July 17th, 2010

IF UI Concepts

After reading a recent thread in the intfiction forum, which was a spinoff from an active discussion in Emily Short's blog, I'm thinking about ways to make the IF UI more ... uh, modern.

HTML TADS provides some nice tools with which to approach this goal. I don't think the feature set is anywhere near complete, but thinks like banners and clickable hyperlinks are clearly a good start.

The problem, of course, is that the player needs an HTML TADS interpreter. Windows users can download a game as a .exe, so no interpreter is needed. Mac users have to download and install an extra component (CocoaTADS), which is less desirable simply because they're not all going to be willing to do it.

So one question that pops into my beebee-sized brain is, might we be able to hope that someday Workbench will be able to compile a game to a native OS X app?

Another question is, are there features that could usefully be added to HTML TADS in order to create a UI that was, in some way, less command-prompt-centric? I'm not sure what those features might be; it's an open-ended question.

I'm not talking about point-and-click graphic adventures. I'm a text guy. What I'm musing about are ways to make the experience of a text game easier and more inviting. Clickable words in a room description are one example; I'm sure there are others that I haven't thought of.

--JA