Currently there’s a release 3 available here. Release 3 addresses several bugs and adds new vocabulary for certain actions. It also plays significantly faster on slow machines, especially under Windows.
(I haven’t built a Windows installers for this yet, so that installer still contains release 1. I’ll update that when I have a chance.) (All the installers now contain release 3.)
Jay is Games kindly carried a review. There’s also a discussion on the Legendary blog (which covers various forms of mythical creature) on the game’s premise. (Image by Claire Beauchamp.)
4 thoughts on “Alabaster status”
Since the comment section of the previous post turned into a bug-reporting session, making it seem as if the game is bug-ridden to the point of being unplayable, I think it is only fair for me to report here that I have been playing release 3 of the game with little problems and I am enjoying it greatly!
I did have a little trouble with questions not being understood unless I formulated them just right, but at least the game gives enough suggestions not get stuck on this. I imagine this would get much more frustrating without those suggestions (although apparently some people see that as a challenge).
“It also plays significantly faster on slow machines, especially under Windows.”
Out of curiosity, how did you manage that, and why on Windows only?
Originally it was specifically the Windows implementation that was especially slow, and this turned out to be because WinGlk had trouble scaling down the larger graphics in a reasonable amount of time. David Kinder is looking at improving some aspects of WinGlk’s behavior, but it turned out to be possible to get a substantial speed gain for Alabaster just by reducing the size of some of the larger images.
The difference in image quality should not be visible on anything but a very, *very* large monitor.
I noticed it was slow as can be, but I chalked most of that up to the ridiculously old computer I was using at the time (my computer at work–shh! don’t tell!) but when I tried it at home it was slower than I expected as well. Release three is working nicely though, and I pointed one of my non-IF-playing friends at it once I saw the installer exe had the new release. hopefully she’ll check it out. By the way, Emily, I love that the stuff you’ve been working on lately seems to more newbie friendly. It’s just too bad that IF in general is kind of non-newbie-friendly, even from a technical standpoint. It’s kickass that you can take the same story-file and run it on just about any computer you can think of by finding the right interpreter, but it makes it a harder sell to people when you’ve got to tell them “First download this special program that you’ll only use for these things, then download this other file that’s actually the game.” But that’s a topic for another day, and I’m not really sure why I brought it up here. Sorry! :)
Well, people *are* working on these problems, but they’re not entirely easy to deal with.
Creating and maintaining installers is a bit of extra overhead, and I’ve only been able to do the Windows installer thing through the kind help of Michael Martin. But for future productions I may try this again, especially if it’s at all important which interpreter people use.
Another approach, where the technology will support it, is to have the game run from a webpage. There are lots of limits to which formats can currently be posted that way, but I know of a few projects to improve on that: zarf has been doing some work towards browser-based Glulx interpretation, and we’ve also been discussing with the author of Parchment how we might get Inform 7 to produce a webpage with a playable z-code game built right in, so that all the author would have to do is set the right release settings and then upload the resulting website.