Saturday, April 14, 2012

Leisure Suit Larry

I thought we were being pretty edgy and experimental keeping track of what players do in The Dream Machine, but I just found out Sierra On-Line used a similar data-driven development model for Leisure Suit Larry waaay back in 1987.

Ouch!

Here's a quote from Al Lowe himself, who's doing an AMA over at Reddit right now:

"It was the first game we beta tested at Sierra. I wrote a module that recorded what you were doing when you asked a question the game didn't understand. The beta testers collected the text file created and mailed them to me on a floppy disk by horse back. I then sorted them and made sure the game had some sort of answer for everything they asked. So the games owes its intelligence to the beta testers."

I highly recommend the rest of the AMA if you're interested in old-school adventure games. It makes for a great read!

Cheers,

 - a

4 comments:

  1. This may (imho) be The Dream Machine's most important feature, since it stops you from actually getting stuck, and getting stuck being what usually makes me stop playing a game (or at the very least stop enjoying it).

    In playing The Dream Machine, I actually only got really stuck two times: in chapter two, trying to find the code for the safe (there being no-one to ask for directions), and in chapter three, trying to assemble the map (once again, no talkable characters responding to questions). And, of course, for those situations, there are »Let's Play!« videos on YouTube and Walkthroughs.

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  2. That's awesome.

    I loved that first Larry game, it really blew my mind open, going around looking for a shag in a dirty old city. Wow.

    I remember drawing city streets after that, imagining games I could make. :)

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