Hi everyone,

For quite a while I have been thinking of trying my hand at some
simple text adventure games and maybe eventually work my way up to
some sort of game like Nethack, Ancient Domains of Mystery, or maybe
even as complex as Entombed. As most of you know i use Linux most of
the time, and the majority of accessible games are text adventures. So
this would be a logical place to start since such games are relatively
inexpensive and easy to make, and usually are cross-platform too. Of
course, there is various text adventure systems like Inform, Adrift,
Tads, etc but I've been thinking of writing them in a traditional
programming language like C, Java, or Python. Anyway,before I even
think of the technical details there are some things about the user
interface I'd like to get your input on.

First thing, is input. Most of the text adventures out there use
various commands like "grab sword," "grab torch," "light torch.," etc.
I could continue this tridition, but it seams to me there is an easier
way to do this. For example, what if you pressed g for grab item, and
then a menu popped up with a list of items in the room. You could then
select the item you want to grab from a list. This would save a bunch
of typing by effectively doing the same thing. For moving around the
level asining directions to n for north, s for south, e for east, and
w for west would certainly be preferable to ttyping out "north,"
"south," "east," or "west." What do you think about this approach?

Second, is output. Again there is a couple of ways of doing this. We
could certainly have everything be printed directly out to the
console, text directly to the screen, which you can use your screen
reader for. The other way is to use a Speech API like Sapi,
Speech-dispatcher, etc that would automatically read out the
information on the screen. This would make the games slightly less
portable, but would have the advantage of automatic speech output by
default. Any thoughts weather you would like to use a screen reader or
use Sapi directly?

Finally, we get down to the technical details. As I said I am well
aware of Inform and Adrift, but in many ways those text adventure
systems are not quite as flexable enough for what I want to do. If I
wanted to create a multilevel dungeon like Entombed they would fall
short pretty fast. That leaves me with the option of using a language
like C/C++ or something else. At the moment I'm thinking of C/C++
because if written correctly the games should be fairly easy to
recompile for other platforms and devices. While Java and Python have
their advantages too if I wanted to port these games to cell phones,
note takers, it wouldn't necessarily be as easy to do. However, the
advantage of Python or Java would be I could hit the big three
platforms Windows, Mac, or Linux with one easy swoop without having to
recompile anything. Any thoughts?


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