Vorple’s functionality goes beyond the (still quite cool) work that furkle did to support the front end of Worldsmith. A version of Vorple has been around for some time, and the prototypes for it existed as far back as the IF Demo Fair, but what’s been available so far has been compatible only with the Z-machine, a format so small that it’s increasingly hard to generate any viable Z-machine games with Inform 7 at all. Meanwhile, Hugo Labrande has maintained a Vorple version suitable for use with Inform 6.
There are some extra details available at the announcement post here.
The new edition of Vorple opens the following possibilities for games that are being played online or in a browser (which, these days, is more and more of them):
- Authorial control over fonts and typography on a level that has generally been difficult or impossible
- Hypertext games programmed and driven through Inform, something that was previously possible but tended to come out looking rather clunky
- Parser IF that makes attractive, dynamic use of illustrations, maps, and even videos
- Games that remove text after it has already been printed to the screen (something that was just about impossible with former non-Vorple Inform interpreters); this means that one can, among other things, remove error messages from the scrollback, or change the game’s printed history to reflect changes in the protagonist’s mentality
- Tooltips and modal dialogue boxes to do things like offer definitions or confirm player choices outside the main narrative
- Help menus other than the horrid nested, keypress-driven things we’ve been suffering with since 1994
- Probably many other things I have not thought of yet.
I’ve had the chance to play with the extension set as Juhana tested it for release, and it is really cool.
In addition, those in range of London are welcome to join us for the IF Tools meetup May 31, where Juhana will Skype in to talk to us about the Vorple project, so those interested can get a first-hand introduction.