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PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:11 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:36 pm
Posts: 18
Hello!

Approximately ten years ago(!), I was lucky enough to work with Star C. Foster on a piece of I-F called "Slouching Towards Bedlam" for the 9th Annual Competition. Since then, I've received several requests for the source code - mostly in regards to translation attempts - and have been forced to admit that the original work was lost soon after the game's completion in a hard drive crash.

Today, however, I'm very pleased to announce a ten-year anniversary re-release of the game, and its source code in Inform 7.

The purpose of such a rerelease is, to my mind:

* to make the original game's source code and text available to anyone interested in producing a translation
* to serve as a worked example in Inform 7 of a known game
* to serve as a way of learning Inform 7 myself

The game and its source code can be found here:

http://peccable.com/if/slouching-10/

Being an initial release, I'm asking for any feedback anyone might have. Typos and bug-reports would be greatly appreciated.

As well, I'm looking for any feedback on the implementation itself. As I note above, I'd like the game to be useful to anyone trying to learn Inform 7, and being new to version 7 and its very different natural-language approach, there are, I am sure, less-than-optimal solutions in the code. I've tried to note what I consider some of the more egregious hacks in the comments.

I was hoping to release the game closer to the actual anniversary, but while the work itself took longer than I initially anticipated, and several happy interruptions (including my long-awaited marriage to my now-husband, as well as the release of our second book) delayed the release, I'm very happy to have it out before the end of 2013.

If anyone has any questions or comments on the work, please contact me at peccable[at]peccable.com or in this thread. I'll do my best to answer.

Thank you very much.

- Daniel Ravipinto

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Please check out my books at Peccable Productions:
The Duchess of the Shallows - named to Kirkus' Best of 2012!
The Fall of Ventaris - named to Kirkus' Best of 2013!


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:04 am 
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Joined: Sat May 08, 2010 9:25 pm
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Location: Honolulu
Oh, excellent.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 5:07 am 
Amazing. Thank you *very* much.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 5:42 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:47 pm
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Fantastic news! Really appreciate the effort, thank you.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:41 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:04 am
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Hooray and congratulations!


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:59 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:36 pm
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Thank you, everyone for your incredibly kind words. :)

I'm just curious if anyone has any comments on the source code itself? How readable or useful it is? I was hoping that some of the implementation (the Archive dial, the Panopticon, Triage) might be helpful.

-d-

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Please check out my books at Peccable Productions:
The Duchess of the Shallows - named to Kirkus' Best of 2012!
The Fall of Ventaris - named to Kirkus' Best of 2013!


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:50 pm 
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Searching for "hack" in the source engenders some sympathy. :)

The future-looking way to deal with the "examine containers" and "examine supporters" rules is to replace them. Copy the original code out of the standard rules, call it the "customized examine containers rule" or some such, and then add exceptions for your objects as desired.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:04 pm 
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Location: Dundee, Scotland
Hi Daniel,

Do you mind me asking what your impressions of Inform 7 were, for example as both a learning experience and as a game implementation language? My husband was wondering this when I told him about your new version, so I thought I'd ask :)

I haven't played Slouching before, so have now downloaded the new version into Frotz on my iPad, and am looking forward to getting stuck in.

Many thanks.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:42 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:36 pm
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zarf wrote:
Searching for "hack" in the source engenders some sympathy. :)

Thank you for that. Some of them were...uncomfortable. :)

zarf wrote:
The future-looking way to deal with the "examine containers" and "examine supporters" rules is to replace them. Copy the original code out of the standard rules, call it the "customized examine containers rule" or some such, and then add exceptions for your objects as desired.

That sounds like a much more elegant solution. I'll try getting it into the next release.

vivdunstan wrote:
Do you mind me asking what your impressions of Inform 7 were, for example as both a learning experience and as a game implementation language? My husband was wondering this when I told him about your new version, so I thought I'd ask :)


Not at all. It was ... interesting, for a couple of reasons. Inform 7 is very, very different from any other language I've worked in before, and I found the "Inform 7 for Programmers" page (http://www.plover.net/~pscion/inform7.html) rather useful in getting the right mindset.

I found the rulebook basis of Inform 7 is both powerful and confusing by turns. It was wonderful to write code like "if there is at least one person who is a carrier" and have Inform figure out the specifics. My problems usually came down to one of two cases: (a) issues like the one Zarf mentions above -- getting the base libraries to do what I wanted them to do, and (b) finding the right magic phrase.

One example of this is in the comments: [Why must this be "instead of going southeast IN" versus "instead of going southeast FROM?" The latter compiles fine, but fails to work?] I ran into this tons of times -- code that would compile, or seem to make sense, and then simply wouldn't work the way I expected it to.

Still, it's a fascinating piece of work and I'm very happy I learned as much of it as I did. :)

-d-

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Please check out my books at Peccable Productions:
The Duchess of the Shallows - named to Kirkus' Best of 2012!
The Fall of Ventaris - named to Kirkus' Best of 2013!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:58 pm 
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Quote:
Why must this be "instead of going southeast IN" versus "instead of going southeast FROM?"


These are both meaningful to Inform, but apply to different situations. "Going north in..." is true for any "go north" action in a room, whether it's successful or not. "Going north from..." is true if there is a valid exit (room or door, even a locked door) in that direction.

The "instead of going north in..." rule stops the action before the "...from...".


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