The Filmmaker: A Text Adventure



Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:  Storycentric Worlds 

Released:  December 2016

PC Requirements  (minimum):  

  • OS: Windows XP or later
  • Processor: Pentium 4
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: any
  • Storage: 90 MB available space
  • Sound Card: optional but recommended
  • Additional Notes: Native resolution: 1366x768; rescales to fill screen



by flotsam



The Filmmaker: A Text Adventure

Storycentric Worlds

When my girls were much younger, they would put cd’s on in the car by a favourite children’s entertainer, and the songs were such that we would all end up singing along. Some lyrics were very funny, others playfully childlike, others still with that nod towards the fact that grown-ups would be listening. Years later, the same entertainer reinvented himself (or rather his approach), playing late night sessions in University bars, singing the very same songs to the same now grown up kids, complete with actions and rowdy raucousness. I know a number of 23 year olds who swear it was a whole heap of fun. Well done him.

I mention this because The Filmmaker presents the same product but in a different way, and, at least in my case, is presenting it to the same audience. Is it also a case of well done?

I think so.

I played (and reviewed) The Filmmaker in about 2010 when it was an independent pc game by Unimatrix Productions, which was really a one man show, one Christopher Brendel. It was a product of the indie software of the time, but what I remember most about it was the cheesy B-Grade movie theme and its puzzles, of which there were many.

I haven’t played the original since then, so I can’t say that this is step by step exactly the same game, but by and large it is. The Carson Stiles Gateway Theatre is the setting, a complex that has seen its share of tragedy, both celluloid and real. It's been closed for years, but is re-opening with the premiere of a new film from director Claude Ferucil. His varied oeuvre includes the noir classic: "A Detective Story", the sci-fi cult hit "Aliens From Mars", and the animated, definitely not for kiddies flick "The Fuzzies". This time it’s horror, with the forbiddingly named "Primal AtmosFear", and you (Brianna) have two tickets. That was all as it was.

So too the meeting with Mr Ferucil, the initial treasure hunt, the trapped souls, and the need to enter his movies in order to resolve the plot. I don’t remember the original end, but it no doubt involved the sort of vanquishing that occurs here. So perhaps with some tweaks here and there, it is the same game.

Except this time it is text based.

You point and clicked in the original. You do that here, but you point and click at the sort of instructions you would have utilised in a text adventure – look at table, take revolver, open chest, go down stairs. Each click is followed by a description of what happened (which might be nothing), or where you now are, and what you can do next. A small graphic will complement the current location.

There are some shortcuts. A compass enables you to travel in accessible directions, so there is no need to select “go north” (you still need to click the desired direction though). Nor do you select “use sword/toothpick/button” etc to wield said item from your inventory. Equip the item it in the inventory itself, and it will be usable in the game world by clicking the “use item” button. If you are wrong, the game will say something like the item can’t be used here, and try something else.

The game screen is a single screen, with the top half being the graphic window and description of what is going on, the bottom half being your compass, possible text instructions and the use item button. A ribbon of icons on the left of the screen is your avenue to the sorts of things you might expect in a game – your inventory, access to a locational map showing places you have visited and where you are now (helpful in using your compass to move around), an information icon, giving access to your journal and the notes, scraps and books you might pick up, one which shows your current objective, your % progress through the game and your score, one for the menu and one to return you to the game screen. It’s all very user friendly, with indications that new things might have been added somewhere or other. The whole screen is presented against the backdrop of a stage, with theatre curtains left and right. I thought it quite well done.

Cutscenes punctuate events, there is music at times and sound effects, but no spoken voice. The graphics are stylised to a certain degree, but fit the mood of the whole piece. You will learn about Brianna as you go, though this drops away in the second half. So too you will learn about the theatre crowd, especially those that remain here.

The puzzles are both situational and straight puzzles. They aren’t brain bursting hard, but several held me up for a little while as I tinkered and pondered. The main hold up was not having items I needed, and having to go in search, which might involve jumping in and out of the films you need to enter. Things in one movie can be important to what to do in another, and I encourage you to read carefully. The puzzles depend on it.

There are codes etc, and these are solved through the text instructions – rotate right, rotate left, etc. Riddles can be solved in the same way. I could have done with a few less Fuzzy riddles, but it was a small thing. There are two turn based battles where a strategy will assist, although you might have to lose a few times to work it out. Losing just means you get to try again.

I ended with a score of 660 which wasn’t enough to get an achievement award, and I only had 80% of the achievements. I liberated all the souls, but a particular achievement and a walkthrough suggests I could have done better.

The game autosaves when you exit, which is the only way to save. It works fine but it means you can’t reload from an earlier point should you want to. No real reason why you would need to though. There are three separate save slots, meaning three games can be in progress at any one time.

The Filmmaker was a very decent length, it was different to other things I have played, and in my view it was better than the original. It’s well worth a look.

I played on:

OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit

Processor: Intel i7-6700 4GHz


Video card: AMD Radeon RX 470 8192MB


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