Delays in development
by Victor Gijsbers
Of course, I’d love to tell you about all the cool things we’re making for Kerkerkruip 10. But the truth is that development had been very slow in the past few months, due to technical difficulties. Shortly after Kerkerkruip 9 was released, the Inform 7 team released a massive update of that programming language, which is the language that Kerkerkruip is written in. There were some very good reasons for us to embrace this update, so we committed ourselves to it even though the new Inform 7 version was not backwards compatible with all old code.
The update process has been hard. It took us quite a while to get Kerkerkruip to compile again; and we now have it compiling, but the game crashes on the window drawing code as soon as you start it. Obviously, we’re working on fixing this, but it has been hard to continue development in the meantime!
Don’t worry, though. There are some good plans for Kerkerkruip 10, and we’ll be full of new creative energy once development gets up to speed again.
Good luck adapting to the new Inform language guys! Could you “inform” us on what advantages it brings to a nontraditional IF game like Kerkerkruip?
There were a couple of long-standing bugs in Inform 7 that we are glad to be rid of, and some of the new capabilities of the language might come in useful. I think Dannii could say a bit more about that. But to my mind the most important single reason for switching is that we’re quite dependent on the Inform ecosystem as a whole (we use a lot of 3rd party extensions), and that becomes very problematic when you’re out of step with the rest of that ecosystem.
That said, I would have strongly preferred it if Inform 7 had much more frequent releases. The sheer amount of thing that can break when applying a huge update makes it very hard to adapt to a new version.
A couple of the advantages are: being able to include extensions in your project’s materials folder, which is great for us because 98% of Kerkerkruip’s code is in extensions.
Floating point maths is now included, which could help with the graphics stuff.
The rulebook mechanisms have changed which may make it slightly faster.
Because Kerk keeps evolving, I guess you need to stay up with Inform. The last touches on my long delayed Inform port of Leadlight are on hold while I tour my music, but when I get back to the program late this year, I’ll just finish it off in the previous version of Inform, since it’ll be static.
Please tell us about some of your plans or things that you are considering to add to this game!
The biggest thing I have been working on is a new damage system. Until Kerkerkruip 9, there was one routine for dealing combat damage, and then every other source of damage was just specially programmed. This made it basically impossible to do neat things with damage, such as giving the player a 25% resistance to all damage, or having silver sources of damage always deal more damage to undead. The new damage system is much more general and robust, and allows all those tricks and more.
So while that is mostly a behind-the-scenes change, it will allow changes that make the game better and more interesting for players.
There will also definitely be several new monsters, including champions for all the gods. I have some neat ideas, but since nothing of this has been written yet, I think I’ll reveal them in seperate posts as development continues.
Dannii and I decided yesterday to turn off the Flexible Windows / Glimmr stuff for the development version, so we can continue to work on the game while we fix the underlying technology. Should be done very soon.
Thanks for the reply! Sounds good! Especially excited about the new Champions, and the new monsters generally.
One thing I’ve been working on is being able to specify a seed for the dungeon generation. If you find a dungeon that had some particularly cool combinations of rogues or items (or a particularly challenging combination) then you’ll be able to share the code with other people so they can try it too.