So Alabaster lately has really been feeling like that Zeno’s paradox in which Achilles can only run 1/2 of the remaining distance, and then 1/2 again, and the finish line always remains right where it was…
However. Had a really miserable bit last night/this morning when I thought that a beta-tester had turned up a deep-seated bug in the way Alabaster (and the core library) parse quip names, and that this bug was so heinous that the only way to fix it was going to be to meddle with the parser template at the I6 level, and that, besides, this showed something rather discouraging about I7’s flexibility, and in general ARGH.
But no, actually, the problem was something completely stupid (but hacky and baroque) that I’d done a few months ago to try to reduce the number of times I7 had to consult grammar lines when parsing quips. I took the ugly machinery out again and now it all parses right.
Have also implemented a bunch more of the art program. It is starting to look a lot more coherent to my eye, while retaining a number of subtle ways of communicating changes in the underlying game state.
Added two of Aaron Reed’s extensions for newbie-friendliness, Smarter Parser and Poor Man’s Mistype.
Edited the game’s help text.
Added a tutorial mode to offer a new player some detailed hints here and there — I mean, Alabaster’s conversation system is already giving a lot of hints about the kinds of things that the player can do, but the tutorial mode gives additional guidance about non-conversational commands.
Still outstanding: run the current version past the artist, incorporate any additional material from him; rebuild the website as appropriate for a finished release of the game; provide links to accelerated Git for different platforms, so that people can play the most streamlined possible version of the thing.