Solving Interactive Fiction Games via Partial Evaluation and Bounded Model Checking

12/30/2020
by   Martin Mariusz Lester, et al.
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We present a case study on using program verification tools, specifically model-checkers for C programs, to solve simple interactive fiction games from around 1980. Off-the-shelf model-checking tools are unable to handle the games in their original form. In order to work around this, we apply a series of program transformations that do not change the behaviour of the program. An interesting aspect of these games is that they use a simple, interpreted language to script in-game events. This turns out to be the most difficult part of the program for verification tools to handle; we tackle this using partial evaluation. Our case study thus provides some insights that are applicable more generally to verification and analysis of programs that interpret scripting languages. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first example of a commercially released game being solved by application of a program model-checker to the game's code.

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