Posts Tagged ‘jon ingold’

So the software I’m developing for the classroom is a hybrid of FyreVM and Zifmia technologies. There is a great deal of usability testing we need to do with students and teachers, but there is also a level of beating that I won’t be able to achieve through that process.

So I branched the code, ripped out all of the classroom features, and implemented a revised version of The Shadow in the Cathedral. If I can figure it out, I plan to do Secret Letter too, but that code is a mess.

You can play, for free, the online version of The Shadow in the Cathedral right now.

It’s a bit sluggish at times, although not terribly bad. It’s certainly usable. I’m considering a few tweaks to speed things up, but the performance is in large part a factor of the game’s size. It was not designed for a client-server platform…it was designed for a PC interpreter.

I have to thank Jimmy Maher for the Kindle port for a great deal of the bottlenecks being removed. Jimmy has a knack for finding bad Inform 7 code and rewriting it so that things perform well. This version of Shadow is a descendant of those changes.

The caveats I offer in playing it online includes the following:

  1. this does not change the price or availability of the Kindle, Android, or Hobbyist versions.
  2. if you have suggestions, please use the Feedback button on the lower right. This leads to a User Voice feedback dialogue where you can offer your feedback.
  3. at any time, I may make changes to the game file, which will reset all sessions to the beginning of the game. One feature I’m contemplating is the ability to have the system upload the new game, then fire off a script to rerun all historical turns in the new engine. I can think of a number of ways to enable this, but I’m undecided.
  4. if anyone has any art or music they’d like to share in the online version, feel free. I view this version as a sort of artistic endeavor combined with usability research. This goes for CSS changes as well. I can easily provide alternate CSS implementations.
  5. the underlying client-side code is copyrighted. look, but don’t copy.

I can’t say that this will remain online forever, but that’s my intention.


It’s been five months since my last post and honestly it seems like yesterday for me. Having taken on a team lead/architect consulting role has pretty much sapped all of my free time. The result is almost no work done on the new Textfyre website and no progress on publishing existing content to mobile platforms. Trying to get Empath completed or even thinking about new games has been impossible.

I am pushing Klockwerk to the #1 eReader device (about which I can’t discuss openly until we are actually published), but there are a couple of artifacts in the works that need to be completed before that happens. One of which is artwork. There will be a unique and new drawing for each chapter within Shadow in the Cathedral. Some of these drawings include the tea machine, Covalt, and the Cathedral of Time. Trust me, when you see the results you’ll be amazed. The artist I’m working with is great, but slow.

I also have to pull together a good tutorial mode for the game and I’m working on that. It’s obvious that Jon Ingold is focused on Inkle now, but he’s been able to help with some of the required changes to the Shadow source code.

The Textfyre website with a Web 2.0 game play mode is mostly completed, but there are some performance issues I’m still working through. The big hit comes from serializing the engine every turn. I may have to work through caching logic to resolve these issues. I also need to get Shadow and Secret Letter implemented and run through testing on them. I plan to have Cloak of Darkness, Shadow, and Secret Letter available when the new site launches.

The cool thing about the website is that it works very well on the iPad.

Textfyre is still here, plugging along.