Thursday, May 04, 2006

Swat Version 0.52

I have just uploaded Swat 0.52 to our website manager, Paulo. He's in a different time zone, but he'll get it up soon, probably before you read this. Here are the changes in this version:

1. A new menu, Swat, which contains the about box with the version and date, and a preferences pane that permits you to turn off the sounds.

2. A Redo function, but it doesn't work right, so it's disabled.

3. A scroll bar for the script pane.

4. Corrected a bug in which paste only works once. It arose because I failed to clone the object being pasted.

5. I attempted but failed to get working a feature that would preserve the state of the script tree under editing. Right now, if you close some of the operators, every time you edit something, they all open up again. Fortunately, this problem is partially ameliorated by the addition of the scroll bar to the script pane. I'll try to get this working.

6. A number of programming changes that make the code more robust.

See, I really do pay attention to your complaints and suggestions!


Blogger Patrick Dugan said...

Heres a suggestion, you really ought to recruit a QA programmer to take feedback, hunt bugs, and work with Dave to optimize the code, so that you can focus on implementing functionality and get to Alpha sooner.

I might know someone qualified and willing to work for no money down, I might not, but its worth looking into, maybe Irene could post a project announcement on Gamasutra or something.

10:17 PM  
Anonymous jordi said...

I've started reading "Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling", and I noticed that you mention the idea of graphical languages, such as the one used in Siboot. I think for the future this style of interface would be great for Storytron. If there was a choice between the text mode and iconic mode, I think it would attract a lot more users who would prefer to interact visually than with words (for example, many text-based MUDs have more advanced gameplay than modern MMOGs, but the popularity of MUDs is rapidly decreasing).

The icons in Siboot look very user-friendly and could be less intimidating than text to many people. Perhaps future versions of Swat could allow two different modes (pure text or icons), and storybuilders could optionally upload small visual aides to accompany each word, such as the images of linking icons used in the Siboot screenshot.

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Rafael said...

I leave for about 3 days and there're about 5 new posts and a whole program to download! Wow!

I'm a little overwhelmed at the moment (mainly because it's 2 a.m. and I'm exhausted) so I apologize if I'm posting this where it does not belong.

When I tried to unzip the current Swat .zip file, I got the following error messages:

!Swat Cannot create Swat Package\Swat\Graphics\Icon
The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.

!Swat Cannot create Swat Package\Swat\Icon
The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.

!Swat Cannot create Swat Package\Uber\Icon
The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.

Everything else unzipped fine, I suppose, except for those three files.

10:49 PM  
Anonymous Joseph Limbaugh said...

I get the same icon errors, and my swat icons aren't right (It shows the icon for notepad - I'm using Windows XP).
I can't wait to scroll my script pane! Joy!

12:11 AM  
Blogger Chris Crawford said...

rafael and joseph, are you attempting to import Swat into anything special, or are you simply double-clicking on the zip file to open it? Does it produce a folder despite the error messages? If so, can you run Swar.jar?

We've tried it on another Windows system and it worked perfectly.

Windows -- Bah!

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Joseph LImbaugh said...

I unzipped it with Winrar, that's when I got the errors. I've also just double clicked and pulled the "swat package" folder out onto the desktop(I don't get any error messages this way, but I still see the wordpad icon for swat.jar). I can run Swat.jar, just fine.

! F:\Downloads\Swat Cannot create Swat Package\Swat\Graphics\Icon

The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.
! F:\Downloads\Swat Cannot create Swat Package\Swat\Icon

The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.
! F:\Downloads\Swat Cannot create Swat Package\Uber\Icon

The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.

Another odd thing is that if I run Swat.jar, and then close the program, I can't move or delete the Swat folder. It might be related to a memory leak bug I saw mentioned around here somewhere. Yep, I just ended the javaw program in my task manager window and now I can delete the folder.

Can I suggest you add the version number to the name of the download so we know which version we've downloaded?

2:21 PM  
Blogger Chris Crawford said...

The file that I sent on was "Swat 0.52.jar". You can also find the version number under the Swat menu. Are you referring to the web page from which you download it?

3:13 PM  
Anonymous Joseph LImbaugh said...

The version I downloaded (.51) was named ""
My suggestion is you put the version number in the name of the zip file itself (
I don't think the new version is up yet. At least when I click on the link I get version .51.

3:36 PM  
Blogger Chris Crawford said...

joseph, sorry for the screwup. The new version was in fact uploaded, but the link on the download page was not corrected. Paulo will correct that shortly. In the meantime, you can obtain it by this URL:

7:45 AM  
Blogger Rafael A. said...


I seem to be the only person having this issue as I haven't seen it anywhere else.

I downloaded and unzipped Swat. I was finally able to do that without errors by using the Windows Compressed Folder Extraction Wizard instead of WinRAR. I opened up the Swat 0.52 folder and then opened up the Swat folder.

Within the Swat folder I found these files:


Swat.jar comes out as a WinRAR archive file, NOT an executable and, when I unzip it, I get these folders added to the list:


I can find no executable anywhere within the swatPackage folder or any folder, for that matter.

Is there something I'm missing here? I'm using WindowsXP SP2 and am running JRE 5.0 update 6.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Chris Crawford said...

Rafael, you should be able to double-click on the Swat.jar file and have it execute normally. Java executable files are often compressed, and the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) automatically uncompresses them when it launches. HOwever, it may be that Windows refuses to allow the JRE to get to it. I'll ask Dave about this -- he's the one who has poisoned his brain with the arcana necessary to get Windows to function like a normal operating system.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Rafael A. said...

Hey nevermind, I fixed the problem.

WinRAR was doing its job too well. When I tried double-clicking it like you suggested, Chris, WinRAR would pop-up and ask to unzip it. So, I uninstalled WinRAR.

Now Swat.jar looks like a rich-text document but when I open it, it runs like it's supposed to.


10:55 AM  
Anonymous aevarsson said...

Does the Save function work in Swat, because I am looking for a way to open what I have saved before. For the next version of Swat an Open function in the File menu could be useful for people that work on the tutorial a few steps at a time.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Designer Christian said...

I think you can save: everytime you open swat the version you saved will be automatically loaded so you can continue with your previous work.

7:47 PM  
Anonymous Joseph LImbaugh said...

I sometimes get the feeling that Chris isn't a fan of Windows. Not sure why, just a hunch.

12:49 AM  
Blogger Chris Crawford said...

Yes, the Load function is automatic, but the Save function requires that you use the Save menu item in the File menu. I will add a Load function at some point, but for now it's not crucial.

Yes, I confess -- I hate Windows. I have never understood why people put up with its unreliability, poor design, vulnerability to viruses, and so forth. I suppose that it's a religious issue -- I just can't understand why some religions involve rituals in which one repeatedly bashes his head against a brick wall. I am truly blessed in that I have Dave Walker, he of the heavily calloused forehead, to deal with Windows for me. If you're a devotee of this religion, then I invite you to counter with your own favorite Mac-bash, and then we shall lay this matter to rest -- until I make my next snide comment about Windows!

7:56 AM  
Blogger Designer Christian said...

I have a question, if i do a storyworld in swat until storytron is realeased, will i be able to play that storyworld in storytron? or it will be imposible to play what i made?.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Chris Crawford said...

The whole point of Swat is to build storyworlds for Storytron. Yes, what you build in Swat will be playable in Storytron.

2:49 PM  
Blogger Patrick Dugan said...

I second Chris' point on Windows. My HD crashed after years of progressively worsening viral compromise. I bought an iMac and haven't looked back.

5:18 PM  
Blogger Dave Walker said...

It's true, I'm a Windows junkie. There, that's the first only one of the twelve steps I intend to take.

For me, the Windows choice was easy--actually, I should say the DOS choice was easy. I made a choice just before Windows 3.0 came out. At that point--moving from the Atari 1040/Commodore 128 (and really wanting an Amiga)--I could either choose the medium res monochrome screen, overpriced, and undersold Mac with the great GUI or the low res color (ugly color mind you), but cheaper and market leading PC with a command line interface. Economics won out over quality. The game industry was rapidly moving there, so I did too.

Now the price difference (which still exists) is not as great a factor, but neither are the differences in OS usability, security, and reliability (which still exist). Further, I am hopelessly enslaved by seventeen years spent learning the Microsoft technologies and MS & third party applications. At this point, if MS said, "hey, look over there--programming stuff." I would blindly leap off the cliff with the rest of the lemmings.

This message will self destruct (hopefully, long before I do).

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Joseph LImbaugh said...

I hijacked the thread and turned it in to a discussion thread for a completely non-controversial subject.
I mean . . . Sorry.

My 2 cents - I used to work at a job that required me to use a pc and a mac. I found more affinity with the pc and from my experience the mac was not more intuitive and crashed just as much (if not more - probably because I'm a stupid pc user and I was doing it wrong). To be fair this was just after the switch to OSX, which I believe had some problems anyway. I think it's just a matter of what you are used to. And Microsoft being an evil empire. And me not caring as long as I have an affordable platform I feel comfortable with.

Also I bought my girlfriend an Ipod, and Itunes refuses to work properly on my PC despite many reinstalls, updates, etc. Go to the Itunes help forums and I see lots of people with exactly the same complaint, and Mac people blaming the PC architecture (instead of placing the blame where it belongs - with the programmers of Itunes).

Itunes - bah!

9:47 PM  
Blogger Chris Crawford said...

and Mac people blaming the PC architecture (instead of placing the blame where it belongs - with the programmers of Itunes).

Yes, blaming the architecture for poor programming is immature. Crawford's Second Rule of Programming is: when in doubt, shoot the programmer. It's probably his fault.

Hey, whaddya looking at me like that?

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Joseph LImbaugh said...

I've read your books Chris - and I totally agree with the standards you set for user expectation. I have to say that I'm too polite to hold the Swat up to these standards (so far), mostly because:

1. I'm too polite.
2. This version is pre-alpha.
3. Do you really expect us to be that harsh with your own software? Seriously?
4. I've worked as a beta tester before and although the relationship between tester and programmer is very valuable, it can become confrontational and even professional confrontation is slightly stressfull.
5. You're Chris Crawford and I'm not.

That being said, I think that honest feedback is hard to come by. Say the word and I'll release the dogs of criticism in all their horrible and often opinionated fury.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Designer Christian said...

I would like to hear what you have to say about swat...

6:50 PM  
Anonymous jordi said...

In future versions, will Storytron have the option to allow users to interact using a graphical language, like the Siboot example in your book?

9:06 PM  
Blogger Chris Crawford said...

joseph, I'd be happy to hear your UI suggestions. Swat is still in an early stage and so we have more flexibility than we will have later.

4:05 PM  
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