Weekend Projects for Armchair Developers: Text Misadventuring (Part II)

May 19th, 2006 by Johnny

Zork I[Editor’s Note: Apologies for not getting this up sooner. Johnny had it ready a few weeks ago, but as you all probably know, I was busy moving. Anyway, here it is.]

(This’ll be a short read.)

I hope you’ve all saved your coupons. After an epic battle with the foul beast known as Procrastination, I’ve completed WPfADs: The Game, my first stab at the text adventure genre. To the best of my play-testing knowledge, it’s bug-free and entirely playable. And because I like you, I’ll give the link to download it right at the top of this article:

Weekend Projects for Armchair Developers: The Game

From my experience writing the game, I’ve learned a few things. First of all, Weekend Projects for Armchair Developers is an agonizingly clunky name. It’s really just something I made up for the first article because I thought it sounded funny. Although it could be worse — my first idea was “Programming for Fun and Non-Profit.” Let’s just make a mutual agreement right now to call the thing by its slightly less ridiculous acronym, “WPfADs.”

Secondly, Inform is a great programming language, and one that I’ve barely scratched the surface of with the game and Part I of this writing. With considerable time and effort (and patience), you can create a truly epic, sprawling work, with plenty of polish. My game isn’t that expansive, as I wanted to complete within a reasonable deadline (say, within the year), but I’m now itching to learn some of the finer points of the language and make something more ambitious.

The thing that makes Inform such a good programming language is that it’s actually quite cathartic at times. It has a leisurely learning curve, and games-without-reasonable-deadlines can be built up at your own pace. Also, did I mention that it’s very easy to learn? I’d encourage anybody reading this to try their hand at their own text adventure, and let me know how it turns out.

Speaking of comments, as always I’m putting the requisite “I’d love to hear some feedback” line at the end. If you find any bugs with the game (I’m sure there’s probably one or two small ones that escaped me), tell me.

That’s all. Try Inform for yourself. You’ll probably enjoy it.

5 Responses to “Weekend Projects for Armchair Developers: Text Misadventuring (Part II)”

  1. Xerone Says:

    Sadly, I can’t get your Inform to work. =(

    I have Inform 7 installed and I double click the .bat file and a Dos Prompt flashes on screen, fades away, and I am left with without a .z5 file.

  2. Johnny Says:

    Hmm… Interesting. I’ll see if I can pinpoint the problem you’re having and find a solution. Apologies.

  3. Johnny Says:

    Well, I figured out the problem – An embarassing oversight on my part. Fixing it is easy, though.

    Open up the batch file with the text editor of your choice. You should this little snippet of text at the beginning:

    ..\..\Lib\Base\Inform MyGame1

    Just change it to:

    ..\..\Lib\Base\Inform WPfADs

    And everything should work properly.

  4. Xerone Says:

    Well, my computer doesn’t seem to care if it is “MyGame1” or “WPfADs.” I even copied and pasted your change just to make sure I had it all spelled correctly.

    You think it is something on my side of things?

  5. Johnny Says:

    Alright, I know the problem now. The batch file I included’s all screwed up. This is a bit embarassing… Sorry about that.

    To fix, open up the batch file again, and find where it says “+include_path=”. Right now, it points to the default locations of the folders “Base” and “Contrib”. You can do two things to fix this:

    You could either find where the two folders are located in your installation of Inform and re-direct the batch file to them, or, if that still doesn’t work, you could download the Inform folder structure linked to in part 1 of this article, place the entire “WPfADs” folder into the Games directory, and everything should work dandy.

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