This month let's look at the rules I use to write what I consider a good
compunovel. I feel that any compunovel will need to follow these rules
fairly closely to become a success, though like any rules there are always
1) LOGICAL CONSISTENCY
Is the compunovel logical? This is of course a very basic point that
any compunovel writer needs to adhere to very closely or the results can be
Simple things like whether when exiting a room to the easy you can get
back by then going west are important and can completely ruin the feel of
an otherwise fun program! (Unless of course it is in a logical place such
as a maze or maybe lost in a desert and so on.)
Also very important: Do the responses fit the actions? If you drink
a flask of water it would be extremely illogical to then develop a case of
sunstroke and die. If a particular response doesn't fit the requested action,
then there should be some sort of logical reason why not. An example might
be the reason you developed sunstroke in the above because the water had a
specific drug in it.
Whatever the reason is, though, it should become obvious to the player
and not remain a secret with the author, or the believability of the game
2) EXOTIC KNOWLEDGE SHOULD BE UNNECESSARY
Knowledge that is not common or readily available should not be required
to complete a game (though it might be required for special scoring). The main
purpose of playing a compunovel is more to overcome obstacles and problems by
using intelligence than by knowing something someone else doesn't.
Example: Needing to know the Russian word for cow before
milking said beastie.There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. If a compunovel was
designed to educate in a particular field, then it would be acceptable to
force the player to learn what is needed. Also, if a piece of knowledge
is widespread and easy to find out, it would be acceptable, such as knowing
3) ITEMS AND LOCATIONS SHOULD FIT THE PLOT
A dragon and magic words are quite appropriate in a fantasy adventure,
but would be greatly out of place in a nuclear reactor!
4) MULTI LEVELS OF DIFFICULTY
All problems and obstacles to overcome should not be of the same degree
of difficulty or the player will become extremely bored or extremely
frustrated. One obvious exception to this rule is when the program is written
for a specific age group.
5) MORE WAYS TO SKIN THE CAT
Whenever it is possible (usually memory is a constraint here), try to have
more than one way to reach a desired goal as not all people think alike! Also
along this line, it is a good idea to provide responses to all the different
things a player might enter. (This is probably one of the easiest rules to lay
down and one of the hardest to follow!)
6) NO SUDDEN DEATH SYNDROME
Unless the plot is specifically written to need it (like DEATH
DREADNAUGHT), is it not a good idea to capriciously kill off players
without giving them some sort of warning ahead of time. This allows the
clever player a chance to escape the doom the author has envisioned for
So that sums it up for this month. If anyone out in the real world
has any additional rules they think are valid, drop me a line!
And oh yes, Adventure 10 is now out!
Now, I'll just 'til next month, SAY YOHO ......... (BYE)!
ONE LINE ADVENTURE
by Phillip Case
VISIBLE ITEMS: TREES
OBVIOUS EXITS: EAST WEST
IN A CAVE.";:PRINT@79,"NOTHING";:PRINT@143,"NONE",;:PRINT@263,""
ONE LINE REVIEW
by Scott Adams
(See Say Yoho column this month.)
RULE 1: usually
RULE 2: yes
RULE 3: yes
RULE 4: well maybe
RULE 5: hardly
RULE 6: yes.
RATING 5/6 = 84% (not bad for one line!); SAY YOHO, and we gone .....