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Old 03-23-2008, 07:49 AM   #1
MudMann
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Interactive Fiction goes Hi-Tech

A while back I was toying with the idea of a reinterpretation of the Sorcery Fighting Fantasy books. Even went as far as seeking official permission off Steve Jackson.. which was going well.. until a mobile phone game company bought the copywrite for sorcery and scuppered all the work.

Regardless, the inform code was quite simple.. but nevertheless it was still an excercise in painful coding... not any more.

Take a look at the latest version of Inform (version 7) which was actually reviewed in PC GAMER. It can take english sentences, and create all the code base from it..

A rough example.. switch it on, start a project and you can type something like

'The small red cherry is in the cardboard fruit box, which doe not have a lid. The small red cherry is sweet and tasy and smells wonderful. The cardboard box has a faint whiff of ripe fruit and feels a little damp.'

From this is create the two objects with appropriate sensory descriptions (tocuh box, feel box, smell cherry an so on), one as a container, the fact that the cherry fits, and the box cannot close.

So if you fancy creating a little interactive fiction of your own check out

Inform 7

and be as amazed as I was. Now imagine converting this codebase to a MUD code... and then buuld in speech recognitions.. you could create works of art as simple as an author dictates a new book.
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Old 03-23-2008, 12:02 PM   #2
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Re: Interactive Fiction goes Hi-Tech

A mud with I7 even as the scripting language would be pretty damn cool in my book.

Thanks for posting this MudMann. I don't even remember how I found out about contemporary IF a few years ago, but it's something I wish I had 'discovered' more like ten years ago.

For all you other TMS people out there, there is an enormous collection of IF sites, resources, languages, etc. out there. These are basically single-player text games.

The main gathering place for discussion is on Usenet, at rec.arts.int-fiction and rec.games.int-fiction, though there are a few places that mirror this in the web browser, notably Google Groups.

There are several archive sites, the canonical one being the IF Archive, with an easier interface for just games at Baf's Guide, and a newer one at IFDB, which basically mirrors the games on the archive but adds reviews, recommended lists, etcetera.

For a pretty good introduction to what it's all about I recommend Emily Short's site.

Anyway, I could talk about this all day, so I better stop now .
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Old 03-23-2008, 05:33 PM   #3
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Re: Interactive Fiction goes Hi-Tech

I considered the Inform natural-language coding as a basis for my own scripting language...

However, I think you'll find that natural language will get in you way as soon as you try to do anything beyond basic IF, especially why you try to do math (which is much of a MUD's coding). Some IF authors really like inform 7's NLP, while others complain that they have often have to (a) find work-arounds, or (b) set the magic flags and turn on Inform 6 coding within Inform 7.
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Old 03-25-2008, 05:58 AM   #4
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Re: Interactive Fiction goes Hi-Tech

IF is pretty amazing, some of the competition entries are so inventive it can be breathtaking. The remember a short one (took about 15 mins to complete) which involved getting ready for a desert expidition... needless to say it had one HELL of a twist.

The Inform 7 simply creates the code based on nice easy sentences.. however you can then add more advanced coding to the soruce later.

However, havingsaid that, there are already loads of entensions you can just type into the inform 7 system for advance routines such as NPC interaction and movement, environmental effects, time based events and so on.

Well corcery is a bust.. but I did have a GREAT idea for a Blakes 7 IF.....
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Old 03-25-2008, 05:27 PM   #5
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Re: Interactive Fiction goes Hi-Tech

Quote:
Originally Posted by MudMann View Post
IF is pretty amazing, some of the competition entries are so inventive it can be breathtaking. The remember a short one (took about 15 mins to complete) which involved getting ready for a desert expidition... needless to say it had one HELL of a twist.
An equivalent of the IF 2-hour-game competition would be good for MUDs/MMORPGs. The contest would be to create a short (proably 6 hours for MUDs/MMORPGs) game and get players to rate it.
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Old 03-25-2008, 06:22 PM   #6
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Re: Interactive Fiction goes Hi-Tech

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Originally Posted by MikeRozak View Post
An equivalent of the IF 2-hour-game competition would be good for MUDs/MMORPGs. The contest would be to create a short (proably 6 hours for MUDs/MMORPGs) game and get players to rate it.
I wouldn't want to quantify MUDS in the same way you can with single-player games. However the old 16k contest was probably a good approximation for what you're going for.
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Old 04-11-2008, 02:13 PM   #7
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Re: Interactive Fiction goes Hi-Tech

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A mud with I7 even as the scripting language would be pretty damn cool in my book.
Well, I've said it before, but you got to love the Interwebs.

If anyone is interested in using Inform 7 to script a mud, check out the brand new Guncho:



Quote:
Guncho is a multiplayer interactive fiction environment designed by Jesse McGrew. It was first announced on April 1, 2008 in the guise of an April Fools Day prank, and revealed the next day to be a real system. The name refers to the "guncho" spell in Infocom's game Enchanter, which banished its victims to "another plane of existence".

The system works by linking together many different realms, each running in their own virtual machines. A player can freely move between realms, leaving one body behind in the old realm and entering another body in the new realm.

Guncho currently uses version 5J39 of Inform 7 with a set of modified libraries. The realms are compiled to Glulx and run inside the FyreVM interpreter.
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Old 04-11-2008, 05:28 PM   #8
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Re: Interactive Fiction goes Hi-Tech

Sounds very interesting indeed.. but I am having so much FUN with inform right now, and how easy it is to use that I am well into programming my own single player RPG game at the moment.

There is a rather good piece of code on the inform website called The Reliques of Tolti-Aph which was crafted as an example yet is so brilliantly written it has a complete spell casting, combat system built in (W&W) with elements, targeting and so on.

Just look at how the programmer makes the system understand and be able to handle terms like 2d20+2 or any random dice combination you want in 2-3 easy to understand sentences.

There are already brilliant WEather, Atmopheric, Time extensions that can handle seasons, times of day, random events.

Sorry. rambling...
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Old 04-11-2008, 07:46 PM   #9
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Re: Interactive Fiction goes Hi-Tech

Not at all MudMann, the number of extensions being written right now for I7 is impressive indeed.

In light of something like Guncho and the current thread on LPC I have been wondering about the wisdom of pursuing a domain-specific scripting language rather than something like a domain-specific library for, say, Lua or Python (though I should note there are Python IF languages, not sure about Lua).
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