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Here are some general Hugo tips to keep in mind (in no particular order):


Compartmentalize Your Code

While browsing the example Hugo code out there, you'll notice that several authors take advantage of Hugo's #include flag to split up source code into several files. As your game gets larger and more unruly, you might find that following suit helps you compartmentalize your game design, letting you switch between objects, verb routines, and routine replacements with more ease.

Comment Your Code

“Any code of your own that you haven’t looked at for six or more months
might as well have been written by someone else.”
(Eagleson’s Law)

Commenting your code can save you headaches later on when your going over what it's supposed to do. (versus what it's actually doing sometimes)

Hugo Manual Bookmarks and Comments

Adobe Reader lets you add your own "stickies" to and highlight text in Adobe Acrobat files. Using that with the .pdf of the Hugo manual is a great way to bookmark important sections (like lists of attributes or grammar tokens), making them a lot faster to pull up.

Look At The Library

When troubleshooting problems, you'll want to look at any relevant code in the Hugo library files. It'll help a lot when you have an idea how this or that routine works.

Return True For A Turn To Ensue

When it comes to verb routines, sometimes it is easy to forget that returning false means main is not called after the turn is over (so the turn counter doesn't go up, the status line isn't redrawn, events aren't run, etc.). When adding your own verbs, remember to return true when you want a turn to "count".

Where Capitalization Works (And Where It Doesn't)

Hugo accepts capitalized words in the naming of objects and their name properties, but since all text that a player enters is changed to lowercase, capitalized noun and adjective properties will never be recognized. Keep this in mind when you are doing string-matching to parser input, too.

Correct String Property Formats

It can be frustrating when the following doesn't compile:

long_desc "You are a fine specimen, if I do say so myself."

Since that doesn't seem all that different from other properties that list just one thing. Unfortunately, you'll find very quickly that it doesn't work. As mentioned in the manual, you'll have to do one of the following instead.

! Either enclose the string in brackets
long_desc {"You are a fine specimen, if I do say so myself."}
! Or move the string to the next line
     "You are a fine specimen, if I do say so myself."
! Or do the colon trick
long_desc : "You are a fine specimen, if I do say so myself."

Speaking of which,

The Colon Is Connected To The...

You can put multiple lines of code on one line using the ":" character.

if red_door is open : print "The red door is open!"

To Be Continued

When you run out of space while typing one line's worth of commands, you can continue on the next line if you use the "\" character.

nouns "plant", "flower", "marigold", \
"fauna", "greenery"

One Print String Per Paragraph

Get in the habit of limiting your print strings to one paragraph. For example:

print "This is your first paragraph."
print "\nThis is your second paragraph."

is preferable over

print "This is your first paragraph.\n
      \nThis is your second paragraph."

The first version allows for easy inclusion of Indents if your code needs formatting. This is one of those things where you'll thank yourself later.

Helpful ShORtcut

Or statements can be shortened from:

if thing = something1 or thing = something2


if thing = something1,something2

Keeping Track of Library Versions

Even as old as most Hugo libraries are, it's still possible to find yourself using an outdated library (or library contribution) without realizing it. Add the following to your hugolib.h file right after the constants are declared:

#message ""
#message "Hugo Library v3.1.03.1 by Kent Tessman"

Now, if you #set VERSIONS in your source file, when you compile your game, the compiler will print that message, reminding you what library you are using. Similar code has been added to the library contributions hosted on Hugo By Example, but go ahead and add it to every library you'd like to keep track of.

Checking Room Exits By Value

The MovePlayer routine has this interesting code that checks to see if a direction from a room is valid:

	if loc.type = direction
		local k
		k = location.(loc.dir_to)
		if k > 1                ! since a message always returns 1
			loc = k

So, according to this code, all "You can't go that way." messages we might give our game will numerically equal 1. This should be a useful way of identifying valid exits.


Hugo's author encourages the implementation of bananas in any game. More bananas mean more monkeys, and monkeys are always fun.

Blocking Contents Listing

If you want to keep non-hidden, non-quiet containers from listing their descriptions in room descriptions, check out the page "Blocking Contents Listing."

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