This is the first part of a new blog series detailing the Strand Games design and build process. We'll be building an actual game, along with design, source code, graphics and sound.
Start with the game concept inception. This is the basic idea and premise for your game. This will also set the genre. Is it fantasy, sci-fi, horror, a thriller, etc. And what kind of settings might there be.
Who is the hero, and what is he or she like?
Let's start with our protagonist, Roger Bland. An ordinary fellow with no particular talents or skills. He could be anyone, but for the purposes of the game, he'll be your hand of action to guide.
Our hero will start hapless and inept, and during the course of the game will (hopefully) become a bit more wise and worldly. This will incorporate some character progression in the game. Through your choices and action, Roger can, for example, become more good or more evil. It's up to you.
Roger thinks he's smarter than he really is. He used to be in the Scouts and loves reading maps, tying knots and making things from handy bits of wood.
A young man with a humdrum life and lacking ambition. But that's about to change.
He's a bit of a wuss and would rather run than fight. A mild mannered character, does what he's told and works as some sort of deputy assistant under-manager in a boring finance company in the city.
But secretly, Roger wants to become a pirate!
Roger the Pirate!
A swashbuckling tale of ineptitude.
Everyone loves pirate adventures and in this one, Roger dreams of being a pirate, sailing the open seas. But it's painfully obvious, he's just not got the disposition or aptitude to be one. At first anyway.
The Story Begins
Roger, totally dejected and tired of his humdrum life ticking boxes and writing reports. He looks out of the window dreaming of action and adventure. Especially the action.
Outside is a blazing hot day. He looks down to see people lazily walking along in their flip-flops, t-shirts and shorts, eating ice creams.
How is it he's always in the office working on these days, and by the weekend, the sunshine has gone? It's not fair!
That night, Roger can't sleep; tossing and turning. There's a thought inside his head he just can't shake. It just won't go away.
A crazy idea. Quit his job and become. To become. A Pirate!
Why a pirate he doesn't know, he gets seasick after all. Perhaps fighting sea monsters, wresting the giant octopus. Except Roger's a bit of a chicken. He can't see himself doing the actual wresting. He'll just manage it and delegate. Then take the credit.
Perhaps he craves adventure! Swashbuckling insolent blaggards that annoy him or insult his woman. And tangoing with the law! Although, Roger's always been a do-gooder, he's never broken the rules before.
Then It must be the treasure! Huge strongboxes full of doubloons, gems and booty! He'd be good at counting the money. He'd be the perfect guy to look after it. He's worked in finance after all. And he'd definitely welcome some booty.
Or could it be the romance? Sultry, seductive sea sirens, recalcitrant vivacious wenches and delicate fair maidens to rescue from the clutches of bad guys.
Pirate y'Arrr! Roger clenches his teeth with the thought of it.
Except, Roger would actually be a bad guy. Oh well, perhaps he can be some sort of new-age pirate or something. A bit of bad stuff, but not that bad really. And for the greater good, of course, like Robin Hood. Or somebody.
He contemplates handing in his notice the very next day. Then he gets cold feet and has reservations. What if it doesn't work? What if it doesn't pay? How will he pay his bills?
Being a shrewd mover, he decides the smart money is to get recruited as a pirate before quitting his day job. He pats himself on the back on how smart he is.
He decides to hang around the local, "Smuggler's Cove Tavern". The sort of place where you'd be rubbing shoulders with all sorts of ne'er-do-wells. That's definitely where pirates would go, for sure.
But in disguise of course. He'll wear a different pair of shoes and different trousers. But they really have to black. OK then, he'll wear a disguise hat. That will do it. And tell people he's a smuggler looking for promotion. Or whatever he can come up with.
Roger's Office Job
Roger works for MegaCorp in the city. He's not really necessary. He supports some sort of risk compliance system that nobody uses. It's only there to cover their butts and to comply with regulations.
His work is dull. Dull, dreary, tedious and boring. The most exciting it gets is when a new version is rolled out. And that's rare. His boss, his boss' boss and his boss' boss' boss all have to sign off on it. The chances of all three being around to sign something is practically zero.
Each day Roger works late trying to get boxes ticked. It's always dark when he finally leaves the office.
Roger dreams of resigning. But he's too chicken to do it. How else will he earn money?
An office tyrant, who's constantly popping up with impossible demands.
A balding sadistic slave driver if there ever was one. Roger grits his teeth. If I were a pirate, he thinks, he'd be the first to walk the plank!
Writing the Game
Let's start building the game right away. We've got the introductory text and one location: the office.
So here we make the office scene. Add in a few random things like a window to look out and Roger's computer. We make some random things to see outside and we also start the
OFFICE@ INSIDE * name the office * x it images/stzoffice.webp Roger's in the office. This is where Roger works every day. It's a bleak and soulless prison of suffering and torment. Occasionally, there are a couple of high points, but that's about it. Roger's computer is obsolete and slow, so he often looks out the window for a glimpse of freedom. *=?BOSSSAY resign # resign from the job Roger would love to, but how else will he pay his bills? Roger's too chicken to resign. GOOFFICE > put player in office XHERE BOSSLOOP^ WINDOW@ THING > put it in office * name the window * x it XWINDOW *=+ look out the window XWINDOW XWINDOW Looking out of the window Roger sees XWIN1. XWIN1 * A young woman walking past, XWIN2 * an old man with a stick, XWIN2 * A tourist ambling by, XWIN2 * A young man sauntering along, XWIN2 * an old lady, XWIN2 XWIN2 * eating an ice cream * wearing flip-flops * enjoying the sunshine COMPUTER@ THING > put it in office * name Roger's obsolete old computer *= look at it It's way out of date and super slow. And it doesn't work. * switch it Switching it on and off won't fix it. The problem is Roger can't login. * login LOGIN * log LOGIN *= login to it LOGIN * log it LOGIN LOGIN Roger's password has expired. For security reasons passwords expire every three weeks _plus_ they also have be random gibberish so they can't be cracked. Roger always felt these two facts were inconsistent.
Now we write Roger's boss. His purpose it just to keep popping up and harass Roger, until Roger's tempted to resign. But instead the boss sends him away on unpaid leave.
BOSS@ MAN > put him in office * name Roger's boss * x him A balding sadistic slave driver if there ever was one. Roger grits his teeth. If I were a pirate, he thinks, he'd be the first to walk the plank! BOSSCORP * Magic Co * Shell Oil * Exxon mobile * Walmart * Cavendish Industries * Infocom BOSS0 * appears * pops up * comes in * arrives * is here BOSS1 * Roger * Ah there you are Roger * Oh Roger BOSS2& * where are those reports on BOSSCORP? * why aren't you working on the BOSSCORP files? * stop looking out the window and get me the BOSSCORP data. * I pay you to work, not to gorp. Get back to the BOSSCORP reports. BOSS3 * I want them on my desk \ASAP * Have them ready in 20 minutes * Hurry up, I haven't got all day BOSSSAY images/mdukev2-suit1-cameo.webp \ Roger's boss BOSS0, "BOSS1, BOSS2 BOSS3." BOSSSAY2 \n"Roger, it's clear something's wrong with you. I've noticed you've been acting strange recently. I can't work with lamers, and I don't pay for slackers. Take a few days off _unpaid_ to recover. And when you're back I want 110% efficiency!" ROGQUIT \ Roger gathers his things and leaves the building. For once it is still light and he wonders what to do. \ GOTAVERN // this sequential background activity makes boss popup 3 times, then send roger away. BOSSLOOP< * * BOSSSAY * * BOSSSAY * * BOSSSAY BOSSSAY2 ROGQUIT BOSSLOOP#
Finally, we just add a stub for the Tavern, which we will expand upon in Part 2.
TAVERN@ INSIDE * name the Smugger's cove tavern * label the Smuggler's Cove Tavern * x it Roger's in the tavern, and this is the end of this episode! GOTAVERN > put player in tavern \ Roger makes his way to the Smuggler's Cove Tavern, perhaps this is the start of his new pirate life. XHERE
Want to try the game so far? Download the ZIP for Windows. unpack it and run
Or, play the web version here.
In part 2, Roger will make his first ambitious steps, down into the salty pirate life of skullduggery and debauchery.
He discusses business with Cahira, the barmaid of the Smuggler's Cove Tavern. Find out her answer.