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). The AlanIDE does not yet cover the Run/Debug step natively, meaning that you can also run your game in the IDE. So you need to add something to be able to run the game produced by editing and compiling using the AlanIDE. On some platforms you can even set it up so that you can double-click on the game file in the AlanIDE navigator view to start the game with the default external runner.
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 part, 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.
You should remember that the "integrated" way (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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