Graphics in Games, do we need them?

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ClanHawk

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Aug 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/17/98
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I've oft heard that having graphics in a game is a bad idea. But, is it
really? Certainly the text description of a given locale should be enough,
but when I first started playing Adventures on my humble spectrum all those
years ago, graphics sorta made the game , "more real". Am I wrong? Or is it
that most Adventure writers do without graphics cos it saves on memory and
maybe they're not so hot with a paintbrush?


Rhywsut

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Aug 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/17/98
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>I've oft heard that having graphics in a game is a bad idea. But, is it
>really?

IMHO, depends on the game. If you want to put graphics in your text adventure,
go right ahead. It may well then become a video game. Whatever. The point
is, "interactive fiction" (that is, no graphics) has a certain appeal because
of its (relative) simplicity. God knows I would never try (or be able) to
write a video game. And yet despite this, we find text games to be every bit
as enjoyable to play as video games (or more so). Thus, I believe the whole
debate about graphics in games (and HTML TADS, etc. etc.) is pointless because
a text adventure with graphics is no longer a text adventure.

-p. huffer

Doeadeer3

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Aug 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/18/98
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In article <199808172316...@ladder01.news.aol.com>, rhy...@aol.com
(Rhywsut) writes:

>Thus, I believe the whole
>debate about graphics in games (and HTML TADS, etc. etc.) is pointless
>because
>a text adventure with graphics is no longer a text adventure.

Agreed. Something changes. For one thing, I no longer can use MY imagination to
fill in the scenery.

I haven't played that many graphic games (I have no CD rom player, which limits
me). The only one that I have played that was REALLY like a text adventure was
The Dagger of Amon Ra (Sierra, Roberta Williams). Usually, with the current
state of computer development, adding graphics seems to mean detracting from
the parser, so the game ends up not really being that interactive. There
doesn't usually seem to be a balanced trade off between handling things between
the graphic system (which often uses point and click) and the text input.

One that was all graphics, point and click, and STILL an adventure game was a
silly little thing called "Future Wars" by Interplay. It stands out in my mind
because few (much fancier) graphic games I have played had it's interactivity.

Another one I started playing recently is Shogun, by Infocom. (Traded for the
disk from someone who collects these things.) I played the beginning, but
rapidly lost interest. Somehow the game seemed to suffer from the addition of
graphics. (Maybe it was the story, itself, I don't know. But even Infocom
didn't seem to handle the trade off right. Yes, I realize that was awhile back,
before improvements.)

Doe :-)

Doe doea...@aol.com (formerly known as FemaleDeer)
****************************************************************************
"In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane." Mark Twain

Jonadab the Unsightly One

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Aug 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/18/98
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Doeadeer3 <doea...@aol.com> wrote in article
>
> Agreed. Something changes. For one thing, I no longer can use MY
imagination to
> fill in the scenery.

Right. Just my personal take: if I want to play a game with
graphics, it is because I do not want to think or imagine.
I am bored or tired or frustrated and just want to blow things
up or whatever, and I reach for Scorched Earth or Descent.

When I want a game that is more than just a game, I reach for IF.

--
At Your Service,
Jonadab the Unsightly One.

remove spaces: j o n a d a b @ b r i g h t . n e t

J. Robinson Wheeler

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Aug 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/18/98
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Doeadeer3 wrote:
>
> Rhywsut <rhy...@aol.com> writes:
>
> >Thus, I believe the whole debate about graphics in games etc.) is pointless

> >because a text adventure with graphics is no longer a text adventure.
>
> Agreed. Something changes. For one thing, I no longer can use MY imagination to
> fill in the scenery.

It's also well agreed how evocative just a few well-chosen words can be,
as in Colossal Cave and Zork I. I first played the mainframe versions of
those when I was oh, 9 or 10 years old, and the images I conjured then
were vivid and come back to me now when I play them again. The wellhouse
for the spring, the bird and the snake, the white house with an open
kitchen window... the paintings in the art gallery, the gold coffin,
etc etc.

The most bizarre mental picture I have in all of IF is of the thief in
Zork. I don't know what made me do it, but when I first played Dungeon
I must have watched some cartoons that day, because I associated the
thief with a cartoon character (one that I disliked, actually -- probably
because the thief's behavior was quite annoying). To this day when I
hear people mention that thief I picture that character (though modified
the way memories get), and when I see that character I think of the thief.

Somewhere once I came across what was purported to be an official
rendering of the thief. I suppose it matched the text description
given, but it didn't match MY thief, and so I thought, "Well, that
looks TERRIBLE." I hear that a similar reaction greeted radio star
Jack Benny when he moved his show to television in the 50's. "People
told me I didn't look cheap enough!"

To me, it's like the movie from silent pictures to talkies. There's
no denying that sound movies were the way to go. Silent films are
essentially a dead medium, but it's become clear that silent films
were a distinct artistic medium with its own special magic, language,
form, and appeal. Splicing a soundtrack in would be foolish. Doing
a remake with dialogue might find a big audience, but it would lose
all of the poetry of the original. Adventure games are dead; long
live the ones that are extant from its golden age.

I think I'm starting to wander from the point, so I'll stop here. I
seem to be making a slightly odd point: having started by saying how
evocative text descriptions can be, I point out that I completely
ignored the written description of the thief and invented my own
image. Hmmm. Anyway, there's no denying that IF can be a powerful
and vivid trigger to the imagination, otherwise this group wouldn't
exist and we wouldn't be here asking these questions.

--
J. Robinson Wheeler
whe...@jump.net http://www.jump.net/~wheeler/jrw/home.html

Michael Straight

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Aug 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/18/98
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On 17 Aug 1998, Rhywsut wrote:

> IMHO, depends on the game. If you want to put graphics in your text adventure,
> go right ahead. It may well then become a video game. Whatever. The point
> is, "interactive fiction" (that is, no graphics) has a certain appeal because
> of its (relative) simplicity. God knows I would never try (or be able) to
> write a video game. And yet despite this, we find text games to be every bit

> as enjoyable to play as video games (or more so). Thus, I believe the whole
> debate about graphics in games (and HTML TADS, etc. etc.) is pointless because


> a text adventure with graphics is no longer a text adventure.

Yeah, but what if you just had a few graphics here and there to illustrate
something important or to create a non-ascii hieroglyphic language to
decode or to give the player a map or something. In that case it might
amount to the same amount of "graphics" that were included in an Infocom
package (like the sundial in Trinity). I'd love to see a text adventure
that used a few graphics to help set the stage the way Infocom used to do
with the stuff they'd include in the game package. The advantage is you
could include stuff from later in the game without spoiling it.

SMTIRCAHIAGEHLT


L. Ross Raszewski

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Aug 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/18/98
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In article <01bdca81$1e4d0d40$02118fd1@jonadab>,

"Jonadab the Unsightly One" <jon...@zerospam.com> wrote:
> Doeadeer3 <doea...@aol.com> wrote in article
> >
> > Agreed. Something changes. For one thing, I no longer can use MY
> imagination to
> > fill in the scenery.
>
> Right. Just my personal take: if I want to play a game with
> graphics, it is because I do not want to think or imagine.
> I am bored or tired or frustrated and just want to blow things
> up or whatever, and I reach for Scorched Earth or Descent.
>
> When I want a game that is more than just a game, I reach for IF.
>
See, this gets into the "my mind is broken" thing. When I want to use my
imagination, I reach for a graphical adventure. WHen I don'tI go for text IF;
if it ain't in writing, I don't see it. My imagination isn't visual, it's
verbal, so in a graphical game, I get to imagine the *prose*. ANd the prose I
can compose in my mind is better than what I get from a text game (With the
possible exception of one or two of the best text games out there)

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ClanHawk

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Aug 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/18/98
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Some good and valid ideas there, I would say that a graphic of a map could
be useful, or maybe a graphical hint of things to come?
I've found that some people dislike Int-Fict, because there is a lack of
graphics! Yet these always seem to be the same people who enjoy a good book!
I can never fathom it! Maybe they feel that there is going to be a lot of
work involved with playing text adventures. I wouldn't agree, the only
"hard" work involved is the reading and writing we all take for granted, oh,
and a bit of thinking as well!


Jonadab the Unsightly One

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Aug 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/18/98
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Michael Straight <stra...@email.unc.edu> wrote

> Yeah, but what if you just had a few graphics here and there to
illustrate
> something important or to create a non-ascii hieroglyphic language to
> decode or to give the player a map or something. In that case it might
> amount to the same amount of "graphics" that were included in an Infocom
> package (like the sundial in Trinity). I'd love to see a text adventure
> that used a few graphics to help set the stage the way Infocom used to do
> with the stuff they'd include in the game package. The advantage is you
> could include stuff from later in the game without spoiling it.

This sound like a good use for Z6, or for graphics in general.

You would want to make a text-only version, though.

George Caswell

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Aug 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/19/98
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On 17 Aug 1998, Rhywsut wrote:

> >I've oft heard that having graphics in a game is a bad idea. But, is it
> >really?
>

> IMHO, depends on the game. If you want to put graphics in your text adventure,
> go right ahead. It may well then become a video game. Whatever. The point
> is, "interactive fiction" (that is, no graphics) has a certain appeal because
> of its (relative) simplicity. God knows I would never try (or be able) to

How does "interactive fiction" imply no graphics? Fiction's certainly
not limited to text.. usually includes stage, screen, print (illustrated
and not), etc...

> write a video game. And yet despite this, we find text games to be every bit
> as enjoyable to play as video games (or more so). Thus, I believe the whole
> debate about graphics in games (and HTML TADS, etc. etc.) is pointless because
> a text adventure with graphics is no longer a text adventure.
>

Not true. A text adventure with graphics is exactly that-- a text
adventure, with graphics. All that's changed is that a limitation has
disappeared, and the author has another tool to express himself.

---GEC


TenthStone

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Aug 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/20/98
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Personally, I find that some of the annoyingly hardest (emphasize annoyingly) games
I've ever played were King's Quest I-IV, because they all (especially the first three)
made the same mistakes: the arcade scenes, in which you must climb the bean stalk
or walk up/down the mountain without falling off. None of these could really be
implemented in IF, which is one of the reasons I like it. Even worse is when the
graphics are poor and I'd like to refer to something, but I don't know what it is. For
example, in the remake of KQI there's a bowl on the ground in one of the scenes,
but it doesn't really look like a bowl. The graphic was actually better in the original.

(The unifying factor in these four games is that they are all parsed graphical adventures,
like Hugo's House of Horrors. i.e. a line on the bottom where the command is typed
in and a screenful of graphics above. They also wrap walking (you walk off the right
side of screen F2 and find yourself in A2, etc.))

The occaisional graphic interspersed among the text descriptions can be even worse:
when using, always make sure that (1) They pause before display, so the player can
read any preceding text, (2) They can be turned off, and if 2 then (3) When turned off,
the player is notified of their presence. Otherwise, they can be very nice. (Hollywood
Murders comes to mind)

-----------

The inperturbable TenthStone
tenth...@hotmail.com mcc...@erols.com mcc...@gsgis.k12.va.us

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