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How To Get Started With ALAN3


  1. Download ALAN3 from the ALAN3 website.
    • The page you're looking for is on the version 3 download page.
    • For Linux, the exact bit you want is currently here, but it's likely to change as the version number increases.
    • For Linux, look for the link that says “Linux: Command line compiler and interpreter (.tgz)”.
  2. Download the libraries that add on extra features.
    • The exact bit you're looking for is currently here, but it's likely to change as the version number increases.
    • Look for the bit that says “Library vN.N.N development (for Alan v3) tgz-format”.
  3. Unpack the ALAN3 tgz file.
    • Either do this through the GUI, or at the Linux command-line thus:
      tar xzvf alan3_0alpha5.linux.x86.tgz
  4. Unpack the ALAN3 Libraries.
    • Either do this through the GUI, or at the Linux command-line thus:
      tar xzvf alanlib0_6_1dev.tgz
  5. You may also want to download the (unfinished) ALAN3 manual (which is a PDF), and perhaps the Beginners Guide by Mike Arnaud. The beginners guide may need unzipping:
  6. Organise your directories sensibly. I suggest making a subdirectory of your alan3 directory called lib, and put all your libraries in there. I then make another one called man and put help documents in there. Here's a look in my alan3 directory:
|-- alan
|-- arun
|-- lib
|   |-- ReadMe
|   |-- attack.i
|   |-- brief.i
|   |-- eat.i
|   |-- examine.i
|   |-- give.i
|   |-- global.i
|   |-- help.i
|   |-- hero.i
|   |-- index.txt
|   |-- invent.i
|   |-- invent.i~
|   |-- jump.i
|   |-- kiss.i
|   |-- knock.i
|   |-- listen.i
|   |-- lock.i
|   |-- look.i
|   |-- meta.i
|   |-- nowhere.i
|   |-- open.i
|   |-- people.i
|   |-- push.i
|   |-- put.i
|   |-- read.i
|   |-- scenery.i
|   |-- smell.i
|   |-- std.i
|   |-- take.i
|   |-- talk.i
|   |-- throw.i
|   |-- touch.i
|   |-- turn.i
|   `-- wear.i
|-- man
|   |-- alan3_manual.pdf
|   |-- alan_contacts.txt
|   |-- alanguide
|   |   |-- alanguide_html
|   |   |   |-- alanguide.html
|   |   |   `-- images
|   |   |       |-- 2A2EB814DD1A96E8C7EA8E74B56266D0F832E86E.jpg
|   |   |       |-- 4EA5EB596A6EDB3CC92206A2D8BDF967E38BD9B6.jpg
|   |   |       |-- 73D17E1AB203F19550E0ED6670928EAA467080A2.jpg
|   |   |       |-- 95B3DFBC3B200D37F2EB8BCA300B7D10C445A6B0.jpg
|   |   |       `-- Thumbs.db
|   |   |-- plasma.jpg
|   |   `-- readme.txt
|   `-- readme.txt
|-- space01.a3c
|-- space01.alan

The Development Environment

A development environment is simply the tools you use to write, compile and test run your adventures. You can use any editor, along with a shell to compile with alan, and the arun interpreter. However, if you get organisaed, and always do things the same way, you can make your brain hurt less!

  1. I've tried to download the ALAN3 integrated development environment (IDE) - but at the time of writing (11th Dec 2007) it seems that the current zip files for the Linux version on the ALAN3 website are damaged. :-/
  2. Never mind! You can make your own development environment very simply. My personal preference is to use the tabbed console konsole and write in three tabs: edit, compile and run. You can make and save a konsole profile to do this.
  3. I prefer the text editor vi - but you may prefer the simpler mcedit or a GUI-based editor like kwrite. These are simply matters of personal preference - use what you're comfortable with. What you may find is that if you arrange the three windows on your Desktop in a completely consistent way, then you'll save valuable neurons for thinking about what you're writing, rather than struggling with the interface.

Remember, Edit, Compile, Run

Each phase of writing an ALAN3 adventure is a cycle.

  1. Write your .alan adventure text.
  2. Use alan to compile it. (Compiling translates your human-readable .alan source code into a computer-readable .a3c file. It leaves your .alan file untouched.)
  3. Use arun to run your adventure and test it.

Once you find the problems with your adventure, press Ctrl-C to quit out instantly, and go back to phase 1. Adjust your .alan file, recompile it (it'll overwrite your .a3c file with a new one) and try again.

Brewing Your First Adventure

Brew Your Own Adventure

Example Code

IMPORT 'std.i'.
THE first_room ISA LOCATION.
	NAME 'The First Room'.
	"You are in a small room."
	EXIT north TO dark_space
		CHECK door IS NOT closed
			ELSE "The door is closed so you can't go that way."
END THE first_room.
THE door ISA OBJECT AT first_room.
	NAME 'door'.
	IS closed.
	IS openable.
	IS closeable.
		"There is a door in the wall to the North."
	IF door IS closed THEN "The door is closed."
		ELSE "The door is open."
		MAKE door NOT closed.
	VERB close DOES
		MAKE door closed.
END THE door.
THE dark_space ISA LOCATION.
	NAME 'The Dark Space'.
	"This is an echoey, dark space. It's hard to tell how large it is... Whatever might be in here?"
	EXIT south TO first_room
END THE dark_space.
START AT first_room.
if/getstarted.txt · Last modified: 2008/01/17 16:05 by james
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