To be, or not to be

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green_g...@my-dejanews.com

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Mar 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/5/99
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<sorry about the subject line, I couldn't resist>

In my game, there are multiple places where an action (usually a stupid one -
like throwing yourself out the window of a three story building) is allowed,
resulting in death. (Hey, if you are dumb enough to try it...)

Question: Do people prefer to be:
a) prevented from doing something dumb:
"Three stories? Are you nuts!"

or

b) allowed to something dumb just see what happens:
"Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh...."
And then UNDO it.

Kathleen (oh, there is nothing in the plot/location to make someone think such
actions would result in anything other than the obvious consequences (in the
above example: splat))

-- Excuse me while I dance a little jig of despair.

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Michael Gentry

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Mar 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/5/99
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green_g...@my-dejanews.com wrote in message
<7bpguo$c99$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>...

><sorry about the subject line, I couldn't resist>
>
>In my game, there are multiple places where an action (usually a stupid
one -
>like throwing yourself out the window of a three story building) is
allowed,
>resulting in death. (Hey, if you are dumb enough to try it...)
>
>Question: Do people prefer to be:
> a) prevented from doing something dumb:
> "Three stories? Are you nuts!"
>
>or
>
> b) allowed to something dumb just see what happens:
> "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh...."
> And then UNDO it.
>
>Kathleen (oh, there is nothing in the plot/location to make someone think
such
>actions would result in anything other than the obvious consequences (in
the
>above example: splat))
>


It depends on the character of the PC and the atmosphere of the game. If the
PC is essentially a faceless dungeon crawler, then it doesn't bother me
much; if the PC is a real character with goals and things to live for, I'd
rather be reminded of such when I try to erase my map.

On the other hand, a humorous game can get away with lots more
out-of-character action for the sake of laughs. And in a dark/despairing
sort of game, such behavior might be precisely the point.

-M.
================================================
"If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding.
How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?"

Andy Fischer

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Mar 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/6/99
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Although I don't remember where it came from, I have a distinct memory of one
of the papers on IF game design saying that "death is fun." And I think it is..
in almost all cases, the player appreciates being reminded of the severity of
their desicions. If, as a player, you *know* that you can try just about
anything and get away with it, then the game becomes much less interesting. So
death (if warranted) is good. After all, one of the great things of IF is that
we get to be so much more foolish than IRL..

Besides, we've got to keep these players in line! Give them an inch...

(or more aptly: give them a hammer...)

Andy


Dan Shiovitz

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Mar 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/6/99
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In article <7bpguo$c99$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,

<green_g...@my-dejanews.com> wrote:
><sorry about the subject line, I couldn't resist>
>
>In my game, there are multiple places where an action (usually a stupid one -
>like throwing yourself out the window of a three story building) is allowed,
>resulting in death. (Hey, if you are dumb enough to try it...)
>
>Question: Do people prefer to be:
> a) prevented from doing something dumb:
[..]

> b) allowed to something dumb just see what happens:

Either is fine as long as you're consistent. If you stop people from
doing dumb things, there should never be a case where you have to do
something apparently dumb to advance the plot. If you stop people from
doing illegal things, like killing or stealing, there should never be
a case where you have to do something illegal, like property
destruction or stealing, to advance the plot. Also, if you do do
choice a), be careful to word your message so it doesn't sound like
"You can't do that .. yet" if what you really mean is "You can't do that".

>Kathleen (oh, there is nothing in the plot/location to make someone think such

--
Dan Shiovitz || d...@cs.wisc.edu || http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~dbs
"...Incensed by some crack he had made about modern enlightened
thought, modern enlightened thought being practically a personal buddy
of hers, Florence gave him the swift heave-ho and--much against my
will, but she seemed to wish it--became betrothed to me." - PGW, J.a.t.F.S.

Iain Merrick

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Mar 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/6/99
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green_g...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

> In my game, there are multiple places where an action (usually a stupid one -
> like throwing yourself out the window of a three story building) is allowed,
> resulting in death. (Hey, if you are dumb enough to try it...)
>
> Question: Do people prefer to be:
> a) prevented from doing something dumb:

> "Three stories? Are you nuts!"
>
> or
>

> b) allowed to something dumb just see what happens:

> "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh...."
> And then UNDO it.

[...]

Personally, I almost always find (a) to be more realistic and (That Word
again) mimesis-preserving. It probably varies from game to game, but I
can't think of any examples off-hand. Sorry.

Hmmm... someone else has replied saying 'Death is funny in IF'. It
certainly _can_ be, but so can admonishments from the parser. There's a
nice example of this in "Balances".

[ SPOILER for joke below ]


At one point you find yourself in a bazaar; if you try to ATTACK the
stallholder, you get:

No way - he must be twice your weight!

If, however, you try KISS STALLHOLDER, you get:

No way - he must be twice your weight!

To me, this is _much_ funnier than two wacky death scenes would have
been.

--
Iain Merrick

Knight37

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Mar 7, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/7/99
to
I think that b) would be preferable if the death scenes are really
interesting. Otherwise, why bother?


green_g...@my-dejanews.com wrote in message
<7bpguo$c99$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>...

><sorry about the subject line, I couldn't resist>
>

>In my game, there are multiple places where an action (usually a stupid
one -
>like throwing yourself out the window of a three story building) is
allowed,
>resulting in death. (Hey, if you are dumb enough to try it...)
>
>Question: Do people prefer to be:
> a) prevented from doing something dumb:
> "Three stories? Are you nuts!"
>
>or
>
> b) allowed to something dumb just see what happens:
> "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh...."
> And then UNDO it.
>

>Kathleen (oh, there is nothing in the plot/location to make someone think
such

>actions would result in anything other than the obvious consequences (in
the
>above example: splat))
>

Jim Aikin

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Mar 7, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/7/99
to

> Question: Do people prefer to be:
> a) prevented from doing something dumb:
> "Three stories? Are you nuts!"
>
> or
>
> b) allowed to something dumb just see what happens:
> "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh...."
> And then UNDO it.
>

My own preference is to give folks a broad hint that it's a bad idea
(possibly even including a variable that increments to keep track of the
fact that they've tried it once) and then kill them if they insist on
going ahead.

> Dive into shark tank
Look -- are you sure? They've got teeth!

> Dive into shark tank
Splash... Oh, no! There are sharks in the shark tank!

*** You have become lunch. ***

--Jim Aikin

..........................................................................
"People do not like to think. If one thinks, one must reach conclusions.
Conclusions are not always pleasant." --Helen Keller
..........................................................................

Chris Lang

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Mar 8, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/8/99
to
ap...@cornell.edu (Andy Fischer) wrote:
>
>Although I don't remember where it came from, I have a distinct memory
of one
>of the papers on IF game design saying that "death is fun." And I think
it is..
>in almost all cases, the player appreciates being reminded of the
severity of
>their desicions. If, as a player, you *know* that you can try just about

>anything and get away with it, then the game becomes much less
interesting. So
>death (if warranted) is good. After all, one of the great things of IF
is that
>we get to be so much more foolish than IRL..

The paper was by C.E. Forman, and it appeared in an early XYZZYNews. He
noted that it's fun to do things to deliberately get yourself killed in
IF. Of course, this refers to doing obviously dangerous things, like
jumping off of a cliff, or entering a body of water while holding a
severed (and live) electric power line, and so forth. According to Forman,
it's more satisfying to be killed by these sort of actions than to be
prevented from doing them because they're dangerous. (Of course, warning
beforehand never hurts).

Chris Lang


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