Alabaster 31 (Invisible Progress)

Have now:

  • had more human beta-testing and incorporated the feedback (of which there was not a huge amount)
  • removed the Conversation Builder extension and commented out a lot of the support code from the main game file, so that what remains now in the game is only the material that is intended for the final release
  • done a little more streamlining, getting rid of the remaining procedural rules in the hope that that would bump the speed a little. (It doesn’t seem to have done a huge amount, but it was worth a try.)
  • sent off the source code for further profiling: there is a particular slowdown when disambiguating the names of quips that I still have not been able to optimize away

Meanwhile, David Kinder has been working on Git and Glulx, using Alabaster as a benchmark project, and it looks like it will be able to speed things up a lot at the interpreter level as well.

Still outstanding before release:

  • find out results of profiling; tweak to improve if possible
  • add artwork, if same comes through

Alabaster 30a

Having got rid of the annoying flaw in disambiguation (I hope), I’ve posted the latest build of Alabaster. The plan at the moment is to do a little more beta-testing to make sure that the conversation is sufficiently rounded out; then to remove the conversation-building machinery and do the last speed tests and refinements once that is gone. If you want to play along, transcripts are welcome.

Currently the biggest between-turn lags — sometimes very long indeed — continue to be in response to disambiguation questions or when the parser can’t match a quip at all. I am not sure why it’s doing this, but I suspect that the quip-creation machinery may be slightly interfering with the efficiency.

Then we’ll do some profiling.

The startup delay should be gone completely, though, and between-move delays reduced in most other cases.


is up, though I haven’t done the conversation graph this time because too tired.

However! The good news is, an increasing number of the bugs-to-be-fixed are lightweight and cosmetic; even the run-time errors reported this time were of the “gosh that was a dumb typo” variety, not the “crap I must rethink my whole design” variety.

Though I still haven’t figured out what goes on with the very occasional too-many-activities bug.

Tentative plan: continue human beta-testing this weekend; if things seem to be stabilizing, declare that finished on Monday or Tuesday and spend part of Christmas break doing the final adjustments — more optimizing, removing the collaboration interface (or turning it off in the released build, one of the two), hardcode-caching things at start-up if possible. Working on the presentation layer. And so on.