[IF Theory]Graphics and sound in text adventures

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HairBrain

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Nov 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/28/97
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[Like the "definition of the adventure game" thread, this one could be said to
be somewhat offtopic, but then again, IF theory has relevance to IF authoring,
and there haven't that many posts here of late anyway so who fraggin' cares?]

<The hairy entity known as HairBrain chuckles evilly as it prepares to release
another Lame Question(tm) onto Usenet which will surely start a thread covering
half of r.a.i-f for months to come, degenerating into inane rambling about
Latin and unhygienic body parts>

Someone (darned if I can remember who) on this newsgroup said something like "I
don't know how to make a _text_ adventure with graphics". Does that
necessarily have to be so? For instance, if I was to make an adventure game
which used text to describe the story, surroundings, action and all that, but
had a map like a top-down view of the location, wouldn't it still be a text
adventure?

The same if music &/ sound effects was added to it. If an adventure game is
playable in text-only mode, won't it be a text adventure no matter how much
cathode ray / waveform candy is loaded onto it?

Could we do this without defining the text adventure, please? I'm sick of
definitions at the moment...

Oh, and the paper (the one "the definition of the adventure game" was required
for) turned out rocking thanks to you people and all the great stuff on the
web. Thanks!

I might put the paper out on my web page, but it's currently in Norweagian and
occupies 9 megs as a Word document with all the pix contained in it.
Translating it to English HTML and converting the pix to JPG is a bit more of a
workload than I like to think about, and there are copyright issues -
screenshots from games of course, and pix from the web. Damned if I can
remember where I downloaded all the stuff from... Someone's probably done it
better already anyway. Just a thought. Don't mind the megalomaniacal newbie.

<Its work done, HairBrain returns to lurking in Its basement>

HairBrain
o...@bu.telia.no
http://w1.2327.telia.com/~u232700165/

[begin obligatory house-metal quote]

How to smell and what to wear
How to treat my skin and hair
My voice now does it sound
Convincing on the telephone?
It's just a feeling I get sometimes
-Israelvis
"Near Life Experience"
Eurosis
Progress records

Den of Iniquity

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Nov 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/28/97
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On 28 Nov 1997, HairBrain wrote:

>Someone (darned if I can remember who) on this newsgroup said something
>like "I don't know how to make a _text_ adventure with graphics". Does
>that necessarily have to be so? For instance, if I was to make an
>adventure game which used text to describe the story, surroundings,
>action and all that, but had a map like a top-down view of the location,
>wouldn't it still be a text adventure? The same if music &/ sound effects

>was added to it. [...]

The fact that we've recently been discussing musical format for IF and
less recently discussed graphics formats (PNG and so on) for IF means that
there are people out there who are taking graphics and sound very
seriously and that we're not really horrendously prejudiced against
anything but pure text.

I wouldn't mind seeing the incorporation of graphics into text-adventures,
though I believe you'd need comparatively greater skill at photography or
watercolours or raytracing or whatever than at writing to produce
acceptable material to go into your piece of IF. Mediocre writing can be
lifted up by an exciting plot or thoughtful, believable characterisation.
Mediocre artwork can't be rescued by the writing - people just ask 'Why
did you bother?'

One criticism levelled at graphics in IF is 'I've got an imagination going
to waste! I don't need pictures. Let me see the pictures through the
words.' However I believe that good artwork can also tell a story. (Adage
about pictures telling a thousand words inserted here.) Books for adults
don't normally include pictures, and it's seen to be a kid's thing, but I
don't think there's anything wrong with a good illustration and perhaps we
should include more of them. To take your example of maps, there are a
good many fantasy/SF novels with maps in them (though they tend to annoy,
as I find myself repeatedly flicking back to the map), and even historical
novels. The larger sized editions of Stephen King's 'Childe Roland' Dark
Tower series have illustrations (not too sure about the new one, though),
and I think Clive Barker added a few pen and ink drawings to one or two of
his novels. And why not?

Perhaps as HUGO now supports jpegs and there's talk of adding PNG support
to another system (is it an augmented z-machine or the blorb spec? I can't
remember.) we should be able to have on-topic discussions of how to
achieve certain artistic effects or what sort of picture composition
works best. And likewise for musical composition. Any comments on this?

--
Den


Andrew Plotkin

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Nov 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/28/97
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HairBrain (o...@bu.telia.no) wrote:

> Someone (darned if I can remember who) on this newsgroup said something like "I
> don't know how to make a _text_ adventure with graphics". Does that
> necessarily have to be so? For instance, if I was to make an adventure game
> which used text to describe the story, surroundings, action and all that, but
> had a map like a top-down view of the location, wouldn't it still be a text
> adventure?

The defining aspect of "classic text IF" (the Colossal Cave genre) is
text *input*, plus enough text output to support the input structure.

Additional output (graphics, sound, music, animation) doesn't affect the
core of the system at all. That was demonstrated perfectly well by
Spellcasting 101, and Arthur and Shogun before that (hell, and The Wizard
and the Princess before that.)

Nobody has explored the possibilities of a graphical base with text
input, and the text output supplied by some other, non-primary method.

For example (just one possibility): the standard Myst interface, but with
a command line at the bottom, and if you click on an object in the display
image the object's name is pasted into the command line. You'd still need
a text output window, for text responses to many commands -- boilerplate,
detailed "you can't do that" responses, anything which can't be
graphically rendered.

Unfortunately at that point you're caught in the game industry trap. You
can't afford to do all the graphics rendering unless the game will sell
to a mass audience, and text IF just doesn't. I think this structure
could be just as strong as current pure-text games, but it's impractical
at this time.

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Stephen Granade

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Nov 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/28/97
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On Fri, 28 Nov 1997, Andrew Plotkin wrote:

> Nobody has explored the possibilities of a graphical base with text
> input, and the text output supplied by some other, non-primary method.
>
> For example (just one possibility): the standard Myst interface, but with
> a command line at the bottom, and if you click on an object in the display
> image the object's name is pasted into the command line. You'd still need
> a text output window, for text responses to many commands -- boilerplate,
> detailed "you can't do that" responses, anything which can't be
> graphically rendered.

I'm currently playing through "The Curse of Monkey Island," from
Lucasarts, and it has an interesting way of incorporating text, though
not for input. If you have the "text line" option turned on, every time
you move the cursor over an object with which you can interact, its name
is printed near the bottom of the screen. The interface consists of a
"verb coin" with which you build up sentences which are then printed at
the bottom of the screen (i.e. "use scimitar on short rope"). As the verb
coin only allows three options (take/push/use, examine/look closely at,
and talk to/eat), you don't have exact control over the wording, but the
text lets you know exactly what the game took your command to mean. The
boilerplate responses are given by Guybrush, your character, who will
say, for example, "There's no need for me to cut that rope."

As an aside, this interface also keeps me from having to stare at a group
of pixels and muttering, "What the hell is that? A budgie? A cat?"

Stephen

--
Stephen Granade | Interested in adventure games?
sgra...@phy.duke.edu | Check out
Duke University, Physics Dept | http://interactfiction.miningco.com


Russell "Coconut Daemon" Bailey

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Nov 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/28/97
to

Andrew Plotkin wrote:
>
> HairBrain (o...@bu.telia.no) wrote:
>
> > Someone (darned if I can remember who) on this newsgroup said something like "I
> > don't know how to make a _text_ adventure with graphics". Does that
> > necessarily have to be so? For instance, if I was to make an adventure game
> > which used text to describe the story, surroundings, action and all that, but
> > had a map like a top-down view of the location, wouldn't it still be a text
> > adventure?
>
> The defining aspect of "classic text IF" (the Colossal Cave genre) is
> text *input*, plus enough text output to support the input structure.
>
> Additional output (graphics, sound, music, animation) doesn't affect the
> core of the system at all. That was demonstrated perfectly well by
> Spellcasting 101, and Arthur and Shogun before that (hell, and The Wizard
> and the Princess before that.)
>
> Nobody has explored the possibilities of a graphical base with text
> input, and the text output supplied by some other, non-primary method.
>
> For example (just one possibility): the standard Myst interface, but with
> a command line at the bottom, and if you click on an object in the display
> image the object's name is pasted into the command line.
Sounds kind of like the Legend interface.

Russell

Julian Arnold

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Nov 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/28/97
to

In article <01bcfb6e$97a6da00$LocalHost@bertha>, HairBrain
<URL:mailto:o...@bu.telia.no> wrote:
> [...]

> Someone (darned if I can remember who) on this newsgroup said something like "I
> don't know how to make a _text_ adventure with graphics". Does that
> necessarily have to be so? For instance, if I was to make an adventure game
> which used text to describe the story, surroundings, action and all that, but
> had a map like a top-down view of the location, wouldn't it still be a text
> adventure?
>
> The same if music &/ sound effects was added to it. If an adventure game is
> playable in text-only mode, won't it be a text adventure no matter how much
> cathode ray / waveform candy is loaded onto it?
> [...]

IMO the one vital, defining criterion for "our" IF is the parser--being
able to communicate with the game with words and sentences.

It is not so important that the game communicates with the player in
this way.

Jools
--
"For small erections may be finished by their first architects; grand
ones, true ones, ever leave the copestone to posterity. God keep me from
ever completing anything." -- Herman Melville, "Moby Dick"


M Scott Adams

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Nov 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/28/97
to

Andrew Plotkin wrote in message ...

>
>Nobody has explored the possibilities of a graphical base with text
>input, and the text output supplied by some other, non-primary method.
>
>For example ... the standard Myst interface, but with

>a command line at the bottom, and if you click on an object in the display
>image the object's name is pasted into the command line
>...

>Unfortunately at that point you're caught in the game industry trap. You
>can't afford to do all the graphics rendering unless the game will sell
>to a mass audience, and text IF just doesn't. I think this structure
>could be just as strong as current pure-text games, but it's impractical
>at this time.


Maybe not! I like the idea and may try to incorporate it in something I'm
working on!

--------------------------
Say Yoho, Everything spins around and suddenly I'm elsewhere...
Scott Adams (Not Dilbert, Adventure!)
Email Personal: msa...@bigfoot.com
Email Work: msa...@avistainc.com
Homepage: http://www.pcii.net/~msadams

Edan Harel

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Dec 1, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/1/97
to

erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) writes:

>Additional output (graphics, sound, music, animation) doesn't affect the
>core of the system at all. That was demonstrated perfectly well by
>Spellcasting 101, and Arthur and Shogun before that (hell, and The Wizard
>and the Princess before that.)

>Nobody has explored the possibilities of a graphical base with text

>input, and the text output supplied by some other, non-primary method.

>For example (just one possibility): the standard Myst interface, but with


>a command line at the bottom, and if you click on an object in the display

>image the object's name is pasted into the command line. You'd still need
>a text output window, for text responses to many commands -- boilerplate,
>detailed "you can't do that" responses, anything which can't be
>graphically rendered.

You mean NO text (or narration) output?! Plenty of stories have had a
large output in terms of graphics (check out sierra's games like
The game formerly known as Hero's Quest, Space Quest3, PQ2, CQ, etc)
Which have typed in commands and a combination of graphical output (when
the action was correct enough to warrant an action) and some text, usually
to complement, explain, or add humor to the visual action on the screen.

Nerely every game requires *some* form of output in the form of text
or Narration because either the graphics aren't clear enough to
tell everything, some things aren't describable through other output
forms (ie, smell), and so on.

Certainly commercial games old enough to have text imput to normal
actions require some form of output because the graphics just aren't enough.
--
Edan Harel edh...@remus.rutgers.edu McCormick 6201
Research Assistant Math and Comp Sci Major Computer Consultant
USACS Member Math Club Secretary

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