Hello fellow sleuths! Have you ever wondered what the programming of the Nancy Drew games looks like? Let's have a little glance at some of it!
Actually, before we have a look, I'm going to give you a little bit of a history lesson! In the very early days of HeR Interactive, lead programmer Wayne Sikes created a scripting language called HIF which was a proprietary language developed and used solely by HeR for their games. HIF was first introduced with The Vampire Diaries, then carried over and further developed with the Nancy Drew series. Unfortunately, it was very clunky and difficult to use. In 2008, programmer Peter Christiansen introduced a new language to HeR which was easy to learn and very versatile: Lua. Lua is a common scripting language in today's world and is used by several game programmers. It was used for Nancy Drew games 19-32 as well as both Dossier games.
I want to show off a little bit of some of the HIF code as a taster into the early days of ND. This particular snippet is from Nancy Drew: Message in a Haunted Mansion. See if you can figure out where in the game this might occur:
Fascinating stuff! This piece of code is being viewed in Microsoft Visual Studio. Notice how all the text is white. If this were a common scripting language, such as C++ or Lua, there would be colors all over the place signifying that parts of it are being affected by certain words, symbols, and numbers (if that makes sense). To give a better idea of what I mean, let's take a look at this code snippet from Nancy Drew: The Deadly Device. Try and decipher which part of the game it belongs to:
This snippet is a little easier to figure out. As I mentioned earlier, this segment of code has a lot more color. It also has collapsible dividers which can help keep things organized and allows the script to be "minimized" into specific branches.
What do you think of all this? Does any of it make sense to you? Or does it just look like a jumbled mess of words, letters, and numbers? I personally really love looking through all of this and find it all super fascinating. It's really interesting to get into the minds of the programmers and see how they figured out how to program certain puzzles and scenes. I must admit, there is one set of script files that I'm particularly excited to talk about... but I'll save that for another time! For now, I'll keep you wondering what I have in store.
That about wraps up today's post. Until next time detectives!