Java Fabled Lands (JaFL)
(formerly known as FLApp)
New version released (8 Nov '14)
Version 1.0.5 of JaFL is out now! It contains a lot of bug fixes that have accumulated since the last version; with some prodding, I'm finally packaging those fixes up into a new release.
Why the namechange?
The authors asked me nicely. When it first came out, 'app' simply meant application; since then, mobile apps have become ubiquitous, to the extent that the former name actually has a ring of official-ness. Hopefully this leaves room for an actual official Fabled Lands App?
Gamebooks republished; new books to follow...?
If you've enjoyed this application, please consider buying some or all of these new editions. As much as I've tried to capture the gamebook experience, there's a certain tactility missing; an awareness that the book you hold is only so long, yet might unravel in unpredictable ways. Finding your eye drawn to an interesting reference and wondering: how the hell do I get there? Plus, you get to cheat.
So please buy, if only so that I can finally see Ankon-Konu and the other remaining strangeness in Dave and Jamie's heads.
Fabled Lands was a gamebook series originally published in 1995-6. There were 12 planned volumes, but only 6 were ever published, because the gamebook market had virtually imploded.
Um, do you remember Fighting Fantasy? No? What about Choose Your Own Adventure? A few heads are nodding. The basic concept is an interactive story, written in the second person, cut up into short numbered sections; at the end of each section you're given a choice as to which section comes next, based on your 'action' within the narrative. A gamebook adds some RPG-ish rules to the mix. Essentially it's a solo role-playing game with a lot of reading.
But what does this mean for us today?
This project is an adaptation of the six published books for the computer. Note the word 'adaptation': I've tried to stay as close as possible to the original text, handling all the rules and leaving the player free to read and enjoy without the (sometimes tedious) record-keeping. The player is faced with something very much like a web-page, and other windows displaying a map and the character's abilities.
Looks interesting. How do I try it?
Easy, just download the latest version: this contains all the books that have been converted. You'll need to have Java 5 (or later) on your computer: refer to the README.txt file in the zip-file you've just downloaded.
I like it, but I ran into this weird bug.
If you find a bug or a typo, please email me. If possible, include the book and section(s) where the problem occurred. You might want to check the list of known bugs first (although it's kind of out of date). This program is still under active development; the sooner bugs are found, the sooner they'll be fixed!
I keep dying. This is too hard.
Try starting in book 5 and travelling east, into the easier books. That way your character will be more able to tackle anything that comes your way. Don't forget to save occasionally: that way you can reload if things go pear-shaped. If you've got some spare cash, it's worthwhile to buy some blessings. A luck blessing gives you a second chance in most situations.
When is the next version coming out/When are you doing the rest of the books?
Are you going to do other gamebook series?
Unlikely. Fabled Lands was unusual in that each book was based around a geographic region in the same world. As more books were published, you could travel between books. In video-game terms, it's a 'sandbox' - you can explore for as long as you like. This makes it very amenable to a computer version. Other gamebooks tend to be more linear; converting them seems (to me) a little pointless.
What about copyright?
Update: Dave Morris and Jamie Thomson have now given permission for this project to use the text of the Fabled Lands books! They also gave permission for people to create and freely distribute PDF versions of the books; these are available at the Yahoo Fabled Lands group.
About this project:
This is the Java Fabled Lands project ("jafl")
This project was registered on SourceForge.net on Apr 29, 2009, and is described by the project team as follows:
An adaptation of the Fabled Lands gamebook series: travel through a fantastic world, amassing skill, wealth, and fame, while avoiding sudden death. Presents the complete text to maintain the spirit of the original.
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