Creating source code by parsing a transcript: Possible? Desirable? Been done?

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Dennis G. Jerz

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Jan 29, 2001, 4:09:13 PM1/29/01
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Has anybody tried writing code that parses an IF transcript (real or
imaginary) in order to generate source code?

Obviously, such a tool would be mostly useful for setting the scene,
describing objects, connecting rooms, and personalizing the "You can't do
that" messages. If the parser can't make sense of a passage, it could direct
the user to the appropriate passages in the manual, or invoke a wizard.

Perhaps programmers who are skilled enough to write such a tool would think
it a waste of time; perhaps the writers who could benefit from such a tool
would never think about it. I'm about to introduce IF to my students, some
of whom have had no programming experience, but all of whom should be able
to write a sample transcript.

--
Dennis G. Jerz, Ph.D.; (715)836-2431
Dept. of English; U Wisc.-Eau Claire
419 Hibbard, Eau Claire, WI 54702
------------------------------------
Literacy Weblog: www.uwec.edu/jerzdg


Andrew MacKinnon

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Jan 29, 2001, 7:18:28 PM1/29/01
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"Dennis G. Jerz" wrote:

> Has anybody tried writing code that parses an IF transcript (real or
> imaginary) in order to generate source code?
>
> Obviously, such a tool would be mostly useful for setting the scene,
> describing objects, connecting rooms, and personalizing the "You can't do
> that" messages. If the parser can't make sense of a passage, it could direct
> the user to the appropriate passages in the manual, or invoke a wizard.
>
> Perhaps programmers who are skilled enough to write such a tool would think
> it a waste of time; perhaps the writers who could benefit from such a tool
> would never think about it. I'm about to introduce IF to my students, some
> of whom have had no programming experience, but all of whom should be able
> to write a sample transcript.

I think that would be nearly impossible. Consider the following transcript:

>open jar
You open the jar.

>kick jar
That is pointless when you are holding the jar.

>drop jar
Dropped.

>kick jar
You kick the jar and it lands nearby. You then pick it up again.

>kick jar
That is pointless when you are holding the jar.

Well, an automatic parser thingy doesn't know anything about what's happening,
with the possible exception of the open and drop commands. Just give these
students a copy of the Designer's Manual, a copy of Inform, a copy of Frotz and
a few interactive fiction games. Sorry.

--
Andrew MacKinnon
andrew_mac...@yahoo.com
http://www.geocities.com/andrew_mackinnon_2000/


Ricardo Dague

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Jan 30, 2001, 11:08:05 AM1/30/01
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In article <954m5q$j8g$1...@wiscnews.wiscnet.net>,

"Dennis G. Jerz" <Jer...@uwec.edu> wrote:
> Has anybody tried writing code that parses an IF transcript (real or
> imaginary) in order to generate source code?

Not that I know of, but you might design a little language whose source
code mimics a transcript. The code would be made up of the names of
rooms, descriptions, exits, and objects in the rooms. For example, this
code:

Kitchen
You stand around in the kitchen.

>E
Living Room
This is the living room.
Objects: television, couch

>X TELEVISION
The tragic lantern.

>X COUCH
Looks comfy.

>S
Hallway
You are now in the hallway.

>NW
Kitchen

would generate a framework of Inform source, such as:

object kitchen "Kitchen"
with
description "You stand around in the kitchen.",
e_to living_room,
se_to hallway;

object living_room "Living Room"
with
description "This is the living room.",
w_to kitchen,
s_to hallway;

object television "television" living_room
with
name 'television',
description "The tragic lantern.";

object couch "couch" living_room
with
name 'couch',
description "Looks comfy.";

object hallway "Hallway"
with
description "You are now in the hallway.",
n_to living_room,
nw_to kitchen;

I think you could easily write a translator in Perl. If you or anyone
else (not me) wants to tackle the project, you might upload it to
ftp.gmd.de.

A lot of IF writers would find it useful, IMO, because the transcript
above is more intuitive than the Inform code. Since the formatting is
much simpler, it's easier to read and write. However, the Inform code is
more powerful; it gives you a lot more control over how the game runs.

-- Ricardo


Sent via Deja.com
http://www.deja.com/

Dennis G. Jerz

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Jan 30, 2001, 1:36:55 PM1/30/01
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"Andrew MacKinnon" <andrew_mac...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:3A761D20...@yahoo.com...

Right, but as I suggested, it might be useful for "for setting the scene,


describing objects, connecting rooms, and personalizing the "You can't do
that" messages."

For example, the parser could assume that everything written is either a
"You can't do that" message or a personalized "after" message.


>take jar
It's heavy and a little sticky.

>drop jar
No: It sticks to your hand!

The "No" could be a sign of a refusal message, which would be edited out of
the game code.

In my experience, beginning IF programmers aren't sophisticated enough to
write transcripts that represent the kind of complicated if-then stuff that
you represented in your transcript. That kind of thinking is easy for
programmers, but very hard for non-programmers. I am trying to think of a
way to help those students for whom the resources you mentioned simply
aren't enough. To many people, the computational, iterative, and
problem-solving thinking that is required for computer programming does not
come easily.

Thanks for your feedback, Andrew... that's one mark for "programmers skilled
enough to do it would think it a waste of time".

Dennis G. Jerz

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Jan 30, 2001, 2:55:56 PM1/30/01
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"Ricardo Dague" <tri...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:956osu$7nj$1...@nnrp1.deja.com...

> In article <954m5q$j8g$1...@wiscnews.wiscnet.net>,
> "Dennis G. Jerz" <Jer...@uwec.edu> wrote:
> > Has anybody tried writing code that parses an IF transcript (real or
> > imaginary) in order to generate source code?
>
> Not that I know of, but you might design a little language whose source
> code mimics a transcript. The code would be made up of the names of
> rooms, descriptions, exits, and objects in the rooms. For example, this
> code:

> [example of transcript and source code output deleted]


>
> I think you could easily write a translator in Perl. If you or anyone
> else (not me) wants to tackle the project, you might upload it to
> ftp.gmd.de.

I do have some experience in Perl, and was thinking that's the language I
would use.

>
> A lot of IF writers would find it useful, IMO, because the transcript
> above is more intuitive than the Inform code.

Exactly. The thrill of being able to walk around in and pick up objects that
you created, even if you're only using the default Inform behaviors, is
something that requires a steep learning curve. I give my students a
template with "describe object here" and other blanks for them to fill in,
but the non-programmers in the class (generally at least half) are
furstrated and bored, and hate having to hunt for typos when the compiler
returns errors.

> Since the formatting is
> much simpler, it's easier to read and write. However, the Inform code is
> more powerful; it gives you a lot more control over how the game runs.

Very true. My hope would be that such an imaginary transcriber would provide
a skeleton, upon which to code the special, unusual behaviors (such as those
that Andrew pointed out wouldn't be worth equipping a translator to
interpret).

So that's one vote for and one against.

>
> -- Ricardo
>
>
> Sent via Deja.com
> http://www.deja.com/

--

Mel

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Jan 31, 2001, 12:32:05 PM1/31/01
to
"Dennis G. Jerz" wrote:

> Exactly. The thrill of being able to walk around in and pick up objects that
> you created, even if you're only using the default Inform behaviors, is
> something that requires a steep learning curve. I give my students a
> template with "describe object here" and other blanks for them to fill in,
> but the non-programmers in the class (generally at least half) are
> furstrated and bored, and hate having to hunt for typos when the compiler
> returns errors.

Why not use one of the "easy languages" or front ends? (Actually I'm a
little surprised nobody's jumped in with any kind of ad yet.) It
wouldn't even have to be a graphical one. I use AGT, which is supposed
to allow you to write really basic (GAGS level) adventures just by
filling out templates. Start 'em off with a file with cut-and-paste
templates and most of the spelling errors just turn up in the
descriptions.

Of course, the basic translator for special cases would be easy to
write, too. For example: your jar transcript:

>take jar
It's heavy and a little sticky.

>drop jar
No: It sticks to your hand!

would translate into something like: (I'm not certain of the syntax
without having a file in front of me)

command take jar
printmessage "It's heavy and a little sticky"
end_command

(this just prints a message and lets the turn proceed as usual)

command drop jar
printmessage "It sticks to your hand"
DoneWithTurn
end_command

(this stops the turn after printing the message, keeping the command
from working)

The trouble is, it doesn't work for all situations. You could try to
drop the jar without picking it up, or without even seeing it. Silly
possibilities abound:

(starting away from the jar)

You are in the family room

> get jar

It's heavy and a little sticky

there is no jar here.

> e

You are in the kitchen
There is a large jelly jar here

>drop jar

It sticks to your hand

> I

You are carrying nothing.


To actually make it work right would require more work on somebody's
part.

Mel

(remove the exclamation of horror to reply)

Dennis G. Jerz

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Jan 31, 2001, 3:54:09 PM1/31/01
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"Mel" <brit...@america.net> wrote in message
news:3A784C15.10A4E604@Eeaagh_SPAMamerica.net...

> Why not use one of the "easy languages" or front ends? (Actually I'm a
> little surprised nobody's jumped in with any kind of ad yet.) It
> wouldn't even have to be a graphical one. I use AGT, which is supposed
> to allow you to write really basic (GAGS level) adventures just by
> filling out templates. Start 'em off with a file with cut-and-paste
> templates and most of the spelling errors just turn up in the
> descriptions.

The real reason, I suppose, is that I haven't been willing to invest the
time in learning another language well enough to be able to *teach* it.

An hour or so ago I just finished giving my class ("Writing Electronic
Texts") a 50-min crash course on IF, using various ZPlet web pages. Friday
I'm introducing them to Inform (although if I have time tomorrow, I will at
least look into alternatives.. the thing is I have the Inform exercise
already worked out from when I taught it last year, so it's really just
laziness that's keeping me from changing at this point).

And by the way, when a roomfull of students new to IF all discovered -- at
more or less the same time -- the secret of Adam Cadre's "9:05", audible
gasps and a chorus of "EEwww!" went through the room. I think Adam would
have enjoyed witnessing the disgust he caused.

FWIW, the lesson plan was:

Interactive Fiction (IF)
a.. The doctor is in: visit Eliza
b.. Interactive Fiction- How is it different? (a short article I wrote)
c.. Classic IF online:
a.. Colossal Cave Adventure (Crowther and Woods, c. 1976) (background |
Fan page -- extensive commentary) (Rick Adams's page seems to be down)
b.. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Infocom, 1984)
c.. Leather Goddesses of Phobos (Infocom, 1986)
d.. Recent IF online:
a.. The one-joke Pick Up the Phone Booth and Die (Rob Noyes, 1996)
b.. 9:05 (Adam Cadre, 2000)
For homework, they are reading Photopia and Metamorphoses.

Andrew Plotkin

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Feb 1, 2001, 12:11:20 AM2/1/01
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Dennis G. Jerz <Jer...@uwec.edu> wrote:

> An hour or so ago I just finished giving my class ("Writing Electronic
> Texts") a 50-min crash course on IF, using various ZPlet web pages. Friday
> I'm introducing them to Inform (although if I have time tomorrow, I will at
> least look into alternatives.. the thing is I have the Inform exercise
> already worked out from when I taught it last year, so it's really just
> laziness that's keeping me from changing at this point).

I don't suppose you could write a big fat essay about your experiences
teaching these classes?

> And by the way, when a roomfull of students new to IF all discovered -- at
> more or less the same time -- the secret of Adam Cadre's "9:05", audible
> gasps and a chorus of "EEwww!" went through the room.

Yay. :)

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
* My vote counts -- count my vote!

Magnus Olsson

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Feb 1, 2001, 7:59:03 AM2/1/01
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In article <959u21$op0$1...@wiscnews.wiscnet.net>,

Dennis G. Jerz <Jer...@uwec.edu> wrote:
>An hour or so ago I just finished giving my class ("Writing Electronic
>Texts") a 50-min crash course on IF, using various ZPlet web pages.

(...)

>And by the way, when a roomfull of students new to IF all discovered -- at
>more or less the same time -- the secret of Adam Cadre's "9:05", audible
>gasps and a chorus of "EEwww!" went through the room. I think Adam would
>have enjoyed witnessing the disgust he caused.
>
>FWIW, the lesson plan was:
>
>Interactive Fiction (IF)
> a.. The doctor is in: visit Eliza
> b.. Interactive Fiction- How is it different? (a short article I wrote)
> c.. Classic IF online:
> a.. Colossal Cave Adventure (Crowther and Woods, c. 1976) (background |
>Fan page -- extensive commentary) (Rick Adams's page seems to be down)
> b.. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Infocom, 1984)
> c.. Leather Goddesses of Phobos (Infocom, 1986)
> d.. Recent IF online:
> a.. The one-joke Pick Up the Phone Booth and Die (Rob Noyes, 1996)
> b.. 9:05 (Adam Cadre, 2000)
> For homework, they are reading Photopia and Metamorphoses.

You know, reading this gave me a really good feeling: IF is taken
seriously.

Keep up the good work!

--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se, m...@pobox.com)
------ http://www.pobox.com/~mol ------

sg...@my-deja.com

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Feb 1, 2001, 3:56:33 PM2/1/01
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In article <959u21$op0$1...@wiscnews.wiscnet.net>,

"Dennis G. Jerz" <Jer...@uwec.edu> wrote:

Hi Dennis,

One problem with using an 'easier' language than Inform (like ALAN,AGT
or the forms-based Quest/QDK system) is that the games produced won't
parallel the examples you use in teaching your course.

There are tools available to assist the production of Inform games
though. The first that comes to mine is Visual Inform. That's a form-
based system for Microsoft Windows PCs. Using a fill-in-the-form
Inform authoring gizmo avoids the problems caused by the mistyping of
Inform syntax. So "VI" would be something worth looking at if you're
using Windows PCs.

Jarb, the author of VI, doesn't think its a finished product but I get
the impression (though I'm not an Inform user) that its less half-baked
than the couple of other form-based Inform tools available.

Here's some links to Inform tools I know of. (All are MS Win software.)
They may be of interest to you or others reading this msg -- and
evaluating them is your homework assignment to complete before next
year's course! :-)

Forms-based Editors
Visual Inform http://www.iflibrary.org/vinform/
IMForm ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/programming/editors/imfb01.zip

Text Editors
Inform Explorer http://www.logicshopltd.co.uk/ie/index.html
IF-IDE http://www.geocities.com/mjperlini/
Informer ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/programming/editors/InEdit10.zip
Inform Edit http://www.ifarchive.org/if-
archive/programming/editors/InformEdit2200Full.zip


[snip]

-- SteveG.
"What's another word for synonym?"
(seen on a storefront billboard)

Dennis G. Jerz

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Feb 1, 2001, 4:26:55 PM2/1/01
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"Andrew Plotkin" <erky...@eblong.com> wrote in message
news:95ar5o$793$1...@news.panix.com...

> Dennis G. Jerz <Jer...@uwec.edu> wrote:
>
> > An hour or so ago I just finished giving my class ("Writing Electronic
> > Texts") a 50-min crash course on IF, using various ZPlet web pages.
Friday
> > I'm introducing them to Inform (although if I have time tomorrow, I will
at
> > least look into alternatives.. the thing is I have the Inform exercise
> > already worked out from when I taught it last year, so it's really just
> > laziness that's keeping me from changing at this point).
>
> I don't suppose you could write a big fat essay about your experiences
> teaching these classes?

Until such time as I get around to it, you might enjoy the following:

"Interactive Fiction vs. the Pause That Distresses: How Computer-Based
Literature Interrupts the Reading Process Without Stopping the Fun"
by Brendan Desilets
http://www.cwrl.utexas.edu/currents/spr99/desilets.html

(mild spoiler for Photopia)


But works of interactive fiction in its more mature variations offer a
dramatically different set of opportunities for literature teachers. Some of
these, such as Adam Cadre's brilliant interactive short story "Photopia,"
(1998) move away from lengthy problem-solving altogether. The reader must
still pause often, sometimes briefly and occasionally at greater length, to
decide on what action a character should take, but the appeal of the tale
stems almost entirely from conventional literary elements, especially an
intricately woven plot and highly engaging characters. In one scene, for
example, a father and his precocious little daughter look up at the sky
outside their garage and talk about one of their common interests,
astronomy. The reader has no real problems to solve, but must stop to make
some choices about what one of the characters, in this case the father, will
say, and these pauses offer a literature teacher some remarkably teachable
moments. Gradually, the thoughtful student reader, with the right kind of
help, comes to see that the astronomical concepts that emerge from the a
touching father-daughter dialogue illuminate another subplot of the story,
one in which the daughter, some years later, weaves a tale of space travel
for a younger girl who idolizes her. (Dieselets par. 25)

Dennis G. Jerz

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Feb 1, 2001, 4:46:48 PM2/1/01
to
> Hi Dennis,
>
> One problem with using an 'easier' language than Inform (like ALAN,AGT
> or the forms-based Quest/QDK system) is that the games produced won't
> parallel the examples you use in teaching your course.
>
> There are tools available to assist the production of Inform games
> though. The first that comes to mine is Visual Inform. That's a form-
> based system for Microsoft Windows PCs. Using a fill-in-the-form
> Inform authoring gizmo avoids the problems caused by the mistyping of
> Inform syntax. So "VI" would be something worth looking at if you're
> using Windows PCs.
>
> Jarb, the author of VI, doesn't think its a finished product but I get
> the impression (though I'm not an Inform user) that its less half-baked
> than the couple of other form-based Inform tools available.
>
> Here's some links to Inform tools I know of. (All are MS Win software.)
> They may be of interest to you or others reading this msg -- and
> evaluating them is your homework assignment to complete before next
> year's course! :-)

Thanks. Around this time last year, I was in active communication with David
Cornelson and Paul De Valmency regarding their respective IDEs. Two of my
students wrote instruction manuals for the versions of the software that
were available at the time, but of course those manuals are out of date.

Unless I am mistaken, "Inform Edit" is an older version of Paul's "Inform
Explorer".

Last year, I was all set to use Paul's Inform Explorer, but found that it
wouldn't run on the WinNT lab in which I was teaching the class.

Nevertheless, of the 14 or so students in the class, 5 opted to do an Inform
project. A pair of students -- one a computer science student and one a
creative writing student -- got the farthest along, but I made the mistake
of not making the project worth enough points, so the other students sort of
lost interest. Also, I didn't show them enough short games (such as
MiniComps or IffyArts) that were of the size that a beginner could
reasonably produce; I think the students were overwhelmed by the size of
"Losing Your Grip."

This year, ZPlet versions of games are much more prevalent on the Internet,
which means I can show them more games without first making them download
the files.

That, to comment on another thread, is another reason I do prefer Inform --
ZPlet (despite what Adam Cadre tells me are disambiguation problems) does
permit a beginner to jump right in.

I have a framed version of Adventure that includes a hint page on the left
column. I hope one day to have critical annotation in that column.

http://www.uwec.edu/jerzdg/orr/articles/IF/online/adventure_f.htm

sg...@my-deja.com

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Feb 1, 2001, 4:48:01 PM2/1/01
to
In article <9571k7$5lk$1...@wiscnews.wiscnet.net>,

"Dennis G. Jerz" <Jer...@uwec.edu> wrote:
>>> Has anybody tried writing code that parses an IF transcript (real or
>>> imaginary) in order to generate source code?
>>>
>>> Obviously, such a tool would be mostly useful for setting the scene,
>>> describing objects, connecting rooms, and personalizing the "You
can't
>>> do
>>> that" messages. If the parser can't make sense of a passage, it
could
>>> direct
>>> the user to the appropriate passages in the manual, or invoke a
wizard.
[snip]

Another programming interface that might be useful for the scene-
setting level of IF-writing is the 'writing while playing' interface.
Its been mentioned on raif a few times. Pretty hard to write the
software I think. That's why this also remains just an idea, sadly.

eg:

aroom
> name room deep in the jungle

Deep in the Jungle
> describe
>> You are in a dark forest surrounded by tall trees and
thick undergrowth. The trees thin out to the north.

Deep in the Jungle
You are in a dark forest surrounded by tall trees and thick
undergrowth. The trees thin out to the north.
> make exit north
Please name the location to the north>> Jungle Clearing

> north

Jungle Clearing
> describe
>> You are in a small clearing in the jungle. A path leads
south into the trees.

Jungle Clearing
You are in a small clearing in the jungle. A path leads south
into the trees.
> make object campfire
etc etc

-- SteveG.

Mel

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Feb 1, 2001, 4:49:36 PM2/1/01
to
"Dennis G. Jerz" wrote:

> "Mel" <brit...@america.net> wrote in message

> > Why not use one of the "easy languages" or front ends? (Actually I'm a

> The real reason, I suppose, is that I haven't been willing to invest the


> time in learning another language well enough to be able to *teach* it.

I can understand, much like one of my reasons for using AGT.

> An hour or so ago I just finished giving my class ("Writing Electronic
> Texts") a 50-min crash course on IF, using various ZPlet web pages. Friday
> I'm introducing them to Inform (although if I have time tomorrow, I will at

Wow. I'm curious to know how it turns out.

> FWIW, the lesson plan was:

<snip lesson plan>

> For homework, they are reading Photopia and Metamorphoses.

Sounds like an interesting class.

Mel

Daryl McCullough

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Feb 1, 2001, 5:42:56 PM2/1/01
to
Dennis says...

>I have a framed version of Adventure...

I had mine framed, too. It's hanging on the wall above
the fireplace.

--
Daryl McCullough
CoGenTex, Inc.
Ithaca, NY

Dennis G. Jerz

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Feb 1, 2001, 7:33:25 PM2/1/01
to
"Daryl McCullough" <da...@cogentex.com> wrote in message
news:95cop...@drn.newsguy.com...

> Dennis says...
>
> >I have a framed version of Adventure...
>
> I had mine framed, too. It's hanging on the wall above
> the fireplace.
>


Funny. You oughta be on the stage. There's one leaving in ten minutes.

Carl Muckenhoupt

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Feb 1, 2001, 7:47:05 PM2/1/01
to
On Thu, 01 Feb 2001 21:48:01 GMT, sg...@my-deja.com wrote:

>Another programming interface that might be useful for the scene-
>setting level of IF-writing is the 'writing while playing' interface.
>Its been mentioned on raif a few times. Pretty hard to write the
>software I think. That's why this also remains just an idea, sadly.

Muds do this kind of thing all the time. Heck, IFMud does this.

-----= Posted via Newsfeeds.Com, Uncensored Usenet News =-----
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Daryl McCullough

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Feb 2, 2001, 9:20:14 AM2/2/01
to
Dennis says...

>
>"Daryl McCullough" <da...@cogentex.com> wrote in message
>
>> Dennis says...
>>
>> >I have a framed version of Adventure...
>>
>> I had mine framed, too. It's hanging on the wall above
>> the fireplace.
>>
>
>
>Funny. You oughta be on the stage. There's one leaving in ten minutes.

They all laughed when I said I was going to become a comedian.
Well, nobody's laughing *now*!

SteveG

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Feb 2, 2001, 1:45:19 PM2/2/01
to
On Fri, 02 Feb 2001 00:47:05 GMT, ca...@wurb.com (Carl Muckenhoupt)
wrote:

>On Thu, 01 Feb 2001 21:48:01 GMT, sg...@my-deja.com wrote:
>>Another programming interface that might be useful for the scene-
>>setting level of IF-writing is the 'writing while playing' interface.
>>Its been mentioned on raif a few times. Pretty hard to write the
>>software I think. That's why this also remains just an idea, sadly.
>
>Muds do this kind of thing all the time. Heck, IFMud does this.

Hmmm, that sounds encouraging. How hard to extend a MUD system so that
it can generate Inform source code or atleast to generate a datafile
from which another program could generate Inform source code?
-- SteveG
remove _X_ from my address to send me email

Bennett Standeven

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Feb 2, 2001, 7:04:41 PM2/2/01
to

"Daryl McCullough" <da...@cogentex.com> wrote in message
news:95cop...@drn.newsguy.com...

> Dennis says...
>
> >I have a framed version of Adventure...
>
> I had mine framed, too. It's hanging on the wall above
> the fireplace.
>

Me too. Unfortunately, the police were not fooled...


Andrew MacKinnon

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Feb 2, 2001, 7:20:28 PM2/2/01
to
Daryl McCullough wrote:

> Dennis says...
> >
> >"Daryl McCullough" <da...@cogentex.com> wrote in message
> >
> >> Dennis says...
> >>
> >> >I have a framed version of Adventure...
> >>
> >> I had mine framed, too. It's hanging on the wall above
> >> the fireplace.
> >>
> >
> >
> >Funny. You oughta be on the stage. There's one leaving in ten minutes.
>
> They all laughed when I said I was going to become a comedian.
> Well, nobody's laughing *now*!

This is off topic.

Inform editors seem to be scarce now, given that windows only has the
crappy notepad and wordpad editors. I think the "Notepads+" editor is
good, it is in somewhere at http://www.winfiles.com/

Elise Stone

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Feb 3, 2001, 9:28:53 AM2/3/01
to
On Sat, 03 Feb 2001 00:20:28 GMT, Andrew MacKinnon
<andrew_mac...@yahoo.com> wrote:

>
>This is off topic.
>
>Inform editors seem to be scarce now, given that windows only has the
>crappy notepad and wordpad editors. I think the "Notepads+" editor is
>good, it is in somewhere at http://www.winfiles.com/
>

I like Edit Plus (http://www.editplus.com/) with Stefano Gaburri's
Inform syntax file (downloadable from the same site). This is
shareware as opposed to free, but I think it's well worth the $30.

Dennis G. Jerz

unread,
Feb 4, 2001, 2:15:04 PM2/4/01
to
I use NoteTab, which has some nifty macros that I use to run the compiler
and load the output into a textfile.

--
Dennis G. Jerz, Ph.D.; (715)836-2431
Dept. of English; U Wisc.-Eau Claire
419 Hibbard, Eau Claire, WI 54702
------------------------------------
Literacy Weblog: www.uwec.edu/jerzdg

"Elise Stone" <emla...@mediaone.net> wrote in message
news:3a7c13bf...@news.ne.mediaone.net...

Richard Bos

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Feb 5, 2001, 9:03:50 AM2/5/01
to
Andrew MacKinnon <andrew_mac...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> This is off topic.
>
> Inform editors seem to be scarce now, given that windows only has the
> crappy notepad and wordpad editors. I think the "Notepads+" editor is
> good, it is in somewhere at http://www.winfiles.com/

Textpad. Textpad, Textpad, Textpad. <http://www.textpad.com/>.

Richard

Francis Avila

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Feb 5, 2001, 9:55:23 PM2/5/01
to
Richard Bos <in...@hoekstra-uitgeverij.nl> wrote in message
news:3a7e94e8....@news.worldonline.nl...

> Andrew MacKinnon <andrew_mac...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> Textpad. Textpad, Textpad, Textpad. <http://www.textpad.com/>.
>
> Richard

And I will second this. It has many powerful features, yet not too many to
intimidate (or to be so obtusely documented).
It has a very simple syntax highlighting (and I think there's an inform
syntax file at their site, ready for download anyway), ability to run
external applications from it and capture output (which you can then use
regular expressions to decipher, so you can, for example, take compiler
output and be able to click on an error and be immediately forwarded to that
line in the proper file.), and spell checker (many dictionaries available).

It does make inform programming quite a bit easier to have spell check and
the ability to run the compiler out of the app with a hotkey, then quickly
find any errors or warnings it complains about.

Basically, it's simple and powerful enough for the rest of us. "The rest of
us" would be, then -- according to recent thread -- those with a literary
background who are compelled to learn some programming, such as myself. If
you want really fancy macros (you can't write one from scratch, it only
records keypresses and function calls), or fancy sorting (can't use regular
expressions to define what to sort by, which would be nice...), or other
such advanced features, well then you probably already have an editor to
your liking -- otherwise you wouldn't know you wanted them, eh? It's a bit
much ($27), but the shareware is uncrippled, should you not have any cash on
hand (but with the expressed purpose of paying for it later, hmm?)

Oh, and it's pretty, too. (Yeh, yeh, so what? But I think it does matter,
because everything is where Windows has trained me to expect things to be,
and it has a polished feel.)

And since it seems relevant, ^([^(]+)\(([[:digit:]]+)\): will work on
inform's default compile error messages. (POSIX, I think, though)
--
Francis Avila
[He does realize he just wasted 20 minutes on an OT post...]


Jonadab the Unsightly One

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Feb 9, 2001, 10:44:59 AM2/9/01
to
"Dennis G. Jerz" <Jer...@uwec.edu> wrote:

> I use NoteTab, which has some nifty macros that I use to run the compiler
> and load the output into a textfile.

I use Emacs, which has the syntax highlighting (via inform-mode),
the macros to run the compiler, automatic indentation, and a
z-machine interpreter (called malyon), among other things. And
it's free.

- jonadab

gnat

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Feb 10, 2001, 10:45:32 AM2/10/01
to
I use NEdit on Linux, to which I've added a few Macros for compiling and
launching. However I probably would be using Emacs if I had managed to get
Maylon working (as Jonadab has) myself. I can compile it, but don't know
how to implement it, as I guess - as well as being an Inform newbie - I am
also a little green when it comes to Emacs. I imagine that for Windows
users UltraEdit or PFE might be good choices.

Nathan

alex blatter

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Feb 10, 2001, 4:50:20 PM2/10/01
to
gnat wrote:
>
>However I probably would be using Emacs if I had managed to get
> Maylon working (as Jonadab has) myself. I can compile it, but don't know
> how to implement it, as I guess - as well as being an Inform newbie - I am
> also a little green when it comes to Emacs.

Hello "gnat"

Yes its a bit "tricky" (emacs is a beast:o)
Thats the way it works for me:

1.Place the maylon.el in you emacs lisp directory (on my machine
(suse7.0) this is: /usr/share/emacs/20.7./lisp/play/)
(make shure you user has rights to read and execute the file!)
2. Add the line
(load "maylon")
in your "~/.emacs" file
3. start emacs
4. typ in M + x (holding down the (left)"alt" button and typ "x")
typ "maylon" (without quotation marks ;-) and press return
5. load a game and play!

The TADS-mode.el and inform-mode.el are implemented much the same way.
I dont know the tads-mode, but the inform-mode is very good, and comes
with a great readme (look in the source code) so it should be no problem
to install it.
for further questions read the newsgroup --> gnu.emacs.help

alex

Jonadab the Unsightly One

unread,
Feb 11, 2001, 10:35:19 PM2/11/01
to

> The TADS-mode.el and inform-mode.el are implemented much the same way.
> I dont know the tads-mode, but the inform-mode is very good, and comes
> with a great readme (look in the source code) so it should be no problem
> to install it.
> for further questions read the newsgroup --> gnu.emacs.help

Also, if you're using inform-mode or tads-mode, you want to be
sure to turn on font-lock so as to get the advantage of the
syntax highlighting. Spend a couple of months programming
with syntax highlighting, and you'll never want to do without
it again.

- jonadab

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