An Example with Compasses

People often ask me for examples of Glulx multimedia designs; and since I happened to be working on something with an easily extracted lesson, I’ve taken out the relevant code and made a separate project of it.

The idea is that we have a graphical sidebar along the left side of the screen that functions in place of the game’s status line. At the bottom of that sidebar, next to the command prompt, is a clickable compass rose that displays the available exits in each room, and indicates which of the exits lead to already-visited locations. (This is pretty much a combination of the screen layout from City of Secrets with the color-coded compass from Bronze.)

In a finished game, there would be cool pictures and stuff in the upper part of the status bar, or maybe a clock indicating the game time, or some kind of score-counter, or a whole glistening dashboard of steampunk gears and dials tracking seven simultaneous kinds of progress…

But for this example, we just do the compass rose. Here it is, with green letters for new places and white letters for familiar ones:

Pillaged Village

Anyway, if that all strikes you as interesting, you can try out the gblorb file. Or you can run it for yourself:

  • make a new Inform project
  • copy my source text and paste it into your source panel
  • if you do not have the extensions I use installed, download them from the extensions page and install
  • download my Figures folder
  • unzip the Figures folder and put it in the Materials directory of your project
  • run

(Edited to add: the gblorb file produced will probably not run correctly under Gargoyle or Spatterlight, because they do not use the most up to date version of the Glulxe interpreter. For these purposes, I recommend Zoom on the Mac and Windows Glulxe on Windows.)

10 thoughts on “An Example with Compasses

  1. Well, is it Emily or is it Lars? Seems you are indeed quite the person of mystery!

    Thanks for this, I’m going to check it out. Looks potentially useful for my own stuff.

  2. Emily, can you please increase the contrast of your webpages. I find all this grey-on-white and grey-on-grey text quite a strain on my eyes.

  3. Well, not trivially: I could switch templates entirely, but I like and am used to this one, and not all templates work equally well with the kind of content I have here. (E.g., many are less good at displaying a list of static pages alongside the blog content.) Or I could pay to upgrade my account to get the opportunity to edit the CSS directly, which is probably the safest way to guarantee that none of the content got lost.

    So the question is: is this a serious accessibility problem for you, and/or are there other people who want to chime in in favor? If so, it’s probably worth the $15/year and the couple of hours of my time dinking around; but if not, I’m inclined to leave it as is.

  4. I’m actually more than a little confused, because the text I’m reading here seems to be black-on-white with occasional forays into blues. What am I missing?

  5. Nah, it basically looks black-on-white here, too. I assume it has to do with OS and monitors; nothing ever looks exactly the same on two computers.

    But if you want true black-and-white, you should read this via the RSS (on lj, they’re set up as ’emilyshort’ and ‘es_comments’).

  6. See the earlier note on here: this is an old post, and I’ve since taken the package down again.

    If you’re interested in the same trick now, I recommend looking at Erik Temple’s graphical extensions on the Inform website, which provide a more general solution to the same problem.

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