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Questing for some retro-fun with Quest, the Text Adventure player and creator

Today's project is one that will bring back fond memories for many and maybe provide a spark for some new ideas. Some of my fondest early memories of computer use was playing Zork (on a TRS80 Model III). I spent hours playing, working through the puzzles, printing the Z source to try to find answers and dreaming about the kinds of games I could write...

Today, text adventures, aka interactive fiction, doesn't have the sizzle and hype that the cutting edge games  have. Yet there's something about them that draws you in.

Then you start thinking about using them for non-gaming purposes. Think about using them for education, training, maybe even retro-marketing! And you have to imaging that it couldn't be too hard to create your own game/adventure/experience...

Yet where do you start?

Quest 5

Quest 5 is a brand new system for creating modern text adventure games. It is a complete rewrite of Quest, and lets you create sophisticated games complete with graphics, sounds and videos, all without having to know how to program yourself - a full visual editor is included.

Visual script editor. A plain English approach to programming, where you can choose commands from searchable lists, so you don't need to remember any syntax

  • Highly customizable - most functionality comes from a Core library, which is written in the Quest game language (ASLX) itself
  • Games support unlimited undo
  • Games are fully translatable - there is no hard coded text within a game. You can translate the English template to create games in other languages - we already have support for Spanish, German and Dutch.
  • HTML game output allows embedding sounds, pictures, YouTube, Vimeo clips
  • XML game file format is easily editable outside of Quest if you don't want to use Quest's own editor
  • Games can be played online by uploading the .quest file to http://www.textadventures.co.uk/, or you can use the WebPlayer project to host them yourself on a web server with ASP.NET 4.0
  • Ms-PL license (like MIT) means you're free to create commercial Quest games, and use Quest in closed-source projects

Documentation

Find out more at the official Quest website, http://www.textadventures.co.uk/quest/
Documentation is available on the Quest 5 wiki at http://quest5.net - including a full tutorial.

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Not only do you get a cool playing environment, a visual editing tool and means to play them online or off, you get the source code to it all too! Yep, the source to it all is available (and active, with check-ins just yesterday, Friday, December 9th)

The project is a study in cross .Net development. WinForms, mixed with WPF and ASP.Net Web projects, with VB.Net, C# and Javascript, there seems to be a little of everything...

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If you've never played a text adventure/interactive fiction game, or they bring back memories of days long past, if the idea of building one excites you or you're just looking for something different, Quest, and its companion site http://www.textadventures.co.uk/, is waiting for you...

Follow the Discussion

  • muzamilmuzamil

    Interesting article! Very well done! It's good to see interactive fiction (also known as text adventure games) get more of the attention it deserves.
    In the same vein, there's a modern day interactive fiction publisher releasing new works of commercial interactive fiction that I think people
    should know about. This interactive fiction publisher is Malinche Entertainment. Their website is http://www.malinche.net and they've got a
    lot to offer anyone interested in interactive fiction/text adventure games.

  • JoeJoe

    I guess I am a tad bit older. I remember a program called "advent" (aka Colossal Cave Adventure) on a DEC PDP-11 computer. We would dial up with a 110-baud acoustic coupler modem and a dumb terminal (VT52). I spent hours and hours playing this. Never figured out the end game, though. If you every find yourself in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike, you'll know what I mean. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossal_Cave_Adventure

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