Welcome & The Future of Zork Game

Talk about your adventuring here and relive the old days when your trusty sword and lantern would save your skin from trolls and other beasts!

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neutonm
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Welcome & The Future of Zork Game

Post by neutonm » Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:00 pm

Greetings adventurers,

First of all I'd like to simply say "Hi" to you all. By my reckoning such a valuable gem such as "Zork" game series should be considered as outdated nowadays but fortunately such false proposition occurred to be wrong. I'm happy that i found this community filled with faithful fans who still have deep interest in game franchise and continue to contribute to it. Perhaps it is possible for me to assist this universe somehow...


Not so long ago, in late 90s, a double-CD box of Grand Inquisitor appeared in my childish hands. To bad i didn't knew English well back then but it didn't stopped me from sinking into the magical world of The Great Underground Empire. Graphics, story and humor...especially humor supplemented whole game really efficiently. I remember how i laughed my arse off when i saw "in case of adventure break glass" sign. Special quirky humor like ZGI has suits me well. Of course i had stuck at Flood Control Dam #3 issue and soon had to abandon it. In few years later i made an attempt to replay it and successfully passed the game to the finish. Lately came Nemesis, Zork interactive text games, etc.

Despite the passed game i still continue to replay it once a year at least. Knowing what awaits me can't serve as the main blockade against playing it but time to time some voice from "outer space" tells me that we need some kind of sequel to the legendary zork games. LoZ didn't survived that long to fulfill passion towards the universe.


So here comes "the second":
I don't think Activision or any other commercial company will fall down into the tentacles of nostalgia and try to reproduce similar game like ZN/ZGI. I have doubts that the mass they focus on will play this game since it doesn't follow mainstream concepts in game industry and yes, we can understand them - it's not that profitable like ,for example, new call of duty game would be (but who knows... i heard one of the CoD games has zork reference in it). So the lead role for zork video game future lies in hands of indie developers.

I suggest to develop a new zork game in same manner and atmosphere as ZGI have - pre-rendered textures, panoramic background scrolling, cunning and intelligent dialogs and quirky jokes, interesting insane magical world with specific plot combined by odd riddles. Programming of such game is most easiest part in whole development process since it doesn't require difficult ai logical setup or difficult game engine structure. All what it needs is enigmatic music, beautiful graphics and smart-wise script/plot. Well the story stands on the first place in unwritten priority list and then everything other.

Programming and music/audio production can be covered by me - i have decent experience in it. My friend can draw like "a boss" thou he's a bit lazy : ). Everything that is required beside upper mentioned branches can be acquired from freelancers. One thing i'm sure i can't ask from people who are unfamiliar with zork series is the storyline and script (dialogs etc). I'm sure there is some avid fans that can help with this for some reason... are you willing to help dear adventurers? "Sure ya do!"

Just kidding, but seriously plot is what i can't do since i don't have decent writing skills. I think the story should be as wacky, interesting and humorous as original ZGI had. And i don't have any idea who can help with this, any suggestions?


So what you say, is this a good idea or it not worth bothering? If not then no. If yes i'd like to mention one fact that this is going to be shareware game under other name since original authors still own the rights. Frankly speaking the reason of shareware is that i'd like to do some investments to the yet-undecided project and i'm not Maecenas.

So va'la, thank you for your attention afgncaaps : D

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KM3K
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Re: Welcome & The Future of Zork Game

Post by KM3K » Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:59 pm

Welcome to the site neutonm!

You're certainly welcome to try and get an indie game going. There are legal issues involved unless it was a Zork game in spirit only, but you probably won't have to worry about that until you've gotten significant work done on it. There's been a few such projects over the years, but none were ever finished on the scale you're talking about. We feature some of them in our "Fan made goodies" section. The biggest one I know of was Zork the Hidden Evil.

I don't really have time to help, but you're welcome to promote your work on this website.

neutonm
A white house, what?
Posts: 13
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Re: Welcome & The Future of Zork Game

Post by neutonm » Fri Dec 07, 2012 7:25 pm

Thanks,

I'm completely aware about enthusiasm of most developers. Usually there is a great interest in project but the further it go the more it fades out. It's a classical game development issue. Perhaps the last paragraph on previous post is a guarantee that this project will succeed - a good motivation is what game developer need.

I'll compose a short demo in one month and we'll see if it works. I'd like to see opinions of other member about this idée fixe. A real progress is planned for next year summer and will take about 3 months minimum and 6 months maximum (if we will slacker hard).

neutonm
A white house, what?
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Re: Welcome & The Future of Zork Game

Post by neutonm » Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:54 pm

Ok fellow adventurers,

I've made some investigation on zork universe via this site and for some mystical reason wrote game core in a speed of light. ZGI game mechanics are even more simpler in practical way than they seemed to be. So, what is done is of course basic gameplay mechanics (scrolling, inventory, quick access items/spells, goto place, go back, action spot (the moment when cursor turns yellow?) and animated mouse cursor.

So adventurers, don't be shy to visit this topic in about 10 days, approx 31 Dec and you will see a short zork demo game with 2 "levels", one ambient soundtrack and almost all original ZGI gameplay features. Demo will run on Windows.

Want some screenshot? Course ya do:
Image

Well... picture doesn't tell much so you have to wait guys a bit for live action.

PS: It will be 2D with pre-rendered 3d graphics.

As i said before i will publish only demo, not full game . If people will appreciate it then the project will be seriously taken in 2013 Summer which will last 2-6 months.

It would be nice to hire original story writers of Zork for writing fresh logical continuation story... but i don't know a damn thing about them.

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KM3K
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Re: Welcome & The Future of Zork Game

Post by KM3K » Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:30 pm

That looks great! I like how you're using a cursor similar to the one from ZGI, since that's my favorite of the series.

Being a software developer myself, I'm curious to hear more about the technology behind this. I know you said the demo will run on Windows, but can you go into what tools and libraries you're using and what operating systems you plan to support? Are you planning on open sourcing this so others can more easily help out? There's not a lot of interest in Zork these days, so I figure it's in your best interest to make it easier for someone to jump in and get a feel for things so they're inspired to help. Open sourcing and supporting as many platforms as possible would help attract more people. Any thoughts on mobile OS development (iOS/Android/Windows Phone)?

I'm no good with art and creative writing, so I don't think I can give any advice there. :-)

Looking forward to trying the demo.

neutonm
A white house, what?
Posts: 13
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Re: Welcome & The Future of Zork Game

Post by neutonm » Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:20 pm

Thanks, the game meant to be alike ZGI (in gameplay and atmosphere).

Well about technology it isn't decided yet. It is preferable to do scratch using environmental engines like Game Maker and then later transform application into C++ OpenGL via SDL with LUA scripting (for "levels" and triggers).

Open source? Unfortunately i don't plan to release it open source, at least not for this genre.

And about cross-platform question. Yes i plan it at least to port on Linux and few days ago i talked with my mate who has great experience in mobile programming - he agreed to port the future game on Android. I don't know about Mac support since i never seen one in my life : ) but with some help from other colleagues apple dreams can be materialized too. But even so, if you are programmer too perhaps you can help with porting the game into other mobile platforms? (iOs/Win)

Zork doesn't move because no one mentions about it. If this project will draw attention from public then people will start thinking about Zork again. Existing Zork games are great but they are too outdated to keep interest today.

No problemo, even appreciation counts as supporting ; ).
Wait for demo and then share your opinion/constructive criticism - it will definitely help. And the more people will be engaged in sharing opinions the better final product will be.

PS: I'll be back on 31 December this year with the promised demo... unless the upcoming Armageddon : D

neutonm
A white house, what?
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:48 am

Re: Welcome & The Future of Zork Game

Post by neutonm » Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:54 am

Hello again,

Unfortunately right at the moment i'm gone with family for holidays and don't have my computer near to compile and pack/send demo now. It's almost ready and contains additional "level". On 1-2 January i'll be here :)

Thank you for patience.

neutonm
A white house, what?
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:48 am

Re: Welcome & The Future of Zork Game

Post by neutonm » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:30 am

It was quite difficult to come back on 1-2 January but here i'm. Please accept my apologies for the delay!

Anyway here it is!!!
http://www.sendspace.com/file/jx3qyf (100mb!!!)

Please read README.txt. This game was tested on 2gb ram, 2mhz duo/athlon and runs just fine. There's no logic in this world but if you're stuck - try to find hotspots and click, click and click...


This version doesn't have 3rd stage (It has been removed). So by doing this demo i managed to write game mechanics concept and understand principals of this game type. It lies heavy on graphics and took about 80% of all developing time.

Any comments are welcome!!!

neutonm
A white house, what?
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:48 am

Re: Welcome & The Future of Zork Game

Post by neutonm » Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:00 pm

I'm going to optimize this a bit so don't download please. I tested it on some computers and it has a big chance it won't finish loading.

PS: To bad you can't edit your posts here :\

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