Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Downpour Games

One of my favorite YouTubers, Tom Scott, has an email list that he posts to periodically listing things that interest him. His latest one pointed to downpour.games which makes it easy to create simple games (Tom called them "interactive story games"). Here's an example to get the idea: https://downpour.games/~holly/where-s-madeleine

While the games can be played on a laptop, you need to use the phone app to create the games. It takes a bit of experimenting and exploring to figure out the user interface. Being a text-based thinker, it probably took me longer than average. My biggest stumbling block for me was not realizing that the bottom row of buttons ("Box", "Photo", "Gallery") has more than three buttons. You have to swipe left on the buttons to see "Text". Without "Text", I can't really make much of a game.

I, of course, immediately thought of making an "adventure" game. But then realized that all state is carried in the page you are on. So, for example, if you "take the coin", there isn't any way to carry that state forward. (I mean sure, you could have a completely duplicated maze, one with the coin in its home room and the other with the coin in your pocket, but what if you drop the coin in a different room? You would need (N+1)**2 rooms. And that's for a single takable object. So only exploratory adventure games here.)

On reflection, I think "Choose your own adventure" is a better analog than "interactive story game".

Anyway, a few years ago I experimented with trying to do something like this, just using web pages and links. It quickly became tedious and error-prone.

I don't know if I'll do much of anything with this. But it was interesting enough for me to bring up.

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