A text-style game is a common project for beginner programmers. These can be fun to do, but also require spending time up-front to design it is worthwhile. Before you start designing your own game, look at the design decisions of a few different text-style game genres.
Also known as interactive fiction or IF, a text adventure game were the first incarnations of these types of games. They are single-player, turn-based (the game paused while the player typed in commands), and presented the user with an English text description of each room the player was in. The player was often a single character with an inventory of items picked up in the rooms. Commands were simple English phrases like
"open door" or
West of House
You are standing in an open field west
of a white house, with a boarded front
There is a small mailbox here.
> open mailbox
While the player could die, often the player did not have stats such as hit points, money, or experience points. Text adventures are puzzle-based (such as finding different rooms or figuring out which items to use where), rather than based on progressing in stats or levels.
Text adventure games are more than just “Choose Your Own Adventure” programs, because they take place in open sandbox worlds that the player can freely explore.
These are the simplest types of games to make. In fact, you don’t even need a real programming language to make one of these games. There is software specifically for creating text adventure games.
The 1993 hit Myst is an example of a graphical version of this genre. These games became more sophisticated with the graphic adventure game genre (or “point-and-click adventure games”), the most notable coming from LucasArts. Specialized software for making graphic adventure games also exists, chief of which is Adventure Game Studio.
- Player directly controls a single character
- English text descriptions (not ASCII art)
- English phrases for commands
- No stats or levels
- Puzzle-based and role-playing story elements