Inform 7 and the future of Interactive Fictions games in foreign languages (Part II)

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Eric Forgeot

no leída,
23 sept 2007 12:48:3423/9/07
a
I wrote 9 months ago a post about the future of Inform 7 and foreign
languages (cf.
http://groups.google.fr/group/rec.arts.int-fiction/browse_thread/thread/7515109ccc124fe1/ce0b0cddf9ae5182 )

So far the situation didn't change much about this issue.

But for our part, here is what happened : Depresiv, Xpktro, Mel Hython,
Santiago Eximeno, Grendel Khan, Urbatain wrote a whole game in Spanish :
http://www.wikicaad.net/El_museo_de_las_consciencias, and I've written a
few speedif in French :
http://anamnese.online.fr/site2/if/inform7/ScarabeeKatana/
http://anamnese.online.fr/site2/if/inform7/sorciereaubalcon/

Now the Spanish libraries for I7 are located there :
http://groups.google.com/group/rakontointeraktiva/files

While for the French libraries, both I6 and I7 we have a subversion
repository for a better co-working :
http://viewvc.tuxfamily.org/svn_informfr_informfr/trunk/

To make it short, it's possible to create games in Inform 7 in Spanish and
in French, but there are still some limitations :

1) ' is converted into the inform 6 code by ~ . While it's fine for the
English languages which don't use apostrophe (probably there is a
workaround in the code for O'clock, O'Brien and such), it is an issue in
French and Italian (and probably other languages too, maybe not Spanish ?)

Solutions :
a) Allow the IDE to load and compile a modified version (by hand) of the
Inform 6 autogenerated code, or compile it by hand in console mode. Not
nice for glulx games, and not user friendly either.
b) (better) Allow to use ~ into I7 code, and propose the option not to
convert the ' into ~, and to convert ~ into a working ~ in the I6 code
(check option in the IDE, and option in the NI builder). It won't change
anything for English-speaking users, but will be easier for the others.

2) There is no possibility to include custom libraries like it was with
Inform 6. It means you can't officially add new languages.
I've seen there is the "Custom Library Messages" and "Default Messages" by
David Fisher, which could be interesting to use, but it won't solve the
problems for the genders and special grammar in other languages.
More, while we had to maintain only 2 files in Inform 6, now there are still
the Grammar.h and English.h files to adapt, but also a bunch of other files
to take into account. According to Sarganar, there are at least those files
with some default answers in English, instead of into the two Grammar.h and
English.h :

Actions.i6
ChooseObjects.i6
Main.i6
Printing.i6
Relations.i6
Tables.i6
Times.i6
Verbs.i6

I can well understand the authors and contributors of Inform 7 having
English/American as mother tongue, they want to favor this language. So
it's not a problem if it's designed like this, but we want to discuss of a
solution of be able to ease the task to the maintainers of the foreign
versions.

Solutions :

- For the internal error messages like the ones for ex. in time.i6, use a
kind of string converter list, like for the gettext project :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gettext / http://www.poedit.net/index.php
The problem with this format is it's in binary I think. But there are maybe
other solutions.

- For the standard libraries, based on the old english.h and grammar.h,
modify the Main.i6 so it's easy to include a foreign language definition :

around line 417 :
#IFDEF ForeignLanguage;
#IFNOT;
Include "Grammar";
#ENDIF;

But there is still the problem of including the equivalent of English.h for
every languages. For the French version, I do this :

around line 80 :
{-open-file}!% +language_name=FrenchN11
{-call:compile_icl_commands}

Is it possible to have instead :
{-open-file}!% +language_name=LanguageFile
{-call:compile_icl_commands}

And replace this LanguageFile variable in the foreign extension ? I didn't
find a way to do it myself, unfortunately.


The use of new verbs or alterations of default verbs is also another big
annoying issue.

For example if I want to modify a verb like this :

Going behind is an action applying to one thing.
Understand "go derriere [something]" as going behind.

it's working. But :

Understand "aller derriere [something]" as going behind. (derriere means
behind in French)

It's not working because "aller" (going) is already in my definition in
French, and it's not possible to modify it like in English.

All the other questions posted there remains unanswered :

http://groups.google.fr/group/rec.arts.int-fiction/browse_thread/thread/7515109ccc124fe1/ce0b0cddf9ae5182


So how will be the future of Interactive Fiction for us ? Will some
arrangements be made in order to help us to adapt Inform 7 into foreign
languages, or on the contrary will the compatibility be more and more
difficult in the further releases of Inform 7, with some build-in English
expressions and such, so if we really want to make IF games we'll have to
stick to Inform 6 only ?


Zylon

no leída,
23 sept 2007 12:59:4423/9/07
a
You talk about the "future" of text adventures but you only seem to consider
that in relation to Inform 7. I'm sure other systems might provide a route
to your future, too. Have you tried investigating other systems to see if
they could get around the problems you mentioned?


Eric Forgeot

no leída,
23 sept 2007 13:15:4623/9/07
a
Zylon wrote:

yes it's true it's not very fair to talk only about Inform 7, maybe I should
have found another title. But at the moment, neither Tads, Hugo or Alan are
translated into for example, French (some works have been in progress
though, but it's rather stalled now).

http://ifwiki.org/index.php/Rakontointeraktiva (gives an overview of what's
going on)

And I enjoy the way Inform 7 is working :)


sarganar

no leída,
24 sept 2007 15:29:0724/9/07
a
ça va Eric!


Eric Forgeot wrote:
> I wrote 9 months ago a post about the future of Inform 7 and foreign

> languages (cf.http://groups.google.fr/group/rec.arts.int-fiction/browse_thread/thre...)


>
> So far the situation didn't change much about this issue.
>
> But for our part, here is what happened : Depresiv, Xpktro, Mel Hython,
> Santiago Eximeno, Grendel Khan, Urbatain wrote a whole game in Spanish :http://www.wikicaad.net/El_museo_de_las_consciencias, and I've written a

> few speedif in French :http://anamnese.online.fr/site2/if/inform7/ScarabeeKatana/http://anamnese.online.fr/site2/if/inform7/sorciereaubalcon/


>
> Now the Spanish libraries for I7 are located there :http://groups.google.com/group/rakontointeraktiva/files

And that pack is called INFSP 7 (Inform in SPanish).
Oficially, the infsp's web site is in http://www.caad.es/informate/infsp/
There we put the most upgraded info.


> To make it short, it's possible to create games in Inform 7 in Spanish and
> in French, but there are still some limitations :
>
> 1) ' is converted into the inform 6 code by ~ . While it's fine for the
> English languages which don't use apostrophe (probably there is a
> workaround in the code for O'clock, O'Brien and such), it is an issue in
> French and Italian (and probably other languages too, maybe not Spanish ?)

I have no idea (and any testers reports about that)! In spanish, the
use of ' is very uncommon.
And the tips in 2.3. Punctuation (online help) not work?

> kind of string converter list, like for the gettext project :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gettext/http://www.poedit.net/index.php


> The problem with this format is it's in binary I think. But there are maybe
> other solutions.
>

The process of internationalization of I6 libraries was the lastest,
using constant definded in the respectives language.h file.
I think that Nelson will follow the same philosophy with I7.
I put a hacking list file with some of those messages.

> - For the standard libraries, based on the old english.h and grammar.h,
> modify the Main.i6 so it's easy to include a foreign language definition :
>
> around line 417 :
> #IFDEF ForeignLanguage;
> #IFNOT;
> Include "Grammar";
> #ENDIF;
>
> But there is still the problem of including the equivalent of English.h for
> every languages. For the French version, I do this :
>
> around line 80 :
> {-open-file}!% +language_name=FrenchN11
> {-call:compile_icl_commands}
>
> Is it possible to have instead :
> {-open-file}!% +language_name=LanguageFile
> {-call:compile_icl_commands}
>
> And replace this LanguageFile variable in the foreign extension ? I didn't
> find a way to do it myself, unfortunately.
>

Yes, it is possible. Take a look to the infsp_I7.rar file in rakonto.
You must put some code like:
{-open-file}!% +language_name=Selector
{-call:compile_icl_commands}

And then write a "Selecotr.h" file with the lines:

#ifdef ForeignLanguage;
Include "Spanish";
#ifnot;
Include "English";
#endif;

that's all. If I include the Spanish extension in my I7 game source,
inform loads Spanish.h.
If I don't, inform loads English.h


> The use of new verbs or alterations of default verbs is also another big
> annoying issue.
>
> For example if I want to modify a verb like this :
>
> Going behind is an action applying to one thing.
> Understand "go derriere [something]" as going behind.
>
> it's working. But :
>
> Understand "aller derriere [something]" as going behind. (derriere means
> behind in French)
>
> It's not working because "aller" (going) is already in my definition in
> French, and it's not possible to modify it like in English.
>

the same problem in spanish.
But in general, I didn't have serious problems porting the grammar
lines to I7 code.


> All the other questions posted there remains unanswered :
>

> http://groups.google.fr/group/rec.arts.int-fiction/browse_thread/thre...
>

We have some others limitation, wrote them in the wikiCAAD (the IF
spanish wiki):
http://www.wikicaad.net/Aventurero:Sarganar/INFSP7
but in spanish :-(

In few words:
- smart change of object gender (GNA) in realtime, depending of the
player reference. In spanish we have inflections output depending of
the gender, and an object could have adjectives in both genders (male,
fem). InformATE (I6 in spanish), resolved that very well...
- 'be part of every' relationship, resolved in a english way, useless
in spanish
- "That noun did not make sense in this context" english message.
Sometimes (scope_error context) the hacking is impossible.
- and so.

thanx for keep track this treahd!

y por cierto, mi ingles es un desastre. :-)

Sarganar

INFSP - inform in spanish
caad.es/informate/infsp/


Emily Short

no leída,
25 sept 2007 14:43:0325/9/07
a
It's true that not much has changed (or at least, not for the better)
about internationalization of Inform 7 over the last year. Partly this
is because that issue has taken a back seat to adding other features
that will affect a broader user base; partly it is because it's not
clear how best to solve the problems that have been raised, especially
given that the system is internally in a state of some flux.

That doesn't mean that we've taken a decision to ignore these problems
forever, though! We continue to be interested in hearing what
stumbling blocks you run into, even if we're not able to be
immediately responsive.

Sorry for the frustration of waiting. I'm quite impressed by how much
has already been done in I7 in other languages, honestly...

Eric Forgeot

no leída,
26 sept 2007 17:00:4626/9/07
a
thank you for the detailled reply !

sarganar wrote:


>Oficially, the infsp's web site is in http://www.caad.es/informate/infsp/

Hey, nice page, totally in the mood of the Inform 7 esthetic :)

>> 1) ' is converted into the inform 6 code by ~ . While it's fine for the

>

> I have no idea (and any testers reports about that)! In spanish, the
> use of ' is very uncommon.
> And the tips in 2.3. Punctuation (online help) not work?

I didn't notice. I should probably work. But it'd render the source
unreadable because we use so much this apostrophe. I'd prefer a kind
of "now the apostrophe is a real apostrophe" rule.

> Yes, it is possible. Take a look to the infsp_I7.rar file in rakonto.
> You must put some code like:
> {-open-file}!% +language_name=Selector
> {-call:compile_icl_commands}
>
> And then write a "Selecotr.h" file with the lines:
>
> #ifdef ForeignLanguage;
> Include "Spanish";
> #ifnot;
> Include "English";
> #endif;
>

Good idea, I'll do it. It's still not much user friendly, but it's better
than nothing, and quicker than editing the main.i6 each time I want to
switch language.



> the same problem in spanish.
> But in general, I didn't have serious problems porting the grammar
> lines to I7 code.

I'll study more in depth your Spanish version.

>
> y por cierto, mi ingles es un desastre. :-)
>

I don't think so, but I'm not English-speaker myself ;)

Eric Forgeot

no leída,
26 sept 2007 17:08:1526/9/07
a
Emily Short wrote:

> That doesn't mean that we've taken a decision to ignore these problems
> forever, though! We continue to be interested in hearing what
> stumbling blocks you run into, even if we're not able to be
> immediately responsive.

Thank you for the reply Emily.
I can understand you have many other things to deal with. But it's good to
be assumed we won't be left aside in the future of Inform 7 ! ;)

sarganar

no leída,
27 sept 2007 9:31:1327/9/07
a

Thanx Emily !

(in name of all the infsp team)

Autymn D. C.

no leída,
29 sept 2007 13:37:5929/9/07
a
every and each is singular; all is plural (should be pliral)
adverbial objects should be parenthetic, not clitic
punctuation should not be retardedly gapped
build-in is not a word
Francish is corruptura of Latin.

Eric Forgeot

no leída,
1 oct 2007 14:02:371/10/07
a
Autymn D. C. wrote:

oh yes certainly, it will only prove the point I'd better stick up for
writing games in French instead of English ;)

(talking about punctuation, presentation and syntax, yours aren't very clean
either...)


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