Posts from 1st May 2006

May 06

Text Adventure Programming Takes A Linguistic Turn

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 324 views

Inform 7 is here and it’s crazy mental. I’m very excited, made all the worse because the Mac app is currently (accidentally) Tiger only. The excitement might just be enough to get me to dig out the reams of source code that comprise an old unfinished project and get it DONE and forgotten as the piece of average crap it was always meant to be.

(Got an unfinished over ambitious project nagging at you?* I say write the bloody ending already, knock out a few sub plots/clauses and fill in the gaps with Ronseal’s lightweight plotfiller. New projects from old.)

This “natural language” sounds intriguing especially from this defensive (USENET**) comment from Graham Nelson (see also my old FT posts, passim [it seems like])

“I think I’d suggest that people give the “candy sugary pseudo natural language syntax” a chance; it has a sinewy strength which is, perhaps, not really apparent until one begins defining new verbs to express inter-relationships. Natural language is as optimised for talking about human situations – the physical world, and the world of people – as C is for low-level filtering of data in files.”

(*I’m looking at you Tanya Headon, and you NYLPM Top 100 tracks compilers)
(** remember USENET, eh?)


On the offchance that anyone who reads FT is anywhere near as excited by this as me AND wants it to run on OSX10.3.9, a fix has been posted. (The bug appears to be contained entirely within the “Zoom” framework files. Got that?)

Further, as someone who got to know the “Library” of Inform 6 quite well (the Library is the bit that defines how default “things” behave – i.e. the “World Model”) I am hugely persuaded of the merits of this “Natural Language” approach to writing IF this way. There is a splendid “White Paper” on the new approach on the I7 downloads page.

And now I’m worried that this is going to detract from other projects I had lined up. :-/