Eating and Sleeping

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Carl D. Cravens

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Nov 3, 1995, 3:00:00 AM11/3/95
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I have started writing a text adventure and I'd like a few opinions from
other players and designers.

What are your opinions on hunger and the need to sleep in IF? I've
often had the feeling that hunger (dying of starvation) is punishment
for taking too long... when you run out of food, saving doesn't always
help; you have to back up and play through some large chunks more
"efficiently" to get to the previous point with less hunger. Are there
any good reasons to have a major-nuisance hunger in a game?

I kind of feel the same way about sleeping. What purpose does forcing
the character to sleep serve? If the game needs a dream sequence,
simply hinting to the character that they should sleep somewhere seems
adequate. (In Curses, whenever you look at the servant's cot, you're
told you feel drowsy. What player will neglect to sleep there?) Does
the need for sleep on a regular basis simply force the player to take
unnecessary and bothersome actions?

Can anyone show me where needing to eat and sleep every X turns (as
opposed to eating and sleeping when it fits the plot) is beneficial to
the game?

--
Carl (rave...@southwind.net)
* So many idiots, so little ammunition.

mlk...@students.wisc.edu

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Nov 4, 1995, 3:00:00 AM11/4/95
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Personally, I find the need to eat and sleep in IF games hugely
annoying and unnecessary, unless as you stated there is a very good
reason for the player to do so.

I feel many authors add these elements for realism which, considering
most games don't run in real time, is pretty ludicrous.

I think sleeping, eating, feeling thirsty and even death should be
omitted from most games and the player should be allowed explore the
world and enjoy the story without much hindrance. Myst, God strike me
down for saying this, was a very good example of this.


Mark Green

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Nov 5, 1995, 3:00:00 AM11/5/95
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In article <uKsmwwIe...@southwind.net>

rave...@southwind.net "Carl D. Cravens" writes:

> What are your opinions on hunger and the need to sleep in IF? I've
> often had the feeling that hunger (dying of starvation) is punishment
> for taking too long... when you run out of food, saving doesn't always
> help; you have to back up and play through some large chunks more
> "efficiently" to get to the previous point with less hunger. Are there
> any good reasons to have a major-nuisance hunger in a game?
> I kind of feel the same way about sleeping. What purpose does forcing
> the character to sleep serve? If the game needs a dream sequence,
> simply hinting to the character that they should sleep somewhere seems
> adequate. (In Curses, whenever you look at the servant's cot, you're
> told you feel drowsy. What player will neglect to sleep there?) Does
> the need for sleep on a regular basis simply force the player to take
> unnecessary and bothersome actions?
> Can anyone show me where needing to eat and sleep every X turns (as
> opposed to eating and sleeping when it fits the plot) is beneficial to
> the game?

Starvation is a pain in the backside. In fact, any time-limit that makes
you play chunks of game "efficiently" can be annoying unless there's a clear
warning that it's going to need to be done like that. It's really no fun
to have to run through a section you've already solved. If it's actually a
puzzle to have to do it as quickly as possible (ie, there's some special
way of doing it in extra time), things are better. It also tends to be a
fairly unreasonable reason to kill the player - it takes a *long* time to
starve to death, so having a game where you can starve in a matter of turns
would NOT seem logical. (The archetypal example of how not to use hunger is
in the old versions of Save Princeton, which is a considerably better game
now that puzzle has been taken out. There is a tight hunger timer from the
start, two valid-seeming food sources turn out to be poisonous, and the
player starves within a time period of 1 day, despite apparantly having
eaten prior to the game period!! ;) )
Sleeping, on the other hand, is more reasonable. I only know of a few
games that actually had a sleep timer, and most of them used them to
"formalize" a passing-days timer. Plus, the penalty for not sleeping
"correctly" is less; only one of those games actually killed the player for
not sleeping properly (and that was reasonable - you were warned of a danger
around the area that was easily avoided while awake, so it wasn't too hard
to guess what would happen if you slept in the open).

Mg
--

Andrew Clover

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Nov 5, 1995, 3:00:00 AM11/5/95
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Carl D. Cravens (rave...@southwind.net) wrote:

> Can anyone show me where needing to eat and sleep every X turns (as
> opposed to eating and sleeping when it fits the plot) is beneficial to
> the game?

I found it improved the realism and made me suspend disbelief easily in
Planetfall. But not in Stationfall, where the regularity with which you had
to eat (and the scarcity of food) was just irritating. If you do have hunger
and fatigue, make sure there's a good long gap between eating/sleeping and
feeling hungry/tired.

Of course, in many games (eg. Busted) food and sleep are a problem to be
solved once at the start of the game, and are just another (timed) puzzle.
This is fine as long as there's a decent time limit, but I think it's
probably a bit cliche/d now.

BCNU, AjC

Christopher E. Forman

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Nov 5, 1995, 3:00:00 AM11/5/95
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Carl D. Cravens (rave...@southwind.net) wrote:
: What are your opinions on hunger and the need to sleep in IF? I've

: often had the feeling that hunger (dying of starvation) is punishment
: for taking too long...
: I kind of feel the same way about sleeping. What purpose does forcing

: the character to sleep serve?
: Can anyone show me where needing to eat and sleep every X turns (as

: opposed to eating and sleeping when it fits the plot) is beneficial to
: the game?

Here's what I'm doing in "Path to Fortune" (due out very, very soon, I
swear!):

The player begins the game with a pack of rations, enough food to last
until he wins the game. A timer is implemented that makes him stop and
eat whenever he gets hungry (assuming he's not in immediate danger), so the
player doesn't have to type this. If the player drops the pack, though,
the character won't eat unless you tell him to eat something else, or until
you enter the room with the pack again. This way, if the player starves
to death, it's his/her own fault.

With sleeping, the player has to specify that he/she wants to sleep.

As to why someone would do something like this...well, basically for realism.
I don't want to get into the "realistic" I-F thread again, but with "PTF",
I felt simulated time was necessary to achieve some degree of realism, as
the quest takes place over the span of a week. The most obvious approach
was adding a day/night cycle. Of course, this looks kind of ridiculous
without eating and sleeping, so I added that too.

Using this approach, eating becomes...well, I wouldn't say a part of the
plot, but it keeps it from being an annoying and rather unnecessary puzzle
while not detracting from the pseudo-realism of the game.

--
C.E. Forman cef...@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu
Read the I-F e-zine XYZZYnews, at ftp.gmd.de:/if-archive/magazines/xyzzynews!
* Interactive Fiction * Beavis and Butt-Head * The X-Files * MST3K * C/C++ *

Carl D. Cravens

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Nov 6, 1995, 3:00:00 AM11/6/95
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Thanks to everyone for the replies. It's pretty much confirmed what I
already felt, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't making an assumption.

On Sun, 5 Nov 1995 20:34:51 GMT, cef...@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu (Christopher E. Forman) wrote:
>the quest takes place over the span of a week. The most obvious approach
>was adding a day/night cycle. Of course, this looks kind of ridiculous
>without eating and sleeping, so I added that too.

This is part of the reason I asked. My game is set in a ghost town and
will contain some dream sequences (which require sleeping) and the
character will probably be stranded there for two or three days (so
being hungry will at least be mentioned, if not remedied.) Sometimes
"realism" seems to require that the character eat and sleep, even when
those things seem to have nothing to do with the game itself.

--
Carl (rave...@southwind.net)
* Bad Command! Bad, Bad Command! Sit! Staaaaay...

Joe Mason

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Nov 9, 1995, 3:00:00 AM11/9/95
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CDC>Can anyone show me where needing to eat and sleep every X turns (as
CDC>opposed to eating and sleeping when it fits the plot) is beneficial to
CDC>the game?

Well, I think the eating and sleeping in Planetfall were well done, but
in general I can't stand it. Basically, I think it should be done if it
fits into the plot or establishes atmosphere.

That last is very important. In Planetfall you were stranded on an
alien planet and making the most of your resources was a big part of
that. Having to eat or sleep every X turns meant you had to conserve
food and be prepared for it, which was a major part of the game - but in
this case, there was an unlimited source of food. That's one thing you
should be sure of - make sure the player will never run out of food, as
long as he plans right. This doesn't mean "I have X turns to solve each
puzzle". It means you have to take into account spending so much time
searching for food every little while. If there's a long sequence of
moves you have to make without interruption, you have to prepare first.
But the player should never run out of food; finding a food source
should be a puzzle in its own right, but there should always be one when
you need it.

Joe

* SLMR 2.1a * I'm in shape ... round's a shape isn't it?

Chris Thomas

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Nov 12, 1995, 3:00:00 AM11/12/95
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In article <47jurc$k...@bud.peinet.pe.ca>, tba...@cycor.ca (Trevor Barrie)
wrote:

> rave...@southwind.net (Carl D. Cravens) wrote:
>

> >Can anyone show me where needing to eat and sleep every X turns (as

> >opposed to eating and sleeping when it fits the plot) is beneficial to

> >the game?
>
> It's never beneficial. Period.

Oh, come now. I agree that it's usually an annoyance, but there
certainly are ways to make the need for food and drink a core part
of the game and not be annoying. I'm plotting such a game now, in
fact.

--
Chris Thomas, c...@best.com

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