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If you are reading this text you have probably already decided that

  1. You want to try your hands on writing some adventure games, a.k.a interactive fiction
  2. You want to see if Alan is a suitable tool/language

So this page is about getting you started as quickly as possible.

Making your choice

You can setup Alan in basically two different ways. Your options vary a bit depending on your platform. In the following we will be covering the three most common today - Windows, MacOSX and Linux, and describe the steps to set up a working Alan environment.

Basically, there are three separate steps that you repeat (over and over) when you develop an Alan game:

  1. Edit the source code
  2. Compile the source code into a game
  3. Run the game

There are a couple of different ways to perform each step. The table below indicates for each platform what options you have for each of these steps.

  MacOSX Linux Windows
Edit
  1. Texteditor
  2. AlanIDE
  1. Texteditor
  2. AlanIDE
  1. Texteditor
  2. AlanIDE
Compile
  1. Command line
  2. AlanIDE
  1. Command line
  2. AlanIDE
  1. Command line
  2. AlanIDE
  3. GUI (WinAlan)
Run/Debug
  1. Command line
  2. Gargoyle
  1. Command line
  2. Gargoyle
  1. Command line
  2. Gargoyle
  3. GUI (WinArun)

As we can see from the table above, AlanIDE covers all three OS:es and supports the Edit and Compile steps. This makes it a good candidate for a simple setup. It also works on all the platforms supported by Alan, so the steps to set it up are the same.

The AlanIDE does not yet have direct support for the Run/Debug step. You will need "external" interpreter or runner for that.

If you are starting out with the AlanIDE you probably want to use a GUI-based interpreter to run and test your game. On the Windows operating system there is a Alan provided version, WinArun. The third party, general multi-format, interpreter/runner Gargoyle also plays Alan games, and it covers all the three platforms. We will have a look at setting up AlanIDE and Gargoyle. The differences between the platforms are marginal.

Using AlanIDE is not the only way to work with Alan, so if you are familiar with software development in a command line environment, you might also want to investigate the other options to find your favourite setup.

What They Say

"An easy to learn system with the ability to do some amazing things."

Tom