Main      Site Guide    
Message Forum
Re: SOAT update
Posted By: Counterpoint, on host
Date: Saturday, March 1, 2003, at 13:26:55
In Reply To: SOAT update #31 posted by gremlinn on Saturday, March 1, 2003, at 02:40:30:

> Who knows -- at the rate it's going this game just might end up being the largest text game ever (well, for games with just one author). Hard to find reliable information about it though.

This might well be true, but I suspect it might be related to the game's format. "Open" IF (with a text prompt and a parser), when it's thorough, will spend more code on accounting for commands unrelated to the plot or unnecessary than actual plot-related code. (This varies from game to game, but I would suspect that in large worlds, it's the case). There's the IF saying that every added object increases the amount of code you must write exponentially, because some player somewhere is going to try this object out on everything he can. The open format requires you to be "paranoid" (in the words of developer Graham Nelson), accounting for every action the player might try. AGLL, on the other hand, makes "Choose Your Own Adventure"-style IF, which lessens this problem significantly. If the programmer doesn't think about (or doesn't want the player to perform) some action, the option is left out entirely--there's no need to account for it, since it simply isn't there. (Sam once said that text-input IF asks "What can I do now?" while AGL asks "Where can I go now?" The first question intrinsically includes "Where can I go," so AGL eliminates one of two major scopes about which the player must worry.) Of course, similar problems do still arise, such as the players taking actions in an unexpected order or going somewhere unaccounted for. However, a significant amount of code can now be devoted to plot, rather than action-paranoia. That means one can cram in a whole lot more puzzles large and small.

Hmm. That doesn't really relate to overall game size, does it? Well, there's also this factor: of the two most popular IF development languages (Inform and TADS), Inform has a very strict size limit--the compiled code (though not the source) *must* be under 512K. This doesn't mean the games have to small ("Anchorhead," "The Mulldoon Legacy," "Not Just an Ordinary Ballerina" and perhaps "Curses" are proof of that), because the compiler is extremely adept at compacting the source, but the limit is still there. Glulx (essentially, Inform expanded to allow multimedia and to remove many barriers the Z-Machine--VM that runs compiled Inform code--faces) has no such limits to my knowledge, but it is rather new and not too widely-used. TADS has a memory limit, but I can't seem to find out what it is. (It seems, though, the huge games grow increasingly unstable to run, so that's an issue). The point is the AGLL's limits aren't quite as restrictive as more popular IF language's. (Looking at your location number demonstrates that some of these limits can be customized anyway.) Also regarding differing languages, various syntax requirements may change size.

Last point: to my knowledge, AGLL isn't compiled, but rather interpreted. (This is just a guess.) This would make comparisons difficult, because TADS, Inform, and Glulx are all compiled. (With different versions of compilers, no less, which might also make a difference.)

Or maybe SOAT simply is the biggest game. Given the time expended on it, I certainly wouldn't be surprised.

Counter"Still working on Inform"point

Replies To This Message

Post a Reply

Note: If you are posting a hint request for Adventure Games Live, be sure to specify which game you are talking about and list your inventory so other players know where you are in the game.

RinkChat Username:
Email: (optional)
Link URL: (optional)
Link Title: (optional)

Make sure you read our message forum policy before posting.