Throwin' shapes and improvisin' like a motherbitch

On Issues of User Interfaces

By Climpa on November 4, 2011 in Climpa's game

So here we are, day three of my little project and still no updates of
any real substance, surely Climpa has already grown tired and abandoned

Point and click adventure games are a wide and varied subject, with a plethora of styles to choose from, so careful  consideration must be taken when choosing which to use for this still yet to be named game. I suppose I could also create a UI system of my own design, but that seems unecessary to be honest. In my opinion there are two possibilities as to which style to go with:
Classic 9 Verb SCUMM
The Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion, or SCUMM, first debuted with … well … Maniac Mansion. It streamlined the  game considerably, compared to previous adventure games,  by removing the often unreliable text parser which had been popular before that point. Instead of players fumbling to find the correct words and sentence structure that would allow them to Get Ye Flask, they could now simply click on the word Get, followed by clicking on Ye Flask, and their character would saunter over to Ye Flask and Get it. The 9 Verbs in question are generally standardised as:
Give, Open, Close, Pick Up, Look At, Talk To, Use, Push and Pull.
Later games would also add graphical icons to the items in the player’s inventory, rather than have them displayed as text.
Verb Coin
Later SCUMM Games particuarly made use of what some people have come to call the Verb Coin system, after its visual appearance as a piece o’ eight in Curse of Monkey Island. The Verb Coin system, unlike the 9 Verb system, had only 3 options:
Hand, Eyes, Mouth.
Each option could be used for multiple purposes, each being fairly explanatory, due to many of the options in the regular SCUMM engine being superfluous. For instance the Hand option could be used to Pick Up as well as Use or even Punch depending on the context of the situation. As well as this, the inventory was usually a seperate GUI, allowing for less clutter when navigation the world and more screen space for backgrounds and characters.
To be honest I’m really not sure which of the two to go with, each has its own merits and failings, so I’m going to have to think about it a little bit as I make a start, though to be honest there’s just something about that old 9 Verb System that brings out the nostalgia in me, but I guess we’ll see.

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