Archive for December, 2015

Fun with Maps

December 29, 2015 3 comments


Maps are essential to many Interactive Fiction games, especially those that involve activity in various locations. Interactive Fiction game maps that deal with real locations, however, are challenging to implement, as there is a trade-off to be had between realism and playability. If the design is meant to represent the physical layout with utmost fidelity, the details of the map can potentially slow down and frustrate game play as the player is forced to move from one seemingly meaningless location to another in order to get to the desired destination. It’s similar to the counterpoint between a flight simulator and a flight game–the realism of a true simulator can be very boring, unless it’s the simulation itself that interests you.

Likewise, the conflicting visions of the HWLN: is it a simulation of the physical layout of Williamsburg as it was in the months leading up the signing of the Declaration of Independence, or is it a game about the events taking place during that time? That conflict plays itself out everytime I return to the map and struggle with the appropriate level of detail to include. I’ve been wanting the game to be both, but that may not be the wisest choice for the HWLN as a game.

Part of the challenge was addressed in part by the new daily maps published by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation for visitors. The new map (show in the picture above) is actually a streamlined version of an earlier visitor map which you can view here. The older map is much more detailed, and perhaps in the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s thinking, it was not as user friendly. Whatever the case, the new map gives me a good template for a more streamlined game map, on which I am currently working and will implement at least initially in Inform 7.

So for the sake of playability, I’ll work with a less detailed map. But at some point, as an exercise in modeling an accurate picture of history, I’ll return to the “high resolution” version in order to satisfy my inner purist.

HWLN Perks and Progress Update

For those of you that have backed the Historical Williamsburg Living Narrative Project through Kickstarter, the following is information regarding some of the perks. For everyone, here is information also on the progress of the project.

Today and tomorrow, the digital photos and the printed 8×10 photos are going out to the appropriate level backers. Regarding the digital photos, I will be posting a link where you can go and download the photos you would like to have. The are provided in high resolution, suitable for printing if you choose. You will receive the link via email today (12/27/15).

For the printed 8×10 signed photos, I will be sending those tomorrow via first class U.S. mail. Several backers have not yet provided physical mailing addresses, so please check your inbox and junk/spam folder for the survey so you may provide your address. If you prefer, you may contact me directly with your mailing address.

I have resumed work on the game, and currently I am developing interior building descriptions. In the interest of historical accuracy, I am working from photographs I have taken of the building interiors as well as descriptions recorded in research reports available through the Colonial Williamsburg Rockefeller Library: