Coders, how would you implement a tool to automap as you play i-f?

I have been successfully running trizbort on macos using wine, so it should work as well on linux.
It works only after installing dotnet with “winetricks dotnet46”


Woah, I just got Trizbort ( running in Linux for the first time since about 2017. (That’s Linux Mint 20, for me.)

Previously, installing dotnet 4.x failed, even through Winetricks. Now it seems to be working again.

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I have never used it, and it isn’t for TADS, but has “automapping” support, see

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Effectively, that is what I am thinking of - plus much, much more, as I don’t want to have to code an interpreter.

I can see how one could use a mapping tool to replace paper, as the others have mentioned, but that misses the “auto” part of auto-mapping, which I think would be a fun coding exercise.

If no one else has a TADS/cross language suggestion, then I might well go with suggestion #3 in my original question and intercept the output of command line interpreters, although I can foresee problems with that.

2 Likes is implemented in JavaScript, but it doesn’t have the transcript parsing feature.

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A decade ago, I wrote a TADS authoring tool. Part of that was a map drawer. I have recently had the desire to create an auto mapper.

In my opinion, parsing game output is not the way to do it.

It’s easy to parse"go north", but there are limitless ways to move location. If you are lucky, the interpreter will always output the name of your location first. And the first time that it doesn’t, your automapper is fritzed.

Similarly, items can pop in and out of existence and inventory in limitless ways.

Also, both locations, objects and NPCs can be renamed mid game.

My idea is to make minimal mods to the interpreter code. If it is modular, there will be core routines to create, destroy, move and rename (CRUD, in database terms). Mod those to broadcast info to a socket and let plugins decide what to do with it, including automapping.

What do you think? I would really like to discuss this with someone.

I first thought of parsing transcripts, as it wouldn’t matter which interpreter is used, but, as I said, there are too many problems.

A core update to the heart of the popular interpreters would allow plugins to be interpreter agnostic.

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Z-code/Glulx interpreters are not structured on that level. There are such routines, but each game implements them separately. Moving and checking map connections can work differently from game to game; the interpreter doesn’t know what routines do what.


Thanks, Andrew. So, my idea of a plugin system, where the interpreter would inform plugins over raw sockets of changes to items, locations, etc is anon-starter?

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If the community could agree on some sort of standard file with minimal information about the map, such a map file could be included in for instance a blorb-file or zip-file. Should definitely be possible and a huge step for the community.

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Especially when you have freaks like me who enjoy really messing with room and connection models, lol.

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Alas, some maps change dynamically at run time, which would complicate things greatly


Is that different from including an image file called “map.png” and letting the player look at it?


I think so but my post could perhaps be misunderstood. I was thinking something like a text file specifying a grid, and the size and position of each location specified with coordinates and connections which the map-display uses to display only visited locations. It should also allow for more advanced details.

I know that auto-mapping is a feature of Trizbort but when I tried it on a slightly complicated map, I constantly had to modify the map to make it decent or make sense. By supplying a map-file, the map-display knows where to put locations relative to each other once the player has visited them etc. It may not be realistic that the map-display communicates with the interpreter but if the map-display combines the transcript and map-file it should be possible to have a really good auto-map quality compared to transcript only.

Auto-mapping may be regarded as a luxury but on the other hand, it should be possible to have something better than the auto-map feature in Trizbort and for all platforms including browser plays. I think there are some excellent auto-mapping in both Adrift and Quest but a standard could also be based on Trizbort, just more advanced when it comes to auto-mapping.

I know it would take a lot of work and there might be more important challenges for IF but I wouldn’t be surprised if mapping sometimes scares potential new parser players away from the medium if they bumped into a complicated map. Some love mapping games where others regard it as tedious but necessary.

I saw you started an interesting thread with plugins and it might be the way to go - I don’t know if it is realistic as I am not so much into programming. That was why I saw a map-file combined with reading a transcript as a strong possibility.

I am envisioning a tool for the author who decides on how the map will look. Then the tool can create the map file.

Theoretically, a map-file could consider “almost everything” but even if the specification does not account for all situations, the author decides completely how the map will look as they are supplying the map-file. So even if we can’t print a connection between two locations, the locations can be close to each other on the map if wanted and the map-display will show which location you are in, even if there are no lines connecting the locations. This would account for e.g. saying XYZZY and so on.

So if the specification of the map-file is not so advanced, you can just leave out connections in those special cases.

In answer to the original question, I wouldn’t bother. However, I am an old-school adventure player and I enjoy drawing my own maps. It’s part of the adventure experience.

I know that modern players are downright lazy and they want everything presented to them on a plate. So how would you do that? I have no idea. If you were to build tools that allowed a map to be drawn as you go, then that would force authors to draw maps that make sense. How would it draw the mazes from ADVENT for example? It couldn’t.

I’m all for maps that are drawn in a geographically coherent manner, but authors are still producing maps that are damn near impossible to draw. In fact, just yesterday, I was drawing the map for ‘Sea Coral’ from the recent PunyJam #3. How would you automatically draw this? Note the combination of nautical directions, normal compass directions, enter/exit/board, up, down and twisty directions all over the place.


Oy! Don’t be mean about it. :)

(In the 80s, a computer lived on a desk covered with piles of paper so it was easy to take notes. That is no longer a universal truth. People are gaming on mobile devices, or sitting on the couch with a wireless keyboard.)


I don’t believe that’s true for parser games. Every time I play one on my phone, it has always been painful. If you’re talking about laptop devices, you can always open a mapping app in addition to the game.


I still sell a few copies of Hadean Lands for iPhone/iPad per month.

Not everybody uses those. If you tell people they ought to use them, they may reasonably respond “So why isn’t it built into the interpreter?”

I realize I’m in the position of saying “Interpreters should do mapping, and also it’s impossible for interpreters to do mapping.” Sorry! This is hard!


Something like this? (requires monospace font)


A: Forest
B: Junction
C: River
D: Bridge
E: City

Or this with “arrows”. I suppose I can use FJRBC, instead of ABCDE.


Edit: Added dash to the map, hoping screen readers will read it as dash D dash, dash E dash to represent empty places.

Edit: changes the second map symbols with directional exits.


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That is why I am proposing a map-file in addition to the transcript. If the author had drawn the map you have just presented, he could export it as a map-file and the player’s map-display program would know exactly what the map should look like. And when the player has visited all locations, the map will be identical to the map the author made. Before visiting all locations, only visited locations should be visible in the map display.

There is already a map of ADVENT’s mazes here:

So if the author supplies a map file with this information, the mazes can be drawn. However, the author could choose to make the maze locations or connections invisible as they may regard it as a puzzle the player has to solve unlike the rest of the game where mapping may not be regarded as a puzzle.