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Showing posts from June, 2008

Idols of War / Inform ATTACK Public Alpha 0.1; or, "IF and Tactical Combat"

Posted this on the IF Newsgroups today. If you don't follow those, please take note.

Dear all,

As a pacing device and mini-game, Interactive Fiction has relied mostly on puzzles. However, tactical combat can work just as well a pacing device and mini-game in an interactive narrative--just think of all successful computer roleplaying games and pen & paper roleplaying games. It would be interesting to see whether it also works in the medium of interactive fiction.

There is some aversion to "random combat" in the interactive fiction community. Personally, I blame a number of really bad attempts at implementing combat, attempts which typically involved combat sequences where it was randomly determined whether the protagonist survived--no player input required, no skill required, no tactics possible. Perhaps there really is a tension between IF and tactical combat, but we won't know until we've tried a best-effort implementation.

I have been working on such an impleme…

[I7] Finding your Inform 7 / Simple Chat bug

I just spent a lot of time finding out where a certain bug in my Inform 7 program came from, and I'd thought I'd post it online so people who do the same thing wrong as I can more easily find a solution.

Here's the deal:

If you have an "Instead of doing anything except ..." rule in your code which is active at the beginning of play, and you are using the Simple Chat extension, the result will be that none of your conversation options ever show up in the game. Not even when the "Instead ..." rule is turned off by the time you start a conversation.

The reason for this is that Simple Chat initialises your conversations at the beginning of the game, using the "preparing" action. If you have implicitly disallowed that action, by not putting it in your "except" clause, this initialisation will fail, and no nodes will ever be visible.

The solution is to rewrite your rule as "Instead of doing anything except preparing, ...".

(But I am a…