You've installed ADRIFT, played a few games, and now you're ready to write your first ADRIFT game. So where do you start?
The ADRIFT 5 Developer
When you open ADRIFT Developer (dev500.exe) you are greeted with the following screen:
There are 4 main areas on the screen, toolbars & menus at the top, a hierarchical list of Folders down the left side, a blank window entitled 'Map' in the middle, and five small list boxes (Locations, Objects, Tasks, Characters & Events) along the bottom that show the contents of open folders. Only one of these has anything in it, the Characters folder contains the entry 'Player'.
This represents the player character in the game.
We will need to create any other characters needed in the game, all of the rooms that your Adventure will be set in, and all of the objects that the player can interact with.
When you click on it the folders contained within this folder will be shown or hidden. Double-clicking the name 'Standard Library' does the same. Leave it closed for the rest of this tutorial.
Close the five list-box windows using the red X in their top-right corner. Now double-click on the 'Locations' folder. The locations folder list-box has opened again. A folder can contain other folders, like the Standard Library folder, or it contains ADRIFT items, in which case it opens as a list box at the bottom of the screen.
The top three are the usual windows minimise, restore and close buttons. Below those are round buttons with an i and a ? on them.
i is for information. This displays the ADRIFT "About" box.
? is the HELP button. It opens the ADRIFT help window.
At the bottom of the window is the status bar:
This displays several pieces of information:
- The version of ADRIFT developer that was last used to edit the currently loaded file.
- The size of the loaded file.
- The sum of all the actions in the game that add a number to the "Score" variable.
- An indicator that the developer is in Simple mode.
Your first room
Near the top of the screen is the main toolbar ribbon:
Click the "Location" button in the "Add Items" section, with the picture of a house on it. This will open the New Location editing window (shown below) where you describe a room or outdoor location for your interactive story. In the Short Description field give the room a name, and in the Long Description describe what the room looks like, including any furniture or decorations that the player won't be able to pick up or move. Make sure you include something with a surface like a table, and something to sit on, as we will be using them in this tutorial. I use a simple desk and chair in the example:
When you click the "OK" button you will see a yellow rectangle marked "Study" appear in the centre of the map, and in the "Location" folder there will now be an entry with a smaller version of the house icon next to the name of the room.
Introduction & End of Game
Click on the circular button at the very top left corner of the screen to open the main menu, then select "Introduction & End of Game".
The following dialog will open:
This is where you enter the introduction to your game. It is the first thing that the player will read. You should indicate the goal of the game here, and any special information they need to play the game. We want the player to start in the Study, so select this room in the drop-down list labeled "Start the adventure at location" Also tick the "Display first room description" box, so that the description of the study is given immediately after the introduction.
Did you notice the squigly red line under the word "tommorrow"? This is ADRIFT's automatic spell-checker telling us that we have made a spelling mistake. Right-click on the offending word and select the correct spelling from the list provided.
If you have typed a word correctly, but the spell-checker still doesn't recognise it and puts a red line under it, right-click on the word and you will see in the list the option to "Add to Dictionary". Click on this and the word will be added to the User Dictionary.
Note: the spell-checker will sometimes not recognise a word that has an apostrophe in it, i.e. water's (as in water's edge). Right-clicking on the word in this instance will not give you the option to "Add to Dictionary". In this case you can open the User Dictionary using a basic word processor such as Notepad or Wordpad then type the word into the dictionary and save it afterwards.
If you select the "End of Game" tab you can also enter a message to be displayed after the game finishes.
Choose "Save As" from the main menu to create a new .taf file and save your work so far. You should save your game whenever you add more to it than you would like to lose if there is an unexpected power failure. As well as "Save" on the main menu there is a small save button next to the main menu button, and you can also save by pressing Ctrl+S on the keyboard.
The person playing your game will expect to be able to examine every object that you mentioned in your room description, so we need to create objects for the desk and chair. Click on the "Object" button on the toolbar with the picture of a treasure chest on it. This will open the "New Object" editing window. Create a new object to represent the desk:
The "Article" field usually contains "a" or "an" for common objects, and "the" for a unique object. The "Prefix/Adjective" field contains descriptive words about the object, such as its colour, weight, size, or the material it is made out of. The "Name/Noun(s)" field should contain a single word that identifies what the object is (desk, chair, telephone, cat, mat etc.) However, this field is a drop down list, so you can enter as many nouns (aliases for the object) as you like, using the Enter key.
- When the player refers to the object in the game they must use the noun, but the adjectives are optional unless there is more than one object of the same type at the players location. Hence the desk may be refered to as "desk", "wooden desk", "small desk" or "small wooden desk".
The "Description" field is the message that is shown when the player types "examine desk".
The "Object Type" buttons let you select a Static or Dynamic type of object.
- Static objects are objects that remain part of a room (such as furniture) or are parts of other objects or characters.
- Dynamic objects are things that can be picked up by the player, such as books, swords, food, bats, balls and bags.
Our desk will not be picked up by the player so we leave it as static.
The "Location of object" is given as "Hidden", but we want it to be in our study, so select "Single Location" from the drop-down list.
- This changes the next field to a list of all of the locations in this game.
Select "Study" from the drop-down list to put the desk into our room.
Click on the properties tab:
This is where you specify characteristics of the object, ie. what the player can do with it.
A desk has a flat surface that we can put things on. This is done by selecting the "Object is a supporter" property.
When you click the "OK" button "a small wooden desk" will appear in the "Objects" folder, with the palm-tree icon next to it to indicate that it is a "static" object.
A quicker way to add an object to a location is to right click on the location in the "Locations" folder and select the "Add object to location" option. Do this and create a static object to represent the chair, filling in adjectives and a description for whatever type of chair you want it to be. On the properties tab you will notice that the "At Location" property has already been set to "study" by using this method to create the object.
Select the "Object is a supporter" property as we did for the table.
This makes the "Characters can sit on this object" property available. Select it as well (as that's what chairs are for) and click "OK".
But the object appears in the "Locations" folder instead of the "Objects" folder? ADRIFT actually lets you organise objects into folders any way you want to, so you can either put all the objects in the Objects folder or put them directly under the room that they are located in.
Drag one of the objects to the other folder.
Moving between Locations
You can create a new location simply by double clicking on the map. This has the advantage that you can position it in the correct location relative to your other locations. Like all maps, north is at the top and west is to the left.
We want our new room to be west of the study, so double click on the map directly left of the study.
A location called "New Location" will appear on the map and also in the "Locations" folder.
Drag the location on the map with the mouse to adjust its position so that it is square with the study, and with a gap between them, then double-click on it to open the location editor.
Change its short description to "Bedroom" and enter a long description that describes a room with a bed in it.
Select the Contents tab.
This button is used to create new static objects in this room.
When you click on it the 'New Object' window will open. Type "Bed" in the name/noun field, and enter a Description for it.
An object created by pressing the button on the location window will already have its location property set, so we only need to set the properties that control how the player can interact with it.
Select the properties page.
Select these 4 properties: (The last 3 will not be visible until the first property has been selected)
- Object is a supporter
- Characters can lie on this object
- Characters can sit on this object
- Characters can stand on this object
Press OK and return to the Location editor. Press the "Add Static Object" button again to create another object.
This time make a book.
Unlike our previous objects, a book is something that the player can pick up and carry around, so on the description page select "Dynamic".
We want to leave the book on the bed, so set "Location of the object" to "On Object" and "On What?" to "a bed".
Because its a book we want to be able to read it, so on the properties page, scroll down until you find the "This object is readable" property and select it.
Below this also select "and description when read" and enter the contents of your book into the text box.
Press OK, and back in the Location editor select the Directions page:
The study is east of this room, so on the "Move east to" line select "Study" from the drop-down list.
Press the OK button. ADRIFT will ask you if you want to also connect west from the study to the bedroom. Choose Yes.
On the map there will now be a line shown linking the two rooms:
Save the game and press the "Run Adventure" button (either the one at the right of the "Home" toolbar or the green triangle next to the save button at the top of the screen).
Try moving between the rooms, getting the book from the bed and putting it on the desk, reading it, laying on the bed and sitting on the chair.
We still don't have any way to win the game, so we will override the standard library "Read" task to end the game if certain conditions are met.
Click the Task button with the big red tick on the home toolbar. This will open the new task dialog:
Give the task a name (eg. "Read Book") and click on "Specific" to change it from a general task to a specific task.
This will change the section below the button to:
We want to keep the existing behaviour which reads the book, and then run our new task to end the game, so change the 'run before' drop-down to 'run after' and select the 'Read objects' task from the next drop-down.
- This is a long list, but if you press the 'R' key it will jump to tasks starting with 'R'
'Read object' appears on the next line with the word 'object' highlighted. Click on it and select 'a book' from the list.
The line will now show: 'read a book'.
- In the 'Message to display on completion' text box enter "You have successfully studied algebra."
- Click on the Restrictions tab. This is where we will specify the conditions that must be met before this specific task will be executed.
- Press the 'Add' button to open the Restriction editing dialog.
- Select the 'Character' tab.
- Using the drop-down lists, enter the following restriction:
The general 'Read object' task in the standard library already checks that the book is visible to the player and is readable. If the player is not sitting on the chair when they try to read the book then they can still read it but they won't win the game. If they are on the chair then the action we are about to create will be executed.
- Press OK
- Select the 'Actions' tab of the task and press the 'Add' button to create a new action.
- Select the 'End Game' tab and choose 'in Victory' from the drop-down list
- Press OK, then OK on the Task dialog
- Save and run the game
Now when you play the game you can still read the book anywhere, but you will only win the game if you take the book from the bed and sit on the desk chair to read it.
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