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Below are the 17 most recent journal entries recorded in Inform Developers' LiveJournal:

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Monday, April 21st, 2008
4:08 pm
IDEs and Card Decks
Two Questions:

  1. What is people's preferred Inform 6 IDE? I've used IF-IDE with happiness in the past, but have just discovered Wide. Any others I should look at? Pros and Cons? I'm a C++ developer, mainly, so Visual Studio style would be most familiar to me.

  2. Are there any existing libraries for doing a deck of cards in Inform 6? I've discovered the blackjack.inf file, and looked through the code in there, but before I go re-invent the wheel, I'd like to see if there's an existing codebase that allows me to "shuffle the deck", "take the six of clubs", "take the top card from the deck", "put the card in the deck" (assuming the six of clubs), and so on, with some proper tracking of what's left in the deck while still allowing me to refer to the entire deck as one object. Ideally, I'd love to be able to type "throw the deck in the air", and then force the player to play a game of 52-Pickup, although out of kindness I'd clearly allow "take all cards". ;)

Thanks in advance.
Saturday, May 6th, 2006
3:45 pm
Inform 7 [x-posted]
Is it my imagination, or does Inform 7 look like a work of genuine genius?

I was writing a new game in TADS3 (also great), but have got to switch now, just to see what I7's like to use.

Might a switch take place here, with T3 becoming the 'programmer's language' and I7 becoming the 'newbie's language'. And yet both are so powerful; how cool is that?
Sunday, July 24th, 2005
11:00 pm
standing and getting off not the same as exiting?
I've got another silly question. Let's say I have a...

Object comfyChair "comfy chair" insideDungeon
with name 'comfy' 'chair',
"A large, comfy chair menacingly awaits.",
after [;
Enter: print_ret "You luxuriate in the plushness of the comfy chair.";
Exit: print_ret "Cardinal Fang taunts you with a feather.";
has static enterable supporter scenery;

When I type sit, I get

>sit in comfy chair
You luxuriate in the plushness of the comfy chair.

Great. No problem, but when I type stand, I get

You get off the comfy chair.

What happened to Cardinal Fang and his feather? I have to type "exit comfy chair" or "exit chair" to see anything about Cardinal Fang and feathers:

>exit chair
Cardinal Fang taunts you with a feather.

Am I missing something or do I really have to write a StandSub to catch requests to stand while in the comfy chair and send the <<Exit Chair>> from there? Also I'm thinking I should probably handle different possible constructions of the standing action; e.g. the library gives these responses for the various attempts to stand:

>stand up from chair
I only understood you as far as wanting to stand up.

>get out of chair
I only understood you as far as wanting to get the outside.

>get off of chair
You can't see any such thing.

>get off chair
You get off the comfy chair.

My reading of DM4 tells me that "stand" and "get off" should send the "Exit" message. My assumption is that I'm making a silly beginner's error.
Monday, July 18th, 2005
1:33 pm
attributes and examining parts of objects
Hey, I'm back again with some more newbie questions. Let's say that I have an object made up of other objects. Imagine that I'm writing a murder mystery, the detective enters the room, finds a dead body with a knife wound in the chest.

The dead body is a child of the room so

x corpse

yields the description of the corpse.

To allow the player/detective the possibility of examining the wound, I thought I would be clever and make a wound object that is the child of the corpse for the detective to examine, but

x wound


You can't see any such thing.

Which makes me think that the detective can only examine the wound of the corpse after the corpse has been entered, but I'm not writing that kind of IF so I'd like to steer clear of that completely.

I've been looking at attributes. It's clear that I can give the corpse a knife_wound attribute. But where do I put the handler for the call x knife wound? Do I make "knife wound" part of the corpse object's name and then catch the examine action in the corpse object and switch on the noun to give the different descriptions, or am I making this too difficult?
Wednesday, July 13th, 2005
11:35 pm
planning stages - question about large containers vs rooms
I'm trying to figure out how best to address the following problem. Let's say that the game begins with the PC on a boat. It's not a big boat but big enough that the PC will be able to move around in it. Eventually, the PC will maneuver the boat into dock. The PC will then be able to get off the boat and wander around the streets of a town.

Here's the question. Is it better to make the boat a room or a container on top of (inside) an ocean (a room in which the boat is located)?

If the boat is a room (or system of rooms), I run into one problem: when I type "dock the boat" or "dock boat" the interpreter says that the boat is not something I need to refer to in this game (a ridiculous statement). Simply typing "dock" works fine; however I should be able to allow for the player typing "dock the boat."

The definition of dock is

Verb 'dock' * -> Dock;

and DockSub toggles a global variable indicating whether the boat is sailing or in dock.

I suppose that if I made the boat a container (child of ocean) I could type "dock boat" by changing the Verb declaration to

Verb 'dock' * noun -> Dock;


But then I would have to invent some way to tell whether the noun is "boat" or not. If there is a coil of rope on board the boat and the PC types "dock rope" the DockSub is still called.


This is what my present DockSub looks like with boat defined as a room object:

[ DockSub;
if (noun == boat) {
Is_Docked = true;
print "Your boat is now docked.^";
"That's not something that can be docked.";

Verb 'dock' * noun -> Dock;

Here's the sample transcript:

What do you want to dock?

>dock boat
That's not something you need to refer to in the course of this game.

>dock flashlight
That's not something that can be docked.

(And yes, I've been searching through DM4 and Roger Firth's IF pages for answers. Maybe I'm blind. Must go to bed.)
Tuesday, July 12th, 2005
8:36 am
question about extensions
First, thank you for suggesting that I look at the available extensions of Inform. There's certainly a lot of interesting things available. Since I'm new to IF, at this point I like it when the game is helpful, so I thought I would add HelpRoutines.h to the test IF that I'm writing. The extension is included, my .inf file compiles without complaint. Now what do I do? How does the user/player/reader get access to the help? I suppose I have to add some code into my objects that incept requests for help and trigger the routines in the extension file. Any examples out there?

Also, I noticed an extension called manual.h. Has anybody used that? It appears to depend on three other extensions. I found and installed all by one: center.h. Can't find center.h. Am I blind? A google search turned up references to center.h on RAIF, but I couldn't locate where to download the extension.
Sunday, July 10th, 2005
9:45 pm
future of inform?
Two weeks ago I didn't even know Inform existed, so forgive me if these questions seem impertinent. I've been browsing the extensions available at inform-fiction.org. I've noticed that there are very few dates on these extensions post 2003. On RAIF I saw some mention of a new version of Inform, beyond the version 6.3 that I've been playing with. Basically, I'd like to know if Inform is still developing. What's the current state of things? It appears that new IFs with Inform are being written based on a cursory examination of the games released listing on ifwiki.org. Is Inform authoring on the rise? Leveling off? What's the user community like? Growing or a steady band of loyal diehards? Any good articles on the web on this subject? Thanks.
Saturday, July 9th, 2005
4:08 pm
getting away from the compass?
Very basic stuff here. I'm new to this so please be patient. Are compass directions a necessary part of IF? For the last two weeks I keep running into situations like this:

>open door
You pull the door open, revealing a narrow flight of stairs ascending out of sight.

>go up stairs
I only understood you as far as wanting to go what's above.

(taken from The Dreamhold).

I don't think this is necessarily a defect in the text/game, because I could just as easily and more quickly typed

You ascend the stairs.

Why isn't "go up stairs" equivalent to "w"? This naive reader thinks it should be. I've tried adding this kind of functionality to some practice games I'm designing to learn Inform, but am unsure how to capture the "go up stairs" command before the parser sends the reader the message that it doesn't understand.

What about adding
before [;
Go: someFunctiontoMovePlayerWest;

I can probably figure out the programming details on my own, the real question is about style. Should the reader/player be expected to use compass directions for every move or should the author work extra hard to intercept more vague commands like "go up stairs"?
Saturday, April 2nd, 2005
9:05 am
Wednesday, December 22nd, 2004
4:03 pm
A few questions
(This entry has been cross-posted to int_fiction)

I'm a relative newbie at interactive fiction trying to solve niggling coding issues.

1) Objects that have 'static' or 'scenery' attributes can't be taken. But I'm receiving messages for other verbs besides 'take' that say (first taking noun) before giving the string I have inputed as a response. Example verbs include remove, eat, and wear. Is this a function of the interpreter (Frotz) I'm using, or should I be coding my responses to those verbs differently?

2) Is there a way to direct the parser to prefer a certain secondary object? For instance, I have two doors with locks in the same room. There is a red key for the red door and a blue key for the blue door. Assuming the player has both keys, is there a way to convince the parser to automatically use the correct colored key when neither key is specified?

3) Is there a better / different place to post these kinds of questions?
Saturday, December 18th, 2004
3:59 pm
Multi-level undo in inform?
I'm having a hard time finding the answer to this via google... has anyone ever implemented a multi-level undo capability in inform? All of the games I can think of that use inform have the "sorry, can't undo two turns in a row" problem. I really like the nearly unlimited undo capabilities that TADS has, but even a two or three turn memory should be enough for those cases where somebody might take an action and then need to type "look" or something to figure out that they did the wrong thing.
Saturday, November 20th, 2004
12:07 am
Splashdown Remarks
Thanks to everyone who played and voted on Splashdown in the 2004 IFComp. It was a fun game to write, and the review comments were extremely helpful after the ratings came out.

I have updated the webpage for Splashdown, which can be found here: http://www.staticengine.com/splashdown/

In addition to posting the game and PDF, there are also segments of reviews, as well as the original design map and a Post Mortem of the game design and development process based on the feedback I recieved. Hopefully this will be enlightening and helpful to other authors.

I welcome your comments.
Tuesday, August 10th, 2004
6:10 pm
Sherbet Walkthrough?
Is there a walkthrough for "Long Glass of Sherbet"? I seem to be short one spell and one task, and it's driving me mad.

Wednesday, July 21st, 2004
1:37 pm
Newbie question
I've been working through the IBG, and after compiling the completed William Tell example I was informed that there are four "suppressed warnings".

I couldn't find any information on this in the compiler window, IBG, or DM4.

What does that mean, and how can I find out where the warnings are?
Sunday, June 27th, 2004
1:45 pm
IFComp 2004
Is anyone here entering this competition this year? I'm in the debugging and polish stages of my entry...
Saturday, May 1st, 2004
8:04 pm
Container Objects and Their Contents
If anybody's listening and can help, I'm experiencing great frustration when working with container objects in Inform. What makes it particularly bothersome is how simple a matter it probably is.

Basically, I need information regarding how to index and control the number of objects in a given container at any time. Ideally, I'd like a routine that can check the number of items in, say, a "backpack" and output the result to an internal variable. This would allow me to set Before: code to allow the backpack to react differently to different verbs depending on whether or not the container is empty at any given time.

On a related note, containers have a "Receive" verb to control responses when you put things into them. Is there a corresponding verb for when you take things back out of them?

Tuesday, March 11th, 2003
1:28 pm
I'm new to this community; I'm a long-time fan of all the old infocom games, and would love to play anything anyone's working on. I'm still a little blown away that there are people making text-adventure games still. This rocks.
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