Thursday, May 15, 2014
The Wyldkynd Project, by Robert DeFord
It's too bad the Mac Alan interpreter didn't work, because this game deserved more votes. Hopefully people weren't intimidated by An Unusual Language. I'd say I like ALAN a bit better than QUEST. It feels like a good lightweight Inform. I'd like to see more games with it as I thought Anssi Raisannen's Ted Paladin game was a nice success. While Inform 7 is in my opinion superior to ALAN and more flexible, there's a whole lot to be said for a lightweight language people don't feel they have to learn back to front.
As for Wyldkynd, it's a bit fantasy, a bit sci-fi, and it's got some neat nature elements, too. I remember being frustrated when I got stuck (whether with an early build or with the Gargoyle interpreter) more because I wanted to see what happened next than because *&^%. Robert usually fixed it pretty quickly, and I was able to move on. I got to where you find the nexus to Heartha, the mirror world, and I ran out of gas.
I liked having that dual experience of explored and not. Before I'd always tried to test through to the end, but I can see that it's fun either way--and Robert certainly found enough testers and resources to polish the second half of the game.
Robert DeFord has made a lot of jumps from his previous games, and I liked the magic system, which felt more useful and purposeful than in Bibliophile. The writing was never intended to be High Literary, which is fine by me, since I often need a break from the more introverted writing I like, and this game filled that. If he makes another jump in his next game like he did for this--with polish and plot and ambition--it will be a juggernaut.
If you overlooked this game in-comp, I'd suggest giving a try. It's interesting enough even with a walkthrough handy, and it's good to see an old-school puzzle like with the web etc. make it through.
I may be biased. I've been able to ping ideas of Robert, and he's helped me a lot. It's good to have that relationship with other writers, and I've found a lot like this in the community. It's especially nice to see a long term goal completed--and completed well.