Implement a one-player, text-based game where the player can move through spaces to collect items to accomplish a goal.
The game must include:
- a theme
- a goal for the player to accomplish to win the game
- at least three different types of spaces with a minimum of six spaces (i.e. 1A, 2A, 1B, 2B, 1C, 2C or 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, etc.)
- items for the player to collect during gameplay with one or more items being essential to the solution of the game’s objective
- a container with a capacity limit for the player to carry items they acquire
- a time limit
- interactions with parts of the space structure
The player must be informed of the goal of the game at the beginning and the game must provide the user with a menu option for each scenario of the game–no free-form input allowed.
Years ago when I’d been considering a career change into the field of sustainable development, I received advice from a professional, working in micro-lending in developing countries, which stuck with me. He emphasized that no matter what path an individual may take, we can best serve our communities and our world by being a climate change professional–if you’re going to be a musician, be a climate change musician; if you’re going to be an educator, be a climate change educator. In honor of this concept, I took advantage of this final project as an opportunity to be a climate change programmer.
My program’s theme reworks the trope of being stuck on a deserted island. Malnesia, the imaginary nation state to which this program gets its name (some combination of the Maldives and Indonesia), is the first nation to have its population relocated due to impacts of climate change, namely sea level rise. The game allows users to select the individual who was left behind from four character types, to which each has their own particular strengths and unique traits. The objective of the game is to acquire necessary materials for building a raft to leave the island and the player can find the items as they move around to the different spaces.
The game begins on the island shore of Malnesia with an update that informs the player of how much time they have to acquire materials and how long their particular character will need to build a raft. This latter variable differs from character to character with some requiring a significant amount of time to build their raft (Tourist Tina takes 60 hours) and others needing very little (Alain Bombard requires 5 hours).
In each space, the player automatically collects an item when they visit, they’re informed of what’s in their backpack (the container for the game), a random event occurs that almost always costs time (particular to that space and sometimes to the character), a possible waste of time occurs that is specific to the character and the quality of their decision making, and then a menu is printed, specific to the space, for the user to decide what they want to do next–they may travel to another neighboring space on the island (which will take some of their time, the specific amount is shared with the player in the menu) or use their time in a way particular to the space (i.e. collect bleached coral on the reef for a randomly generated amount of time).
Also, sprinkled throughout the game are random events and user selected events that will result in immediate death (spoiler: don’t eat the sketchy canned meat and vegetables found in the island hatch, if you want to survive). The previously described game loop will continue until one of four things happens:
- the character dies from a random event or user selected option
- the character runs out of time (the time counter for the game exceeds the specific time limit for the character)
- the character is Tourist Tina and she checks for cell reception at the peak
- the character acquires all necessary materials (an ax, timber, rope, and a toolbox) and selects to build the raft from spaces in which that option is available (the basecamp, shore, or reef)
If the character dies, a message prints to inform the user that they died and a tombstone is printed to the screen. If the character wins the game by building a raft, they flee the island and row off into the sunset. If the character wins the game by being Tourist Tina and checking for cell service at the peak, a message regarding her dedicated Instagram followers coming to the rescue is printed to the screen along with an old school cellular brick. The original menu will print again and the user can select to either play the game or quit.
To view the code for this climate change inspired disaster game, visit my Malnesia Github repository!