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TADS 3 System Development

Mercury next steps

TADS 3 System Development

Mercury next steps

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I just wanted to reiterate a point that might have lost in the details in my earlier Mercury posts: the reason I published it is to open it up for collaboration and spin-off projects. I might not have time to do any more work on it myself for a while - indeed, it's been stalled in its current state for a couple of years now - so the main reason for publishing it is to allow it to move forward if anyone else is interested in making that happen. Please let me know if you're interested and you have the bandwidth to take on a chunk of it; depending on the level of interest and the tastes of those involved, we can figure out what makes sense in terms of source control and other tools. (If you want to use it as the starting point for a separate project on your own, no need to coordinate with me or anyone else, but I'd still appreciate hearing about it.)
  • adv3Lite

    Mike is already aware of this, but I thought other readers of this page might like to know that I've been working on an alternative TADS 3 library (which I'm currently calling adv3Lite) based on the Mercury code Mike released last month. The basic idea is to come up with something that's a simplified version of the adv3 library (with one or two other features added) that also takes advantages of some of the neat features Mike's put into the Mercury code.

    In particular I've omitted some complicating features such as room parts, postures, and sense passing, and taken a rather more simple-minded approach to many of the adv-like features that are implemented. I've come up with a conversation system that's pretty much the same as that in adv3 if you just want to do basic ASK/TELL, but moves on in a slightly different direction if you want anything more sophisticated than that (it's a bit experimental in that there were some ideas I wanted to try out). Added features include Inform 7 like scenes and regions. I've also tried to simplify the class hierarchy by making it possible (though not obligatory) to define most objects as Things (with some exceptions like Rooms, Doors and Keys), as well as making the library design a bit more modular so it's a bit easier for game authors to exclude the bits they don't need.

    I've more or less completed what I had planned for an initial public beta release, except that (a) there's quite a bit more tidying up and testing to do and (b) I'm still working on the initial documentation (which will be a manual similar in format to that of the System Manual). As things are going I might be in a position to put out an initial public beta in about a month's time (downhill with a following wind and assuming there aren't too many unexpected alternative demands on my time). It might still be a bit primitive, but I'm interested in gauging the amount of interest and getting some initial feedback before putting too much more work into this.

    In the meantime, if there's anyone here interested in seeing what I've done so far and interested in testing a still very rough-around-the edges not-quite-alpha version of adv3Lite with incomplete documentation, do drop me a line. (I'm assuming most people reading this Tech Blog will be sufficiently au fait with TADS 3 that they'll have a slightly easier time figuring out what I've done than most people would).

    Eric Eve
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