Craft - Effort vs. Benefit

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ChicagoDave

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Jan 10, 2007, 9:31:19 PM1/10/07
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I was pondering a design with one of the TF writers and we were
discussing different ways to implement a particular aspect of an IF
game. One of the things we discussed was that if we implemented the
aspect one way, it would require much more effort both in writing terms
as well as programming terms. The alternative required less effort,
albeit with a change in how the game might be perceived (for better or
worse).

So it got me to thinking. What are the most common aspects of IF that
has varying levels of implementation?

The list I came up with off the top of my head includes:

- Time; which can be implemented on a per scene basis, by using a
24-hour clock, or some other type of continuous timing mechanism.

- Navigation; it's clear that the compass rose is the most common,
but is it the easiest? We also can implement "magic words" that
take the PC to any location. We can implement GO TO 'room name' as
a way to navigate. We can even create mouse or alternate keyboard
driven navigation with some platforms.

- Carrying Containers; the PC almost always can carry something
themselves, but we often implement extra items that are both containers
and cartable by the PC. There certainly varying ways to implement this,
the easiest is probably letting the PC carry everything, as if he/she
were Mr. Incredible or as if they had anti-gravity bottomless pit
pockets.

- Tools; we often create tools that work on one or more things.
Obviously the more generic the tool, the more uses it will have. It's
easy to implement a blue key for a blue door. It's another thing to
implement a screwdriver that can screw/unscrew things, wedge open the
lid of a paint can, be used as a weapon, or more.

What other aspects of IF have varying levels of implementation? I think
it would be beneficial to categorize these things so that authors (new
ones especially) might save some time before beginning to implement
something they might not realize is a very complex task.

So we might have a list of IF aspects and potential implementations
along with a description of their potential impact on the design of a
game:

Time
- implement 24 hour clock
- may require changing room descriptions, timing puzzles, and
complex calculations.
- may be complex to implement
- may increase level of effort considerably
- may combinatorial explosion issues every time a new time-based
activity is added
- may give the game player a more realistic feel of the world model
- implement scene based time change
- author has complete control over descriptions and time of day
- very easy to implement
- will not affect other aspects of the game
- may give the game player a more limited feel of the world model

You thoughts?

David C.

steve....@gmail.com

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Jan 10, 2007, 10:15:36 PM1/10/07
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ChicagoDave wrote:

> I was pondering a design with one of the TF writers and we were
> discussing different ways to implement a particular aspect of an IF
> game.

...which makes me wonder... do you know English?

> One of the things we discussed was that if we implemented the
> aspect one way, it would require much more effort both in writing terms
> as well as programming terms. The alternative required less effort,
> albeit with a change in how the game might be perceived (for better or
> worse).
>
> So it got me to thinking. What are the most common aspects of IF that
> has varying levels of implementation?

I know! Why don't you make a pie chart! That's a great project and it's
right up your alley.

With this theorist, I think we're beyond the Idiot's Guide to IF-Theory
for Dummies, and into the realm of the joke card, both sides of which
read "this is a stone, turn over for soup."

JDC

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Jan 10, 2007, 11:23:58 PM1/10/07
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ChicagoDave wrote:
> So it got me to thinking. What are the most common aspects of IF that
> has varying levels of implementation?

A few that come to mind:

- liquids
- fire
- clothing
- combat
- seduction

-JDC

Andrew Plotkin

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Jan 10, 2007, 11:46:12 PM1/10/07
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Now there's a minicomp theme, right there.

--------

"If that's the way it must be..." Baron von Voorstadt flings his
drink in your face. "...then DIE!"

You are now covered in fine Mittervanian brandy. Your neckerchief is
ruined. Your ruffled shirt is ruined. Miss Passiva is distraught.

> DRAW SWORD

You sweep out your gleaming cavalry saber.

The Baron draws an evil-looking poniard.

> HAVE AT BARON

Your saber flicks out, and the baron's poniard flies across the room.

The Baron smirks, leers at Miss Passiva, and kicks the lit candelabrum
at you. Your neckerchief is in flames! Your ruffled shirt is in
flames! Miss Passiva is distraught.

> FINISH HIM

You feint, then pin the Baron between the eyes with your saber. He
expires in irritation.

Your neckerchief has burned away entirely! Your ruffled shirt is in
flames! Miss Passiva is frantic.

> TAKE HER HAND

Your ruffled shirt has burned away entirely! Miss Passiva is
appreciative.

--Z

--
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
If the Bush administration hasn't subjected you to searches without a warrant,
it's for one reason: they don't feel like it. Not because you're an American.

Emily Short

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Jan 11, 2007, 12:32:25 AM1/11/07
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Andrew Plotkin wrote:

> > TAKE HER HAND
>
> Your ruffled shirt has burned away entirely! Miss Passiva is
> appreciative.

::swoon::

ZachBG

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Jan 11, 2007, 11:17:25 AM1/11/07
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I think we just got a new TranscriptComp...

On Jan 10, 11:46 pm, Andrew Plotkin <erkyr...@eblong.com> wrote:
>
> "If that's the way it must be..." Baron von Voorstadt flings his
> drink in your face. "...then DIE!"
>
> You are now covered in fine Mittervanian brandy. Your neckerchief is
> ruined. Your ruffled shirt is ruined. Miss Passiva is distraught.
>

> > DRAW SWORDYou sweep out your gleaming cavalry saber.


>
> The Baron draws an evil-looking poniard.
>

> > HAVE AT BARONYour saber flicks out, and the baron's poniard flies across the room.


>
> The Baron smirks, leers at Miss Passiva, and kicks the lit candelabrum
> at you. Your neckerchief is in flames! Your ruffled shirt is in
> flames! Miss Passiva is distraught.
>

> > FINISH HIMYou feint, then pin the Baron between the eyes with your saber. He


> expires in irritation.
>
> Your neckerchief has burned away entirely! Your ruffled shirt is in
> flames! Miss Passiva is frantic.
>

> > TAKE HER HANDYour ruffled shirt has burned away entirely! Miss Passiva is

ChicagoDave

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Jan 11, 2007, 2:37:09 PM1/11/07
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> steve.bres...@gmail.com wrote:
> ...which makes me wonder... do you know English?

I have three things to say to you....

Vous avez le cervau d'un sandwich au fromage.

Vous êtes une pomme de terre avec le visage d'un cochon d'inde.

Fous le camps!

David C.

Arnel Legaspi

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Jan 11, 2007, 2:54:58 PM1/11/07
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Looks more like Pytho's Mask 2 to me :)

Daphne Brinkerhoff

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Jan 11, 2007, 7:11:13 PM1/11/07
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ChicagoDave wrote:
> So it got me to thinking. What are the most common aspects of IF that
> has varying levels of implementation?

Someone already mentioned fire (my first thought). There's also the
infamous rope.

--
Daphne

David Fisher

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Jan 11, 2007, 7:23:19 PM1/11/07
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"Daphne Brinkerhoff" <cen...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1168560673....@i56g2000hsf.googlegroups.com...

Here are some more tricky things to implement in IF ...

http://www.ifwiki.org/index.php/Past_raif_topics%3A_Game_Mechanics%3A_part_2#Tricky_objects

David Fisher


ChicagoDave

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Jan 11, 2007, 7:46:41 PM1/11/07
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> David Fisher wrote:
> Here are some more tricky things to implement in IF ...
>
> http://www.ifwiki.org/index.php/Past_raif_topics%3A_Game_Mechanics%3A_part_2#Tricky_objects

This covers the list. I was thinking more about the list with the
Effort/Benefit linked in and then variations on the same themes. But
this is a good start. I might take your work here and see if there's a
way to re-categorize it.

David C.

James Cunningham

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Jan 11, 2007, 9:51:13 PM1/11/07
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Monsieur le docteur? Sa mère vous affligera par l'herpès!
Allez-vous-en! Vit, vit!

Best,
James

David Fisher

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Jan 11, 2007, 11:28:31 PM1/11/07
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"ChicagoDave" <david.c...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1168482679.2...@o58g2000hsb.googlegroups.com...

>
> What other aspects of IF have varying levels of implementation? I think
> it would be beneficial to categorize these things so that authors (new
> ones especially) might save some time before beginning to implement
> something they might not realize is a very complex task.

Non-standard PCs: animals, robots, being very small or large, abnormal
relationship to the environment (eg. being a ghost) ...

At the simplest level of implementation, just go through the standard verbs
and disable the ones that are not possible for the PC to do (with an
appropriate message).

The next level is to add special verbs to suit the PC, eg. "bark" if the PC
is a dog.

A deeper level is to adjust the world model to suit the character, eg. a
tiny PC can't necessarily reach the handle to open a door, or carry a normal
sized object. Interaction with NPCs is also affected (they might not even
notice you if you are two inches high).

David Fisher


JDC

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Jan 11, 2007, 11:47:17 PM1/11/07
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A related question (beyond the effort/benefit consideration) is what
level of implementation is appropriate for a given story; sometimes one
aspect can be implemented to such a degree that it actually distracts
the player or becomes too complex. An example that comes to mind is the
flight simulation at the end of Star City, which I found out of place.

Does anyone have other examples of things that have been implemented
too deeply?

-JDC

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