River of Kurn is a text-based trivia game, written in PHP and created by Julie Martin. After an 18-month diploma in web programming, Julie decided she should probably put those skills to use doing something with them.
Since Julie's always loved trivia, it seemed only natural that she write a trivia game. How hard could that be? Store the questions and answers in a database, retrieve them. Simple, right?
Once she realized she actually could pull out data like that from a database and match it to input from a user, it was time to think about what the rest of the game would entail.
Julie grew up in the age of the Bulletin Board System. She would spend hours monopolizing her family's phone line as she called up local systems and playing text-based games, such as Trade Wars 2002, Legend of the Red Dragon and Sky Mountain.
As such, when she started to think about what the game should be, around the trivia portion of it, she found herself thinking about these old BBS games. In particular, Sky Mountain's trivia component and impish Sky-Lord appealed to her, while the competition aspect of Legend of the Red Dragon inspired her. Finally, the exploration inherent in Trade Wars 2002 had always been a fun part of that game for her. River of Kurn harkens back to the old BBS games of yore in many ways.
1) Will there be an app?
Not for a while, if ever. I don't know the first thing about iOS development and I really hated Java, so I'm not planning on porting the game to an app at this time. I should note that the website will be mobile-responsive, though. I promise.
2) What's the point of the game?
What's the point of any game? To amuse yourself, to pass the time. If you're asking what the goal of the game is, though, that's easy -- find your way home.
3) Am I on my journey alone?
No, the other players are on the river, too. You may even see them, now and again.
4) Can I interact with other players?
Not right now, but I'm planning on it.
5) So does this game end or does this go on forever?
It does end. You'll need to go through the three trials before the Wise Water Spirit will speak with you. Having said that, none of the trials, nor the Wise Water Spirit are implemented yet.
6) What happens when the game ends?
This is very much like Legend of the Red Dragon where you're notified that someone has beaten the dragon for the requisite tenth time (or however the BBS had it set up). The winner triggers a frozen game state and players will be emailed to let them know that someone has won. Logging into the game will mention this as well. The game will then reset in the next 24-48 hours or so. The winner gets added to the Hall of Fame. (Also not yet implemented.)
7) What?! I don't want to lose all my progress!!!
Yeah, uh, sorry. That's going to happen. But, your various skills and equipment will remain at their levels at the moment of the win. Additionally, your overall statistics will remain intact.
8) Is it just me, or is it pretty much impossible to catch a fish?
It is intentionally difficult to catch a fish. The only way to get better is to level your fishing skill (usually by fishing) or to use a better rod. (Not yet implemented.)
9) I ate a fish and still went to sleep hungry. What gives?
Try eating until you're well-fed.
10) Uh, I have a ridiculously low amount of energy. Why?
Eating enough, having a shelter and having decent weather are all important parts of your journey down the River of Kurn.
11) I'm finding these questions to be stupidly difficult.
You should be getting anywhere between 50%-80% of questions right. Even Julie doesn't get much past 75%, most of the time. That said, more questions are always in the process of being worked on and will be added regularly to the game. Internally-available statistics on questions also exist and some of the too difficult or too easy questions will be removed going forward.
12) At what time does "morning" happen?
Back in the day, a reset for a BBS game was usually at midnight, local time. For right now, River of Kurn runs maintenance at 3am Eastern Time (GMT-5). Maintenance lasts a couple of minutes. During this time, energy for the next day is recalculated and database backups are taken after that recalculation.
13) What's the difference between the Green and Blue games?
Going forward, there will be microtransactions available for the Green game. The Blue game will not allow you to make any purchases that might help you on your journey. There is no obligation to play both -- pick the game you want to play.
14) Do I have to log in regularly?
In order to ensure a fun game experience for everyone, if you haven't logged in for 45 days, you'll be removed from any game. Your user account for the site will remain active, but you won't be active in a game and will need to start over from scratch. (Not yet implemented.)
15) How long does it take to win a game?
This is completely unknown at this time, since winning conditions haven't yet been implemented. That said, anywhere between 30-45 days should be sufficient for someone to get to the Wise Water Spirit and win.