Internal Conflict (was News on Avalon, help needed

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smeg...@castlebbs.com

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Apr 3, 1994, 2:47:48 PM4/3/94
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Internal conflict, eh? The closest I can think of at the moment to ANY
sort of internal conflict is the sort that occurs in a game I played a
while back on a Mac, called _Deja Vu_. It may have been done before
that (and it's most definitely been done since), and it involves the
player-character's battle with amnesia. Usually, within the game, steps
towards the goal of recovered memory are taken when the player sets off
some sort of a mental 'trigger'... say, looking in a mirror, or walking
into a strangely familiar part of town. These events each would invoke
a short 'flashback' of sorts which might reveal clues as to who / where
/ why you are.
Much simpler internal conflict would be something like, "For some
reason, your conscience will not let you hit this woman." You can
decide for yourself the exact reason why... little nuances like this can
actually help shape the player-character's persona.

I'd like to see more games in which you have to REALLY step into the
shoes of a well-defined, independently principled character, and do the
things that he/she/it would to (rather than the things that YOU would
do) to solve the 'puzzles' at hand. There's been a lot of talk about
the shaping of NPCs here on r.a.i-f... I'm surprised such care and
depth of character have not been discussed on the part of the player's
character! :)

Especially when the player is often, in literary terms, the *main
character* of the story... ;) Ever think about dat?

Let's get this thread started.

-K.C.
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Gerry Kevin Wilson

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Apr 3, 1994, 7:40:31 PM4/3/94
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In article <324BETEC...@castlebbs.com>, <smeg...@castlebbs.com> wrote:
>
>Internal conflict, eh? The closest I can think of at the moment to ANY
>sort of internal conflict is the sort that occurs in a game I played a
>while back on a Mac, called _Deja Vu_. It may have been done before
>that (and it's most definitely been done since), and it involves the
>player-character's battle with amnesia. Usually, within the game, steps
>towards the goal of recovered memory are taken when the player sets off
>some sort of a mental 'trigger'... say, looking in a mirror, or walking
>into a strangely familiar part of town. These events each would invoke
>a short 'flashback' of sorts which might reveal clues as to who / where
>/ why you are.
>Much simpler internal conflict would be something like, "For some
>reason, your conscience will not let you hit this woman." You can
>decide for yourself the exact reason why... little nuances like this can
>actually help shape the player-character's persona.

Hmm, I've never played Deja Vu, but this sounds like an interesting
technique.

>I'd like to see more games in which you have to REALLY step into the
>shoes of a well-defined, independently principled character, and do the
>things that he/she/it would to (rather than the things that YOU would
>do) to solve the 'puzzles' at hand. There's been a lot of talk about
>the shaping of NPCs here on r.a.i-f... I'm surprised such care and
>depth of character have not been discussed on the part of the player's
>character! :)

Well, I believe much of the reason is that lots of people like to put
themselves into the story rather than roleplay someone else. Personally, I
think there's room for both techniques.

>Especially when the player is often, in literary terms, the *main
>character* of the story... ;) Ever think about dat?

Yup. Sure did.

>Let's get this thread started.
>
>-K.C.

Yes, let's...

Ok, let me come up with some ideas for internal conflict...

1. Flashbacks.
2. Morals binding the player. (See HHGTTG)
3. Tell, don't show.
4. Show, don't tell.
5. Automatic dialogue.

Flashbacks are fairly self-explanatory. By morals, I mean the same thing as
you stated, "You refuse to attack the little girl." #3 & 4 I would do in the
room descriptions and in the actions. "What a beautiful sewer this is! Ahh!
Smell that wonderful methane!" or "Smiling slightly, you mischievously switch
the 'poison' and 'lemonade' stickers on the bottle. Chuckling, you replace
the bottles before the children return." Finally, by #5, I mean simply that
the bulk of dialogue between the player and NPCs is handled by the game,
according to what actions are taken and who is involved in the action. Any
more to add to the list?
--
<~~~~~E~~~G~~~~~~~~~~~HEINLEIN~~~~~~~~~~~DOYLE~~~~~~~~~~~~~SPAM~~|~~~~~~~>
< V R I O Software. We bring words to life! | ~~\ >
< T | /~\ | >
<_WATCH for Avalon in early MAY!____wh...@uclink.berkeley.edu_|_\__/__>

The Grim Reaper

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Apr 3, 1994, 8:26:16 PM4/3/94
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In article <2nnk5f$o...@agate.berkeley.edu>,

Gerry Kevin Wilson <whiz...@uclink.berkeley.edu> wrote:
>In article <324BETEC...@castlebbs.com>, <smeg...@castlebbs.com> wrote:
>>
>>Internal conflict, eh? The closest I can think of at the moment to ANY
>>sort of internal conflict is the sort that occurs in a game I played a
>>while back on a Mac, called _Deja Vu_. It may have been done before
>>that (and it's most definitely been done since), and it involves the
>>player-character's battle with amnesia. Usually, within the game, steps
[...]

Shades of Gray, available on the if-archive as soggy.zip (good game, btw),
discusses amnesia, too, and would be a good thing to take a look at for
writing an internal conflict game.

>>Much simpler internal conflict would be something like, "For some
>>reason, your conscience will not let you hit this woman." You can
>>decide for yourself the exact reason why... little nuances like this can
>>actually help shape the player-character's persona.
>
>Hmm, I've never played Deja Vu, but this sounds like an interesting
>technique.

At first glance, I don't know how well this would work. I generally hate
not being able to make decisions in i-f, and this could really easily
degenerate into:

>NORTH
You've always been scared of the dark, and don't want to enter the cave.
>UP
Did I mention you were scared of heights, too?
>GET ALL
Your bad back won't allow you to bend over and pick anything up.
>EXAMINE TREE
You don't know anything about trees, besides the fact that there's a rather
large bee's nest in the tree.
>GET NEST
As you disturb the nest, a bee flies out and stings you. You did bring your
bee sting kit along, didn't you? You didn't? But you have a severe
allergy to bees... ***You are dead****
[...]

>>I'd like to see more games in which you have to REALLY step into the
>>shoes of a well-defined, independently principled character, and do the
>>things that he/she/it would to (rather than the things that YOU would
>>do) to solve the 'puzzles' at hand. There's been a lot of talk about
>>the shaping of NPCs here on r.a.i-f... I'm surprised such care and
>>depth of character have not been discussed on the part of the player's
>>character! :)
>
>Well, I believe much of the reason is that lots of people like to put
>themselves into the story rather than roleplay someone else. Personally, I
>think there's room for both techniques.

I could see the advantage of becoming another person to some extent, but in
i-f, I'm hard pressed to see how to do it without "forcing" it.

>>Especially when the player is often, in literary terms, the *main
>>character* of the story... ;) Ever think about dat?

So we are. But that doesn't necessarily require me to be anyone in particular,
does it?

>>Let's get this thread started.
>>-K.C.

>Yes, let's...
[..]


>1. Flashbacks.
>2. Morals binding the player. (See HHGTTG)
>3. Tell, don't show.
>4. Show, don't tell.
>5. Automatic dialogue.
>
>Flashbacks are fairly self-explanatory. By morals, I mean the same thing as
>you stated, "You refuse to attack the little girl." #3 & 4 I would do in the
>room descriptions and in the actions. "What a beautiful sewer this is! Ahh!
>Smell that wonderful methane!" or "Smiling slightly, you mischievously switch
>the 'poison' and 'lemonade' stickers on the bottle. Chuckling, you replace
>the bottles before the children return." Finally, by #5, I mean simply that

Flashbacks... okay. As long as they aren't over-used. TV has definitely
worn the idea out. Morals... I'd rather not have them, personally. Unless
they were made explicitly clear at the start: "You are Sir Lancelot, most
chivalrous knight of the realms. You are a gallant defender of the innocent,
striving to remain pure in body and soul [...]". #3 and #4 are just going to
look odd to the player when he encounters them without a lot of setup
beforehand, showing that the player is a chemist, or a sewer rat type, or
a psycho killer, or whatever.

>the bulk of dialogue between the player and NPCs is handled by the game,
>according to what actions are taken and who is involved in the action. Any
>more to add to the list?

I would say this has wandered too far into the realm of "watching words go
by on my screen" as opposed to *interactive* fiction. I want to make the
choices! Penalize me if I say the "wrong" thing, maybe. But don't do it
for me, please.

>--
><~~~~~E~~~G~~~~~~~~~~~HEINLEIN~~~~~~~~~~~DOYLE~~~~~~~~~~~~~SPAM~~|~~~~~~~>
>< V R I O Software. We bring words to life! | ~~\ >
>< T | /~\ | >
><_WATCH for Avalon in early MAY!____wh...@uclink.berkeley.edu_|_\__/__>

I am, I am.

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Gerry Kevin Wilson

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Apr 3, 1994, 10:37:13 PM4/3/94
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In article <2nnmr8$d...@news.u.washington.edu>,
The Grim Reaper <scy...@u.washington.edu> wrote:
[Quoted material deleted to save bandwidth.]

>Shades of Gray, available on the if-archive as soggy.zip (good game, btw),
>discusses amnesia, too, and would be a good thing to take a look at for
>writing an internal conflict game.

Sounds neat.

>At first glance, I don't know how well this would work. I generally hate
>not being able to make decisions in i-f, and this could really easily
>degenerate into:
>
>>NORTH
>You've always been scared of the dark, and don't want to enter the cave.
>>UP
>Did I mention you were scared of heights, too?
>>GET ALL
>Your bad back won't allow you to bend over and pick anything up.
>>EXAMINE TREE
>You don't know anything about trees, besides the fact that there's a rather
>large bee's nest in the tree.
>>GET NEST
>As you disturb the nest, a bee flies out and stings you. You did bring your
>bee sting kit along, didn't you? You didn't? But you have a severe
>allergy to bees... ***You are dead****
>[...]

Sure could, if the author had no clue what they were doing. But still,
certain characterizations are fun, or can make for interesting puzzles.
Me, I wouldn't mind a game in which the character is afraid of heights.
It just means you have to work around that, is all. I don't always have
to play myself in IF. I was quite happy to play Watson in 'Riddle of the
Crown Jewels'. A lot here depends on how the author handles matters.
Let's, for simplicity's sake, assume competence on the part of the author.
Other than that, this seems to be more of a philosophical debate. I for
one would like to see a discussion on HOW to do this well, rather than
one on SHOULD we do this. For me, the answer is a definite yes. It
allows a bit more drama and definition of character for what I'm doing.

>I could see the advantage of becoming another person to some extent, but in
>i-f, I'm hard pressed to see how to do it without "forcing" it.

Ever play Dungeons and Dragons? Quest for Glory? Day of the Tentacle?
Monkey Island? They don't seem to force it. It feels very natural to
play another person in those games. Admittedly, it creates a little bit
of emotional distance between the player and his character, but that can
be overcome with an interesting character.

>Flashbacks... okay. As long as they aren't over-used. TV has definitely
>worn the idea out. Morals... I'd rather not have them, personally. Unless
>they were made explicitly clear at the start: "You are Sir Lancelot, most
>chivalrous knight of the realms. You are a gallant defender of the innocent,
>striving to remain pure in body and soul [...]". #3 and #4 are just going to
>look odd to the player when he encounters them without a lot of setup
>beforehand, showing that the player is a chemist, or a sewer rat type, or
>a psycho killer, or whatever.

Yeah, I usually keep my morals in the closet too. ;) Seriously, people
have morals. If the game is one where you are playing another person,
then they can have their place. You can't expect some nice person to go
around murdering people all of a sudden, or deciding to suicide abruptly
w/o just cause. There comes a point, to me, that lack of morals becomes
something that destroys my suspension of disbelief rather than aids it.
I get "I don't want to kill a little girl." and I feel a brief moment of
disappointment, but I still nod my head, it makes sense to me.

>I would say this has wandered too far into the realm of "watching words go
>by on my screen" as opposed to *interactive* fiction. I want to make the
>choices! Penalize me if I say the "wrong" thing, maybe. But don't do it
>for me, please.

In my game, spoken dialogue from the player's character only occurs as an
aside or result of some action. It's fairly primitive in that it uses
the 'ask x about y' format exclusively. I just don't think that the
dialogue tree format would be appropriate for my game. There's still a
lot of conversation in Avalon though, you just don't always pick up on
your half of it, which is understood through your command. So, 'ask
merlin about red herring' might return:
"Mmm. Lovely with some lemon butter and a good hintbook."

So Merlin responds to your query, but you don't see:
"So Merlin, tell me about that red herring."

To me that would be repetitious and tedious. On the other hand, moving a
stone slab to reveal a dark tunnel might give you:

You turn to Merlin. "Well, what do you think? Shall we try it?"
Merlin shakes his head, "Not without a brass lantern, dear boy."

That's what I meant.

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