example of how to code things up. (This isn’t how I’d do it but it’s the easiest direct comparison).

*label 10
 Landing! Text stuff here!
 
*if swarm=true

	*choice
		#Climb the staircase
			*goto 19
		#Go through the arch to the West
			*goto 11
		#Go through the arch to the North
			*goto 15
		#Go through the arch to the East
			*goto 17

*elseif swarm=false
	*goto 162		

The label command acts like a page number. So *label 10 and then a *goto 10 is the same as a turn to page 10, but it does it automatically.

With the code words you’ll need to first *create them and then you can set them true or false, and from that point you can use if statements to see if a person has that code word or not.


#8

I’d have to concur with the previous reply as the simple answer is: Yes. And a lot more. For instance, from the player’s perspective you would “lose” room numbers, section numbers and code words as these would be handled behind the scenes as simple game variables. Nothing like that would be left out in the open to get in the way of their total immersion in / enjoyment of the story. That’s the important point.


#9

Ah. The use of the label command as a page # is what threw me for a loop. That helps a ton to understand the system. What about random number generation? No need to fill in here but to point me to the appropiate posts.

Is choice script copyright? I don’t want to go stepping on anyone’s toes more than I already have. What with ‘Atari’ and ‘Fabled Lands’ and all.

Most of all I hope you enjoy the game more than anything else.


#10

!! Encounter !!
The Raven
Do you have the word “Gibbous” ?
If NO then skip to the below.
If YES then ,Turn to 468

There is no section 468. Can’t continue.


#11

Had to hunt for that. Its at # section 153 right?

Advelh has the ability to pack all holes to make it a tight package. In my ‘unpacked’ working version that should say turn to the same location as the first choice “Go north to the staircase” which is 468 unpacked, or 174 packed. For some reason the ‘packing’ process missed that one. Ah the program recognized only the " , Turn to " not " ,Turn to " I missed a space on two spots. Thank you for pointing that out to me! I also discovered that at 118 it should offer to turn to 159 not 450.


#12

You get “Gibbous” for (spoiler): killing the raven, but 174 is the original encounter with the raven, and 468 doesn’t exist. Looking through, it seems like 129 is where I should go after killing the raven?


#13

There’s a random command. If you want to roll 2D6 then

*rand dieroll 2 12

That’ll randomly roll a number between 2 and 12. Then just

*if dieroll > 5
    Stuff
*if dieroll <5
    Other stuff
*if dieroll = 5
    Even more stuff

Specific details are on the wiki.

As for choicescript and copyright the license is here https://github.com/dfabulich/choicescript/blob/master/LICENSE.txt

It boils down to, if you don’t plan to make any money off of your game, and what you’re writing is legal, then you’re free to use the code. If you do want to sell your game, then you’ve two options, one Choice of Games will host it for you as one of their Hosted Games, converting it to various platforms and submitting it to them, and they’ll give you a cut of 25% gross profit. OR if you want to release it yourself, you give them a 25% as a licensing fee for using their codebase (I believe they do still give you the wrappers for releasing it yourself but that’s all a bit beyond me).

With its connection to Alone in the Dark, you’d need to strip that away to be eligible to sell your game. Not having played Alone in the Dark, or read your game, I’m not sure how similar things are. Even with its origins it shouldn’t be impossible. Look at Shades of Grey and Twilight.


#14

I have discovered that my use of the “<” symbol has resulted in confusion of my conversion program. The one that tracks all the paragraphs. When I convert it to .HTML it gets confused due to the use of that element. Please Use the .PDF file I linked above to prevent confusion. I used that as a visual cue so that if it were converted to plain ASCI that the section would be easily found.

In section #153 “Staircase Corner”
!! Encounter !!
The Raven

Do you have the word “Gibbous” ?

  • If NO then skip to the “Choices” below.
  • If YES then ,Turn to 468
    This last line is wrong it should be
  • If YES then , Turn to 174

Section #174 “The Raven” gives two different results to a fight with the raven.

As to similarities to “Alone in the Dark” I would need others to judge that. Right Now I am too close to it to see it from a distance.


#15

Can GOC code do the 2d6 bell curve?
A random die roll between 2 and 12 is a flat rate and equivalent to a single 12 sided dice.
On a 2d6 roll the average roll is a 7 and you don’t get a flat rate. Meaning the chances of getting a 6 or 8 is higher than the chances of getting a 5 or 9.
The graph on anydice illustrates this the easiest.


#16

If it really matters, then there’s likely a couple of ways. Off the top of my head, I’d roll both separately and then add them together.

*rand rollA 1 6
*rand rollB 1 6
*set diceroll = rollA + rollB

I’d use subroutines so I didn’t need to do that everywhere I wanted to roll dice.

However actually I’m not a fan of dice rolls and randomness so I’d actually look at replacing the random aspect with something else.


#17

I guess it’s time for me to stop working with that ‘Unpacked’ file. I have around 90+ % of “sections” laid out for the game. I guess it’s a milestone to recognize that most of the framework isn’t just laid out but nailed down.

As for the purpose of having dice rolling in the game that in itself is another story.
This project started out as a concept piece to illustrate the use of a dice pool in a game book.
Currently I know of NO game book that uses a Dice pool.
My downfall was the theory that I had to create my own rpg system.
I wasted so much time on that failure that I regret holding onto that concept.
Although I was bogged down on technicalities I continued creative writeing.
Eventually I realized that It would be easier to use an existing system.
While I was ‘shoping’ the myriad of game systems out there I also discovered the “Extra Credits” series on youtube.
They opened my eyes to story telling, what makes good bad guys, conflict, etc.
Although they are aimed at video games, story telling is still story telling.
This was when I realized that game books are about presenting a story.
That dice rolling was second fiddle and unnecessary.
That’s when I really started reworking this game.
That’s when I began to customize it into something that was mine and not a cookie cutter copy from its original influence.

In many game book’s I’ve played the RPG system seemed so simplified as to seem insulting.
Not that they were / are simple but that they “felt” simple.
This is where I decided to keep the RPG element in the game as an illusion and as a part of the presentation.
Many combat sequences were simplified to ‘dodge’ dice rolls with damage as a failure and others were completely removed.

As for my dice pool system that I’ve abandoned, I’ll leave it at that.
I realize now that I can EASILY rip out the dice system and replace it with something else entirely at this point. That’s how little the dice system is integrated into the story.
As for that dice pool concept, It still floats in the back of my mind but like a bad fart in an elevator it’s easily forgotten.


#18

I haven’t watched much Extra Credits videos but the ones I did see were good.

We have a small discussion of randomness in the thread Author Hangout on Air There’s a little more discussion in that video as well.

I remember the Fighting Fantasy books used dice, as did Way of the Assassin and Lonewolf and even my first ever gamebook which was a He-Man one.

There’s also some discussions of dice in gamebooks here

http://fabledlands.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/do-gamebooks-need-dice.html (and further http://fabledlands.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/dice)

I’m poking around on the subject myself at the moment. (Those links are as much to remind myself to check them out.)


#19

That is a verry good set of links conerning the topic of dice rolling in choice games.
Last night I watched a mini marathon of “Extra Credit” videos and took some notes.

It made me re-examine the narrative and things that even in the original game of ‘ALD’ seemed unexplained and ‘off’. Things like the monster in the tub, or the upper society zombies are unexplained and yet make no sense in relation to the narrative. How does a fully aquatic monster end up in a second story bathtub? How do enlightened upper society members end up dreaded zombies in one great batch such as the dinner party or the dancers in the ballroom. No explanation and as such they do not fit into the narrative at all.

I’ve also realized that since the house has multiple exits that I CAN rewrite multiple GOOD endings and not corner myself into just one. That is pure creative fun right there.

As before I would love for players here to find errors in my game that I’ve created already. That way I can correct them before making any other newer changes.


#20

It’s amazing what others can find that you (as a creator) may be oblivious to. Someone found that I neglected to mention that I have pre made characters BEFORE I start describing character creation. Oops! One more for the check list!

I’ve come up with a new bad guy at the end. More gore than the original and yet the ‘kill’ token is now more in tune with the newer story line. Remember how the oil lamp played an important part in the original game. My last rework made it useless, now it plays its part again but in a different way. It’s a stone carved ball like cage that’s powered by blood and glows with a blue flame. In other words instead of having separate health points and lamp oil points to track, there one and the same. It also plays into the final death a lot more than a plain old fire based oil lamp. It is exciting to discover a way to integrate old neglected elements back into the game and contribute to the story line. I have pages of reworks to do but I think I made some good scripting leeway.

I have two simple questions though that are easy to ‘see’ in my last sample online.
A. Should I remove ‘paragraph/section’ titles? I feel like they help set moods in -some- situations.
B. Should I simplify ITEM code words just to be the item label itself? Ie: no multiple code words.

As always Have fun and enjoy the game.