The Dreamhold for iOS
It is up on the App Store! Go take a look.
(If you have an iPhone or iPad or whatever, I mean. If you don't, you can still play Dreamhold on my web site or however you like. For old time's sake.)
I know most of you have already played Dreamhold -- it's a 2004 game, after all -- but it's been a fun game to revisit. This iOS release has a nifty map and some nifty (if cliche'd) trophy achievements, so maybe that will spark some competitive spirit or speedrun hijinks out there in Internet-land.
Unfortunately, I managed to ship the thing with a crashy bug. Several players have reported "Fizmo fatal error: Caught signal 11" messages. It isn't happening to everybody, and some people have gotten past it simply by quitting and restarting several times. (The problem seems to be showing up only on iPhone 4 and 4S, so far.)
I apologize for the bug, of course, and I hope to hunt it down this weekend.
Bugs aside, what does this mean for the greater world of interactive fiction?
First, this Z-code interpreter (an iOS port of Fizmo) is available on GitHub now. Do you have a Z-code game that you want to put in the App Store? Now you can. (I mean, when the bug is squashed.) Free or for money, it shouldn't be a problem either way.
(You'll have to be a registered iOS developer, though. Also, I haven't documented the build process in any useful way -- sorry. This will improve over time. For the present, just install the project and its submodules from GitHub, replace Game.z5, and fire up Xcode.)
For more details on the iOS interpreter code, see my longer blog post on the Gameshelf. I won't take up space here.
And Hadean Lands?
I turned Dreamhold over to the App Store review queue a week ago. Since then, I've been chewing through the pile of HL design documents that have been accumulating for the past oh-so-many months.
I now have a complete picture of the puzzle structure -- every ritual and special action, major and minor. It's... somewhat terrifying. Remember I said "53 major puzzles"? It's up to 72 now. There are 98 distinct spell components on the list.
Inform's parser isn't really optimized for carrying around 98 objects. I mean, you can't actually carry all 98 at once, because some of them are made from each other. But it's still way too many. Inform allows it, but I suspect the parsing will bog down on slower machines -- like phones.
But then, why should the player have to do all that inventory management at all? Expect a lot of attention to shortcuts and automatic object-fetching. "You run over to Herbarium and pick some rosemary..."
Anyhow, the next step will be typing all of these puzzles and components into PlotEx, to make sure I haven't completely broken the plot. (I'm sure the first thing I'll discover is that PlotEx isn't optimized for 98 objects either, and then there will be some more optimization. Whee!)
After that? My usual IF implementation strategy is "start with the first room, work forward until done." That is absolutely not going to work here. What will I do instead? Stay tuned...
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- (36 days)