Planning Ahead for 1997 I-F Contest.

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Gerry Kevin Wilson

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Nov 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/1/96
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Hi folks. Things are kind of quiet for me at long last, so I've been
giving some thought to the competition's format. Now, I like the current
voting system, and the lack of categories, that's not going to change.
I'll probably allow 1 decimal place on the scores next year (ie. 9.4) and
that'll be that.

However, there are some more serious and interesting things to be
discussed.

1. Next year, all games will be entered anonymously. Now, how will I
protect the copyrights of the authors if their names do not appear in the
game?

2. Entrants will be banned from talking about the entries while the voting
period is underway. Everyone else can still post about the games, but
authors will be disqualified for posting about either their own, or
someone else's entry.

3. A walkthrough is now defined as a plain text file with a sequence of
commands in it that a player can type in order and reach at least one of
the intended 'winning' endings of your game. All entries will again be
required to have walkthroughs with them next year. Hint systems are
optional.

That's my initial thoughts on the matter. More later.
--
"Shh...<looks around worriedly> The wires have ears, you know..."

Matthew T. Russotto

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Nov 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/1/96
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In article <55cch3$j...@agate.berkeley.edu>,

Gerry Kevin Wilson <whiz...@uclink.berkeley.edu> wrote:

}However, there are some more serious and interesting things to be
}discussed.
}
}1. Next year, all games will be entered anonymously. Now, how will I
}protect the copyrights of the authors if their names do not appear in the
}game?

Assign pseudonyms to the authors. I do like this idea, but a downside is
it'll create a lot of speculation about who the author is (Was it
Gareth Rees who wrote the Lisp-based toy maker, or Andrew Plotkin?)

}3. A walkthrough is now defined as a plain text file with a sequence of
}commands in it that a player can type in order and reach at least one of
}the intended 'winning' endings of your game. All entries will again be
}required to have walkthroughs with them next year. Hint systems are
}optional.

As a player, I'd rather have hints than a walkthrough. If I'm trying
to finish a game in two hours and I get stuck, a hint system is much
less ruinous to the rest of the game.
--
Matthew T. Russotto russ...@pond.com
"Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in pursuit
of justice is no virtue."

Stephen van Egmond

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Nov 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/1/96
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In article <55cch3$j...@agate.berkeley.edu>,
Gerry Kevin Wilson <whiz...@uclink.berkeley.edu> wrote:
>1. Next year, all games will be entered anonymously. Now, how will I
>protect the copyrights of the authors if their names do not appear in the
>game?

Indeed, how? As far as I know, accepted Copyright convention is "<c with
a circle> <year> <author's name>". The ASCII conventions of (c) and (C)
have never been tested. Although copyright is granted whether you
announce it or not, it's more difficult for the author if things ever get
legal. As if they ever would.

I missed the posts where we talked about this, or is this where we're
supposed to be talking about it? What was the reason, again?

Nulldogma

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Nov 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/1/96
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> }1. Next year, all games will be entered anonymously. Now, how will I
> }protect the copyrights of the authors if their names do not appear in
the
> }game?
>
> Assign pseudonyms to the authors. I do like this idea, but a downside
is
> it'll create a lot of speculation about who the author is (Was it
> Gareth Rees who wrote the Lisp-based toy maker, or Andrew Plotkin?)

This is a downside? It sounds like great fun -- we could even have a
separate award for the person who came closest to guessing which authors
wrote which games! (No, not seriously.)

There's one game in this year's competition that I suspect has a
pseudonymous author, and I'd love a nice juicy r.a.i-f gossip session
about it...


> }3. A walkthrough is now defined as a plain text file with a sequence of
> }commands in it that a player can type in order and reach at least one
of
> }the intended 'winning' endings of your game. All entries will again be
> }required to have walkthroughs with them next year. Hint systems are
> }optional.
>
> As a player, I'd rather have hints than a walkthrough. If I'm trying
> to finish a game in two hours and I get stuck, a hint system is much
> less ruinous to the rest of the game.

As an author, though, a hint system is a lot more work to implement, and
requiring one might discourage people from entering. Also, a hint system
is more prone to bugs, whereas a walkthrough you can be pretty sure has
been tested adequately (cf. several games in this year's competition).

Neil
---------------------------------------------------------
Neil deMause ne...@echonyc.com
http://www.echonyc.com/~wham/neild.html
---------------------------------------------------------

Andrew Plotkin

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Nov 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/1/96
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Gerry Kevin Wilson (whiz...@uclink.berkeley.edu) wrote:

> 1. Next year, all games will be entered anonymously. Now, how will I
> protect the copyrights of the authors if their names do not appear in the
> game?

Is perfect anonymity really feasible? Note that Magnus Olsson's entry this
year takes place in the same multiverse as his entry last year.
("Cyr-Dhool" is mentioned in each.) Will this be illegal next year? Will
the person who wrote "Punkirita Quest One" be barred from writing
"Punkirita Quest Two"?

I don't disagree with the spirit of the idea; I have gotten the impression
that my reputation is interfering with people's honest judging of my
entry.

> 2. Entrants will be banned from talking about the entries while the voting
> period is underway. Everyone else can still post about the games, but
> authors will be disqualified for posting about either their own, or
> someone else's entry.

This is fine by me.

> 3. A walkthrough is now defined as a plain text file with a sequence of
> commands in it that a player can type in order and reach at least one of
> the intended 'winning' endings of your game. All entries will again be
> required to have walkthroughs with them next year. Hint systems are
> optional.

This gets badly screwed by randomness in games. It doesn't even have to
be very deep randomness in the plot. It could be as simple as a random
even which occurs after 5 to 10 turns in a given location, which you have
to wait for. Or a formal puzzle which starts in a random configuration.

The Z-machine has a "deterministic" mode for its random-number generator,
but I don't know if every interpreter implements it. TADS also has such a
mode. I don't know about other systems. However, I'd worry that
deterministic mode might make a game seem too mechanical -- random
scenery messages that always appear in the same order are a little goofy.

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Roger Carbol

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Nov 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/1/96
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Gerry Kevin Wilson wrote:

> 1. Next year, all games will be entered anonymously. Now, how will I
> protect the copyrights of the authors if their names do not appear in the
> game?

Well, I suppose you could claim the copyright yourself. Or make it
organizational, as in "(C) 1997 Interactive Fiction Contest Committee"
or something lofty like that.

Sorry to sound naive, but do you think it's a big issue?


Roger Carbol .. r...@col.ca

Roger Giner-Sorolla

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Nov 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/1/96
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On 1 Nov 1996, Gerry Kevin Wilson wrote:

> 1. Next year, all games will be entered anonymously. Now, how will I
> protect the copyrights of the authors if their names do not appear in the
> game?

Novels, etc., published pseudonymously are still subject to copyright, as
long as the publisher can connect the pseudonym to a real name if asked.
So, assign pseudonyms to the game authors.

Roger Giner-Sorolla University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
rs...@virginia.edu Dept. of Psychology (Social)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Please, your Majesty," said the Knave, "I didn't write it, and they can't
prove I did: there's no name signed at the end."
"If you didn't sign it," said the King, "that only makes the matter worse.
You /must/ have meant some mischief, or else you'd have signed your name
like an honest man." -- Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland


Staffan Friberg

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Nov 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/1/96
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In article <55cch3$j...@agate.berkeley.edu>


whiz...@uclink.berkeley.edu (Gerry Kevin Wilson) writes:

> However, there are some more serious and interesting things to be
> discussed.
>

> 1. Next year, all games will be entered anonymously. Now, how will I
> protect the copyrights of the authors if their names do not appear in the
> game?

AFAIK you don't. A work is automatically copyrighted if somewhere in it can
be found the string "© (or (c)) 'year' 'Author's name'"

(I'm no lawyer but this is what I have heard/read about the subject.
Corrections are of course welcome.)

I think it's a bad idea and I'd suggest the opposite, ban anonymous
entries. After all what's the point in being anonymous in a case like this?

> 2. Entrants will be banned from talking about the entries while the voting
> period is underway. Everyone else can still post about the games, but
> authors will be disqualified for posting about either their own, or
> someone else's entry.

This is (IMHO) a bad idea and it'd be quite pointless if combined with #1.
What would be the point of binning just authors from the discussion? How
about beta-testers? those who vote? everyone else?

I don't think the voting process would be disturbed in a major way because
you allow discussions. And (as I said above) if no one knows who wrote
which game it won't matter at all.

My game didn't make it in time this year and if #1 and #2 makes it into the
rules next year I strongly doubt that I will submit a game even if I have a
suitable one ready.

> 3. A walkthrough is now defined as a plain text file with a sequence of
> commands in it that a player can type in order and reach at least one of
> the intended 'winning' endings of your game. All entries will again be
> required to have walkthroughs with them next year. Hint systems are
> optional.

Sounds good to me.

> That's my initial thoughts on the matter. More later.

Waiting anxiously... ;)

--

Staffan Friberg (st...@rabbit.augs.se) Sweden
GothCode 2.0:
GoPS+3TJt(NrZ)B4/18Bk!cNRs--PSh(MoSa)V+sM++ZGo(GnNr--)C+2p3pa27-n
-Ob:-H174g+LmEa2+?w+Lr++D--!%H+PR(MoSh)s10k+RmSrNnN0890nLse!HdSp1
"Exercise caution when dealing with goths." -- MikeVK

Adam J. Thornton

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Nov 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/1/96
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In article <55cch3$j...@agate.berkeley.edu>,
Gerry Kevin Wilson <whiz...@uclink.berkeley.edu> wrote:
>3. A walkthrough is now defined as a plain text file with a sequence of
>commands in it that a player can type in order and reach at least one of
>the intended 'winning' endings of your game. All entries will again be
>required to have walkthroughs with them next year. Hint systems are
>optional.

Bad idea. This would prohibit, for example, games of the Beyond Zork type
with nondeterministic combat or maps. If the walkthrough can be extended
to be something like, well, a BZ walkthrough, that'd be OK. In fact, this
would prohibit any game where the solution was determined at game time.
Unless the walkthrough can explicitly say "type the password you learned
back at the Scrapple Factory"--which isn't what your #3 says.

Adam
--
ad...@phoenix.princeton.edu | Viva HEGGA! | Save the choad! | 64,928 | Fnord
"Double integral is also the shape of lovers curled asleep":Pynchon | Linux
Thanks for letting me rearrange the chemicals in your head. | Team OS/2
You can have my PGP passphrase when you pry it from my cold, dead brain.

Gerry Kevin Wilson

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Nov 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/2/96
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In article <55e2jm$2...@nr1.calgary.istar.net>,
Roger Carbol <r...@col.ca> wrote:

>Well, I suppose you could claim the copyright yourself. Or make it
>organizational, as in "(C) 1997 Interactive Fiction Contest Committee"
>or something lofty like that.

Hmm, that's not bad. Now how would I word it so as to prohibit use of the
copyright by the "Committee" without author permission?

>Sorry to sound naive, but do you think it's a big issue?

Well, six games from last year's competition got published at several
hundred dollars a pop, however, SPAG did not get reprinted because the
copyright legal mumbo-jumbo concerning it is so crazy. I wish to be ready
in case another good opportunity rears its head.

--
<~~~VERTIGO~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~SPAG~~~~TENTH~ISSUE~DUE~REAL~SOON~NOW~~~~~|~~~~~~~>
< The Society for the Preservation of Adventure games. Filled with | ~~\ >
< reviews, ratings, and advertisements...all about text adventures. | /~\ | >
<___SOFTWARE______E-MAIL...@uclink.berkeley.edu__|_\__/__>

Roger Carbol

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Nov 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/2/96
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Andrew Plotkin wrote:

>> 3. A walkthrough is now defined as a plain text file with a sequence of
>> commands in it that a player can type in order and reach at least one of
>> the intended 'winning' endings of your game. All entries will again be
>> required to have walkthroughs with them next year. Hint systems are
>> optional.

> This gets badly screwed by randomness in games. It doesn't even have to
> be very deep randomness in the plot. It could be as simple as a random
> even which occurs after 5 to 10 turns in a given location, which you have
> to wait for. Or a formal puzzle which starts in a random configuration.


I don't think it would be too far out of the spirit of things to create
a walkthrough that has a little bit of algorithmical pseudocode in it.

IE:

>NORTH
>TAKE ROCK
>>wait until bird appears
>THROW ROCK AT BIRD

etc etc etc


Another solution might be to include debugging verbs in the game itself
which essentially derandomizes it:

>NORTH
>TAKE ROCK
>XYZZY (the bird automagically appears)
>THROW ROCK AT BIRD


Of course, that leads to a potential of abuse: the one-move walkthrough:

>WIN GAME
>You win!

Which although possibly somewhat amusing, is not really much in the
spirit of a walkthrough.

There should be some sort of warning in the r.a.i-f -- WARNING: any
attempt to create rules or guidelines for anything will immediately
be seen as a neat sort of puzzle that everyone will try their hardest
to break in an amusing way.


Roger Carbol .. r...@col.ca .. LIVE LIFE

Roger Carbol

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Nov 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/2/96
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Gerry Kevin Wilson wrote:

>>Well, I suppose you could claim the copyright yourself. Or make it
>>organizational, as in "(C) 1997 Interactive Fiction Contest Committee"
>>or something lofty like that.
> Hmm, that's not bad. Now how would I word it so as to prohibit use of the
> copyright by the "Committee" without author permission?

Perhaps something like "Copyright transferred to Committee by agreement
with original author. Copyright reverts to the original author after
30 Nov 1997. Contact the Committee for more information on the current
holder of the copyright on this product."

Then again, I'm certainly no lawyer, so don't take my word that this
would be binding or anything.


Roger Carbol .. r...@col.ca .. (c) me

Neil K. Guy

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Nov 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/2/96
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Roger Carbol (r...@col.ca) wrote:

: Perhaps something like "Copyright transferred to Committee by agreement


: with original author. Copyright reverts to the original author after
: 30 Nov 1997. Contact the Committee for more information on the current
: holder of the copyright on this product."

I think something like this would really be the only reasonable way to
implement a copyright scheme that preserved the individual anonymity of
the uthor. I thought about a secret command (like the one proposed by
Carl) but that would really defeat the purpose, since it would be very
tempting for people to sneak a look. :)

In an absolute legal sense, I believe that the copyright notice is
something of a formality. Under the Berne convention on copyright, signed
by all the countries that the regulars to this group post from, there is
no formal requirement to place a copyright notice on anything. Any
original work is copyrighted the moment it is created. The need for a
formal notice ("Copyright (c) <date> <authorname>" where "(c)" is a C in
a circle) was only a requirement of the Universal Copyright Convention of
the 1960s. However, having said that, it makes good sense to label
clearly a copyrighted work so there's no doubt or uncertainty.

I think Roger's idea is a good one. Perhaps, though, the notice could
also read something like "This is a copyrighted work and not in the
public domain." for clarity, emphasizing that the copyright ownership is
held in trust by the committee until November 1997, at which time
copyright will revert to the author.

<standard disclaimers: I am not a lawyer, this does not constitute legal
advice, blah blah.>

Can Inform games read the date from the computer's clock calendar?
Somehow I don't think it can... though I know TADS games can. Perhaps
authors could be encouraged to install a time check in their game if their
system supports such a feature, so that the game would expire and be
unrunnable (well at least, not without the hassle of having temporarily to
set your clock-calendar back in time) after the competition voting has
drawn to a close. That would encourage players to delete the anonymous
copy and download a copy of the non-anonymous version from the if-archive.

- Neil K.

--
the Vancouver CommunityNet * http://www.vcn.bc.ca/
(formerly the Vancouver Regional FreeNet)
Neil K. Guy * n...@vcn.bc.ca * Vice president & Webmeister
This message does not represent VCNA board policy unless so indicated.

John Hartnup

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Nov 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/2/96
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Gerry Kevin Wilson (whiz...@uclink.berkeley.edu) wrote:

: 1. Next year, all games will be entered anonymously. Now, how will I


: protect the copyrights of the authors if their names do not appear in the
: game?

Make everyone put "This work may be freely distributed as long as it is not
modified in any way or sold for profit. Copyright issues should be addressed
to Gerry Kevin Wilson (whiz...@uclink.berekley.edu)"... or somesuch.
If an author doesn't trust Gerry, they don't enter.

Each author should put a hidden command in which reveals their true identity
(in case any compyright dispute *does* arise).

When voting is over, versions with real names upfront replace the anonymnous
versions on gmd.

Seem OK?

John
--
-----------------------------------------------------------
John Hartnup | You can drink your weak lemon drink
sl...@ladle.demon.co.uk| now, or you can save it 'til later.
-----------------------------------------------------------


Dan Shiovitz

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Nov 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/2/96
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In article <55e02t$i...@newsbf02.news.aol.com>,
Nulldogma <null...@aol.com> wrote:
[..]

>> }3. A walkthrough is now defined as a plain text file with a sequence of
>> }commands in it that a player can type in order and reach at least one
>of
>> }the intended 'winning' endings of your game. All entries will again be
>> }required to have walkthroughs with them next year. Hint systems are
>> }optional.
>>
>> As a player, I'd rather have hints than a walkthrough. If I'm trying
>> to finish a game in two hours and I get stuck, a hint system is much
>> less ruinous to the rest of the game.
>
>As an author, though, a hint system is a lot more work to implement, and
>requiring one might discourage people from entering. Also, a hint system
>is more prone to bugs, whereas a walkthrough you can be pretty sure has
>been tested adequately (cf. several games in this year's competition).

One thing that would help writing the hint system is if standard hint
systems were available for the various authoring systems. In a sense
they are now: Inform has the very nice menu system which I suspect is
easily adaptable to doing hints, since so many informers did it that
way, and there's the adaptive hint system for TADS floating around somewhere.
I don't especially care for the latter, though, and I think newbies might
find it a bit confusing to work with. (Possibly I should get off my lazy
butt and write something that I like better .. how did you folks like
the menu system Lethe Flow Phoenix had?)

>Neil
--
dan shiovitz scy...@u.washington.edu sh...@cs.washington.edu
slightly lost author/programmer in a world of more creative or more
sensible people ... remember to speak up for freedom because no one else
will do it for you: use it or lose it ... carpe diem -- be proactive.
my web site: http://weber.u.washington.edu/~scythe/home.html some ok stuff.

Nulldogma

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Nov 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/2/96
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> One thing that would help writing the hint system is if standard hint
> systems were available for the various authoring systems. In a sense
> they are now: Inform has the very nice menu system which I suspect is
> easily adaptable to doing hints, since so many informers did it that
> way, and there's the adaptive hint system for TADS floating around
somewhere.

adHint is a glorious thing, but it's still a pain to code. And a real pain
to debug, as owners of the earlier registered versions of LNY can attest.

I'd rather use hints than a walkthrough, too, but there are a few games in
the current competition where I've exhausted the hints, and am still
stuck, simply because the authors didn't think of the questions I need to
ask. With a walkthrough at least I shouldn't have to worry about that
happening.

Carl Muckenhoupt

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Nov 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/2/96
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svan...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca (Stephen van Egmond) writes:

>In article <55cch3$j...@agate.berkeley.edu>,


>Gerry Kevin Wilson <whiz...@uclink.berkeley.edu> wrote:
>>1. Next year, all games will be entered anonymously. Now, how will I
>>protect the copyrights of the authors if their names do not appear in the
>>game?

>Indeed, how? As far as I know, accepted Copyright convention is "<c with

>a circle> <year> <author's name>". The ASCII conventions of (c) and (C)
>have never been tested. Although copyright is granted whether you
>announce it or not, it's more difficult for the author if things ever get
>legal. As if they ever would.

Hmmm... how would something like this work:

>version
Castle Dragon Fantasy Quest Adventure
an Interactive Test Case
Copyright 1996 by the author

>glipzik
The author referred to in the copyright notice is Carl Muckenhoupt.

The idea here being that the copyright is displayed and the name of the
author is encoded in the program, but you have to enter the Magic Word
in order to see the name.
--
Carl Muckenhoupt | Text Adventures are not dead!
b...@tiac.net | Read rec.[arts|games].int-fiction to see
http://www.tiac.net/users/baf | what you're missing!

C.E. Forman

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Nov 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/2/96
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>However, there are some more serious and interesting things to be
>discussed.
>
>1. Next year, all games will be entered anonymously. Now, how will I
>protect the copyrights of the authors if their names do not appear in >the game?

Use pseudonyms. Books published under pseudonyms are still protected
by copyright laws.

Personally, I dislike the "secret command that pops up the author's
real name" approach because people can wreck the anonymity by extracting
the game text and peeking at it.

>2. Entrants will be banned from talking about the entries while the >voting period is underway. Everyone else can still post about=


the games, but authors will be disqualified for posting about either their own, or someone else's entry.

Beta-testers too, or just authors?

And who's going to police this? I mean, this IS the Internet, right?
People can have multiple e-mail addresses. What's to stop an author
from (A) using someone else's e-mail address to post under their
identity, or (B) getting a new e-mail address and posting using a
fake name? How can we protect against this?

(I'm not against it at all; I simply question its feasibility.)

--
C.E. Forman cefo...@worldnet.att.net
Classic I-F FS/T in Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe! (Mail for current stock.)
Read XYZZYnews at http://www.interport.net/~eileen/design/xyzzynews.html
Vote I-F in 96! Visit http://www.xs4all.nl/~jojo/pcgames.html for info!
"Circle of Armageddon", Vol. 2 of "The Windhall Chronicles" -- Feb 1997!

Andrew Plotkin

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Nov 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/2/96
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C.E. Forman (cefo...@postoffice.worldnet.att.net) wrote:
> >However, there are some more serious and interesting things to be
> >discussed.
> >
> >1. Next year, all games will be entered anonymously. Now, how will I
> >protect the copyrights of the authors if their names do not appear in
> >the game?

> Use pseudonyms. Books published under pseudonyms are still protected
> by copyright laws.

I think is workable, especially if the pseudonyms are "Lists I. F.
Awther" and so on. Only the contest organizer has to keep track.

> Personally, I dislike the "secret command that pops up the author's
> real name" approach because people can wreck the anonymity by extracting
> the game text and peeking at it.

Right.

> >2. Entrants will be banned from talking about the entries while the
> > voting period is underway. Everyone else can still post about

> > the games, but authors will be disqualified for posting about either
> > their own, or someone else's entry.

> And who's going to police this? I mean, this IS the Internet, right?


> People can have multiple e-mail addresses. What's to stop an author
> from (A) using someone else's e-mail address to post under their
> identity, or (B) getting a new e-mail address and posting using a
> fake name? How can we protect against this?

> (I'm not against it at all; I simply question its feasibility.)

There is no protection. There is no protection this year against voting
fraud, either. Nobody seems to care.

Andrew Plotkin

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Nov 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/2/96
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Neil K. Guy (n...@vcn.bc.ca) wrote:
> Can Inform games read the date from the computer's clock calendar?
> Somehow I don't think it can... though I know TADS games can.

No, they can't, and the computer clock can be diddled with anyway. (As
you note later.)

Phil Goetz

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Nov 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/2/96
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The copyright laws in the US are pretty specific.
I remember maybe 15 years ago reading about a programmer who had lost a
copyright case because his program said

(C) 1979 Joe Schmoe

instead of the legal

Copyright 1979 by Joe Schmoe

This was controversial at the time, because this was in the days
when a programmer sometimes had to choose between using the 9-byte
longer form, or using those 9 bytes to fix a bug or implement
another feature. (Scott Adams' first text adventure, in fact, left
something like 2 or 3 bytes of memory unused.)

Anonymous authors: Richard Bachman was a pseudonym for Stephen King.
This was found out because the copyrights at the US Copyright Office
were registered in the names of real people; I do not believe they can
be registered in a pseudonym. Stephen King registered most of the
copyrights of his Richard Bachman stuff to his gardener, but one of
them he used his own name on, and so he was found out.

So, you can publish under a pseudonym, but in that case I suspect you
have to register your copyright with the Copyright Office ($15 last I
checked, which was 10 years ago).

Summary: If I wanted to keep the copyright on a game, I would NOT
release it anonymously unless I wanted to go to the trouble and expense
of registering a copyright first.

So, I vote no on requiring anonymity. I think it's legally unadvisable
for folks like us.

Phil Go...@cs.buffalo.edu

Andrew Plotkin

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Nov 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/2/96
to

Carl Muckenhoupt (b...@max.tiac.net) wrote:
> Hmmm... how would something like this work:

> >version
> Castle Dragon Fantasy Quest Adventure
> an Interactive Test Case
> Copyright 1996 by the author

> >glipzik
> The author referred to in the copyright notice is Carl Muckenhoupt.

> The idea here being that the copyright is displayed and the name of the
> author is encoded in the program, but you have to enter the Magic Word
> in order to see the name.

There are freeware tools on FTP.GMD.DE which will dump out all the verbs,
and all the game text, from an Inform game.

Mark Tilford

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Nov 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/2/96
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For Inform, at least, you could use a trick similar to what is in the DM
for referring to the princess as /%|%/ (or something like that) to
conceal the verb, and to conceal the name, write a routine that will print
the name one letter at a time. (To implement this, probably one person
would have to write the routines with open areas for the name and 'magic
word'.)

This is a fair amount of trouble, just to insure anonymity, though.

-----------------------
Mark J. Tilford
til...@cco.caltech.edu


Jason B Dyer

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Nov 3, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/3/96
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Staffan Friberg (st...@rabbit.augs.se) wrote:

: AFAIK you don't. A work is automatically copyrighted if somewhere in it can


: be found the string "© (or (c)) 'year' 'Author's name'"

: (I'm no lawyer but this is what I have heard/read about the subject.
: Corrections are of course welcome.)

(c) will not work (or has never been endorsed). Spelling out
"Copyright" in full will.

I also think the string needs to be "visible" so having it in some secret
command will not make the copyright legal. I'll look it up to make sure,
though.

Jason Dyer
jd...@u.arizona.edu

Greg Falcon

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Nov 3, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/3/96
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>Staffan Friberg (st...@rabbit.augs.se) wrote:

Why all this? I've always heard that a copyright message isn't even
nessicary (although strongly suggested)... that anything written by a
person is automatically copyrighted unless the author expressly
releases it into the public domain.

I'm no lawyer, though. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Greg

-----

"It's a very modest game. When completed, it will have only about
fifty rooms, two significant NPCs, and only a couple of difficult
puzzles. However, with each programming setback I run into, I
wonder if it's going to become the next Avalon."
- Gregory Falcon
A quote about _Escape From Planet Thid_


Dan Shiovitz

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Nov 3, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/3/96
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In article <55j03a$d...@news.ccit.arizona.edu>,

Jason B Dyer <jd...@nevis.u.arizona.edu> wrote:
>Staffan Friberg (st...@rabbit.augs.se) wrote:
>
>: AFAIK you don't. A work is automatically copyrighted if somewhere in it can
>: be found the string "© (or (c)) 'year' 'Author's name'"
>: (I'm no lawyer but this is what I have heard/read about the subject.
>: Corrections are of course welcome.)
>
>(c) will not work (or has never been endorsed). Spelling out
>"Copyright" in full will.
>
>I also think the string needs to be "visible" so having it in some secret
>command will not make the copyright legal. I'll look it up to make sure,
>though.

I found the "10 Big Myths about copyright explained" FAQ on
misc.legal.computing. This seems to be the relevant section:
----------------------------------------------------------------------
1) "If it doesn't have a copyright notice, it's not
copyrighted."

This was true in the past, but today almost all major
nations follow the Berne copyright convention. For example,
in the USA, almost everything created privately after April 1,
1989 is copyrighted and protected whether it has a notice or not.
The default you should assume for other people's works is that
they are copyrighted and may not be copied unless you *know*
otherwise. There are some old works that lost protection
without notice, but frankly you should not risk it unless
you know for sure.

It is true that a notice strengthens the protection, by
warning people, and by allowing one to get more and
different damages, but it is not necessary. If it looks
copyrighted, you should assume it is. This applies to pictures,
too. You may not scan pictures from magazines and post them
to the net, and if you come upon something unknown,
you shouldn't post that either.

The correct form for a notice is:
"Copyright <dates> by <author/owner>"
You can use C in a circle instead of "Copyright" but "(C)"
has never been given legal force. The phrase "All Rights
Reserved" used to be required in some nations but is now
not needed.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

This suggests to me that an explicit copyright notice is unnecessary.
OTOH, if we decide to put one in, I'm still unclear as whether something
like "Copyright 1996 by Fred Q. Pseudonym" would be acceptable.

>Jason Dyer
>jd...@u.arizona.edu

Phil Goetz

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Nov 3, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/3/96
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In article <staff...@rabbit.augs.se>,

Staffan Friberg <st...@rabbit.augs.se> wrote:
>
>In article <55cch3$j...@agate.berkeley.edu>
>whiz...@uclink.berkeley.edu (Gerry Kevin Wilson) writes:
>
>> 1. Next year, all games will be entered anonymously. Now, how will I
>> protect the copyrights of the authors if their names do not appear in the
>> game?
>
>AFAIK you don't. A work is automatically copyrighted if somewhere in it can
>be found the string "© (or (c)) 'year' 'Author's name'"

And not just in the code -- gotta be up front where a person will see it.

>> 2. Entrants will be banned from talking about the entries while the voting
>> period is underway. Everyone else can still post about the games, but
>> authors will be disqualified for posting about either their own, or
>> someone else's entry.
>

>> 3. A walkthrough is now defined as a plain text file with a sequence of
>> commands in it that a player can type in order and reach at least one of
>> the intended 'winning' endings of your game. All entries will again be
>> required to have walkthroughs with them next year. Hint systems are
>> optional.


Why all these rules?

#1 is bad legal practice.

#2 is unenforcable, and hence favors cheaters.

#3 is good advice, but shouldn't be a rule. An author who includes a
walkthrough makes his entry better, hence more likely to win.
An author who doesn't submit a walkthrough must suffer the consequences.
We might as well add rule #4:

4. Your entry must be good.


Phil Go...@cs.buffalo.edu

libertarian at liberty

Jason B Dyer

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Nov 4, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/4/96
to

Dan Shiovitz (scy...@u.washington.edu) wrote:
: >I also think the string needs to be "visible" so having it in some secret

: >command will not make the copyright legal. I'll look it up to make sure,
: >though.

: This suggests to me that an explicit copyright notice is unnecessary.


: OTOH, if we decide to put one in, I'm still unclear as whether something
: like "Copyright 1996 by Fred Q. Pseudonym" would be acceptable.

Sorry, I worded that wrong. A copyright notice is STRONGLY recommended
by not necessary. When I say "legal" I mean "it will help you
prosecute in court." Trying to settle a dispute by saying "well, if
you type the secret code you get the copyright notice" won't
get you too far.

Also, the copyright FAQ is a far more complete source of information
than what you showed me there. Another fun place is the U.S. Copyright
Office - http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/ - check out the circulars
for a load of information. (A word of warning: if you request a form
to register a copyright, it takes a _long time_ to arrive. Don't expect
any 4 to 6 week guarantees.)

The only catch to all this is that not all the contest entries are from
the US, and some of them have very knotty copyright laws which may require
the notice. I'm not a copyright lawyer either; my experience comes from a
few copyright disputes I've had myself. (Don't ask.)

From what I know from experience, pseudonyms are okay, but I'm somewhat
hazy on that one.

Jason Dyer
jd...@u.arizona.edu

mathew

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Nov 4, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/4/96
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In article <55git3$m...@prometheus.acsu.buffalo.edu>,

Phil Goetz <go...@cs.buffalo.edu> wrote:
>The copyright laws in the US are pretty specific.
>I remember maybe 15 years ago [...]

Yes, that was 15 years ago.

>So, you can publish under a pseudonym, but in that case I suspect you
>have to register your copyright with the Copyright Office ($15 last I
>checked, which was 10 years ago).

Again, that was 10 years ago.

There is no longer any need in the US to register your copyright with the
copyright office, unless you wish to be able to sue for statutory rather
than actual damages.

Try the copyright website at <URL:http://www.benedict.com/> for more
information; particularly <URL:http://www.benedict.com/register.htm>


mathew
--
me...@pobox.com content available at <URL:http://www.pobox.com/%7Emeta/>
Help prevent bias on the net; see <URL:http://www.pobox.com/%7Emeta/rs/ot/>
"Best viewed with [LINK] or [LINK]" -- Scott Schluer
RFC 1896, Eudora Pro 3 and CyberDog 1.1 text/enriched mail accepted

Nulldogma

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Nov 4, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/4/96
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> This suggests to me that an explicit copyright notice is unnecessary.
> OTOH, if we decide to put one in, I'm still unclear as whether something
> like "Copyright 1996 by Fred Q. Pseudonym" would be acceptable.

IIRC, the only reason for putting in a copyright notice is that it makes
it easier to sue someone later -- then they can't use the defense of "Oh,
I didn't know it was copyrighted," and it's easier to win damages.

As an author, I would feel totally comfortable with uploading something
that said "copyright 1997 by the author". If anyone else claimed to be
"the author," I could always subpoena Whizzard...

Phil Goetz

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Nov 4, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/4/96
to

In article <55j7sh$1...@nntp5.u.washington.edu>,

Dan Shiovitz <scy...@u.washington.edu> wrote:
>I found the "10 Big Myths about copyright explained" FAQ on
>misc.legal.computing. This seems to be the relevant section:
>----------------------------------------------------------------------
> 1) "If it doesn't have a copyright notice, it's not
> copyrighted."
>
> This was true in the past, but today almost all major
> nations follow the Berne copyright convention. For example,
> in the USA, almost everything created privately after April 1,
> 1989 is copyrighted and protected whether it has a notice or not.
> The default you should assume for other people's works is that
> they are copyrighted and may not be copied unless you *know*
> otherwise. There are some old works that lost protection
> without notice, but frankly you should not risk it unless
> you know for sure.
>
> It is true that a notice strengthens the protection, by
> warning people, and by allowing one to get more and
----------------------------

> different damages, but it is not necessary. If it looks
-----------------

> copyrighted, you should assume it is. This applies to pictures,
> too. You may not scan pictures from magazines and post them
> to the net, and if you come upon something unknown,
> you shouldn't post that either.
>----------------------------------------------------------------------

>
>This suggests to me that an explicit copyright notice is unnecessary.
>OTOH, if we decide to put one in, I'm still unclear as whether something
>like "Copyright 1996 by Fred Q. Pseudonym" would be acceptable.
>
>>Jason Dyer

The underlined part suggests to me that I don't want to release anything
without a copyright notice. I prefer the stronger copyright.

Phil Go...@cs.buffalo.edu

John Hartnup

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Nov 4, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/4/96
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Jason B Dyer (jd...@mustique.u.arizona.edu) wrote:

: Dan Shiovitz (scy...@u.washington.edu) wrote:
: : >I also think the string needs to be "visible" so having it in some secret
: : >command will not make the copyright legal. I'll look it up to make sure,
: : >though.

: : This suggests to me that an explicit copyright notice is unnecessary.


: : OTOH, if we decide to put one in, I'm still unclear as whether something
: : like "Copyright 1996 by Fred Q. Pseudonym" would be acceptable.

: Sorry, I worded that wrong. A copyright notice is STRONGLY recommended


: by not necessary. When I say "legal" I mean "it will help you
: prosecute in court." Trying to settle a dispute by saying "well, if
: you type the secret code you get the copyright notice" won't
: get you too far.

Why not? It would prove beyond reasonable doubt who wrote the work.

john

Matthew Crosby

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Nov 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/5/96
to

In article <1309.6882...@otn.net>,
Patrick Kellum <pat...@otn.net> wrote:
>
>On 03-Nov-96 14:55:13, Dan Shiovitz was hanging out in rec.arts.int-fiction.
>For some reason he was chating about Re: Planning Ahead for 1997 I-F Contest.

>
>> The correct form for a notice is:
>> "Copyright <dates> by <author/owner>"
>> You can use C in a circle instead of "Copyright" but "(C)"
>> has never been given legal force. The phrase "All Rights
>> Reserved" used to be required in some nations but is now
>> not needed.
>
>Here's a question, do all OS support an ASCII 169 (copyright character)? I
>know Amiga's use them and I'm sure PC's do (been a while since I programmed
>on PC's) and I belive Commodore 8-bit's don't (weird ASCII mangeling system
>used) but what about the others? Also, do the interpreters (Inform and
>TADS) support this ASCII character?

Ascii is a 7 bit code. There is no such thing as ASCII 169. There
are a few standards for mapping the upper half, and then of course the
PC people, as usual, ignored these and invented their own, but in
general, no.
So no, you can't really guaruntee that copyright symbol will be
available.

--
Matthew Crosby cro...@cs.colorado.edu
Disclaimer: It was in another country, and besides, the wench is dead.

Neil K. Guy

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Nov 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/5/96
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Patrick Kellum (pat...@otn.net) wrote:

: Here's a question, do all OS support an ASCII 169 (copyright character)? I


: know Amiga's use them and I'm sure PC's do (been a while since I programmed
: on PC's) and I belive Commodore 8-bit's don't (weird ASCII mangeling system
: used) but what about the others? Also, do the interpreters (Inform and
: TADS) support this ASCII character?

There is no platform independent ASCII character for the copyright
(circle C) symbol. Most modern OSs do support it, but not in the same
place - it won't be ASCII 169 (or whatever you're used to) on all
computers. Basically 7-bit ASCII is the same across all microcomputers,
but the high-bit ASCII codes are a free for all. Each computer implements
them differently. And old home computers of the 1980s (Apple //,
Commodore 64, etc.) generally didn't support the copyright symbol at all.

TADS is 8-bit transparent, so you could implement a game that used the
copyright symbol. The problem is that it wouldn't appear on all computers
as the same thing, so there's no point. I have a special version of my
game for Macintoshes only that suppports Mac-style 8-bit ASCII, and it
displays the copyright symbol, accented vowels and so on. However I have
to recompile the source for 7-bit ASCII to make it work on other systems,
and you lose the accents and whatnots. I don't believe Inform is 8-bit
transparent... the Z-machine used some weird compression scheme that
results in fewer the 8 bits per character being saved, I think. I'm sure
some Inform expert could set me straight on that one.

I have suggested to Mike Roberts that he might consider adding a
platform-independent escape code for the copyright symbol in TADS.
Suggested it in an email message this morning, actually. :) It'd be a \
escape code, and interpreters would display whatever they're capable of -
so Macs and Windows boxes would show the proper symbol, whereas some
systems the symbol might appear as (c) or whatever.

- Neil K. Guy

Andrew Plotkin

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Nov 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/5/96
to

Matthew Crosby (cro...@nordsieck.cs.colorado.edu) wrote:
> >Here's a question, do all OS support an ASCII 169 (copyright character)? I
> >know Amiga's use them and I'm sure PC's do (been a while since I programmed
> >on PC's) and I belive Commodore 8-bit's don't (weird ASCII mangeling system
> >used) but what about the others? Also, do the interpreters (Inform and
> >TADS) support this ASCII character?

> Ascii is a 7 bit code. There is no such thing as ASCII 169. There


> are a few standards for mapping the upper half, and then of course the
> PC people, as usual, ignored these and invented their own, but in
> general, no.
> So no, you can't really guaruntee that copyright symbol will be
> available.

In fact, a modern Z-machine interpreter will *not* print out the
copyright symbol, no matter what. Z-machine text is encoded in its *own*
system, which interpreters map to the native machine's encoding. The
Z-machine encoding has been extended (in spec 0.2) to include most
accented characters in Latin-alphabet languages, but it does not include
circle-C or circle-R characters.

There are undefined gaps in the Z-machine encoding, but a modern
interpreter will probably render undefined characters as '?' or some other
warning string. It should *definitely* not allow undefined characters to
"fall through" and print in the native machine's encoding.

I don't recall any strategy for dealing with this in TADS. Unless I
missed something, I think the assumption is that characters always print
in the native machine's encoding. So if a TADS program prints any
characters in the range 128 - 255, it has no good way of predicting what
the user will see.

Greg Falcon

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Nov 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/5/96
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erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) wrote:

>In fact, a modern Z-machine interpreter will *not* print out the
>copyright symbol, no matter what. Z-machine text is encoded in its *own*
>system, which interpreters map to the native machine's encoding. The
>Z-machine encoding has been extended (in spec 0.2) to include most
>accented characters in Latin-alphabet languages, but it does not include
>circle-C or circle-R characters.

>There are undefined gaps in the Z-machine encoding, but a modern
>interpreter will probably render undefined characters as '?' or some other
>warning string. It should *definitely* not allow undefined characters to
>"fall through" and print in the native machine's encoding.

Well, for when everyone decides it's time to work on updating the spec
again, I propose that we define one of the open ASCII characters to be
the c-in-a-circle symbol. If the interpreter cannot display this
symbol, it would print "Copyright" instead.

I realize that people could not reliably use this symbol to indicate
copyrighting until the new spec catches on and is widely implemented;
I feel that is all the more reason to add it sooner and not later.

My $0.02

John Hartnup

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Nov 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/5/96
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Phil Goetz (go...@cs.buffalo.edu) wrote:

: > It is true that a notice strengthens the protection, by


: > warning people, and by allowing one to get more and
: ----------------------------
: > different damages, but it is not necessary. If it looks
: -----------------
: > copyrighted, you should assume it is.

: The underlined part suggests to me that I don't want to release anything


: without a copyright notice. I prefer the stronger copyright.

This is why you should (a) write "This work is copyright 1996 to the author,
whos identity will be revealed in <source> on <date>. After <date> you
should obtain a new copy of this game from <source>.", and (b) you should
put in a magic word which reveals your identity, using a routine such as
the one suggested by Andrew Plotkin, if you like.

John

Den of Iniquity

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Nov 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/5/96
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On 1 Nov 1996, Gerry Kevin Wilson wrote (of ideas for next years contest):
> I'll probably allow 1 decimal place on the scores next year (ie. 9.4)

Ooh, I don't like that. The whole thing is entirely subjective; why get
scientific about it? Why not have scores from 1 to 100 instead? ;)

> However, there are some more serious and interesting things to be
> discussed.

Oh, it wasn't serious? You could have fooled me...:)

> 1. Next year, all games will be entered anonymously. Now, how will I
> protect the copyrights of the authors if their names do not appear in the
> game?

Good point. How do you copyright work under a pseudonym?
I think it's a very good idea. Knowing who the author is affects votes,
although normally at a subconcious level.

> 2. Entrants will be banned from talking about the entries while the voting
> period is underway. Everyone else can still post about the games, but
> authors will be disqualified for posting about either their own, or
> someone else's entry.

So we can figure out who have written an entries because they are the
people who aren't discussing the entries. Elementary.

> That's my initial thoughts on the matter. More later.

How about trying to define what is and what isn't an acceptable work of
i-f. Is a Scheme tutorial i-f just because it's written in Inform in a
light-hearted tone? Defining criteria may be impossible, of course, and it
may have to be left to your almighty judgement instead.

--
Den


Phil Goetz

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Nov 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/5/96
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In article <55nqm9$n...@news.dx.net>,

Greg Falcon <professo...@pnx.com> wrote:
>
>Well, for when everyone decides it's time to work on updating the spec
>again, I propose that we define one of the open ASCII characters to be
>the c-in-a-circle symbol. If the interpreter cannot display this
>symbol, it would print "Copyright" instead.
>
>I realize that people could not reliably use this symbol to indicate
>copyrighting until the new spec catches on and is widely implemented;
>I feel that is all the more reason to add it sooner and not later.
>
> My $0.02
> Greg

Opposed. c-in-a-circle is not a useful character.
You only want to use it once per program.
There are lots of characters I would rather have, like umlauted
vowels, accented consonants, characters for graphics like the
Commodore Pet had.

Phil

Andrew Plotkin

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Nov 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/5/96
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John Hartnup (sl...@ladle.demon.co.uk) wrote:
> Phil Goetz (go...@cs.buffalo.edu) wrote:

> : The underlined part suggests to me that I don't want to release anything
> : without a copyright notice. I prefer the stronger copyright.

> This is why you should (a) write "This work is copyright 1996 to the author,
> whos identity will be revealed in <source> on <date>. After <date> you
> should obtain a new copy of this game from <source>.", and (b) you should
> put in a magic word which reveals your identity, using a routine such as
> the one suggested by Andrew Plotkin, if you like.

I didn't suggest it. I pointed out that *Inform games with such a magic
word will not remain anonymous*.

I trust people not to vote fraudulently. I do not trust people not to
peek (using a Z-code dumper.)

I say this because *I* would peek.

Greg Falcon

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Nov 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/5/96
to

go...@cs.buffalo.edu (Phil Goetz) wrote:

>>Well, for when everyone decides it's time to work on updating the spec
>>again, I propose that we define one of the open ASCII characters to be
>>the c-in-a-circle symbol. If the interpreter cannot display this
>>symbol, it would print "Copyright" instead.

>Opposed. c-in-a-circle is not a useful character.


>You only want to use it once per program.
>There are lots of characters I would rather have, like umlauted
>vowels, accented consonants, characters for graphics like the
>Commodore Pet had.

What a terrible weakness I have. I have to defend myself... :-)

Spec 0.2 has 539 "ASCII" slots undefined right now. (128-154 and
256-767) That's a whole lot of open space. Surely we have room even
to support umlauted consonants and accented graphics characters with
room to spare... ;-)

I know my suggestion is not as urgent as foreign language characters.
Admittedly, it is unnessicary, since "Copyright" holds just as much
legal force as c-in-a-circle. It's just a cosmetic suggestion on my
part.

Just had to make those comments... feel free to resume opposing my
proposal. Hehehehehehe...

Greg Falcon

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Nov 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/5/96
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Den of Iniquity <dms...@york.ac.uk> wrote:

>How about trying to define what is and what isn't an acceptable work of
>i-f. Is a Scheme tutorial i-f just because it's written in Inform in a
>light-hearted tone? Defining criteria may be impossible, of course, and it
>may have to be left to your almighty judgement instead.

My solution to this: Let anything in... and have the judges decide.
Make the rules state that judges are expected to give low marks to
programs that are decidely not "IF". IMHO, having all the judges
decide whether a light-hearted Scheme tutorial is IF is a better
solution than having IF defined in the rules... or having one person
decide.

Of course, it's not my decision. ;-)

My $0.02,

Admiral Jota

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Nov 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/5/96
to

professo...@pnx.com (Greg Falcon) writes:
>Den of Iniquity <dms...@york.ac.uk> wrote:

>>How about trying to define what is and what isn't an acceptable work of
>>i-f. Is a Scheme tutorial i-f just because it's written in Inform in a
>>light-hearted tone?

>My solution to this: Let anything in... and have the judges decide.


>Make the rules state that judges are expected to give low marks to
>programs that are decidely not "IF". IMHO, having all the judges
>decide whether a light-hearted Scheme tutorial is IF is a better
>solution than having IF defined in the rules... or having one person
>decide.

Or why not simply release all the 'games', and let the players decide
what they what to give high or low marks to? Let the players who happen
to like light-hearted Scheme tutorials give it high marks, and let the
ones who don't give it low marks.

Oddly enough, that sounds very much like what we're doing this year... :)
--
/<-= -=-=- -= Admiral Jota =- -=-=- =->\
__/><-=- http://www.tiac.net/users/jota/ =-><\__
\><-= jo...@mv.mv.com -- Finger for PGP =-></
\<-=- -= -=- -= -==- =- -=- =- -=->/

Neil K. Guy

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Nov 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/5/96
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Patrick Kellum (pat...@otn.net) wrote:

: Question, do all ports of TADS use fixed-width fonts?

Only those which run on character-based systems, or which operate in a
character-based compatibility box within a GUI. But to my knowledge the
Macintosh TADS runtime and Andrew Plotkin's forthcoming MaxTADS are the
only versions of TADS that don't use fixed-width fonts.

Of course, there's nothing to stop anyone from writing a TADS port
that uses a full Mac-like GUI (for XWindows or MS Windows or OS/2 or
whatever) - it's just more work.

- Neil K.

Neil K. Guy

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Nov 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/5/96
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Patrick Kellum (pat...@otn.net) wrote:

: I like this. Also, escape codes for accented characters and such would be a
: great addition. Is Mike Roberts still updating the source?

Yes, he is. I don't know about diacriticals, though; I dind't ask him
about that.

Neil K. Guy

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Nov 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/5/96
to

Phil Goetz (go...@cs.buffalo.edu) wrote:

: Opposed. c-in-a-circle is not a useful character.

Why not?

: You only want to use it once per program.

What a daft argument. I would argue that a character used once in every
program is highly useful. Especially given the fact that the character
would appear at the start of every game.

: There are lots of characters I would rather have, like umlauted


: vowels, accented consonants, characters for graphics like the
: Commodore Pet had.

Uh right - a little smiley face character graphic or a straight line box
is more useful than the copyright symbol? It's not like there's a
tremendous shortage of unused symbols in the Z-machine spec, or
something.

- Neil K. Guy

Trevor Barrie

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Nov 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/5/96
to

n...@vcn.bc.ca (Neil K. Guy) wrote:

> Can Inform games read the date from the computer's clock calendar?
>Somehow I don't think it can... though I know TADS games can.

Either way, it's a pretty trivial thing to change your computer's calendar,
no?

Andrew Plotkin

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Nov 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/5/96
to

Patrick Kellum (pat...@otn.net) wrote:

> Question, do all ports of TADS use fixed-width fonts?

No; the Mac version has always allowed the user to choose any font.

Certain more recent Mac interpreters default to a proportional font. :-)

Marnix Klooster

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Nov 6, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/6/96
to

erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) wrote:

> John Hartnup (sl...@ladle.demon.co.uk) wrote:
> > Phil Goetz (go...@cs.buffalo.edu) wrote:

> > [...] you should


> > put in a magic word which reveals your identity, using a routine such as
> > the one suggested by Andrew Plotkin, if you like.
>
> I didn't suggest it. I pointed out that *Inform games with such a magic
> word will not remain anonymous*.

They will. Just choose some secret pass phrase, as in "My Secret
Pass Phrase". Then use it to encode the information you want to
hide, and store the encoded information in the Inform game. (If
you use a strong enough algorithm, no-one except perhaps the NSA
will be able to decode it.) Finally, let the command "info xxx"
decode the encoded information with pass phrase "xxx". If this
results in a readable message, show it; otherwise, say "Bad pass
phrase -- you naughty person." (This final check is readily
implemented by adding a checksum to the message before encoding
it.)

This method is safe as can be as long the pass phrase doesn't
leave the author's hands.

> I trust people not to vote fraudulently. I do not trust people not to
> peek (using a Z-code dumper.)
>
> I say this because *I* would peek.

Just to annoy you, I'm considering to write an Inform module
containing the above machinery. (Can you say IDEA and MD5?) To
be distributed for use with the next I-F competition.

> --Z

Groetjes,

<><

Marnix
--
Marnix Klooster
mar...@worldonline.nl

Greg Falcon

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Nov 6, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/6/96
to

mar...@worldonline.nl (Marnix Klooster) wrote:

>> I didn't suggest it. I pointed out that *Inform games with such a magic
>> word will not remain anonymous*.

>They will. Just choose some secret pass phrase, as in "My Secret
>Pass Phrase". Then use it to encode the information you want to
>hide, and store the encoded information in the Inform game. (If
>you use a strong enough algorithm, no-one except perhaps the NSA
>will be able to decode it.)

But if you're going to go through all that, why not just do something
like this?

Gerry Kevin Wilson could just take a text file with all the games and
respective authors who wish to maintain copyrights on their work.
Have him encrypt the file with PGP or something similar, release the
encrypted file at the start of the contest, and release the decryption
key at the end of the contest.

The games could simply say that the name of the author holding the
Copyright will be released on <date> at <location>, and is currently
held in encrypted format at <url>. An updated version of the game
with the author's name intact will be available on <date> at <url>.

I mean, why put all the code in the Z-Machine when you could do it
publically?

If you even want to go through the trouble of encryption...

Greg
---
___ ___ ___ ___ Greg Falcon (professo...@pnx.com)
/ __\ / __\ / __\ / __\
( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( MEMBER S.S.S.S.
\ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ (Society to Stop Sizeable .SIGs)
\ \ \ \ \ \ \ \
___) ) ___) ) ___) ) ___) ) (With heartfelt apologies to people with
\___/ * \___/ * \___/ * \___/ * proportional fonts or no sense of humor)


Laurel Halbany

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Nov 6, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/6/96
to

Roger Carbol <r...@col.ca> wrote:

>Perhaps something like "Copyright transferred to Committee by agreement
>with original author. Copyright reverts to the original author after
>30 Nov 1997. Contact the Committee for more information on the current
>holder of the copyright on this product."
>
>Then again, I'm certainly no lawyer, so don't take my word that this
>would be binding or anything.

Uh, I really don't think it would be. Transferring copyright ownership
is usually much trickier than that.

As somebody else pointed out, when you create a work, you
automatically have copyright to it--period. This is true whether or
not your name appears on it or whether or not it is registered. If you
put "Copyright 1997 by I.F. Author", you have notified everybody
reading it that the work IS protected by a copyright.

It might be a good idea to add a note like "all inquiries about usage
of this work should be directed to the contest maintainer."


----------------------------------------------------------
Laurel Halbany
myt...@agora.rdrop.com
http://www.rdrop.com/users/mythago/

Laurel Halbany

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Nov 6, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/6/96
to

go...@cs.buffalo.edu (Phil Goetz) wrote:

>>> 1. Next year, all games will be entered anonymously. Now, how will I
>>> protect the copyrights of the authors if their names do not appear in the
>>> game?
>

>Why all these rules?
>
>#1 is bad legal practice.

No, it's perfectly fine as long as there is a visible COPYRIGHT NOTICE
on the work. Doesn't matter if the author's real name appears on it,
but there should be something saying "Copyright 1997 by Graham Nelson
III" or somesuch.

Eli The Bearded

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Nov 6, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/6/96
to

Den of Iniquity <dms...@york.ac.uk> wrote:
>On 1 Nov 1996, Gerry Kevin Wilson wrote (of ideas for next years contest):
>> 1. Next year, all games will be entered anonymously. Now, how will I
>> protect the copyrights of the authors if their names do not appear in the
>> game?
>Good point. How do you copyright work under a pseudonym?
>I think it's a very good idea. Knowing who the author is affects votes,
>although normally at a subconcious level.

IANAL, but couldn't the games have a copyright notice in them
that states "This collection of games as a whole is copyright
1997 by the Rec.Arts.Int-Fiction Contest Committee. Copyrights
on individual games revert to the authors at the end of this
contest. Authors names will be made public at that time."?

I know it is legal to copyright the act of collecting and
arranging texts (thanks to a crosspost between misc.legal and
alt.anagrams some time ago), I don't know if there is enough
collecting and arranging involved here. Given that authors
are not likely to object to a notice worded as above,
particularly since they know it in advance and can discuss it
here, I don't think it would come under much legal challenge.

Elijah
------
might have an entry ready for 97 or 98

Staffan Friberg

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Nov 7, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/7/96
to

In article <327fecd9...@hermes.rdrop.com>
myt...@agora.rdrop.com (Laurel Halbany) writes:

> Uh, I really don't think it would be. Transferring copyright ownership
> is usually much trickier than that.

So why don't we just force the contestants to release their games as public
domain? That would take care of all the copyright problems.

If I'm serious? Well, have a guess!

--

Staffan Friberg (st...@rabbit.augs.se) Sweden
GothCode 2.0:
GoPS+3TJt(NrZ)B4/18Bk!cNRs--PSh(MoSa)V+sM++ZGo(GnNr--)C+2p3pa27-n
-Ob:-H174g+LmEa2+?w+Lr++D--!%H+PR(MoSh)s10k+RmSrNnN0890nLse!HdSp1
"Exercise caution when dealing with goths." -- MikeVK

Staffan Friberg

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Nov 7, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/7/96
to

In article <327fbc89...@news.peinet.pe.ca>
tba...@cycor.ca (Trevor Barrie) writes:

Well, it's just about as tricky as unpacking a zip (or whatever) archive.

[Working hard for the most annoying person in the newsgroup award.]

Gerry Kevin Wilson

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Nov 7, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/7/96
to

In article <staff...@rabbit.augs.se>,
Staffan Friberg <st...@rabbit.augs.se> wrote:
>
>Something that irks me about this group is that the concensus seems to be
>that everyone playing adventure games or everyone intrested in them are
>complete nincompoops.
>
>On this issue, people are unable to judge fairly because some people may be
>more famous than others. (There may be a point in this but MNSHO is that
>it's overrated.)

I think you are taking the new rules in the wrong light. The anonymity
rule is there to keep new game authors from being scared off by
well-established and well-known authors. There is no guarantee that these
well-known authors are going to be able to always produce consistantly
wonderful games. There is nothing to say that a complete beginner can't
produce a 'Wow!' game. As far as it biasing the votes, that was a
concern, but only inasmuch that people this year have taken too much
liberty with the voting process (i.e. a random sampling of games? What
the...I'm pretty sure I didn't write that into the rules.) I am worried
that if that trend continues (and if there are 30+ entries next year it
surely will) that some games may get overlooked in order to play
the latest Andrew Plotkin or Leon Lin production. As I have stated
though, this is a small concern, and only a very minor contributor to the
situation. The big thing is that I don't want authors feeling that they
don't have a chance against a well-known author, because that's a load of
hooey.

And about the 'author missing from conversation, so he must be entered.'
If we applied that even this year (when authors are allowed to post), it
would mean that Dave Baggett, Mike Roberts, Scott Adams, the entire group
of original Infocom programmers, and about 9/10s of all SPAG subscribers,
are entered in the contest. Can you say "Non-feasible argument"? And
hey, if I go on a vacation, am I going to start a panic in the streets?
"Oh my god, Whizzard's in the contest this year, flee for your lives!"
Yeah sure, like I'd get anything done in time to enter before 2005.

>There's very little noise here but I think some people around here need to
>work on their attitude towards other people. [And that includes myself, I
>suppose...]

Mine's pretty much finished and polished. I hate everyone. :)

>And again, what exactly is the point of banning just authors from the
>discussion? I'd like to know exactly why Whizzard limited himself to just
>them.

Because of a big flap that occurred during this year's competition. An
author jokingly remarked that he knew his games weren't very good on the
newsgroup. He was then jumped by a passle of rather uncalled for remarks.
This is known as foot-in-mouth disease. Simplest solution? Tell authors
that they get disqualified if they post about their games or anyone else's
in the contest during the voting period. Not the most graceful solution.
However, I know that if I make it a rule, the authors won't violate it,
and thereby they will save themselves, and me, from several headaches. If
they do violate it, I state in the rules that I give one warning. After
that, they would have to be tragically stupid to break it again. So there
will be no 'accidental disqualifications'.

By the way, I think you forgot to criticize the new version of the
walkthrough rule, and the requirement for a non-random mode. You're just
not covering all your bases, man.

I've said it before, and I'll probably have to say it again. I come up
with new rules as I see a need for them. That means that a situation has
come up this year that would have benefitted by the new rule.
--
"Shh...<looks around worriedly> The wires have ears, you know..."

Matthew Daly

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Nov 7, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/7/96
to

whiz...@uclink.berkeley.edu (Gerry Kevin Wilson) writes:
>Staffan Friberg <st...@rabbit.augs.se> wrote:
>>
>>Something that irks me about this group is that the concensus seems to be
>>that everyone playing adventure games or everyone intrested in them are
>>complete nincompoops.
>>
>>On this issue, people are unable to judge fairly because some people may be
>>more famous than others. (There may be a point in this but MNSHO is that
>>it's overrated.)
>
>I think you are taking the new rules in the wrong light. The anonymity
>rule is there to keep new game authors from being scared off by
>well-established and well-known authors.

Why not ask the well-established writers to take a breather from the
contest? There are certainly no lack of entrants, and apparently no
lack of qualified entrants from the ranks of the unknown.

I guess it ultimately depends on whether this contest wants to be
comparable to the Oscars or the Sundance awards. Frankly, I'd rather
see the latter. Anyone would download a Plotkin game to play whenever
he uploads one, but there should be a way for someone to easily play
a game and say (for instance), "Wow, this Daly is some great writer
... I'll keep my eyes open for the next thing he puts out." (Maybe
next year....)

The ultimate telling of whether this no talk rule is good will be
if people remember to post their unfettered opinion of the games
when they're through. Will these authors receive the same feedback
a month and a half from now, or will people have forgotten playing
the games? Is the object to pronounce the best game of the year or
to make an army of better i-f writers?

The decisions are yours to make, Gerry, but when it's my turn to
enter, I'd much rather post under my real name and receive timely
critiques of my work from people who are more familiar with the
art of creation than I, and forgo the unlikely chance that I would
win anything. Perhaps you could split the experience into two
classes, "professional" and "ameteur"?

>By the way, I think you forgot to criticize the new version of the
>walkthrough rule, and the requirement for a non-random mode. You're just
>not covering all your bases, man.

Then I'll step up to the plate. Complete walkthroughs remove the
possibilty of multiple paths. Whether or not you think that is the
undisputed future of I-F, it's a shame to eliminate it. I think
that the notion of "This is the best result that you can get from
this story" is one that's entirely foreign to both life and most
other genres of fiction. Did Poirot not get the maximum score because
he didn't make any arrests in "Murder on the Orient Express"? Did
Rick have to undo his last move in "Casablanca" to see the preferred
ending? :-)

Eliminating non-random modes also removes a lot of interesting puzzles.
For instance, if HGTTG was deterministic, then you wouldn't need to
gather all of the tools and grow the fruit -- you'd fail to show up
with the right tool once and get it right after restoring the game.
If there's a doorcode that you have to type in, I don't want the
user to be able to say "PRESS 1274" without finding the piece of paper
that has the code on it.

>I've said it before, and I'll probably have to say it again. I come up
>with new rules as I see a need for them. That means that a situation has
>come up this year that would have benefitted by the new rule.

If I wrote a non-deterministic game with multiple endings, a vague
walkthrough, and generally didn't provide enough opportunity for the
users to enjoy the experience of going through my title, and I got
a bad score because of it, I wouldn't blame you. If I were kept from
doing all of those innovative things, and had to hide my identity
from a public that I'm trying to reach out to, then I might conclude
that the contest wasn't filling my needs and that there wasn't anything
around that would anymore.

-Matthew
--
Matthew Daly I don't buy everything I read ... I haven't
da...@ppd.kodak.com even read everything I've bought.

My opinions are not necessarily those of my employer, of course.

Trevor Barrie

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Nov 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/8/96
to

Brad O`Donnell <s7...@romulus.sun.csd.unb.ca> wrote:

> Then I'll cover them for him: The New Walkthrough rule is O.k;
> although I hope that a winning game couldn't have a direct set of
> linear steps to lead you to the conclusion.

Err, do you mean that a winning game should have more than one set of steps
that will lead you to the conclusion? I don't see how one could have a game
for which one couldn't have a set of linear steps to take you through.
(Unless your game is unwinnable.)


Brad O`Donnell

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Nov 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/8/96
to Trevor Barrie

I meant that the walkthru shouldn't have to be typed in verbatim from
the start in order to win.


--
Brad O'Donnell

Den of Iniquity

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Nov 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/8/96