Discussions about interactive fiction

Archive for August, 2010

[TADS3] Announce RexTok 1.0

This is version 1.0 of the TADS 3 RexTok library extension. The
rexTokMatch(), rexTokSearch(), and rexTokGroup() functions do for a token
list or vector what rexMatch(), rexSearch(), and rexGroup() do for strings.
You can get the latest version from:

The following is an example of the use of the RexTok rexTokMatch() and
rexTokGroup() functions. First we create a string and convert it to a token

        local str, ret, toks, grp;

        str = ‘Bob, hello world and universe and everything. So long, and
thanks for all the fish!’;
        toks = Tokenizer.tokenize(str);

Next we create a RexPattern:

        pat = new RexPattern(‘hello (world) and ((universe) and

Suppose we want to do a rexTokMatch on our token list for the our pattern,
starting at token index 3.

        ret = rexTokMatch(pat, toks, 3);

The return value is a list consisting first of  an enumerator indicating the
"exactness" of the token matching, then the number of tokens matched, and
finally a vector that must be used by any subsequent rexTokGroup() function

        return: [RtmOk, 6, obj#2ffe (Vector)]

The RtmOk indicates that our match was an exact match on token boundaries,
and not a partial match on a token. For instance the RexPattern(‘in’) would
partially match the token value ‘begin’, or the token value ‘indeed’ or the
token value ‘pint’. As these partial matches might occur at the beginning or
the end of a token.

The rexTokGroup() function takes two arguments, the first is the group
number, the second is the return from the previous rexTokMatch or

        grp = rexTokGroup(1, ret);

        return: [RtmOk,[2,1,[['world',tokWord,'world']]]]

        grp = rexTokGroup(2, ret);


        grp = rexTokGroup(3, ret);

        return: [RtmOk,[4,1,[['universe',tokWord,'universe']]]]

The result is a list consisting of 2 elements: an "exactness" match
enumerator, and a sublist of the group information. The group sublist
indicates the token index, number of tokens in the group, and then a list of
the group’s tokens:


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[SPAG] Preeeeeesenting… SPAG 40!

Ladies, gentlemen, and IF-lovers of all ages, I am proud to bring to you
for your entertainment and edification on this fine spring day an
experience to lift the spirits and quicken the pulse! Through an
unprecedented cooperative effort stretching across languages and
time-zones, issue number 40 of SPAG offers a dazzling array of features
that you simply must see to believe! Direct your attention to the left
ring, where a variety of news items caper and cavort for your amusement!
And now, in the right ring, listen in amazement to two new interviews
with an international flavor! Of course, as always in the center ring
we’re pleased to bring you the finest in IF reviews! It’s all right here
in your program:


The SPAG Interview: International IF Special
   * Roberto Grassi of the Italian IF community
   * Ruben "Urbatain" Nieto of the Spanish IF community


The Golden French Fry
Isle Of The Cult
Reefer Island

Subscribers have already been sent their copy, and the rest of you can
see it at the SPAG website, http://www.sparkynet.com/spag. In addition,
I’ve uploaded a copy to the IF Archive, where it should soon find its
home at:


Step right up, STEP RIGHT UP, and thank you for helping to keep text
adventures alive.

Paul O’Brian   obr…@colorado.edu   http://ucsu.colorado.edu/~obrian
Ladies and gentlemen, direct your attention to the center ring where
SPAG #40 offers IF news and reviews! http://www.sparkynet.com/spag

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[Announce] Mini-Adventure Demo Games Released for Inform


I would like to announce the release of the Mini-Adventure Demonstration
Games Collection. A collection of demo games from the Mini-Adventure
authoring system, re-engineered for Inform using a new cross-compiler
tool developed specifically for the purpose.

Mini-Adventure was an interactive fiction authoring system for the Acorn
Electron and BBC Micro, later ported to RISC OS and then Inform.
Mini-Adventure was written specifically for young children to use in
schools back in the early nineteen-nineties. I have no plans to
re-release the authoring system.

The included demo games are:

Enchanted Castle, Graveyard Escape, House, Prison, Quest for the Holy
Grail, Secret Maze, Secret Maze II and Shack.

These games are mostly nothing special and are more suitable as
temporary diversions. However, there are a few good games in there; look
out for House and Graveyard Escape.

All the games follow the same formulae, find treasures, avoid hazards
and win before your time runs out. Any object–even a key–might be a key.

The complete Inform source code and the original Mini-Adventure
source are included in the archive.

Download from:

The games were cross-compiled to Inform using a cross-compiler tool
which may become available in the future. The cross-compiler is
extensible and very useful for rapid game prototyping.

Thanks and enjoy!
Jon Ripley


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Writers Celebration

The Catch-sink Writer’s Forum is celebrating its three year anniversary
with a new remodel.

It’s a fun friendly place for discussing all forms of writing and reading.

There is also general discussion on a wide variety of topics, the sky is
the limit

If you have a chance drop on by and give us a look


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Ask/Tell with lots of Dialogue – Interactive or Boring?

I started making a game and the opening scene has you in a place with
where there are 4 NPCs who are fully interactive and a bunch of others
just sort of hanging around. I’m using Ask/Tell system and I have the
player have a notepad with some suggested topics but not all of
possible ones of  course. There are something like 20 topics total and
Ask and Tell each elicit a different response. Ask is generally a one
liner but tell gives a conversation in response with some back and
forth. A large percentage also are different if you ask more than
once.  Now that I have written all the dialogue, I mean it was a real
lot, I’m wondering if maybe this will just be tedious for a player.
They by no means have to AsK/Tell about all of them, truthfully they
could move on rather quickly. Which is why I added the notepad to
encourage interaction for back story/character set up.

So how would you feel having that in a game. Is more interaction
always good or do you think it’s just a waste of time in the end,
where no one will go and sit through all responses (even though each
is varied and unique) but doesn’t further you along in terms of

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[Reminder]: Lotech Comp

Lotech Comp is a competition for CYOA based interactive fiction.
Deadline for games submission is 30th of June.
All info available here:


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Conan Kill Everything

The second finisher in the "Stupid Title Contest" now has a little game to match:

Conan Kill Everything ist currently available under


I hope it is adequately stupid. Comments are appreciated.


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TADS 3 – Intro/Menu

I want to do a menu at the beginning of my game, so it flow something
like this:
Mini Intro
   New Game
   Load Game
New Game
   Starts a game from scratch
Load Game
   Type in the filename you want to load
   Give some basic instructions relating to the game
   Do I really need to explain this one? :)

What would be the best way to do this?

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Java games or terp for mobile phones


I was wondering if anyone knew of a means by which I can play IF
on my Java enabled mobile (Samsung D500) while I’m away on holiday.
I don’t mean online games where you have to be connected, I mean
something I can download onto my mobile and play off-line.

If there was a suitable Java Z-machine that could be used to
play any game, that would be even better. Of course,
anything would be good.

I’m leaving this Tuesday. Any help would be fantastic!

James Taylor, London, UK                              PGP key: 3FBE1BF9
To protect against spam, the address in the "From:" header is not valid.
In any case, you should reply to the group so that everyone can benefit.
If you must send me a private email, use james at oakseed demon co uk.

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I'm going to start to write IF again…

In 1982 I got my first computer–a Commodore VIC-20.  One of the early games
that I played was "The Count" by Scott Adams.  It seemed like a radical idea
at the time, using words to describe what was going on rather than graphics.
Although the two-word parser is too primitive by today’s standards, to
someone who is 9 years old this was an unbelievable experience.

I was a terrible programmer back then, I sadly tried to attempt to write my
own adventures, but my parser consisted of trying to determine every
possible command in a particular room (example: INPUT C$:IF C$="GET AXE"
TAKEN", etc).  The VIC-20 manual didn’t get too deep in the details of
programming.  Plus, with only 3.5K of RAM, my adventure games were only 7-8
rooms at best because of the many IF statements.

My problem was solved when I got "Write Your Own Adventure Programs"
published by Usborne Books (http://tinyurl.com/aohrz).  This was a quantum
leap for me for improving my programming ability.  I had no idea that I
could use arrays, string parsing (mid$, left$, right$).  I wrote many text
adventures, none were published, but I had fun, mulling over my code for
hours before making my game perfect.

Years later, fast-forward to 2005 and feeling nostalgic about old computer
games, I search Google and I find several websites dedicated to Interactive
Fiction.  I like the idea that there is a universal programming language
(zcode) that is independent of platform.  My primary computer gaming
platform today is the Gameboy Advance and I was pleasantly surprised to find
a zcode interpreter for it (GBAFrotz).  Now I can re-play my favorite Scott
Adams classics while I commute to and from work.  There seems to be a
problem with the save game option, but it works for the Infocom games.

Oh, I’m also reading the zcode programmer’s manual.  I’ll be getting into
writing IF again.  Perhaps in a few months I’ll be contributing to the IF

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