Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Sometimes you get kicked

Brass Lantern, apart from having the one of the coolest names on the web, is also a great source for everything Interactive Fiction. This time, the information is regarding a new plugin for jEdit, named Inform SideKick, which adds features to jEdit, making it into a DE (Develop Environment) for the Inform game system.
In a nutshell, Inform is a scripting language used to create Interactive Fiction games (alias Text Adventures). Like most scripting languages it's a combination of the actual language, as well as an interpreter. It's similar (I don't really know to which magnitude) to the actual language used in the Infocom games (such as A Mind Forever Voyaging, Planetfall, and that other one).

The actual plug-in looks pretty neat, if I attempt to judge from the screenshots, it's based on the KickBack plugin, for the code formatting/completion, and the ErrorList plugin, for marking errors in the script.
My only issue here is that I've tried working with that combination to use jEdit as a Java DE, which wasn't exactly a remarkable experience. Things didn't work the way they should, and some serious tweaking was needed. After that, it got better, but still had major issues, and response time was horrible. In other words, the screenshots look nice, but they are no indication of how much work you need to invest in order to get those features up and running, and no indication of what exactly "running" means (could be walking, or limping, mind you). On the other side, I never claimed to be the final authority on these matters, or any authority at all. So if anyone's interesting in this, and had a good experience with jEdit, then by all means, this just might be the plugin for you.


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