Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Joe Liu's Rough Draft

Hi Everyone,
So I finished up the rough draft of my project and I uploaded it on RapidShare for everyone to download. It is a really small .exe file, about 61kb.

I chose to do a CYOA, but I changed it to CHOD (Choose your own Destiny), just to give it a little twist.

The storyline is a bit lame (I found it difficult to be creative!), but my goal was to give the CYOA series a bit more interactivity and randomness. I did this (and learned it all yesterday! Stayed up until 7am) all in QuickBasic. This is the first computer language I have ever learned, and it took me forever just to map the story. I know, QBasic is ancient and most of you have made RPG's with it when you were 10 or something.

Just to let you know what there is to increase the randomness and interactivity:
There eventually will be questions asked to the "reader." The amount of questions you get right determines the path of the story you will take.
There are events where A and B are equally likely to occur (50/50 chance). This gives the story the element of randomness, so every time you play, it is somewhat likely that you will not see the say storyline twice even if you choose to do the same actions, etc.
There are events where what you choose increases the probability of a certain event. So in these events, what you choose can strongly influence what happens, but the other event can still occur (but it is more unlikely).
Whenever some sort of probability is being used, you will see "Calculating . . . " flash on the screen for about 2 seconds.

Most of my time was spent on writing the text for the actual story, then a lot of time was spent on the story diagram, and then a considerable amount of time was spent on transferring the text into QBasic. I had all the text typed in Word, so I had to really do a lot to get it in QBasic. In a way, every line of text was manually copy pasted in with a "PRINT" heading.

I tried to make the story interesting by making it take place at PITT in the future. You are a female student (I originally wanted to have made it so you could choose your sex, but that did not quite work out as I wanted it to). There are more aspects of the story I put in in hopes of letting it expand later on. I plan on attaching an essay to this project in the end just to explain what went well, what didn't go well, why interactivity was increased, etc.

In this rough draft, there is about 50% of what I hope to have by the end of the project. I probably spent around 50 hours on this so far.

Well, here is the RapidShare link. If you follow the directions, it is quite easy to download it.




Adam Johns said...

Is the story lame? Maybe I'm lame, because I thought it was pretty funny. The choice of Quikbasic is interesting; for what it's worth, I'd assume Frotz would have been easier, but I haven't actually checked to see how it handles randomization. You probably chose it because you have a friend who can help you with it, which makes sense.

When you turn this in, if not before, I'd certainly like to see everything that's going into it - the decision tree and the quickbasic code, for instance.

I'm looking forward to the essay, as well as to seeing more choices (oh, as a minor point why don't you just have the reader type A or B, for instance, rather than having to type out a whole uppercase word?).

Maybe the thing that interests me most here is that I can't construct a decision tree and be perfectly confident of its accuracy; if you include some low-probability events, in fact, probably the reader's decision tree would be in error.

This actually reminds me of one of Noa's questions about Night of 1k boyfriends, where she asked how men read it, and I answered - truthfully - that I just follow the decision tree, first page to last page. So, ironically, because I'm interested in studying interactivity I kind of defeat it. Because of your randomization, though, I _can't_ easily defeat it.

If you had a lot of spare time on your hands, a randomized essay would be interesting...

Andrea said...

I liked the project a lot, and this is a true compliment since I did not like the Zork or any of the CYOA books we had to read. I know I am supposed to give you some constructive criticism, but I think your project thus far is perfect. Choosing a girl as the main character makes your project very interesting. Unfortunately, I do not have any knowledge of computer programs that could make your life easier. I hope that reading your essay is going to be as much fun as reading your CYOA. Maybe you could point to things you did not like with CYOA books, such as lack of true interactivity, and how the technology helped you to address these issues. I would like to hear if you achieved the level of interactivity you wanted in your CYOA project or you found out it was more difficult than you have originally thought. In any case I am looking forward to reading your essay.

Om Ganga said...

Please change the name of your whatever it is to something else...My name is CHOD, and its copyrighted, not up for acronyms or whatever it is you are doing...btw. "Choose Your Own Destiny" does not spell CHOD, why would you use that acronym anyway...? Please pic something else or I will send you a cease and desist letter from my lawyer. You might want to check the web before picking names for your programs...