Vorple 2.5 highlights

April 25th, 2014

It’s been a while, but the next release of Vorple is now just around the corner! The release is scheduled for April 30th, which is also the planned release date for the next version of Inform 7.

Here are the new version’s highlights:

Improved sound support. The underlying audio engine has been replaced by SoundManager 2 which should support a wider range of browsers. There’s support for audio fades, and stopping or changing background music will fade out the previous track instead of stopping it abruptly.

It’s also no longer necessary to provide double copies of audio files (mp3 and ogg versions) to get the best browser compatibility. Only one mp3 file per sound should be enough.

Up-to-date libraries. The supporting UI libraries have been updated to their latest versions, along with Undum and Parchment. Undum has reached version 2 and Parchment supports a wider range of older story files (in case you want to use the Vorple interpreter as a general Z-Machine interpreter).

Better interpreter. Single character input is now supported. Vorple’s soft scrolling to the start of a new turn is more accurate with turns that span longer than one screenful. The Z-code story file can now communicate with the interpreter before Inform 7’s “when play begins” rules in case they need to set up things before anything in the actual story starts. The custom HTML input stream has been replaced by JavaScript functions that can now create nested HTML structures.

Tighter integration with Inform 7. This is mostly thanks to Graham Nelson, who added some crucial new features to Inform and suggested new phrasings that are more in line with the Standard Rules.

Inform now comes bundled with the Vorple 2.5 interpreter, so it can be used out of the box with the “Release along with the “Vorple” interpreter” option. The IDE can download Vorple extensions automatically from the extension repository, which makes any manual installation unnecessary.

Almost all phrases are reworded in extensions, and the extensions are renamed to comply with extension naming guidelines. Practically all projects that wish to migrate from the current version to the upcoming are going to have to change the wording for the Vorple phrases they use. (Fortunately it’s unlikely that such a massive name change is going to happen again in the future.)

Including custom JavaScript and CSS files is now easier. Instead of the interpreter trying to include “vorple.custom.js” and “vorple.custom.css” JavaScript and style files, it’s now possible to add freely named files to the materials folder and use the new release options “Release along with Javascript …” and “Release along with style sheet …” Files added this way will be automatically included in the generated web interpreter.

What about Glulx? Well, there’s still no Glulx support, but after we get this release out the door we’ll start to work on a sustainable way to get the thing playing nicely with Glulx, especially now that Inform is rapidly growing beyond Z-Machine’s capabilities.