How to put retro text adventure games together

2019-04-09 Game No comment

How to put retro text adventure games together

The main highlight of text adventure games is that they usually don't have graphics. The game world consists of many locations that are described using text, although some text adventure games will display images and descriptions of that location. Playing a game involves typing a description to tell the game what you want to do. For example, if the current location has a light, enter "go north" to move to another location or "get lamp" to pick up a light.

The purpose of the adventure game is to solve the task. This could be killing a dragon, saving the princess, retrieving an object, or unlocking a mystery. The game acts as your eyes, ears and touches – describes what is visible in your current location and any objects you can pick. As you travel through the game world, you will encounter a variety of challenges that need to be addressed before proceeding and any dangers that need to be overcome.

This is an example of a text adventure game.

You are in the forest. A long, winding road leads to the north, and a small house stands on the south. On the east side, in the distance, is a large cave.

There is a light here.

what do you want me to do?

>Get the light

You have a light now.

>Light bulb

There is no oil in the bulb.

So you know that you are in the forest, you can see a road, a hut and a cave. You can choose to select one of the described areas by typing "n", "north" or "go north". There is a light in this position that you can pick up, but if you want to light it, then you need to find some oil. This is a problem you need to solve because you need the light to enter the cave, otherwise it will be too dark to see.

  Now let's see how text adventure games are combined.

Create your game world

Like books, text adventure games usually start with an idea. Imagine a village where people are dying because an evil witch casts a curse on them. The location of the game world mainly includes villages, castles, forests and caves. Let us now say that your problem is to reach the witch's castle and kill her, so that the curse can be lifted. Her castle will be the ultimate destination for your game. Perhaps the cursed village may be your starting point. Now you can list the locations in the game, including: village1, village2, river, lake, cave1, cave2, clearing, mountain1, mountain2, village tavern, forest, etc.

If a place covers a larger area or a building, you can sprinkle it to the east of the forest, west of the forest, in front of the cave, in the middle of the cave, behind the cave, in the bistro kitchen, in the pub bar, etc. Before you mention it in your location description, you also need to make sure of a location. For example, you can't see the tavern's kitchen unless you first enter the pub. Of course this is obvious, but it is possible to make such a mistake.


In order for players to move around the game world, you need to connect your locations together. For example: If you are in a cursed village and have a tavern where you want them to go then you need to tell them which direction it is in. You use the compass direction in the North, South, East, Western Mobile Game World, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest. Some games even allow up and down.

So, in order to connect to the location you need, you can decide what to see from your current location. In a village you will see a tavern, shop, school and church. Now decide their direction. So let's say that the tavern is in the north, the school is in the south, the east is the store, and the west is the church. Each location in the game has a number, and your list of connections looks like this.

Location 01 – Cursed Village

North = position 01, south = position 02, west = position 03, east = position 04

Location 02 – Bistro

North = position 05, south = position 01

Notice that there is a connection back to the 01 position? Always make sure you can return to the previous location in the opposite way to where you arrived… North to get there and back south. East arrived and the West came back.

  Some places are inaccessible until the puzzle is solved. In the previous example, there is a cave that will be dark. Therefore, you need to get the bulb first, find some oil and then light it to enter the cave. Other places may be protected, so you need some way to get rid of or cross the guard. Creating puzzles to get a place will make your game more interesting, rather than making it easy for players to get a position.


Items are items that can be used, very worn or worn. Their purpose is to help you accomplish your tasks and solve some of the problems. Sometimes objects must be combined with each other: for example, oil and light can work. The object is usually found at the location waiting for the pick. Some objects are hidden objects until they are found in the game. For example, the crystal ball may be locked in the trunk and will only appear in the current position when the trunk is opened.

Imagine you want to enter some buildings and guards stop you. Maybe you can find some money and bribe him. Or maybe you can find a disguise that will let you pass through him. You can use objects without restrictions to add puzzles to your game and make it more challenging for players.

One thing to keep in mind: Don't make objects too big or too heavy to allow players to carry and limit the number of items they carry. Adventure games also allow players to discard items they carry so they can pick other people. Some adventure games give the object a weight, so how many objects you can carry depends on the weight.


Imagine introducing a cave and meeting a huge grizzly bear who wants to eat you. You can't explore that cave because the bear blocks your way, so you need to get it somehow. Activities come in three forms: high priority, low priority, and local.

high priority : These events occur once the player enters a location before they have the opportunity to enter any commands. For example, once you enter a cave, the bear can kill you, so you need to do something before entering, such as having a weapon or wearing an Armor.

Low priority : These events handle what you continue to do in the game. For example, if you feel hungry, thirsty or sleepy, or you are injured and lose blood. These events report your status before giving the input control to you.

local : Events that occur at your current location. For example, once you enter the cave, the bear will not kill you, and you will have the opportunity to defend yourself or leave the cave. Once the bear has dealt with the local incident, it will say that you "see a dead bear" or "see a sleeping bear."

in conclusion

This article introduces the basics of a text adventure game and provides enough information to help you get started with a programming language of your choice or a dedicated adventure creator.

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