Adventures in Alan v3


“Have you ever wondered what Christmas would be like if it were run by your horrible cat, who also happened to be a timeless Lovecraftian horror? Find out in this bloody festive holiday treat!”

This is the blurb for Byron Alexander Campbell’s ALAN3 game which was published in 2009.  The tone of the game is light-hearted, especially compared to the author’s other game released at about the same time, “Room 206”. This time around, the task is to catch a fish for your pet cat which turns out to be the great Cthulhu itself (!). Despite the Lovecraftian connection, the game is humorous throughout, even if macabre elements abound.

There have been some indications out there in IF-land about a problem with restore in Alan alpha9 interpreters. One of the games that have been hit is "Room 206" by Byron Campbell, a game reviewed here recently.

The problem have now been fixed. Alpha9 interpreters for Windows have been patched, and the fix will be included in the upcoming beta1. (As well as all development snapshots from now on.) If you are uncertain if your interpreter have the problem, interpreters with a date of 2010-12-06 and later should be ok.

Byron Alexander Campbell's "Room 206" was released a while ago in ALAN3, and according to a current thread on he is working on an Inform7 implementation of the game. This review is based on the ALAN3 version and has mainly only mild spoilers. More straightforward spoilers will be marked below.

As to its length, the game is rather extensive - easily longer than the average IF Comp game and maybe the longest ALAN3 game produced. In the beginning of the game we find the hero in a chapel right after a wedding. Curiously, he can't seem to find his newly-wed wife anywhere; she has gone outside the chapel a bit before him to say goodbye to the guests. Outside, however, there is just an empty limousine waiting, as well as the empty chapel grounds with no people around. Initially, you only seem able to wander around the few locations in and around the chapel. Soon, however, it becomes evident that there is more to this story than meets the eye. You begin to get hints of everything not being quite right when you find a ladies' shoe - instead of, say, a bottle of champagne -  in an ice bucket in the limousine, and other similar things. From there on it's an unpredictable ride with lots of twists and turns. The game turns out to have a rather sinister and disturbing plot and could be classified as a horror story.

Here's a small code snippet, mostly to test automatic Alan source code formatting on the Alan Home site.

The code traverses a set of components of a structure, say a table, and makes each component list its content. 

-- Loop over all components in an instance or class
For Each c In components Of This Do
    "The table has" Say An c. "." List c.
End For.


This is the first post in a new blog here on AlanIF. We will be writing about development of Interactive Fiction using the Alan system. Alan is a very mature system, started in the mid-80's actually, and has been going through a few generations since then. It was considered one of the top tier IF systems a while back, but since the advent of Inform7 most of the tier I systems, including Alan, has fallen a bit behind in popularity.

Alan is still focused on easing the burdon of authoring IF, and the last few years the development of Alan has been going towards a version 3, a version that is getting closer every day. With the aid of a brand new, much more flexible, inheritance system, Anssi Rässainen has created a fantastically complete library that is absolutely on par with the library for any other system.

This blog will hopefully give you some hints on how Alan can be a great tool for creating great IF!

To start out I have collected all news articles on this site back to the beginning of time, so you'll have something to read until the next post!


What They Say

"I think it's the best IF language I've ever seen - and I *am* a programmer."

Andrew Heale