Discussions about interactive fiction

Archive for June, 2012

Beta testers?

Hi…
I’ve just finished my first "great" adventure called "Ghost town"
Before I release it to the public I would like to have it Beta tested
of course.
It has already been Beta tested once, and hopefully most of the
glitches has been ironed out. But just to be sure I would like it to
be tested at least once more.
If anyone is interested please send me an e-mail to the following
address:
Rosenloe…@gmail.com

The adventure is written in Adrif 4 (release 51) It’s a "biggie"
almost 30Mb ….
If you decide to give it a go you are more than welcome to write. But
please only write if you have the time to give it a thorough go…. I
realize that it’s December and everyone is probably being busy…
Hoping to hear from one or two out there in Adventureland…
Cheers

.
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Beta Testers needed for wiki-generated text adventure

Since May, the Guardian’s gamesblog community have been collaborating
on the creation of a wiki based IF game written in Inform7 titled
Spaceship! You can find the project wiki at http://textadventure.org.uk/index.php?title=Main_Page
if you’d like more information.

Our wikigame was originally planned to have been released by August
the 1st but due to a lack of programmers, the project had to be
delayed while the current project stalwarts got to grips with the
Inform7 language (and programming in general). Well, it’s taken a
while but Spaceship! is finally gearing up for release and now we are
looking for testers to put the game through its paces ahead of an
initial release on the 10th of December at a public event. We realise
that this is not a lot of time, but testing will probably also
continue into next year when we will release an even more polished
version, although we would like to get as much testing as possible
done before the upcoming public event.

The project was undertaken by relative newcomers to the IF genre and
the game itself is also aimed at newcomers. Given the lack of
experience of the design and coding team, we are especially looking
for as much feedback as we can get from experienced IF players or
authors. Also, given the openness of the project (some of the writing
for the game was even contributed anonymously), we are also open for
testers to suggest changes or provide additional content that might
help improve the game further.

The game is currently best described as near-beta quality and has
undergone some in-house testing, but now is the time that we need more
experienced IF players to provide bug reports and feedback. If you’d
like to help test the game, you can either play it using our online
web interpreter at http://www.brunton-spall.co.uk/spaceship.jnlp

or you can download the latest story file from http://barrymars.co.uk/Spaceship/
and play with a glulx compatible interpreter of your own choosing.

If you’d like to help the project by providing feedback, bug reports,
or testing transcripts, then you can contact us at wikicoders +AT+
googlemail DOT com.

Here is the introductory text to hopefully help entice you further:

The alarm sounds and you’re moving before you even notice the shrill
whine. You’ve gone through hundreds of these decompression drills and
the movements required are pretty much routine: move the arms, put the
torso on, seal yourself in and done! Now, just wait for the all-clear
signal that sends you back to bed and the dream about… something,
there was a parade, wasn’t there?

A few seconds pass. Something’s wrong – the all-clear should have
sounded by now. The alarm, muffled by the spacesuit, is quieter but
still there… and is there some hissing also? What’s going on?

The sounds suddenly stop. You notice your heavy breathing, the only
audible thing on the ship. The alarm lights are still flashing,
though. The realisation snaps you fully awake: no drill. The ship has
decompressed: all atmosphere has been sucked out. If not for your
quick reaction to the alarm, you would be dead. A quick check of your
spacesuit: all systems nominal, oxygen full: enough for 48 hours. Pity
you’re four days away from Nineteen. A glance out the porthole reveals
a few stars just sitting there, twinkling away. The engines have
stopped. You’re stuck, alone, adrift in the middle of space in a leaky
ship, 4 days away from help, with 2 days of air.

This **must** be a Thursday.

At least, you think no-one else was aboard: the crew had finally got
that three-week holiday they’ve been pestering you about since
forever, and you were taking the ship over to Nineteen for
maintenance, a chance to catch up on your reading, some quality alone
time, just you and the ship.

Okay, focus. Ship damaged? Fix ship. Find hole, fix it; find engine
problem, fix it. You tap the door open button with a sense of
optimism: this is your spaceship, your-

Tap. Tap, tap, tap, tap. THUMP!

Oh, great. The door is sealed shut. You sigh. Okay, new plan: fix
door, then fix hull, then fix engines, then get going again.

Thanks a lot (this isn’t part of the introductory text, this is just
me saying thanks to you guys reading)!

Craig A Davies

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I7: Things Not Visible and Gonear with Onions

For reasons of testing, I need to create a debugging command that will
operate rather like ‘gonear’, but with more stuff happening. I need to
move the player and also some other objects to a remote location, and I
need to set a few variables at the same time.

‘gonear’ works for moving just the player. But how does it work? I can’t
find the code anywhere. It’s listed in the Actions Index, but there’s no
inspector button for it, and searching the Documentation for ‘gonear’
yields no results. Turning on rules before doing a gonear reveals that
the only rule being followed is ‘look’ (on arrival in the new location),
so that’s no help.

I tried creating my own teleporting action, but I can’t figure out how
to apply it to things that are in remote locations — that is, to things
that are not _visible_ things (and may not ever have been seen by the
PC). "Teleportation is an action applying to one thing" doesn’t work.

What I want to do is essentially more or less like this:

Carrot-teleportation is an action applying to one thing. Understand
"gocarrot [something]" as carrot-teleportation.

Carry out carrot-teleportation:
      let that-room be the location of the noun;
      move the player to that-room;
      move the carrot to that-room;
      now the carrot is half-eaten;
      say "You and the carrot travel swiftly to where [the noun]
[is-are]…."

I started trying to work this out because of a bug in the MacOS IDE
(which I’ve reported), which is that when actions are repeated — at
least when running Glk — the Replay button and Skein eat one of the
repetitions. Fortunately, in my game the action in question doesn’t have
to be repeated in an uninterrupted sequence, so I have a viable
workaround — but even so, it seems to me that teleportation bundled
with other world-altering actions would be useful. So how would I edit
the code above to allow it?

–JA

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Should containers list contents when examined?

More a playing preference than anything else for a WIP.

How do people feel about examining a sack object (in Inform terms) and
being given a description but not a list of contents?  This is the default
behaviour, but would people prefer having Examine return a list of the
contents, in addition to the "search" or "look in" verbs?


Michael Coyne

http://turthalion.blogspot.com

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I7: Indistinguishable & Out of Play

Here’s an odd little coding problem. I wanted to create three pennies
and have one start the game out of play, so that I can then move it
manually into the model world in response to some action. But I can’t
figure out the syntax for moving an out-of-play, indistinguishable
object into play. I tried creating an out-of-play container and putting
it in that, but Inform won’t let me do this:

move the penny in the ghost box to the table;

So how would I accomplish this sleight-of-hand?

–JA

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I7: Collective Names

For complicated and somewhat tricky reasons, I was finding it difficult
to implement three colored jellybeans using a value called bean-color.
Namely, because they were indistinguishable, I7 would list them to the
player as "three jellybeans" without mentioning that one was pink, one
purple, and one yellow.

So instead I just made three separate objects that happen to share the
noun "jellybean."

Trouble is, the player can’t use "beans" to refer to them collectively.

So how would I do it? My first attempt (now discarded) looked like this:

[code]
Bean-color is a kind of value. The bean-colors are pink, purple, and yellow.

A jellybean is a kind of thing. A jellybean has a bean-color. The
bean-color of a jellybean is usually purple. The printed name of a
jellybean is "[bean-color] jellybean". Understand "beans" as the jellybeans.

One pink jellybean is in the big glass jar. One purple jellybean is in
the big glass jar. One yellow jellybean is in the big glass jar.
[/code]

But when I do that, a list of the jellybeans doesn’t print them out by
their separate colors. It also doesn’t cause "beans" to refer to the
group. The command ‘take beans’ still takes one bean at random, not the
group.

The documentation on this subject seems a bit thin and scattered. Is
there one place where I can learn EVERYTHING there is to know about
groups of similar objects?

How can I make "beans" refer to several simultaneous objects, (a) when
they’re all of a single author-defined kind, and (b) when they’re just
simple objects?

–Jim Aikin

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I7: Not Scenery

I know this is in the manual, but I have no idea where to look for it.

I have an item that I want to describe in the room description (that is,
it doesn’t get a paragraph of its own) **until it’s picked up and moved**.

I tried using "To print a paragraph about the xxx: if some-condition is
false, do nothing." But that didn’t work. I still got a separate
paragraph in the room description.

What’s the correct method?

–JA

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I7: Applying a Single Action to a Plural

[Not really a spoiler for my WIP, because you’re going to see the
jellybeans and know they’re on sale immediately when you enter the candy
store:]

I have three jellybeans in a jar. For various reasons, I want to make
them all instances of a jellybean kind, but NOT indistinguishable.
(They’re different colors, and no, I don’t want to do that with a
property called bean-color, for reasons that would be boring to explain,
unless I absolutely have to.)

So here’s the problem: The PC needs to buy the jellybeans. But I _don’t_
want to allow them to be bought singly. The proprietress of the candy
store won’t allow that. She will only sell them as a group. (This has to
do with a puzzle. Trust me.)

Per a suggestion from Emily, I’ve set it up so that ‘jellybeans’ (though
it’s 10 letters long) works as a plural for the jellybean kind. But what
it does is, if the player uses it, it iterates the command through the
individual jellybeans. This is not good.

For reasons of aesthetics, of course, it would be far better if ‘take
jellybeans’ would pick them all up together rather than print a separate
"Taken." message for each jellybean. I could live with that (while
grinding my teeth). But inasmuch as the proprietress of the candy store
is going to object if you try to take a single bean from the jar, this
is more than an aesthetic consideration. We definitely don’t want her to
object three times in a row (using identical language) if you try ‘take
jellybeans’, because that looks and walks and quacks like a bug. We have
to have her react to the usage of the plural word as if the player had
given a single command (which, in fact, is what the player did).

Likewise, if you try to ‘buy jellybeans’, she has to know that you’re
trying to buy the group, NOT trying to buy each jellybean individually,
because she isn’t going to sell them individually.

The way I used to do this in I6 was with a hack, creating an invisible
plural_jellybeans object. I could do that using add_to_scope, insuring
that it was only added to scope when more than one jellybean was in the
room. Or alternatively, I could use parse_name, attach the plural object
invisibly to the PC, and have it pretend to not be there, by refusing to
parse any input words as referring to itself, except when more than one
jellybean was in scope. In which situation, it would take over and
handle the entire transaction involving the objects for which it was the
plural.

I haven’t yet tried descending to the I6 layer for my I7 WIP. Have I
just hit the wall? Do I need to do that now? And if so, will
add_to_scope and parse_name work as they did in the past?

–JA

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