The Graphic Adventure Creator (Incentive) Review | Commodore User - Everygamegoing

Commodore User


The Graphic Adventure Creator
By Incentive
Commodore 64

 
Published in Commodore User #36

The Graphic Adventure Creator

The Graphic Adventure Creator is a very clever utility that lets you create an adventure from a single system of data entry, without the need to know any computer language. Using it, you can draw and integrate pictures into your adventure and have the whole thing running standalone at machine-code speed.

At start-up you're presented with a comprehensive menu, from which all activities are selected. Entering a list of valid verbs is the first task, for without these in memory, it is not possible to complete room entries.

Once in the verb editor, it's simply a matter of typing the verb number, followed by a space, and then the verb itself, and pressing RETURN. This moves the entry from the input area at the bottom of the screen, and inserts it into a vertical list above.

Making changes to any of the verbs entered is simplicity itself. Pointing to the centre of the list is an arrow. When the UP and DOWN cursor key is held down, the list scrolls in the appropriate direction. Stopping the list when the required verb is opposite the arrow, and pressing RETURN, brings the word down into the input area for editing.

Nouns and adverbs are treated in exactly the same way, each being an option from the 'home' menu. From wherever you are, returning to the 'home' menu is always achieved by pressing the left arrow at the top left of the C64's keyboard.

Room descriptions are entered in a slightly different way. A prompt asks which location number is to be entered, and on replying, if it is a new one, a blank screen is shown with the cursor positioned at the top. Text is entered, and in pressing RETURN, the user is prompted for 'connections'. These link the rooms, and are entered in free format, as a 'verb' followed by a room number.

For example, if EASY leads to room 3, and NORTH leads to room 4, then the entry here would be: EAST 3 NORTH 4. Instead of, or as well as the full direction, abbreviations E and N may be used. But since these are treated as verbs, they must be entered in the verb list.

Finally, a picture number is requested, and this is entirely optional. If you have used the graphics part of the program to create a scene for the location, then its number is entered here.

Messages are also treated in a similar way, but in this case it is simply a matter of entering a message number followed by text.

The data that has been entered is handled by the resultant adventure program through the various CONDITIONS supplied by the user. Here is where the heavy thinking must be done. There are three types of condition: High Priority, Low Priority and Local.

Local conditions are specific to a room, and are checked immediately after a player has entered a command. Low Priority conditions are checked after the player's command has been entered, but are not specific to the room he is in.

High priority conditions are checked before the player's input is requested, but after the actions taken as a result of the player's previous command.

For example, if opening a door in a room causes a draught to blow, through a local or low priority condition, then a high priority condition might check to see if the wind is blowing and the playing is holding a candle and the candle is lit. If so, the room would be put in darkness.

This is all done through the setting of markers and counters in the actions taken as a result of the condition checks.

The graphics part of the utility is extremely easy to use; of course, you need to be a bit of an artist to be able to produce something worthwhile! But it is literally like drawing.

The adventure can be saved either to tape or disk, from both the tape and disk version of the program. The resulting adventure game will run on its own, without the need of the GAC. Alternatively, you can save just the data, to load back into the GAC for continuing the writing process.

I found the Graphic Adventure Creator a very easy-to-use program, that builds up an adventure in a logical way. With its built-in debugging aids and easy-to-follow manual, the only mistakes you are likely to make, are in your own logic in the game design!

Keith Campbell

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