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Cloak of Darkness


October 2 2011

Interactive fiction

Once upon a time, long long ago, the preferred method of playing video games was to have the computer type out a description of your location, and then you would type a command, in simplified English, of what you wanted to do.

These kinds of games were called text adventures. While the commercial market for text-only adventures died in the late 1980s, a number of enthusiasts have kept the text adventure market alive by making amateur text adventure games.

The name for these types of video games has changed; they are now called "interactive fiction".

Since interactive fiction games have very little replay value, and since there is no money in this endeavor, a lot of volunteer effort has been to have these adventures be as easy to create as possible.

Cloak of Darkness

One part of this effort is the Cloak of Darkness project to make a simple interactive fiction game available in as many different formats as possible. For people familiar with the "99 Bottles of Beer" project, this is the text adventure interactive fiction version of the same idea.

A few years ago, I made a version of this game in a long-obsolete format called "Scott Adams". Let me explain...

Scott Adams

Long before Dilbert, a programmer by the name of Scott Adams (different guy, same name) figured out how to make text adventures available for home computers. His solution was to create a simple data format that described the adventure game one played, and then have a small interpreter read the data file and run the adventure.

This format was quite obtuse; it had to be run on the very primitive early home computers. This format quickly became obsolete when a company called Infocom created, long before Java and .NET, a full fledged virtual machine for text adventures.

My download

I made a "Scott Adams" version of Cloak of Darkness a few years ago, but deleted it when cleaning up my web site a couple of years ago. Alan Monroe asked for a copy of this file, so I have made it available again:

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