Amateur adventure game

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Adventure games

An amateur adventure game is a computer game belonging to the adventure genre that has no commercial or similar official backing. The amateur adventure game scene emerged in the mid to late 1990s, when releases of new commercial adventure games became more rare and easy distribution of games and game engines was made possible by increased access to the Internet, thus encouraging players to make games of their own. This situation was similar to that faced by players of interactive fiction. Nowadays the amateur scene is mainly centered around the Adventure Game Studio (AGS) community and a few adventure-related websites.

[edit] History

Before the rise of amateur adventure games, the primary adventure game engines available were modifications of Sierra On-Line's existing engines, interactive fiction programs, and the Macintosh-only scripting system World Builder. These development systems were often commercial and their usage wasn't widespread. This era ended when major game developers such as Sierra and LucasArts came to the conclusion that adventure games were no longer a profitable business and abandoned the genre.

Another factor that encouraged people to take up independent development was the fact that the new amateur engines were relatively easy to use and that the basic programming tasks for an adventure game were quite simple. Adventure games were well-suited for relatively simple script-based development systems, because they could be in low resolution and have a point-and-click interface, and because the game logic itself didn't need to be difficult. Instead of technological advancements, the appeal of the games was in the story, characters, and puzzles.

In the early days of the scene, most aspiring designers were divided into two groups, those using AGS and those planning on using SCRAMM, a system heavily inspired by LucasArts' SCUMM. SCRAMM was never finished, and people soon either abandoned their game projects altogether or began looking for engines that weren't vaporware. Other vaporware systems included RoBoT, which was an open-source community project based on another engine called BoT that was abandoned by its developer. Initially AGS, AGAST and SLUDGE gathered the most prominent following, AGS being clearly in the lead when it came to the size of the community and the number of games being released per year.

As the engines have developed over time and their stability has increased, they have long since surpassed the functionality of the development systems of most commercial studios, including LucasArts' SCUMM and Sierra's SCI. For example, a relatively new engine, called Wintermute, was the first to use DirectX's 3D acceleration support to enable smoother and faster rendering of sprites, especially making special effects such as transparency faster to render.

Additionally, there has been a rise of Macromedia Flash developers who have produced popular adventure games such as MOTAS (Mystery of Time and Space) and Crimson Room (and its sequels) which make use of different action scripts and effects not found in other game engines. These games were made popular with the rise of Flash Game/Movie communities such as Newgrounds.

[edit] Engines and games

Adventures games are popular in the independent game development scene, and many toolkits have emerged to create them. Most, but not all, are IDE based scripting engines. Some are just a script language or do not feature one at all.

Systems include Adventure Game Studio (AGS) (open source), Wintermute (open source/donationware), and World Builder (freeware - discontinued.

A few modern commercial adventure games have been built using the Virtools middleware system.

[edit] See also

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