The last light has gone. The stars are coming out in the black sea above. Many are hidden by ice-fingered winds. My father is still not returned and the fire is almost gone.
But this is how life is: always an edge. A thin sheet on a diving-deep pool.
I hope he will return soon. I cannot summon him.
I’ve been busting my way through a holiday text adventure, the way one does. A couple of days off is the perfect time to get 80% of a game down, ready to be shelved, redrafted, tweaked, and polished until it no longer seems like such a good idea.
I had the puzzle structure worked out before I coded a single word. I’m now 80% of the way through, but then I got distracted, adding hyperlinks.
I just turned off the actual text prompt thing. It seemed so… retro. There are just these buttons now. It feels kinda okay.
It’s a really good piece of work and shows real potential for making text games accessible: teaching the syntax while letting people get on with the game. But it also highlights one of the text games major problems – there’s way too much choice.
This link appeared first as a comment, then as a tweet, and finally now as a blog-post, which is all back to front. But this is archaelogy, which works downwards.
The short version is: presenting Kingdom Without End by Shannon Cochran, a multi-choice input game from 2001 about archaeology, that is perhaps the best example of CYOA written in a parser-IF style, and not only that, it’s a damn fine piece of work too.
It sometimes feels like I’m releasing a new version of this every two days, but Interactive Parsing is now up to Version 4. The new version is substantially faster, especially if what you’re typing makes sense. Running on my MacBook, it now feels like a normal command line. And on Quixe, well, it’s not too bad.
A quick one to say the first, extremely crashy version of Make It Good is now working with Interactive Parsing enabled and available to play with here.
This version adds support for suggesting and accepting words longer than the 9-letter Inform default, and for commanding characters using the “JIMMY, GIVE ME THE GUN” syntax.
This resolves all the known missing features of IP, so it should be now good to go in any game-project you care to throw at it. It also runs under Quixe once more, thanks to some help from Zarf.
Sometimes, I think I start too many projects and leave them unfinished – or more often, leave them barely begun. I have on various computers about six text-games, three hypertext stories, two half-written novels and a pile of semi-decent short stories.
Other times – when I dig something up from the pile and realise that, with just a little more work, it could be really good, I wish I’d spent more time when I had more time knocking out bad stories, ready for a future version of myself to pummel remorselessly into shape.
Interactive Parsing is now up to version 2. This latest release handles disambiguation prompts by the parser.
This release means the extension is now at playable quality and while I’m sure there are still improvements to be made, the extension is serviceable with no known bugs.
The approach taken to deal with disambiguation is reasonably interesting, so I’ll talk more about that after the cut.