[MUD-Dev] Parser engines

Hans-Henrik Staerfeldt hhs at cbs.dtu.dk
Wed Mar 10 10:44:22 New Zealand Daylight Time 2004

On Tuesday 09 March 2004 18:52, Brian Hook wrote:

> I've been looking at the various input parsers in different MUDs
> (although I haven't had a chance to look at commercial text MUDs),
> and by and large the parser technology seems to be roughly
> early-Infocom, if that.

> This is in contrast to the parsers in interactive fiction engines
> such as INFORM or Hugo, which can support fairly elaborate
> statements (exception clauses, context analysis ("take off helm"
> vs. "take helm"), enumerant modifiers slightly more exotic than
> "get 2.bag", etc.).

> So several questions:

>   - what MUDs do have IF-quality parsers?

>   - assuming I'm correct that most MUDs (Diku and LP derivatives)
>   don't have IF-quality parsers, is there a good reason for this
>   and is this an impediment to less combat oriented, more puzzle
>   oriented play?

> My guess for the second question above is that many players don't
> care about the quality of a parser so long as the basic commands
> they want are there ("kill orc"), and that a lot of the features
> in IF-engines (which are normally puzzle oriented, not combat
> oriented), are considered fluff or irrelevant to most combat MUD
> players.

I agree. My only good answer is that the parsers we made was in the
need-to-have category, while full IF-quality parsers are in the
nice-to-have category :-). I did look at some english parsing
efforts (some written in PROLOG, and no, I don't remember which)
during development, but without extensive use of the features in the
game itself, I saw no big gain in using it.

Later I looked at this subject to be able to make better AI ... as
in NPC's that could take complex instructions told by a PC (or NPC)
in english and execute them, which I felt would add significantly to
gameplay. However I gave up on the complexity of the task.

--Hans-Henrik St=E6rfeldt
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