iPhone Adventure

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Andrew Plotkin

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Jul 10, 2008, 11:30:43 PM7/10/08
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I take a look in the new Apple App Store and I see:

--------------
ADVENTURE
The Interactive Original
By Will Crowther (1973) and Don Woods (1977)
Reconstructed in three steps by:
Donald Ekman, David M. Baggett (1993) and Graham Nelson (1994)
Adapted for the iPhone by Shawn P. Stanley (2008)
[In memoriam Stephen Bishop (1820?-1857): GN]
--------------

This is a freeware application being distributed by "Pi-Soft
Consulting" (which looks like it's the same as Shawn P. Stanley).

It's obviously the Inform version. So, does that mean there's iPhone
Frotz? I haven't been paying attention to that front.

(I can't try the game myself, because the 2.0 software update isn't
released yet for original iPhones.)

--Z

--
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
If the Bush administration hasn't shipped you to Syria for interrogation, it's
for one reason: they don't feel like it. Not because you're innocent.

Rikard Peterson

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Jul 11, 2008, 12:06:33 AM7/11/08
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In article <g56k53$f50$1...@reader1.panix.com>,
Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com> wrote:

> This is a freeware application being distributed by "Pi-Soft
> Consulting" (which looks like it's the same as Shawn P. Stanley).
>
> It's obviously the Inform version. So, does that mean there's iPhone
> Frotz? I haven't been paying attention to that front.
>
> (I can't try the game myself, because the 2.0 software update isn't
> released yet for original iPhones.)
>
> --Z

I sit here with my new iPhone 3G, right out of the box (yes I was crazy
enough to stand in line most of the night to get one), so I obviously
had to download this and try it out. It does have the mention of Graham
Nelson in the header but not the line about Inform library version. The
readme only talks about being originally written in Fortran and then
translated to C. Abbreviations are not recognised, and there are
background images.

So I'd say that this *isn't* the Inform version. iFrotz still has to be
written by someone. I'm not volunteering (I have too many projects
already) but I'd very much applaud anyone who makes it happen.

Rikard

Josh Lawrence

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Jul 11, 2008, 12:08:34 AM7/11/08
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On Jul 10, 8:30 pm, Andrew Plotkin <erkyr...@eblong.com> wrote:
> I take a look in the new Apple App Store and I see:
>
> --------------
> ADVENTURE
> The Interactive Original
> By Will Crowther (1973) and Don Woods (1977)
> Reconstructed in three steps by:
> Donald Ekman, David M. Baggett (1993) and Graham Nelson (1994)
> Adapted for the iPhone by Shawn P. Stanley (2008)
> [In memoriam Stephen Bishop (1820?-1857): GN]
> --------------
>
> This is a freeware application being distributed by "Pi-Soft
> Consulting" (which looks like it's the same as Shawn P. Stanley).
>
> It's obviously the Inform version. So, does that mean there's iPhone
> Frotz? I haven't been paying attention to that front.


Indeed:
http://code.google.com/p/iphonefrotz/

(Still don't have an iPhone myself but will be excited to try this out
when I eventually get one.)

Josh

Rikard Peterson

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Jul 11, 2008, 12:36:21 AM7/11/08
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In article
<4201b2a3-e3d6-443e...@z72g2000hsb.googlegroups.com>,
Josh Lawrence <jj.la...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Indeed:
> http://code.google.com/p/iphonefrotz/
>
> (Still don't have an iPhone myself but will be excited to try this out
> when I eventually get one.)

Interesting. The site indicates it's not ready for use, though: "iFrotz
requires a "jailbroken" phone to install." But I suppose it's a step in
the right direction.

Rikard

Josh Lawrence

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Jul 11, 2008, 10:55:49 AM7/11/08
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On Jul 10, 9:36 pm, Rikard Peterson <trumgott...@bigfoot.com> wrote:
> In article
> <4201b2a3-e3d6-443e-a64f-f5088b812...@z72g2000hsb.googlegroups.com>,

> Josh Lawrence <jj.lawre...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Indeed:
> >http://code.google.com/p/iphonefrotz/
>
> > (Still don't have an iPhone myself but will be excited to try this out
> > when I eventually get one.)
>
> Interesting. The site indicates it's not ready for use, though: "iFrotz
> requires a "jailbroken" phone to install." But I suppose it's a step in
> the right direction.
>
> Rikard

Well, the app's ready for use, you just have to be willing to install
a hack on your iPhone so the iPhone will accept "unofficial" 3rd-party
apps. That of course is a risk and voids your warranty, but several
friends of mine have done it without destroying their iPhones. Note
that there's no jailbreak hack for the 2.0 iPhone OS out yet, afaik.

Josh

Andrew Plotkin

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Jul 11, 2008, 11:15:26 AM7/11/08
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Here, Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com> wrote:
>
> (I can't try the game myself, because the 2.0 software update isn't
> released yet for original iPhones.)

It's out now, but don't install it. I'm getting an error after the
upgrade -- looks like it's trying to talk to the Apple mothership to
activate, and Apple's servers are being crushed. So I have no phone
today.

--Z

--
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*

It's a nice distinction to tell American soldiers (and Iraqis) to die in
Iraq for the sake of democracy (ignoring the question of whether it's
*working*) and then whine that "The Constitution is not a suicide pact."

Andrew Plotkin

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Jul 12, 2008, 12:02:57 AM7/12/08
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Here, Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com> wrote:
> Here, Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com> wrote:
> >
> > (I can't try the game myself, because the 2.0 software update isn't
> > released yet for original iPhones.)
>
> It's out now, but don't install it.

Seems to be okay now -- either the rush has died down or Apple kicked
their servers into better shape.

Anyway, now that I've had a chance to play with Advent, Rikard is
clearly right --

Here, Rikard Peterson <trumg...@bigfoot.com> wrote:
>
> It does have the mention of Graham Nelson in the header but not the
> line about Inform library version. The readme only talks about being
> originally written in Fortran and then translated to C.
> Abbreviations are not recognised, and there are background images.

It also doesn't recognize "get all", and the game logic doesn't follow
Graham's port. (E.g., "xyzzy" works right off the bat. In the Inform
port, you have to get downstairs the hard way first.)

--Z

--
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*

If the Bush administration hasn't thrown you in military prison
without trial, it's for one reason: they don't feel like it. Not
because of the Fifth Amendment.

Ben Collins-Sussman

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Jul 12, 2008, 4:08:18 PM7/12/08
to
On this subject, see my blog post about IF on the new iPhone:

http://blog.red-bean.com/sussman/?p=99

Emily Short

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Jul 13, 2008, 8:23:39 AM7/13/08
to
On Jul 12, 5:02 am, Andrew Plotkin <erkyr...@eblong.com> wrote:
> Here, Andrew Plotkin <erkyr...@eblong.com> wrote:

>
> > Here, Andrew Plotkin <erkyr...@eblong.com> wrote:
>
> > > (I can't try the game myself, because the 2.0 software update isn't
> > > released yet for original iPhones.)
>
> > It's out now, but don't install it.
>
> Seems to be okay now -- either the rush has died down or Apple kicked
> their servers into better shape.
>
> Anyway, now that I've had a chance to play with Advent, Rikard is
> clearly right --
>
> Here, Rikard Peterson <trumgott...@bigfoot.com> wrote:
>
>
>
> >  It does have the mention of Graham Nelson in the header but not the
> > line about Inform library version. The readme only talks about being
> > originally written in Fortran and then translated to C.
> > Abbreviations are not recognised, and there are background images.
>
> It also doesn't recognize "get all", and the game logic doesn't follow
> Graham's port. (E.g., "xyzzy" works right off the bat. In the Inform
> port, you have to get downstairs the hard way first.)

The interface could also use quite a lot of work: having the command
line at the top and no available scrollback makes it pretty hard to
follow what's going on.

Andrew Plotkin

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Jul 13, 2008, 11:14:47 AM7/13/08
to

Right. Hm. What the hell, all-round think about IF on the iPhone^H^H^H
touch-screen interface... (This is not a criticism of iPhone Advent,
it's what I want in a magically-perfect iPhone IF release. I am
ignoring the fact that many of these ideas are impossible to retrofit
into an already-existing Z-code file.)

The iPhone really wants the input line near the top of the screen. If
it's at the bottom edge, it'll just slide uphill when the keyboard
pops up, and that wouldn't be great.

So I want the input line at the top *but* a standard IF scrolling
pane *below* it, with commands interspersed in the usual way. (You'd
have to ensure that finger-scrolling only affected the text pane, not
the entire screen. This is possible -- in fact Advent does it, with
long responses such as the "help" output.)

That model obviates the need for the input line to keep showing the
last command, which is confusingly out-of-order.

I'd like a special button to the right of the input line, which brings
up a menu of one-touch common IF commands.

I like the way Advent presents yes/no options as a regular dialog
pane.

I am amused by the way Advent brings up the old mainframe "You must
wait 45 minutes before returning to the game!" restriction if you type
"save". Someone didn't think that through. :) (If you violate it, the
game harangues you but then lets you play anyway.)

The splash page should have a "how to play" button. The mainframe-
style "Do you want instructions?" when you start is all wrong.

PDA IF traditionally has some kind of "tap a word to paste it"
interface. I want that but it's hard to do with a touch-screen,
because words are tiny. The ideal solution might be to *invisibly*
mark up the output text with "this word is important" spans. That
opens up a certain amount of blind hunt-the-pixel exploration, but if
brute force is tedious and generally useless -- ie, if only the
*obviously* important words are marked -- I don't think it would
sidetrack players.

Finally, the backgrounds. I rather like Advent's low-contrast cave
photos. However, what would be even keener would be an automap.
(Mobile IF players are less likely to have a sheaf of paper lying
around.) You wouldn't want text on it -- that would make everything
hard to read. But a dynamic room map in unlabelled, simple shapes and
low-contrast color would be cool. Highlight the current room (or keep
it centered).

--Z

--
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*

9/11 did change everything. Since 9/12, the biggest threat to American
society has been the American president. I'd call that a change.

Emily Short

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Jul 13, 2008, 12:59:32 PM7/13/08
to
On Jul 13, 4:14 pm, Andrew Plotkin <erkyr...@eblong.com> wrote:

> I'd like a special button to the right of the input line, which brings
> up a menu of one-touch common IF commands.

Seems fair. (Compass rose? Accelerometer-driven directions? The latter
might be silly. But I'm enjoying my accelerometer-based games.)

> The splash page should have a "how to play" button. The mainframe-
> style "Do you want instructions?" when you start is all wrong.

Definitely agree here.

> Finally, the backgrounds. I rather like Advent's low-contrast cave
> photos.

Hm. I find this distracting, myself. (I may just be too much of a
puritan in my tastes. I generally think websites with background
images behind the text to be a bit goofy too.) But I suppose it could
also be something you could turn on and off with preferences.

> However, what would be even keener would be an automap.
> (Mobile IF players are less likely to have a sheaf of paper lying
> around.) You wouldn't want text on it -- that would make everything
> hard to read. But a dynamic room map in unlabelled, simple shapes and
> low-contrast color would be cool. Highlight the current room (or keep
> it centered).

Yes, maybe. I'd prefer centered over highlighted, I think;
highlighting would be more likely to produce contrasts with the game
screen, and centering would mean that you'd always be able to see the
adjacent rooms for your current location, rather than having to think
of a way to scroll the map but not the text.

Of course, this would likely interact in odd (or wrong?) ways with
mazes.

How possible would it be to put a Glulx interpreter on there? The
evidence suggests there's a fair amount of space and processing power
under the hood here.

Andrew Plotkin

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Jul 13, 2008, 8:16:53 PM7/13/08
to
Here, Emily Short <ems...@mindspring.com> wrote:

Any kind of automap needs to be tuned to the specific game. (Divide
into game regions, add game-specific scenery like rivers, etc.) For a
(Advent-style) maze, I'd just blank out all but the room you're in for
as long as you're in there.

> How possible would it be to put a Glulx interpreter on there? The
> evidence suggests there's a fair amount of space and processing power
> under the hood here.

The CPU should be plenty to run either Z-code or Glulx, although it
will fall on the slow end of what computer users are used to. I hear
applications have about 90 megabytes of RAM to play with, which again
is enough.

Then there's the political problem Ben brought up, which is that
Apple's terms are slanted against the idea of "put one IF interpreter
in the app store, and then people can play every game for free". I
suspect this is a solvable problem, though.

--Z

--
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*

If the Bush administration hasn't shipped you to Syria for interrogation, it's
for one reason: they don't feel like it. Not because of the Eighth Amendment.

Emily Short

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Jul 13, 2008, 9:16:58 PM7/13/08
to
On Jul 14, 1:16 am, Andrew Plotkin <erkyr...@eblong.com> wrote:

> Here, Emily Short <emsh...@mindspring.com> wrote:
>
> > On Jul 13, 4:14 pm, Andrew Plotkin <erkyr...@eblong.com> wrote:
>
> > > However, what would be even keener would be an automap.
> > > (Mobile IF players are less likely to have a sheaf of paper lying
> > > around.) You wouldn't want text on it -- that would make everything
> > > hard to read. But a dynamic room map in unlabelled, simple shapes and
> > > low-contrast color would be cool. Highlight the current room (or keep
> > > it centered).
>
> > Yes, maybe. I'd prefer centered over highlighted, I think;
> > highlighting would be more likely to produce contrasts with the game
> > screen, and centering would mean that you'd always be able to see the
> > adjacent rooms for your current location, rather than having to think
> > of a way to scroll the map but not the text.
>
> > Of course, this would likely interact in odd (or wrong?) ways with
> > mazes.
>
> Any kind of automap needs to be tuned to the specific game. (Divide
> into game regions, add game-specific scenery like rivers, etc.) For a
> (Advent-style) maze, I'd just blank out all but the room you're in for
> as long as you're in there.
...

> Then there's the political problem Ben brought up, which is that
> Apple's terms are slanted against the idea of "put one IF interpreter
> in the app store, and then people can play every game for free". I
> suspect this is a solvable problem, though.

Might be, though I suspect that for users who aren't members of the IF
community already, individual games (with individual art and plot
write-ups) are more likely to look interesting than a generic
interpreter, even if that interpreter is in fact a portal to hundreds
or thousands of games.

This would also mesh better with the idea of hand-rolled interpreter
features.

Ben Collins-Sussman

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Jul 14, 2008, 10:15:37 AM7/14/08
to
On Jul 13, 7:16 pm, Andrew Plotkin <erkyr...@eblong.com> wrote:

> Then there's the political problem Ben brought up, which is that
> Apple's terms are slanted against the idea of "put one IF interpreter
> in the app store, and then people can play every game for free". I
> suspect this is a solvable problem, though.

I'm hoping that Andrew Hunter finishes his port of Zoom to the iPhone
anyway; having CocoaGlk running there will be great. I'm willing to
bet that Apple will simply turn a blind eye and allow him to
distribute it; Apple's license is clearly targeting a different sort
of application.

That said, my buddy Atul has made progress on Parchment so that it
*almost* works on iPhone 2.0 OS. For example, this link now works on
iPhone Safari:

http://parchment.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/parchment.html?story=http://parchment.toolness.com/if-archive/games/zcode/troll.z5.js

...I just can't enter any text into the prompt. :-)

Andrew Plotkin

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Jul 14, 2008, 10:43:01 AM7/14/08
to
Here, Ben Collins-Sussman <sus...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> That said, my buddy Atul has made progress on Parchment so that it
> *almost* works on iPhone 2.0 OS. For example, this link now works on
> iPhone Safari:
>
> http://parchment.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/parchment.html?story=http://parchment.toolness.com/if-archive/games/zcode/troll.z5.js
>
> ...I just can't enter any text into the prompt. :-)

Whereas in my library, you can enter text but not submit it. :) This
should be easy to fix, but I don't know when I'll get to it.

--Z

--
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*

If the Bush administration hasn't thrown you in military prison without trial,

it's for one reason: they don't feel like it. Not because you're patriotic.

Rikard Peterson

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Jul 18, 2008, 6:05:24 PM7/18/08
to
In article <g5e5tl$g7s$1...@reader1.panix.com>,
Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com> wrote:

> Then there's the political problem Ben brought up, which is that
> Apple's terms are slanted against the idea of "put one IF interpreter
> in the app store, and then people can play every game for free". I
> suspect this is a solvable problem, though.

I downloaded a free game from the App Store today called Tap Tap
Revenge. It's a rhythm game like Guitar Hero (or so I'm told, I've never
actually played GH), but a neat feature was that it allows you to
download additional tracks from within the game. The step from this to a
built-in IFDB-browser isn't that far.

Rikard

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