Do multimedia and hyperlinks/buttons/etc really make parser IF more accessible or improve it as an art form in any way?

You can do all of this in HTML TADS, if you’re not aiming for multiplayer support. Just for what it’s worth.

Otherwise, I personally agree that graphics don’t really add much, while sound can, but I also feel more strongly that it’s up to player preference.

(I’m sorry but this is something I know about lol)

UI design specifically means the audio/visual design of the menus and buttons and their placements. UX design specifically means the way these elements react to the player, how the menus are layered or sequenced, and how the player can interact with the UI. :grin:


I’m surprised none have mentioned things like Zork Zero. For me, puzzles like the Towers of Bozbar and Double Fanucci were really good, because it got me to step out of the game and actually process what’s happened so far. You guys may not like it, I dunno.

Also art can push a game if it’s done well. I really think the BBC’s 20th and 30th anniversary version of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was a step-up from the original, obviously depending on the game. Probably games such as Suspended or Counterfeit Monkey couldn’t really have images. (Though CM’s map was a nice addition.)

Regarding hyperlinks, I have to agree with @HanonO. The fumbling process occurs quite a lot. It’s not one I like, and would generally go against it if the section isn’t a non-parser section (example: Towers of Bozbar in ZZ).

Of course, we all have different views, but… yeah, I’m on the images side. (Only if you can get away with it: a game with half-baked images or image placement is even worse than without.


That’s good to know, but I think I’m gonna avoid all multimedia for now. I’m already struggling with the urge to over-detail every room in order to feel like it’s finished and I can properly move on, which is causing a massive unnecessary time sink, adding more vectors for yak shaving is not a good idea for me :sweat_smile:


(adds to phrasebook)


Appreciate the explanation. I used to do UI design and do functional documentation as well. I always thought UI design was a part of that other side, but now that I think about it, there were graphic guys at work that made some pretty amazing interfaces without much concern about usability. Slackers! :wink:


But not on the web, right? I’m still reeling from my realization that Parchment doesn’t do HTML TADS 3, and having to hack the minimum I need back in.

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One example I can think of where images would be irreplaceable is something like maps or diagrams for puzzle-y machines. To say the same in text would be a nightmare. How to use these and be accessible, I don’t know. The easy answer is “don’t use them”, but then that limits the type of experience you can provide.

On hyperlinks, I have an example from my current game. In the game is a computer with a particular interface which is not hard to run, but it requires new verbs (CLICK ON ...) and to streamline the situation there’s really only a few choices. No problem for a curious or experienced parser player. But for everyone else, it’s much easier to offer a hyperlink on the monitor’s description so you the player can literally click it, and it fills in the command for you.

Unfortunately the way this rolls out in TADS 3 land (AFAIK) is that you can only offer these experiences in a dedicated interpreter, or provide the more accessible web versions that can’t do HTML stuff.


some aspects of my reply will surprise old-timers, whose surely remember my critique of late Panks’s taste in colouring his works, but I consider myself a pioneer of using “enhanced text” (beginning in C64 era, I discovered, mid-80s that appropriate POKE 53280 and/or POKE 53281 enhances the narration, go figure that the pair of numbers above are unerasable ROM in my brain…), hence my critique on the inconsistent support of bold/italic/underline styles in 'terps (as my “scroll of styles” showed…) and colours. And there’s also the recent usage of textual smileys, as in ; ) re “winking” !

so, there’s a substantial way of improving the main art form, with appropriate use of styles and\or fg/bg colours. All is needed is a consistent support from 'terps… not an easy proposition, I fear.

Well, Web UI TADS needs you to be running the game on a dedicated server, using a seemingly-modified version of the language. It’s not like you can make a Web UI game and have it work in Parchment, and not a lot of people have a spare server to host things on for themselves.

Also working on your game and iterating on it in Web UI is an absolute nightmare. Someone was posting here about it once, and he had to upload the game to the server, wait for that version to go live, then test it from his personal computer as a client. He was asking if there was a way to test it locally on his machine, but I don’t remember any answers coming of it. I’m guessing you would need to set up a server on your coding rig, and have the computer basically connect to itself, and restart the server and reconnect every time you need to test it.

EDIT: Also also, I remember there being a discussion around the problems of needing a game to be hosted on a specific server while submitting it to a comp, instead of just sending a game file.

EDIT 2: More info on why we don’t see much of Web UI anymore can be found here.

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There is a way to do that, figured it out when I was messing with Web UI the day before yesterday. Just run the Web UI game in FrobTADS with network permissions set to permissive (frob -N 0 [game]). It’ll run it locally on your machine and give you a link on localhost to visit in your browser to play the game. It works very well!

So this is essentially correct:

I’m guessing you would need to set up a server on your coding rig, and have the computer basically connect to itself, and restart the server and reconnect every time you need to test it.

But it’s not a bad thing, certainly not as negative as you’re making it sound. That’s the normal set up and development cycle of modern web apps and websites. Serve them up on the local machine with NodeJS or Django or whatever, have your browser connect to local host, etc.

IMO, Web UI is still very much usable, it doesn’t really have any showstopping flaws or anything, nor is it that hard to use at all, and it lets you do some seriously amazing things that HTML TADS and Parchment won’t let you do, stuff comparable to Vorple, since you can create an interpreter customized with arbitrary HTML, JS, and CSS and game output with arbitrary embedded HTML and JS and arbitrary video and audio as well as pictures, and have the JavaScript on the client side use AJAX or websockets to communicate directly with the game besides just the normal interpreter loop. It can seriously do cool stuff. For instance, look at this demo:


Well, my focus is on MUDs, but in those adding details like graphics and MXP (clickable) links dramatically increases accessibility and retention, especially for common commands like navigation.

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