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Chris Crawford on Game Design by Chris Crawford

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The Inverse Parser

LESSON 61

Experiment with intransitive combat relationships.

I had rejected the notion of using a parser at the outset of the project. My initial concept was that people communicated by pointing to icons on their Interspecies Iconic Language card, which would be reproduced on the Macintosh screen. The player would click on icons to communicate. I soon realized that the icons could not be clicked on willy-nilly—I had to impose some sort of ordering scheme on the player's actions. In other words, I needed to create a syntax.

Here my designer instincts served me well. Rather than try to create a syntax based on natural languages, I instead set out to create a syntax based solely on word order. This, it turns out, was a crucially ...

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