View Full Version : Mapping for Interactive Fiction

01-04-2008, 01:08 PM
I'm looking for suggestions on how to approach creating a map (or set of maps) for interactive fiction (IF). These are (typically) text adventures (remember Zork?).

Most IF developers have a planning map (like this one for Zork 1):


The question is, how this could be converted to a more artistic map. IF is built on the idea of areas (rooms) connected by directions so they can be mapped out like the referenced map, but follow no real scale...so two areas could be meters apart, or 100's of meters apart.

I am just looking for ideas of how this could be mapped, similar to the map in a conventional book - to provide a "world overview" for readers without out giving away critical plot information/secrets....In a way, it might be more similar to a RPG players map... I don't really know.

So - suggestions, thoughts and comments are welcome!

-Rob A>

01-04-2008, 01:30 PM
I would think that this problem is in two halves. 1 - How do you lay out the boxes so that all the connections don't overlap and then 2 - How to artistically represent that network.

I was just thinking that for solving the first part, it looks a lot like a printed circuit board where you can get rip up and replace track routers. Its the same problem to route tracks on a single layer without crossing over.

01-07-2008, 06:09 AM
One of my long term 'works in progress' is an IF Traveller adventure (I use 'Adrift', which I can highly recommend). In terms of mapping, I would overlay the diagram on top of the map, but I would ditch the idea of scale completely. You could use a fisheye filter on smaller bits (like the house) to give the impression that they were magnified, which will give you room to fit in all the boxes.

01-07-2008, 08:34 AM
I think that diagram is a wonderful place to start. However, I'd be intentionally vague. Don't worry about leaving things out. Like, the tree that you can go up--skip it. Maybe illustrate it, but don't label it. Similarly, I'd just put a yard (or whatever) all around the house and not try to divide it. Don't be trapped into thinking that the room names are labels that need to be on the map. They're simply descriptions and, often, descriptive enough to stand on their own within the game.

I mapped, once, Rivendell as it is realized on Elendor (an Middle Earth MUSH) where scale has a similar flexibility. I acted as if the MUSH rooms and the map were actually both just descriptions of some real physical space and tried to imagine what that real space would look like. I have since lost the map I made, but I think you get the idea. If this isn't clear, maybe I'll work up a quick sketch of the space you've shown us to better illustrate my point.


01-07-2008, 01:02 PM
I use 'Adrift', which I can highly recommend.

I've been mainly looking at TADS...any idea how they compare?

-Rob A>

01-07-2008, 03:14 PM
Not sure. I know of TADS but never used it. I think that each has strong suits, but I don't know what they are. The Adrift community; small but strong will be able to give you pointers too, they have forum, but I haven't been there for ages.