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Hugo Open House Comp 2012 reviews
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Roody_Yogurt



Joined: 29 Apr 2002
Posts: 1993
Location: Milwaukee

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 12:14 am    Post subject: Hugo Open House Comp 2012 reviews Reply with quote

Sysop Edit! You can download all the games through this page.

Here's a thread for sharing our thoughts on games!

Personally, I haven't yet gotten around to everything, but I wanted to get the ball rolling.


Waiting by Bainespal- Paul's game is short and simple but still manages to incorporate some of the comp's suggested themes. Even despite the simple progression of events, guessing the next move did not always come easy, especially at the end. For the final move, I ended up looking at the included source, but in retrospect, it was fair and entirely guessable.

From what he said in an e-mail, he hopes his game serves as a nice example of a small, roodylib-using game, and it does that well. Of course, as the author of roodylib, I was able to tell it wasn't compiled with the most recent version of roodylib, as it didn't clear the screen after a window-resizing, but the source compiles fine with newer versions.

Not being a score-driven game, he took the opportunity to display his own text in that part of the status bar, using an interesting character sequence that goes well with the metaphorical aspect of the game.

Looking over it again, the only lasting complaint is that, given the theme of the game, the PC's description should probably not be the default, "Looking good."

That said, it's a lightweight piece, but it makes you work for its conclusion. Nice work, Paul.


C.H.U.M.S. by loafingcoyote- This one also met the themes of the comp in a really satisfying way, but I won't go into it much for fear of spoilers.

This time around, there wasn't the puzzle-heft of "The Hugo Clock"- or even "Ice Station Hippo" for that matter- but like those others, there was an entertaining premise and an interesting environment to explore. Thematically, I was almost kind of disappointed when my character didn't meet a horrific demise when he waltzed into places he had no business, but I can understand the dilemma since at least one of those places had the funniest line in the game.

The ABOUT text admits that the game is a demo or advertisement possibly of a soon-to-be-released library extension that allow Magnetic Scrolls-type support of >GO TO [room], which then takes you through every room in between you and your destination. I have to admit that it's looking pretty good (although as far as the game is concerned, I didn't even realize its usefulness- I kind of missed the part where the pump wasn't primed the first time and just wondered why it didn't work before eventually trying it again).

The game I'm about to release has a >GO TO [room] function but doesn't use it for paths like this does. I still ran into some problems that I am very curious to see how this extension gets around it. For one thing, the Hugo engine seems to always give priority to objects within the player's scope over other ones, even when you try to get around it with an 'anything' verb grammar token and extensive parse_rank manipulation. In my game, I ended up having to make fake room objects to put in the player's scope to redirect traveling to the actual rooms, but this would be unacceptable in a larger game. As far as I can tell, C.H.U.M.S. gets around this parsing issue.

I noticed that it isn't actually using MovePlayer to move the player from room to room- or at least if it does, it's doing it silently and then writing its own prose, but even though it looks good as is in C.H.U.M.S., I'd like that behavior to be more configurable in the final product- maybe one option where traveled rooms are listed as if the player were in SUPERBRIEF or BRIEF mode and maybe another mode where it just uses whatever the player is already using. Anyhow, I figure the hardest part is already done, so these options wouldn't be too hard.

I also noticed that there was an extra new line before the final destination. I would guess fixing that would just be a check to see if it is the last direction in the path array.

I also hope that there is support for stopping the "walk" using event_flag (see DoWait) and that events run and turns progress properly.

In any case, pretty exciting stuff.

The game also uses newautomap.h and randomized maps to really nice effect. In one game, I *did* come across a map error where an exit showed where it didn't exist- one that I *think* I fixed at some point. The latest version is 1.3, so if that's the one the game uses, looks like I still have a bug left to fix (big surprise there).

Oh, and walking into the locked closet door with the key made me go, 'wait, we don't automatically unlock doors?' so now that will be available in the next version of roodylib.

All in all, good fun. I hope people start noticing the entertainment this group is providing here.

Next time, I'll cover Cyberganked and Patty Flinger!
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Flack



Joined: 18 Nov 2008
Posts: 4953
Location: Oklahoma

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Waiting for The End: The theme of this game fits the end of the world theme of the competition, so that's a plus. All the talk about the ancient heroes and oracles took me back to my D&D days. That being said I'm not sure I can describe this as a "game" but more of a "experience" at which you are moved along from the beginning to the end (literally). Moving in any direction from the first location lands you in the second location. The second location leads to the third and the third, the fourth. There's not much to do in any of these locations other than read the story, which itself is somewhat interesting. So, heavy on the fiction, light on the interactive? I spent so much time not doing anything that when it was time to do something, I didn't know what to do. Overall I thought the setting was interesting and I would love to see it expanded into an interactive setting that deals with the game's themes on a bigger scope.

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Cyberganked: Each of Robb's games borrow code and themes from his previous games and build on them. First we saw NPCs, then NPCs and a custom fighting engine, and now we have a full on RPG written in using an engine (primarily) designed for creating text adventures. Anyone who's ever played Wizardry, Bard's Tale or Wasteland will recognize the framework that's been set up within the game. You can tell a ton of heavy lifting went into the back end of this program, from being able to create characters and assemble a party to the random banter that takes place between the NPCs. Being a work in progress, most of the areas are not fleshed out and I wasn't sure where the outside boundaries of the game currently were. I ended up in a riot and fought valiantly until my party eventually succumbed to a large group of LARPers. I hope when all is said and done people appreciate the work that went into this and see it as a game and not simply a technical demo on how far Hugo can be pushed. Looking forward to taking a more polished version for a spin in the future!

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Flack



Joined: 18 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Clockwork Boy 2: I'm not done playing this one yet but already I feel like posting something. For me, this is what IF is about. In just a paragraph or two, the author(s?) of this one pain vivid imagery -- a broad brush stoke here and a bit of detail there paints a picture that draws you into this whimsical world very quickly. The game begins with four locations, one object, and a problem that needs to be solved. I got past that one and am now on puzzle number two which appears to involve a box, the carving of a flower, and a mysterious hole. It's the type of puzzle I like; I don't think I'm playing guess the verb here (or at least it doesn't feel like it) -- instead, I'm trying to figure out how this thing works. It's making me want to play the game more, not less, and that's a good sign. I really enjoyed the writing and coding on this one so far, even though this is the first one I've played with multiple typos and some double spacing between words. So far though I am really enjoying this one.

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Flack



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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C.H.U.M.S: This one starts off with a bit of text explaining who you are, who the bad guys are, and what your mission is. It's not a huge game and many of the room descriptions are similar, but the game comes with a map that makes navigating the sewers simple. I really enjoyed the map! There doesn't seem to a way to do much wrong in this game as you pretty much only deal with one object and one puzzle at a time, and each one leads to the next. I also wasn't able to die, despite the fact that I spent way too much time tormenting the CHUMs I encountered. This game features several mini logic problems one must address before accomplishing your goal. This is the first game in the competition I have beat, so I would say it's a good one for beginning-to-intermediate IF gamers. I did make use of the "go to" feature on one puzzle in particular that involved running back and forth between rooms. In the end I could almost see and hear the "whoosh!" as I saved our camp from the brooding and breeding CHUMs. This is a small game but one that's fun to play. Good job!

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Roody_Yogurt



Joined: 29 Apr 2002
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reviews, Flack- especially for the Clockwork Boy 2 since I helped with that. The author's first language is not English, and I guess more mistakes got through than I realized. Anyhow, I've now gone over it with a spellchecker (there were a couple moments of oh, that word was supposed to be that!).

I'm curious about where you see extra spaces between words, though, as that shouldn't even be possible.
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Bainespal



Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Posts: 151

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everyone who entered a game should have gotten a PM from me with a Dropbox link to my transcript. I realize that they're not very in-depth. I plan to play them again. Tonight, maybe.

Flack, Roody, thank you for the reviews.
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Bainespal



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Hugo Open House Comp 2012 reviews Reply with quote

Roody_Yogurt wrote:
I was able to tell it wasn't compiled with the most recent version of roodylib, as it didn't clear the screen after a window-resizing, but the source compiles fine with newer versions.

I must have lost the latest version in the shuffle. I know I've seen screen resizing on things that I've compiled with Roodylib before. I probably accidentally lost the files in my Library sub-directory, and copied the older ones from the wrong zip archive, or something.

Roody_Yogurt wrote:
Looking over it again, the only lasting complaint is that, given the theme of the game, the PC's description should probably not be the default, "Looking good."

That's another thing I forgot about. Maybe I can come up with something for the next release.


Roody_Yogurt wrote:
The ABOUT text admits that the game is a demo or advertisement possibly of a soon-to-be-released library extension that allow Magnetic Scrolls-type support of >GO TO [room], which then takes you through every room in between you and your destination. I have to admit that it's looking pretty good (although as far as the game is concerned, I didn't even realize its usefulness- I kind of missed the part where the pump wasn't primed the first time and just wondered why it didn't work before eventually trying it again).

Although I'm not as aware of the code ramifications as Roody is, I must agree that the GO TO feature in "C.H.U.M.S." is looking good. I would say that I had a completely seamless experience with it, except for one thing that was part of the game design, rather than part of the GO TO code. The game lists the rooms that are available from the current room, so it's possible to try to "GO TO" a room that you don't know about yet, but that is not allowed. This is a reasonable restriction, and it was only jarring because "C.H.U.M.S." didn't really need that feature, as a game.

Flack wrote:
All the talk about the ancient heroes and oracles took me back to my D&D days.

I'm very happy to here that. I wish that I could have made the fantasy premise more than just a light charade. I take fantasy seriously, and I don't think I'm capable of pulling off consistent and interesting worldbuilding in a fantasy setting. But I'm glad that I evoked the thought of it.

Flack wrote:
You can tell a ton of heavy lifting went into the back end of this program, from being able to create characters and assemble a party to the random banter that takes place between the NPCs.

Cyberganked has got to be one of the most ambitious indie game concepts out there. Imagine -- all those lines of banter have to vary according the political philosophies, and maybe even other stats as welll, of the NPCs. The game is funny and entertaining, and it's also a social satire.

Flack wrote:
I really enjoyed the map!

Me, too. I think the mechanic of the map really fits the type of game. I can imagine that if the game were a lot longer, known locations of chums could be marked on the map with a character. I like how the map is slightly reminiscent both of Beyond Zork and of rougelikes.
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Roody_Yogurt



Joined: 29 Apr 2002
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I uploaded some new extensions:

roodylib version 2.2- has the automatic door-unlocking code I mentioned, among other things
newboxdraw version 1.6- used for Clockwork Boy 2, but I only recently fixed an annoying bug
newconverse version 2.2
newmenu version 2.7
version.h version 1.3
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Flack



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roody_Yogurt wrote:
I'm curious about where you see extra spaces between words, though, as that shouldn't even be possible.

In the description of the courtyard, I see two spaces between the words "the" and "marble", and again between "absurdly" and "high". On the deck, there are two spaces between "clear" and "crystal". Your spell check probably caught "arrangec" in the description of the flower. In the playroom, "put up" should be "put on".
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Flack



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was able to get to the end of Clockwork Boy 2 with one hint from Roody, who mentioned to me that some of the hints seem to have been removed from this version of the game. I suspect he'll have an improved version up in no time.
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pinback



Joined: 27 Apr 2002
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not calling this the worst run competition in the history of everything, but maybe could you post the links to the games in a new or separate thread, or a post somewhere, rather than hidden on page two of some thread that includes actual coding discussions?
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Roody_Yogurt



Joined: 29 Apr 2002
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And definitely not the post directly after the one where you ask for the games, too!
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Roody_Yogurt



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, yeah, version .3 of The Clockwork Boy 2 is up now.
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Ice Cream Jonsey



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pinback wrote:
I'm not calling this the worst run competition in the history of everything, but maybe could you post the links to the games in a new or separate thread, or a post somewhere, rather than hidden on page two of some thread that includes actual coding discussions?


This is basically a time for the authors themselves to play the games and give feedback before we announce it to the rest of the world. Though the links were in the other thread.

I understand where you are coming from. But we're in a situation where the rest of the IF Community ignored us here, so we're taking advantage of it to release stronger games. (I was already to make Gerrit be a selectable portrait, and I discovered that I had the program energy all screwed up.)

So if you just want to relax a bit we will get to all of your questions!
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Roody_Yogurt



Joined: 29 Apr 2002
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Patty Flinger- There are those that would accuse Patty Flinger of not being a game about lobbing meat at some kind of unseen, Battleship-esque board. Personally, those people sicken me. Luckily, Patty Flinger defends itself against such detractors, and it’s strongest argument is the 10 point pork patty toss.

That said, there are some confusions, like, why is the contact for the game “pattyfinger@viridian-development.com” (and not pattyflinger)? Likewise, why are we supposed to put PATTY FINGER in the e-mail subject? Is this a promo for an upcoming Patty Flinger-world-sharing game? We can hope!

I was kind of disappointed that the DEFAULT_FONT global was not set to PROP_ON, but that disappointment was easily swallowed. Once the game starts in earnest, the status window make-up is interesting. Personally, when the game grid is too small for splash damage, I’d prefer a scoring key that did something simple like “patty = 10 points”, instead of the “patty[10]” notation it uses. The notation works a lot better when there is splash damage, though.

The top window also keeps track of your last 20 guesses, which on my screen, took up around 85 characters. If my game window wasn’t that wide, the game couldn’t accommodate and the top window got those ugly MORE prompts.

Pork flinging worked as advertised, and I found that games with splash damage were more exciting. Partly through, though, my character’s bladder started to give in. Despite some instruction in the ABOUT text, I found myself unable to find the bathroom (turns out I was getting the MENS/WOMENS command wrong). For a long while, I thought the real point was to play until you nearly get to 500 points, at which point your bladder would explode.

I did end up getting 500 points before my bladder gave out, and then, looking at the game source, I saw how I had gotten the bathroom commands wrong. One thing I did notice that if you wait a lot and go to the bathroom in the game room, the floor is electrified and you die just like in that Tripkey game.

I suppose the point of it all is that you’re not supposed to piss down Tdarcos’ back and tell him it’s raining.
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Bainespal



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Review of "The Clockwork Boy 2"

Last year, I interpreted the suggested theme of the first Hugo Open House comp to be artificial life, or a created being. I think I came to this conclusion based on the trailer of the movie Hugo. Evidently, Marius Müller came to a similar conclusion, because "The Clockwork Boy" used the austere and simple emotion of fairy tales to embody an atmospheric game about an artificial son.

Officially a collaboration with Roody Yogurt, this year's sequel is much stronger coded and formatted, but it retains the style and atmosphere. Like the original, "The Clockwork Boy 2" is a lightly puzzley text adventure, but it is more linear. There are either two or three puzzles, corresponding to two important story transitions. Although I was stuck both times, I think the first puzzle is perfectly fair, and the second puzzle (or puzzles) could be fair if the mechanics of the objects involved were just a little more thoroughly described. The default ASK/TELL conversation system is present but seems to be unimplemented. At the end, the story breaks into a menu-based conversation/interaction sequence, offering an effective illusion of multiple paths.

Although it has only four locations, the game evoked a sufficient sense of alternate reality for me. That is, it has a mythic feel, a sense of history, the suggestion that the game world has existed long before the interpreter was launched. The mythopoeic quality is stronger for me because I'm familiar with last year's prequel, and it builds on the same storybookish characters and fairy tale worldbuilding from before.

From the opening text, the story evokes one of my all-time favorite themes -- the joy and meaningfulness of creativity. The first game is about the creation restoring joy to its creators. Now, the creation takes up his creative efforts. Once again, creativity solves problems by ending hostility. The prose is brilliant and easy to read, evoking emotion without straining for any particular effect.

On the technical side, players looking for the best experience, rather than betatesting, should avoid using Gargoyle or other GLK interpreters, since the character for a long dash is mis-displayed as a quotation mark or a numerical code. (In the current version.) This made me misunderstand some passages of the text when I was playing in Gargoyle. Other than that, the only thing that could prevent the appreciation of this short but elegant IF is the fact that the linearity makes it possible to become indefinitely stuck on the puzzles.
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Tdarcos



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roody_Yogurt wrote:
Patty FlingerThat said, there are some confusions, like, why is the contact for the game “pattyfinger@viridian-development.com” (and not pattyflinger)?

That is an error on my part, it should have said "pattyflinger@" but either would work.
Roody_Yogurt wrote:
Likewise, why are we supposed to put PATTY FINGER in the e-mail subject?

Again, it should be PATTY FLINGER, it's a spelling error, but the reason for the subject flag is because I get a lot of mail every day; if I know you personally, or you put keywords in the subject pointing to the games I wrote, those get much faster responses. Otherwise you get a response when I get to the message position in the bottom of the e-mail pile.
Roody_Yogurt wrote:
Is this a promo for an upcoming Patty Flinger-world-sharing game? We can hope!

I am curious as to what you're referring to. I'm not sure you can do a multi-player game using Hugo if that's what you're referring to.

Roody_Yogurt wrote:
I suppose the point of it all is that you’re not supposed to piss down Tdarcos’ back and tell him it’s raining.

I like that! That's really funny.
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Flack



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


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Tdarcos



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Flack wrote:
(image of Peppermint Patty)

That's a licensed character, I'm sure I can't afford to use her.
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loafingcoyote



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Hugo Open House Comp 2012 reviews Reply with quote

Roody_Yogurt wrote:
I noticed that it isn't actually using MovePlayer to move the player from room to room- or at least if it does, it's doing it silently and then writing its own prose, but even though it looks good as is in C.H.U.M.S., I'd like that behavior to be more configurable in the final product- maybe one option where traveled rooms are listed as if the player were in SUPERBRIEF or BRIEF mode and maybe another mode where it just uses whatever the player is already using. Anyhow, I figure the hardest part is already done, so these options wouldn't be too hard.


You're correct in that I used MovePlayer, but called it silently and wrote my own movement messages. I hadn't even thought of the other options you mentioned but it would be very simple to implement them. GotoRoom.h is set up to be very configurable, so adding this feature is as simple as adding an argument that could be set to true or false by the author.

Roody_Yogurt wrote:
I also hope that there is support for stopping the "walk" using event_flag (see DoWait) and that events run and turns progress properly.


This is already a feature but there are no situations to prompt an event_flag in the game. If a chum had been in the main area it would have prompted an event_flag = 2 and stopped the player in his tracks. An event_flag = 1 would ask the player if he wanted to keep moving or not, just like DoWait.

Turns progress normally, although you would never know since I used status type 4. Gotoroom.h recalculates its path each turn, so if the player's way is blocked between moves then he would stop moving and be given a generic "your path is blocked" message.

Roody_Yogurt wrote:
The game also uses newautomap.h and randomized maps to really nice effect.


Okay, I just realized that I didn't properly credit the use of newautomap.h in the game. I'm sorry about that. I also didn't credit the use of cango.h by Cardinal Teulbachs. I should have also mentioned that the room layout was randomized with another extension that I hope to release at some point, which I've named "mapmaker.h".

In initial trials of gotoroom.h, I used Cardinal Teulbachs random map generator, MapGen.h, to create many complex random map layouts, but encountered some problems. First of all, I had no control over whether the rooms were laid out in a essentially a single line or in a more complex "open" layout with many connections per room. I would get a complex map configuration only about on out of every three times. My second problem was that about one in ten times it would cause my interpreter to freeze at run time. I suspect there is some compatibility issue since it was written for Hugo V 2.5.

My random map generating extension is inspired by random.h but is a complete rewrite. It's still heavily under construction, but with it you can generate a random map layout that is either wide open, somewhat less wide open or a narrowly focused path.

Other features I hope to add:

    The ability to add up and down connections, if desired.

    The ability to define certain rooms as being on the edge of the map. For instance, an ocean side room would look peculiar if it was surrounded by other non-ocean side rooms. It could be defined with an attribute like "on_edge".

    Any other reasonable feature someone else might like to have.


Roody_Yogurt wrote:
In one game, I *did* come across a map error where an exit showed where it didn't exist- one that I *think* I fixed at some point. The latest version is 1.3, so if that's the one the game uses, looks like I still have a bug left to fix (big surprise there).


The error I think you're referring to, where a phantom exit is show going northwest from the closet and the pump station, only showed up near the end so the issue may be with something in the game itself.

I hadn't noticed before now, but the version in the game is 1.1. An odd thing happened when I updated to 1.3 though. Only half of the cursor and text were visible when the cursor reached the bottom of the interpreter window. I don't think this is a bug. There is a lot of code competing for the same space in "C.H.U.M.S." and I believe that Newautomap.h v 1.3 is getting into conflict with my map generating code. I'll try to release an alpha version of it soon so you can see what the problem might be.

Roody_Yogurt wrote:
Oh, and walking into the locked closet door with the key made me go, 'wait, we don't automatically unlock doors?' so now that will be available in the next version of roodylib.


GotoRoom.h supports unlocking doors. You can try it out in "C.H.U.M.S." Go into the closet, lock the door and then type "GO TO [any accessible room]". If you're holding the key it will spend a couple of turns unlocking and then opening the door. You could try going to the closet instead, but you'll have to type "GO TO OFFICE" since it was originally an office and I forgot to change the noun.

-lc
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