Driving in a car

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Andrew MacKinnon

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Jan 16, 2001, 5:15:16 PM1/16/01
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I'm just wondering which interface for driving people prefer.

1. Use the "drive to x" verb.
2. Use 'east/west' navigation.
3. Use a more complex kind of navigation. The car is going, and you can
go ahead, left or right. You will automatically stop at traffic
lights/stop signs and go, so that's not a problem, and you can turn
curves automatically.

--
Andrew MacKinnon
andrew_mac...@yahoo.com
http://www.geocities.com/andrew_mackinnon_2000/

Roger Firth

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Jan 17, 2001, 3:42:57 AM1/17/01
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"Andrew MacKinnon" <andrew_mac...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:2EAB4F57...@yahoo.com...

> I'm just wondering which interface for driving people prefer.
>
> 1. Use the "drive to x" verb.
> 2. Use 'east/west' navigation.
> 3. Use a more complex kind of navigation. The car is going, and you can
> go ahead, left or right. You will automatically stop at traffic
> lights/stop signs and go, so that's not a problem, and you can turn
> curves automatically.

Well of course it depends on the context. (2) or just maybe (3) might be
valid where:
- your player is driving in an area which she doesn't know,
- for which she has a map (or where every junction is very clearly signed),
- navigation and discovery is an essential element of the game at this
point, and
- you're prepared to implement enough geography to make it worthwhile.

But in general, all that stuff's a pain in the posterior. I'd vote for (1),
which
after all has the great merit of realism: "drive to work" is exactly the
basis
on which I travel 75 miles each morning; car in gear, brain in neutral.

Cheers, Roger
--
/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\
You'll find my Cloak of Darkness, Parsifal, Informary
and more at http://homepages.tesco.net/~roger.firth

jim_...@yahoo.com

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Jan 17, 2001, 12:16:34 PM1/17/01
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I second Roger Firth's assertion: navigating the vehicle would just get
in the way of the game, unless you thought of a way to make it fun in
and of itself. Sometimes I think writers do things because it is more
"realistic". But, hey, there is nothing realistic about simulating
physical objects by typing on a computer keyboard. All too often it
makes a game more tedious, not more realistic.

-Jim

In article <943lva$c43e6$1...@ID-62041.news.dfncis.de>,


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Adam Biltcliffe

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Jan 17, 2001, 1:03:37 PM1/17/01
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Andrew MacKinnon <andrew_mac...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> I'm just wondering which interface for driving people prefer.
>
> 1. Use the "drive to x" verb.
> 2. Use 'east/west' navigation.
> 3. Use a more complex kind of navigation. The car is going, and you
can
> go ahead, left or right. You will automatically stop at traffic
> lights/stop signs and go, so that's not a problem, and you can turn
> curves automatically.

Depends on how the driving fits into the game, IMO. If the game consists
of a few large areas and you travel between them by car, I'd expect to
be able to just type "drive to Dracula's castle" or "drive home". Using
compass directions might be more appropriate if the area you're driving
in is also one which can be travelled around on foot, or if it's a large
area which you actually travel around in the car and the car isn't just
a device for jumping between areas (see Dangerous Curves for a good
example of a combination of these two).

The more complex kind of navigation you suggest sounds unnecessary to me
unless the game is focused on driving around - that is, it would work in
a game about motor racing, for example (despite the fact that I'm trying
to think how that might make interesting IF and failing, it seems as
though there are people willing to have a crack at *anything*, and they
often do a damn good job too), but in a game in which the purpose of the
car is to get you from one location to another, it would just get on my
nerves. (Although I just thought about how cool a sequence like the
beginning of The Italian Job would be as the intro to an IF game.)

If you haven't played Dangerous Curves, that's one game that came to
mind as one with a very good implementation of driving around (although
all the futzing around with turning the ignition on and off and starting
and stopping was more complicated than I'd have liked).


jw


ical...@my-deja.com

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Jan 17, 2001, 6:17:33 PM1/17/01
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In article <9452b9$rgh$3...@news5.svr.pol.co.uk>,
"Adam Biltcliffe" <abilt...@bigfoot.NOHORMELPRODUCTS.com> wrote:

> If you haven't played Dangerous Curves, that's one game that came to
> mind as one with a very good implementation of driving around
> (although all the futzing around with turning the ignition on and
> off and starting and stopping was more complicated than I'd have
> liked).

In the latest version of DC, the minimum sequence of commands to
drive somewhere are:

1. GET IN CAR
2. START CAR
3. DRIVE TO <location>

You don't have to be holding the car key before you START CAR,
although the key does have to be touchable. If the car key is
on the keyring and the keyring is in your pocket, the game will
automatically take the keyring and insert the car key (without
removing it from the keyring, I might add, which was no easy
accomplishment) into the ignition before starting the car. If
you prefer, you can do it all yourself, thus:

1. OPEN DRIVER DOOR
2. GET IN CAR
3. SHUT DRIVER DOOR
4. TAKE KEYS
5. INSERT CAR KEY IN IGNITION
6. TURN CAR KEY (or TURN ON IGNITION or START CAR)
7. DRIVE TO <location>

although I don't know why anyone would want to do this.

Parking or stopping the car is also fairly simple. At any point,
the player can GET OUT OF CAR, and the game takes care of turning
off the car, removing the key from the ignition, and exiting the
car. Again, you can also perform all these actions yourself, if
you prefer.

irene

Matthew T. Russotto

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Jan 17, 2001, 8:35:26 PM1/17/01
to
In article <945964$qts$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, <ical...@my-deja.com> wrote:
}
}In the latest version of DC, the minimum sequence of commands to
}drive somewhere are:
}
}1. GET IN CAR
}2. START CAR
}3. DRIVE TO <location>

What, no shift and accelerator simulation?

3. PUSH CLUTCH
4. MOVE GEARSHIFT TO FIRST
5. LIFT CLUTCH WHILE DEPRESSING ACCELERATOR
6. WAIT
7. PUSH CLUTCH


Also you should really let the detective leave the keys in the
ignition if he forgets to remove them. And then have the car get
stolen -- normally at random, but always when in front of the police
station :-)

--
Matthew T. Russotto russ...@pond.com
"Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in pursuit
of justice is no virtue."

John Colagioia

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Jan 18, 2001, 8:29:03 AM1/18/01
to
Andrew MacKinnon wrote:

> I'm just wondering which interface for driving people prefer.
> 1. Use the "drive to x" verb.
> 2. Use 'east/west' navigation.
> 3. Use a more complex kind of navigation. The car is going, and you can
> go ahead, left or right. You will automatically stop at traffic
> lights/stop signs and go, so that's not a problem, and you can turn
> curves automatically.

I look at it this way: If you're in doubt, the answer is the simplest
option for the player (in this case, your option #1), because it's the
least intrusive--which means that none of the players will curse you--and
it's the least amount of programming, most likely--which means you have
more of a chance of finishing the game in a timely manner.

However, if there is a compelling reason to choose another option (for
example, the player is just getting the hang of driving in the area, and
will be permitted to use the simpler options as s/he progresses), then by
all means implement what makes sense.

I should point out one simpler solution, though: "Abandon" the car
completely, and just mention it in small "cut scenes" when moving between
long distances:
] GO TO THE MALL
It is such a beautiful day that you actually consider walking the five
miles, but
you are in a bit of a hurry, today. So, you jump in the car, turn onto
the main
strip, and get to the mall with only two or three near-death
experiences.
Amazingly, the parking lot is fairly empty this afternoon, so you get a
nice
spot only a few yards from the...

Mall Entrance
]
That is, unless I need the car for something else in the game (like to set
the mood and show progression, as described above), I'd just as soon not
have to deal with it at all.


ical...@my-deja.com

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Jan 18, 2001, 11:08:09 AM1/18/01
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In article <yLr96.680$Pr2....@monger.newsread.com>,

russ...@wanda.vf.pond.com (Matthew T. Russotto) wrote:
> In article <945964$qts$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, <ical...@my-deja.com>
wrote:
> }
> }In the latest version of DC, the minimum sequence of commands to
> }drive somewhere are:
> }
> }1. GET IN CAR
> }2. START CAR
> }3. DRIVE TO <location>
>
> What, no shift and accelerator simulation?

Nnnooooooo!!!! <runs screaming from the room>

> 3. PUSH CLUTCH
> 4. MOVE GEARSHIFT TO FIRST
> 5. LIFT CLUTCH WHILE DEPRESSING ACCELERATOR
> 6. WAIT
> 7. PUSH CLUTCH
>
> Also you should really let the detective leave the keys in the
> ignition if he forgets to remove them. And then have the car get
> stolen -- normally at random, but always when in front of the police
> station :-)

You know, I did think about this, but I ran out of room to
implement it. The main problem was if the detective locked
his keys in the car at the service station. I suppose the
mechanic could've opened the door with a coat hanger or
something, but... Also, at Chez Maxine, if the detective
locked his keys in the car after the valet attendants went
home for the night, I would've had to think of some way to
handle it, and I just couldn't face writing all that extra
code, especially when I had already reached Inform's limits
in almost all areas. Even so, you can break the car's
windows by hurling something heavy through them (like the
ashtray), but unfortunately I just noticed that if you look
at a broken car window, it doesn't tell you it's broken. <sigh>

Carl Muckenhoupt

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Jan 18, 2001, 11:47:14 AM1/18/01
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On Thu, 18 Jan 2001 01:35:26 GMT, russ...@wanda.vf.pond.com (Matthew
T. Russotto) wrote:

>What, no shift and accelerator simulation?
>
>3. PUSH CLUTCH
>4. MOVE GEARSHIFT TO FIRST
>5. LIFT CLUTCH WHILE DEPRESSING ACCELERATOR
>6. WAIT
>7. PUSH CLUTCH

This reminds me of the car in "Intercept" (Michel D. Wile 1981). It
wasn't as complicated as what's described here, but it was still
pretty much impossible to figure out what commands were needed.

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