Any information available on ADL?

HOME Forums Sierra History Any information available on ADL?

  • This topic has 6 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 7 months ago by Jalen Wanderer.
Viewing 6 reply threads
  • Author
    Posts
    • #42011 Reply
      Jalen Wanderer
      Guest

      Hi, as the topic title says, I was wondering if there was any information available on the details of ADL, the “Adventure Development Language” created by Ken Williams and used for the Sierra “Hi-Res Adventures”. Specifically, I was wondering if the details of the syntax and structure of the language were available anywhere—enough for someone to create a new game that used the same engine. ScummVM can run ADL games, so clearly someone has figured out the format, but despite fairly extensive searches online I’ve been unable to find anything useful. (It doesn’t help that “Adventure Development Language” is a generic enough name to make it hard to search for specific information on it.)

      I do have a reason for asking about this; I’m starting a blog about game creation systems (well, not right away, but it should be launching some time in the next year—I’m trying to get some prep work done first). My intent is to go chronologically covering the various game creation systems and engines that have existed over the years, and trying if possible to make a game with each one. (I’m not sure how far I’ll ultimately get, but at least up through the 80s there are few enough such systems that a comprehensive approach may be doable.) ADL is one of the earliest game-creation systems/engines I’ve found (not the earliest, but within the first twenty or thirty), but of those early engines it’s one of those I’m having the most trouble finding detailed information about, second only to a really obscure system from 1979 called F. So if anyone could point me to where I might be able to find out more about ADL’s format, I’d really appreciate it.

      I was especially hoping to cover ADL in my blog because, unlike most of those earliest systems, I have my own fond memories of the Sierra games; I’m old enough to have actually played the Hi-Res Adventures as a child, and I remember enjoying them a lot. (I don’t think I ever solved The Wizard and The Princess or Cranston Manor back then, but I think I do remember finishing Mystery House and Mission: Asteroid—oh, and The Dark Crystal.) I think it would be a lot of fun to revisit those games from a technical point of view, and make an attempt to make my own game using the same system (and an appropriate emulator). If there’s any way I could find out more information on the ADL format, I’d really appreciate it.

      Thanks in advance for any replies!

    • #42049 Reply
      Ken Williams
      Keymaster

      I haven’t looked in a while, and things come and go on the web, but the last time I looked there was a ton of documentation online about our development systems. Google things like “Sierra AGI” or “Sierra SCI” or “Sierra On-Line Programming language” and you should find some very useful information.

      -Ken W

    • #42065 Reply
      Jalen Wanderer
      Guest

      Thanks for the reply. Believe me, I’ve done quite a bit of Googling, but without success. There is indeed a ton of information available on AGI and SCI—which will be very helpful when I get to those systems on my blog—but I’ve been unable to find anything useful on ADL, specifically, which of course chronologically preceded AGI and SCI and so which I hope to cover on my blog first.

    • #42067 Reply
      Ken Williams
      Keymaster

      You’ve stumped me. I have no idea what ADL is. Are you sure Sierra ever had something called ADL?

      -Ken W

    • #42069 Reply
      Jalen Wanderer
      Guest

      The system used for the original Hi-Res Adventures: Mystery House, The Wizard and the Princess, Mission Asteroid, etc. Multiple sources online say they use a system you called Adventure Development Language (ADL) (example: this MobyGames page, this page on the ScummVM wiki), but I guess maybe that’s inaccurate and you used a different name for the engine internally?

      So anyway, that’s what I’m currently trying to find out more about: the system behind the original Hi-Res Adventures from back when Sierra was still On-Line Systems. Do you know whether there’s any technical information on that engine, and the internal format of the game databases, available anywhere?

      I definitely do plan to cover the AGI and SCI systems on my blog too a bit later down the line, but as you say there’s tons of information online about them—it’s the system behind the Hi-Res Adventures I’m having trouble finding anything out about.

    • #42071 Reply
      Ken Williams
      Keymaster

      Grin — ok, now I understand you.

      I don’t remember ever giving that system a name. Thus, ADL seems a good fit.

      I don’t know if it was ever reversed engineered or documented. I wrote it, and put what little I remember about what it was like into my book (www.kensbook.com).

      I wish you luck, but I’m not sure there is much information out there..

      -Ken W

    • #42072 Reply
      Jalen Wanderer
      Guest

      OK. Thanks for your reply.

      I’ll definitely pick up a copy of your book—it seems like it would be a good read and something I’d be interested in even I wasn’t trying to research materials for my blog.

      Thanks again!

Viewing 6 reply threads
Reply To: Reply #42065 in Any information available on ADL?
Your information:




Cancel