Creative Adventure Writer

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Screenshots - Creative Adventure Writer

Creative Adventure Writer atari screenshot
Creative Adventure Writer atari screenshot

Information - Creative Adventure Writer

GenreGame CreationYear
LanguageSTOS BASICPublisher[no publisher]
Box / InstructionsEnglishSoftwareEnglish

Hunt, Richard

LicensePD / Freeware / Shareware
SerialST TypeST, STe / 0.5MB
ResolutionLowNumber of Disks1 / Single Sided
Dumpdownload atari Creative Adventure Writer Download / MSAMIDI

Instructions - Creative Adventure Writer

CAW's (Creative Adventure Writer) 
method of adventure writing was based 
on Peter Voke's Imagen on the BBC 
Micros (Acorn User October 1988) which 
used one trigger string to define 
locations. The current version of CAW 
(V3.6) goes much further than this in 
that it has two seperate longer strings 
for better descriptions, two triggers 
and objects, an end of game part, 
graphics and windows and several 
prefixes which enable quite complicated 
adventures to be written easily and 
relatively quickly. It is now in it's 
27th version, since version 3.4 extra 
prefixes and graphics facilities have 
been added and the GET routine bug 
corrected. Due to a new method of 
formatting the text to fit the windows 
(just before display, not on entering 
as previously) it is necessary to alter 
any files written with older versions 
so that the text is 'normal', the 
manual explains how to do this. CAW was 
written entirely in STOS basic and 
compiled with the STOS compiler. It may 
be copied freely so long as no charge 
except that for duplication costs etc. 
is made. This disk contains: 

   CAW.PRG       Main program
   GRAPHIC.PRG   Converts picture files
                 to STOS compressed 
   CROWN.ADV     Caw adventure - find 
                 the King's crown
   OGRE.ADV      Caw adventure - 
                 investigate strange 
                 noises in the mountain 
                 and take appropiate 
   MANUAL.DOC    Manual in 1st word
   MANUAL.TXT    Ascii manual (view 
                 from desktop)
   READ_ME.TXT   This file

The adventures are converted from the 
old format and so do not have any 
extra functions that are in this 
version of CAW. Because of this there 
are several niggles with location 
descriptions. You could if you wanted 
alter this so that everything was 
consistant, the password for the CROWN 
adventure (a first attempt) is CROWN. 
The manual is 8 computer paper (66 
lines) pages long and also includes 
hints and tips as to how to get the 
most out of CAW, have fun.

Creative Adventure Writer (Version 3.6)           by Richard Hunt

CAW is both an adventure game and adventure writer and was 
written using Mandarin's brilliant STOS. Adventures can be made 
up as you play by customising each location you come to (e.g. 
exits, what happens, description). CAW is based on the concept of 
triggers, a trigger being a command or phrase which will cause 
something to happen, e.g. a door to open, an object to be got, an 
object to be removed. Although this might not seem to be very 
comprehensive it can be used to create quite versatile adventures 
easily and relatively quickly.

Game commands
If you are interested on only playing adventures and not writing 
them then you need only know the following basic commands.

n/north                       go north
s/south                       go south
e/east                        go east
w/west                        go west
u/up                          go up
d/down                        go down
inv/inventory                 lists objects carried
help                          lists verbs used in adventure
commands                      lists all CAW commands available
score                         current score (% explored)
cls                           clears screen
clear                         toggles clearing of screen on/off
look                          shows full graphic picture (if any)
border                        selects border type 1-16
display                       method of graphic display 1 - on
                                                        2 - once
                                                        3 - off
dir                           show disc's contents
keep (filename)               save position to disc
resume (filename)             load position from disc
ram save                      save position to memory
ram restore                   recall position from memory
load (filename)               load adventure
pmap                          prints squared paper for mapping
psheet                        prints lined paper

Editing commands
As game commands but with the following additions:

edit                          enter edit mode and add password
edit (password)               enter edit mode using password
normal                        return to game mode

!go (location number)         jump to location
!edit                         edit location
!n !s !e !w !u !d             create exit for direction
!wipe                         wipe location/exit
!bring (object)               conjures up object into inventory
!remove (object)              removes object from inventory

save (filename)               saves adventure to disc

Creative Adventure Writer (Version 3.6)           by Richard Hunt

This toggles between edit/game mode, edit mode allows all other 
editing commands to be used while game mode restricts commands to 
those relevant to playing the adventure. If there is no editing 
password present then edit should be used and then the password 
entered when requested, otherwise edit (password) should be used.
There are no extra parts to normal. When in edit mode ending the 
game through holding or lack of an object is not possible, only 
when it is caused through a trigger.

When editing it is useful to be able to jump directly to a 
location instead of 'walking' there. To go to the location simply 
type !go (location number), the location number is displayed 
above the location description in edit mode.

!n !s !e !w !u !d
Depending on what direction the exit you want to create is you 
use one of the above, e.g. !s. After you have entered this the 
computer will then ask you for two pieces of information. The 
first is simply for the location number it is to lead to and the 
second is for the exit type. The exit type can be hidden/visible 
and/or accessible after a certain trigger[s] (more on triggers 
later). The following is a summary of the codes used:

     ! Exit type                    ! Visible ! Hidden !
     ! Normal                       !    0    !    5   !
     ! After trigger 1              !    1    !    6   !
     ! After trigger 2              !    2    !    7   !
     ! After trigger 1 and 2        !    3    !    8   !
     ! After trigger 1 or 3         !    4    !    9   !

CAW can now only store a maximum of 1000 locations (the true 
amount depends on the content of descriptions) due to the added 
graphics and windows. This is not likely to cause many problems - 
extremely few commercial adventure have this many! 

Wipes either an exit or location, simply follow the questions and 
prompts to do so.

When testing the adventure it is useful to be able to have an 
object to test the trigger[s] with (see next sheet). To conjure 
up an object in your inventory type !bring (object).

The opposite of !bring being used to remove unwanted baggage, to 
do so type !remove (object). Useful for testing triggers again 
which require that object to be picked up.

Creative Adventure Writer (Version 3.6)           by Richard Hunt

The most important of the editing commands as it is the one which 
actually defines what is going to happen at that location. It is 
described by entering two strings, the description and the 
trigger string.
e.g. You are in a dark cave, water drips slowly down the walls
     giving a sullen atmosphere. Exits lead north and south.

     (chest:scroll::)get chest:examine scroll`The scroll shows a
     map of the island, by a river is an X(:)

This location is set in a cave, the text entered in the 
description is automatically formatted to fit onto the screen 
without words being cut in half. No other text is treated like 
this but the end of a line may be forced by inserting a \ into 
the text. This is most useful in the trigger string and can also 
be done on the location string forcing manual formatting.
  The first two words are the objects which are present, in our 
example these are a chest and a scroll. If no objects are 
required then nothing is put although the actual 'sentance' 
punctuation, i.e. (:::):(:), is. Note that the objects correspond 
to their triggers.
  The next two blank spaces are for additional text which is 
printed up on the screen if the corresponding trigger is set, 
this and everything else will be explained in more detail later.

  It is now that the actual triggers come, in this case get chest 
and examine scroll. The first word is always taken to be a verb 
(unless otherwise stated, see further on) and is just there to 
indetify whether the user is trying to do the right thing with 
the object (the remaining words). However if the verb is get then 
that object will be added to the player's inventory. Also note 
that after examine scroll is an ` (the apostrophe above the 
return key), this causes the following text to be printed up 
immediately after the trigger is set and only then, again this 
can be manually formatted through the use of \. If the additional 
text begins with a # then this will print up the following text 
and end the game.
  The last brackets contain the 'game over' details, if there are 
any. The first part is the object part, if the player has this 
and the death object is prefixed with a # or the player hasn't 
that object and there is no prefix then the game is over. The 
final part of the bracket is the text which is printed up when 
this happens, again this has to be manually formatted with \.
  So in this location the player can get the chest which will be 
removed from the location and can also examine the scroll. When 
this happens the following text will appear on the screen (once 
only), the scroll will not however be removed.
  When !edit is entered then the triggers for that location are 
reset. Also, by entering no text for a string then the old one is 
used. Entering just a * results in the last location's text being 
  Version 3.6 also features a very useful 'secret' trigger 
addition. Prefixing the trigger with & (this must be the first 
prefix) will cause that action being carried out automatically 
(and secretly) on arrival at the location. Similarly adding & to 

Creative Adventure Writer (Version 3.6)           by Richard Hunt

the beginning of an object name (it becomes part of the name) 
causes the object to be picked up immediately on entering and 
makes it invisible to the adventurer as are all the automatic 
actions. Prefixing (first character again) an object with ^ 
results in the object being picked up when it's corresponding 
trigger is set regardless of what that trigger is. All of these 
features mark a significant improvement on previous versions as 
it is now possible to have 'remote' triggers, i.e. an action at 
one location can result in the adventurer being 'tagged' with an 
invisible object to cause another event elsewhere. Note that 
automatic triggers will not work if they have text after them 
through the use of an apostrophe.

Creative Adventure Writer (Version 3.6)           by Richard Hunt

To summarise, the description string is always automatically 
formatted where as nothing else is and can only be done manually 
using \. The trigger string can be briefly described as:

  (Object 1:Object 2:Description 1:Description 2:)Trigger 1:
  Trigger 2(End game Object:End game Message)Window & Graphic

These relate directly to the triggers, e.g. for get spanner to 
work in trigger 1 then spanner would have to be object 1. 
Prefixes can also be added, @ hides the object so that it won't 
show on the You can see ..., # will only allow the object to 
be seen after the other trigger has been activated - i.e. trigger 
2 if object 1 and trigger 1 if object 2 and ^ will cause the 
object to be picked up as soon as it's trigger is set. Any 
combination of the prefixes can be used although ^ if used must 
come first, e.g. #@spanner, ^@hidden. Adding & to the beginning 
of the name will make it be picked up automatically on entering a 
location. CAW can handle 200 movable objects (i.e. they can be 
got), do not include any more or error messages will come up when 
the limit is passed in the game.
These are printed up on the screen if their corresponding trigger 
is activated, i.e. description 1 with trigger 1 and description 2 
with trigger 2. These are added directly onto the end of the 
location description and so put a \ at the beginning to force a 
new line if that is what you want instead. Alternatively a # can 
be used as a prefix which will cause the description to be the 
new location description, trigger 2 taking the priority if both 
triggers have this effect. All text is automatically formatted in 
version 3.6 before display.

The first word of these is always taken as the verb(s) and the 
latter part the noun (name of the object) unless a \ (which will 
take the place of a space), with or using is used to seperate the 
two. The noun must be the name of the corresponding object or an 
object which is in the player's inventory. If the first word is 
get then the object will be removed and added to the player's 
inventory. Triggers should not clash with the CAW commands.
  Prefixes can also be added to these as well, & (this must be 
the first prefix if there are several) carries out the trigger on 
arrival secretly, # will remove the object after the trigger has 
been activated and @ will only allow the trigger to take place 
after the other trigger has been done. An apostrophe can also be 
added to display instant text after the trigger.

  e.g. get knife  get the\knife  attack guard with knife

  Also, if the text after the ` begins with a # then this will 
result in the followig text being printed up and the game ending.

Creative Adventure Writer (Version 3.6)           by Richard Hunt

End of game bracket
The object part of this decides whether the game ends or not; if 
it is prefixed with a # then the player dies if he has that 
object, if it isn't prefixed then the player dies if he doesn't 
have it. The message is then printed up and CAW prints up the 
score, number of moves taken and then asks whether the player 
wants another game.

Window and Graphic
This has not been mentioned before and is another new feature to 
CAW. Version 3.6 has 6 window (text area) types, 5 of which can 
be selected by the user - the other is the starting window. This 
is selected by putting the relevant number straight after the 
last bracket, these are:

            0 - Full Screen             3 - Left half
            1 - Top half of screen      4 - Right half
            2 - Bottom half                                
The most successful of these are 0 - 3, the latter in my opinion 
do not have sufficient width (19 characters). I included it as 
extra options for anyone who finds it alright.

The windows were included specifically so that graphics could be 
included, if you do not intend having graphics then simply leave 
out the filename, I also suggest using window type 0. The 
graphics are in the form of a compressed (STOS) screen created 
from Neochrome or Degas (not Elite) screens using the program 
GRAPHIC.PRG or one of your own. This filename (minus the .MBK) 
comes immediately after the window type which must be specified, 

        1house   -   Top window (1) with screen HOUSE.MBK
        223      -   Bottom window (2) with screen 23.MBK

Although you will only usually draw the part seen, if you are 
feeling really artistic you could draw all the screen which could 
then be viewed by the adventurer by typing LOOK. If there is no 
set graphic screen at the next location the picture will stay 

Creative Adventure Writer (Version 3.6)           by Richard Hunt

Hints and Tips
An object does not have to be visible, it could be permanently 
invisible to allow commands such as say hello to take place - 
hello would be in the object part of the trigger string prefixed 
with a @.

A similar technique can be used with the end game object, this 
could be an object which isn't to be found in the adventure thus 
causing instant death.

The game over part does not have to be for when the player dies - 
it is a useful way of ending an adventure when it is completed.

Try to use up any spare triggers with commands like examine, 
discovering things which needn't necessarily be necessary is 
enjoyable in itself - especially if what has been discovered is 

Take up as much space for your description as you can, sometimes 
this isn't possible if a trigger alters this but the bigger the 
description the more powerful the image it conjures up.

In your adventure scatter bits of information which can be 
discovered by the player as a detective would so helping build 
the storyline.

Mistakes when keying in the strings are extremely annoying, 
especially if what you have just typed in is very long. Checking 
as you go along and having a final check at the end is very good 

Try to introduce an air of originality into your adventure in the 
sense of descriptions of doors etc.. Doors could be talking, 
wooden, iron, intelligent, stupid, have spyholes, locks, the list 
goes on!

On the subject of doors, exits can be easily made to be one-way 
or go back to a different location - extremely handy for 
constructing mazes. Don't make this too complicated though as it 
could prove too frustrating and almost impossible.

Hiding exits and other objects is also a good idea, for example 
having to open some curtains to find a door. You could also 
include other ways of getting to locations such as pulling a 

Puzzles are compulsary! An adventure without puzzles is like a 
film without a plot. Arrange your puzzles so that they start off 
fairly easy and get harder thus encouraging the player to carry 
on. A lot of puzzles needn't necessarily mean a huge adventure, 
in fact a huge adventure with relatively few puzzles can become 
boring very quickly.

Creative Adventure Writer (Version 3.6)           by Richard Hunt

Bigger puzzles can be constructed if you use the new prefixes (& 
and ^). An object could be automatically picked up (e.g. &trip1) 
which could then make an automatic trigger possible to bring 
characters to a location. For example you could have a genie 
which helps you at certain locations after you've rubbed it's 
lamp or pull a trigger in one location to effectively do some 
action elsewhere. This can be easily done as follows:
           (^@trip1:::)pull lever:(:)                  
           (::A bridge spans the gorge:)&#use trip1:(:)
When the lever is pulled the object trip1 secretly put in the 
player's inventory. The player then goes back to the previously 
uncrossable gorge to find a bridge (an exit was created with the 
automatic trigger) as the trigger can now take place. 

Think your puzzles out carefully beforehand, it's no good not 
being able to complete a puzzle because to do just that you need 
an object which is only available after you've overcome it! A 
puzzle also needn't be a simple get key to unlock door job, it 
might involve getting the hammer, to break the glass, to get the 
whistle, to call the dog, to get a bone, to give to the wolf, to 
get the key and then to unlock the door!!!

It is not necessary to give a password for editing by just 
pressing return, useful if you forget things easily. When you do 
come to include your password make it one that is unusual yet is 
one you can remember instantly.

You can create adventures without ever editing in CAW by 
wordprocessing it in pure ASCII (pressing return at the end of 
each entire line). The file format is as follows:
     (number of locations)
       (description location 1)
         (blank line)
       (trigger string location 1)
         (blank line)
This creates an unprotected CAW file and can be used to convert 
any pre version 3.6 files. Although they will load in the text 
will not fit correctly - to correct this just add back in the spaces 
between any joined words and remove any unwanted \. The latter is 
particularly important as in the old versions of CAW (the other 
26!) the text was formatted on entering.

A useful source for an adventure is a book, even if the story 
isn't in the area/time period you want to write in then names of 
objects and people can easily be changed. However it is much more 
satisfying to do your own idea as you can actually build your own 
small world, it also allows you to distribute your adventure more 

Test your adventure out before you give it to a friend or whoever 
to play. On the same note, it's no good writing an adventure if 
there's no one else to play it ...

Happy Adventuring

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