desired level of automation

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Przemyslaw Wstrzemiezliwy

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Jan 17, 2001, 10:14:41 AM1/17/01
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There is a hat on the table.
>WEAR HAT
You don't have the hat.

A tennis ball flies through the window, bounces off your chest and lands by
your feet.
>THROW TENNIS BALL AT WINDOW
You are not carrying the tennis ball.

Many games seem to presuppose that the PC must carry an item before the
player can do anything with it. Is this a part of the genre or is it just
annoying?

Another thing I've been wondering about is the level of automation allowed
when unlocking doors. Most games nowadays allow the player to type UNLOCK
DOOR without specifying the key, presuming the PC is in posession of the
key. What if the key is not in inventory but nonetheless in plain view,
should the game be allowed to draw its own conclusions and automatically
attempt to GET KEY before trying to unlock the door?


Hans Persson

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Jan 17, 2001, 11:00:37 AM1/17/01
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"Przemyslaw Wstrzemiezliwy" <przemyslaw_w...@hotmail.com> writes:

> Many games seem to presuppose that the PC must carry an item before the
> player can do anything with it. Is this a part of the genre or is it just
> annoying?

I say annoying.

> Another thing I've been wondering about is the level of automation allowed
> when unlocking doors. Most games nowadays allow the player to type UNLOCK
> DOOR without specifying the key, presuming the PC is in posession of the
> key. What if the key is not in inventory but nonetheless in plain view,
> should the game be allowed to draw its own conclusions and automatically
> attempt to GET KEY before trying to unlock the door?

As long as the key is somewhere that the player can reach, it should
work automatically, I think.

Hans

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+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Hans Persson http://www.lysator.liu.se/~unicorn/ |
| uni...@lysator.liu.se http://www.lysator.liu.se/~unicorn/fandom/ |
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Przemyslaw Wstrzemiezliwy

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Jan 17, 2001, 12:58:44 PM1/17/01
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Hans Persson

> "Przemyslaw Wstrzemiezliwy" <przemyslaw_w...@hotmail.com>
writes:
>
> > Many games seem to presuppose that the PC must carry an item before the
> > player can do anything with it. Is this a part of the genre or is it
just
> > annoying?
>
> I say annoying.

---------------------

You see a small gray table and a small gray chair here.

>THROW SMALL GRAY CHAIR AT DOOR
You're not carrying the small gray chair.

---------------------

Will "Sensorer" allow the player to interact with objects the PC is not
currently carrying?

Hans Persson

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Jan 18, 2001, 3:02:28 AM1/18/01
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"Przemyslaw Wstrzemiezliwy" <przemyslaw_w...@hotmail.com> writes:

> Will "Sensorer" allow the player to interact with objects the PC is not
> currently carrying?

(I assume the extract you had was from "Enhanced".)

I haven't been testing this much, but I know that it will work in some
situations. I'll have a look. I don't see any reason why things like
this shouldn't work (to a large extent it's something that the
standard library adv.t should handle, though, not the game writer --
but of course I can override the behaviour).

John Colagioia

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Jan 18, 2001, 8:52:11 AM1/18/01
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Przemyslaw Wstrzemiezliwy wrote:
[...]

> Many games seem to presuppose that the PC must carry an item before the
> player can do anything with it. Is this a part of the genre or is it just
> annoying?

I would say that this depended on the game--both the genre, and the actual
plot.

Genre-wise, consider Infocom's Bureaucracy, which does this to you on
purpose--specifically so that you can feel the frustration of your character.
I might also include the Dungeon/Zork types of games, which might do this to
give the player a more "primitive" feeling, back to "the old days."

Or if the player should otherwise be paranoid about these things. I mean, I
would hate to see:
] THROW BALL
(taking the ball first)
As you touch the ball, tear gas streams from an orifice you hadn't noticed
up until now. No, wait, it's poison gas.

*** You have died. ***
But, on the other hand, I wouldn't want to see automatic actions on everything
*except* the dangerous ones...


> Another thing I've been wondering about is the level of automation allowed
> when unlocking doors. Most games nowadays allow the player to type UNLOCK
> DOOR without specifying the key, presuming the PC is in posession of the
> key. What if the key is not in inventory but nonetheless in plain view,
> should the game be allowed to draw its own conclusions and automatically
> attempt to GET KEY before trying to unlock the door?

I'd say it's the same case as above, for the same reasons.

However, once you have the key in your posession, you shouldn't have to think
about which one you want to use (especially since most keys look pretty much
the same--they do on my keychain, anyway).


Adam J. Thornton

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Jan 18, 2001, 11:48:07 AM1/18/01
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In article <3A66F50B...@csi.com>,

John Colagioia <JCola...@csi.com> wrote:
>would hate to see:
> ] THROW BALL
> (taking the ball first)
> As you touch the ball, tear gas streams from an orifice you hadn't noticed
> up until now. No, wait, it's poison gas.
>
> *** You have died. ***

MILD SPOILER

Unkuulia Zero, anyone (there was a guess-the-preposition puzzle in the
endgame, not unlike this, with an extremely annoying default) ?

Adam
--
ad...@princeton.edu
"My eyes say their prayers to her / Sailors ring her bell / Like a moth
mistakes a light bulb / For the moon and goes to hell." -- Tom Waits

Will Grzanich

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Jan 18, 2001, 12:34:18 PM1/18/01
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John Colagioia wrote:

[snip]

>
> Or if the player should otherwise be paranoid about these things. I mean, I
> would hate to see:
> ] THROW BALL
> (taking the ball first)
> As you touch the ball, tear gas streams from an orifice you hadn't noticed
> up until now. No, wait, it's poison gas.
>
> *** You have died. ***

PMFJI, but - how would this be any worse than:
] GET BALL


As you touch the ball, tear gas streams from an orifice you hadn't
noticed
up until now. No, wait, it's poison gas.

*** You have died. ***

all happening before the player can voice his desire to THROW BALL
anyway? I mean, he KNOWS he's going to have to touch the ball before he
can throw it, right?

-Will

Andrew Sithers

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Jan 19, 2001, 6:47:33 AM1/19/01
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"Przemyslaw Wstrzemiezliwy" <przemyslaw_w...@hotmail.com> wrote in
message news:BFi96.7191$AH6.1...@newsc.telia.net...

> There is a hat on the table.
> >WEAR HAT
> You don't have the hat.
>
> A tennis ball flies through the window, bounces off your chest and lands
by
> your feet.
> >THROW TENNIS BALL AT WINDOW
> You are not carrying the tennis ball.
>
> Many games seem to presuppose that the PC must carry an item before the
> player can do anything with it. Is this a part of the genre or is it just
> annoying?
>

Both - it's an annoying part of the genre.
I've always maintained that (assuming I've got the corrent key) OPEN DOOR
should (first unlocking the door with the key) open the door.

Anchorhead seems to address this pretty well.

Now - I don't know much about the current version of Inform (mea culpa - I
got
busy just after downloading v.1) but it seems that verbs could have a range
of
required trigger actions, so in your example to THROW something not in your
inventory would
trigger the prerequisite TAKE action. If you can't take it, you'll get the
same message
as you would if you typed TAKE BALL.

Of course this can be done piecemeal, but do any of the current dev
languages support this level of polymorphism?

A

John Colagioia

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Jan 19, 2001, 3:32:47 PM1/19/01
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Will Grzanich wrote:

There's only one difference that I can think of, really, but it's an important one,
for the way I often play: a player can forget which things the PC has picked up.

For example, I'm very good at mentally overlooking things like the fact that the
ball is still described when I look at the room, and that it's not in my inventory
list. So, I'll occasionally do things like "throw ball," and the "you're not
holding that" response reminds me that I'm an idiot--then makes me actually examine
the ball before picking it up (which--if I've forgotten that I haven't picked it up,
I'll assume that I already looked it over).

So the answer is how low the bar is for the player to jump over, I guess...If
"zoning out" can cause the player to screw up, better to give them the safety net,
and allow the more organized players "suffer" a tiny bit, than cut them out of the
game, entirely.


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