I've been doing some alpha testing of my game The Z-Machine Matter while I continue to work on it on weekends. It's maybe 25% complete at this point with 56,000 lines of Inform7 code, 44 rooms and 174 objects. Progress is slow, but when I get feedback from my testers, that gives me the encouragement to keep at it. Thanks to all my Alpha testers who have taken the time to give me comments. Special thanks to Colin from Munich who sent me several detailed SCRIPT transcriptions and also wrote:
First of all, let me say that I really dig what you're working on there. I just played through the first couple of rooms, but that film noir/Marlowe atmosphere is right there and I'm really excited to be able to help in producing such a nice and elaborate game. That manual and the "box shots" are really awesome. I started the game up after reading the manual and was immediately inside the game, taking notes, examining everything.
As a first time author working alone, feedback like this makes it all worthwhile! Colin also provided details on commands that didn't work and some suggestions to improve the pacing. Keep it coming, guys!
In order to properly reward my valiant alpha testers, I've managed to pick up a few 1970s facsimile reprints of the Dennis Wheatley Crime Dossier books (which inspired the packaging for Infocom's Deadline game, as well as everything that followed). I'll be giving those away as prizes for best Alpha feedback. And for anyone who wants to do a bit of an Inform7 code review, I'm going to up the ante by donating a couple of original 1930s first editions of Dennis Wheatley's "Murder off Miami" (also published in the US as "File on Bolitho Blane." But if you're too busy working on your own IF, no problem. I'll continue to donate some Dennis Wheatly Crime Dossiers to SpringThing, IF Comp etc.
My goal is to keep working on The Z-Machine Matter and enter it into IntroComp in June and then finish it sometime in the fall. So if anyone else wants to test The Z-Machine Matter before then, let me know. You can reach me by clicking on the About link in the upper right hand corner of the blog, post a comment with your email address below or send me email ZUrlocker via hotmail etc.
And kudos to Colin as well as the Alpha testers from the San Francisco IF meetup group.