WotO Part XVII

Sci-Fi Fridays! Part 17, Interlude… An Interview with Ryan Wolfe

We interrupt our regular feature for this special interview! Last week I posted part 1 of the Journeyman’s Gazette, and next week we’ll return to the Outlands and part 2. However, on parts 15 of this series I sang the praises of the Future Armada Series, and specifically the Exeter which is the one we’ll be using during the game as the character’s ship.

The creator of the Future Armada and Armada Codex series, Ryan Wolfe, was kind enough to grant me an interview about the series. I would like to use this week’s post to share the answers with you. I hope you find the information interesting and useful. Check out his products, they are excellent for any sci-fi campaign (and he’s got some fantasy maps too).

Week you next week for Part 18, Part 2 of the Journeyman’s Gazetteer!

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And interview with Ryan Wolfe of 0 hr – art & technology

Sunglar: Ryan Wolfe, I know you as the maker of those wonderful sci-fi maps, but who exactly is Ryan Wolfe? How did you get into gaming?

Ryan: I’ve been a gamer since being introduced to D&D around 1980. I’ve gone through RPG, video, and board game phases but have always loved sci-fi and star ships in particular. I saw Star Wars when it was first in the theaters when I was ten and that’s what started it all for me. I was also into computers and, after getting some degrees in that, ended up programming video games in Austin and Seattle. This is where I picked up my rudimentary skills in Photoshop and 3D Studio – the art guys were kind enough to show me around the basics and let me experiment on my own.

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Slightly Off-Topic: Interactive Fiction

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Some of you might remember the computer stone age, when the majority of computer games were text-based. Interestingly enough the games from these days are still pretty popular today. Perhaps not in the mainstream but there are still gamers who enjoy playing roguelikes or text adventures (aka interactive fiction).

When I was a kid I loved adventure games. I actually even tried to program them myself. My first attempts were quite terrible, but it was fun forcing the computer to do one’s bidding.

Recently I have been thinking about things I loved to do in the past and which I don’t do anymore. Writing software is one of those things. I never was a good programmer, but I still enjoyed coding small programs. I also wrote a lot of short stories when I was a kid, mostly using my grandpa’s typewriter. Ah, those were the days!

While I was basking in nostalgia I thought it could be a lot of fun to write my own adventure game. And in a way, these text-based games are not that far off from the role-playing games I play. Doing some research on the internet I eventually stumbled upon Inform 7.

Inform 7 is a software that allows you to write interactive fiction games using (almost) normal English language. You don’t have to learn a complex programming language, but designing your game comes almost as naturally as writing a story.

Here’s an example from the Inform 7 documentation:

“Cave Entrance”

The Cobble Crawl is a room. “You are crawling over cobbles in a low passage. There is a dim light at the east end of the passage.”

A wicker cage is here. “There is a small wicker cage discarded nearby.”

The Debris Room is west of the Crawl. “You are in a debris room filled with stuff washed in from the surface. A low wide passage with cobbles becomes plugged with mud and debris here, but an awkward canyon leads upward and west. A note on the wall says, ‘Magic word XYZZY’.”

The black rod is here. “A three foot black rod with a rusty star on one end lies nearby.”

Above the Debris Room is the Sloping E/W Canyon. West of the Canyon is the Orange River Chamber.

See, how easy it is? Of course you can’t just write down everything that comes to mind. You still have to follow certain rules, but it’s way easier than to write an adventure game from scratch using conventional programming languages.

So, if you are interested in creating your own interactive fiction, why not check out Inform 7. It’s pretty impressive and free to boot. And if you come up with a cool game of your own, please let me know.

WotO XVI

Sci-Fi Fridays! Wanderers of the Outlands Part XVI

And we are very close to the end… I’ve created a LOT of material for my campaign, but most of what’s ready and I’m sharing with my players has already been posted in the Blog. I’ve got these Journeyman’s Gazette posts, which are intended as a publication in the campaign, a sort of newsletter for people looking for work in the milieu of the Outlands. Part 1 includes the general news and job postings, Part 2 next week will be a guide to the space quadrant the players will begin the game in.

After that all I have are some handouts I created, which I thought might be of interest to you and plan on sharing in PDF form. After that the posts about the posts about the Wanderers of the Outlands will be finished. I’ve got two questions I’d like to ask you dear reader, one I’ve asked before and another one about the future of Sci-Fi Fridays!

  1. Would you be interested in seeing all the campaign information compiled into a single PDF document?
  2. Would you be interested in me continuing the Sci-Fi Fridays! series and discussing other topics about science fiction related to gaming?

Well, that’s all for now, see you all next week.

The Journeyman’s Gazette, Part 1

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Gazette Hardcopy

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