Exploring Fighting Fantasy

citadelFurther to my last (admittedly over critical) post I decided to explore a form of adventuring that I enjoyed in my youth. The Fighting Fantasy series has always fascinated me since it is so simple and so creative. It allows the creator to conjur up some incredible scenarios and locations with just words. Images help but it’s the detail in the descriptions that captures the imagination.

For the reader there is a true escape. I admit I prefered the troll style fantasies to the sci-fi but the point was there was something there for everyone.

The mechanics behind the books were really rather simple and consequently extremely accessible. You started the adventure / story with Stamina, Skill and Luck that were determined by the throw of a dice. You had to track your stats as well as inventory items and general notes that might be of some use.
Your Stamina was essentially your health. When zero you expired. Your Skill was essentially your skill in battle and your Luck was your likelihood of winning the flip-of-a-coin situation.
Assembling a game with these core rules is no great task.
So I had a go.

Although it’s not quite ready to post up just now it’s certainly well on the way. I have a number of game elements in place and a game editor that I decided was the best approach for this kind of project. I empower the editor so that I can just sit back and create some exciting locations, monsters and scenarios.
I’m also going to enjoy using pen and paper again after nearly 30 years !

So far the player can be met with one of 5 scenarios per location.

  1. Standard location (no challenge)
  2. Monster
  3. Treasure
  4. Luck test
  5. Stats nudge

All should be self explanatory except perhaps for the last one, stats nudge.
I wanted the ability to reward or harm the player through their stats based on their decisions or success in combat.
It makes sense for a player to find himself surrounded by health potions immediately after battle, for example.
Similarly a player with no luck might find themselves in a room full of slime or poison.
In each case I can simply add or subtract from the player’s core stats: Stamina, Skill or Luck.

Monster fighting and Luck testing are handled by some JavaScript that visibly rolls a dice and determins the outcome of the action.
As in the gamebooks the rules for combat are simple; roll the dice and add to your skill. If the result is greater than the monster’s skill then you hurt them. The same is true of the reverse scenario where the monster is attacking you.

The one element of the game that I was reluctant to try and implement was the inventory and gold mechanism.
Just now the only information that persists across each location is Stamina, Skill, Luck and Game ID. The Location ID changes with each click, naturally.
So I decided that the best way to implement an inventory would be to simply force the player through a location where a new inventory item resides. This allows me to always assume that the player actually carries the item. It might seem lame but it’s a deliberate sacrifice in my pursuit of an arcade text adventure. I want the player to spend 5 – 10 minutes at a time playing this game so the lifespan is short enough anyway and there are other ways to challenge people.

A future enhancement will probably see the inventory feature implemented.

Finally I want to draw some locations. I’m a seasoned artist so sketching out some fantasy locations is right up my street.
The final part of the editor therefore is the image selection tab. For each location I can simply pick an image to display.

I’ll post a link to the game when there’s something to actually see.

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  • Cody  On July 4, 2009 at 6:56 am

    I’m really looking forward to seeing this. I’m a huge fan of narrative games and this concept actually sparks my interest in more of an interactive plot approach than a location/exploration game. Though, I suppose locations could serve as a general placeholder and be anything the author wants them to be.

    Can’t wait to see your artwork as well.

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