forensic IF

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Per Olofsson

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Jun 18, 2002, 1:29:54 PM6/18/02
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I've been thinking about writing a game that's based on the methods of
modern-day criminal investigation. The PC will probably be a police detective in
charge of the case or a crime scene investigator responsible for collecting and
analyzing the physical evidence.
The PC will be able to investigate some of the evidence on his/hers own. On top
of that there will be a crew of experts to the PC:s disposal. Let me illustrate
this with an actual puzzle:

In the apartment of the murder victim the PC finds a photograph showing the
victim, a young woman, laughing and wearing sunglasses. By examining the
sunglasses in the photograph the PC discovers a blurred reflection of someones,
probably the photographers, face. The is good reason to suspect that the person
who took the picture is the victims new boyfriend, who hasn't yet been
identified and who's the main suspect in the murder case. The reflection is too
blurred to make out any features. The PC takes the photograph to a computer
expert who enhances the image digitally. The suspects face is revealed and the
investigation takes a step forward.

The general idea is that the down to earth stuff will be performed by the PC.
The experts, who are "played" by NPC:s, will do the technical stuff. The PC:s
job will consist in collecting the physical evidence, giving it to the
appropriate experts and drawing the right conclusions.

There are a couple of things that I hope you can help me with. First, how will
the game world be arranged spacially? There must be at least two key locations;
the police staion/forensic laboratory and the crime scene(s). Moving between
them by using cardinal directions doesn't feel right. Any suggestions?

The game will feature things like blood, dismembered bodies, autopsies and other
gruesome details. Will anyone be offended by that?

Has this kind of game been done before?

Would anyone be interested in playing such a game?

Philipp Lenssen

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Jun 18, 2002, 2:27:10 PM6/18/02
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"Per Olofsson" <per_ol...@mail.com> wrote in message
news:b6488115.02061...@posting.google.com...

> I've been thinking about writing a game that's based on the methods of
> modern-day criminal investigation. The PC will probably be a police
detective in
> charge of the case or a crime scene investigator responsible for
collecting and
> analyzing the physical evidence.
>...

> Has this kind of game been done before?
>

"Deadline" seems like what you describe:
http://www.csd.uwo.ca/Infocom/deadline.html


Andrea

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Jun 18, 2002, 3:18:11 PM6/18/02
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Frank Borger schrieb in Nachricht ...

>per_ol...@mail.com (Per Olofsson) writes:
>
>> I've been thinking about writing a game that's based on the methods
>> of modern-day criminal investigation.
>
>[...]
>
>> ... the police station/forensic laboratory and the crime

>> scene(s). Moving between them by using cardinal directions doesn't
>> feel right. Any suggestions?
>
>By car? ("Enter police car. Drive to victi's apartment.")
>

I've been thinking about a similar game idea, but a completely different
setting. I'd probably implement a few interesting locations and ways to get
from one to another.
(Police Station, victim's appartment, victim's office to interview some
colleagues, bar where the victim used to go etc...)


>OTOH, I think that moving through a town using cardinal directions
>would not feel especially wrong.
>


Problem with this is that you likely end up with *lots* of superfluous rooms
you have
to make somehow interesting. Yes, it is tempting to allow the player roam
around on his free will, but in order not to be boring the player has to
somehow know where to go.
And if the player knows where he wants to go, why not take him there by a
simple >drive to victim's appartment.

>> The game will feature things like blood, dismembered bodies,
>> autopsies and other gruesome details. Will anyone be offended by
>> that?

>
>Of course. I (for instance) will stop playing after the second
>dismembered body lies in my way dissected in gruesome detail by your
>writing. You don't have to spill gallons of blood to write a good
>detective novel. (Just my 0.02 ¤).
>


I agree here. While probably not offended, I wouldn't enjoy it much either
probably. Of course, if there is a certain information you need to convey by
an autopsy... I'd probably stick to a very factual tone though. Something
like: The autopsy reads: Young woman... cut on left arm, 3 inches, not
letal...
Or just state something like: The autopsy contains nothing that you didn't
already suspect - the women was killed with a knife. They found a small
stitch on her left wrist though.

And yes, I'd certainly play it :)

Andrea

Georgina Bensley

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Jun 18, 2002, 4:47:59 PM6/18/02
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> Problem with this is that you likely end up with *lots* of superfluous rooms
> you have
> to make somehow interesting. Yes, it is tempting to allow the player roam

A while ago I wanted to sponsor an ongoing project featuring
one-room mystery IFs... like those mystery puzzles where you're supposed
to assemble the picture and then figure out the solution from what you
see? in this case, you'd be plopped down on the "scene of the crime" with
a little backstory, you could poke around and examine all the items on the
crime scene, and then you'd submit (to the author) your version of What
Really Happened. The Monthly Murder Contest, or some such, and after the
end date the submissions would be posted and you'd see who got it right.

I still think it could be fun, if I could find some other people to pitch
in on writing the mysteries. :)

Jaap van der Velde

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Jun 18, 2002, 4:48:46 PM6/18/02
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On Tue, 18 Jun 2002 20:27:10 +0200, Philipp Lenssen wrote:


> > Has this kind of game been done before?
>
> "Deadline" seems like what you describe:
> http://www.csd.uwo.ca/Infocom/deadline.html

Don't let the existence of a game like that stop you though.
Look at it as an oppportunity to avoid the problems and
pitfalls the writers of Deadline didn't manage to avoid, by
finding feedback of players on that game. Besides, there are
thousands of novels, movies and tv-series on the subject,
it's good stuff. All that really counts anyway, is what you
can make of it in terms of plot, suspense and everything
else that makes a piece of IF a good piece of IF.

Happy writing,
JAAP.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
"The salesman asked me what size I wore, I told him extra-medium."
-- Stephen Wright

Trent

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Jun 18, 2002, 5:23:53 PM6/18/02
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> A while ago I wanted to sponsor an ongoing project featuring
> one-room mystery IFs... like those mystery puzzles where you're supposed
> to assemble the picture and then figure out the solution from what you
> see? in this case, you'd be plopped down on the "scene of the crime" with
> a little backstory, you could poke around and examine all the items on the
> crime scene, and then you'd submit (to the author) your version of What
> Really Happened. The Monthly Murder Contest, or some such, and after the
> end date the submissions would be posted and you'd see who got it right.
>
> I still think it could be fun, if I could find some other people to pitch
> in on writing the mysteries. :)
>

This is a neat idea, I think.

-Christopher


tarage

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Jun 18, 2002, 5:55:51 PM6/18/02
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Per Olofsson wrote:
> I've been thinking about writing a game that's based on the methods of
> modern-day criminal investigation. The PC will probably be a police detective in
> charge of the case or a crime scene investigator responsible for collecting and
> analyzing the physical evidence.
> The PC will be able to investigate some of the evidence on his/hers own. On top
> of that there will be a crew of experts to the PC:s disposal. Let me illustrate
> this with an actual puzzle:
>
> In the apartment of the murder victim the PC finds a photograph showing the
> victim, a young woman, laughing and wearing sunglasses. By examining the
> sunglasses in the photograph the PC discovers a blurred reflection of someones,
> probably the photographers, face. The is good reason to suspect that the person
> who took the picture is the victims new boyfriend, who hasn't yet been
> identified and who's the main suspect in the murder case. The reflection is too
> blurred to make out any features. The PC takes the photograph to a computer
> expert who enhances the image digitally. The suspects face is revealed and the
> investigation takes a step forward.

Your syntax might get a little tricky. I'm no INFORM wizard, but from
what I've seen & played thus far, it looks like it has one level of
examination depth. I.e. you have the object, and then the examined
object. Not sure how to account for objects within objects that you can
examine (the reflection in the sunglasses in the photo).

> There are a couple of things that I hope you can help me with. First, how will
> the game world be arranged spacially? There must be at least two key locations;
> the police staion/forensic laboratory and the crime scene(s). Moving between
> them by using cardinal directions doesn't feel right. Any suggestions?

Two. One is that cardinal directions aren't that oddball. I know someone
IRL who navigates cities that way. Even I do it somewhat. Once you know
where a major landmark is (say if you live on the coast, the sea is
always to the east), it's not hard to slip into the habit of using them
around town.

It's hard to resolve the conflicting goals of portraying the city as a
large, unexplored place, and getting to the points of interest without
hassle, I admit. The second idea I have is to restrict the location of
the city to a certain section, say Chicago's East Side, or the
South-east quadrant, or Precinct 192. That way you can still have the
feeling of a large city ("Down this alleyway the faceless stores meld
into a blur of nondescript grey." with the response being, "You don't
see anything interesting down that way" if the character goes that way)
and still not have room after room of boring non-description.


> The game will feature things like blood, dismembered bodies, autopsies and other
> gruesome details. Will anyone be offended by that?

It all depends on how you handle it. Since you're making a detective IF
game and not a slasher flick, if you stick with the usual genre
conventions, you should be fine. A warning as part of the initial boot
sequence doesn't hurt, either.

~Tarage


L. Ross Raszewski

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Jun 18, 2002, 7:40:27 PM6/18/02
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On 18 Jun 2002 10:29:54 -0700, Per Olofsson <per_ol...@mail.com> wrote:
>
>There are a couple of things that I hope you can help me with. First, how will
>the game world be arranged spacially? There must be at least two key
locations;
>the police staion/forensic laboratory and the crime scene(s). Moving between
>them by using cardinal directions doesn't feel right. Any suggestions?

This sounds like an awfully nifty idea (though it seems very hard to
do it right; make sure you do all your homework).

I'd suggest that in a game like this, you might want to have two
distinct 'modes', and transition between them via a special verb --
lab mode might be well-suited to a nontradtional interface; using
IF-style commands to specify the various forensic procedures seems
like it could get *very* clunky.

>
>The game will feature things like blood, dismembered bodies,
autopsies and other
>gruesome details. Will anyone be offended by that?
>

Almost certainly. Place a disclaimer somewhere easily accessable, and
those who find such scenes offensive will know to steer clear.

>Has this kind of game been done before?
>

As far as I know, never in the text medium. THere are a couple of
forensic-themed graphical adventures. I don't recall any of them as
being particularly well done, though.

>Would anyone be interested in playing such a game?

Yes.

L. Ross Raszewski

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Jun 18, 2002, 7:43:44 PM6/18/02
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On 18 Jun 2002 20:49:10 +0200, Frank Borger <sp...@frob.de> wrote:
>
>Of course. I (for instance) will stop playing after the second
>dismembered body lies in my way dissected in gruesome detail by your
>writing. You don't have to spill gallons of blood to write a good
>detective novel. (Just my 0.02 ¤).

This is true, of course, but a police procedural or a forensic
thriller is not a detective novel. It's very hard to have a game
center around forensic science without some meticulously-described
gore.

L. Ross Raszewski

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Jun 18, 2002, 7:48:58 PM6/18/02
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On Tue, 18 Jun 2002 17:55:51 -0400, tarage <tar...@NOSPAM.bellsouth.net> wrote:
>
>Your syntax might get a little tricky. I'm no INFORM wizard, but from
>what I've seen & played thus far, it looks like it has one level of
>examination depth. I.e. you have the object, and then the examined
>object. Not sure how to account for objects within objects that you can
>examine (the reflection in the sunglasses in the photo).

This is really easy to implement, though I agree that the syntax might
get clunky in some places. I'd really suggest some sort of alternate
interface for doing lab work.

>
>Two. One is that cardinal directions aren't that oddball. I know someone
>IRL who navigates cities that way. Even I do it somewhat. Once you know
>where a major landmark is (say if you live on the coast, the sea is
>always to the east), it's not hard to slip into the habit of using them
>around town.

It sounds more like the concern is more like this: all there is in the
game is the crime scene and the lab. It doesn't make sense to say
'>EAST' at the crime scene and be at the lab -- even with some linking
narrative. I think the goal here is to *not* implement an entire city
which is 'just scenery'

Ethyl Yuter

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Jun 18, 2002, 9:34:49 PM6/18/02
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"Philipp Lenssen" <len...@hitnet.rwth-aachen.de> wrote in message news:<aenu0s$49m$1...@nets3.rz.RWTH-Aachen.DE>...

I think there was a detective like game called Detective, where you
had to interview witnesses and find a killer. It was done quite a
while ago, I believe.

Timothy Groves

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Jun 18, 2002, 10:27:32 PM6/18/02
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I was myself considering the possibility of writing murder-mystery IF.
Though I have managed to get ahold of a chunk of code that creates a set
of facts for the investigator to solve the crime with. It involves
random numbers, which I'm pretty certain Inform can handle. You could
play the game many times and have a different set of clues and solution
every time. The code I have is written in BASIC, but would probably not
be a chore to re-code.

About the only problem is that I would have some ten possible victims,
some twenty possible suspects, and some four overall locations, with
between three and twelve 'rooms' each. A cast of one victim and three
to five suspects would be selected, and they and the clues would be
scattered around the 'city'. A few locations, notably a police station
and a library, would be involved in every game. So after about, oh,
game three, a bit of sameness would creep in, and I don't know how long
it would take before you were seriously sick of the thing.

Comments? Thoughts? Tomatoes?

--
ICQ#66022322

"Of all sexual aberrations, I think that chastity is the strangest."
-Anatole France

David Welbourn

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Jun 18, 2002, 11:01:04 PM6/18/02
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"Per Olofsson" wrote...

> There are a couple of things that I hope you can help me with. First, how
will
> the game world be arranged spacially? There must be at least two key
locations;
> the police staion/forensic laboratory and the crime scene(s). Moving
between
> them by using cardinal directions doesn't feel right. Any suggestions?

This is going to be a radical suggestion, but I suggest taking a tip from
graphic adventure games, and create a special location called "The Big City"
or "City Map" and simply list the known locations, and prompt the player to
choose one of them by name (or number). So it would work something like
this:

Front Hall
>south
(opening the front door first)
You leave the scene of the crime...

The Big City
1. Forensic HQ.
2. Your apartment.
3. Brown-Jones residence.
4. Legal firm of Wegettem and Howe.
5. Goode Funeral Home.
Destination? >> 1
You head back to headquarters...

Forensic HQ Lobby
Your secretary, Linda, looks up as you walk in. "That blood test analysis
you asked for is on your desk. And your wife called. Seems your son got in
some kind of trouble at school today." Linda hands you a memo.

-- David Welbourn

John W. Kennedy

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Jun 18, 2002, 8:04:34 PM6/18/02
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L. Ross Raszewski wrote:
> It sounds more like the concern is more like this: all there is in the
> game is the crime scene and the lab. It doesn't make sense to say
> '>EAST' at the crime scene and be at the lab -- even with some linking
> narrative. I think the goal here is to *not* implement an entire city
> which is 'just scenery'

This being the secret origin of Sgt. Duffy.

--
John W. Kennedy
Read the remains of Shakespeare's lost play, now annotated!
http://pws.prserv.net/jwkennedy/Double%20Falshood.html

Stark Springs

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Jun 19, 2002, 1:18:49 PM6/19/02
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"David Welbourn" <dsw...@look.ca> wrote in message >
>
> The Big City
> 1. Forensic HQ.
> 2. Your apartment.
> 3. Brown-Jones residence.
> 4. Legal firm of Wegettem and Howe.
> 5. Goode Funeral Home.
> Destination? >> 1
> You head back to headquarters...

I remember playing many years ago a detective-type game on my C64
where you moved between places by driving. Once in your car you would
type: "drive home" or "drive to office". Finding out new places where
you could go was actually a puzzle in itself. I'm afraid I don't
remember the game name, though...

Stark

Neil Cerutti

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Jun 19, 2002, 1:28:56 PM6/19/02
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Stark Springs posted:

"Murder by the Dozen" is somewhat like that.

--
Neil Cerutti <cer...@trans-video.net>
*** Your mule was judged "best built" at the colony fair. You
won $50. ***

Dennis G Jerz

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Jun 20, 2002, 2:41:01 AM6/20/02
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cer...@trans-video.net (Neil Cerutti) wrote in message news:<slrnah1g7a...@fiad06.norwich.edu>...
> Stark Springs posted:

> >I remember playing many years ago a detective-type game on my
> >C64 where you moved between places by driving. Once in your car
> >you would type: "drive home" or "drive to office". Finding out
> >new places where you could go was actually a puzzle in itself.
> >I'm afraid I don't remember the game name, though...
>
> "Murder by the Dozen" is somewhat like that.

"The Dagger of Amon Ra" (Sierra grapic adventure, circa 1989?)
featured a notebook carried around by the PC... it was a bit clunky as
a device, but as you encountered new names and visited new places,
they were automatically written into your notebook. You played a
reporter, so the notebook was a good prop. You moved about the city by
hailing taxis and clicking on the name of the place you wanted to
visit.

So, creating a partner who would handle the job of driving (or any
other tasks too cumbersome to code) might be useful. It would be nice
to be able to access your cadre of experts via telephone, too.

Dennis G Jerz

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Jun 20, 2002, 2:41:40 AM6/20/02
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cer...@trans-video.net (Neil Cerutti) wrote in message news:<slrnah1g7a...@fiad06.norwich.edu>...
> Stark Springs posted:
> >I remember playing many years ago a detective-type game on my
> >C64 where you moved between places by driving. Once in your car
> >you would type: "drive home" or "drive to office". Finding out
> >new places where you could go was actually a puzzle in itself.
> >I'm afraid I don't remember the game name, though...
>
> "Murder by the Dozen" is somewhat like that.

"The Dagger of Amon Ra" (Sierra grapic adventure, circa 1989?)

Eric Crahan

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Jun 20, 2002, 9:44:07 AM6/20/02
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In article <b6488115.02061...@posting.google.com>,
per_ol...@mail.com says...


> There are a couple of things that I hope you can help me with. First, how will
> the game world be arranged spacially? There must be at least two key locations;
> the police staion/forensic laboratory and the crime scene(s). Moving between
> them by using cardinal directions doesn't feel right. Any suggestions?

Perhaps you could set it up like the Manhunter games from Sierra Online
(late 80s, early 90s), where new locations became available as clues were
discovered. Then, there could be a list of locations that could be
traveled to, with cardinal directions potentially being used inside a
location.

Grant D. Watson

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Jun 20, 2002, 6:19:45 PM6/20/02
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>So, creating a partner who would handle the job of driving (or any
>other tasks too cumbersome to code) might be useful. It would be nice
>to be able to access your cadre of experts via telephone, too.

Excellent idea.

[transcript]
Laboratory

This is just an incredibly cool place to be.
>EXIT

Street

Smith is parked on this north-south thoroughfare.
>N
Smith honks loudly and yells out the window, "We don't have time for that!"

>ENTER CAR
"Where do you wanna go now?" Smith asks?

>SMITH, DRIVE TO BANK
"We're on a schedule. Stay on the case."

>SMITH, DRIVE TO CRIME SCENE
or
>TELL SMITH CRIME SCENE
[/transcript]

It involves creating one extra location for each inside location, but it should
work.

Grant D. Watson
grwa...@georgefox.edu
VBas...@aol.com

LizM7

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Jun 24, 2002, 10:16:57 PM6/24/02
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vbas...@aol.com (Grant D. Watson) wrote:
> >So, creating a partner who would handle the job of driving (or any
> >other tasks too cumbersome to code) might be useful. It would be nice
> >to be able to access your cadre of experts via telephone, too.
>
> Excellent idea.
>
> [transcript]
> Laboratory
>
> This is just an incredibly cool place to be.
> >EXIT
>
> Street
>
> Smith is parked on this north-south thoroughfare.
> >N
> Smith honks loudly and yells out the window, "We don't have time for that!"
>
> >ENTER CAR
> "Where do you wanna go now?" Smith asks?
>
> >SMITH, DRIVE TO BANK
> "We're on a schedule. Stay on the case."
>
> >SMITH, DRIVE TO CRIME SCENE
> or
> >TELL SMITH CRIME SCENE
> [/transcript]

Do us all a favor, though, and include a few essencials:
[transcript]
"Where do you wanna go now?" Smith asks.

> ask smith about places
Smith points to a city map. "Look for yourself," he mutters.

> x map
This is an ordinary city map. You've circled several locations
related to your investigation. They are:
* the victim's place of residence
* the used bookstore where the victim worked
* the city morgue
* [etc., with updates as you get more info]
[/transcript]

- Liz

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