Free Sorcery! For Android

screenYolari just mentioned that Steve Jackson’s “Sorcery!”, which released as a mobile app for Android a few months ago, is currently FREE on, available instantly.

This game has a truly old school lineage. It doesn’t get more old school than print. I enjoyed the books when I was a kid.

This kitty does not have Android at the moment. She has made up her mind to get a sweet Samsung tablet, but is waiting for the new “Android L” in November, which will offer significant graphics upgrades and presumably hardware support for shadows and things that make me happy as an artist and designer. I do want to support tablets with my video game.

So during the last month or so (or four if you include development of art assets), I’ve transitioned fully to game developer status from player status. I’m hips-deep in my HTML5/CSS3/Canvas/Javascript online RPG project, featuring my own art and fantasy writing.

This has been a fascinating process. I’m constantly reviewing and pondering all of the ideas and concepts I’ve ever had about CRPG design. I’m thinking about all of the criticism I’ve leveled at various titles, and thinking of how to do it right. I could launch into an exegesis on my ideas, but I’m just too busy!

Here is the top of my design principles list:

  • Smiling Jack. You’ve got a friend.
  • Make the story personal.
  • Make the text interactive, not passive.
  • Convincing interplanar travel. i.e. Alice.
  • Romance with LGBT inclusivity.

Most games today fail at all of these things. You meet people, listen to their problems, and then do things for them. Elder Scrolls is the lone outlier that skirts the fringes of this short list. It almost makes it on each score, but in my opinion still falls shorter than it could have even in comparision to the single player titles.

So far this is a solo effort using my passing interdisciplinary skills, but I’m happy to maybe have Yolari online for some combat coding. The thought of a Kickstarter is a pipe dream, but just thinking of any outside funding as a reality allows one to glimpse the amount of pressure this puts on an Indie team or individual like Phil Fish.

Sometimes one wonders, when a questionable or wonky MMO design decision is made, if the devs actually play their own game. No. I think no. Too much to do. Tick tock. Here is a screenshot of my interface in process. I have functional dialog, location movement, core databases and basic code at this point.

Am I taking this too seriously? No. This is really just a student exercise and proving ground. It’s just that I’m really enjoying it and doing well for the moment, more so than I imagined.

I’ve gained two levels so far in LotRO. When I hit 5/5, level 100, I can go back to Elder Scrolls Online. This is the incentive I’m holding out for myself.


About Silverangel View all posts by Silverangel

2 responses to “Free Sorcery! For Android

  • commenter formerly called wumpus

    Would you believe how close a CPRG in 1983 came to checking all your boxes? [Note that I didn’t play Planetfall, but am confident due to other Infocomm games that it lived up to its reputation].

    Smiling Jack. You’ve got a friend: See Floyd.
    Make the story personal. – Quite.
    Make the text interactive, not passive. Infocomm never did passive text.
    Convincing interplanar travel. i.e. Alice. Presumably.
    Romance with LGBT inclusivity. Strike one. In 1983 this would have involved a senate hearing, and you just can’t buy that type of publicity. Foolish Infocomm.

    My guess is that with too many art assets, voice acting, scripting, the story falls through the floor. For these games, the Z-engine was already complete. I suspect that coding the adventure into the Z-engine was non-trivial, but didn’t completely overwhelm the story. I also think that the game has to live without the story, for non-trivial gameplay. If the game can’t live without the story, then any failure or delay in the game is intolerable, and thus waters down the game until you click through it (I think this happened to LOTRO, at least levels below 60).

    • Silverangel

      Gosh, these are some good points. I don’t think I ever played Planetfall. Floyd looks like a fabulous companion, and clearly illustrates the power of the *fewer* characters the better. MMOs today try to introduce far too many characters, and they keep dropping off when new ones show up. WoW has the longevity to turn its main characters into solid icons (and even moreso now with Hearthstone), but Rift and GW2 are not so lucky imo.

      The key is for characters and text to mention and reference each other and the setting on both local and big scope, to constantly create memorable connections in the player’s head.

      Speaking of the Z-engine being complete, one would think with so many production tools and software packages, the art and voice acting at this point would be an assembly line and not so much of a burden on the story aside from voicing setting things in stone and making late editing a pain not to mention still more costly. We also have standard MMO engines available, but the big players keep making their own.

      Non-trivial gameplay is a real issue, and maybe the biggest issue I need to deal with. I certainly suck at puzzles. Was never much of a puzzler. I have Yolari clamped down on making the combat interesting, but we can’t turn off casual players by making their eyes bleed over hit points and area of effect and weapon range.

      Ok, still some time to play tonight! Thank you so much for your post, CFCW!

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