RAIF FAQ > Programming IF > 4.4.2: Tier (ii)
4.4.2: Tier (ii)

Intermediate popularity and new systems, these do not appeal to quite as large an audience as those in tier (i) or are less powerful; there are infrequent posts to rec.arts.int-fiction dealing with these systems and their use; occasionally games are produced using these systems.


AGT (Adventure Game Toolkit)
/if-archive/programming/agt/
Version/Release
Version 1.7 (may vary between platforms). But if you want to use AGT, use MAGX and AGiliTy instead of the original. Please.
Authors
David Malmberg (73435.1277@compuserve.com) and Mark Welch (markwelch@ca-probate.com).
Platforms
Amiga, Atari ST, Macintosh, MS-DOS, Windows. There seem to be many different versions for different platforms.
Support
No technical support from the authors (i.e., no new versions). Posts to rec.arts.int-fiction are not uncommon.
Programming Knowledge
Uses a meta-language similar to English. Standard Level games can be created with no prior programming knowledge.
Features/Limitations
Creates Standard Level games ("require no programming experience (honestly!), only a fertile imagination") or Professional Level games. There are limitations on the number of locations (200) and animate/inanimate objects (100 each) in a game. As AGT is no longer supported by the authors there will be no future upgrades/bug-fixes. It is not nearly as powerful as the Tier (i) systems, and many games are unportable from DOS.

There is also now two programs, MAGX and AGiliTy, which are more portable and less buggy than the original AGT programs. However, they do not improve the language itself much.

Documentation and Game Sources
The documentation available on the Internet is out-of-date in regard to author support (which no longer applies) and licensing details (AGT is now freeware). Included is the source for a small game, Crusade. Other source for some two dozen games is publicly available. Mark Welch has 50-100 copies of the final "Master's Edition" printed manual and would invite suggestions from AGT users on how he might disseminate them at no charge. He *does not* have the "Master's Edition" source code though.
Online Documentation
N/A
Web Page
AGT Home Page
<http://www.markwelch.com/agt.htm>
MAGX webpage
<http://www.ltlink.com/~jgoemmer/magx.html>
AGT-authors mailing list page
<http://www.ltlink.com/~jgoemmer/agt.html>
Debugging Features
A few basic debugging commands (such as MOVEPLAYER and LISTROOMS) to be used at run-time.
Source
Turbo Pascal 4.0/5.0/5.5/6.0. Magx and AGiliTy are written in ANSI C.
License
Freeware. Games produced with AGT are freely distributable in whatever manner you choose.
Quick Pros and Cons
I really wish I could put more pros here. When AGT was first released, ages ago, it was an improvement over what little IF creation software existed at the time. However, there really is nothing it can do that Inform or TADS can't easily do, and unlike the tier (i) systems, it is not expandable. That is a key point: in Inform, Hugo, and TADS, you can basically get it to do what you want, at least in terms of the internal world (if not multimedia output). This is not the case for AGT. It is poorly ported. And, though some claim it to be easy to learn, others find AGT source incomprehensible. You can write a good game in AGT. It's much easier if you just use a different system.

Quest
/if-archive/programming/quest/
Version/Release
3.02
Author
Alex Warren (alex@axeuk.com).
Platforms
Windows 95 or later.
Support
Please email all technical questions, enquiries, bug reports etc. to alex@axeuk.com.
Programming Knowledge
None required. Quest comes with a visual editor (QDK), plus full documentation on the "ASL" programming language used, if you wish to code games by hand rather than using the visual editor. "ASL" is an easy-to-use language without much in the way of confusing syntax, designed with ease-of-use in mind.
Features/Limitations
Pretty much unlimited in any way; memory is allocated dynamically, so in theory games of any size could be created. Easy-to-use interface; built-in multimedia support for WAV and various image file formats (including BMP, GIF, and JPEG); save/load facility; text formatting; built-in support for items, characters, objects, selections, string and numeric variables, conditional statements, and user-defined commands; error checking. Its built-in library isn't as advanced as some of the Tier (i) systems in terms of IF capability, but it allows more graphical Win32 power than them. Users can use QDK, the Quest Development Kit, to create Quest games without any programming.
Documentation and Game Sources
QDK and ASL reference plus small sample game included in Quest download. Al Bampton's ASL tutorial is also included.
Online Documentation
N/A
Web Page
Quest Home Page
<http://www.axeuk.com/quest/index.htm>
Al Bampton's Tips and Resources for Quest
<http://members.aol.com/agbampton/html/qtips.html>
Debugging Features
All variables can be watched via debug windows, and a log file can be optionally saved.
Source
Not available.
Licence
Quest may be used free of charge, but you are encouraged to upgrade to Quest Pro for UKú9.95 (US$19.95) via credit card or cheque. Quest Pro includes QCompile which allows you encrypt your games so the code cannot be read or edited. The free version of Quest is capable of running games from both unencrypted ASL source code and encrypted "CAS" code.

SUDS
<http://www.sudslore.com/>
Version/Release
SUDS Player: 2.3.2.0. SUDS Constructor: 2.3.1.0.
Author
Andy Elliot (support@sudslore.com).
Platforms
Windows 9X/98/NT/2000/XP.
Support
The author will continue to improve and develop SUDS for the foreseeable future in the light of feedback and functionality requests, both of which are welcome. Andy endeavours to respond to all queries and suggestions within a maximum of five business days.
Programming Knowledge
Aimed at writers rather than coders, SUDS requires little or no programming knowledge, although it does demand the ability to think logically. SUDS enables users to build sophisticated event-driven procedures via a simple Cut and Paste mouse-driven interface. Syntax and construction of commands is handled automatically by the program. Design environment is modelled on object-oriented development packages such as Visual Basic.
Features/Limitations
Games are designed in the SUDS Constructor, which outputs the game as a single file. Games can be installed and run in the SUDS Player without compilation. Games are wholly text, although a "welcome" graphic can be specified. However, keyboard entry is replaced with a simple cursor-driven mouse interface: there is no parser and games consist of putting together words on the screen, like in the LucasArts graphical adventure games. A graphical map is automatically maintained during play, and players can add their own notes to each location. Event-driven procedures are triggered by player actions or between-turns housekeeping. There is a dedicated conversation interface with a drag-and-drop tree editor. The map editor is wholly graphical. You can have up to 32767 of each of Objects, Scenery, People, and Rooms. The map size is unlimited. Unfortunately, because code is not edited as textual source, you cannot export code to share with others.
Documentation and Game Sources
In addition to the documentation packaged with the applications, FAQs and information on upgrades are available on the SUDS website.
Online Documentation
Included in the SUDS download.
Web Page
SUDS
<http://www.sudslore.com/>
Debugging Features
The SUDS Player contains fully integrated debugging features which can be enabled from the Constructor for a game. These include the ability to report on the attributes of every game item and all system variables, to move the player to any location, and to take or drop any item. An in-game procedure monitor gives the ability to view procedures, step through code, skip over individual code lines or procedures, evaluate conditions, and pre-decide the result of decision points.
Source
Borland Delphi (Object Pascal) using a proprietary database.
Licence
The SUDS Player and Constructor are both freeware: there is no fee for installation or use. SUDS-format games may be distributed for profit at the author's discretion.
Quick Pros and Cons
If you want a Windows-only program with a good IDE and dialog-box-based programming instead of text-based programming, and you do not mind that SUDS players converse with your game by a simple point and click interface, then SUDS is probably the system for you: it shows every sign of being written with care for that purpose. The main disadvantages in comparison to more traditional systems are that it is a Windows-only program and doesn't have a parser-based user interface like most IF.

ADRIFT
</if-archive/programming/adrift/>
Version/Release
3.90
Author
Campbell Wild (campbell@adrift.org.uk).
Platforms
Windows 95/98/NT4.
Support
The author enthusiastically supports ADRIFT and is actively developing and improving the system.
Programming Knowledge
ADRIFT does not require previous programming experience (though the ability to think logically and in depth is required.) Games are developed in a forms-based graphical user interface so no 'programming code' needs to be written.
Features/Limitations
Games are written entirely within the easy-to-use GUI forms environment called the ADRIFT generator. Has multimedia support for the addition of both images and sounds to a game. The ADRIFT interpreter automatically builds a game map during play. While 'programming' in the ADRIFT system is fast and straightforward because of the well-designed GUI environment it naturally cannot match the flexibility of the code-based systems (but the inflexibility is not necessarily a problem as ready-made structures provided within ADRIFT meet all the requirements needed for most text adventure games.)
Documentation and Game Sources
A Tutorial (in HTML format) and sample games are available for download at the website.
Online Documentation
The Tutorial can be read online at <http://www.jcwild.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/tutorial/<
Web Page
ADRIFT Homepage
<http://www.adrift.org.uk>
Debugging Features
A graphical outline of 'task dependancies' is available within the ADRIFT generator GUI. The runtime interpret, the 'Runner', includes a 'debugger' which allows the author to view the current status of objects, characters etc and make live changes to the status values.
Source
Written in Visual Basic 6. Not generally released to the public.
Licence
Freeware. Both the Generator and 'Runner' software can be freely distributed and there are no restrictions on distribution or commercial release of games written with ADRIFT.
Quick Pros and Cons
ADRIFT provides an approachable dialog-box-based programming environment which may appeal to aspiring IF authors without programming experience. Sufficient capabilities are provided within that environment to capabably produce conventional text adventure games, optionally with multimedia enhancements. The main disadvantage, besides the inherent limitations of a forms-based programming interface is that the games can only be played under the various MS Windows operating systems.

PAWS
Version/Release
1.0
Author
Wolf (wolf@one.net).
Platforms
Any OS supporting the Python language (includes MS Windows, Apple Mac, Linux, MSDOS.)
Support
Actively supported by the PAWS author.
Programming Knowledge
The PAWS language is intended to be fairly easy for beginners to pick. Setting up the Python environment may not be all that easy on some systems.
Features/Limitations
PAWS is the Python Adventure Writing System. It is a set of libraries that sits on top of the Python scripting language <http://www.python.org/> to let you write IF.
Documentation and Game Sources
Available at the PAWS website
Online Documentation
Tutorial at website
Web Page
<http://w3.one.net/~wolf/PAWS.shtml>
Debugging Features
PAWS has a debug mode which lets you view and change variables while the game is running, you can disable debugging in the game when you release it.
Source
Written in Python, source is included and is heavily commented to aid authors who want to explore the code.
Licence
Freeware.
Quick Pros and Cons
Games can be developed and played a lot of systems because the Python language has been widely ported. The size of the Python language download is a disincentive for people to play PAWS games though.


RAIF FAQ > Programming IF > 4.4.2: Tier (ii)