Adding Interactive Fiction into Space Nerds in Space

2019-08-02 — In thinking about how to make Comms more interesting and fun, taking into account that it is almost completely a text based interface, the idea had occurred to me to put some interactive-fiction like elements in. For example, maybe there’s a mission in which you find a derelict ship and you send a robot over to investigate, commanding it via Comms in the manner of Zork and those old infocom games.

Now I already have a Zork-like parser built into the game for “the computer”, however that’s in C, and I don’t want to build it into the game just for a particular mission. And exposing that to Lua seems like a lot of work. Like more than I want to bite off. And not really knowing Lua particularly well, the idea of writing interactive fiction in Lua directly seemed somewhat daunting and unappealing. So, for a long time, I just kind of shelved this idea as being sort of “not worth it.” But lately I started thinking about it again, and thought, well, maybe I should dig into Lua a bit. So this morning I started looking at an old and very small toy project I had done in python that implemented some basic interactive fiction features. I had done that project as a way of learning python. I decided to see what it would take to do the same thing in Lua. Turns out Lua’s tables are not all that different than python’s dictionaries, similar enough that porting this python code to Lua was actually pretty straightforward, and the resulting code is surprisingly similar to the python code. You can see it here: smcamerons-lua-adventure The python one is here: smcamerons-python-adventure.

So with that under my belt, It should be totally possible to write a Lua mission script that incorporates these interactive-fiction ideas so I can make this concept of Comms directing a remote robot around on a derelict ship a reality. Probably want to keep it short, maybe break it up into several different segments, I don’t want to make a mission that amounts to “Drive the ship over there and then play Zork for 3 hours,” but I think this idea has a lot of potential to make Comms more interesting, and it’s good for me to get a little more proficient with Lua.

And after a day or so more tinkering, I have a proof of concept working with COMMS. You can try it out by building and running the latest Space Nerds in Space code and typing “testintfic” on the DEMON screen, then switching to COMMS, and changing the channel to 1234.

Here’s a pic (click on it for embiggening):

~ by scaryreasoner on August 3, 2019.

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