A couple of clarifications on the last post, because there was a lot there, and some of the discussion is arguing against things I mentioned in passing rather than against my actual conclusions. So, to sum up:
- The answer to the question I posed in the title is yes. I do still want a parser. Something else would not be close enough to IF as I know it.
- In fact, I still want players to type. Clicking buttons or using drop-down menus (a) encourages a design with too few verbs and (b) removes the textual give-and-take. I also consider that an important part of IF. I also dislike the cluttered look of interfaces with a lot of menu and button stuff around the body of text.
- Indeed, I still want to accept standard-form commands such as OPEN DOOR, in that order.
- But the command prompt doesn’t give enough information to help players negotiate the command space. I think this a real defect in the current parser interface, as a matter of interface design.
- Therefore I think we should give the player a way to interrogate the game directly about what his options are. One way to do that would be the textual equivalent of clicking on something and bringing up a radial menu: that is, letting the player type a noun name and find out about his options for manipulating it.