Has anybody ever seen a mobile parser interface that really knocked it out of the park?

I’ve done a lot of thinking about this, especially in preparation for this year’s ParserComp. I feel strongly that you can’t beat a hardware keyboard for parser games, and parser games are kind of awesome at illusion-of-choice.

But most of my friends do everything now with phones and tablets. Is the a really good “phone” parser game that I could study for my next project?

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I’m not aware of one, but Fabularium’s “double tap the output to add that word to the command line” feature goes a long way. If you added a little verb bank with the most basic verbs you wouldn’t even have to type much.

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I don’t think I’ve seen better than CellarDoor for PalmOS.

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Here is my current mobile parser interface;

I eventually gave in and wrote my own “IF” keyboard. The main problem with the system keyboard is that it’s simply too big. You don’t need both upper and lower case, so the shift key gives you other symbols plus the top line goes to numbers.

Additionally, the right arrow key performs word completion both for verbs and nouns you might want to enter. Pressing it once on a blank line brings back the previous line for re-editing. The “full-stop” key could be changed if i think of something better.

In 16:9 portrait you still get enough text. The font looks small here on desktop, but on mobile it’s OK because your phone is closer to your face. In any case you can change the font size anyhow. You can change the keyboard size also.

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I started playing IF on Frotz on the iPad, and later used Lost Treasures of Infocom (now gone) and Hadean Lands on iPad, and I found all of those worked well. None of them completely changed my life forever, but they all worked well.

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Gruescript?

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I also think Frotz for iOS is very good, since it understands IFDB and has a means for playing unreleased story files. I use it to check my own stuff when I’m on the go.

Have no idea about Android tools, though.

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I’ve played a reasonable amount of Detectiveland, and it’s just not the same. That’s why I suggested a bank of common verbs rather than a bank of definitely applicable verbs.

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Have you played Draculaland? It captures the experience better. It feels very close to playing a parser game.

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Hmm. Gruescript is interesting but I suspect it couldn’t approach a very complicated parser game; as the author says, it’s sort of for puzzle boxes.

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How do you feel about this game?

It was designed to be almost entirely solvable by clickable links but has at least one puzzle that requires typing in. It was extremely popular:

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Do people really play IF on phones? That could really screw up ASCII art, couldn’t it? If it doesn’t fit on its intended line?

I always forget about phones as serving any other purpose than, well, a phone.

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I hated computers when I was in college and went out of my way not to own one. I eventually got an iPad, and from 2010-2015 I only played IF on mobile devices.

Games with zip files or arrow key based menus just wouldn’t work at all, and ‘press any key’ only sometimes worked. That’s why I never (ok, rarely) use any of those things in my own work, in case someone is in the same boat.

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Well, but an iPad is a lot bigger than a phone. Despite some keyboard annoyances, Frotz has always worked great on my iPad. But phones! The screens are so small. I’m wondering if some of the ASCII I have in the works wouldn’t be appropriate on a phone, and if some of my older ASCII isn’t working there either. You learn something new to worry about every day.

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Gruescript also has quite a sophisticated conversation system, so I think the creator is being modest in some ways. The games can get pretty deep and complex. But what do you have in mind that you think it might not manage?

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I(early millenial) do play exclusively on phone and relatives and coworkers I introduced to IF expect games to be played on phones.

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I find this very impressive. Was it made in twine?

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Frotz does autocomplete (can be toggled) plus directions and common verbs. It’s come a long way. I really do use it a lot.

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That’s the author’s own system: Dialog

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I’ve set a personal goal for myself to include more characters in the games I write. Dialogue is a big part of getting to know the characters you play with. I love adv3lite for TADS, but it’s really hard on a phone.

Maybe I should take another look at GrueScript.

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