World Model

Surrealism

Games in this category often present or model a reality quite different from any workaday setting of our experience. They may present symbolic interpretations of reality, and things normally considered abstract entities may take on physical reality.

See also the “Surreal” genre on the IF Scoreboard for a more complete list; and see also the reading list for conversation and character, which includes a number of games with complex models for conversational interaction.

  • So Far, Andrew Plotkin. Passages are set in a symbolic reality that has left players scratching their heads for years.
  • Losing Your Grip, Stephen Granade. Source, among other things, of a famous scene in which the player can kick the head of a man partially buried in mud.
  • For a Change, Dan Schmidt. A decidedly alternate kind of reality in which part of the challenge for the player is to understand what is meant.
  • End Means Escape, Steven Kodat. Inanimate objects have personalities, intangible qualities are treated as distinct objects (at one point you can “examine gravity”), etc. A rather uneven game with some delightful bits and some tedious and inscrutable ones. The first scene is well worth playing, however.

Simulationism

Games in this category provide a richer-than-usual world model, often to model physical reality.

Underwater or Similar Sequences

  • Sunset Over Savannah, Ivan Cockrum. A beautifully-realized and complete game world incorporating objects with multiple parts, underwater sequences, and the manipulation of liquids, among other things.
  • The Oracle, Brandon Allen. Features an underwater sequence in a large area made up of many locations.

Complex Liquids

  • The Mulldoon Murders, Jon Ingold. The full range of states from ice to steam is implemented, and liquids can be mixed with powder. Heat/coolness also shows up for objects other than the liquids. Some neat stuff here and quite entertaining.
  • Savoir-Faire, Emily Short. Game in which the magic system is dependent on physical simulation. Includes a complex liquid system.
  • Sunset Over Savannah, Ivan Cockrum. A beautifully-realized and complete game world incorporating objects with multiple parts, underwater sequences, and the manipulation of liquids, among other things.

Fire That Spreads

Material Simulation and Breakable Objects

  • Enlightenment, Taro Ogawa. Compact and humorously designed, with puzzles that build on repeated use of objects, but combine nicely towards a single goal. An excellent example of how to pack an entertaining game into a small space. Placed fifth in IF Comp 1998.
  • Metamorphoses, Emily Short. Simulationist game in which it is possible to solve almost all puzzles in more than one way. Incorporates the treatment of different materials, and different sizes and shapes of object, along with the possibility of breakage and destruction. Sample source code is available.
  • Friendly Foe, Mike Sousa writing as “Fred Demul”. This art show entry, though it has a central puzzle, also offers a very thoroughly implemented environment in which the player is allowed to do a wide array of interesting things. I never solved the puzzle myself, but I enjoyed wreaking havoc in the PC’s yard.
  • Erudition Chamber, Daniel Freas. Features a module to model the ability of some objects to destroy other objects, for which the source code has apparently been released.

Rope, Tie-able Things