Quest 5.4 released

28 March 2013

Quest 5.4 has now been released, and you can download it now or use it in your browser.

The major new features in this version are the text processor, gamebook scripts and script editor code view. For a full list, see last month’s beta announcement.

Since the beta there have been a few minor enhancements, most notably to the gamebook scripts. There is a new “Text + Script” page type which lets you run a script before displaying the normal gamebook text and options, so you’re not forced to display text and options manually. There are new functions for moving the player between pages, and for adding and removing links.


  • In gamebook mode, when playing a sound there is a new option for the sound to continue playing after the player moves to a different page
  • You can now turn off the automatically generated display verbs list on a per-object basis (contributed by Pertex)
  • New {rndalt} text processor code displays a randomly chosen name from an object's alt list (contributed by Ivor Levicki)
  • With the new-style menus, restored the option to force the player to make a choice from the menu before continuing. (Note this is a breaking change - previously compiled games for Quest 5.4 Beta will continue to work, but to compile against the new library you will need to set the value for the new parameter)
  • New function to output text without a line break at the end

As always, if you have any questions or problems, please let me know - you can email me [email protected] and you can find me on Twitter @alexwarren.

QuestComp 2013

13 March 2013


Update 18th March - now with prize money!

It’s officially the first unofficial Quest competition!

Over on the forums, various people have got together to organise QuestComp 2013 - a competition to use Quest to create a text adventure game around the theme of “Plague”.

Evan Williams a.k.a TriangleGames is organising the competition, and there are no prizes except for the glory of winning thanks to Phillip Zolla for sponsoring a first prize of £100.

If you intend to enter, please email Evan by March 31st - full details on the rules, competition timetable and how to enter are at the QuestComp 2013 page.

Thanks also to Scott Greig for the interesting logo, which I hope I’ve got the right way up.

"First Times" - a horror text adventure for iPhone, iPad, Android

13 March 2013

The horror text adventure First Times, by Hero Robb, is now available as a free app.


You awaken in a morgue with no memory of how you arrived. Journey deeper into your fears, regrets, and doubts as you explore the ruins of what appears to be a hospital. Can you survive a psychological trip through a nightmarish dreamscape? But then again, dying is a far cry from the most frightening thing that you will face.

There are four endings. These are your first times. Open your eyes...

Here’s what some players have said so far…

First Times is a fantastic deviation from the classic Text Adventure genre. It utilizes both sound and game timers to give the player the most horrific experience possible. The game play and in-game descriptions are both shocking and intense. It’s amazing what Hero Robb accomplishes in his Text Adventure debut. Fans of classic gaming, horror, or anyone looking to experience something strange and different should definitely play First Times. I truly can’t wait to see what Hero Robb comes out with next. I don’t care what it is, I’m playing it.” - Cody Robinson

You do horrible things, because if you don’t, you can’t progress, which makes the inevitable terribleness feel more like your fault. The use of sound is perfect, and specifically the ‘ritual room’ is one of the most harrowing places I’ve ever managed to be. Further, the green eyed doll, despite being rendered purely in text (or possibly even because of it, and having to use my imagination) is the single most disturbing and unnerving thing I’ve ever had to deal with in a game.” - Krissy

THE CHILD DOLL OH GOD, THE CHILD DOLL. Executing something like that in text form doesn’t seem easy but you make it scary as hell. The foreshadowing in the red book was awesome as well. Holy shit. And the game is really Silent Hill-esque, especially with the rust, disturbing imagery and the particular type of puzzle solving.” - Vincent

This game truly scared the hell outta me” - John Hernandez

If you dare, download the app now for iOS or Android - it’s free, and you might just survive.

Quest 5.4 Beta is out now

28 February 2013

Quest 5.4 is now in beta. You can download the Windows version from the Quest download pageThe web version will be ready within the next few days. Update 5th March: Quest 5.4 is also now live on the web version too!

Here’s a quick overview of what’s new:

  • the new text processor makes it much easier to create dynamic text and links
  • gamebooks can now use scripts
  • the script editor now has a code view
  • menus are now shown within the game text
  • object and exit hyperlinks activate and deactivate according to what's in the current visible scope
  • list and dictionary attribute types can now hold any type of attribute value, so you can now create lists of lists, dictionaries of dictionaries, and all kinds of combinations
  • there's a simpler syntax for calling JavaScript within your ASL - instead of using the RunScript request, you can now use a more natural-looking syntax with "JS." followed by your function call. For example, JS.alert("Hello world")
  • new Portuguese (Brazilian) translation, contributed by Ramon Dellaqia
  • new Romanian translation, contributed by Catalin Catz
  • option to speak all text via SAPI
  • when adding a duplicate object name, instead of giving you an error message, a unique object name is generated and the name you entered is used as its alias - so it's now easier to add multiple objects that appear to have the same name.

If you’re using libraries created for Quest 5.3 and earlier, please note that some XML attribute names have changed - please see the Upgrade Notes on the wiki for details. (Game files loaded in the editor will be automatically upgraded to use the new 5.4 attribute names when they are saved, so this shouldn’t cause a problem if you’re only using the standard libraries.)

Please try out the new version and let me know if anything breaks!

Slicker hyperlinks in Quest 5.4

28 February 2013

Hyperlinks were introduced in Quest 5.0, and I think they’re a great way of navigating a text adventure game - without using any additional UI elements, you can always see what objects you can interact with, and you only see a relevant list of actions for each object.

In Quest 5.4, I have made hyperlinks a bit smarter. Previously, once a hyperlink for an object was displayed, it would remain on screen. So, if Quest told you that you could see “a book”, that book link would remain selectable even if you moved somewhere else, set fire to it, etc.

Furthermore, once a hyperlink was displayed, it would always show the same list of verbs. In the book example, the verbs might be the standard set of “Look at” and “Take”. But if you picked up the book, the hyperlink would still show you that same set of verbs - even though a more relevant verb set may now be “Read” and “Drop”.

Quest 5.4 features what I call live hyperlinks. Now, as you move through the game, all hyperlinks activate or deactivating according to what the player can see. Also, clicking a hyperlink now always gives you the current verbs list for the object, even if you select an “old” link.

Let’s see it in action. Here’s a room with a newspaper that the player can pick up, as well as some other objects:

Object links 1

Now if the player takes the newspaper and moves east, the other hyperlinks are deactivated. The player can still click the “old” newspaper link though, and interact with it using the current set of inventory verbs:

Object links 2

Notice also that the exit hyperlinks “east” and “west” are also activated or deactivated according to whether they’re available.

I have also improved how menus are displayed. Quest has a “disambiguation” menu which appears whenever the player isn’t specific enough about which object they’re referring to - for example, if the player abbreviates an object name, and there are multiple objects that start with the same letters.

Previously, this disambiguation menu was a modal pop-up. Now, I think modal pop-ups are ugly and they don’t work very well on smartphones. They also stop the player from scrolling back through the game text - they are forced to choose from the menu before they can continue.

So, in Quest 5.4 I have changed menus so they are shown in-line with the rest of the game text. Like this:

New menu

The player can now click the link or type “1” or “2” to make a selection. The menu uses a simple jQuery animation to slide away, and the game continues.

New menu 2

Alternatively, the player could just do something else - if they type another command or interact with a different object, the menu slides away and the game continues.

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