If you are reading this text you have probably already decided that
- You want to try your hands on writing some adventure games, a.k.a interactive fiction
- You want to see if Alan is a suitable tool/language
So this page is about getting you started as quickly as possible.
Making your choice
There are a couple of different ways to setup Alan. Your options also vary depending on your platform. In the following we will be covering the three most common today - Windows, MacOSX and Linux, and describe the steps to set up a working Alan environment.
Basically, there are three separate steps that you repeat (over and over) when you develop an Alan game:
- Edit the source code
- Compile the source code into a game
- Run the game
There are a couple of different ways to perform each step. The table below indicates for each platform what options you have for each of these steps. But basically, all you need to decide is if you want to go the "flexible" or the "integrated" way.
As we can see from the table above, AlanIDE covers the 6 gray cells (Edit and Compile for the three platforms), which makes it a good candidate for a simple setup. It also works on all the platforms supported by Alan, so the steps to set it up are the same.
The AlanIDE does not yet cover the Run/Debug step directly. You will need something more to be able to run the game. You need an "external" interpreter or runner, one of the choices in the blue cells in the table above. On most platforms you can set it up so that you can start the game with the external runner by double-clicking on the resulting game file in the AlanIDE navigator view.
If you are starting out with AlanIDE you probably want to use a GUI-based interpreter to run your game. On the Windows operating system there is a Alan provided version, WinArun. The third party, general multi-format, interpreter/runner Gargoyle also plays Alan games, and it covers all the three platforms in that respect (the 3 blue cells). So we will have a look at setting up AlanIDE and Gargoyle on the three platforms. The differences between the platforms are marginal.
Remember that using AlanIDE is not the only way to work with Alan, so once you have become accustomed with Alan and want to do some serious work, you might want to investigate the other options to find your favourite setup.
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