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September 16th 2014, 08:19 PM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
179: Dink Goes Boating Author: Simon Klaebe Release Date: November 24, 2003
"So how does this boat thing work?"

REPUTATION NOTE: This DMOD is part of the select group with a score of 9.0 or better (9.4) on The Dink Network.

"Dink Goes Boating" is another 'TMOD' - a DMOD meant to teach the player about DMOD-making. I messed around with it a bit back in 2006. It has more of a quest to it than your usual development file.

This is another mod that claims not to work in true color mode. I got tired of not being able to take screenshots of certain DMODs, so I went and commented out the lines that prevent the mod from starting in that mode. I didn't have any problems as a result - not in FreeDink, anyway.

The main feature of "Dink Goes Boating" is tutorial mode, which you can turn on or off at any time by pressing the 'T' key. When tutorial mode is on, talking to nearly anything that has a script will result in a conversation between Dink and the object about how the object's script works. These conversations aren't dry, either. It's funny to see Dink talking to these random things about how they work, and the DMOD runs with that and gives personality and life to the exchanges.


Some objects will take you step by step through their script, explaining what each line does and why it is used.


In a few cases, use of the map editor is discussed as well.

This DMOD obviously isn't meant to be a comprehensive guide to making DMODs, nor does it try to take somebody who knows nothing about the subject and walk them through the process of making one. For that, you should try Robj's tutorial videos. However, "Dink Goes Boating" is still a valuable resource that can teach you a lot about DinkC and the Dink engine. I learned a few things I didn't know, such as what the point of setting the range for the fireball is (it affects how wide an area the fireball can hit). Simon covers a lot of ground here that even the updated DinkC reference doesn't touch upon. The inability of custom procedures to recognize local variables is mentioned (incidentally, this is because that crazy Dink engine goes ahead and creates another instance of the current script when you call a custom procedure), for example. The tutorial also discusses clever tricks you can use to work within the engine's limitations, such as the very useful ability to store information using an editor-placed sprite's "editor sequence" and "editor frame" values. Simon gives credit to a couple of authors who came up with these sort of tricks, namely Paul Pliska and "Big Ted" Shutes.


I haven't mentioned it yet, but Dink also goes boating in this DMOD.

With tutorial mode off, this seems to be just a slightly odd romp without a whole lot to do. Dink has to purchase a boat and find gold in order to buy bigger boats (the boats are from "Pilgrim's Quest"). To get the frigate, he must fight some octopuses, who do put up a spirited fight and can take you down quickly if you're not careful. After getting the frigate, you can access a new area, where the DMOD mostly abandons its instructive purpose and becomes a romp about the Dink Network.


A gathering of Dink Network regulars.

Quite a few members of the community appear here, including Kyle, Tal, Paul Pliska, Ted Shutes, Redink1, WC and others. The community noobies are represented by ducks running around with their heads cut off, which is pretty funny. A few of the community members will answer a bunch of questions, which I assume are little interviews conducted by Simon Klaebe for this purpose. You can learn a lot about the history of the Dink community here. There's a reference to the old Medar board on bladekeep, which was the place to be for Dink discussion before the current Dink Network message board came along. There's also discussion of the Anon wars on the Dink World website, which I got mixed up in myself (as discussed way back in the "Gung's Attack" writeup). The leader of the Anons is identified as "Crystals of Power" author Chris Martin! Kory is featured as "King of the Noobs," and you have to fight him as a final boss. You can collect his head and bring it back to WC, and at that point you seem to have accomplished everything you can.


Kory is a Seth-like who summons noobs to attack you. He also spits out lines of DinkC code for some reason.

"Dink Goes Boating" was also made to take advantage of redink.exe, a modification of the engine made by Dan Walma. A launcher .exe is included to run the DMOD in this version of the engine, but the colors looked all wrong on my computer. It's too bad - I would have liked to see the pillbug that constantly changes the palette. I'll bet some of the features from redink.exe eventually made it into Dink version 1.08, also made by Dan Walma.

This mod is a really cool project, and I think anyone with an interest in DMOD authoring should check it out. One of the best ways to explain a creative medium is by using that medium itself, as I learned when I read Scott McCloud's great comic about comics, Understanding Comics. Simon Klaebe does a really keen job of bringing the explanation into the game - the script walkthroughs are an inspired touch. Quite a few of the actual scripts are also packed with comments to explain what everything does, so you can learn even more by taking a look through them.

--

And that about wraps it up for 2003. There were--

Oh, wait. It looks like there's still some unfinished business to take care of.

180: Unfinished Business Author: GameHampe Release Date: December 10, 2003
"The D-MOD author must be crazy."

Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

Gamehampe is the creator of "WinDinkEdit Plus," which adds new features to WinDinkEdit. These were probably carried over to WinDinkEdit Plus 2, which I've used extensively.

"Unfinished Business" is another one of those romps that just isn't very good. Hardness errors are common (you can walk through houses and at least one savebot), there are tiling problems, and you'll run into an invisible wall every time you try to go in a direction the author didn't want you to go. On the plus side, a few of the screens look interesting.


I like the idea of a home set into a cliff wall.


I also like the way these skeletons are put together.

The story isn't worth talking about, really. Goblins are mentioned as a threat, but none of them appear in this DMOD. You have to find a tunnel made by somebody named "Dunk Ballwood" to get to the end. Although there are powerups galore, it isn't necessary to fight a single enemy in order to win. It's supposed to be required to fight a certain boss in a cave in order to get some gold to pay to cross a river, but there are multiple ways to just walk around the river, one of which doesn't even feel like exploiting a hardness bug.

I got really stuck at a certain point. You're told to go find a key, but not what the key goes to. I guess the powerups do come in handy, because there's a dragon on the screen where you get the key, and although you don't have to fight it, you do have to wait around until the text "got the key" disappears, or the game won't think you have the key. Anyway, most of the doors in the game are "locked," so I had a tough time figuring out where to use the key and nearly gave up. It turns out that you have to backtrack a lot. Once you're past this obstacle, the odd ending, which lacks an end boss, isn't far off.

--

And that about wraps it up for 2003. There were a few great DMODs, including my personal favorite "Green Voice in my Head," and there was quite a turnout for the Evil Hero Contest. On the other hand, a good chunk of the year's output consisted of the work of Glenn Ergo and ThinkDink. I keep setting new records for handing out the Award of Badness - eight of them this time (counting "Seth's Revenge" - yes, I'm afraid the [Alphabet] Memorial Award of Secret Brilliance was meant to be ironic). I don't know whether bad DMODs are getting more common, or whether I'm just getting more curmudgeonly as I continue to play absurd amounts of Dink games. I'd like to say that this will probably remain the record year for the DFMAOB, but let's face it, 2007 is still out there.

--Awards--

*Evil Empire Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Terribleness: Dink's Short Adventure! by Jeremy Moore

It faces serious competition from ThinkDink's "Ghosts of the Cast" series, but ultimately, nothing else from 2003 is quite as pointless as this unfinished, broken tutorial on how to play Dink Smallwood. I can't imagine what the author was thinking when they uploaded it.

*Quackers's Medal of Humor: Rascal, by Blackduke

The concept and dialogue of this mod just amused the heck out of me.

*Sandfish of Strangeness: Dry, by Binirit

My writeup of this one might have read a little harshly, but I think this mind-bending mod is one to be experienced. Binirit throws out every assumption you might reasonably make about Dink's world, and the result is baffling, but memorable.

*Portown Plaque Recognizing Unrealized Ambition: Eternal Suicide Chapter Zero: Wasted Life, by Nitronic

Nitronic had such a grand vision, and you can tell he had a lot of the skills necessary to implement it, but this one is just buggy, sloppy and confusing.

*The Ice Wizard's Award in Storytelling: Twins, by Binirit

This one intrigued me with its approach to the "Evil Hero" concept. It kept the story ambiguous at first, but unlike "Eternal Suicide," it still brought it to a satisfying conclusion.

*The Bronze Pig: Blood Scorpions, by Simeon

This is just a solid, fun Dink adventure with plenty of polish.

*The Silver Duck: Dink Goes Boating, by Simon Klaebe

A DMOD that teaches you about DMOD authoring is a great idea, but very challenging to pull off. To nobody's surprise, Simon takes it and does a fantastic job.

*The Golden Pillbug: The Green Voice in My Head - Part 1 - Hangover & Agony, by Raven

This was a triumph. It's clear that not everybody is so keen on it, but this one pushes all my buttons. It's my vision of what a DMOD ought to be.