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Garry Francis

A member registered Aug 31, 2019 · View creator page →

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Text adventure authors generally tend to work solo, but it doesn't always have to be that way. What are your strengths and weaknesses. Are you good at programming, writing, designing puzzles, graphics? You did say that you're a writer, so I assume you can write, but can you design the plot for an interactive story? If so, what genre do you prefer? Crime, horror, humour, sci fi, mystery? Remember that this year's comp has an optional theme of 'fairy tale', so that may give you some ideas.

I think your best bet would be to write a brief outline of the plot and see if anyone is interested. Consider the time and place that the story takes place. Draw a map and write some location descriptions. What objects are scattered about the environment.  Are there any non-player characters? How does the player interact with those objects and non-player characters? What is the ultimate goal and what are the obstacles that prevent the player reaching that goal?

Most importantly, think about what you can do yourself and what you expect someone else to do. If it's a collaboration, all team members should share the workload equitably. Or maybe you just need a teacher to guide you?

Anyway, give it some thought and post back here. You can also join the Discord server (if you haven't already) to exchange personal messages with potential collaborators.

The theme for PunyJam #4 is: "At the start of the game, or within the first five moves, the player gets an indication that something isn't quite right, or even that something is terribly wrong." Sounds easy enough, doesn't it?

When I stopped and thought about it, I had a complete mind blank. No matter what I thought of, it kept coming back to a disaster setting. So here's a few of the things I was thinking of:

  • Earthquake or tsunami (e.g. San Francisco 1906)
  • Volcano (e.g. Pompeii, Krakatoa)
  • Sinking of a ship (e.g. Titanic)
  • Fire in a high-rise building

and so on.

Did you have any ideas that you'd like to share?

That's a good point. I actually read it many years before 1984 and promised myself to read it again when we reached 1984, but I never did. I remember it being very thought provoking and conveying a sense of helplessness, like no matter what you do, Big Brother is always one step ahead. I must read it again.

There is no difference between the z3 and z5 story files, except that z3 does not support undo. I plan to do an Apple II disk image (and others) when I have the appropriate tool chain set up, but don't hold your breath waiting, as that requires a Linux computer, which I don't have.

Thanks, auraes. I really enjoyed your game, although it did raise some controversy in other forums. We still don't know whether it's possible to win without getting killed (I suspect not) or whether it's possible to get a final score of greater than 60%.

You're welcome.

Thanks. Glad you liked it.

Thank you very much. I'm glad you liked it.

I wrote the outline a few years ago and returned to it for this comp. I didn't keep any records, but it probably took a couple of months to write. I hope you like it.

Thanks. The game was a lot of fun to write, so it's nice to hear that someone enjoyed it.

Especially when you're a wolf eating innocent goats.

A couple of people were asking for help on 'Priceless Vase Adventure' on the Discord server. I don't know if you're a Discord user, but if you are, you can join the Text Adventure Literacy Jam Discord server at and maybe help them out. I just got home. I'm about to give it a go myself ... er, the adventure, not the Discord server.

As you no doubt know by now, your game was submitted successfully and now appears on the Submissions page. Good luck with the judging.

You can download the html using a bit of trickery or the app, but you still need a browser play it.

Don't panic. Your game has been submitted successfully. All games will appear after the submission period closes at midnight on 31 May 2023 (UTC).

Thanks for your submission and good luck in the jam.

That's entirely up to you. However, I would suggest that you put a little bit of effort into describing your game, giving instructions on how to play it and make the page look pretty. For most people that find your game, now and in the future, this page is the one where they get their first impression and decide whether or not it's worth playing your game.

Also keep in mind that you will be judged on documentation, which includes this page.

For the whistle, it's normally something like 'Tweet', or similar.

Good luck. I hope you get finished on time. I must agree that the deadline helps to keep you focussed.

I sent mine out for testing and got some great feedback. I was able to identify the areas that are a bit too hard, so I will provide better hinting or make them easier. I am doing some pretty drastic changes, as well, and hope I don't break anything in the process.

I am seeking testers for my entry in Text Adventure Literacy Jam 2023. In accordance with the rules of the comp, the game has a tutorial at the start, it should be suitable for beginners, you cannot get killed and you cannot get into any unwinnable situations. Hopefully.

You play the part of a student at a high school that was formerly a mansion owned by a rich philanthropist named Frederick H Winchester III. Winchester bequeathed his mansion to the city of Dunedin to be turned into a school, but the remainder of his vast fortune was never found and its whereabouts became known as 'The Mystery of Winchester High'.

Without going into too much detail, it's up to you to solve the mystery.

This game is a real retro puzzlefest. There are a couple of original puzzles, but the bulk of the game consists of fairly typical adventure tropes. However, there is a rich story and a lot of detail to tie it all together.

If you'd like to test it, send me a direct message on the Discord server and I'll send you the download link and password. It's only a small game and should only take an hour or so to play, probably double that to test it. I'd like to get feedback by (say) 24 May 2023, as submissions close on 31 May 2023.

Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad you liked it. I need to do a post-jam release to fix a few bugs, so I'll see if I can include some of your suggestions at the same time.

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The home page is intended to provide useful advice for programmers that are new to text adventures. For people like yourself, you will know most of this and can skim over it.

I've used AdventureWriter recently. This is the same as The Quill, but for Apple II, Atari 8-bit, C64 and PC. It's a very capable system, but it has a lot of limitations compared to modern systems, and only has a two-word parser. In my case, I was porting some old Spectrum ZX adventures to the Atari 8-bit. The memory constraints were hard to work around. In one case, I had to make room descriptions more concise to get it to fit. In the end, I only had about 20 bytes to spare in that game.

We currently have 28 people registered for Text Adventure Literacy Jam 2023 and 34 registered on the Discord server with maybe 10 people that are registered on both. That means there are about 52 people interested in the jam, but only a small percentage of those are likely to submit a game.

We are nearly three weeks into the jam, yet there is very little discussion on either the itch Community page or the Discord server. This got me wondering. Do you plan on entering a game? If so, how's it going? Have you finished the design? Have you started coding? Do you need any help?

Don't be shy. Please share your progress. We don't want people feeling like they're working in a vacuum. There are plenty of people on here, including past participants, who would be happy to answer questions and share their experiences.

Actually, there is another option called QuestJS (or Quest 6). Version 1.4.0 was released a couple of weeks ago, so it's still in active development. This allows you to write your game in a text editor and run it in a web browser. You can host this on

I don't know much about QuestJS, but it has very good documentation on the GitHub web site. You can migrate a game from Quest 5 to QuestJS, but it may require a bit of editing to get it to work. Perhaps check it out and see what you think. The author is active on and the QuestKit forum (QuestKit was an earlier version of QuestJS), so you may be able to get help there if you need it.

There are two ways to create a game in Quest:

  • You can create your game online, then download the finished quest file.
  • You can download Quest from, create the game on your computer and save the quest file. The downloadable version of Quest is only available for Windows.

In both cases, you can upload the finished quest file to your game page and people can download it from there, but they also need to download Quest to play it.

If you want people to be able to play your game online, you can upload it to the Quest web site (at the link above) 24 hours before the submission deadline and provide a link to the game on your page.

I'm glad to see that someone is writing a text adventure. Unfortunately, I'm committed to writing a game for SeedComp, so won't have time to write something for this jam. The more observant of you will note that SeedComp finishes after this jam, but I also plan to enter PunyJam #3, which starts the day after this jam finishes. Too many great text adventure (or interactive fiction) game jams and not enough time to enter all of them. Who said text adventures were dead?

Apologies. I found the Adventuron version on another page. Makes sense, I suppose.

What happened to the original Adventuron version? Not everyone wants to play it in an emulator.

Glad you like it.

Thanks. Works now.

I couldn't access the game page. Can you make sure that you've made it public on the project page?

Now that you come to mention it, a horror drama like John Carpenter's 'The Thing' or Ridley Scott's 'Alien' would work well on an oil rig. You've not only got the dark, dirty environment in the bowels of the rig, but there's nowhere to escape to, unless you can get to one of the escape pods.

I don't have the middle two releases (nor do I need them). I downloaded all the games at the beginning of the comp. Yours was release 1. Then I saw that there were a few updates from you blog entries, so I downloaded the latest and saw that it was still release 1. This could be confusing if, for example, IFDB said the latest version was release 1 and you've got release 1, so you think it's up-to-date, but it's actually got some bugs that have been fixed in a later release 1.

When you do an update, can you increment the release number? There are now two releases that are both release 1. That gets a bit confusing if you've downloaded multiple versions and makes it difficult for bibliographers/historians when updating the current version in places like IFDB.

When you do an update, can you increment the release number? There are now four releases that are all release 1. That gets a bit confusing if you've downloaded multiple versions and makes it difficult for bibliographers/historians when updating the current version in places like IFDB.

I managed to solve it last night by using the point 'n' click technique and a lot of help from the hints on Now that I know the solution, I'll go back and try to work out the keyboard commands. To be quite honest, I don't think it will be possible to solve it with keyboard only, as it does not use a traditional parser. It seems to be very selective and won't even accept a command when you press Enter, unless it happens to be the exact command that it wants.

Yes, that's sort of true. When you stop getting the message that you can hear him, you know that he's passed. You can follow him, if you like, but that will end in tears. This is only a simple puzzle, but it was incredibly difficult to write and get right.