A point and click Textual Interface

They’re referring to this site: https://www.gog.com/

GOG is great. The abbreviation stands for “Good Old Games”, which is exactly what they offer. They use dosbox to support old dos games and stuff, but they also do sell some newer stuff. Their policy is that everything they sell is DRM-free and they also offer a lot of sales. It’s pretty competitive with Steam. GOG is owned by CD Projekt Red, the developers of the Witcher series. You should really check it out! :smiley:

Edit: Corrected dosemu to dosbox. I’m not sure why that name came to mind before dosbox. :sweat_smile: But yes, it uses dosbox which is more widely supported than dosemu, so games can run on mac and such, I believe.


It’s an abbreviation for “good old games”. Various people in… I believe it’s Poland?.. acquired the rights to a variety of classic games that required DOS to run, partnered with the people who released the DOSbox program, and sold the games packaged in forms that could be run on today’s computers. They then diversified into offering more modern games as well - sort of a competitor to Steam and similar companies. Their lack of DRM won them a lot of adherents.

Anyway, among the other games they sell, GOG.com has a few of the old Infocom text games, complete with manuals, scans of the feelies, and so forth. They also have many of the old graphical adventures games put out by Sierra and LucasArts - arguably they also count as Interactive Fiction, but of a very different variety.


Thank you for the link.


I have long wished for a system that worked like the Legend Games interface. Robin Johnson’s Detectiveland system is perhaps the closest.


In case nobody else has mentioned, check out IFDB for gazillions of independent and experimental IF titles.

1 Like

Ohhh! Gateway! Well, now I feel stupid. After looking up Legend Games to see what @HanonO was referring to, I just realized that I was confusing Gateway with the old Shadowgate game which used something more similar to the old Monkey Island 1 & 2 interface. I would have approached the topic differently if I had realized my mistake. :sweat_smile:

I now see where the Detectiveland reference comes in. Sheesh. Yeah, this is different than Twine games or my own game. I’m sorry for being so dense.

I just realized searching “Legend Games” isn’t great (you get League of Legends mostly) but they were branded Legend Entertainment


The Mirror game had a verb-thing menu; it is very convenient on keyboard The remake from 2015 switched the UI to mouse-accessible menus. I did things like that in Javascript, there are no problems except figuring the item scope.

You may want to take a look at the ISHML API. You’ll find a lengthy tutorial on parsing. It’s in JavaScript, but there’s nothing preventing you from adapting the concepts to Visual Basic.

Also, if you are taking a tour of interfaces, check out Texture. I think drag and drop is a very fun way to interact with text.

I’m so happy with all these responses. It turns out I’m very busy this week but I will look through all the recommendations. Quickly I can note, I’m using VB yes, but it’s just one step from rewriting in C++ (I’ve been too lazy to catch up on SDL2, because it would require me to write all the components of the UI; otherwise, there are some others, but most are not maintained) which I also use. So as far as a target audience is concerned I would try to cater to the different platforms, Windows, Mac, Linux. I did not mention that I had another project, that was more in tune to the Gateway games also, I added graphics to that one. I scrapped it, but might pick it up again. I was not sure if graphical text adventures would be the right topic here. The inspiration behind that ironically was also a Legend Entertainment game, Superhero League. GOG has that also. Another is, The Case of the Cautious Condor. I’m very grateful to all the tips. I will do more research this coming week. …but, keep in mind, I don’t want to give the wrong impression. I’m not a professional programmer, so this is a hobby project I’m referring to. I just really like the IF community.


There have been many insightful things said already in this thread, and I’ll try not to repeat that.

I would like to add good luck, and hang in there and don’t get discouraged. Having a project is a good way to learn things you don’t yet know about. The best way to get interest is to get something done and to be able to get it into the hands of as many people as possible.

I don’t think an advanced parser is a necessity either. Matching combinations of a verb and a noun goes a long way. (The concept can be simply expanded to verb phrases and noun phrases for times when more verbose commands are needed.) I’ve toyed with the idea of making a point-and-click interface for the Scott Adams way of making text adventure games, and the fact that it uses a simple verb and noun input makes it a lot easier.

I’m sure you’re already aware of these options, but you could use a toolkit with included UI components (widgets) like wxWidgets, GTK or Qt. (You’d lose some of the capabilities of SDL, but that might not be a problem for text games.)
In any case, good luck, let us know how it’s going, and feel free to ask further questions! :slightly_smiling_face:

I have a graphical example here without a parser. This is what I worked on last. I mentioned in the initial post, that you can click on text boxes and list boxes to click through a scene. This however is graphical. There is no difference in what the player does except the text is descriptions. Perhaps there is some interest in this. The motivation behind this was as I said the Legend games. What I would do next is add a parser component, so the player can have a textual interface along with the graphics. Let me explain the program before you download it. It’s a Visual Basic .NET exe file, it’s not signed of course, so the OS should flag it as suspicious. It’s not a complete game or game system yet, but it runs. Perhaps some bugs, but at most it never crashed for me. It is a fullscreen application at 1920x1080. The graphics (example only) are 960x540 scaled x2 for the background and everything is designed to fit the scale. The best part of it, is that in the game Gateway, you will notice that there is approx. pixel precision clicking, so I did the same with masks so all objects can be clicked on according to their shape and transparency. Nothing spectacular, but it can allow overlapping objects that have cuts in them allow another object to pass through. The graphics don’t do it justice for how well it might be used. The controls are basic for now. When running the program, hit space to get the text box. Click on arrows on screen to go to locations. Left click to pick up item. The indicator that you have items in your inventory shows up when you do. Click on it or “I” to open inventory. When clicking an object in the inventory, nothing happens. For now click 2 on keyboard to drop and 1 to take. After you set the drop/take mode click on item. When the item disappears, type “D” to look at dropped items in room. This is by design. Instead of the item graphically showing up on screen, they go to a drop inventory which there is another indicator for. There you have to toggle drop/take again to put it back in your inventory. Very clumsy for now and there will be visual cues for this to make it more self-explanatory, but it’s just a quick UI demo. As I was saying at the first post. This was originally all textual visually, now the next step is to revert back to a Text interface to accompany the graphics the same way the Legend UI worked. Another thing is NPC interaction. I’m working on that too. One last thing. The references, you can look up on mobygames are “Deja Vu”, “Gateway”, and “The Legend of Robotopia: Jetsons”. If you look up those games, you will see where I was headed. Please understand that the program might have bugs, but I compiled it myself. No guarantees just for common sense reasons. Hit Alt-F4 to close the application. It does not write anything to your computer. It’s managed by .NET. Here is a link if you want to see this. and any comments would be appreciated. Like I said, nex I will try to add text input with simple action text commands.

file is in next 2nd post (I forgot to add graphics files so it did not run).

Updated to be slightly easier to understand current command.

Another thing is to use it as a development system. I decided it might be a good idea to take the shortcut on that too. Instead of wrapping up a detailed editor, I would create an instruction document to allow the developer to incorporate the actual default source code as a project. You simply would get full access to the source when done and you can develop anything you want into it using dotnet visual basic or in that case you could use c#. I will try to document it as such and then it will be an example/game/api. Ready to compile into whatever game you design with it. Visual Basic is so self-descriptive, that it is possible I think.

The file doesn’t run for me at all. It opens and immediately closes. No errors or anything. I don’t know if I’m missing files to run it or what.

One sec, I forgot to add the graphics. That was the problem here is a working copy.

Hmm. That’s pretty interesting. It’s a bit like your standard point-and-click adventure game in its current state, of course.

Which actually got me thinking: Have you looked into AGS at all? It’s like RPG Maker or ADRIFT, but for point-and-click adventure games. It even supports parser input.

AGS Website: https://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/site/ags/
Parser docs: https://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/manual/ags70.htm#topic66

Yes, but don’t forget, the goal is IF. If you hit the space bar you will notice the textbox. Now, this will be extended to allow input, I just have not decided how yet. A bigger inspiration between the game types was Robotopia (moby games has a great example). It plays alot more like a text adventure. Youtube has some players make an example of gameplay. When the text input is done, I would like to make sure it is also closer to the Legend games, which were definitely graphical text adventures. I do know about AGS, but even though short animation loops will be ok, an animated character is not something I want to be playable in the game.

The text input was my main question here. I am not sure yet how to implement the parser. As far as logic is concerned, so it’s up in the air for now. LOL - I just realized something. On my computer I am also working on it without graphics. So the game you are doing that is like Twine is how it is playable here. In other words, the game has to be playable as a strict text adventure before I go through with graphics. The project you are looking at is the one I originally scrapped.

I don’t think you have to include a character. Plenty of point-and-click adventure games (like Myst or Scratches) don’t have a character on screen. I was thinking something along the lines of the old Space Quest or King’s Quest games, but with the character removed. I don’t know if you remember, but the real early games in the series had you typing commands to pick things up and use them instead of using the mouse. The mouse was only for navigation.

Anyway, I wasn’t trying to suggest you should abandon your project. I just find it useful to check out how other people accomplished similar goals and then borrow my favorite ideas from them, modifying them a bit to fit my current project’s framework and direction. You can never go wrong with more research and information, is what I think.

Right, I agree. I value everyones input on this, so thanks for taking the time to look at it. So it looks like, I’ll try the parser next. Maybe Kings Quest I text input is not that bad an idea. I’ll have another look at that also.

1 Like