Colossal Cave adventure game at the Python prompt
This is a faithful port of the “Adventure” game to Python 3 from the original 1977 FORTRAN code by Crowther and Woods (it is driven by the same advent.dat file!) that lets you explore Colossal Cave, where others have found fortunes in treasure and gold, though it is rumored that some who enter are never seen again. To encourage the use of Python 3, the game is designed to be played right at the Python prompt. Single-word commands can be typed by themselves, but two-word commands should be written as a function call (since a two-word command would not be valid Python):
>>> import adventure >>> adventure.play() WELCOME TO ADVENTURE!! WOULD YOU LIKE INSTRUCTIONS? >>> no YOU ARE STANDING AT THE END OF A ROAD BEFORE A SMALL BRICK BUILDING. AROUND YOU IS A FOREST. A SMALL STREAM FLOWS OUT OF THE BUILDING AND DOWN A GULLY. >>> east YOU ARE INSIDE A BUILDING, A WELL HOUSE FOR A LARGE SPRING. THERE ARE SOME KEYS ON THE GROUND HERE. THERE IS A SHINY BRASS LAMP NEARBY. THERE IS FOOD HERE. THERE IS A BOTTLE OF WATER HERE. >>> get(lamp) OK >>> leave YOU'RE AT END OF ROAD AGAIN. >>> south YOU ARE IN A VALLEY IN THE FOREST BESIDE A STREAM TUMBLING ALONG A ROCKY BED.
The original Adventure paid attention to only the first five letters of each command, so a long command like inventory could simply be typed as inven. This package defines a symbol for both versions of every long word, so you can type the long or short version as you please.
You can save your game at any time by calling the save() command with a filename, and then can resume it later:
>>> save('advent.save') GAME SAVED >>> adventure.resume('advent.save') GAME RESTORED >>> look SORRY, BUT I AM NOT ALLOWED TO GIVE MORE DETAIL. I WILL REPEAT THE LONG DESCRIPTION OF YOUR LOCATION. YOU ARE IN A VALLEY IN THE FOREST BESIDE A STREAM TUMBLING ALONG A ROCKY BED.
You can find two complete, working walkthroughs of the game in its tests directory, which you can run using the discover module that comes built-in with Python 3:
$ python3 -m unittest discover adventure
I wrote most of this package over Christmas vacation 2010, to learn more about the workings of the game that so enthralled me as a child; the project also gave me practice writing Python 3. I still forget the parentheses when writing print() if I am not paying attention.
You can also use this package to play Adventure at a traditional prompt that does not require its input to be valid Python. Use your operating system command line to run the package:
$ python3 -m adventure WELCOME TO ADVENTURE!! WOULD YOU LIKE INSTRUCTIONS? >
At the prompt that will appear, two-word commands can simply be separated by a space:
> get lamp OK
For extra authenticity, the output of the Adventure game in this mode is typed to your screen at 1200 baud. You will note that although this prints the text faster than you can read it anyway, your experience of the game will improve considerably, especially when a move results in a surprise.
Why is the game better at 1200 baud? When a paragraph of text is allowed to appear on the screen all at once, your eyes scan the entire paragraph for important information, often ruining any surprises before you can then settle down and read it from the beginning. But at 1200 baud, you wind up reading the text in order as it appears, which unfolds the narrative sequentially as the author of Adventure intended.
If you created a file with the in-game save command, you can restore it later by naming it on the command line:
> save mygame GAME SAVED > quit DO YOU REALLY WANT TO QUIT NOW? > y OK $ python3 -m adventure mygame GAME RESTORED >
- Several Adventure commands conflict with standard Python built-in functions. If you want to run the normal Python function exit(), open(), quit(), or help(), then import the builtin module and run the copy of the function stored there.
- The word “break” is a Python keyword, so there was no possibility of using it in the game. Instead, use one of the two synonyms defined by the PDP version of Adventure: “shatter” or “smash.”
The advent.dat game data file distributed with this Python package, like the rest of the original source code for Adventure, is a public domain work. Phrases from the original work that have been copied into my source code from the FORTRAN source (the famous phrase “You have gotten yourself killed” and so forth) remain public domain and can be used without attribution.
My own Python code that re-implements the game engine is:
Copyright 2010–2015 Brandon Rhodes
Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the “License”); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at
Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an “AS IS” BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.
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