SAGA: A DSL for Story Management
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Video game development is currently a very labour-intensive endeavour.
Furthermore it involves multi-disciplinary teams of artistic content creators
and programmers, whose typical working patterns are not easily meshed. SAGA is
our first effort at augmenting the productivity of such teams.
Already convinced of the benefits of DSLs, we set out to analyze the domains
present in games in order to find out which would be most amenable to the DSL
approach. Based on previous work, we thus sought those sub-parts that already
had a partially established vocabulary and at the same time could be well
modeled using classical computer science structures. We settled on the 'story'
aspect of video games as the best candidate domain, which can be modeled using
state transition systems.
As we are working with a specific company as the ultimate customer for this
work, an additional requirement was that our DSL should produce code that can
be used within a pre-existing framework. We developed a full system (SAGA)
comprised of a parser for a human-friendly language for 'story events', an
internal representation of design patterns for implementing object-oriented
state-transitions systems, an instantiator for these patterns for a specific
'story', and three renderers (for C++, C# and Java) for the instantiated