Corey and Lori's Quest Log


Corey and Lori’s Quest Log

Mind Your P’s (No Q’s just Yet)

Lower Yosemite Falls

Yesterday we drove up to Yosemite National Park.
The waterfalls were amazing, full of power and beauty as the water flooded down glacial cliffs. Dogwoods were in bloom everywhere, and shy woodland creatures abounded.

As we were driving and brainstorming ideas for the School for Heroes interactive fiction game, a phrase popped into my head – “The three P’s – Passion, Preparation, and Practice.”

Passion

We are passionate about the School for Heroes. Lori ran the online version of the school for several years. She role-played the teachers as they assigned and graded challenges to the “students” in the four classes – Warriors, Wizards, Rogues, and Paladins. Running the School was a lot of work, but incredibly rewarding as she interacted with the students and participated in online role-playing with them.

Passion is essential to making a great game. When game developers are excited about their work, that feeling communicates itself to the players. When they are just “doing their jobs,” , which results in a dull, flat-feeling game. We don’t do games like that – if we don’t love the game idea, we just don’t make the game.

Preparation

Preparation is important too. School for Heroes is based on work we created during the four years that we ran the original online school for heroes. In addition, I chose not to begin implementation until we had brainstormed for about two months to work out the characters, story, and game interface. That is why our game won’t be “just another text adventure” when it’s done. We’re trying to give you a true Interactive Experience with a story as deep and enjoyable as a novel, but where your actions really matter.

Practice

Practice makes Perfect, or so they say. We just wish it was that easy! It’s hard work, but if we weren’t willing to put in the time and effort, then we couldn’t create great adventure stories. For example, I’ve spent the last month studying the Inform language and playing the best character-driven interactive fiction works. I did this to thoroughly understand the technology and techniques we will use to make a great IF game. We have a lot of revolutionary ideas on bringing stories to life through IF, but it takes practice, practice, practice before we’re ready to Practice what we Preach.


As we prepared to leave Yosemite, pretty soon we were popping P’s back and forth at each other. It’s amazing how many words that start with the letter “P” are essential to building great games. There’s the Past, the Present, Performance (in two senses), Production, Play, Pickiness, Persistence, Perfection, Puns, Platitudes, Punch, Possibility, Probability, Power, and so many others. (Not to mention Platypuses.)

Pardon me if I tend to pontificate, but pessimism has no place in producing a premier product. I just hope we’ll do well in the postmortem.

As for the Q’s, well, they’re a Question and a Quest for another day. I don’t want to compromise the Quality of this one by trying to do too much in one article. Until we meet again, mind your P’s and Q’s. You know we will!

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Comments

  1. Lori Says:

    I hadn’t heard about Barrett’s “Heroes.”

    I’ve only played one text adventure that I ever enjoyed, “Spiderman.” (A very long time ago….) I have a very low tolerance for frustration vs. fun.

  2. John W. Wells Says:

    Out of curiosity, in your survey of IF, did you play Sean Barrett’s “Heroes?” It’s an adventure where you play in one environment as five character classes, and it reminded me of QFG.

    Good luck on the game!

  3. Calvert Says:

    Corey,

    Actually I have always preferred the Paladin. And I think the QFG Paladin is the best. I remember trying other games and finding that their Paladins couldn’t just be concerned about good they had to worry about laws too. I think Paladins should be more concerned with the greater good than if they are keeping all the laws while doing it.

    Will their be some kind of sorting process in the School or will we pick our own Profession?

  4. Corey Says:

    Hi Calvert!

    Don’t worry about “old”; it’s new to you! We haven’t really publicized the site yet, so everyone will be discovering it a few people at a time. (Tell your friends to visit!) We’re trying to write articles that won’t become dated or obsolete.

    The Quest for Glory series was known for its wordplay. I think a key to making a “good pun” is context – Rather than just stretching for similar words, it should flow from the conversation or setting. We tried to do that consistently, although I’m sure we missed the mark sometimes.

    Welcome to the Quest Log, and I hope to see you in the school when it opens. You’ll probably be a Rogue. :-)

  5. Calvert Says:

    I know this article is old but I just found this site and decided to read through from the beginning. All those P’s are important but the one I was most glad to see was Puns. For some reason I have a new found enjoyment of puns, even horribly bad ones, I have been replaying the King’s Quest and Quest for Glory and I’m noticing all kinds of puns I missed when I was a kid first playing them. Needless to say, I’m glad Puns will be a part of the School for Heroes.

    Also if you like puns check out the comic strip Pearls before Swine, especially the early stuff.

    Since this is my first post, I must say Thank you Coles for creating what is my second favorite series of games ever. Baldur’s Gate recently unseated it as number one. They have a special place in my heart.

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