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That intro is the dummy text I find every time I start a post. Today I decided to leave it so that I can pay homage to the default guys and gals of the world. How nice am I?

So this place has been real quiet for the last few days. The reason is simple: there are no competitions going on and I don't like to badmouth games just because, so I'm waiting for IF Comp; and other than badmouthing games, I really don't have much to say that hasn't been said better by someone else - as far as IF is concerned, at least.

In the meanwhile I've been doing two things: beta-testing (maybe I'll talk about that experience in the near future), playing other games (I'll do a list of my favorites in the near future), and working on my first game (of which I'll write in the very near future - about two minutes in the future, to be exact, so you can wait if you want).

Today I decided to write about Hooks, my first game. So why today? Because I'm very happy with something I did this morning and wanted to share it with the two point five one three million people who daily read this blog. But let me begin at the beginning:

Four Hooks: When I decided to write something in IF format, I started by reading some theory about game design. One of the most common assertions was that a good game needs a strong hook to begin with. I instantly agreed, and so I decided to name my game Hooks; I was also feeling ambitious at the time, so I started the game with a PC whose flesh is pierced by four strong hooks. If one hook is a solid start, with four I cannot possibly go wrong; am I right? Of course I am.

Logic Puzzles: Good games have puzzles that feel natural, not pushed there by the imperative of difficulty. I gave this subject a fair go around in the thought wagon, and decided to include an ironing puzzle. This is a sure shot, since everyone, everywhere, irons clothes. A puzzle regarding ironing shirts cannot possibly be out of place, right? So I took my Taurus iron and placed it near the computer, for inspiration. I've read the instructions, including the chapters about the best temperature for given fabrics, and emulated all of this into a working puzzle. Perfect!

Show, Don't Tell: This is another corner-stone in game design. To respect it, I decided not to create tons of text describing the PC, and his background, and his character. Instead, I've created a faceless-featureless-pastless-nameless-genderless-naked PC, that finds itself in nowhere, in the middle of pure whiteness. That is both easy to show and impossible to tell. Bang! Three-outa-three.

Other Stuff: A good game has that human touch: the NPC; so mine has an NPC also. In a good game, several actions interact with each other to different outcomes, so I also have that: the way you iron affects the way the NPC talks to you, although they don't share the same space, and the NPC knows nothing of the ironing or of the outcomes of the task; but the important is that the interaction exists, and such is taken care of.

So this is some background to Hooks. How about today?

The Purpose of it All: In the beginning Hooks was just a sandbox: a game not to be my first real game, just a place to learn how to code in I7 (I'll have to write a love letter to Graham Nelson and Emily Short about it, BTW), but then I started to like the concept and continued to work on it. At some point, Hooks was a game with four areas that affected each other, but with no point to it, no focused objective. It was even possible to play the game forever - and such be considered a winning state. At first I liked this approach, but it didn't age well on me and I grew tired. So now I had a problem: do I take all of this and twist it around until it's shaped like a coherent something?; or do I drop it and start one of the gazillion ideas I had in the meanwhile (about having more ideas than time, a nice discussion came about right here)?

I decided I like the concept, so in this past week I started to sketch a new future to Hooks, but the finale was still missing and such was bugging me - until today.

The Finale: This morning I was having breakfast with my lovely and patient wife, in the lovely and calm city of Viana do Castelo. We had some bread, some coffee, orange juice, and a delicious Pastel de Nata, a traditional portuguese egg tart, at the end. You'll have to try one before you die, an amazing delicacy, I tell you, and you can have great Pastéis de Nata in any pastry shop in Portugal. I even... wait, I'm getting out of line here. Let me get back to Hooks: so here we are, I'm reading a book, she's reading a book, and I get an epiphany. I dropped my book, got my notebook (a paper one), and started to write - and, my dear friends, I wrote the ending to Hooks. Or better yet: I wrote six endings to Hooks. Now I just have to code them.

And that's it: I have nothing more to say. Hope your expectations weren't too high :)

And Now the Request: I'm a portuguese fella, and I have to sweat alot to write  fluently in english. I ask you that when you spot bad english in my writtings, do tell me about it: even by mocking or insulting me. I don't mind, really.
 


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