|★ APPLICATIONS ★ AIDE A LA CREATION DE JEUX ★ ADLAN: ADVENTURE LANGUAGE ★|
|ADLAN: ADventure LANguage||Applications Aide A La Creation De Jeux|
Due to a rather touchy problem with the Balg's monitor (I know I shouldn't have hit it with the flamin' sword) this ADLAN review is brought to you c/o The Aniste himself Mr Bob Adams. Thanks, Bob!
Galloping over the hills, to the sound of thundering hooves and trumpeters A trumpeting, comes the Cavalry, arriving just tn tune to rescue the poor adventure columnist with a broken computer To wild cheers of delight from the gathered leaders, the hero descends from his white stallion, blows on his smoking guns to cool them down, lazily slides the brim of his stetson off his face and. (get on with it Bob! - Balg)
Er, yes. ADLAN arrived in a jiffy bag that also contained the manual and a disk. Being a well-trained computer user who has self-taught himself to master Protext and Masterfile by reading the manuals, what was the first thing I did when faced with using this new untried program? That's right, I bunged the ROM into a vacant slot, powered up and waited for it to show me what it could do. Well it just sat there, refusing to do anything, So I then sat down and read the manual!
But to begin at the beginning, what is ADLAN? ADLAN is an ADventure LANguage, a ROM-based adventure-writing program like the PAW or GAC. For anybody that feels they have an adventure inside them (like a novel) but feel they could never write it because of not being able to understand the complicated syntax of adventure writers such as GAC , Quill or similar, Graduate Software has some good news for you. The whole adventure is written on a word processor (like the PAW - Balg).
Now what could be easier than that? Any word pro that saves files in ASCII format can be used, but Protext users are particularly well catered for. For those of you who still don't own a word pro and prefer a masochistic approach, then you can write the adventure in BASIC, then save it as an ASCII file before compiling.
So what does ADLAN do then , I hear you ask? Well, the ADLAN ROM compiles the whole lot into machine code, ASCII and BASIC alike, which makes it run a lot faster and also compresses text and graphics so that it takes up a lot less space on disk. It can also "Load" files from disk during the playing of an adventure so there is no limit to the size of the adventure you wish to create, subject to memory available. If you are a fan of graphics (l'm not) then a typical screen file of 17K is compressed down to between 2K and 6K, depending on the complexity The graphics are loaded separately off the disk and so use up no memory.
The manual is nicely made with a glossy cover and a sturdy binding that won't fall apart the second time you use it - it's a good job as well, as you will need to constantly refer to the manual. Strong it may be. but well-written it isn't! It is a typical computer program manual, written to the usual low standard.
I can hear the gasps of horror emanating from Derby as t type this but sorry lads, it seems to me that the manual is only a list of commands. rather than a tutorial on bow to use and how to get the most from the program ADLAN has its own special set of commands To make the program use' these commands, they have to be inserted between what 1 call the curly brackets - [ and ] .
It's a little gem! I had typed in and success fully run the example adventure, played around with the Bartrek adventure (a spoof on Star Trek) supplied on the disk and I wanted us try something more challenging..
I had an un-completed adventure which I had written using the GAC. The reason it was not complete was two-fold 1) Due to the limitations of GAC I had been unable to program certain events that needed to happen, and 2) I had got bored with it The arrival of ADLAN changed everything - but would I have enough time to convert my masterpiece from GAC to ADLAN before The Balrog was on the 'phone demanding his review?
How am I doing? Well, so far. I'm very impressed ADLAN requires a different structure to GAC, so it's not just a case of importing your database. However, being forced to rewrite the whole thing again has allowed me to make improvements to the onginal and also take advantage of some of the short-cuts allowed by ADLAN. The flexibility of being able to compile directly from the command mode in Protext, the file held in memory. "Run” the adventure, spot a bug and to be able to return immediately to Protext to fix it. is terrific By the way, the bug I referred to would be a mistake in spelling in the "text". If it was a mis take in any of the commands (syntax, wrong order, missing message, etc) then the ADLAN ROM spots this and refuses to compile the file. More importantly, ii tells you which line the mistake is on, so it is a simple matter to coned it and then compile it again.
All things considered. I can heartily recommend this program. Congratulations to Graduate Software for releasing ADLAN Now, if every reader bought this and each one released an adventure, not only would Graduate get very rich but you would keep Amstrad adventure players very happy for years to come.