New Year, New Language (or: Back in Black)

I've given Unity a pretty fair shot over the last six months. There's some good stuff there to be sure - I've got a nice little Roguelike combat engine going. And yet - I still feel like I'm constantly working against the grain; working around the API to have the kind of architecture I want and the kind of 2D games I want. At the end of the day I just want my abstract game state and imperatively drawn view.

Consequently one of my New Year's Resolutions is that I'm getting back into game tech development.

I've done a lot of exploratory R&D stuff over the last four years, with very ambitious goals for Bard and a lot of waffling on various specifics. I'm ready to get back to basics though: Slag Plasmacore is still a damn fine game framework that we're still using to make new Plasmaworks games with, including two upcoming new games in early 2015, and so it's time to revive that dying fire and build a revamped version of Plasmacore before anything else. For the time being I'm scrapping any ideas of building an IDE, of supporting native GUI controls, of rich 3D support, and of making a ridiculously versatile language. Most of those things will come later, but they can wait until the core is finished.

Along with all this I'm refactoring and renaming my language once again. I've been very happy with the name "Bard" and yet the name carries a fair amount of baggage. Bard has had many false starts: at first it was just a renamed Slag, then it was a new language entirely, then a dynamic language, then back to static, and even apart from that there are three completely different versions of Bard archived on the Plasmaworks GitHub site. On top of all that I became aware of another programmer who has been and is still working on a "Bard" language for quite a bit longer than I've been using the name, so switching names seems like the honorable thing.

My new language is called "Zor". A spiritual successor to both Slag and Bard, the name of the Zor programming language is a nod to the themes and ideas of my formative years - from Robotech's Zor Prime to Tranzor Z to Zork - as well as being a good fit with the computery concepts of XOR and the three letter file extension. And, yes, it's the first of several dozen name ideas I've had that isn't already taken!

I'm refactoring the best version of the Bard compiler that I made (v0.2 as listed on GitHub) and tweaking a few design ideas as I make Zor. I'll keep you posted on any interesting developments!