Ever since I devoured the MYST series in high school, I’ve wanted to make a game about creating worlds. The surreal universe of these games stirred my imagination and made me want more– infinitely more. I realized that if I wanted any hope of making my own such game with limited time and resources, it would have to be text-based. That way, I could cut straight to the important parts: story and exploration.
Serious plans began my fourth semester at Cornell when I discovered A Dark Room, which taught me that text-based games can be commercially successful and that they don’t have to follow interactive fiction conventions. The brilliance of this game is in its fusion of genres: text adventure, idle, and RPG. The real-time economy and combat make the player work to discover new parts of the story, which makes new discoveries much more satisfying than if they were available immediately. Also, the clean user interface leaves everything to the player’s imagination, which can be just as vivid as the fanciest graphics.
With my new design philosophy in place, I would spend the next few months frantically generating and discarding ideas for my game. I can’t remember how nanorobots first appeared, but they ultimately triumphed over dream worlds (which I haven’t totally forgotten) as the basis for my universe.
Stay tuned for Part 2: Execution.