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Parser/Text interface.... Why not?
http://www.agdinteractive.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=15074
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Author:  soulfire [ Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:37 am ]
Post subject:  Parser/Text interface.... Why not?

Look, I'm just going to put it out there...

I really miss the typing / parser interface... Am I the only person that feels this way? I just always wondered why it got dropped... I have always had really good language skills and I've always used it to defend computer games vs education that I always grew up playing parser games so I had to learn to spell early on...

I'm assuming that AGS is designed for the later point and click system? So obviously wouldn't have been realistic to make... and obviously there's a lot more coding to having a list of text commands for every environment rather that a series of IF and ELSE statements :p.

Does anyone else miss them as much as me?

Author:  Blackthorne519 [ Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Parser/Text interface.... Why not?

I do love me a good parser.

Here's a bit of trivia: when we started SQ2VGA, we initially made it with both the icon and parser systems. Programming the parser proved to be a bit too much work, so we had to cut that feature out - as it was too much work for something only a few people would use.


Bt

Author:  Gronagor [ Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Parser/Text interface.... Why not?

Blackthorne519 wrote:
Programming the parser proved to be a bit too much work, so we had to cut that feature out - as it was too much work for something only a few people would use. -Bt


That explains AGDI's decision as well. Would have been fun, but too much work for way too little reward.

Author:  Anonymous Game Creator 2 [ Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Parser/Text interface.... Why not?

In theory, I wonder how hard it really would be. I've never tried this in AGS before, but maybe after a game is scripted, you could just hook-up certain parser phrases for all of the existing game interactions.

For example, say in room 1, hotspot 5 is a window...

If you typed "LOOK WINDOW" into the parser and hit enter, AGS would store the noun "window" in a String and then call a function like: LookAt(String noun);

In the actual function's code, you'd check if any of the room's hotpsots match the noun that was typed into the parser (in this case, "window"), and if so, you'd run the relevant interaction to simulate clicking the mouse there :

Code:
function LookAt(String noun){
if((player.room==1) && (noun=="window")) hHotspot5.RunInteraction(eModeLookat);
else Display("You don't see a  %s here!", noun);
}

Author:  DrJones [ Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Parser/Text interface.... Why not?

While it might be possible, adding a parser to a nearly finished game that wasn't wrote with a parser in mind will likely be an even harder task. According to computer engineering, the "manwork cost" of adding/changing a requirement skyrockets as the development approaches the later stages, and I'm not even sure you guys are trained computer engineers.

Author:  soulfire [ Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Parser/Text interface.... Why not?

Yeah would be an epic PITA to add that functionality to a already complete game - I was merely reminiscing and suggesting that it would be awesome to see the parser come back!

Author:  Erpy [ Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Parser/Text interface.... Why not?

For the look, it's probably fairly generic. The real killer comes from the interact and use inventory actions and in anything written by Daniel, the talk action too.

With parser-based action, people who love parser don't just expect a parser to be present, they'll also expect it to understand and have a response to every quirky little thought that enters their mind. It isn't just parser or no-parser, it's more like no parser, good parser and less-than-optimal parser.

Image

Author:  soulfire [ Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Parser/Text interface.... Why not?

Yeah awesome call Erpy, I think that it's easy to have a few good easter eggs in there with a point and click interface, whereas people will want a well thought out reaction to almost every verb in every room unique to one another... Which would increase work exponentially. Just making the parser recognise the same commands as point and click would not be enough for people!

Author:  Anonymous Game Creator 2 [ Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Parser/Text interface.... Why not?

I'm not saying it wouldn't require tweaking or that it wouldn't be time consuming to add all the additional parser words. Just that it wouldn't necessarily be hard to implement a functioning parser system into an already-completed AGS game by applying this kind of band-aid solution. Since the parser could call RunInteraction for both Talk and Interact modes as well, typing "TALK TO JOHN" or "OPEN DOOR" would simply be the equivalent of clicking the Talk cursor on John or the Hand cursor on the door. Inventory item usage might be a bit more complex to handle via parser, but you should only need to invoke SetActiveInventory on the correct inventory item to make the item the active mouse cursor before calling RunInteraction on whatever item you wanted to use the inventory item on.

Author:  navynuke04 [ Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Parser/Text interface.... Why not?

Or you could just apply the parser to select parts of the game - the spell making process, perhaps? :evil

Author:  Brainiac [ Tue Mar 01, 2011 4:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Parser/Text interface.... Why not?

navynuke04 wrote:
Or you could just apply the parser to select parts of the game - the spell making process, perhaps? :evil

Oh please dear god no the memories of the traumAHHHHHHHHHH

<curls up in the fetal position>

Author:  Gronagor [ Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Parser/Text interface.... Why not?

Argh. Heck. Why not remake the Sierra games in a text-only parser game. Don't you just miss those old text games?!!! Beautiful black screens and wonderful white text! Imagine the multi-playability!!

Author:  DrJones [ Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Parser/Text interface.... Why not?

I think the best implementation ever of a parser in a graphic adventure was that of Larry 7. AGC2's suggestion is like the option used by Legend in Eric the Unready.

Author:  Klytos [ Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Parser/Text interface.... Why not?

I think it's just more time consuming that hard. Having experimented with it in SQ2 I just couldn't be bothered with the whole thing.

Author:  adeyke [ Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Parser/Text interface.... Why not?

I think Erpy's response was spot-on.

If you give the player a tool, they'll expect that they'll be able to use it. If you give players hand, mouth, and eye cursors, they'll expect that they'll be able to click each of these on everything. If, however, you give them a parser that can understand English commands, they'll expect that they can type any command such that it'll be understood. Every time the parser fails to understand something, it's disappointing. And when the command is what's needed to advance the game, but it just isn't worded correctly, it's downright frustrating. A parser that just does the same thing as the three cursors, or one that just understands the game-relevant commands, might not be hard, but it also wouldn't be satisfying.

When making LSL1, Al Lowe had an interesting approach to the parser. He gave testers a version of the game that recorded every command they entered that the game didn't understand yet. Then he went back and programmed a response to each of these. In order to make a good parser, you'd almost have to do something like this, or you'd have to spend a lot of time thinking about the possibilities. This is where the difficulty and hard work comes in.

Author:  goatmeal [ Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Parser/Text interface.... Why not?

Some are already disappointed in the "lack" of varied descriptions present in P&C games... Imagine how difficult it would be to satisfy people in the parser format! :eek

Author:  PRE66 6TART [ Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Parser/Text interface.... Why not?

I love the old text parser so much I created this account just to weigh in on this topic.
The text parser makes it feel like you can do anything when in reality you know you're limited to certain types of commands. You just don't type random stuff that you know it won't recognize and it makes you feel omnipotent. Although the random stuff does pay off hilariously from time to time. My favorite: typing "moon camera" in one of the old space quests(I think it was 2, not sure). And sometimes a text command is just more intuitive, like "search cave" or "make thief sign" in QFG1.
I plan to help my kids learn to read by playing some of those old games with them.
I will admit there is a down side though. I got stuck for a long time in GFQ2 trying to plug the wind tunnel hole thingy in the tomb. I tried "break rock" "hit rock" "knock over rock", everything I could think of. Turns out the correct command was "force rock". I blame the gamemakers for that one, not the text parser system. Why not just let people play the game to discover what commands they are using that you didn't think of. Doesn't seem that hard.
Anyway that's my thoughts. I wish someone would go back to the text system but it will probably never happen.

Author:  Gronagor [ Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Parser/Text interface.... Why not?

The best way to get your kids to read: comics! As much as possible!

Author:  PRE66 6TART [ Sun May 01, 2011 3:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Parser/Text interface.... Why not?

Forgot to mention the best part about the text interface: the conversations. It was so much cooler to have to come up with topics to ask about on your own rather than just clicking through a dialog tree.

Author:  adeyke [ Sun May 01, 2011 4:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Parser/Text interface.... Why not?

QfG2VGA does have a parser for conversations. You can choose to either have a point-and-click interface for those, or a parser, or a combination of the two.

Author:  PRE66 6TART [ Sun May 01, 2011 4:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Parser/Text interface.... Why not?

That's cool. I haven't actually played QFG2VGA yet. I wonder if it's hard to resist using the point/click dialog tree though if the option is there. I think I would have a nagging temptation to see if I missed anything.

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