Project SWIFT

Things That Were

In the early 1980s text adventure games were popular on the home microcomputers of the day; the TRS-80, Sinclair ZX81, Sinclair ZX Spectrum and the Acorn BBC Micro. My school friends and I spent countless hours battling the creations of Scott Adams, Brian Howarth, Level 9 and Artic Computing.

I loved these games and, being a hobbyist programmer, decided to create one of my own. Thus was born The Scepter, which was written mainly in ZX81 BASIC with a smattering of Z80 machine code. To my everlasting surprise Bug-Byte Software agreed to publish the game, under the title Adventure.

After writing a couple of reasonably successful arcade game clones and beta testing Adventure D - Espionage Island for Artic I suggested a continuation of their series. They agreed and the resulting game became Adventure E - The Golden Apple, which was well received.

My final effort in the commercial world was Artic's Adventure F - The Eye of Bain. This was a collaboration between myself as programmer, a chap called Ken Gosling as story designer and two graphic artists at Artic.

Things That Are

In July 2003 I was looking for ideas for a non-trivial project to help gain practical experience of the C# language and the .NET Framework, while improving my HTML and CSS. Perhaps I could write a new text adventure and publish it on the web - there must be some other "old-school" gamers like myself who would like to play a new adventure. After all, the medium died out years ago. Didn't it?

In Web Browser
You are in a web browsing application. All human knowledge is at your fingertips.
>search internet for adventures
You search.

In Google Results
You are shocked by what you see; a landscape vast beyond comprehension. There are exits in all directions. You see an Inform, a TADS, a Hugo and an ADRIFT. Shades of many more touch the edges of your vision. Adam Cadre, Roger Firth, Nick Montfort, Graham Nelson, Andrew Plotkin, Mike Roberts, Emily Short, and Campbell Wild are here. Myriad others voice their opinion; authors, programmers, designers and players alike. Finally you see David Cornelson. He speaks of IF#. You scream!

What followed was several months of reading articles, manuals and newsgroup posts. I started to get a little jaded with the idea of writing a new game; I'd lost sight of why I originally wanted to do something new. I'd become concerned that my prose wouldn't be up to scratch, that my plot would be too derivative, that I'd be reinventing several types of wheel and that the IF community would not even bother to play my effort as it wasn't going to run in the z-machine.

Eventually I decided the best way to get started was to put my worries aside and just get started. This site is the first step.

Things That Have Not Yet Come To Pass

These are the technologies I want to learn or improve my existing knowledge of during the project:

C# and .NET Framework [Improve]

HTML and CSS [Improve]

Linux and the Mono Project [Mainly learn installation and usage for familiarity and cross-platform releases]

Each of the items listed below is an area of IF technology that I want to explore. As I get my notes and thoughts into order I shall expand the list and create additional pages with specifics:

Comprehensive world model

Grammar definition

Parser generation

Command interpreter

User interface