Parchmap - automatic mapping, navigation, autocomplete, notes and more

Hi Guys, I wanted to share with you a program I’ve written which I think you might find useful, it’s basically a program that interfaces with Parchment (the JavaScript IF interpreter) and adds some nice quality of life features, including (but not limited to):

  • Automatic mapping as you explore the story.
  • Auto navigation from your current room to any other previously discovered room.
  • Easy note taking, add notes that will show up on the map.
  • Autocomplete suggestions as you type, including room name suggestions where relevant.
  • Improved saving system over Parchment’s bookmark system.
  • Filterable list of IF stories with the ability to star your favorites and mark any you have completed.

I’d really be interested to know what you guys think, the program can be accessed here: Parchmap - Interactive Fiction

And if you don’t like reading much (not likely considering the subject matter) then a video introduction is also available here, complete with my silly accent: https://youtu.be/xB-8oJiFzEs

Hope you find it useful, I sure am.
Thanks!

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Nicely done!

I really like the retro CRT effect too.

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Thanks :slight_smile: I wasn’t sure it would be everyone’s cup of tea so I’ve added an option to turn it off.

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Do you think it would take much to update it to the newer Parchment? The version you’re using is super old (from 2014). If you did then you could add Glulx support too.

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Hi Dannii, I’ll have to see, Parchmap currently works well with the zvm virtual machine that Parchment uses as it provides a clear status bar where the current room’s name can be taken from, I’ll try to expand it to support other virtual machines in the future.

Some suggestions.

Can you change the default font, font size and font colour? I tried ‘A Bear’s Night Out’ and the help was illegible. I turned off the fuzzy font and the help text appeared to be black on black.

When you turn off the fuzzy font, the input is still in the fuzzy font until you press Enter. Once it scrolls up, it becomes legible.

As the default font is so large, the map does not fit beside the virtual screen and you have to keep scrolling down to see it. I had to make the browser window quite wide (or full screen, but I never use full screen) to get it to appear on the right.

You have vertical scroll bars within the browser’s vertical scroll bar. That’s always a no-no. The browser’s vertical scroll bar does not fill 100% of the window height.

Perhaps related to the scroll bar issue, the virtual screen always jiggles up and down when you press Enter.

Can you run this on a standalone page? I’m thinking in terms of a game hosted on itch.io or similar. I couldn’t see a download link anywhere.

If this were to use the latest Parchment, I might give it a try.

Hi Garry, thanks for the input, I’ll see what I can do to improve the visuals, I’ll probably add a button to switch back to parchment’s default black and white color scheme.

Regarding the scrollbars, you basically have two scroll bars, one for parchment, and the other for the map, so when it goes into “mobile” view, these two elements are vertical instead of horizontal and so you have the two scrollbars one below the other.

In the future I might add a download link with explanation on how to host a game on your own server, but for now you can simply link directly to one of the games if you’d like.

Regarding fonts and colours, I was referring to modification for my own game when hosted on my own web site. You can modify the appearance in Parchment by modifying the css. I have also experimented with downloading Google fonts and this works quite well. It would be great if Parchmap allowed you to do this at some time in the future.

Regarding vertical scroll bars, there are actually three vertical scrollbars. The two you mentioned, plus the browser’s vertical scroll bar. I found myself toggling backwards and forwards between the Parchmap and browser scroll bars to scroll up and down. Obviously, this becomes very annoying very quickly.

Regarding the hosting, something on itch.io needs to be self-contained. There’s not much point hosting there at all if you’re only going to link to an external site and I’m not sure if that’s even possible.

Anyway, keep up the good work. It looks really good and shows great potential.

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Nice to see some exploration of automatic mapping… I’ve thought for a while that that’s a thing it’d be nice to have happen automatically.

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Hi Guys.

Build 9 is in the air, in this build:

  1. Using the latest Parchment and ZVM
  2. Replaced the scrollbars with nicer ones which automatically disappear
  3. Hidden the main scrollbar
  4. Made the mobile layout more condensed so more of the map is visible without scrolling
  5. Fixed green text on green background in help section (tested on A Bear’s Night Out)

Check it out and let me know what you think.
The next feature is going to be the ability to play your own .z5, .z8 or .zblorb file so stay tuned for that.

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I have nothing substantive to add except to say how impressed I am with this. It’s great to see efforts like this that focus on the presentational aspects.

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Hi again Guys.

Just a quick message to let you know that build 10 is now up which includes the ability to import a .z5, .z8, or .zblorb game.

Look for the upload icon in the main menu next to the filter buttons.
image

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Can you use z3 files? Only asking because PunyInform encourages z3 for compatibility with 8-bit and 16-bit platforms.

Hi Garry, at the moment I can only support formats supported by ZVM as it provides a status bar with a clear way of obtaining the current room’s name (for most games at least, I came across very few games that remove the bar)

For .z3 I’d have to use gnusto which as I recall doesn’t give me a clear way of knowing which room the user’s in, but I might investigate it further in the future.

ZVM does support Z3 (since version 1.0 in 2017). Though you may be using an older version that doesn’t.

Thanks Danii, I’ve found one from 2017 here:
https://raw.githubusercontent.com/curiousdannii/ifvms.js/master/src/zvm.js

I’ll give it a test

Ok, I got it working, but it’s pretty different to the previous version I used so it might take a while to get Parchmap to play nicely with it.

Hi Garry, next build will support .z3 files, I’ve already gotten to a point where I can play a z3 file with all the features of Parchmap, I just need to tie up some loose ends resulting from the move to the newest version of ZVM.

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The files here are up to date and also include support for Glulx, TADS, and Hugo.

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Thanks Dannii, I’m gonna have to add a lot more stories to the list now :slight_smile: