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Sierra Creative Interpreter

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Sierra's Creative Interpreter (SCI) is the language created by Sierra for its adventure games after the older AGI. While AGI was a procedural language, SCI is completely object-oriented.

There are three 'main' versions of SCI: SCI0, SCI1, SCI2 (often called SCI32) and SCI3.

SCI0 (0.000.xxx)

The first version, released in 1988 and first used for King's Quest 4, allowed for 320x200 graphics in 16 colors, a music-card compatible sound track and mouse support. It also supported parser-based keyboard input, which a game could be scripted to use if it wishes to do so (non-adventure games usually didn't).

Games using SCI0 (in order of release):

Later versions of SCI0 added support for foreign languages; their version string reads "S.OLD.xxx". Games include:

The last SCI0 game, "Jones in the Fast Lane", already used the graphics engine from SCI1 and thus was available in a 256 color version.

SCI1 (1.000.xxx/T.A00.xxx)

Released in 1990, the most notable improvement was the support of 256 color graphics, still at a resolution of 320x200; EGA 16 color graphics were still available (games were usually sold in separate 16 and 256 color versions). Some people prefer to call the 16-color SCI1 interpreters "SCI01".

Most, but not all, SCI1 games are completely mouse-driven, using an icon-based interface; contrary to popular thought, it is up to the game's script code, not to the interpreter, to implement the user interface. For example, even though "Quest for Glory 2" is parser-driven and "King's Quest 5" is mouse-driven, they use compatible interpreters, as it is possible to use the interpreter from QFG2 with the EGA version of KQ5. SCI1 Games include:

Interpreters with build numbers 1000 and greater (the build number is the third number in the version string; since it only has three digits, the thousand's digit is missing, causing some confusion) sometimes (not always) have the letters "T.A" in their version string, which is why they are often called the "T.A" series. Apart from slightly modified file formats and improved foreign language support, they are just like earlier SCI1 versions. Games include:

SCI1.1 (1.001.xxx)

Apart from considerable internal changes, SCI1.1 adds support for animated movie sequences (first used in KQ6) as well as scaling sprites: characters would become smaller as they walk into the distance, giving a pseudo-3D effect. (The interpreters from some early SCI1.1 games incorrectly bear a "2.000.000" version stamp; this is most likely an inconsistency which should be ignored.) Separate 16-color packages were no longer available; EGA owners instead would be presented a 640x350 graphics display that simulated 256 colors via dithering.

SCI2 (2.xxx.xxx)

Often called "SCI32" (along with SCI3), it runs in 32-bit mode by using the DOS4G extender or by running it in Windows 3.1's Enhanced Mode. Most notable is the support of high-resolution 640x480 graphics, as well as better movie support. There are two known revisions, 2.000.000, and 2.100.002. Games include:

SCI3 (3.000.000)

The last version could not only run under DOS or Windows 3.1, but also natively under Windows 95. Games include:

Clones

An open source project called SCIStudio is available that lets users create games that are based on the SCI0 engine.

FreeSCI is opensource project, that can run SCI0 games. It supports Linux/Unix, Microsoft Windows, and GP32.

See also

External links

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