Sunday, January 27, 2013


I recently took another look at simpletalk.h, my include-able version of Robb Sherwin's ptalk, which was his port of Adam Cadre's "phototalk" extension for Inform 6 (based on code he used for his game, Photopia). I took a look at simpletalk for two reasons- 1) simpletalk was one of my earliest stabs at library-extension-writing and I thought it was likely I could make it look better, and 2) there was some code in the original "phototalk" whose purpose I couldn't understand and I wanted to take another swing at it.

This time around, I decided that the confusing code was Inform 6's version of Hugo's masking function. Having figured that out, I then had to think for a long time about why masking was even useful. Eventually, I decided such an implementation would allow simpletalk to easily distinguish between unavailable-and-already-spoken and unavailable-and-not-spoken chat options, or available-and-spoken and available-and-not-spoken chat options.

I also decided that the SetUpQuips routine and the arrays were an awkward way to keep track of everything, so I switched it over to a property-element-based system and renamed the extension as "newsimpletalk".

Still, I am keeping an updated-but-using-the-old-array-system version (still called "simpletalk") that will hopefully work with all existing ptalk code out there.

Anyhow, I really need to write a HbE page about the usefulness of masking. It's only taken 15 years or so, but I finally would know how to do the duct-tape-weapons system from "Death To My Enemies" in Hugo.

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