Vertical Games - an IFDB Poll

by Anya Johanna DeNiro
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Looking for games that really explore verticality, which go up (way up) in their setting. Human-made structures in particular: towers, skyscrapers, radio antennae. Games that figuratively can make you feel dizzy, particularly after a long climb to the top. Bonus points for Bad Things Happening to You if you happen to fall...

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Sobol, November 17, 2014 - Reply
You should probably check more games tagged "tower".

In "Excelsior", as far as I remember, the tower has about a dozen levels.
Andrew Schultz, November 18, 2014 - Reply
I voted for Excelsior before seeing this comment. Oops!

Sometimes in Excelsion, going up felt more like moving on to the next puzzle, and in fact I was bugged that some of the higher levels were bigger than the lower ones. So it felt like Level 7 instead of being high up.

I'd love to see more vertical-ness in games (I explicitly shut off U/D/diagonal directions in some of mine, to keep maps semi-simple,) but organizing a tower of puzzles means that either you have the Seattle Space Needle, the top puzzles are the most claustrophobic, or you start too big at the bottom. Possibly all three.

I really like this poll, though, as it gave me good ideas for alternate room geometries. Not everything vertical is a tower--I imagine there are underground tunnels worth exploring, too.

I was pleasantly surprised to see 3dopolis in the poll (and thanks)--if I can comment on verticality more for release 4, I'd like to, though I don't want to overkill. A few sentences here and there, maybe if you go up twice in a row.
Sobol, November 18, 2014 - Reply
Threediopolis is a great game! I liked the setting as much as I liked the puzzles. Futuristic megapolises in science fiction tend to be gloomy and depressing - but this one is cozy and funny. Walking around it, I thought: "That's the city I'd want to live in."

And, yes, you probably shouldn't add too many comments on verticality in the game. Traveling up and down feels for the inhabitants of Threediopolis almost as ordinary as traveling in compass directions - and that's exactly the point.

How about a four-dimensional game world? The one where you can move in 80 different directions - n, w, u, nw, uw, unw, #, &, #n, &nw, #unw, etc.? That's one of the things which could work in IF much better than in a game with graphics.


In Excelsior, I think the balconies are a nice touch. They aren't necessary for the puzzles, but being able to go out and observe the landscape somewhat improves the feeling of ascending a tower - rather than just going from one set of rooms to another.
Andrew Schultz, November 18, 2014 - Reply
Thanks! I actually put some dystopian stuff in there, but I didn't want to be too heavy on it. It was more about annoyances of everyday life, magnified, and hopefully being able to laugh at them. (Spoiler - click to show)END in particular would be horrible to have in any city, but I wanted to include Death Panels for humor, because it's quite possibly the silliest thing I've read about & I think it transcends politics in general.

The reason I'd like to clue 2-up the first time is because (Spoiler - click to show)not many words have UU in them, but lots of them have DD in them. One thing I want to do is to give hints the player may be able to laugh about on replay. This seems non-intrusive, and it'd be nice to add along with the updated advanced-mode menu

To version 3, I added a mention after your first vertical movement that (Spoiler - click to show)Ed Dunn must be pretty rich if you have unlimited up/down tube access. Neither thing is major, but it does capture up-ness. I'd be interested to see how other games in this list do this.

I missed the balconies in Excelsior and am sorry I did. I used the walkthrough a bit more than I needed. It's a game I'd love to draw a Trizbort map for, if it hasn't been done already. Certain games can be recalled nicely from the maps, especially ones without a lot of NPCs, and Excelsior fits that bill nicely.

As for a 4-d world, I mentioned that at the end of 3dop "advanced mode." Ana/kata and To/From were proposed. This opens up 800 areas (I did a grep test,) and

1) that's too much for me, as I'd need to add text for the 100+ locations & I'd probably really start to force things.
2) that's too much for the player--I toyed with AK/TF moving you +/- 444, and Fourdiopolis having addresses from 000 to fff, so words didn't go out of bounds. But that's a lot of text to write, and I think it's all more fun in theory than practice. I have other stuff I want to experiment with. But I bet it wouldn't be too bad to modify the code. A key to help the player solve things would be (Spoiler - click to show)you could tell if the number of AK/TF you had was even or odd by seeing if (sum of digits is even) XOR (number of moves is even). This is too advanced to be fun for too long. Though you could assume that you have at least one AK/TF, otherwise it'd have been in Threediopolis.

Sorry for hhijacking the poll, Alan! I am thinking of other games tha capture verticality. Sobol's comment just triggered something I had been kicking around.
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