Monday, 21 November 2011

Troll Song - Designing the Interface

Since the type of character you play in Troll Song is a bit different from the norm, it seemed appropriate to have an interface that was just slightly different too.  I was for a while torn between having a classic LucasArts style verb list, Sierra's left-click action, right-click change action or Revolution's simple left-click use, right-click look - with the most simple interfaces becomming ever more popular, to the extent that some simply require one click for all types of action.  However that didn't seem right to me, and I've always hated verb coins (when it comes to excellent games like The Curse of Monkey Island or Gemini Rue I'll put up with them), so that was a non-starter.

What I decided on, with some input from Tino, was a reduced verb list - 6 verbs at the bottom of the screen, which are suitably Trollish in character - the first one is SMASH, for instance.  The hardest decision was actually whether to have an inventory - to be honest I'm not really a fan of adventure games that don't have an inventory, though one or two are quite good, and I really like inventory-item puzzles.  So I decided to put it in - however having a troll being able to pick up delicate objects without destroying them is implausible, so I'll have to choose carefully what objects can actually be picked up.

Anyway, when the first episode is ready, I hope people like the interface and find it easy to use.  I want to get a particular feel for the puzzles, and hopefully the interface will help this.  Later on when you get a second player character, I want him to have a completely different set of verbs - playing two characters with different abilities is great (i.e. The Blackwell Deception), and I want to really emphasise this aspect of the game later on.

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