Trap Cave Review

The bad thing about this game, frankly, is that it’s mostly in German.  The author explains that he ran out of time translating it.  So my understanding of the story is a little weak.

But, this is mostly a demo of the menu-based, choose-your-own-adventure style game engine the author has created, and that part I understood.  Also, while most of the descriptive text was in German, all of the menu options were in English.  So I could kind of gist what was going on.

Now, this game engine is not going to go over big with most IF folks, who like to type in their EXAMINE LAMP -type commands.  But, to look at it strictly on its merits, it’s stable, slickly running little executable that reminds you of the programs written in the 90s with TURBO Pascal.  It makes full use of ANSI highlighting and border graphics — brings me back to my BBSing days.

The author has created a simple, flexible language for creating these menu-based games.  I took a peek at the game file, and, while I didn’t trouble to unravel the syntax, it seems pretty clear what’s going on.

You use this “node script” to define one of a few types of node — different ones for inventory versus rooms, for example.  At the end of the node description, you have the menu options, each linking to another node.  It works nicely enough, for text-window CYOA games.

This game will rate lower than it deserves, because the English version is mostly in German, and because it’s a CYOA game in an IF competition.

On the other hand, people who are into CYOA games generally have access to a powerful Java-based game engine that allows them to write and share their games online.  It’s just slicker than this NodeScript engine is, and more broadly compatible, as it’s written in Java.

The only advantage I can think of with this one is that, if you’re mostly-offline and you want to write CYOA text games to be run on your computer, old-style, then this is probably a simpler solution than the Java-based engine.  And if you’re a technogeek, you might want to look at the NodeScript webpage, just to see how it works.

All together, the engine is nicely done, but behind the times for what IF gamers are looking for.  The game, being written mostly in German, I can’t say much about.

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Published in: on October 3, 2009 at 5:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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