Hugo online

Note: this interpreter has been superceded by HugoJS which is located at The links to the old interpreter automatically redirect to the new one.

I've set up an online interpreter for Hugo games. It's basically the same tech used by Internet Archive's online MS-DOS games collection: a JavaScript version of DOSbox running the DOS version of the text-only Hugo interpreter.

Hugo online interpreter screenshot

The major missing feature is the ability to save and restore games – or, more accurately, the saves aren't persistent between sessions. You can save and restore while playing the game but as soon as you close the browser window the saves are lost. There seem to be a couple of techniques available that might help so this is probably going to get fixed later.

The interpreter is at with a small library of games. For now you can only play the games that are pre-compiled for the interpreter. Later I'll add a feature to upload your own story files.

For people interested in Hugo innards or stuck with Hugo games I've also made a .hex story file parser that can extract just about anything there is to extract from a Hugo story file: Dictionary, text bank, objects, grammar, ... It can even output the Hugo bytecode in a (slightly more) readable format. The .hex parser is at

Random IF reviews

After updating the IF Name Generator I went ahead and made an IF Review Generator that uses the name generator to make a title and mashes together sentences from IFDB reviews to create a new one. Just like the random names the reviews are mostly a jumbled mess, but occasionally it spits out a real gem.

The generated reviews are saved and can be retrieved with the same URL for sharing the best ones.

IF Recorder version 3

The tool formerly known as "Transcript recording plugin for Parchment" has been successfully used as a betatester transcript recorder with at least one game, and even in the currently running IFComp. Thanks to liberal version numbering scheme it has now reached version 3 and has been renamed IF Recorder.

Here are the major new features:

  • Works with Undum. Now someone might wonder why anyone would want to record hypertext fiction stories, but even if there's less need to check what kind of input readers give, other reasons still apply: you might want to get statistical data on which choices the readers make, or see if the readers give up at some certain point in the story, or even find out if some of the choices just don't work as they should.
  • Web interpreter template for Inform 7. There's a ready-made Inform 7 template to use with the "Release along with an interpreter" option. This makes it easier to start using the recorder although you still have to set up the database and the server scripts.

The project's new headquarters are at Github along with the instructions and downloads.

Transcript recording plugin for Parchment released

As promised, the transcript recording plugin for Parchment has now been published. As the player is playing the game, the plugin sends the transcript to the server where it's saved to a database. The author can then later view the saved transcripts or use the information in the database to calculate statistics.

The plugin saves more than just plain text: it preserves text formatting and saves status lines as well, so the transcripts look (almost) the same as the actual game. (See this example of Bronze with status lines, colors and text formatting. Note that Parchment uses small caps in place of bold text.) The saved transcripts can be viewed with or without the status lines. In addition when the game waits for a single keypress, non-alphabet characters like enter, space and arrow keys are marked in the transcript.

There's a live demo with a transcript viewer available. Games played in the demo installation can be seen in the viewer.

The plugin and accompanying tools can be downloaded from Google Code where you'll also find installation instructions. Only Z-machine is supported at the moment, Glulx support will be added later.

Collecting real life gameplay data with Parchment

There was a lot of talk during PAX East and elsewhere about collecting real life data from people playing IF. I'm proud to announce that I've hacked the Parchment web interpreter to do just this: it saves transcripts to the server every time a game is played.

Try it out yourself: Click here to start a game and then open this page to a new browser window. Enter a command in the game and see how the transcript in the live feed updates. (If you don't see your game in the live feed page, reload it. It shows the three latest games being played at the time the feed page was loaded.)

And then there's the beef: I've made a rudimentary statistics page that shows some interesting information using the collected data, including most used commands and average turn count and playtime.

Continue reading "Collecting real life gameplay data with Parchment"

IF Name Generator Comp 2009 Edition

Now for something completely useless but mildly entertaining. The IF Name Generator has been updated with the IFComp 2009 edition. If you want to see this year's comp titles horribly disfigured, this is the place to go.

→ IF Name Generator Comp 2009 edition

Edit: Now featuring all IFComps beginning from 1995. Also, an option to generate the names using only IFComp titles. Have fun!