The Indigo New Language Speed-IF a couple of months ago challenged people to write games in languages they hadn’t used before, based somehow around the theme of Indigo. I don’t do a lot of Speed-IF these days — I have less time than I used to, and it’s seldom that the parameters suggest to me an idea I think would really be a fun, solid concept.
However, this particular challenge was based around something I had been meaning to do anyway (try writing something in TADS 3) at a time when I happened to have temporary access to a Windows machine on which I could run the TADS Workbench. The name “Indigo” suggested a game in the same series with Bronze, Alabaster, and Glass, and I happened to have a puzzle mechanic in mind that I’d been wanting to try out for a while but didn’t think was extensible enough for a full-length game.
So I gave it a try, and it was a good time. There was enough guidance in the library and Eric Eve’s manuals that I was able to get my idea up and running, with several complete puzzles, in the couple of days I had available for coding. I also tried to go with the grain of the library and capitalize on the strengths of the system. Much of the puzzle design is essentially found art: I found library classes that looked promising or that I just wanted to try out (the candle, the odor that announces itself when the containing object is opened, various types of travel connector) and then spun puzzles around them. I think it would have been harder for me to finish in the time available if I’d gone in with a more specific design in mind.
The result is inevitably rough-cut. There wasn’t time to run a beta-test, and the about text mendaciously claims there are hints (because I was planning to do that with the hint class provided, and then got confused and totally ran out of time). And thanks to the weird conditions under which I wrote it, it would be hard to release an update. I’ve never had much luck setting up TADS 3 on my Mac laptop (possibly thanks to user error); the Windows machine where I wrote Indigo was borrowed and is no longer available to me.
On the other hand, Indigo has a puzzle mechanic that I’m pleased with. I’m less sure that it is effective at telling the story I had in mind — a version of Rapunzel that entirely omits the prince — but the most important elements are there. People who played it on ClubFloyd told me they enjoyed it, even in its current condition. So, not a major release and not one that conforms to my usual expectations about testing and polish, but for the people who have expressed interest, it’s here.