Visionary: A Scott Adams Classic Adventure Format Creator

From my experience, speed doesn’t come from the number of words required to create a command, but instead from knowing what to type (correct syntax) or what needs to be done next in terms of plot or puzzle progression (well-implemented design and player familiarity with interactive fiction).

In terms of a mobile device as a format, a large percentage of my IF playing is done on my iPhone (using iFrotz). The few times that I actually find using the keyboard annoying are: when I’m required to enter numbers and letters (I have to keep alternating virtual keyboard layouts); or when the author has used a long or unusual name for an NPC I need to engage with. Both are easily rectified by the author.

For the rest of what’s been said, Zarf and Dannii have this in the bag.

How disappointing. It sounds like you didn’t care about a good rating in the first place.

Seems I have correctly assessed your entry.

No, you misunderstand me. Of course it would have been nicer to get a ranking up the ladder and yes, you normally enter a competition to win, but one of the reasons I entered was to see how the reaction was to the old school two word parsers and how the ground lied in placing vs modern IF. And also to give pleasure of old school surprise.

As I have mentioned I thinnk there are at least two different types of beasts now.

I just don’t get why a two word parser would be in any way desirable when there are so many multi-word parsers already available today (ie, not just Inform!) The only reason to have one is if it’s impossible to have a better parser.

Retro gaming desire perhaps?

How about:

“I just don’t get why Pacman, Space Invaders or Q-Bert would be in any way desirable to play when there are so many 3D games available today (ie, not just Call of Duty!) The only reason to play one is if it’s impossible to play a better game.”

Okay, but then why would the parser of all things provoke feelings of nostalgia? Having retro IF with terse descriptions, mazes, instant death etc is all great, but why have a crappy parser too? Does it really make it fun?

I think its the two word parser which makes it retro, and therefore makes it fun.

Maybe its just me. I have been known to get joy out of things other people can’t figure and they look at me in a strange way. I am the same with old cars that way. People say why run an old car with its problems when you can get a newer one?

(BTW my old car runs fine… )

Constraining input to a maximum of two words can help tighten up the open-ended nature of the command prompt. The player knows that all solutions can be expressed in commands of a certain length, and any potential solution that exceeds that length must be pared down or discarded.

I thought it worked surprisingly well in Leadlight. The only parser-related complaint I had with it was the lack of “x” as a synonym for “examine” - forgivable, but only just. Arguably the game experience would have been worse with a better parser, because the slow screen refreshes and the bland default responses tended to punish unrecognized or unimplemented input.

^^^ wot he said!!! :smiley:

… this was the case also in my adventure … but ‘X’ will be in my future Adventures because I guess it would relieve the stress of modern day IF players ‘going retro’ from normally playing games which support X (I guess as well a I, N, S, E, W, U, D, L etc).

I think a crappy parser is one that is internally inconsistent. If a parser is limited, well, that can be a help sometimes, as long as it is defined what the limits are to avoid guess-the-verb. And if you want to play a very long game, a limited parser will probably be lousy because verbs and puzzles and commands will probably get recycled, and people will groan “I’m not typing that again.” For competition style entries…not so much.

Re: guess the verb, I think Leadlight eliminates guess-the-verb well. It helped me in my testing to have a list of verbs printed out and to check them off when trying specific actions. There are some deathtraps which use questionable English by necessity, though, so people playing to find them may have to use process of elimination. Memory constraints, etc.

I found “EX APPLE” but I started using it early in testing and probably eventually took it for granted that other people would find it too. “They’re more experienced playing these things…I’m sure they’ll figure at least as quickly.” Ouch.

For anyone who was wondering – there is no RAM left in Leadlight to implement one extra verb or verb synonym. I would never implement an abbreviation over a real English word, so it’s Examine, or just EX, since Leadlight’s parser actually allows you to type very few letters to recognise the vast majority of its content. However, a lot of people missed that fact while they were screaming about the truly horrific imposition on their lives of having to type EX instead of X :wink:

If I had a free verb slot, I’d have happily added ‘X’ to v 1.1, but I do not. I just say that here as I want people to know the reason I didn’t add it wasn’t out of bloody-minded glee.

Version 0.01 alpha is now out. If you have v0.00 alpha, I recommend you get this latest version.

v0.01 alpha - Added ini file parameter for ‘WindowMode’ at startup.
- Added ability to load a game data file from command line.
- Fixed not saving starting location in certain circumstances
- Added option for Visionary to auto-fill return path for locations input.
- Fixed issue where it would cause “Array out of bounds” in AdvPDA / AdcPC.
- Added Open Last File Saved menu option.

Thank you to the person who reported / recommended the above.



Damn! I wish I had been a regular here when this thread was hot! Having had some experiences writting IF for 80’s computers this is the stuff I’m interested in!

I bumped into Visionary when looking for info about another IF creating toolalso called Visionary, an early 90’s system for the Commodore Amiga, that’s a pic of the copy from my little collection of IF related things.

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I tried running therealeasterbunny’s Visionary, but my Windows 7 is anything but cooperative. Can anyone confirm if it is safe to install visual basic 6 runtime in Win7 and if that would make this Visionary work?

On other subject, I think working for “old school” environments doesn´t mean you’re unavoidably restricted to terse prosed puzzle based text games. My favourite examples are Colin Woodcock’s Floarea Soarelui and Lee Tonks’ On Reflection, both for ZX Spectrum computers, which I highly recommend to Speccy users (wether for real or through emulation)!


Sorry, just stopped by here after a long time away. Did you try the VB6 Runtime in W7? If not, email me and I will rig up a Win7 test machine and try it for you. (I am only on Win XP currently but can borrow my brothers PC).

This might help also …

Its spooky about the Visionary naming thing on the Amiga as my retro gaming ended with the C64 after which I moved onto PCs. Unless I subconciously saw this somewhere it is spookily coincidental as I named it “Visionary” after Scott Adams being the ‘Visionary’ after playing Adventure and bringing text adventures to the micro when everyone thought he was nuts and it could not be done to machines with micro RAM.


Awesome pictures. Glad this thread got necro’d.

I still want to write a game in this. It might not be publishable, but dang if it wouldn’t be fun.

I was thinking the same thing. Though I’d still want mine to be publishable :slight_smile:

Thanks chaps. Its nice to hear the Scott Adams Format still makes people’s hearts flutter to hark back to the (good imo) old days.

It’s also nice to learn something new each day (having just googled ‘necro’d’)! :slight_smile:

Perhaps we should have a Scott Adams Format Text Adventure Comp (SAFTAC?) :mrgreen:

Even if its just for fun. I think I got more pleasure out of creating a game in this format than playing some :slight_smile: I suppose I am biased thouh as mixed in with making a game was making and debugging Visionary along the way whilst learning how the Scott Adams format ticked (including “magic numbers”)! Anyway, its all in the docs.

If you ever do make a text Adventure in Visionary, ENJOY :slight_smile:

I’d be up for it. As you say, it’d be fun to participate. It could be good for new authors, too, or for people who don’t want to deal with rulebooks and such, yet.

You know, you might have a point there … let me have a think and I will report back soon to see if I can set something up from a fun comp perspective point of view…

I think one neat thing about such a comp is that there’d probably be some people entering who might not have been interested in trying these games as players, but given a non-complex tool to make a non-complex game, would be interested in trying to make a game with the system. Inevitably, being on the creating end inspires some increased interest in the product of that system.

But before you go ahead, I think there definitely has to be a more PC friendly player program for the games. The tiny screen of AdvPDA, used on a desktop computer, aggravated a lot of people in ifcomp 2010. I would say at the least, the desktop version needs a resizable window and changeable font size(s). Another step up would be a choice of fonts. I imagine if you can program Visionary, these things wouldn’t be too hard to add.

Edit: Back at ifcomp 2010, I played R on an emulated Amiga. Btw I can report it ran just fine, and this was using some Scott Adams engine I just pulled out of ifarchive. Though I remember it was kinda nightmarish setting up a whole Amiga hard drive etc. just to run this thing. But I was able to play R on a decent sized screen :slight_smile: