Isekai dev diary

I’m sure old-timers have their eyes wide open, knowing my past strict, NK-grade secrecy about WIP, and that I openly gives a dev diary on my major WIP, the one whose has also contents more amenable in EU than US (of course, I reserve to open a parallel diary in the appropriate debate…)

Currently I’m slowly proceeding, even by my standards, because of a very woung meower needing constant watching (and cleansing the mess from her playing around…) but aside the story research, I have already given many interesting TADS3 trickery.

(of course, in due proceedings, there WILL be spoilers, so you’re forewarned !)

[site technical note, blur spoilers seems incompatible with preformatted text… the admins can be look on this serious issue ? ]

On story research proper, I’m assessing the title itself; I have some serious doubts on naming an IF after a genre; this can be easily seen as REALLY preposterous, because the very first IF gives its name to a genre… opinions ?

On trickery, I should give out this snippet, whose is a very useful debug item:
(SPOILERS BELOW; see the site technical note above)

// an "instrument panel" for monitoring vars
// of course, to be removed in the released game, after converting the
// output in "analog format" for usage in X myself (spiritual)

knoscroll: Thing 'Scroll of Knowledge; knowledge; scroll' @etuye
 "this is not a mere scroll: is the Scroll of Knowledge, an impish tool for 
monitoring the state of your progress in knowledge & lore"

// hope that with tabs, lines remain <78... and that works under a3lite...
readDesc = "\t\t<b>State of Knowledge variables and flags:</b>\n
level of wondering about yourself: <<etuye.wonder>>\t
knowledge about this new body: <<etuye.bodykno>>\n
(for testers: if these two vars changes, please X YOURSELF)\n
knowledge about your personal life: <<etuye.perskno>>\t
level of recovered literacy: <<etuye.alfakno>>\n
(if the literacy level raise, please try to read again readables...)\n
level of realisation of your feelings toward Azuj & Miyai: <<etuye.luvkno>>\n
level of, ehm... your audacity toward your new body: <<etuye.audax>>\b
\t\t\tFLAGS: (T = True, N = Nil)\n
Discovered infravision: <<etuye.infrakno? "T" : "N">>\t
Discovered sound gamut:  <<etuye.gamutkno? "T" : "N">>\n
Discovered sharp vision: <<etuye.sharpkno? "T" : "N">>\n
Discovered the marriage: <<etuye.relkno? "T" : "N">>\t
Discovered being a Magi: <<etuye.magikno? "T" : "N">>\n

whose usefulness as debug tool is very obvious…

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.


Having cited it elsewhere, I use this rather simple trick for debugging the pair of NPCs whose enters the stage later, for easing the testing of the interaction:

azuj : Actor 
'Azuj; petite winged; demon daemon atuzejiki azuj spouse wife soulmate; her'
@corrN // temp; ease the debug of non-scenic azuj

the second line is the simple trick: all I need for test release, and hopefully someday the actual release is commenting out the second line, whose place her in off-stage (in my testing builds, when testing the actual staging of Azuj, she’s also automatically moved her from the convenient location nearby the starting location, together setting the appropriate actor state, so no risk of the disastrous “duplicate actor” bug; moving from another loc or from nil is basically the same thing; actor.moveInto(loc) IS a very powerful and useful method…)

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.


So is this in TADS 3? It looks interesting; this seems like a good way to learn more about the code, by following along


yea, brian, Indeed I’m discovering not few interesting things, not few already reported in the TADS debate… :slight_smile:

Indeed here I will present and/or discuss not only design/story development, but also story-specific coding :wink:

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.


I understand the vibe of naming a work of fiction after a genre or trope. Usually that sets up the expectation that you are either experiencing a well-researched example of said genre, hitting all the expected tropes in a potentially fan-service manner, or the work is potentially commenting on, satirizing, parodying or stretching and breaking the tropes in a way that is hopefully meta and surprising to people who understand the genre tropes.

Other examples of this happen in books and movies:

Pulp Fiction was an original story named after a type of series novels that relished the idea of crime thrillers and how meandering extended plots could be if you spent time in the worlds of each of these characters and how they intersected, including “everyday minor” life and death situations that occurred regularly.

Peter Straub’s Ghost Story is more the reminiscing kind of tale in which a club of older men gather to tell each other ghost stories they’ve created but all are haunted in by the spirit of the same person they share acquaintance with who might be coming back after them for revenge.

Grindhouse is a movie that gives the experience of cinema going during the era of middling-quality grindhouse/exploitation movies for a double feature, along with period concession stand ads and badly-cut (satirical) trailers which are often missing scenes, sometimes with terrible sound quality when you had theater workers assembling trailer reels manually and splicing movies back together with razor and tape in the booth sometimes randomly when projectors would get stuck, burn and break the film and they’d have to repair it. It’s a vibe.


I admit that there’s major isekai tropes, e.g. the “figuring out the written language ASAP” trope IS a major, multi-stage puzzle, and that, ahem, indeed there’s fanservice, but the major trope, learning the uses and costumes of a different world is here (you remember my debate about “knowledge and lore as treasures ?”)… but remains the preposterous justapoxition with Adventure… for now the name remains, but I’m exploring alternatives.

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.


Now that the final 2023 backup is in due course, is proper waiting the end of the procedure (NEVER edit files during the backup…) with a summing up of the work done up to 2023.

The code currently is 376k in 16 .t files, included the three non-compiled, the 16k inotes.t (story & dev notes in form of comment blocks) and the two scrapbook files (contained discarded but reusable code) totaling 52k.

why two scrapbook files ?, well, the second contains my templates (in the fill-the blanks sense, NOT the TADS3 sense) for rooms, things &c.) plus the pair of best discarded but reusable code, and the page up/down key are grateful for this :smiley:

What was done ? I’m not sure of what was done during 2023 or in the prior years (the general plot and initial coding is of late 2020 vintage) but currently the map is basically done, with varying degrees of fleshing in the, uh, 75+ locations, divided regionally in six files totalling 196k and this is where the main priority lies, because the pair of NPC will react to the environment and is best for coding that all is properly fleshed in place prior of the other major work, implementing the NPCs, whose are currently barebones.

another interesting detail is the 28k file ilngtxt.t, (long text) where I placed all “walls of text”, easing the editing and navigation inside the other files.
On the walls of text, I’m still grateful to Brett Witty for the source of convolution, whose gives an excellent handling of the “walls of text” in his books.t source.

on the actual coding… in the last months, I have done a “Great Streamlining”, simplifying the critical (and perhaps controversial) sequence of scenes involving the arrival of the first of two NPC.

Currently I’m working around what is perhaps the most detailed single item in IF history (currently 442 lines from line 249 to line 691 of ilower.t; when completed will be moved to a separate .t file) and the completion of the “Great Streamlining”, interspersed with fleshing work.

Overall, I think I’m well in the expected timetable, that is, two year and half or so…

oh, another thing… I must thank Brian Rushton for his initiative of a public final beta, whose thru a dozen RC (Release Candidate) has dramatically improved never gives up her dead in three weeks, so now I know what will be the final step in this long work…

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.


a little special edition of this diary, for a major step ahead:

with an afternoon in advance of the planned short-time program, a major item is basically completed, lacking only its NPC reactions and mid-to-late story adaptive prose, aside possible tiny improvement, and the inevitable corrections stemming from proofreading & ßtest.

Said item (and its components) probably is the most detailed item ever coded, 550+ lines and 26,5Kbyte of source, the sheer majority (80% ?) being text and the rest code and comments, and its basic completion is a major milestone.

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.


It raises an interesting topic, what the most complicated NPC out there is in terms of code words.

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easy answer:

Emily Short’s Galatea.

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.

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I’ll have to check that out sometime…


an embarassing moment:

grep + wc vs. hand count 3-0 !

that is, I have hand counted (by eyeballing) 87 locations implemented in the source, then grep “: Room” | wc -l reveals 90 locations, and a triple checking of the drawn map confirmed the embarassing miscount (an Imp whose don’t keep track of the exact geography of its creation…)
EDITED, redfaced, the relevant comments in the source…

Embarassed regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.

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I must 'fess up, originally I planned to give an update every month or two, but in end, I failed to deliver an update for four months…

Now everyone has, I hope, haved the opportunity of contemplating and interacting with the “most detailed single item in IF history”, and getting a look at the very start of Isekai, but isn’t the major dev news.

The major dev news is that Adv3Lite 2.0’s new features uncannily fit to a T many aspect of Isekai; for example, the topic belief system is perfect for the narrative.

Between the work for the portrait and the work in testing a3Lite 2.0 little advance was done, so, without much ado, the current general statistics:

the room are now 102 (sure number, thru grep and wc -l…) and the source size is now 372 Kbytes of source files, and 68K of notes and scrapbooks files re. 324 and 52 Kbytes at jan.6

Apparently, few work done in these 4 months, but a good chunk of this is in improving the vocabolary toward a beyond-Trinity grade of synonyms and adjectives, as this excerpt will demonstrate (taken from a detail of the portrait in the first location, so is now NOT a spoiler):

rdress: Component 'red dress; girl\'s Azuj\'s Atuzejiki\'s daemon\'s demon\'s 
form fitting form-fitting slighty flared sensual alluring damasked; decollete 
bodice skirt outfit costume; it'

(and the outfit synonym came from a ßtester…)

No wonder that this level of synonyms and adjectives per thing strained the poor disambiguation listing routines, hence the introduction of the enumerated disambiguation list in a3Lite was much more than welcome !

I have also laid out & sketched an optional part of the story, whose gives some fun (I hope) and delivers more insight on Railei. Still has some design issue, but I think I can close those issues.

Still tackling with a complex (and potentially controversial) but fundamental scene in the early game, but I think that a “scenic approach” can solve it (albeit I don’t have fully grasped the correct usage of preAction… -_- ) but in general, the work toward the completion of the lower floor is going well.

The dev plan is completing the lower floor to the point that will be seamless adding Azuj’s interaction & reaction with these locs & items, then the same work will be done to the upper floor and tower followed by the final alpha test sometime between late '24-early '25.

… and about Miyai ? no worries, she arrives on the stage at the middle of the middle story, but Azuj’s fiery resoluteness and the mixed-up state of the PC/Etuye requires that the duo find at least a tentative diagnosis to present to Miyai, a very capable healer and this is the work to do after the Azuj is seamlessly capable of dealing with the map, starting around the end of this year.

Hope this is enough as update; Of course, I must write also The Portrait’s postmortem… and now everyone understand that is actually the opening of Isekai

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.