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After a bout with illness that left me flat, I'm back, and so is PAWS! Here's version 1.4. I urge everyone to provide feedback. Speak now or forever hold your least until the next version! :) I welcome any and all feedback concerning bugs, missing features, missing documentation, etc. By all means feel free to email me! 

PAWS is the Python Adventure Writing System. It consists of the game engine, world library, and play module. It also has two MS Word 2000 (Word 97 readable) documents that explain how to use it, the first a technical manual for hard-core code-heads :) and the second a tutorial for new game authors to create games with. RTF versions of the manuals are included in the primary ZIP file.

The manuals are also available in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

You'll need Python as well, just follow the Python link below and choose the version of Python for your operating system (over 20 supported!) When asked if you want to install Tcl/Tkinter support, answer yes.

Two sample games are included. The first is Roger Firth's Cloak Of Darkness, text adventure's version of the Rosetta stone. Thanks to Neil Cerutti for the implementation and Roger Firth for the original game. I've taken the liberty of updating COD to handle the Terminal and P (parser) objects in version 1.3. 

COD allows you to compare the PAWS version against versions in other languages, to see if PAWS fits your writing style. A dozen versions of COD in different languages are available Roger Firth's site. Check it out! :)

The second sample game Thief's Quest is much larger, but alas currently incomplete. As time permits I intend to finish this game and release it, so if you like TQ don't despair! It will be finished!

IMPORTANT NOTE - What's New in Version 1.4?

First, some older news. PAWS is now being developed with Python 2.2. It is still fully compatible with all these earlier Python versions: 1.5.2, 1.6, 2.0, and 2.1. Python 2.2 is much wider spread than earlier versions, certainly Windows, Mac OS, OS/X and Redhat Linux users can find version 2.2 installers/RPM's for their platforms. Other platforms require a tar-ball compilation. If you have a compiled version of Python 2.2 available for BeOS, Unix (any flavor), or other platforms email me so I can link to your site.

If you can't find a 2.2 version for your platform, don't despair. PAWS is backwardly compatible with every version of Python from 1.5.2 onward.

Now for the really new. There's a lot to like in 1.4

Bug Fixes

1. The "again" verb was broken in 1.3, this now works.

2. A syntax error in Universe that only caused problems in the Unix version of Python 2.2 has been fixed.

3. Background gray now works in WConio terminal.

4. Terminal now has a Terminate() method which allows graceful exit from the Curses Terminal under Unix/Linux. This method is called automatically by PAWS, you don't have to do anything.


1. PAWS now has a limited "oops" ability. You may type an incomplete command like "Get" and when the parser complains "get what?" you can simply type "rock" or whatever and the parser will put the pieces together.

2. Minor cosmetic changes to the game banner, primarily intended to support the Title font size in the TkinterIO Terminal.

3. A minor change to the parser message about missing direct objects.

4. Adverbs now have an Applies() method that makes them simple to test for, even in a CBE.

5. Game logging to <game>.LOG by using the Transcribe command. Transcribe is a toggle, the first use turns it on, the second turns it off. Very useful for beta testing. If debugging is active debug information is placed in <game>.DBG.

6. Thanks to Nathan Barnes, PAWS now has a new terminal that uses the cross-platform Tkinter GUI to create a GUI based window. The TkinterIO Terminal allows you to change font sizes in 2 point increments, very nice! TkinterIO supports 16 foreground and background colors, underlining, bold, and italic. There's also a special mode called Title (~title) that gives you a bold white sans serif font 4 points larger than the regular text font. By default Title is used in the game name and room names. Best of all, TkinterIO is cross platform, it will work on any platform that Tcl has been ported to--which is just about every platform supported by Python. This includes Windows, Unix, Linux, BeOS, Mac OS/X (Cocoa only), and Mac OS!

If you have any complaints, bugs, or wish list items email me 

Licensing For Commercial Use

Someone asked me about licensing PAWS for commercial usage. In other words they wanted to know if they could use PAWS to create a game or other program and then sell it, and what my licensing terms would be.

Basically my licensing terms are the same for any usage of PAWS/Universe, commercial or not. They boil down to these points:

  1. Anyone can use PAWS and Universe for any purpose they deem fit, without paying me any royalties or other financial considerations. In other words, do what you like--using PAWS/Universe won't cost you a dime. HOWEVER, there are a few (minor) restrictions for commercial usage.
  2. You can't claim you wrote PAWS, Universe, or the documentation for them. For the privilege of using PAWS/Universe all I ask is that you credit me as the creator of PAWS/Universe and its documentation somewhere in your own documentation. A mention in your introduction would be sufficient.
  3. You must include a copy of the unmodified PAWS system with your commercial product. A copy of the PAWS ZIP file you downloaded is acceptable. If you want to modify PAWS or Universe for your game/program/product feel free. Likewise if you want to distribute only the compiled PYC versions of your modified copy of PAWS/Universe go ahead. However you must also include a complete unmodified copy of PAWS so anyone buying your product gets a free copy of PAWS/Universe as well.
  4. You may not sell PAWS/Universe ITSELF, nor charge a fee for media, although you are free to sell any software you develop yourself that runs under PAWS/Universe. In other words, you can't charge for a CD containing PAWS alone, but you can sell a CD containing PAWS and your own program(s). You may also place PAWS on a CD containing a compilation of different programs and charge for that. Again, it must be an unmodified copy of the PAWS system, containing everything that came in the original ZIP file.
  5. Game authors who have no intention of selling their games (placing them in the IF-Fiction archive for example) are encouraged to include a copy of, play, and with their game. This makes running games using different version levels of PAWS as painless for the player as possible. Game authors do NOT have to include a copy of the entire PAWS system with their game, that would be silly.

My intent is not to profit from PAWS/Universe nor even to prevent others from profiting from it. I merely want to receive credit for having created PAWS/Universe and to keep PAWS/Universe itself completely free to anyone who wants to use it--for whatever purpose they want to use it for!

So if you want to develop and sell a commercial product with PAWS be my guest. Use of PAWS for ANY purpose is royalty free and except for the conditions listed above otherwise unrestricted.


PAWS Files

PAWS 1.4  (651K) (Includes Documentation in both Word format and RTF)
Python Web Site (To get Python version 1.5.2, 1.6, or 2.0)

PAWS Documentation In PDF (Acrobat) Format (737K)

ScopeEdit Editor Highlight Definition File for PAWS (10K) Enhanced for PAWS version 1.1. (Obsolete)

Interspector Editor Highlight Definition File for PAWS (10K) Enhanced for PAWS version 1.4


Curses For Windows Python 1.5.2 (Obsolete Terminal)

Curses  (35K) (Copy into Python's DLL folder)

WConio Terminal Files For Windows 95 or later (Obsolete Terminal)

If you have Windows 95 or later and would like PAWS to run in full color you'll need to download an additional package and install it after you install Python. The download is quite small (~50k) and makes running PAWS on Windows 95 or later much nicer. Thanks to  Chris Gonnerman for developing WConio for Python. Choose which version of WConio you need for your version of Python. Note that WConio is not available for Python 1.6. Also note, that thanks to Nathan Barnes TkinterIO Terminal, WConio is now obsolete

WConio For Python 1.5.2 (Copy into Python's DLL folder)
WConio For Python 2.0 (installer included)
WConio For Python 2.1
(installer included)
WConio For Python 2.2
(installer included)

Interspector Site

Click here to go to the Interspector Web Site

Roger Firth's Site

This site contains links to both the Cloak Of Darkness comparison game and his Parsifal page, a massive set of useful links to all kinds of IF resources!

Roger Firth's Home Page

Text Adventure Archive

Here's a link to the Interactive Fiction archive containing a huge array of text adventure games and other adventure development tools.

Interfactive Fiction Archive

Email Wolf about PAWS

This page last updated 07/07/2002