Another Decker (another_decker) wrote in if_developer,
Another Decker
another_decker
if_developer

Feedback desired

I'm writing a sort of Interactive Fiction game in PHP and would like to get some thoughts from other people about it.

There is a link from the game itself that leads to a form you can use to comment on it and some questions I have for people who have fooled with it some. Feel free, of course, to reply to this thread if you prefer.

The game can be found at the following URL:
http://www.contemptible.org/smack/game/

Cross posted to:
cpwb if_developer int_fiction php
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Hi there, I very quickly visited your game, and I wish to say that it's a great idea to be creating something like this using PHP. I know little about the language. I haven't given it the time it deserves yet...but I just wished to ask if you have considered creating a parser for it? My only thoughts at this point might be that by restricting the player's input (what if I wanted to kick the table..? etc.) it might give the impression that the player is being directed what to do.

Just my very immediate thought...I'll go back and play some more. Best regards :)
You aren't the first person to tell me that I would be better off using a parser, which is not to discount your having said so, for it only cements my resolve to continue on the path I'm currently treading:

I'm in the middle of re-writing the game to accept typed input, using what I believe must be a fairly crude parser (mostly because the idea to implement it came to me so easily). I'm not even close to finishing the first room, but have to say that I'm immensely satisfied with how things are progressing.

If you're at all interested, the present build can be seen at http://www.contemptible.org/smack/game_mk_ii/ but I must warn you, the only thing that's generating responses right now is looking at things.
Hello to you again...I apologize for my tardiness in replying...I visited your link, but the game doesn't seem to begin...are you still working on this project? Best wishes to you....
My apologies also for a tardy reply, I've been having ISP problems of late. I've just checked the link above and though it seems to act a little strangely in IE6, it is working for me - my webhost had something of a hiccup around the time you last posted, which would probably explain your problem.

The game is also considerably further along than it was when last I posted.
Actually, if I had my wish, I'd love to have an Inform-style parser that would run in a browser window. I did see some folks have a java app serving up their z-machine IFs via telnet in a browser window (don't ask me how), but the first time I tried one of these the java app crashed. I'm using Firefox and have installed gnusto. That seems to be the way to go if you want to write IF without having "to reinvent the wheel". Just put your z-code binary on your webserver, the user clicks on the link, gnusto fires up and hey, presto, yer playing. That being said, I did try your game. It feels like IF. The user interface is nice and it works slickly. I admire your desire to create a php parser. My hope is that you are separating the "interpreter" from your story code.
I believe I'm familiar with the java applets you're referring to - the IF game that planted the seed of this idea was deployed in that way.

I had no idea Firefox could be used that way, but it still requires the user to install something beforehand. I'd like to avoid relying on anything but bare-bones browser software, but do appreciate your mention of gnusto.

I'm working on another build now that fully separates the game data from the guts of the "interpreter" after having realized just how much hacking someone would have to do to get a different story running.
Update on the java app. I've managed to install Zplet on my web server. I've got a version of Advent running. I've messed around with playing Advent via Zplet and it's hasn't crashed. Perhaps the first java app I used was some other kind of system. Zplet seems pretty stable as far as I can tell. In fact I plan on using Zplet to serve up the IFs I write.

It appears that Zplet development has stopped for whatever reason. I don't know diddly about Java or Java programming, but it seems that someone should take over the development of Zplet and keep it up-to-date. I downloaded the source from sourceforge, but I don't have time to learn Java.