About Cave Wiki

We examine the original version of the original interactive fiction work also known as Colossal Cave.

The program text consists of two parts: a fortran program and a structured text file. We've converted most segments of the text to a corresponding wiki with one page per adventure room.

We are just now imagining how federated game authoring and game play could be hosted on the federated wiki platform.


We don't yet have the mechanisms to play the game. Each page includes links to adjacent places accessable by navigational commands in the original program. Some links invoke actions. These are noted.

Several addional dump pages enumerate phrases that would be recognized or spoken in game play. These suggest the richness of the experience available in this first ever adventure.


We'd like to perform similar transformation of the fortran program itself. Phrases of ten or twenty lines realize the semantics encoded among the integers in the text file. This would be much easier to read if goto statements became hyperlinks and integer arguments to the SPEAK command were annotated with the words that would be spoken. This is within reach for our simple build.rb.

We'd also like to bring adventure to life within the context of federated wiki. We have the places represented. We need similar prepresentation for things and the actors that give them life.

Imagine if a player forked pages with game state into browser local storage. The thinks at hand would be in the page lineup. Long term play state would be in the brower. And the play landscape would be federated among all the sites contributing to the federated game.


We're more interested in the literature of programming than that of interactive fiction. Crowther's original code is worthy of study. Knuth recognized this and cast a slightly later version in his own literate style. Both poked against the limitations of text files.

See detailed history Somewhere Nearby

We see wiki as a fully general information format which lends itself better to programming than formats available to Crowthers or Knuth. Federated wiki promises even more open-ended extensibility to a community of authors.

We aspire to precipitate a unification of code and content. Crowther's source and data files stand for these two poles. He worked them together as an expression of his experience underground. We should all have a voice as persistent as his has been.