Assumptions in most IF

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Andrew Plotkin

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May 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/23/97
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(The entries in this list are not necessarily independent.)

* There is a protagonist.
* The events described in the transcript are happening to the protagonist.
* The descriptions in the transcript are correct perceptions by the
protagonist.
* The descriptions in the transcript are written by someone who is honest.
* The events described in the transcript are actually occurring.
* The events described in the transcript all occur, as a single
consecutive sequence of events.
* The protagonist is a sentient being.
* The player's commands affect the protagonist.
* Everything that the protagonist does comes from the player's commands.
* The player's commands do not affect anything except the protagonist's
actions.
* The protagonist correctly understands the player's commands.
* The protagonist has no will that conflicts with the effects of the
player's commands.

This is, of course, not a complete list. It's just what I could think of
today. Can anyone add?

(I may not be able to check news again until Monday night. If any of you
are gonna be at Disclave, I'll be there wearing a tacky jacket. Otherwise,
bye until Monday.)

--Z


--

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

Miron Schmidt

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May 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/24/97
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Andrew Plotkin wrote (about assumptions in most IF):

> * There is a protagonist.
> * The events described in the transcript are happening to the protagonist.
> * The descriptions in the transcript are correct perceptions by the
> protagonist.
> * The descriptions in the transcript are written by someone who is honest.
> * The events described in the transcript are actually occurring.
> * The events described in the transcript all occur, as a single
> consecutive sequence of events.
> * The protagonist is a sentient being.
> * The player's commands affect the protagonist.
> * Everything that the protagonist does comes from the player's commands.
> * The player's commands do not affect anything except the protagonist's
> actions.
> * The protagonist correctly understands the player's commands.
> * The protagonist has no will that conflicts with the effects of the
> player's commands.
>
> This is, of course, not a complete list. It's just what I could think of
> today. Can anyone add?

* The protagonist acts sequentially; as according to the player's commands.
* The protagonist will do anything he is physically capable of, except
violent actions.
* The protagonist's moral perception of the world is limited to a division
into violent and non-violent events.
* All events described in the transcript are happening in the moment of their
description.
* The state of the world changes only in effect of the protagonist's actions.

--
Miron Schmidt <mi...@comports.com>

"So, if _Space Aliens_ is Infocom on acid, what's this?"
-- C.E. Forman, _Detective: An Interactive MiSTing_

Dan Shiovitz

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May 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/25/97
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In article <erkyrath...@netcom.com>,

Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
>(The entries in this list are not necessarily independent.)
[list of game suggestions deleted]

The game is "solvable" in some sense.
(implied by the others, but) The player's commands take effect in the
world through the protagonist.
The protagonist is not aware of being fictional.

(The concept of the game not being truthful with you is very
interesting .. I remember reading about a novel where the protagonist
lies to the reader; imagine playing some IF with a similar thing,
where, say, you the player is looking for a diamond, and tell the
protagonist to go north and look around the room, and the diamond is
sitting on the table in there, but the protagonist is scared of the
spider in the room and doesn't really want to find the diamond anyway,
so doesn't report the diamond in the room description, until you
explicitly say "look at table".)

[..]
>--Z
--
dan shiovitz scy...@u.washington.edu sh...@cs.washington.edu
slightly lost author/programmer in a world of more creative or more
sensible people ... remember to speak up for freedom because no one else
will do it for you: use it or lose it ... carpe diem -- be proactive.
my web site: http://weber.u.washington.edu/~scythe/home.html some ok stuff.

Mark Green

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May 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/25/97
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> > * The descriptions in the transcript are written by someone who is honest.

I wish more IF assumed this.. rather than saying that everything has to
be Searched. :)
Oh, and a further one:

* The protagonist will not do anything that directly opposes the stated
or implicit wishes of another being, unless a conflict with that being is
an element of the story.

Mg
--


Laurel Halbany

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May 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/25/97
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Miron Schmidt <s59...@tfh-berlin.de> wrote:

>Andrew Plotkin wrote (about assumptions in most IF):
>
>> * There is a protagonist.

Usually one, possibly more.

>> * The descriptions in the transcript are correct perceptions by the
>> protagonist.

>> * The descriptions in the transcript are written by someone who is honest.

This brings up the interesting point that the descriptions are not
actually being transmitted (within the story-context) *by* a person;
that is, it's what you perceive, not what somebody is telling you that
you perceive. You're not seeing through the eyes of another person,
usually. If the player is using another person/thing to receive
information--say the character is blind, but can operate a small drone
that transmits visual information directly to her brain--then the
player is on alert that the information may not be correct.

Or, the player may find out later that the character was impaired or
affected in some way, and therefore that previous information is
suspect. ("You mean I was on LSD? Okay, maybe that whole sequence with
the mandala never happened.")

Miron adds:

>* The state of the world changes only in effect of the protagonist's actions.

I'm not sure that this is really the case; many *players* may assume
this, but plenty of I-F games (especially newer ones) seem to go out
of their way to contradict this.

There's also the problem of disconnect with the player: the
protagonist acting so differently that the player is unable to
identify with or act in concert with him/her.

----------------------------------------------------------
Laurel Halbany
myt...@agora.rdrop.com
http://www.rdrop.com/users/mythago/

Paul Francis Gilbert

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May 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/26/97
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erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) writes:

>(The entries in this list are not necessarily independent.)

Below I show cases where these assumptions are not always correct. The subject
is "most" IF, but a discussion of which IF these don't hold true for and how
they do it, is probably a good topic anyway.

>* There is a protagonist.

>* The events described in the transcript are happening to the protagonist.


>* The descriptions in the transcript are correct perceptions by the
>protagonist.
>* The descriptions in the transcript are written by someone who is honest.

Not always. Remember the puzzle in HHGTTG where it told you there was an exit
to port? Or the improbability drive room where there is "nothing"?

>* The events described in the transcript are actually occurring.
>* The events described in the transcript all occur, as a single
>consecutive sequence of events.
>* The protagonist is a sentient being.
>* The player's commands affect the protagonist.
>* Everything that the protagonist does comes from the player's commands.

A bit sweeping. In some games, what the player selects influences the
character's actions, but not all character actions "come" from the player.
In many games there is occurances where something happens "automatically".
For example, in LGOP the protaginist gets captured right at the very start.
This can not really be accounted to player input, but rather to the game
itself imposing plot. Thusly, it can be said that everythign comes from
eithber the player's commands or the game itself.

>* The player's commands do not affect anything except the protagonist's
>actions.

This makes me wonder at your definition for the protaginist. For example,
in one Infocom game, Suspended, your "protaginist" is actual several
protaginists, which are robots.

>* The protagonist correctly understands the player's commands.

The bane of IF writers. The fact that the game, and therefore by inference
the protaginist, can only understand a very small subset of possible player
commands.

>* The protagonist has no will that conflicts with the effects of the
>player's commands.

This is not necessarily true. Again, in HHGTTG, the protaginist Arthur (well
to be precise the game itself), is very reluctant to let you enter the
Improbability Drive Room. This shows that the protaginst may not always be
immediately happy to carry out the player's commands. The point is that in IF,
there is certainly room for the protaginist to 1) be reluctant to carry out
player commands, or 2) Refuse to (such as a male protaginist refusing to enter
a female toilet for example).

>This is, of course, not a complete list. It's just what I could think of
>today. Can anyone add?

>(I may not be able to check news again until Monday night. If any of you


>are gonna be at Disclave, I'll be there wearing a tacky jacket. Otherwise,
>bye until Monday.)

In any case, it's a good idea for everyone to consider what IF can be
characterised as containing. Anyone care to add to my suggestions?

>--Z


>--

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

--
Paul Gilbert | p...@yallara.cs.rmit.edu.au
Bach App Sci, Bach Eng | The opinions expressed are my own, all my own, and
Year 4, RMIT Melbourne | as such will contain no references to small furry
Australia | creatures from Alpha Centauri.

Andrew Plotkin

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May 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/27/97
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Laurel Halbany (myt...@agora.rdrop.com) wrote:

> >Andrew Plotkin wrote (about assumptions in most IF):

> >> * The descriptions in the transcript are correct perceptions by the

> >> protagonist.
> >> * The descriptions in the transcript are written by someone who is honest.

> This brings up the interesting point that the descriptions are not


> actually being transmitted (within the story-context) *by* a person;
> that is, it's what you perceive, not what somebody is telling you that
> you perceive.

Yes, that's what we usually assume. :-) Good one.

> >* The state of the world changes only in effect of the protagonist's actions.

> I'm not sure that this is really the case; many *players* may assume
> this, but plenty of I-F games (especially newer ones) seem to go out
> of their way to contradict this.

That was my response as well; many (even most) games have events that
occur on their own timetable, regardless of the protagonists's actions.

Andrew Plotkin

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May 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/27/97
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Paul Francis Gilbert (p...@yallara.cs.rmit.EDU.AU) wrote:
> In any case, it's a good idea for everyone to consider what IF can be
> characterised as containing.

Good word: characterised -- but not rigidly defined.

(And Dan Shiovitz hit the nail on the head when he described my list as a
list of game ideas. :)

I like the other suggestions that have been posted, too.

Michael Straight

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May 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/27/97
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On 25 May 1997, Dan Shiovitz wrote:

> In article <erkyrath...@netcom.com>,
> Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:

> >(The entries in this list are not necessarily independent.)

> [list of game suggestions deleted]
>
> The game is "solvable" in some sense.
> (implied by the others, but) The player's commands take effect in the
> world through the protagonist.
> The protagonist is not aware of being fictional.
>
> (The concept of the game not being truthful with you is very
> interesting .. I remember reading about a novel where the protagonist
> lies to the reader;

Gene Wolfe has an excellent SF novella called...urgh! I can't remember the
title (maybe "Seven American Nights"?)...anyway, the story reads like the
protagonist's journal except at one point there is a journal reading that
says something like "I fear my journal may be discovered so I have gone
back and removed all references to my true purpose here." It was a
wonderful, creepy moment realizing that what you'd been reading had been
edited in a way you hadn't expected.

I think it would be cool to do something like Giles Butel's _Piece of
Mind_ in which the protagonist was a seperate persona obeying your
commands and saw your commands as a hostile takeover. Perhaps the
protagonist would be forced to be truthful, but would try to describe
things in a perverse manner (or try to take your commands literally in a
perverse way) to thwart you.

Imagine a game where the "PC" was a genie or a demon bound by a magic
spell that you were communicating with telepathically or via crystal ball
or something and you would have to phrase every command as carefully as
one traditionally has to phrase the three wishes a freed genie.

SMTIRCAHIAGEHLT


Big Mad Drongo

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May 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/28/97
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Dan Shiovitz (scy...@u.washington.edu) wrote:
: (The concept of the game not being truthful with you is very

: interesting .. I remember reading about a novel where the protagonist
: lies to the reader; imagine playing some IF with a similar thing,

: where, say, you the player is looking for a diamond, and tell the
: protagonist to go north and look around the room, and the diamond is
: sitting on the table in there, but the protagonist is scared of the
: spider in the room and doesn't really want to find the diamond anyway,
: so doesn't report the diamond in the room description, until you
: explicitly say "look at table".)

HHGTTG - the Improbability drive room, I think you'll find.

Adrian

Florian Beck

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May 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/28/97
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scy...@u.washington.edu (Dan Shiovitz) writes:

> (The concept of the game not being truthful with you is very
> interesting .. I remember reading about a novel where the protagonist
> lies to the reader; imagine playing some IF with a similar thing,
> where, say, you the player is looking for a diamond, and tell the
> protagonist to go north and look around the room, and the diamond is
> sitting on the table in there, but the protagonist is scared of the
> spider in the room and doesn't really want to find the diamond anyway,
> so doesn't report the diamond in the room description, until you
> explicitly say "look at table".)

But if the protagonist lies coherently -- how would you ever find out?
(otoh, isn't this what a author does?)

--
Flo

Florian Beck

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May 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/28/97
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erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) writes:


> (And Dan Shiovitz hit the nail on the head when he described my list as a
> list of game ideas. :)

Yes, get ready to be disproved by 2/3 of the competition games.

--
Flo

Joe Mason

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May 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/28/97
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"Re: Assumptions in most I", declared Paul Francis from the Vogon ship:

PF>>* The player's commands do not affect anything except the
PF>protagonist's >actions.

PF>This makes me wonder at your definition for the protaginist. For
PF>example, in one Infocom game, Suspended, your "protaginist" is actual
PF>several protaginists, which are robots.

Well, to be precise in Suspended the "protagonist" is actually a body in
a suspended animation tank, who is issuing commands to the robots and
receiving reports from them. So the player's command "SENSA, GO NORTH"
will actually cause the suspended character to relay the message to
Sensa. So the command only directly affects the single protagonist's
action - the result of that action (relaying the message) affects the
actions of the robots.

Pedantic, maybe. But if you view Suspended this way, it actually
contradicts several of the other points. The nature of the interface
makes the player much more isolated from the game - they recieve no
input from the game itself, only from the computer which they are linked
to. As far as I recall, this computer is never damaged enough to lie to
the player, misunderstand the commands, relay the wrong message, etc.
But in an interface like this it would certainly be possible, and fair
IMHO.

PF>>* The protagonist has no will that conflicts with the effects of the
PF>>player's commands.

PF>This is not necessarily true. Again, in HHGTTG, the protaginist
PF>Arthur (well to be precise the game itself), is very reluctant to let
PF>you enter the Improbability Drive Room. This shows that the
PF>protaginst may not always be immediately happy to carry out the
PF>player's commands. The point is that in IF, there is certainly room
PF>for the protaginist to 1) be reluctant to carry out player commands,
PF>or 2) Refuse to (such as a male protaginist refusing to enter a
PF>female toilet for example).

Also, if the game's default "You can't do that" responses are edited to
reflect the protagonist, sometimes this will be phrased as having the
protagonist simply not want to do that. I seem to recall this happening
in Christminster, but I could be wrong.

Joe

ş CMPQwk 1.42 9550 şWagner's music is better than it sounds. - Twain

Richard G Clegg

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May 29, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/29/97
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Florian Beck (f...@ue801di.lrz-muenchen.de) wrote:

: But if the protagonist lies coherently -- how would you ever find out?


: (otoh, isn't this what a author does?)

You mean you didn't know? This kind of thing happens all the time.
For example, the protagonist of Jigsaw lied continually - in fact
"White" was an unemployed virgin ex-computer scientist who actually
spent the entirity of the game lying on his bed reading old copies of
Byte magazine. However, since he was going to be the focus of a
computer game he thought he'd better make up something more interesting
so when you typed:

>LOOK

Instead of saying:

Messy Bedroom (on the bed)

You are surrounded by unwashed clothes and a pervading smell of stale
sweat. There is a poorly painted door to the north.

You can see a huge pile of old magazines and a giro cheque.

He lied and said:

Century Park
At one side of the great Park, on a gravel path which runs west to northeast
beside poplar trees. Crowds of celebrants are enjoying themselves to the north,
having abandoned the canvas marquee east.

And when you said

>E

Instead of saying:

I'm afraid I can't be bothered to move right now.

He said:

Beer Tent
Hours ago, this was a popular beer tent; long since, the drink ran out
and the
party moved on, leaving just canvas walls and bare benches.

Sticking out of an unpleasant baked potato is a sparkler, still fizzing away.


Although it is difficult, you can actually deduce the truth about
"Jigsaw" by looking at the subtext. Obviously the "true" protagonist is
trapped in a life of deep inadequacy both sexual and personal hence the
consistent lies about a wild romance against a background of saving the
entire universe. We can further deduce that the "true" protagonist is
inactive and desires to continue in and excuse this inaction - which is
why the main plot of Jigsaw revolves around maintaining the status quo
with any deviation from this bringing action to a halt. The "true"
protagonist is obviously a computer scientist if we consider the modular
nature of the game and the fact that he is able to lie so consistently
coupled with the fact that the game has the theme of "erased gender" -
"White" clearly has so little experience of sex he is actually
unsure whether he is male or female - the lack of personality is further
evidence for this. "White" is also clearly male - a statistical
analysis of computer scientists coupled with the obvious obsession with
things military (many chapters of Jigsaw take place in war/warlike
settings) and the classic "pursuer/pursued" nature of his following of
"Black" are all typical of male computer science students.

Next week I shall explain why Trinity was in fact a consistent lie
told by Ronald Regan as he dozed in a rocking chair.

--
Richard G. Clegg Only the mind is waving
Dept. of Mathematics (Network Control group) Uni. of York.
email: ric...@manor.york.ac.uk
www: http://manor.york.ac.uk/top.html


Philip B. Riley

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May 30, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/30/97
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In article <3386EB7C.MD-...@tfh-berlin.de>,
Miron Schmidt <s59...@tfh-berlin.de> wrote:

>* All events described in the transcript are happening in the moment of their
>description.


Hmm... it would be interesting to create a world where the speed of light were,
say, 10 mph (approx. 16.7 kph), so that things need not be happening as they
are described, or even in the correct order. (Of course, what do we mean
by the "correct" order, then?) The physicist George Gamow described such
a world in "Mr. Tompkins Goes to Wonderland", although I may have the title
wrong.

Of course, this would probably be a nightmare to code.

--
--------------------------------------------------------
Philip Riley pri...@math.duke.edu Duke Math Department
--------------------------------------------------------


Joe Mason

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Jun 3, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/3/97
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"Re: Assumptions in most I", declared floria...@stud.uni-mue from
the Vogon ship:

f>> (The concept of the game not being truthful with you is very
f>> interesting .. I remember reading about a novel where the
f>> protagonist lies to the reader; imagine playing some IF with a
f>> similar thing, where, say, you the player is looking for a diamond,
f>> and tell the protagonist to go north and look around the room, and
f>> the diamond is sitting on the table in there, but the protagonist is
f>> scared of the spider in the room and doesn't really want to find the
f>> diamond anyway, so doesn't report the diamond in the room
f>> description, until you explicitly say "look at table".)

f>But if the protagonist lies coherently -- how would you ever find out?
f>(otoh, isn't this what a author does?)

Ooh... "The Usual Suspects: An Interactive Interrogation"

But I think it would be kind of neat to play a game in which the
protagonist lies, but not perfectly, so there's a chance to "catch" th
game at it and tease the truth out.

Joe

ş CMPQwk 1.42 9550 şVegetarians eat vegetables-Beware of humanitarians

Aquarius

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Jun 4, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/4/97
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Andrew Plotkin (erky...@netcom.com) wrote:
: (The entries in this list are not necessarily independent.)

: * There is a protagonist.
: * The events described in the transcript are happening to the protagonist.
: * The descriptions in the transcript are correct perceptions by the
: protagonist.
<lots of others snipped>

I'm not sure that i agree with this 'protagonist' concept. When playing, I
don't feel like someone giving commands to the 'protagonist'; rather, I
feel like *I* am the protagonist. This means that things like the
protagonist being able to ignore my commands are not possible, since the
protagonist is me. I suppose this depends on how you view the player (the
person sitting at the computer), the 'protagonist' (the adventurer,
Christabel, whatever), and their relationship. I think they're one and the
same when I play; is this then not the general perception?

Aquarius

--
"The grand plan that is Aquarius proceeds apace." - 'Ronin', Frank Miller.
----aqua...@cryogen.com | http://www.netforward.com/cryogen/?aquarius----
I would not bet against the existence of time machines. My opponent might
------ have seen the future and know the answer. - Stephen Hawking -------
Offical AFE Wolven Cunning medal holder | Do not run! We are your friends!

Big Mad Drongo

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Jun 4, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/4/97
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Aquarius (S.I.La...@durham.ac.uk) wrote:
: Andrew Plotkin (erky...@netcom.com) wrote:
: : * There is a protagonist.

: : * The events described in the transcript are happening to the protagonist.
: : * The descriptions in the transcript are correct perceptions by the
: : protagonist.
: <lots of others snipped>

: I'm not sure that i agree with this 'protagonist' concept. When playing, I
: don't feel like someone giving commands to the 'protagonist'; rather, I
: feel like *I* am the protagonist.

It still applies, though. There is a protagonist - you. The events in the
transcript are happening to you and are your correct perceptions.

Adrian

Aquarius

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Jun 6, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/6/97
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Big Mad Drongo (A.G.J...@durham.ac.uk) wrote:

: Aquarius (S.I.La...@durham.ac.uk) wrote:
: : Andrew Plotkin (erky...@netcom.com) wrote:
: : : * There is a protagonist.
: : I'm not sure that i agree with this 'protagonist' concept. When playing, I

: : don't feel like someone giving commands to the 'protagonist'; rather, I
: : feel like *I* am the protagonist.

: It still applies, though. There is a protagonist - you. The events in the
: transcript are happening to you and are your correct perceptions.

Oh yes, admittedly; but this invalidates things like 'the protagonist
obeys your commands' as an assumption. Unless of course you also treat
your legs obeying your brain's commands as an assumption....

Admiral Jota

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Jun 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/8/97
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Aquarius <S.I.La...@durham.ac.uk> writes:
>Big Mad Drongo (A.G.J...@durham.ac.uk) wrote:

>: It still applies, though. There is a protagonist - you. The events in the
>: transcript are happening to you and are your correct perceptions.

>Oh yes, admittedly; but this invalidates things like 'the protagonist
>obeys your commands' as an assumption. Unless of course you also treat
>your legs obeying your brain's commands as an assumption....

I generally tend to assume that, yes.

Don't you?


--
Support the anti-Spam amendment! /<-= Admiral Jota =->\
Join at http://www.cauce.org/ -< <-= jo...@tiac.net =-> >-
\<-=- -= -=- =- -=->/

Kenneth Albanowski

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Jun 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/8/97
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In article <5mmmdi$f...@newsgate.duke.edu>,

Philip B. Riley <pri...@fermat.math.duke.edu> wrote:
>
>Hmm... it would be interesting to create a world where the speed of light were,
>say, 10 mph (approx. 16.7 kph), so that things need not be happening as they
>are described, or even in the correct order. (Of course, what do we mean
>by the "correct" order, then?) The physicist George Gamow described such
>a world in "Mr. Tompkins Goes to Wonderland", although I may have the title
>wrong.

See if you can find Nick E. Stith's _Redshift_Rendezvous_, which includes
exactly this concept.

--
Kenneth Albanowski (kja...@kjahds.com)

Big Mad Drongo

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Jun 11, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/11/97
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Joe Mason (joe....@tabb.com) wrote:
: But I think it would be kind of neat to play a game in which the
: protagonist lies, but not perfectly, so there's a chance to "catch" th
: game at it and tease the truth out.

Not quite what you're thinking of, of course, but did you ever play
Delusions? That's a game where the identity of the protagonist by the end
of the game is very different from what you started off believing - large
parts of the game are about catching the game at it and teasing the truth
out.

Adrian

Aquarius

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Jun 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/16/97
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Admiral Jota (jo...@tiac.net) wrote:
: Aquarius <S.I.La...@durham.ac.uk> writes:
: >Oh yes, admittedly; but this invalidates things like 'the protagonist

: >obeys your commands' as an assumption. Unless of course you also treat
: >your legs obeying your brain's commands as an assumption....

: I generally tend to assume that, yes.

: Don't you?

Well, no, actually. I don't assume that my legs will work every morning,
not actively, anyhow. I suppose that I've only got inductive evidence that
they will, but I don't treat it as an assumption since to my mind
assumptions are inherently bad....

Aquarius

--
"The grand plan that is Aquarius proceeds apace." - 'Ronin', Frank Miller.

----aqua...@cryogen.com | http://www.cryogen.com/aquarius/----

Andrew Plotkin

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Jun 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/16/97
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Aquarius (S.I.La...@durham.ac.uk) wrote:
> Admiral Jota (jo...@tiac.net) wrote:
> : Aquarius <S.I.La...@durham.ac.uk> writes:
> : >Oh yes, admittedly; but this invalidates things like 'the protagonist
> : >obeys your commands' as an assumption. Unless of course you also treat
> : >your legs obeying your brain's commands as an assumption....

> : I generally tend to assume that, yes.

> : Don't you?

> Well, no, actually. I don't assume that my legs will work every morning,
> not actively, anyhow. I suppose that I've only got inductive evidence that
> they will, but I don't treat it as an assumption since to my mind
> assumptions are inherently bad....

Ok, then what precautions have you taken in case you wake up tomorrow and
your legs *don't* work? Bedpan under the bed? Wheelchair in the corner?

:-)

(And: "What evidence do you have that inductive reasoning works?")

Carl Muckenhoupt

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Jun 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/16/97
to

Aquarius wrote:
>
> Admiral Jota (jo...@tiac.net) wrote:
> : Aquarius <S.I.La...@durham.ac.uk> writes:
> : >Oh yes, admittedly; but this invalidates things like 'the protagonist
> : >obeys your commands' as an assumption. Unless of course you also treat
> : >your legs obeying your brain's commands as an assumption....
>
> : I generally tend to assume that, yes.
>
> : Don't you?
>
> Well, no, actually. I don't assume that my legs will work every morning,
> not actively, anyhow. I suppose that I've only got inductive evidence that
> they will,

Sounds like an assumption to me. And an assumption of the worst kind,
too: an implicit, unquestioned assumption whose possible falsehood you
do not even acknowledge. At any rate, there are plenty of people whose
legs don't obey their brains' commands; it's not entirely inconceivable
that you could wake up tomorrow to find that some undetected
degenerative nervous disorder has suddenly kicked in. Not that this
really relevant, of course; an assumption is an assumption, regardless
of whether it's true or false.

> but I don't treat it as an assumption since to my mind
> assumptions are inherently bad....

Assumptions are only bad when they turn out to be false. And even then,
the revelation caan provide a pleasant bit of cheap drama.

--
Carl Muckenhoupt ca...@earthweb.com
EarthWeb http://www.earthweb.com/

Joe Mason

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Jun 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/18/97
to

-> Well, no, actually. I don't assume that my legs will work every
-> morning, not actively, anyhow. I suppose that I've only got inductive
-> evidence that they will, but I don't treat it as an assumption since
-> to my mind assumptions are inherently bad....

I, too, do not assume that my legs will work every morning. Not for any
philosophical reason - simply because, most of the time, my legs don't
work in the morning.

Usually they start working about a half hour or so after I start trying
to make them work. I'm hoping and praying that some day they won't
start, giving me an excuse to spend the entire day in bed. Hasn't
happened yet, I'm afraid.

Joe

Aquarius

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Jun 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/25/97
to

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

: Aquarius (S.I.La...@durham.ac.uk) wrote:
: > Admiral Jota (jo...@tiac.net) wrote:
: > : Aquarius <S.I.La...@durham.ac.uk> writes:
: > : >Oh yes, admittedly; but this invalidates things like 'the protagonist
: > : >obeys your commands' as an assumption. Unless of course you also treat
: > : >your legs obeying your brain's commands as an assumption....

: > : I generally tend to assume that, yes.

: > : Don't you?

: > Well, no, actually. I don't assume that my legs will work every morning,
: > not actively, anyhow. I suppose that I've only got inductive evidence that
: > they will, but I don't treat it as an assumption since to my mind
: > assumptions are inherently bad....

: Ok, then what precautions have you taken in case you wake up tomorrow and

: your legs *don't* work? Bedpan under the bed? Wheelchair in the corner?

OK, I take your point, people...

: (And: "What evidence do you have that inductive reasoning works?")
It always has so far :-)

Aq.

Matthew T. Russotto

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Jun 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/25/97
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In article <5or3bk$e...@mercury.dur.ac.uk>,

Aquarius <aqua...@cryogen.com> wrote:
}Andrew Plotkin (erky...@netcom.com) wrote:
}
}: (And: "What evidence do you have that inductive reasoning works?")
}It always has so far :-)

"It worked yesterday. And given that it works one day, I can show it
will work the next day".
:-)
--
Matthew T. Russotto russ...@pond.com
"Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in pursuit
of justice is no virtue."

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