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How to create a text adventure game maker and transpiler?

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--- Quote from: Wysardry on July 29, 2021, 10:00:56 pm ---I don't know how hard it would be for text adventure authors (including myself) to get used to how Prolog works. It seems a little strange to me and also might be harder to transpile to other languages. I don't remember it being very popular on home machines of the 80s.

--- End quote ---

I quite like the Amzi demo, but it does rely heavily on rules being asserted and retracted dynamically.

At the same time, I am convinced that a lot of Prolog fans try to shoehorn applications into it which would be better implemented in some other language... just as a lot of Pascal fans do the same. And something like natural language processing might be better handled by some different language entirely.

Of course, there are hybrid Prologs and hybrid Pascals which are both capable of tackling problems unenvisaged by the original language designers, and which depart a long way in philosophy from the designers' core principles.

I obviously agree that Prolog was unheard of on "home" computers in the 80s, but in fairness neither Pascal nor C (or FORTRAN or any of the other stalwarts) was common on the 8-bit systems which were dominant in that environment. But I think I have already mentioned at least one Prolog implemented in Turbo Pascal which in principle would have run on a CP/M system, although I think I also emphasised that it didn't implement dynamic rule assertion and retraction.


Although most of the 8-bit computers included some version of interpreted BASIC by default, there were third party companies that sold compilers for BASIC, Pascal or C.

In the UK, HiSoft Systems sold C++ and Pascal compilers for several Z80-based computers. Unfortunately they are likely to be difficult to get hold of these days.

I'm a little surprised that the source hasn't been made available, as the company is still operating (with a different focus).


--- Quote from: Wysardry on July 29, 2021, 11:36:50 pm ---I'm a little surprised that the (Hisoft) source hasn't been made available, as the company is still operating (with a different focus).

--- End quote ---

I can't remember its exact provenance, but I expect that they bought it in (as they did with FTL Modula-2) so don't own the rights.

I don't remember an 8-bit C++ or an 8-bit Prolog. The first that I recall were Zorland (later Zortech) and Turbo Prolog respectively which I think were both 16-bit... I might be wrong though since compiler sales and support were usually handled by colleagues (I tended to get the OS-level stuff).

Finally, I'd note that if one revisits older computing literature it appears that there was far less friction between the "computer science types" and the "practical types": in particular there were hints of a common philosophy between Prolog and recursive descent compilers with rules in both cases being described in terms where the left-hand part of an assertion or syntax definition was true provided that all right-hand parts were true... the unspoken and interesting thing being the side-effects while that was being determined.


I vaguely remember something called "Micro Prolog" being mentioned in computer magazines. I did a quick Yahoo search for it, and there were versions for the Spectrum and BBC B at the very least.

I don't recall C++ being available, but Logo and Forth were (along with the more popular BASIC and Pascal). LISP might also have been an option for some machines.

If you had a disk drive, that might open up the option to use additional languages via CP/M.

I recently found a couple of cross compilers for retro machines, in case anyone is looking for one.

SDCC (Small Device C Compiler) is a Standard C compiler suite that targets a wide range of 8-bit computers.

Boriel ZXBASIC is a BASIC cross compiler that targets the ZX Spectrum and several other Z80-based computers.


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