World Builder

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World Builder
Developer(s)Silicon Beach Software
Initial release1986; 37 years ago (1986)
Stable release
1.2 / 1995; 28 years ago (1995)
Operating systemSystem 3
TypeGame Creation System

World Builder is a game creation system for point-and-click adventure games.[1] It was released for Macintosh in 1986 by Silicon Beach Software and had already been used for creating Enchanted Scepters in 1984. On August 7, 1995, developer William C. Appleton released World Builder as freeware.


World Builder creates games that consist of two windows: a scene window containing a graphic illustration of the current location; and a text window containing a text description of the current location, a log of any player interactions in this location, and a text parser. The player interacts with the game world by clicking objects in the scene window, typing commands into the text parser, and selecting options from the game's Commands and Weapons menus.[2]: 5  World Builder includes a combat system that tracks physical and spiritual damage.[2]: 40–41 

The games World Builder created used different layers of code to manipulate the images the game contained: object code, scene code, and finally world code.[3] The World Template included with the program contained default world code with default failure responses to standard text commands like north, south, up, down, and so on. Other than actions with characters (which were always combat oriented) and clicking on objects to pick them up everything had to set up through code and dialog boxes.

The map is organized in compass directions and up/down as was common in earlier interactive fiction. Characters can be defined to move around independently and interacted with. There is also a special provision for weapons, which have a stochastic impact just as the dice of role-playing games. The game system includes QuickDraw vector graphics, a scripting language and digitized sound. A large number of games were made and released in circulation, many after the application was made freeware in 1995. The software does not support 32 bit addressing and hence games created with it are not compatible with System 7 or later. A ResEdit hack was provided to allow the program (and its games) to run on System 7 to 9 but sounds would not play on Power PC Macs.

Ray Dunakin, author of numerous titles using the game development system, contributed various documentation and supporting files for the World Builder 1.2 release.


Gaming historian Richard Moss considered World Builder to be a part of the Macintosh's "for the rest of us" philosophy that democratized home computing with user friendly, accessible tools. World Builder allowed those who weren't skilled coders to develop and modify games with "a few clicks in the authoring tool" and a powerful scripting language.[4] By 1987, World Builder had "spawned a whole breed of games on bulletin boards" ranging "from fairly professional stories to clever, creative efforts by kids and teenagers."[5]

The program was reviewed in 1987 in Dragon #118 by Hartley and Patricia Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers stated that "The variety of worlds, scenes, and characters you can create and motivate seems endless... We are really impressed with World Builder."[6] In a subsequent column, the reviewers gave the program 3½ out of 5 stars.[7]

MacUser reviewed World Builder in 1987, awarding it four and a half out of five mice overall and praising it as an "adventure game 'construction set' that can produce commercial quality games with a modicum of effort."[8] In 1989, MacUser selected World Builder as one of the 27 best Macintosh games, saying it "lets anyone with enough imagination design and program a fantasy adventure game."[9]

In 1994, Newsweek cited World Builder, along with Course Builder, SuperCard, and HyperDA, as the reason Appleton was "something of a legend".[10]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Robinson, Ronda (November 20, 2006). "On-demand software company replaces Appleton's fun 'n' games". Knox Business Journal. Archived from the original on August 12, 2007. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
  2. ^ a b Appleton, W. C.; Jackson, Charlie (1986). World Builder game manual. Silicon Beach Software.
  3. ^ World Builder. Silicon Beach Software. 1986. pp. 83–85.
  4. ^ Moss, Richard (2018). "Game Development for The Rest of Us". The Secret History of Mac Gaming. Unbound. p. 35-36. ISBN 978-1-78352-487-7.
  5. ^ DeMaria, Rusel (November 1987). "Shareware and Public Domain Game Awards". Macworld. Vol. 4, no. 11. PCW Communications, Inc. p. 165.
  6. ^ Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia (February 1987). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (118): 92–98.
  7. ^ Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia (October 1987). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (126): 82–88.
  8. ^ Shapiro, Neil L. (April 1987). "Custom Built". MacUser. Ziff-Davis Publishing. 3 (4): 107–110.
  9. ^ "MacUser Best 27 Games". MacUser. Ziff-Davis Publishing Company. 5 (12): 140. December 1989.
  10. ^ Kantrowitz, Barbara; Ramo, Joshua Cooper (Aug 28, 1994). "Garage-Band Programmers". Newsweek. Newsweek Digital LLC. Retrieved 2017-09-12.

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