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SMASH help much appreciated
Posted By: kamilla, on host
Date: Wednesday, May 2, 2012, at 10:59:53

I played an RPG with a splendid premise, but the execution fell short. So I'm trying to write a reworked proof-of-concept in SMASH. It's meant to be light on puzzles, more of a CYOA with a metapuzzle - ideally, the player will be able to react as he sees fit, and different branches of the plot will open up. And then there'll be the metapuzzle - juggling plot branches and choosing emotionally suboptimal options (e.g. be nice to the jerk dude) to achieve a greater reward in the end.

The format of AGL is ideally suited to that sort of game: a better illusion of choice and better control of information without the associated problem of protagonist passivity.

That being said, there are still a few concepts I'm having trouble with.

(note: using Rex 1.3 for Windows)

1. Fewer locations mean the difficulty of a/d inventory puzzles drops. I tried "clicking on an inventory item performs an action" - while that works marvelously where it does work, invoking the classic parser games moments (try yet another thing and get a screenful of WIN!!!), it's pretty much a no-go in any other case, especially with a supposedly branching plot and *choices*.

(E.g. "click sword": give? show? threaten to attack? attack? attack whom?)

On the other hand, the interface of EFSM is too complex for this proposed puzzle-light game. Thus, I'm thinking of having the interface buttons print the description of an object and also add actions to the action column. Is it a good idea?

(I reread the preview and realized I wasn't being clear - it's "examine in a specific location to get a list of extra action options for that specific location", not a global examine.)

2. Going forward with #1 for now, I'm still unsure how to time those actions.
a. Examination is free, action costs a move (at least).
Problem: free examination won't spoil any puzzle that is currently planned, but only because I haven't currently worked out the fine details - as an abstract idea, it sure looks able to bring about the end of the world.
Can be potentially solved with a dedicated "examine" action where necessary.

b. Examination costs a move, action costs at least another move.
Problem: even if the player knows what to do, actions take twice as long. No-go.

c. Examination costs a move, subsequent inventory option is free...
Problem: ...but other action options aren't. No-go.

3. Assuming the above is workable, how to better implement it in SMASH? Is it better to keep the code for those extra options in location files? function files? (e)objects.sma?

4. Character profiles / situation summaries. Looks like it's quite doable with virtual locations*, but I can't save the current in-game location. The following does not work:
v loc1 = S:loc
g loc2
g {'loc1}
(I tried several combinations of {}s, ''s, c: and S: operators. No luck.)

*I remember reading gremlinn's post on inventory manipulation, but I can't find it now. The one I linked may as well be That Post I'm Trying To Find, but I distinctly remember That Post being much more accessible (though perhaps simply due to my comparative ignorance at the time).

As the title says, help, suggestions and advice to quit before it gets worse will be much appreciated!

Link: gremlinn on AGL parser

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