OpenFate - an experiment

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Victor Gijsbers

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Apr 30, 2007, 4:33:21 PM4/30/07
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Dear all,

I wish to invite all of you to participate in an experiment: the open
source development of an interactive fiction piece. Or rather (which
should be easier) the open source development of a new version of an
interactive fiction piece.

The idea is that anyone who is interested can join a project to create a
new, bigger, better version of Fate, my recent SpringThing-winning
piece. I'm not talking about a few bug-fixes, I'm talking about a
serious addition of new content, and perhaps also an overhaul of
existing content.

Why might you wish to participate?
* You played the game, and just _know_ what it needs to become better.
The OpenFate project allows you to realise your ideas.
* You wish to write IF, but do not have the time to write a full piece
from scratch. The OpenFate project allows you to make a significant
contribution to a piece that already exists.

Of course, there would have to be some kind of central discussion (so
people don't work at cross-purposes). We would have to identify the main
issues we wish to work on, and who will do what. I will act as project
leader (or whatever you wish to call it) and merge proposed changes with
the official source code.


I wish to ask all of you three questions.

1. Are you interested in participating? If so, please reply to this thread.
2. What do you think needs to be done to make OpenFate a piece that even
those who have already played Fate will want to try?
3. If you intend to participate: what would you like to do? (This could
range from "improving the room descriptions" to "writing a flash-back
scene with Mebeira and the King".)

The reviews have given me some ideas about 3, but I'd like to hear your
ideas first.


Please reply if you are interested,
Victor


PS.
I'll be releasing the source code real soon. I'd like to do some extra
commenting, and I need to send an email with proposed changes to one of
the extension authors.

Ryusui

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May 1, 2007, 3:36:41 AM5/1/07
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I'm not sure if I'll actually participate in the actual coding of such
a project, but being a beta tester as well as having voted in the
Spring Thing, I'd at least like to throw in my two cents. Which I may
have already done elsewhere.

Fate's one glaring weakness is that the game's pacing somewhat
diminishes the impact of your actions. It's like you wake up, look
into the crystal ball, and suddenly our silently-suffering Catherine
(actually, that'd be another thing I'd change: "Flora" doesn't sound
much like a tragic heroine, but "Catherine" is already taken by a real-
life historical figure and a certain rebel leader from another
adventure game series: "Fiona", on the other hand, is a fairly strong
name that, conveniently, looks quite a bit like the original name)
becomes an avenger with flaming sword in hand, damned be the
consequences as long as she can wrest her child's fate from those who
would smother it in the cradle: over the course of a few hours, she
can kill up to two servants, destroy the prince's mind, betray her
(not-so-loving) husband to fulfill another's vengeance and summon
forth the forces of Hell with an animal sacrifice. Varicella can
similarly kill all his rivals over tea-time, but his eponymous game is
intentionally farcical: the premise of Fate does not benefit from such
a timeframe.

I would suggest the game take place over a series of months leading up
to the birth of the child: the game would be divided into chapters,
each one a single, crucial day in which Fiona has the chance to alter
the fate of herself and her child. This would suggest a slightly
different approach to the visions: perhaps the result of her spell is
premonitory dreams (possibly metaphorical ones), and each chapter is
triggered by a different one. Prince Harold is already well-
established as the chief antagonist, the bringer of misfortune in all
three currently-extant visions: it is he who puts the viper in Fiona's
bed, he who sends a man to murder the child, and his destruction which
prompts your exile from the palace. Perhaps there is more than one
attempt on Fiona's life; we already know that the King is unwilling to
come to Fiona's aid. The notion comes to mind of a great feast or
banquet, or other grand royal gathering, in which a poisoning attempt
is made. This might also be, in a revised and expanded version of
Fate, where Fiona gets the chance to curse the King...or not. Also, it
seems rather weak that Prince Harold should be goaded so easily into
attacking Fiona: perhaps, truer to the spirit of the game, you have
the opportunity to pin some heinous act on Prince Harold, some act of
treachery or treason (perhaps warning the rebellion of the King's
military strategy?), prompting him to put two and two together to
realize who set him up...and the rest is obvious.

Two remaining, mainly stylistic suggestions about the material already
established. I should have in retrospect made these comments during
the beta-testing, but then again hindsight is 20/20. First of all, the
King's reaction seems rather weak for the build-up to it and
aftermath: he certainly acts like he's seen a ghost, but he does not
really seem..."haunted", if you will. Somewhat disturbed by a brief
vision of his past misdeeds, certainly, but nothing that would really
qualify as him being revenged upon. Second of all, until I reached the
topic of discussion about the child Amy lost, I was under the
impression that the "Princess" was a spoiled teenager rather than
Harold's wife. (Like I said, though, my impression.) Perhaps this is
her intended portrayal, but who she actually is seems a bit of a blank
until you have exhausted most of her conversation topics. (One of the
weaknesses of the game's early versions, as noted in my
correspondence, is the lack of information given: there's no need to
supply a detailed history with the game, but I felt at times like a
blind amnesiac. Again, likely my own fault.)

Emily Short

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May 1, 2007, 12:59:05 PM5/1/07
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On Apr 30, 3:33 pm, Victor Gijsbers <vic...@lilith.gotdns.org> wrote:

> I wish to ask all of you three questions.
>
> 1. Are you interested in participating? If so, please reply to this thread.
> 2. What do you think needs to be done to make OpenFate a piece that even
> those who have already played Fate will want to try?
> 3. If you intend to participate: what would you like to do? (This could
> range from "improving the room descriptions" to "writing a flash-back
> scene with Mebeira and the King".)

I'd personally be most interested in seeing more development of the
relationship between the protagonist and her husband -- either in the
form of flashbacks or through more connected development leading up to
this point. I'm not sure I'm in a position to contribute large amounts
of time myself, being pretty busy of late, but I do hope you get
enough takers to try the experiment, because I'm curious to see how it
turns out.

Cassy Palop

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May 2, 2007, 4:19:12 AM5/2/07
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This is a direct copy and paste of the last section of my report as
beta-tester. I include here only to share my interests. I do not know
whether or not one or several of this issues were addressed in the
competition release.

==I have some queries==

When I carefully read a work of interactive fiction I always end up
yearning for intriguing details (at least to me) concerning the
background story. [Of course, *now* you are not obliged to answer my
questions because such particulars may belong to the future piece
(that because of GPL may be written by another person).]

[impending spoilers ROT13'd] http://rot13page.googlepages.com/

• Nsgre Unebyq tbrf znq, jurer vf tbvat gur Nzhyrg bs Znqarff gb raq
hc va? Vg frrzf gung vg fhqqrayl inavfurf sebz gur fprar.
• Jnf Unebyq cerivbhfyl nccbvagrq nf gur bssvpvny urve gb gur guebar?
Gur sbyybjvat gjb rkprecgf zvtug fhttrfg gung:

'Ur [ersreevat gb Pngurevar’f ulcbgurgvpny fba] vf rknpgyl jung gur
eroryf arrq: n cevapr bs eblny oybbq naq gur bs oybbq bs Tbaqbyn, naq
sne gbb lbhat gb fnl nalguvat ntnvafg gurz. Gurl jvyy cebpynvz uvz
Xvat, naq guhf yrtvgvzvfr gurve pnhfr. Vg vf n zbir gung pbhyq oevat
znal aboyrf bire gb gurve fvqr.'

'Orpnhfr lbh [Cevapr Unebyq] ner nsenvq. Lbh ner nsenvq bs na haobea
puvyq; nsenvq gung ur jvyy gnxr lbhe cynpr nf xvat.'

• Jung vf gur checbfr (be gur cbjre fbhepr) oruvaq gur haybpxnyy
pbzznaq?

>haybpx nyy
Jung qb lbh jnag gb haybpx gubfr guvatf jvgu?
>haybpxnyy
Haybpxvat gur tbyqra pntr.
N ybhq fgrerbcubavp pyvpx nffherf lbh gung rirelguvat va gur tnzr unf
orra haybpxrq.

• Jung vf gur tneqrare’f anzr? V fubhyq abg nfx gung—nsgre nyy, Flyivr
naq gur tneqrare ner bayl fgnoonoyr ACPf… 
Fgno Flyivr be gur tneqrare.

• Qbrf gur Qhxr bs Nyoevpug orybat gb Pngurevar’f snzvyl?

• Jung vf gur Oybbq? Vf vg n flabalz bs aboyr/jneevbe? Unf gur
rglzbybtl bs gur grez fbzrguvat gb qb jvgu gur bevtvaf be naprfgbef bs
gur eblny snzvyl?

• Lbh jvyy guvax V nz fghcvq, ohg V nz abg 100% fher gung Cevapr
Unebyq vf gur fba bs Xvat Nyserq VV. Vf gurer nal cbffvovyvgl gung gur
Xvat’f svefg jvsr unq orra purngvat ba uvf uhfonaq? 

Gur ivfvba yrnirf lbh funxra. Vs lbh qba'g npg, naq npg fbba, gur bayl
fheivivat fba bs gur Xvat'f svefg zneevntr jvyy xvyy lbhe onol.

Gur Xvat ohefgf vagb lbhe qra, nppbzcnavrq ol frireny thneqf. 'Lbh
sbhy jvgpu!', ur fpernzf ng lbh. 'Jung unir lbh qbar jvgu zl fba?'

• Ner gur Oynpx Xavtug bs Fxhyyjbbq naq Qrzba Xvat bs gur Ybjre
Ernpurf cheryl vairagvbaf bs Fve Puneyrf? Qvq gurl ernyyl rkvfg?

• V penir sbe fbzr cvrpr bs vasbezngvba pbapreavat gur sngure bs Xvat
Nyserq VV (gung vf, Xvat Nyserq V) be Pngurevar’f sngure. Nalguvat. 

• Ncneg sebz Tbaqbyn, ner bgure ertvbaf bs gur xvatqbz jbegu
zragvbavat? Ubj nobhg Pbaqvan? Naq Pnynl naq Traqb?

• Svanyyl, jung vf gur anzr bs gur xvatqbz?

o---o

Cassy

Valzi

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Jun 1, 2007, 6:31:43 PM6/1/07
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On Apr 30, 2:33 pm, Victor Gijsbers <vic...@lilith.gotdns.org> wrote:
> 1. Are you interested in participating? If so, please reply to this thread.
> 2. What do you think needs to be done to make OpenFate a piece that even
> those who have already played Fate will want to try?
> 3. If you intend to participate: what would you like to do? (This could
> range from "improving the room descriptions" to "writing a flash-back
> scene with Mebeira and the King".)

I'd love to take part, mostly in terms of increasing the detail of the
gameworld - object descriptions, new objects, et cetera. I think
increasing interactivity greatly will make this game worth a revisit
for previous players.

-Michael

Eric

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Jun 2, 2007, 7:42:25 AM6/2/07
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I'd definitely take part as well .... but where is it?


Ryusui

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Jun 2, 2007, 2:46:42 PM6/2/07
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On Jun 2, 4:42 am, "Eric" <-> wrote:
> I'd definitely take part as well .... but where is it?

It hasn't started yet. It's all theoretical at this point.

Eric

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Jun 3, 2007, 9:09:39 AM6/3/07
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"Ryusui" <TheR...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1180810002.5...@g37g2000prf.googlegroups.com...

> On Jun 2, 4:42 am, "Eric" <-> wrote:
>> I'd definitely take part as well .... but where is it?
>
> It hasn't started yet. It's all theoretical at this point.

So ... then, it's not an experiment. Where is the theory taking place?


Ryusui

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Jun 3, 2007, 3:57:29 PM6/3/07
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On Jun 3, 6:09 am, "Eric" <-> wrote:
> "Ryusui" <TheRyu...@gmail.com> wrote in message

*points at the above posts, sheepishly*

Eric

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Jun 3, 2007, 4:26:18 PM6/3/07
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"Ryusui" <TheR...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1180900649.3...@j4g2000prf.googlegroups.com...

> *points at the above posts, sheepishly*

Ah. So these posts are where the theory is taking place. Well .... not much
theory then. I don't see what the theory we're going for is. If this is an
experiment in open source, there really is no theory to discuss yet. We need
to start collaborating. The theory will fall out of the experiment as the
experiment goes on. But we need something to experiment with.

But here goes:

"1. Are you interested in participating? If so, please reply to this
thread."

Yes and done.

"2. What do you think needs to be done to make OpenFate a piece that even
those who have already played Fate will want to try?"

I have no idea. That's what the experiment would be. I think OpenFate needs
to be tried. See, that's what I'm not sure of. Is the experiment to see if
Fate can be made better? That's what that second question is asking. Or is
the experiment to see if OpenFate can be workable as a collaborative effort?

"3. If you intend to participate: what would you like to do?"

I would like to see if a collaborative effort could truly work when you've
got people who are going to have very different ideas all want their say.
But we can't see that until we have something to try it with.


Valzi

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Jun 4, 2007, 1:48:50 PM6/4/07
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Simply put, give us some source code, and let's start assigning/taking
roles!

-Michael

Eric

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Jun 24, 2007, 9:44:56 AM6/24/07
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"Ryusui" <TheR...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1180810002.5...@g37g2000prf.googlegroups.com...

> On Jun 2, 4:42 am, "Eric" <-> wrote:
>> I'd definitely take part as well .... but where is it?
>
> It hasn't started yet. It's all theoretical at this point.

Just checking in. Have we got to the experiment part yet? All this theory is
killing me. :-P


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