Talk:Zork Chronicles

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How's it work?

I'm very curious about how you're going to recreate a text adventure as an FPS. —Maven (talk) 13:22, 5 Nov 2005 (PST)

That's what my team first said when I sprung the idea on them. The initial idea came to me when I saw the old Planet Half-Life article about a Zork mod that never reached completion (Half-Zork Article). However, I didn't like the idea of all the Half-Life references, and wanted to stay true to the original game. --Bwmathis 13:32, 5 Nov 2005 (PST)
Ah. I'm not surprised that it never reached completion, since that's a joke article. But is the on-screen command-line interface your plan? Or is this, too, a joke? —Maven (talk) 14:17, 5 Nov 2005 (PST)
No to both. --Bwmathis 14:30, 5 Nov 2005 (PST)

I would like to use this talk page to get feedback from old school Zork players. What concerns do you have about the translation of text-based gaemplay into first-person (or even third-) gameplay. I grew up on Zork, and would like this to introduce a new generation to these classics. --Bwmathis 13:34, 5 Nov 2005 (PST)

Well, how are you approaching it? Are you making some sort of hybrid command-driven Myst? Or are you making a pure FPS/3PS set in the Zork universe? Truthfully, I hope you've got some sort of innovative gameplay in mind, because I can't imagine how you're going to pull this off. To me, the text adventure was an inseparable part of Zork. But perhaps I'm not your target audience, then. <grin> —Maven (talk) 13:54, 5 Nov 2005 (PST)
Okay, here's a summary of the current gameplay model, as of 11/05/2005:
  • Control: Third-person interface with camera following the player's avatar. The keyboard is still used for movement (wasd), and the mouse is used to click on things to bring up a radial context menu, which may also include click-to-move. Right-clicking the mouse allows camera control, and keyboard commands will allow you to toggle between first- and third-person view (with the right-click mouse action still controlling mouselook in first person).
  • HUD: The HUD will be minimal, with the Encyclopedia Frobozzica sitting in the lower-right corner (click on it brings up your current score, actions completed, inventory, written health condition, Invisiclues, and the option to look up things from the game), your inventory spread along the bottom of the screen to the left of the book, and you will have a compass on the lower-left corner. Your health condition will be represented by sound (heavy breathing, heartbeat, etc). The game will narrate what room you're in, along with the description of the room from the orignal Zork.
  • Interaction: Everything will be in real-time (such as being moved down the Frigid River in the boat), except when you come within combat range of a hostile creature (troll and cyclops are both hostile, thief is neutral unless you enter the treasure room or attack him), then you go into turn-based combat. By clicking on an object (monster, item, treasure, vehicle, or interactive) you bring up a radial menu of actions from the game that are relevant, usually along with a "silly" option which gives you access to the funny things. Certain emotes will be available when you click on yourself instead of anything else (such as saying "zork" or "plugh", or jumping, farting, swearing, etc.). You can also use items from your inventory by clicking on them for a radial context menu, but this is more geared towards things such as eating the lunch yourself. If you were attempting to say, give something to the thief, then you'd click on him and get the option to do so (if you possess the item in your inventory). We believe this will allow the player to more fully explore the environment (which will be very detailed), and effectively handle most of the functions available in Zork.
Comments? --Bwmathis 14:31, 5 Nov 2005 (PST)

Now that you've explained it, it seems almost reasonable <grin>. Certainly menus would eliminate the "what word do I need to do this" problem. The project sounds interesting. Good luck. —Maven (talk) 16:03, 5 Nov 2005 (PST)

If you have any further comments, concerns, or ideas, feel free. --Bwmathis 16:14, 5 Nov 2005 (PST)


Great idea! I too have contemplated a mod like this, but based on the old classic Adventure game (Collosal Caves). It was a precursor to Zork and a similar style of text adventure.

What I had seen as my game development/design plan was something like this...

  • Build 3d representation of world based on text descriptions and connectivity maps of the adventure world.
  • Make a basic code base that let the player (first person) take, drop and "use" items in their inventory. It would work similar to the current weapon inventory system, but intsead would be things like a flashlight, black rod, bird cage, etc. If an item is selected, the player sees it in their hands (instead of a weapon).
  • "using" a held item in the presence of one of it's activation areas makes things happen. For example, if you have the wand in your hand and are at the chasm in the great hall, and you "use" it, your character waves it and the crystal bridge appears. If you "use" it in other locations, perhaps there is some basic animation but nothing happens.
  • Create a basic entity system that could facilitate general creation of these kinds of games. You'd have something like...
    • Objects - which are special "things" in the game. They would have properties such as "can be taken", "name", "requires object X to take", "requires object X to use", "can't be taken if posessing object X", "can't be used if posessing object X"
    • Area Object Triggers - which are area triggers which can be activated if the player "uses" a named object inside the trigger. On activation, the trigger can then activate anything just like a normal map trigger can.
    • Area Word Triggers - which are area triggers which can be activated if the player says a certain word while inside of them. This would be for certain magic words or special phrases required to activate something.
    • Global Object Triggers - work just like area object triggers, but trigger on an object's use anywhere in the game world.
    • Global Word Triggers - work just like area word triggers, but trigger on a word usage anywhere in the game (like magic words such as "xyzzy")

I think if done right, what you'd really be able to make is a versatile mod that could be used to create any number of "puzzle" type adventure games that didn't involve shooting etc. --Holtt 14:48, 5 Nov 2005 (PST)

Re: Legal stuff

Forget Zork. Do it based on the original Colossal Caves Adventure that proceeded Zork. Many sources available for it on the web. See

Activision backed off. --Bwmathis 15:29, 17 Sep 2006 (PDT)