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On Sat, 2002-06-08 at 11:08, Sean Middleditch wrote:
> I was actually looking at the number of companies that *have* looked at
> Lua, or even previously used Lua, and passed on it.  Check out the dev
> forums or developer updates of some games, you'll notice the designer
> will go over various features, touch on various languages (I've Lua
> mentioned a number of times, although not as often as one would like)
> and pass them up in favor of a commercial package (Java was popular for
> a while, then seemed to die off as a game scripting language) or a
> in-house tool.

It's funny you should mention Java... Rob Huebner gave a talk at GDC
around 1998 about the rolled-from-scratch scripting language in Jedi
Knight to a packed house... This was just when people were turning onto
scripting languages (a result of QuakeC), and people seemed quite
intimidated by the effort involved in doing their own.  When he
mentioned we were also using the off-the-shelf Lua on another game,
everyone swiveled and focused intently and immediately on it.  There was
a surge of popularity immediately thereafter.

A year or two later, Rob gave another talk at GDC, this one on the
engine used in Vampire: The Masquerade.  A big portion of the talk
focused on the use of Java as their scripting language... Again, people
grabbed onto that, and tried to follow the example.  A year or two ago,
there was a panel on scripting languages, and I believe one of the
people on the panel was using Java after Rob's example... Lua came up
during the Q&A again as well.  Then the new consoles came out, and the
lack of Java on those platforms precluded it as a choice if you were
looking to make money in console-land.  This series of events might
explain the rise-and-fall of Java as a game-scripting language...
Whatever's talked-about at GDC in the last year or two is the first
thing people try.  Someone (John Belmonte, a mental picture of you is
forming in my head!) should do a talk next year featuring Lua

As for why some companies my use Lua once, then not again... Lua is
still gaining steam. I think people like Lua, but at the point where you
find yourself hacking the interpreter you wonder if you might not be
better off on your own.  5.0 appears to have just about everything
everyone (well, game developers) have clamored for, and should stop a
lot of the custom hacking of the interpreter... or maybe it's just that
the focus will shift from multi-tasking to garbage collection now.  =)  

That, and the fact that some projects are done by totally different
design teams who don't communicate, means some companies might put out
games without Lua after using it in one of them.  Eg. Obi-Wan rolled its
own scripting language even though Grim Fandango used Lua, while Escape
>From Monkey Island stuck with Lua.  Totally different code bases,
totally different teams, totally different scripting language used in
the same company.

Again, at this point the thing missing is exposure.  If you use Python
or something that looks like C or Java, you can hand your scripters any
one of a number of books on the language and there are a million
tutorials and other resources to help them.  Similarly, your consumers
don't need hand-holding or documentation from you when they want to mod
your game because the resources are all out there.  Lua's limited
exposure means that even though the language is great in so many ways,
it's hard to pick it when you're looking for something lots of people
already know how to program.

Once there's, say, an O'Reilly book on Lua in front of people when
they're browsing the shelves, and just one very successful title that
uses Lua for mods, you can bet that we'll see a lot more people jumping
all over it.

Speaking of which... Luiz, who is publishing your book?  =)

Bret Mogilefsky * Mgr. SCEA Developer Support *