A Text Adventure In Space
You are the captain of the United Worlds Guardian Class Patrol vessel, U.W.S. Ceres. Admiral Copeland entrusted you with a mission to bring a pirate to trial. En-route the pirate's band attacks, boards your ship and kills your crew, throwing you into the brig. But you're not going to let that stop you from completing your mission are you?
Piracy is an Interactive Fiction Text Adventure. It was my entry entry in the 14th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition. Piracy 2.0 came in fifth place in a field of 35 - for my first attempt at writing a Text Adventure.
Piracy 2.0 is now available as Release 2, with new opening and many bug fixes and improvements.
To play Piracy 2.0 you will require a Z-Code interpreter. There are many available for most platforms, including Palm Os, iPhone/iPod Touch, Mac, PC. Almost any platform can play Z-Code games, as long as an interpreter is available.
Download Piracy 2.0 Release 2
Download a good Z-Intepreter
Thanks to the developers of Parchment, a web-based Z-Code interpreter, you can also play Piracy 2.0 online directly in a browser. (The main interesting thing is that to save a game, it creates a unique URL that contains the save info. Bookmark that to save. Load the bookmark to Restore the saved game.)
The game has a fairly extensive informational menu system. Simply type >about in-game. Or click here.
Please note: There is a >Walkthrough command in-game which can help if you get stuck. The Walkthrough is also available here. You can also download Walkthrough text file.
When INFOCOM, the undisputed master of Interactive Fiction, released a game package, it usually included items that didn't help directly with playing the game, but helped immerse the player into the universe presented within the game. Often this included maps, blueprints, letters, documents, and other books or paper. It also often included hard items, badge pins, plastic identification cards, a bag of pocket lint, and the wonderful Wishbringer Stone, which, although it appeared to be made of green glow-in-the-dark plastic, actually glowed a brilliant purple.
Piracy has feelies as well, to help immerse you into the game.
Blueprint of a Guardian Class Patrol Ship
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This is a blueprint of a Guardian Class Patrol Ship like the UWS Ceres, the ship on which the adventure takes place. You can download this blueprint here in several sizes. Click on the size of the map you'd like to download. This can then be printed out on your printer.
Standard Issue Purple UW DataCube
A DataCube is a crystaline data storage device. It measures 2.5cm per side. Computer data is stored in the actual alignment of the crystaline structure within. These are usually stamped with United Worlds logo. This one is purple, and is probably old, because the official United Worlds stamp is worn.
Limited Edition Purple DataCube will be made available to players of Piracy 2.0. See Details.
Mapping a game's environment is a very useful thing to do when playing Interactive Fiction. Since there is no visual representation of the layout of the game's setting, players usually draw easy-to-understand maps which help them get around. This game takes place on a ship which is very familiar to the protagonist, so it makes little sense to force a player to draw his/her own map. So I have provided a map for your use.
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Release 2 fixes some issues reported during the 2008 Competition. While the game was fairly bug-free, there were some problems with underimplemented objects and a few annoyances. I have addressed most of these. Most changes were to fix bugs reported, and can't be outlined without spoiling the story, but here are a few items that have changed:
- New opening. Better sets the mood for the story.
- >SCORE better explains why there is no score as you go.
- You can now >FLUSH TOILET. Naturally.
- You can now >READ PAPER, which makes sense, no?
- Some character confusion has been cleared up.
- >WALKTHROUGH command now referred to in the help menus.
- You are better-described.
- Shipmode directions (aft, fore, starboard, port) will now work on the special touchpad-controlled doors.
Piracy 2.0 is my first attempt at Interactive Fiction since the 1980s, long before adequate tools to write them existed for the public. BASIC was a language I was very familiar with, so I wrote Piracy 1.0 in BASIC, with a simple two-word parser that would have been very very frustrating for someone to play today.
Inform 6.0 allowed me to write it with a tool that was more than adequate, and allowed me to do things I would have loved to do in BASIC but just could not, easily.
The 14th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition is a yearly event where IF writers enter projects for public judging. Each year many entries are submitted, and judging, which usually takes 6 weeks, is handed down at the end.
Read more about Piracy 2.0 in the IF Comp 2008.
Unbenownst to me, Piracy 2.0 was placed in the running for several XYZZY Award categories!
The game was up for Best Game, Best Setting, and Best Puzzles.
No prizes were awarded but let me say this without irony or resentment - it was an honor just to be nominated.
- I re-learned the truth of the old adage: The first 90% takes 90% of the time. The next 10% takes the other 90% of the time.
- Get good testers
- Don't go on vacation when you're 95% done
- Don't make tiny changes late in the game assuming everything that came before will just work now
- Change the "examine me" description (Oh, and you're as good looking as ever, of course.)
- Don't release a completed game map to the public. In this case, the map was fine, but the objects in the room should not be listed.
- Trust the reviewers. They're playing the game you concocted. You're too close to it. They're not. It's they who are your audience.
- Even a simple feelie is cool! (But a more elaborate one rocks!) But this one rules: http://store.asymmetric.net/images/feelies.lg.jpg
- Disambiguation problems are hard to get around sometimes... Take ">shoot pirate, >x pirate, >x corpse" problem.
- Covering contingencies you didn't think of is hard. ">put battery in panel" - nothing... ">jump" in the vent, etc.
- In my case, more printed background material would be nice. Perhaps a dossier on Whitehall, or a copy of your orders.
- ">read paper" should work.
Piracy ©1985,2008 Sean Huxter