[MUD-Dev] Parser engines

Helps Family helpsfamily at pxi.net
Fri Mar 26 12:51:48 CET 2004

Brian Hook wrote:

> Then I realized that at some point complexity is unavoidable,
> specifically with disambiguation (which sword?  which key?).  I'm
> really not fond of unintuitive (to non MUD players) forms like:

>   > get 2 sword
>   > get 2.sword

> That just strikes me as...messy.

I've got an amusing contradictory anecdote for this. I wrote my MUD
parser to properly handle

   > get second sword


   > get the 59th sword and the 61st sword.

However, it did NOT handle get 2.sword -- I'd never used it before,
so didn't think to implement it. Most of our active players are
first-time MUDders, and they found the second/2nd form
intuitive. However, one of our players had MUDded before, and
expected it to work:

  http://simud.org/forums/thread/1480#4367 (or see end of post for a copy)

So even if it strikes you as "messy," you may find that players will
expect it to work anyway, proper English or not. When I responded that
the player should try "second tree" instead of "2.tree". She said she
hadn't thought of that, and would try it.

Perhaps this goes some way to answering the original question -- MUD
parsers are written the way they are because players expect them to be
written the way they always have been.

-- Adam Helps


Since this list is archived, I've quoted the relevant forum posts in
case the link ever breaks:

Rusalka		multiple trees	2004-01-25 00:53:33

  I just noticed that whilst standing in a room with an empty banana
  tree and an apple tree, I can only pick from the (first) empty
  banana tree. I tried picking from the apple tree but that doesn't
  seem to be working.

  One way to get around this might be to designate subsequent trees
  as "2.tree," "3.tree," and so forth. Then I could "pick apple from

(In reply to Rusalka -- multiple trees)
Acius		Um... 	2004-01-26 00:41:52

  Did you try 'pick apple from second tree'? You can also abbreviate
  it pick apple from 2nd tree; You can also do 'pick apple from
  nearest tree', 'pick apple from furthest apple tree', and even
  silly things like 'pick apple from second furthest apple tree'.

(In reply to Acius -- Um...)
Malap		syntax	2004-01-26 14:52:38

  The #.noun syntax is well-established on muds and worth
  supporting. I remember looking into it once a few months ago; a
  wizard (I forget who) asked to check something out for them, and I
  forgot all about it until seeing Rusalka's post.

(In reply to Malap -- syntax)
Acius		#.noun syntax 	2004-02-10 02:01:36

  OK, all present should now honor this syntax. In the process, I
  rooted out a rather ugly little bug where "get 2nd pine cone"
  would get "two pine cones", because pine cones are a stackable
  object. It was a fairly obscure bug, but it's fixed anyway...

  This thread has died now, I think, and I'm going to make another
  attempt to close it ;-)

(In reply to Acius -- Um...)
Rusalka		seconds 	2004-01-28 23:08:10

  Didn't think of that; will try it! Thanks!
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