Current approaches to auto-completion in text adventures

Hello again,
I see some text adventures (or interactive fictions accepting text input in general) offering auto-completion of the user’s requests. Are there any particularly intelligent approaches/algorithms out there? I’m new to IF, but from a UX perspective, input in text adventures is really interesting.

dunno, but most usual commands have shortcuts :

x for examine
i for inventory
n/w/ne/etc for directions
z for wait

Thanks! I stmbled on those when reading through a walkthrough for Goosehouse :slight_smile:
Specifically, are there systems suggesting verbs based on available actions and then nouns based on items on which the action is currently available?

I haven’t seen any that do that at the parser line besides one of the iOS interpreters (can’t remember which one, I’m sorry), but there are some games that experiment with it. In PataNoir, when you type in a noun, the game automatically does the most sensible thing with it (usually examine the first time, an appropriate verb the second).

There are also some older hybrid games that provide lists of all the verbs and any nouns available in the room, like Erik the Unready.

Frotz and its derivatives have tab completion - if you type some of a word, then hit tab, Frotz will look through the dictionary for any words that start with the partial word the cursor is at the end of. If there’s exactly one match it will finish off the word, otherwise it does nothing, which makes the feature a bit hard to spot.

For example, load up “advent.z5” into Frotz, enter “x bui” and hit tab, and the input line completes to “x building”. (Tested with Windows Frotz, your mileage may vary.)

The new adv3Lite library for TADS 3 corrects misspelled inputs by looking through the dictionary for something that you probably meant (and letting you know that it’s making an interpretation). Not quite what you were asking, but it’s quite clever.

Adrift uses autocomplete fairly heavily, but it’s not what you’d call a sophisticated system.

Interactive Parsing by Jon Ingold does something like this.

clever indeed and most definitely useful

still, no amount of clever parsing or cli improvements will make up for stupid gameplayer who can’t get in the shoes of the PC: after trying inane things just for fun or out of boredom, text-adventures will be ruled out as no fun because touching the moon or something is out of question…

which is why IF should stay away from the general gaming public

yeah I hate other people too

they should stick to Call of Duty and other mainstream moon-touching sims

whurr my puzzle at

funky sign you got

100% news to me. And on checking it out, I see it uses the “game’s internal dictionary”… so that it even works on non-English games.

Rather cool.

any chance this autocomplete may ruin some surprises?

Could be a risk. I had to find a way to reign in Quest’s disambiguation menu system to avoid ruining surprises. … =10&t=4186

So, I was actively trying to limit what is basically an auto-complete system because it was throwing up answers to riddles.

A system might be better if it only auto-completed nouns which are explicitly mentioned in the text. When players are expected to produce a noun using their initiative or intellect, they’ll have to also produce the correct spelling (of the first 4 letters at least.) That seems reasonable. But I definately agree that it’s a problem when systems of convenience start to provide instant solutions to puzzles.

(This is a similar issue to that in the thread about picking verbs from menus…and tickling giant trout.)

Rezrov provides an optional “correction” feature: if a word isn’t in the dictionary, it will try to change it to the closest one that is.

Any of the systems are capable of doing this…but it’s not really implemented.

I have a Windows 8 Store App coming out (at some point) that has a word list UX instead of the free-form parser. We’ll see if it’s received well or not.

David C.

Thanks for the input and references!

The auto-complete looks at the valid ways of writing a command, then offers the most common words that match the currently typed text and the valid commands, over less common ones, dynamically updating as the command is typed. What sort of sophistication are you looking for in an auto-complete system?

Apart from ADRIFT.

Mæja Stefánsson’s An Earth Turning Slowly an interesting take on this, with its custom Undum-based parser.