Category Archives: textadventures.co.uk Website

Introducing Quest WebEditor – create text adventures online in your browser

I was hoping to announce the world’s very first online text adventure maker – but, dammit! Playfic got there first, by a matter of days. So, what I am announcing today may be the world’s second-ever online text adventure maker, but it is also rather different to Playfic as you will see.

The Quest WebEditor is the world’s first online visual text adventure maker. It is (almost) the entire desktop version of Quest, but transplanted into a web browser. So, now you can create a text adventure game, with no prior programming experience, and without downloading any software. You have access to the full range of Quest functionality, including multiple languages, the ability to use hyperlinks in your game (to make it easier to play without typing), and the ability to embed videos, pictures and sounds for a modern text game experience (personally I’m fairly tired of text adventures being thought of as “retro” all the time – there’s no need for them all to look like MS-DOS).

Let me take you on a tour!

First, you’ll need to log in to textadventures.co.uk. You’ll then be able to access the “Create” page, which looks like this:

01 create

Enter a name for your game (you can always change it later), and choose a language.

Hit the Create button, and your game will be created. This is what it looks like in the editor:

03 blank game

This is a similar layout to the desktop software, and the full range of functionality is available – including cut/copy/paste and undo/redo.

The Settings button lets you turn on Simple Mode – as in the desktop software, this hides away some of the functionality to make it easier to get started.

I’ve renamed the initial “room” to “lounge”, and I’ve clicked the “+ Room” button to add another location to the game, a kitchen. Now, with the lounge selected, I can add an exit to the kitchen from the Exits tab:

05 create exit

I can add an object by clicking the “+ Object” button. Here I’ve added a sofa, and entered a text description:

06 add object

I can try the game by clicking the Play button. It appears in a new tab, using the same “play online” interface as the published games on the site.

07 play game

I can interact with the game just like all Quest games. There’s no need to force your players to type commands – the hyperlinks allow you to make a game which can be played with a click of the mouse, or a touch of the screen:

Here’s the game output after looking at the sofa, and moving east into the kitchen.

09 game

The real power of Quest comes from scripts, which let you control anything in the game – move the player, change responses according to what the player has done before, set up puzzles, show pictures and more. Back in the editor, let’s change the description of the sofa so that it runs a script instead of just displaying text:

Now we can click the “Add new script” button to choose from various options. This is the Simple Mode list – there is a much bigger list if we turn this off:

11 add script

Let’s play a YouTube video when the player looks at sofa. I choose “Play YouTube video” from the “Add New Script” dialog, and then I can enter a video ID. I found a clip of a TV sofa advert:

And here’s what the game looks like if we run it now:

13 play youtube

So there you have it!

This is currently in private beta – email me if you’re very keen to test it. Otherwise, I will make it available as a public beta in a few weeks.

"Play online" now works on mobile browsers

All games on textadventures.co.uk can now be played online via iPhone, iPad and Android browsers, and on desktop browsers the player has a fresh new look.

Although the main website isn’t particularly mobile-optimised (just yet!), if you click the “Play online” link for a game and are using a mobile browser, you’ll see the new mobile-friendly version of the player.

Mobile WebPlayer

The inventory, compass etc. are moved off onto separate screens, which you can access by tapping the “+” button next to the input box.

Mobile WebPlayer Location tab

This means the experience of playing a game via a mobile web browser is similar to what you get with a stand-alone Quest game app. So that’s (currently) 356 games which are now playable through a mobile web browser – plenty of choice for gaming on the move, as long as you have an internet connection.

If you log in first, you can save your progress as you go along by tapping the “Save” button on the “More” tab. The game is then saved under your account, which means if you later log in from a desktop machine, you can resume your game from there.

Mobile browser games support pictures, which are resized to fit the size of the screen. You can also use hyperlinks for those games which have them (although most of the games currently on the site were written for older versions of Quest which didn’t support hyperlinks). You can use the Inventory and Location panes to give you quick access to objects without typing. Also, games written for Quest 4.x and later support abbreviations, so you can type “x mon” instead of “look at security monitors” for example.

The mobile player will automatically adjust to the resolution of your device, so it works nicely on tablets too.

The desktop browser player now also has a fresher look:

Desktop WebPlayer

I hope you enjoy the experience of playing text adventures on your smartphone – don’t forget about the stand-alone smartphone apps as well, allowing you to play on your phone even without an internet connection. I hope to release more games as apps in the near future, and if you’re interested in having your game converted into an app, please get in touch.

"The Things That Go Bump In The Night" now available for iOS and Android

The Things That Go Bump In The Night is now available for iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) and Android devices.

In this game, written by Tim Hamilton, you are a security guard settling down to a quiet night shift, when things start to go wrong. You must make your way around the compound, solving puzzles and dispatching mysterious beasts.

Available on the App Store

androidmarket

This is the first Quest game to appear for smartphones, and I believe it is the first text adventure to be specifically designed for a pocket-sized touch screen – you can play the entire game without typing, instead using the hyperlinks and tabs to navigate and interact with the game world.

bump-300x194

You can find out more about how the game was made in my earlier blog post. The game is fairly difficult – if you get stuck, check out the comments on the original textadventures.co.uk game page for some tips! Also check out the Twitter hashtag #ttgbitn.

More games will be released soon. Maybe you’d like to write one? Any game written for Quest 5 can now be converted into an app, so if you’re interested, please get in touch!

"Play Online" now supports saving

Playing Quest games online is far more popular than downloading for offline play – it doesn’t require any downloads, and it works on all platforms. But the offline player (requiring a download of the Windows-only Quest software) provides a better experience in a number of ways – most notably, until now it has been the only way of saving your progress in a game so you can come back to it later.

Well, I’ve now updated “Play Online” (a.k.a WebPlayer) so that you can save your game, if you’re logged in. When playing, there is a new “Save” button in the top right of the page.

To restore your saved game later, log in and then go back to the game page. You’ll see two “play online” links:

So, now you can play games on any device, save them and come back later – even on a different device. Play at work during your lunch hour, then finish the game when you get home.

Please let me know if you have any questions or feedback about the new feature.

Improvements to textadventures.co.uk

As well as making Quest a great system to create text adventure games, I want to make textadventures.co.uk a great place to host them. It started out as the very basic “Quest Games Archive” many years ago, and has had various improvements since then – “play online” support and the addition of categories, for example.

It is already probably the most popular internet destination for people who are looking to play text adventure games – it’s usually in the first two search results on Google for “text adventures”, and with the “play online” feature just a click away for every game, I think it’s a pretty good place to upload your game if you want people to play it.

However there is still some way to go to make the site work really well for both players and authors, so I’m planning to make some more enhancements over the next few months.

Here are a few that I’ve implemented over the last few days:

Statistics

I’ve been logging “download” and “play” counts for a few months now, and these are now visible on the site. The “Top 10” section on the front page now gives you three different top 10s – you can see the top rated games as before, but you can now also see “most played” and “most downloaded”. The “most downloaded” chart includes both downloads from the website and downloads from within Quest 5.0.

When you click on a game page, you can see the download and play counts under the description.

Right now the most popular game is The Things That Go Bump In The Night, by Tim Hamilton – with 9428 online plays and 1297 downloads since 7th Feb (when I started logging), that’s not a bad reach for a text adventure, I think. It also shows how popular online play is compared to downloading games – it is now the reality that most players want something they can get started with quickly, and they’re not going to waste time downloading an interpreter first.

Editing

You can now modify a game listing after you’ve uploaded it. So if you want to update the description, or upload a new bug-fix version, you can now do so by going to your game page and clicking “Edit this game” at the top. You must be logged in of course!

Categories and Languages

Games are assigned a category only after they’ve been checked by a moderator. This ensures that only games of a reasonable quality are given a category – a lot of uploads are quick test games or are incomplete, so these get assigned to the Sandpit category instead. However, as a game author you probably know best what category you would like it to be in, so you can now specify one when you upload, and you can also suggest a new category if none of the existing ones fit.

You can also now specify a language. This isn’t really used anywhere at the moment, as currently all games on the site (with only one exception) are in English, but when we have enough non-English games I will implement language filtering so players will see only the languages they’re interested in.

Feedback

This is just the beginning of improving the site – there are a few more things on my list still to come:

  • an area on the site for libraries
  • support for “cover art”
  • private games
I’m grateful for any feedback! Any suggestions for making the site better are more than welcome.

New Quest and textadventures.co.uk websites

I have reworked the textadventures.co.uk website – it still works in much the same way as before, but it’s now got a fresh new look. Please take a look and let me know what you think, and if anything’s broken!

I’ve also moved the Quest pages over to http://www.textadventures.co.uk/quest/ – I’ve set up redirects so all the old links should continue to work.

The blog has also been moved to http://www.textadventures.co.uk/blog/

There’s nothing much new yet, but now the site is fully powered by WordPress it will be much easier for me to expand and update, as we add new sections for Quest 5 etc. Exciting times ahead!

New "Play Online" beta at textadventures.co.uk

I have rewritten the “Play Online” feature of textadventures.co.uk.

It is now running WebPlayer, which is the open source online player component of Quest 5.0.

Things to be aware of or excited about…

  • It is much faster than the old “play online” feature
  • It no longer uses Flash – instead it’s using AJAX. This means that it works on iPhone and iPad etc. But note that the current layout is not very iPhone-friendly. Also it didn’t work on the Android browser I tried for some reason.
  • It is free and open source, so if you wanted to host your own WebPlayer in your own design, you can.
  • It supports games for all Quest versions – both “classic” Quest (4.x and earlier) and “new” Quest (5.0).
  • It works properly – if it works in Quest, it should work in WebPlayer too. The old “play online” feature doesn’t show embedded CAS resources for example – WebPlayer does.

To use the new WebPlayer, you must first log in to textadventures.co.uk. You will then see a “Try the new beta online player” under the usual “Play online” link. (There’s no technical reason for requiring a login, it’s just that I don’t want every casual player on the site hitting the new WebPlayer until I know it works properly).

Note that the very latest games added to textadventures.co.uk won’t be available on WebPlayer yet, as I haven’t set up the service that grabs new game files on the new server.

Please, please, please give me your feedback and report any errors you see.

textadventures.co.uk – the new Quest Games Archive

I have created a new website to replace the Quest Games Archive.

It’s here: www.textadventures.co.uk

It’s more flexible and powerful than the old archive. As well as allowing you to post reviews again (something that was disabled a while ago on the old Quest Games Archive due to spam), you can now upload a game and it will be instantly available for download.

Logging in

If you ever submitted a game or posted a review to the old Quest Games Archive, you will already have an account on textadventures.co.uk as everything has been transferred over.

In order to log in, click the “forgot your password?” link to receive an email allowing you to create the password for your account.

Once logged in, you can start posting reviews and comments, and you can upload games.

Uploading games

When you upload a game, it will be available immediately for download. Please note that at the moment, each game has to be manually set up for the “play online” feature, so you may have to wait a day or two for this feature to be available for your game.

Also note that I will of course check each game after it has been uploaded, and will remove anything inappropriate – e.g. anything that isn’t a Quest game.

Feedback

Please let me know if you have any questions, suggestions or comments about the new website – please email me at alex@axeuk.com.

Quest Games Online (Beta) – text adventures in your web browser

I am currently developing an extension of the Quest Games Archive that will let you play Quest games within your web browser – no additional software required.

To give this a go, please go to http://www.axeuk.com/cgi-bin/gamesonline.cgi and just click on any game link to begin playing.

All you need is a browser that supports JavaScript and Flash.

So far I have tested this with Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 2.

Please post any comments to the forums, or drop me an email at alex@axeuk.com.

Note that as this is a beta, the facility may go down from time to time – but if you do notice any problems please let me know.