The Adventure Game and Interactive Novel

The Adventure Game and Interactive Novel

  • Category Archives Interactive Novel
  • Eymerich’s journal


    An useful tool to solve the mysteries related to the hideous Plague will be the Journal.


    Eymerich is a well organized man who likes to always have a clear picture of what is going on during an investigation. So he keeps a journal in which he takes notes on whatever happens to him. The journal is divided in three sections (click on the images to enlarge).



    The Mission Objectives section contains a concise list of what Eymerich has to do in order to proceed. Very useful when you are stuck and don’t know what your next step should be.





    The Investigation Records section provides a complete summary of what you have done during the game. This section will be presented as a series of sketches that Eymerich will comment, summarizing what they represent. You will find out that Eymerich is very good at drawing!




    And finally you have Eymerich’s Old Notes. Closely written records of the inquisitor’s past adventures. If you have read all the books you will with no doubt get every reference! This section will have its role in the gameplay too, for it will be necessary to recall some past experiences to unveal the secrets of the Plague.



  • Interactive wallpapers


    Sometimes during the game, you will come across those that we call “interactive wallpapers”.


    The perspective will switch to a first person POV and you will be presented with a high detailed image. It could be everything: a bookshelf, a cabinet to unlock… a corpse!



    What you basically have to do is to… figure out what to do! It could be an easy task or a hard puzzle, but in every case you must examine very well the details of the image presented and interact with it. The fun doubles with a touch device like an iPad or a smartphone: you will have the real sensation to be interacting with an object to unlock its secrets!



  • Learning by playing


    Some say: “If you want to learn a foreign language, you should watch movies/tv shows in that language”.


    I only partially agree. This technique may be useful, but consider the following: a movie goes on no matter what, even if you are understanding not even a word. But a video games only proceeds if you know what to do next; and in order to know this, you must understand what is said (and written) in the course of the story.



    In Nicolas Eymerich, Inquisitor: The Plague the player is given the choice to select three different dubbing languages (English, Italian and Latin), and five different languages for textes and subtitles (the former three plus German and French). You can have double subtitles, meaning that the dialogues will be accompanied by textes in two different languages.


    Let’s say, for example, that you are Italian and wanted to improve you English. You could then go for English dubbing and Italian / English subtitles: this way you could improve your listening skills, read the corresponding words of the dialogues to associate sounds and pronounciations to words, and have the Italian translation at hand in case you don’t understand something. By using this comparative method, different combinations may be tried, thus giving the opportunity to train our brain to think in multiple languages.


    I’m not saying that Nicolas Eymerich, Inquisitor: The Plague should be used as an educational software; I’m just saying it could!


  • The Divine Help


    Let us delve deep into the game mechanics. One feature of Nicolas Eymerich, Inquisitor: The Plague, will be the Divine Help.


    Every gamer knows how frustrating can be to be stuck in the middle of the adventure. You don’t know what to do or where to look, so you resort to the walkthrough.



    But you won’t need to cheat this time. If you are stuck during the game, you can ask for the Divine Help. By pressing F1 (when playing the Adventure Game mode), Eymerich will take the lead, and perform his next action by himself. This may mean that he will just move to another screen, or maybe he will solve a particularly difficult puzzle.


    Is this basically the same thing as searching for the walkthrough? Well, no. Every use of the Divine Help will be sanctioned by decreasing the score by one point, so you actually pay for having yeld. Remember: only real inquisitors will reach the maximum score.


    Of course, if you are playing the Interactive Novel mode and supposedly don’t care about the full score, you will be able to ask the divine intervention every time you like, by clicking the white cross in the lower left corner.


    ["Why two different ways (pressing F1 and clicking the white cross) for the two different modes, if the result is the same?", you might ask. Well, let's just say that having the cross right there in full sight could lead the player to give in to temptation! The Interactive Novel users may be allowed to to that, but Eymerich expects more perseverance and commitment from the Adventure Game users. Don't you agree?]


  • Unity, editors and text parser


    Technology evolves quickly. It develops like it was an everlasting teenager, getting higher, bigger, and stronger day by day. And, sometimes, it evolves so quickly it forces software developers to start again from scratch the developing process.


    The programming of Nicolas Eymerich, Inquisitor: The Plague, lead by Fabrizio Zagaglia, was a long process.


    Fabrizio "Zago" Zagaglia - Lead Programmer


    The developers had, out of necessity, to deal with the proliferation of smartphones and tablets. In the beginning, a prototype of the game was developed using Wintermute, but it was put aside exactly because it was not compatible with the growing request for mobile devices support.


    Scumbag iPhone


    Then we switched to Unity3D that, aside from being crossplatform (PC, Mac, iOS, Android, now Linux too, and someone says it works even on displays of washing machines), granted the introduction of real time 3D, which we used for some of the game environments.


    Unity is an outstanding tool that is gaining a lot of users, and so the community and the information are growing, new features are being implemented… which translates in solutions for every possible bug.


    Aside from the aforementioned possibility to develop the game for different platforms, Unity has the merit of having good visual tools (for example the scene editor, the animation editor etc.), that make the level editing process easier, and the possibility of using a stable and versatile language such as C# with little to no limitations. But probably one of the most appreciated features resides in the possibility of creating ad hoc editors for taking care of specific matters concerning the developing of a specific video game typology, editors that are already integrated in the Unity3D environment. For Nicolas Eymerich, Inquisitor: The Plague we developed several editors: one for characters and face expressions animations, one for the dialogues, one for the localization database, one for the game logic…


    Character Editor

    Logic Debugger

    Game Logic Editor


    Unity made it possible to create a text parser, that adds a vintage touch to the game. Mainly it’s a homage to MUDs and Sierra On-line-style adventures of the old times; but it is also an additional tool to support the accessible version of the game, given that a text parser is necessary to a potential voice recognition.


    Every single element of the game, from environments to items to characters, is operated in the same way, and it’s identified among the other things by an univocal element (a name) and by a series of action linked to it depending on its current status. For every featured language synonyms of the names are stored in the localization database. This way, the parser can associate the various synonyms to the elements composing the shown scene, recognizing in the typed sentence the verb and the direct object and executing the requested command.


    The following video shows how the text parser works.



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