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Below are the 8 most recent journal entries recorded in Interactive Fiction Story and Engine Developer's LiveJournal:

Tuesday, July 19th, 2005
9:38 pm
tcl/tk toy text if engine
I'm no high power programmer, but I have been using Tcl/Tk to build little custom apps for the last ten years. So naturally I decided to poke around to see if I could find an IF engine written in Tcl. Interestingly enough someone has done it. It's only a toy engine, but it works on my computer. Larry Smith wrote a text adventure game engine and posted it to comp.lang.tcl (not sure when). The full source code and a sample game can be found on the Tcler's wiki: http://wiki.tcl.tk/863

The toy engine doesn't use Tk at all. I have a pretty good idea how to wrap the whole thing in a Tk GUI adding some bells and whistles for the reader/player. Also, this could be expanded to provide a model IDE for games written for the toy engine. Build a GUI for world building so the user could draw maps and insert objects graphically. Tk could be made to do such things with a little effort.

What bothers me about playing around with this toy engine is that the games themselves would be written in Tcl. It would be nice for the engine to parser Inform or TADS files and act as a sort of compile-less interpreter.
Thursday, July 7th, 2005
9:07 pm
what i've learned in the last two weeks about if
I've been writing fiction for quite a while and have for a couple of years tried to make good use of computer technology to read and navigate text. A couple of weeks ago I started thinking about those old text adventures that people used to play and started poking around to see what I could turn up. I couldn't believe that the form was still alive and well. I admit my initial thought was that I wanted to serve up my interactive fictions over the web, but Inform is so well developed that I'm willing to accept the current state of the technology in hopes that someday playing Inform coded games in a web page will be a reality. With gnusto it's essentially already here for Firefox users.

I'd like to spend my time writing a story rather than developing a piece of software. I do like programming, but I lack the necessary energy to follow through with all the debugging. I might just have the whatever-it-takes to write an Inform-style IF and debug it, but no way will I ever write my own parser--I'll leave that to the real programmers.

I think the best way to promote IF and ensure that design systems develop and adapt is to write good IF stories and games. If there's a body of top-class IF literature out there, then people will knock themselves out to make sure that it doesn't die. I think that's why we can all still play the old Infocom games on our super-dooper jazzed-up modern computers. Those games were good enough to save.

Of course, building a new design system can be fun. Back in the early nineties I wrote this huge sprawling authoring system for my Mac and several other pieces of software that only I was ever able to use. I had a great time. I even worked for a time on a space exploration game, but ultimately it all went on the shelf. Just depends on what you want to accomplish.
Sunday, February 20th, 2005
1:32 pm
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:

Cross posted to:
cpwb if_developer int_fiction php
Tuesday, February 15th, 2005
3:16 pm
I, myself am currently working on an engine, of sorts for creating IF - though not with a parser - in PHP to be played through the web. and I'm curious to hear how others have chosen to store data pertaining to items, flag the character as having done something and for that matter, how others keep the engine and game-specific code from becoming inextricably entwined. I've played with Inform and TADS a very little, but really only scratched the surface.

Presently, I'm storing item descriptions in heiarical data structures, and organizing the text by verbs that can be used on them something like

book -- take -- default -- You take the book.
| |
| ----- bookTaken -- You already have the book.
----- open -- default -- You open the book.

and so on, calling them back with logic that checks flags to see what the player has already done. The flags themselves are stored similarly to the descriptions, though not in as complex a structure, and searched for a desired value when a check is needed. I can think of no better ways to manage the data than that.
Thursday, December 2nd, 2004
3:32 pm
i am currently working on a definate claue grammar parser (in prolog) and wondering if any of you wonderful people could help me out with a couple of my questions:

what happens when i try to parse a sentence with a word that is not defined in the lexicon (prolog obv returns no, but i dont understand why, and what is going on behind the scences)?

ive entered some rules so that "btw" (by the way) can be identified as a prepositional phrase. how was i write rules for other abbreviations like this, but where it is not an already defined grammatical component. for example, wyw (while you were) is not a prepositional phrase (or n e thing else for that matter).
Wednesday, October 13th, 2004
1:46 pm
any help you can provide on finding truth values that satisfy an expression would be very helpful.
both the constraint logic programming method and the exhaustive generation method.
1:38 pm
hello people
can anyone help me think of a predicate(s) that would trip the atoms out of a list of lists (in prolog !?!%$^)
for example if i wanted predicate strip_out_the_atoms( [[a,b],[not(a),b,c]], X) would return X as [a,b,c].
i'm using it so that i can solve a boolean expression type thing but i'll post about that shortly.
thanks for any help :)
Friday, August 20th, 2004
10:53 am
Welcome to this community...it will be to talk about the creation of works of interactive fiction, in all its' forms.

I have been working for the past long while on (and just about completed) a proprietary game engine to play works of interactive fiction of my creation. To say that the task has been more difficult than I had imagined would be accurate...perhaps because the traditional plaforms have had many additions to them from ingenious and creative users over the years.

There is something to be said for using a common programming environment (or simply improving upon one) as opposed to starting a new one from scratch. And since my personal understanding of the other environments (TADS, Inform, ALAN, HUGO, etc.) was little when I began this project, it is probable that had I known about how the platforms could be modified to fit the needs of a particular story, I might never have bothered starting on a new one.

But once starting upon a task, why not finish it? And the benefit of having done it is that I have a system of my own design and am intimately familiar with. It is manipulated with external files, so stories can be loaded and unloaded as with any platform. The language with which you address the engine isn't as graceful as with Inform, but my goal isn't to release the engine to the community so I don't have as much concern about that (someday I'll probably write an interface to create some of the code necessary to create a story and allow for the manual coding that is needed but that will be for another time).

My next goals are to have any willing beta-testers help me polish the engine itself and to find someone to create a story with.

My only advice to those who wish to create their own game engine: Think hard about everything that needs to be done. It is a long road, but if you can finish it you will have learned much. Thanks for your time, d
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