Helping our Help

I asked around this week for some opinions on online stores. This is really the best paradigm for RetroEQ since that's our most common use case. It's also a bit more than just a store. This week I'm going to talk about what's on the top of my mind as I work through defining the requirements for the next generation of RetroEQ.

The Data

RetroEQ is all about the data; that has not really changed in the intervening twenty years since I used it as a player. The biggest challenge is how to organize it. Equipment is the largest contributor to data, however, RetroEQ also duplicates the information from spells and skills along with the sometimes out of date and oddly formatted help files.

Separating Concerns

I've come to the opinion that we need to separate concerns to make RetroEQ and all the data it contains more maintainable. The equipment should live in a database because it gets updated often enough, however, the help files are mostly static.

The Sphinx Project is used across many projects to provide documentation. It can target multiple document output formats and be extended for use with new ones. I think this provides us with an opportunity to leverage the RetroMud community for help.

We need a builder extension written that would take a basic restructured text file and convert it into a text file readable within the mud. We can do all kinds of things like color codes, convert cross-links into see-also, and more. We just need that extension written. Rita has volunteered, however, it's not on the top of the priority list right now.

Volunteers: Step Forward

Do you know Python and have an interest in helping out? Check out the builder extension API and the existing text builder. Don't know Python but you still want to contribute? We also need to define how an RST document would look when converted for the in-game help system. Reach out via mudmail if you want to contribute and we can work out the details.