IF Comp 2012 – Signos

Signos is a story written in Quest, another web-based platform. It’s the only quest-based story in IFcomp2012, so a word or two on the platform before delving into the game.

I haven’t formally read through documentation from the platform, but I can at least remark on the features implemented in Signos: display of pictures, sounds, a text-based parser that includes hyperlinks, side windows that list inventory, status, and places and objects in view.  Clicking hyperlinks brings up a context-menu of available actions, so readers who prefer clicking to typing are not at much of a disadvantage.

There are some downsides to being web-based. I did back out of the game entirely by hitting the browser’s back button. Refresh wipes the current game and starts over. Also, I noticed a lot of latency playing the game on an internet-exposed server (http://play.textadventures.co.uk/v5/Play.aspx?id=756). I’m not sure if this reflects load on that server or is an intrinsic part of the engine behind the game.

This platform does keep track of the state of objects, e.g., inventory, items in the location, etc., but at one point I managed to create inconsistencies in the items diplayed in the inventory list and those listed by typing an “i” command into the parser.

More after the spoiler cut

While this interface is novel, at least to me, I didn’t get the point of this game. You start off in a central location  and can move in cardinal directions, encountering mystics or delving in some dream-like way into your own psyche.

Story: 3

Having a picture and sounds does not make up for short text that lacks depth. Also, if there is a plot to this game beyond exploration, I’m missing it.

Voice: 3

The main character and the game itself do not have a discernable voice, but at least the mystics have some character, albeit annoying.

Play: 5

I may not have delved deep enough, but the degree of interaction and the game map seem very limited.

Polish: 4

There are no glaring problems with the text, and the game does have a hint system, although I’m not sure it is helpful. There is no about, help, credit, etc., so I don’t know much about how the game was made. I would award some points for the graphic and sound resources if I knew that the author had created them, but using an internet reverse image search, it looks like at least some of these images were sourced from other websites without attribution (e.g., the starting room or the mirror room).

Technical: 4

Without knowing more about the platform, it is hard to evaluate this work. At first impression, however, it is an early effort, which may not exploit the full strenghts of the platform.

Average: 3.8

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