"You can't see any such thing" used too much in Inform grammar.

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Linards Ticmanis

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Sep 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/11/96
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Hi, I have been playing some of the Inform games (Curses, Jigsaw,
Gumshoe, SoFar, Weather and some more) and I find it annoying that the
(rather dumb I think) standard answer "You can't see any such thing" is,
as far as I can see, used in at least three different cases:

1.) The mentioned object exists in the game, but isn't available at the
moment.
2.) The word isn't in the vocabulary, like "throw the sheik at the boar"
(instead of "the shake at the bore")
3.) The sentence structure is not as expected by the game.
Example from "Magic Toyshop": When trying to get the lady's attention, I
tried to "point out the box to the lady" or "point to the box" - the
game knows the word "point", but only with the structure "point" held
"at" obj, it seems.

I think these cases should be given different answers, especially case
3. I know it is debatable if the player should be able to find out which
objects exist by simply typing their names, but I prefer being told
honestly what is understood, and what isn't.

Tell me what you think, mailing too would be nice since my news feed is
rather slow and I also don't like to have to read news every day.
--

Linards Ticmanis

-=UDIC=-

Finire Dragon

<A HREF="mailto:tic...@reze-1.rz.rwth-aachen.de">
tic...@reze-1.rz.rwth-aachen.de</A>

<BRIBE> me. I'll leave.

Bozzie

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Sep 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/11/96
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Well, the reason for the first one being the same as the second is that
people don't like to advertise what objects are in their games until the player
has seen that object, as not to give hints.

Robin Lionheart

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Sep 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/12/96
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> Well, the reason for the first one being the same as the second is that
> people don't like to advertise what objects are in their games until the player
> has seen that object, as not to give hints.

It's not a good enough reason.

This is my biggest complaint with the default Inform parser. (Though
there are bigger overall problems, like the lack of real djectives,
whose lack really stems from the Inform compiler, not the library.)

The user should not be in the position of typing the same noun with
a dozen different verb phrases, when the parser doesn't even know
the word in the first place. It's a disservice to the player
and only increases the frustration level of a game for the dubious
benefit of not providing unintended hints.

John Francis

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Sep 13, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/13/96
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Why would you bother to try typing another phrase using the same noun
after you got the standard error message? After either error message
you know that further manipulation of the named object is pointless.
The only difference is that sometimes you have two different messages,
so if you get the appropriate message you know that an object of that
name is (or might be) in the game. If you then use this information
and go around typing "inflate boat" in every room just in case one of
the objects in the room is a dusguised boat then I claim that you are
cheating, so I feel the game designer is fully entitled to prevent it.

I could see your point if you had to play "guess the verb" before the
game would recognise the noun, bu that's not the way things work.

Steven Howard

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Sep 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/14/96
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In <3238CA...@hertz.njit.edu>, Robin Lionheart <sxl...@hertz.njit.edu> writes:
>This is my biggest complaint with the default Inform parser. (Though
>there are bigger overall problems, like the lack of real djectives,
>whose lack really stems from the Inform compiler, not the library.)

Even assuming that you mean "adjectives", I have no idea what you mean. Inform
can do this:

>SEARCH BIN

Which bin do you mean, the carpenters' bin or the laundry bin?

>CARPENTERS

The carpenters' bin contains a big red phillips screwdriver, a little red phillips
screwdriver, a sticky blue screwdriver, a broken blue screwdriver, a broken green
screwdriver, a big blue phillips screwdriver and a little blue phillips screwdriver.

>GET THE BLUE SCREWDRIVER FROM THE CARPENTERS BIN

Which blue screwdriver do you mean: the sticky blue screwdriver, the broken
blue screwdriver, the big blue phillips screwdriver or the little blue phillips
screwdriver?

>BIG
(the big blue phillips screwdriver from the carpenters' bin)
Taken.

>The user should not be in the position of typing the same noun with
>a dozen different verb phrases, when the parser doesn't even know
>the word in the first place. It's a disservice to the player
>and only increases the frustration level of a game for the dubious
>benefit of not providing unintended hints.

I'm not sure what you mean by this, either. If I see this in a game:

>EXAMINE THE GROMMET
You can't see any such thing.

I'm not going to bother trying to get the grommet, or turn the grommet, or
taste the grommet, since I've already been told that there's no such thing.

========
Steven Howard
bl...@ibm.net

What's a nice word for "euphemism"?

Don Blaheta

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Sep 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/14/96
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Quoth Steven Howard:

> In <3238CA...@hertz.njit.edu>, Robin Lionheart <sxl...@hertz.njit.edu> writes:
> >This is my biggest complaint with the default Inform parser. (Though
> >there are bigger overall problems, like the lack of real djectives,
> >whose lack really stems from the Inform compiler, not the library.)
>
> Even assuming that you mean "adjectives", I have no idea what you mean. Inform
> can do this:

[example deleted]

The problem is, these "adjectives" are really just alternate names, as
two categories of name, "adjective" and "noun", so that you could do the
far as the compiler is concerned. The regular Inform parser would do
the following:

There is a ball fly buzzing in your ear.

A fly ball lands at your feet.

> EXAMINE BALL

Which ball do you mean, the ball fly or the fly ball?

> FLY

Which ball do you mean, the ball fly or the fly ball?

...

What would be nice is if there were following:

There is a ball fly buzzing in your ear.

A fly ball lands at your feet.

> EXAMINE BALL

The baseball flew right out of the stadium when Rabe Booth hit it. But
it's just your average baseball, white with red stitching.

> EXAMINE FLY

This annoying red-and-white insect just won't leave you alone. She
continues to buzz in your ear.

> EXAMINE RED

Which red thing do you mean, the fly ball or the ball fly?

...

So basically, the parser recognizes that adjectives can be used by the
player to describe items, but that the nouns take precedence. Also
they'd know that adjectives (in English) precede the nouns they modify,
so that "EXAMINE FLY BALL" would realize that you were talking about the
baseball, not the insect, etc. Also, disambiguation messages would
realize that you weren't talking about a "red" but rather about a red
thing.

Fortunately, I believe someone has written just such an extension
library for Inform. Unfortunately, I can't remember what it is called
or where on GMD it is.

Don

-=-=-=-Don Blaheta-=-=-=-bla...@quincy.edu-=-=-=-dbl...@aol.com-=-=-=-

When love is gone, there's always justice.
And when justice is gone, there's always force.
And when force is gone, there's always Mom.
Hi, Mom!
-- Laurie Anderson

Andrew Clover

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Sep 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/14/96
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Robin Lionheart <sxl...@hertz.njit.edu> wrote:

> This is my biggest complaint with the default Inform parser. (Though

> there are bigger overall problems, like the lack of real [a]djectives,


> whose lack really stems from the Inform compiler, not the library.)

Mm? I don't think there's any very special support in the Z-machine for the
'name' property, so it's entirely a library problem. Indeed, my 'adname.h'
library, which does provide adjectives, is purely a bit of library
extension.

BCNU, AjC

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