[MUD-Dev] Parser engines

Mike Rozak Mike at mxac.com.au
Sat Mar 13 15:48:45 CET 2004

Jason Slaughter wrote:

> If you are going for something that is easy to localize/translate,
> I would eliminate the parser and instead go to an icon based point
> & click interface...

Actually, I'm interested in both point-and-click and parsers. Most
actions can be handled with point-and-click (like in Myst or Monkey
island) but some just don't translate well. I'd rather come up with
a solution that allows both, and lets the player and author decide
which works best where. (I suspect that some puzzles will require
commands though. Part of the reason that Myst's puzzles are the way
they are, and zork's puzzles are the way they are, is because one
uses clicks and the other a parser.) Menus are another alternative,
depending upon the situation.

Because I expect both modalities, I'm not as concerned about making
the "perfect parser" as I might be. However, text (or speech
recognition) is very necessary for NPC conversations (unless you
want to limit NPC conversations to menus), so a good parser for
conversations is important. In thinking about command parsers I was
hoping that I'd find way to to produce a better conversation parser,
but I don't think the two overlap much since commands have a
(mostly) fixed syntax with an obvious grammar, while conversational
syntax is all over the place and identifying keywords/phrases is
usually more important that word order.

> (on a side note, have there ever been any point and click text
> based interactive fiction?)

Kind of. Some IF allow you to click on keyword in the description
(such as "north") and automatically "go north", or (I think) even
examine objects.

Mike Rozak
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