IF Comp 2010: Heated

All right, one more before I go to bed. Maybe two, if this one is quick.

Heated is by Timothy Peers, written in Inform 7 (build 5Z71). heated.z8 weighs in at 233 kB.

What’s the spoiler-break pic going to be? Any guesses?

Media_httpwwwcoolestg_dhebg

It’s an advertisement for a solar-heated shower. I didn’t expect that one either.

The first thing I notice upon starting the game is that the name of the room isn’t capitalized. That’s unusual, but I guess there’s no real reason to capitalize it besides tradition. The second thing I notice is the warning “*Save often!*” …Oh dear. The ABOUT says the game is timed. Double oh dear. I am the sort of IF player who likes to wander around and poke thoroughly in all the corners; I am probably not going to enjoy this.

>x me
You have a fine odor; mixed from only the choicest alcohol, sweat, and general mustiness.  You currently have nothing on.

For the choicest general mustiness, choose MUST.

>xyzzy
A hollow voice booms; and it’s quite possible that it has exploded.

That’s not how semicolons work.

>x closet
Your closet is a finely aged nook in the wall.  It has two magnificent balsa-wood sliding doors   Though you’re sure there was an iron in here too, at one point anyway.that are mercifully closed.

That’s a bit of a train-wreck. I’m guessing the sentence about the iron was meant to be dynamically inserted and it got fouled up. An easy mistake to make, but it is also an easy mistake to notice, and hopefully fix.

>x closet
Your closet is a finely aged nook in the wall.  It has two magnificent balsa-wood sliding doors that stand open and display a pile of ratty old shoes and your work clothes to the world.  Though you’re sure there was an iron in here too, at one point anyway..

Yeah, with the addition of this you can more easily see what happened. I won’t pretend that dynamic text is the easiest thing in the world; it can get pretty tricky. But if you’re going to do it, you have to get it right.

I don’t know what kind of toilet you have, but I’m pretty sure any standard ring of keys would be too heavy to be flushed to oblivion. The water pressure would have to be so high that the shower I took would have blown me to bits.

It is at this point that I realize that I was warned to save often, not just because the game is timed, but because it’s full of “Whoops, you fucked up! Better start over!” puzzles. This is possibly the worst thing in IF ever. There is a reason why nobody does this any more: it is bullshit.

[…]the counters are dusty but show no signs of actually have anything prepared on them[…]

Beyond the fact that this sentence makes no sense grammatically (it was meant to be “show no signs of actually having had anything prepared on them”, perhaps? Though that’s still a bit awkward), it also makes no sense conceptually. If the counters are dusty, I would not expect anything to have been prepared on them.

>hit trunk
You give it a solid whack on the side, and to your relief, it squeaks itself slowly open.

>open trunk
As usual, it’s jammed.  You can tell the lock has been released, so it has every reason to be open.

Hello, it is open. I opened it. Also: “You have a chewing gum”.

Oh. Well, the ending was rather abrupt. (I guess I should be thankful, snark snark.) It seems like I missed out finding a way to press my work clothes and got a middling ending. Since that went pretty quick, I guess I’ll take a jab at it. I guess it says something about the game that I’m willing to do so.

…There we go. The tv was a bit of a rude red herring, but the outlet being behind the couch was reasonably clued. The “whoops you lose” nature of the game wasn’t as bad as I expected, but I think that is largely due to the fact that it’s a very short game, so starting over was relatively painless. If this game was longer, that puzzle style would have made it hellish; as it was, it was okay. It’s a bit buggy, the text needs cleaning up, and the puzzles and theme aren’t what you would call interesting, but it was okay.

My grading scale, by the way, runs (from 1 to 10): unplayable, horrible, awful, lame, meh, okay, nice, awesome, amazing, perfect. So Heated gets a 6. Really it’s more like a 5.5, but I generally round up. As first games go, I’ve seen much worse — keep working at it, Timothy Peers. Start with a more interesting concept next time; apartment/morning routine games are an IF cliché, and a dull one at that.

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