Author Topic: Original SCI syntax  (Read 11598 times)

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Offline lance.ewing

Original SCI syntax
« on: January 02, 2011, 01:07:34 PM »
I thought I should start a new topic for the discussion we were having regarding the original SCI syntax. It is not good news I'm afraid. Both of the leads I had on getting that SCI code from the Sierra book have come to nothing. Kimme has kindly scanned the code that she thought was SCI code and it is as I suspected, which is that it isn't SCI code but is instead AGI code. It appears that Kimme has exactly the same version of TOBOKQ that I have. As I mentioned earlier, Kimme has also checked Kings Quest Companion 1st and 2nd editions and neither of these had SCI code.

I've also heard back from Dark Fiber and he is now saying that the book with the SCI code in it is the one that he doesn't have but he still says that it exists. I also know that something with SCI code in it did exist at some point. We'll just have to keep searching.



Offline Collector

Re: Original SCI syntax
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2011, 01:16:55 PM »
Did Dark Fiber mention exactly what book?
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Offline lance.ewing

Re: Original SCI syntax
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2011, 04:11:02 PM »
Did Dark Fiber mention exactly what book?

Hmmm. Yes, I'll have to go back to him again though because it appears he is also wrong about what book it was. He also thought it was The Official Book of King's Quest. Here is what he said:

"Yeah its in the official book of kings quest. If she does not know the difference... but its SCI code. Looks like LISP. Its the book I dont have :( but I know its in there."

The scans I was sent were definitely AGI code though. It wasn't LISP-like at all. It was the very same AGI code that I based a lot of my decisions on when I wrote the SHOWLOG utility back in 95-97 and therefore I guess ultimately what led to the compiler that Peter Kelly wrote.

I still have a vague recollection though that it might have been a Police Quest game that the SCI code was for. I might be wrong about that though. Memories are not the best things to go on. We need something solid.

Offline Collector

Re: Original SCI syntax
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2011, 05:02:36 PM »
I do have the PQ Case Book. I'll have to take a look through it, if you think it might be in it.
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Offline lance.ewing

Re: Original SCI syntax
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2011, 04:47:01 PM »
I can't stand a mystery like this sitting around unsolved. Although I seem to remember it being from a Police Quest game, there is still something not quite right about this Official Book of King's Quest.

I've just realised that not all first editions are created equal. There can be different printings of a particular edition. The one I'm looking at some scans from at the moment (I have scans from two different people now) is printing 4 of the first edition.

Here are some definitions:

"Strictly speaking, an edition compromises all copies of a book printed at any time from one setting-up of type without substantial change."

A printing [also known as] "an impression compromises the whole number of copies of that edition printed at one time, without the type or plates being removed from the press."


The "without substantial change" is something worth considering here. I wouldn't put it past the publishers to have switched the SCI code for AGI code after one of the early printings. The reason I suggest this is because the text around the AGI code is all SCI related. It talks about SCI classes and SCI concepts. Everything else in the book is SCI related (e.g. screen shots of the original SCI picture and view editors) but the code snippets are AGI!!! It doesn't make sense. Here is a snippet from the book to show what I mean:

"He does this using a special computer language called SCI (SCript Interpreter) developed by Sierra. SCI is an object-oriented language similar to LISP; it's written in Assembler, C, and itself. An older version of the interpreter, called Adventure Game Interpreter (AGI), was used to create King's Quests I, II, and / / / and the 256K version of King's Quest IV. With SCI the programmer establishes classes of objects. The Actor Class, for example, includes anything that moves such as sea gulls, ogres, and Ego. The Props Class is composed of items that move but don't go anywhere

Offline lance.ewing

Re: Original SCI syntax
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2011, 05:26:48 PM »
The web site is (not surprisingly) Amazon. Here is the link:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0874551552/ref=dp_olp_collectible?ie=UTF8&qid=1294093206&sr=8-1&condition=collectible

I just tried buying this book but it is telling me that it cannot be shipped to my shipping address. I assume that this is because I live outside of the US. I have sent a message to the seller asking why this restriction is in place because I can't see why a book as small as this cannot be sent overseas. If I have no luck with the seller then someone else in the US is welcome to buy it instead. Remember though that I'm not convinced it will be any different from the printing 4 that I've seen. More than likely it will also have AGI code in it since the same edition should usually be mostly the same. The reason I wanted to purchase the first printing is to completely rule out this book.

Offline gumby

Re: Original SCI syntax
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2011, 09:31:58 PM »
I used to have a copy of this book (though not the first edition, mine covered KQ4 which was pictured on the back cover).  It kills me that I just gave it away a few years back.
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Offline lance.ewing

Re: Original SCI syntax
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2011, 03:06:22 PM »
I used to have a copy of this book (though not the first edition, mine covered KQ4 which was pictured on the back cover).  It kills me that I just gave it away a few years back.

Are you sure it wasn't the first edition? The first edition did cover KQ4, in fact all the code snippets and screen shots were from KQ4. What I meant by the book providing evidence that SCI stood for something other than Sierra Creative Interpreter before the release of KQ4 is because the book must have been written at the time that the SCI version of KQ4 was being worked on and most likely before its release. Even though the book was apparently published in Nov 1988, the intro by Roberta was dated in May of that year.

Still haven't heard back from the seller yet.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2011, 03:08:16 PM by lance.ewing »

Offline gumby

Re: Original SCI syntax
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2011, 04:58:47 PM »
I was working under the impression that KQ4 was not in the first edition.  I do recall some code being in there, but I don't remember any details.  Either way, the book is gone now...
In the Great Underground Empire (Zork port in development)
Winter Break 2012 Rope Prop Competition

Offline lance.ewing

Re: Original SCI syntax
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2011, 02:12:13 AM »
If you recall around mid-December I mentioned the "feature writer" feature in the QFG2 debug mode. I was thinking about this last night and cross referencing it with SCI Companion code syntax. One thing that immediately jumps out is the naming of the classes. In my debug session, I was able to generate a file that contained a basic definition of a Prop, Actor, PicView, View and Feature. These were the actual class names that it generated. If I look inside the Feature.sc script (998) in SCI Companion, the names of the equivalent classes are: Prop, Act, PV, View and Feature. Note the difference in the case of PicView and Actor. What this suggests to me is that classes had both a longer more readable name and perhaps an optional shorter name. It appears that the longer name might be lost during the compilation if a shorter name is provided.

Looking through the system classes in the template game, there are a lot of cases of class names that have been abbreviated/truncated and that I suspect are not what appeared in the original source. Class names such as Blk, Collect, even Obj.   The list goes on:  Rm, Rgn, SL. CT.

The QFG2 generated source provides evidence in the case of PicView and Actor that there was some amount of abbreviation but it wasn't always used it appears (e.g. View, Prop, Feature). It seems likely then that there was an optional way of specifying that shorter name that would then be used in the compiled code.

Offline lance.ewing

Re: Original SCI syntax
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2011, 02:46:52 AM »
After playing around with the SCI debugger a bit, I've realised that the Send Stack is another clue as to the original SCI syntax. For example, in the attached screen shot the Send Stack is as follows:

(doorSound check:)
(sounds eachElemenDo:)
(Game doit:)
(SQ3 doit:)
(SQ3 play:)

This appears to confirm the Smalltalk message sending syntax that we discussed earlier, which was:

(object method:)

rather than:  (send object:method())

Offline lance.ewing

Re: Original SCI syntax
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2011, 03:48:50 AM »
As an aside, I've been searching for strings in the SCIV.EXE file and realised that the copyright message contained within this executable seems to reconfirm the original name of the SCI interpreter:

Code: [Select]
$ strings SCIV.EXE | grep Script
Script Interpreter, Copyright (C) 1987 Sierra On-Line, Inc.

i.e. it was simply "Script Interpreter", which agrees with what Donald B. Trivette says in The Official Book of King's Quest ("SCript Interpreter").

Another string I found in there was "RootObj". Any ideas what this might be? This string seems to be clustered with the rest of the strings that are related to the inspection part of the SCI debugger. So I'm assuming that if I inspect the right thing, it will display the string "RootObj" in some context. Note that this is different from the Obj class. I can inspect Obj no worries. RootObj is not recognised by the inspector, and yet this string exists in the SCIV.EXE file for some reason.

Offline lance.ewing

Re: Original SCI syntax
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2011, 02:26:38 PM »
I just tried buying this book but it is telling me that it cannot be shipped to my shipping address. I assume that this is because I live outside of the US. I have sent a message to the seller asking why this restriction is in place because I can't see why a book as small as this cannot be sent overseas. If I have no luck with the seller then someone else in the US is welcome to buy it instead. Remember though that I'm not convinced it will be any different from the printing 4 that I've seen. More than likely it will also have AGI code in it since the same edition should usually be mostly the same. The reason I wanted to purchase the first printing is to completely rule out this book.

I still haven't heard from the seller regarding this first edition, first printing and yet it is still up on Amazon for sale and I still can't buy it. If someone out there lives in the states, they are welcome to try buying it.

Offline Collector

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Offline Omni

Re: Original SCI syntax
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2011, 06:33:22 PM »
Bah, Collector beat me!


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