# "Practical" IF Puzzles

20 views

### Erik Wennstrom

Jan 15, 2006, 2:43:09 PM1/15/06
to
Ok, so I originally meant to post this to rec.arts.int-fiction, but I
accidentally posted to rec.games.int-fiction. I did not intend to
cross-post. Please post followups here in RAIF, and not in RGIF.

I've been thinking about the sorts of lateral thinking puzzles that
appear in adventure games (specifically IF because the freeform input
format lends itself well to lateral thinking (i.e. thinking outside the
box), but that's certainly not the only place these types of puzzles
appear). One class of lateral thinking puzzles that I particularly
enjoy are ones that involve using ordinary objects and situations
behaving simply and predictably to overcome a mundane, but not
insignificant obstacle with as little contivance as possible. (I do
love figuring out alien tools, dealing with period pieces, and applying
magic spells in unique and clever fashions too, but that's not what I
want to talk about right now.)

The ideal puzzle of this particular type would be a solution to a
difficulty that could actually occur in a modern person's everyday life.
I don't mean something that's physically possible, but a circumstance
that wouldn't make me go "That's really, really weird," upon
encountering it. And its ideal solution would involve only objects and
tools that would be normally available in such a situation. This
solution would also not be a standard solution to the puzzle. You'd
have to feel really clever upon thinking of it. And it would have to
work in actuality.

Now I can't think of an IF game that has such an "ideal" puzzle, but
that's ideals for you. A close example I can think of is the key stuck
in the otherside of the keyhole puzzle from either Zork II or III (don't
remember which). (SPOILER-ridden description of the puzzle follows at
the end of this message.) The solution involved ordinary objects one
might reasonably have on the wrong side of a door locked from the other
side, and I can easily imagine leaving a key in a lock (I've done it
several times myself). The puzzle solution was logical, repeatable, and
not at all contrived. The only thing that saves this puzzle from being
completely ideal is that nobody has keyholes big enough to look through
anymore.

In any case, I was wondering others can think of similarly practical
challenges either game puzzles that are realistic enough to actually
occur, or real-life difficulties that were solved using

Erik

### Ashiq Alibhai

Jan 15, 2006, 3:12:44 PM1/15/06
to
I imagine any puzzle that requires you to build something complex out
of ordinary household items counts. I can't think of anything
off-hand, except for the movie Saving Private Ryan, where they built
some sort of sticky bomb out of socks.

I imagine something like that would require an extensively detailed
house setting, though, with dozens of objects in every room.

### Yaron

Jan 15, 2006, 3:24:36 PM1/15/06
to

### Uli Kusterer

Jan 15, 2006, 5:16:07 PM1/15/06
to
In article <hBxyf.732282\$xm3.197660@attbi_s21>,
Erik Wennstrom <h...@qrREMOVEivy.net> wrote:

> A close example I can think of is the key stuck
> in the otherside of the keyhole puzzle from either Zork II or III (don't

> remember which). (...) The only thing that saves this puzzle from being

> completely ideal is that nobody has keyholes big enough to look through
> anymore.

Well, actually, at least here in Europe many people still have such
large keyholes on internal doors in their houses. They're just cheaper
than the closing-cylinder-style door locks one would use on an outside
door (less finicky parts) and that's enough when all it's for is too
keep someone from accidentally walking in on you while you're on the
John or setting up their Christmas presents...

> In any case, I was wondering others can think of similarly practical
> challenges either game puzzles that are realistic enough to actually
> occur, or real-life difficulties that were solved using

Do you know McGyver? That TV show had lots of such "ideal" puzzles that
would supposedly only work in ideal circumstances, but still they would
work. I'd guess that such chemical puzzles would work in real life
(though whether they involve lateral thinking -- who knows).

Another useful thing would be to ask a theatre stage-hand or carpenter
what tricks they use when something goes wrong five minutes before the
performance. Of course, many of these solutions just involve being
prepared or wrapping something in tons of gaffer tape, but I'm sure
they'd have one or two nice tricks up their sleeves.

Cheers,
-- Uli
http://www.zathras.de

### Andrew Plotkin

Jan 15, 2006, 7:55:38 PM1/15/06
to
Here, Uli Kusterer <wit...@t-online.de> wrote:
> In article <hBxyf.732282\$xm3.197660@attbi_s21>,
> Erik Wennstrom <h...@qrREMOVEivy.net> wrote:
>
> > A close example I can think of is the key stuck
> > in the otherside of the keyhole puzzle from either Zork II or III (don't
> > remember which). (...) The only thing that saves this puzzle from being
> > completely ideal is that nobody has keyholes big enough to look through
> > anymore.
>
> Well, actually, at least here in Europe many people still have such
> large keyholes on internal doors in their houses.

The other thing that prevents that puzzle from being completely ideal
is that everyone knows it. :)

When _So Far_ picked up a "best puzzle" XYZZY award, many-years-ago-
when-dinosaurs-roamed-the-swamps, it was for a practical puzzle, in
the sense described here. Simple mechanics, that is -- pulleys and
cables. It may be too late for anyone to remember, but I suspect that
that was (at least part of) what people liked about it.

Other examples... any number of "drag the chair over and stand on it"
sorts of things. Weights and counterweights and levers. The elevator
from _Lurking Horror_.

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
"Bush has kept America safe from terrorism since 9/11." Too bad his
job was to keep America safe *on* 9/11.

### L. Ross Raszewski

Jan 15, 2006, 11:05:51 PM1/15/06
to
On Sun, 15 Jan 2006 23:16:07 +0100, Uli Kusterer <wit...@t-online.de> wrote:
>In article <hBxyf.732282\$xm3.197660@attbi_s21>,
> Erik Wennstrom <h...@qrREMOVEivy.net> wrote:
>
>> A close example I can think of is the key stuck
>> in the otherside of the keyhole puzzle from either Zork II or III (don't
>> remember which). (...) The only thing that saves this puzzle from being
>> completely ideal is that nobody has keyholes big enough to look through
>> anymore.
>
> Well, actually, at least here in Europe many people still have such
>large keyholes on internal doors in their houses. They're just cheaper
>than the closing-cylinder-style door locks one would use on an outside
>door (less finicky parts) and that's enough when all it's for is too
>keep someone from accidentally walking in on you while you're on the
>John or setting up their Christmas presents...
>

For what it's worth, all the interior doors in my house have that kind
of keyhole. And until this past fall, all the *exterior* doors in my
house did as well.

### Drakore

Jan 16, 2006, 1:55:44 AM1/16/06
to
"Andrew Plotkin" <erky...@eblong.com> in

> "Bush has kept America safe from terrorism since 9/11." Too bad his
> job was to keep America safe *on* 9/11.

I love how liberals just assume that everything Bush does is bad, despite
actual facts that show fow effective the war on terror has been.

### Bert Byfield

Jan 16, 2006, 2:35:55 AM1/16/06
to
> I love how liberals just assume that everything Bush does is bad,
> despite actual facts that show fow effective the war on terror has
> been.

There is no war. There is only American fascism, and its related smoke and
mirrors.

### GG

Jan 16, 2006, 4:02:11 AM1/16/06
to
Bert Byfield wrote:

It's easy to villify America. It's predominantly white and Christian
and "Bush" is much easier to spell and pronounce than "Abdhul Mustafa
Fatheldin".

### John W. Kennedy

Jan 16, 2006, 9:38:17 AM1/16/06
to

What "war on terror"? All I see going on is the monkey's long-term
obsessional war on Saddam Hussein, which is what left us open to an
Al-Qaeda attack in the first place.

--
John W. Kennedy
"But now is a new thing which is very old--
that the rich make themselves richer and not poorer,
which is the true Gospel, for the poor's sake."
-- Charles Williams. "Judgement at Chelmsford"

### John W. Kennedy

Jan 16, 2006, 9:42:21 AM1/16/06
to
GG wrote:
> Bert Byfield wrote:
>
>>> I love how liberals just assume that everything Bush does is bad,
>>> despite actual facts that show fow effective the war on terror has
>>> been.
>> There is no war. There is only American fascism, and its related smoke and
>> mirrors.
>
> It's easy to villify America. It's predominantly white and Christian

Just because a devil worshiper like Bush calls the devil "Jeezuss", that
doesn't make him a Christian.

--
John W. Kennedy
"Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found
difficult and not tried."
-- G. K. Chesterton

### Ken

Jan 16, 2006, 9:45:02 AM1/16/06
to
I was going to suggest looking into McGyver shows for ideas too. You
could probably locate some scripts or something somewhere online. You
could also search for paperbacks online that may have been published as
take offs from the show. Lots of shows inspire pulp fiction series such
as X-files, Star-Trek, etc. Look into old AD&D and other TSR modules
for ideas as well. The A-Team was another show that involved something
similar to the McGyver tradition of improvization and making use of
ordinary things around you.

As for the comments about Bush and 911 I am sure you guys could find a
suitable group somewhere where you all could discuss politics without
disrupting the flow of IF related ideas in RAIF.

--Ken

### Autymn D. C.

Jan 16, 2006, 11:27:01 AM1/16/06
to
That's MacGyver.

So you mean "plausible" puzzles, not practical. Try Risorgimento
Represso.

### JB

Jan 16, 2006, 2:02:08 PM1/16/06
to
Hi,

In Filaments you had to open a old, heavy wooden door in an abandoned
church. You had to release a heavy chain hanging a massive bronze
chandelier, then lift it again at the door's height. Then you have to
push it towards the door, several times but with the right rythm (to
gain speed and amplitude) and smash the door with.

Earlier on a plane in order to fight hostile, fire-fearing entities,
you have to empty a bottle of whiskey and ignite it with an emergency
torch to create a fire barrier, then later use an extinguisher on it to
escape the crashing plane.

JB

### Drakore

Jan 16, 2006, 2:03:55 PM1/16/06
to

"John W. Kennedy" <jwk...@attglobal.net> in
news:xdOyf.29\$H06...@fe12.lga...

> Drakore wrote:
>> "Andrew Plotkin" <erky...@eblong.com> in
>>
>>> "Bush has kept America safe from terrorism since 9/11." Too bad his
>>> job was to keep America safe *on* 9/11.
>>
>> I love how liberals just assume that everything Bush does is bad, despite
>> actual facts that show fow effective the war on terror has been.
>
> What "war on terror"? All I see going on is the monkey's long-term
> obsessional war on Saddam Hussein, which is what left us open to an
> Al-Qaeda attack in the first place.

Bush doesn't want to kill you. Al-Qaeda does. Yet you villify Bush and
defend Al-Qaeda. There's a name for your affliction. It's called the
Stockholm Syndrome. It's what made the Spaniards withdraw their troops from

### David Thornley

Jan 16, 2006, 2:25:02 PM1/16/06
to
In article <QrHyf.154071\$dP1.5...@newsc.telia.net>,
I shouldn't do this, but...

What actual facts? It isn't that there have been no al-Qaida attacks on
US soil since 2001, since the one before that was 1993, so any argument
based on the lack of such attacks will completely lack merit until 2009
at the earliest.

On the other hand, I can give actual facts about what the war on terror
has done. The people killed as possible terrorists never are.

--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
da...@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-

### Default User

Jan 16, 2006, 2:42:35 PM1/16/06
to
David Thornley wrote:

> In article <QrHyf.154071\$dP1.5...@newsc.telia.net>,
> Drakore <dra...@comhem.se> wrote:

> > I love how liberals just assume that everything Bush does is bad,
> > despite actual facts that show fow effective the war on terror has
> > been.

> I shouldn't do this, but...

So don't. You're feeding the troll.

Brian

--
If televison's a babysitter, the Internet is a drunk librarian who
won't shut up.
-- Dorothy Gambrell (http://catandgirl.com)

### Erik Wennstrom

Jan 16, 2006, 5:41:03 PM1/16/06
to
Earlier, I wrote:
> Now I can't think of an IF game that has such an "ideal" puzzle, but
> that's ideals for you. A close example I can think of is the key
> stuck in the otherside of the keyhole puzzle from either Zork II or
> III (don't remember which). (SPOILER-ridden description of the
> puzzle follows at the end of this message.) The solution involved
> ordinary objects one might reasonably have on the wrong side of a
> door locked from the other side, and I can easily imagine leaving a
> key in a lock (I've done it several times myself). The puzzle
> solution was logical, repeatable, and not at all contrived. The only
> thing that saves this puzzle from being completely ideal is that
> nobody has keyholes big enough to look through anymore.

I forgot to actually give the spoiler description of the Zork II puzzle
and why I think it fits my criteria. So it's here at the end of this
message.

---
Then, Ashiq replied:

There is certainly a lot of potential in this style of puzzle. But I
would say that to fit the ideal requirement, special knowledge, such as
chemistry or more than basic mechanics, should not be used in the
construction. And depending on the size of the game, having a large
number of everyday objects is not too difficult.

---
Yaron suggested:

I haven't played that game; I'll have to take a look at that one.

---
Uli noted:

> Do you know McGyver? That TV show had lots of such "ideal" puzzles that
> would supposedly only work in ideal circumstances, but still they would
> work. I'd guess that such chemical puzzles would work in real life
> (though whether they involve lateral thinking -- who knows).

I've not seen much MacGyver, but as you mentioned, most of them involve
some degree of clever knowledge, and many rely upon ideal gamelike or
television-show-like circumstances to work perfectly. But not all of
them. I don't know if it was MacGyver, but I remember some show or
movie or other that had the hero constructing a makeshift tracking
device by poking a small hole in the bottom of a paint bucket and
hanging it from the exhaust pipe of a truck so that the truck would drip
paint on the ground. Definitely a simple, practical, predictably
effective solution.

> Another useful thing would be to ask a theatre stage-hand or carpenter
> what tricks they use when something goes wrong five minutes before the
> performance. Of course, many of these solutions just involve being
> prepared or wrapping something in tons of gaffer tape, but I'm sure
> they'd have one or two nice tricks up their sleeves.

There might be a lot of good material there. Can you think of any examples?

---
Andrew put in:
> The other thing that prevents that puzzle from being completely ideal
> is that everyone knows it. :)

Very true. But I didn't know it at the time I played Zork II, so it was
new to me and therefore counts.

> When _So Far_ picked up a "best puzzle" XYZZY award, many-years-ago-
> when-dinosaurs-roamed-the-swamps, it was for a practical puzzle, in
> the sense described here. Simple mechanics, that is -- pulleys and
> cables. It may be too late for anyone to remember, but I suspect that
> that was (at least part of) what people liked about it.

That puzzle definitely fits a lot of the requirements with the exception
that the situation of the crumbling towers was, while reasonable to the
setting, a little unusual in a modern setting. It also depends a very
small bit on dumb luck. It's not unreasonable to expect the types of
events that happen when you start fiddling, but it's also not
unreasonable to expect cables to break in unhelpful places or towers to
fall in inappropriate directions. It was an excellent puzzle, though.

> Other examples... any number of "drag the chair over and stand on it"
> sorts of things. Weights and counterweights and levers. The elevator
> from _Lurking Horror_.

Dragging the chair over gets almost all the points except that for most
humans past the mental age of 4, there isn't much lateral thinking to
solve that puzzle. I don't actually remember the elevator from _Lurking
Horror_. Mostly, I imagine being scared poopless by that game, and not
much else.

---
Then a bunch of yahoos started arguing about politics. I don't care if
you argue about it, but please change the subject line, so that I don't
suffer the severe ego damage when I thought that I'd suddenly sparked a
fascinating discussion only to discover that people aren't even talking

---
Finally, Autymn corrected:

> So you mean "plausible" puzzles, not practical. Try Risorgimento
> Represso.

I put "practical" in quotes because I didn't really have a good word to
describe what I was talking about. If there was a good word for the
concept, then it probably would have been talked to death already.
"Plausible" isn't any worse than "practical" in my opinion, but it
certainly doesn't sum up everything I was going for. Many puzzles that
require deep knowledge are quite plausible, but they're not really
lateral thinking puzzles. And many plausible solutions are not
predictable and require either repeated efforts to get things to work
nicely, or just dumb luck if you only get one shot at it.

(See the spoiler-riddent description of the Zork key puzzle for a good
example of what I was driving at.)

I haven't played _Risorgimento Represso_ before. Which puzzles in it do
you think most fit this ideal that we're discussing?

SPOILER SPACE

There's a key stuck in the other side of a keyhole. If I remember
correctly, you slid a welcome mat under the door, pushed the key out
with a pencil (or something similar), caught it on the mat and brought
the mat back with the key on it. Apart from the relative rarity of such
keyholes these days (which others have now assured me is a primarily
U.S. phenomenon), it's exactly the kind of puzzle I'm thinking of.

1) The objects (key, door, pencil, welcome mat) are all ordinary objects
that one would not be surprised to find when in this situation.

2) The situation itself is not only possible, but very, very plausible.
This happens to people all the time. It also happens to be mundane,
which adds to the charm, in my opinion, but it's not necessary for the
discubssion by any means. A puzzle that, for example, involved defusing
a bomb could very well be plausible to a member of a bomb squad, but I'd
never call it "mundane."

3) The solution is predictable and repeatable. In a real life
situation, once you were to think of it, you'd be sure it would work,
and would work every time. There's no randomness to it. It's not
merely that the solution's success be plausible, but that the solution's
success be _guaranteed_.

4) The solution involves essentially only lateral thinking. The
solution is not obvious once all the tools are fully understood. Nor is
the solution a simple result of learning facts and information from
elsewhere in the game. And lastly, it hinges upon cleverness as opposed
to deep knowledge (such as chemistry).

Erik

### David Fisher

Jan 16, 2006, 6:50:41 PM1/16/06
to
"Erik Wennstrom" <h...@qrREMOVEivy.net> wrote in message
news:3iVyf.494655\$084.395531@attbi_s22...

> I don't know if it was MacGyver, but I remember some show or movie or
> other that had the hero constructing a makeshift tracking device by poking
> a small hole in the bottom of a paint bucket and hanging it from the
> exhaust pipe of a truck so that the truck would drip paint on the ground.
> Definitely a simple, practical, predictably effective solution.

Along these lines, you could have a situation which requires some kind of
timer, which could be implemented by slowly dripping water from one object
into another (eg. poke a hole in a water pipe just above a bucket) -
eventually the destination object will become heavy enough to pull a lever,
push a button, tip over, overflow, etc. Getting a rat to eat through a rope
by pouring something yummy on it can also server as a timer (or you could
just light a candle under the rope).

There are a lot of puzzles based on improvising the tool which you would
normally need for a job. Examples include: using a coin as a substitute
screwdriver, a brick for a hammer, a wire coat hanger for an aerial, or a
bed sheet for a rope.

There is a classic puzzle about escaping from a fire in a field: you are in
the centre of the field, and a fire has started to the west. The wind is
blowing east, and you won't be able to outrun the fire. Solution (reversed):
aera tuo tnrub eht otni pets dna won era uoy erehw erif a trats

Just some thoughts,

David Fisher

### Richard Bos

Jan 16, 2006, 6:53:18 PM1/16/06
to
"GG" <ggr...@europe.com> wrote:

> Bert Byfield wrote:
>
> > > I love how liberals just assume that everything Bush does is bad,
> > > despite actual facts that show fow effective the war on terror has
> > > been.

(You ought to be careful with the word "liberal", btw. In my country it
means "right wing, pretending to be all for personal freedom but
actually in the pockets of the big money", much like your "Republican".)

> > There is no war. There is only American fascism, and its related smoke and
> > mirrors.
>
> It's easy to villify America. It's predominantly white and Christian

_I_ am white and Christian. Georgie-boy is a servant of the Mammon
(whose high priest on Earth is currently Cheney).

Richard

### Jim Aikin

Jan 16, 2006, 8:21:53 PM1/16/06
to

"GG" <ggr...@europe.com> wrote in message
> Bert Byfield wrote:

> It's easy to villify America. It's predominantly white and Christian
> and "Bush" is much easier to spell and pronounce than "Abdhul Mustafa
> Fatheldin".

Yeah, that's why I'm ashamed to be an American -- because I'm such a bad
speller. Clever of you to have figured it out.

--JA

### Jim Aikin

Jan 16, 2006, 8:29:00 PM1/16/06
to
> Bush doesn't want to kill you. Al-Qaeda does. Yet you villify Bush and
> defend Al-Qaeda.

Nobody here is defending Al-Qaeda, that I've noticed. Black-and-white
thinking ("You're either for Bush or for Al-Qaeda") is, to be candid,
neither a mature nor a helpful way of looking at the situation.

And besides, what makes you think Bush doesn't want to kill me? Well, okay,
not "kill," I'm not important enough to kill. But we're talking about a
president who nakedly asserts that he has the right to lock up American
citizens who were arrested on American soil for years on end without a trial
and without due process of law. And who is surrounded by lawyers who will
assure him he's right.

So do I think that Bush means to treat me well? No, I do not. I believe that
he's a fascist megalomaniac, and he scares the living fuck out of me.

--JA

### force majeur

Jan 16, 2006, 8:41:10 PM1/16/06
to
David Thornley wrote:

> In article <QrHyf.154071\$dP1.5...@newsc.telia.net>,
> Drakore <dra...@comhem.se> wrote:
> >"Andrew Plotkin" <erky...@eblong.com> in
> >
> >> "Bush has kept America safe from terrorism since 9/11." Too bad his
> >> job was to keep America safe *on* 9/11.
> >
> >I love how liberals just assume that everything Bush does is bad, despite
> >actual facts that show fow effective the war on terror has been.
> >
> I shouldn't do this, but...
>
> What actual facts? It isn't that there have been no al-Qaida attacks on
> US soil since 2001, since the one before that was 1993, so any argument
> based on the lack of such attacks will completely lack merit until 2009
> at the earliest.

1998 US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya bombed. 220 dead.

What did Clinton do? He sent FBI to Africa and a cruise missile to
Afganistan. They both missed their target.

> On the other hand, I can give actual facts about what the war on terror
> has done. The people killed as possible terrorists never are.

You're right. The war on terror is useless. Let's all circumsise and
praise Allah.

### Paul Drallos

Jan 16, 2006, 9:47:08 PM1/16/06
to
Andrew, would you please refrain from putting political content in your signiture? I don't deny your right to post it, but it is a lightning rod for off-topic wastes of time and often leads to bad-blood in an otherwise friendly discussion. Please.

### Autymn D. C.

Jan 16, 2006, 10:49:40 PM1/16/06
to

### Autymn D. C.

Jan 16, 2006, 11:10:56 PM1/16/06
to
Erik Wennstrom wrote:
> them. I don't know if it was MacGyver, but I remember some show or
> movie or other that had the hero constructing a makeshift tracking
> device by poking a small hole in the bottom of a paint bucket and
> hanging it from the exhaust pipe of a truck so that the truck would drip
> paint on the ground. Definitely a simple, practical, predictably
> effective solution.

It was MacGyver, but the device was a deathwish for obvious reasons.
But "beggars can't be choosers". Should that be a rule in good IF?

> I put "practical" in quotes because I didn't really have a good word to
> describe what I was talking about. If there was a good word for the
> concept, then it probably would have been talked to death already.
> "Plausible" isn't any worse than "practical" in my opinion, but it
> certainly doesn't sum up everything I was going for. Many puzzles that
> require deep knowledge are quite plausible, but they're not really
> lateral thinking puzzles. And many plausible solutions are not
> predictable and require either repeated efforts to get things to work
> nicely, or just dumb luck if you only get one shot at it.

When there are manifold solutions, that doesn't become a stickler.
Plausible means clapworthy.

> I haven't played _Risorgimento Represso_ before. Which puzzles in it do
> you think most fit this ideal that we're discussing?

I don't want to give examples here as it's your definition. There is a
bunch of chemistry in it, but I don't see how that or other "special"
knowledge doesn't fit into lateral thinking. The PC /does/ have a
background and should know what the player knows.

> There's a key stuck in the other side of a keyhole. If I remember
> correctly, you slid a welcome mat under the door, pushed the key out
> with a pencil (or something similar), caught it on the mat and brought
> the mat back with the key on it. Apart from the relative rarity of such
> keyholes these days (which others have now assured me is a primarily
> U.S. phenomenon), it's exactly the kind of puzzle I'm thinking of.

MacGyver did this with a map in the first episode. He did a bunch of
plausible stuff with a map, like knock out someone.

### Autymn D. C.

Jan 16, 2006, 11:14:42 PM1/16/06
to
David Fisher wrote:
> There is a classic puzzle about escaping from a fire in a field: you are in
> the centre of the field, and a fire has started to the west. The wind is
> blowing east, and you won't be able to outrun the fire. Solution (reversed):
> aera tuo tnrub eht otni pets dna won era uoy erehw erif a trats

How would that work?? dissipation of a fuel-bridge faster than I can
run? It shouldn't.

### Ken

Jan 17, 2006, 12:12:20 AM1/17/06
to
That puzzle about man vs wildfire reminds me of a classic story I loved
as a kid. It was called Leiningen versus the Ants by Carl Stephenson.
Great story! And it indirectly inspired an episode of MacGyver via the
1954 film Naked Jungle. Heres the original story followed by the radio
version. The script for the radio version starts out sounding like an
IF adventure and being already cut into bite sized chunks it seems like
it wouldnt be all that difficult to adapt it to an IF platform.

Ever hear of the TV show Junkyard Wars? A group of enthusiasts formed a
group based on the concept:

The Rubbish Deconstruction League is a group challenge that entails
constructing a solution to a real-world problem, with limited time and
resources (literally a pile of junk).
http://www.the-nerds.org/lecture.html

--Ken

### David Fisher

Jan 17, 2006, 12:20:56 AM1/17/06
to

"Autymn D. C." <lysd...@sbcglobal.net> wrote in message

Sorry, I didn't explain it properly ...

Here is the situation (F is the fire and you are at X):

F///////X///////

If you start a fire to your right (east) and move out of the way (west),
soon it will look like this:

FFF////X/FFF////

The back of the fire will stop burning after a while ("-") ...

---FFF/X/---FFF/

... at which point you can safely step into the burnt out area, where the
western fire will never reach you:

---FFF///-X-FFF/

David Fisher

### Fish

Jan 17, 2006, 1:07:29 AM1/17/06
to
Erik Wennstrom wrote:
>> Another useful thing would be to ask a theatre stage-hand or
>> carpenter what tricks they use when something goes wrong five minutes
>> before the performance. Of course, many of these solutions just
>> involve being prepared or wrapping something in tons of gaffer tape,
>> but I'm sure they'd have one or two nice tricks up their sleeves.
>
>
> There might be a lot of good material there. Can you think of any
> examples?

Speaking as somebody who does theater regularly, here are some
puzzle-type things you could take away from theater tricks:
* Light, particularly knowing what something will look like under red
light, yellow light, white light, et cetera. For instance, there might
be a red-light puzzle you have to solve, where a coded message is
written in color, but the red letters vanish from the code when you look
at it under red light (or through a red lens or lighting gel). Lighting
in theater is important, and behaves in odd ways: light a thin cloth
from the front (from your side) and it is opaque; light it from the back
and you can see through it. Light will also seep through any cracks, so
leaving a lamp or a torch in a room, and seeing the wall from the other
side, might show a beam of light leak through where a secret door is.
* Distance and perception, particularly knowing the difference between
what something will "read as" to an audience 30 feet away, and how it
looks up close. Ice cream on stage = mashed potatoes, champagne =
ginger ale, and so on. A flat wall with shadows painted on it might
look, from a distance, like a 3-dimensional object. (Forced
perspective.) You might have a puzzle where you have to fool someone
into thinking you're drinking real wine, when you really aren't.
* Shadows. Shadows are nothing more than light + obstacles, and theater
has some tricks with those. Sometimes theater lights have something put
in front of the lens that blocks the light into a shape. That block is
called a gobo. A gobo might be shaped like a window, so it casts a
trapezoid of light on the floor as a sunbeam through an open window.
You might also put a plaster bust of Beethoven in front of a candle, so
it casts light on a curtain: it will look like somebody's there!

There are more theater tricks than this, of course, but these are the
best examples I can think of in a few minutes. There's also stage
blood, curtains to block light, sound effects and so on, many of which
are refinements of the above illusions in one way or another.

I understand your use of "practical puzzles" as being like "practical
special effects," achieved mechanically, without resorting to magic,
alchemy, or mysterious processes the player can't be expected to know.

People use them all the time but they're not always aware of it.

* Use a television as a light source when the light bulb goes out in the
living room.
* Use a potato to remove the broken collar of a lightbulb safely from
the socket, without cutting your fingers.
* Use soda water to remove a stain.
* Use a glass to catch a spider, or a newspaper to swat a fly.
* Chewing gum to stick two things together temporarily.
* Use a screwdriver or a bobby pin to unlock one of those "push-button
lock" bathroom doors.
* Use a book to press a flower.
* Use a telephone book to shim up one corner of a table.
* Hot water to open the metal lid of a sticking jar.
* Alcohol to disinfect a wound.
* Coming in out of the cold and taking your coat *off* to warm up faster.
* Using a chair to block a doorknob.

Lots of things would occur to you as examples of lateral thinking in a
household environment. The only thing is, are they so obvious that
they're not worth coding?

To me, good IF has more puzzles like the above and fewer puzzles like
"find the paper with the combination to the safe, open the safe, get the
silver key, open the silver lock, get the magic potion, use the magic
option to get through the window," etc. Maybe that's just me. :)

FISH

### Sophie Fruehling

Jan 17, 2006, 5:32:38 AM1/17/06
to
Paul Drallos writes:

I think this will wear off as soon as people stop feeding the
troll.

--
Sophie FrÃ¼hling

The cube tastes like sugar. You are suddenly surrounded by a herd
of moose. They start talking to you about a moose-load of things.

### Sophie Fruehling

Jan 17, 2006, 6:12:05 AM1/17/06
to
Erik Wennstrom writes:

> I forgot to actually give the spoiler description of the Zork II puzzle
> and why I think it fits my criteria. So it's here at the end of this
> message.

(Btw., I first came across this in an Enid Blyton book.)

> SPOILER SPACE

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

> There's a key stuck in the other side of a keyhole. If I remember
> correctly, you slid a welcome mat under the door, pushed the key out
> with a pencil (or something similar), caught it on the mat and brought
> the mat back with the key on it.

<snip>

> 2) The situation itself is not only possible, but very, very plausible.
> This happens to people all the time.

Are you sure? I've only ever locked in two people; neither of them
managed to escape by themselves. In one case, the lock wasn't of the
old-fashioned type, and I think I took the key with me, so it wouldn't
have helped anyway. I the other case, I can't remember the keyhole
type, but it wouldn't have worked, because behind the door, there was a
40-cm drop.

I also got locked in a room at some point, which wasn't that long ago,
but I don't remember anything about the key. I just kicked against the
wooden door panels until one of them broke, which didn't help at all,
at which point I aimed for the lock, which broke in no time, and the
door flung open. Luckily, the door opened in the right direction.

> 3) The solution is predictable and repeatable. In a real life
> situation, once you were to think of it, you'd be sure it would work,
> and would work every time. There's no randomness to it. It's not
> merely that the solution's success be plausible, but that the solution's
> success be _guaranteed_.

I just tried that with a ballpoint-pen and a piece of paper (A4).
There was no door plate (if that's what it's called in English, the
thing you put between the handle and the door, so it looks prettier),
so I could turn the key with my finger. Then I pushed it with the pen
until it almost but not quite fell out; at that point I had to
dissasemble the pen to push the lower part of the key, where the
keyhole was too small for the whole pen to fit in. So it fell down and
landed a good 40 cm away from the door, i.e. nowhere near my piece of
paper.

So the moral is, I guess, if you have to do this in real life, make
sure you have a large enough paper/mat/whatever.

### Neil Cerutti

Jan 17, 2006, 6:47:55 AM1/17/06
to
On 2006-01-16, Erik Wennstrom <h...@qrREMOVEivy.net> wrote:

> There's a key stuck in the other side of a keyhole. If I
> remember correctly, you slid a welcome mat under the door,
> pushed the key out with a pencil (or something similar), caught
> it on the mat and brought the mat back with the key on it.
> Apart from the relative rarity of such keyholes these days
> (which others have now assured me is a primarily U.S.
> phenomenon), it's exactly the kind of puzzle I'm thinking of.

Not exactly. The reason is that you use a non-everyday scrying
glass in order to find out about the key. I suppose it's not
impossible to solve through intuition or luck, though I didn't
until I'd spied the key through the glass.

--
Neil Cerutti

### Samwyse

Jan 17, 2006, 8:14:13 AM1/17/06
to
Ken wrote:
> I was going to suggest looking into McGyver shows for ideas too. You
> could probably locate some scripts or something somewhere online. You
> could also search for paperbacks online that may have been published as
> take offs from the show. Lots of shows inspire pulp fiction series such
> as X-files, Star-Trek, etc. Look into old AD&D and other TSR modules
> for ideas as well. The A-Team was another show that involved something
> similar to the McGyver tradition of improvization and making use of
> ordinary things around you.

I'd also look into the works of Jacques Futrelle. About a centruy ago,
he wrote a series of stories about a somewhat McGyver-like detective who
made Sherlock Holmes look dim-witted. All of them have excellent
puzzles many of which, I think, could be adapted to IF. Ironically,
while Futrelle wrote about escapes from "insoluable" situations, he died
in the Titanic disaster.

The latest re-collection of his stories was published in 2003, or,
thanks to their age, you can find all of them online here:
http://www.futrelle.com/

Message has been deleted

### John W. Kennedy

Jan 17, 2006, 8:54:54 AM1/17/06
to

Oh, by all means, let us be nice to the thugs who wish to overthrow the
Constitution and replace it with a theocratic dictatorship. What's
freedom, anyway? Just a word. We can do perfectly well without it.

--
John W. Kennedy
A vote for any Republican is a vote for treason.

### solar penguin

Jan 17, 2006, 9:14:30 AM1/17/06
to
Erik Wennstrom <h...@qrREMOVEivy.net> wrote:

> SPOILER SPACE
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> There's a key stuck in the other side of a keyhole. If I remember
> correctly, you slid a welcome mat under the door, pushed the key out
> with a pencil (or something similar), caught it on the mat and brought
> the mat back with the key on it. Apart from the relative rarity of
> such keyholes these days (which others have now assured me is a
> primarily
> U.S. phenomenon), it's exactly the kind of puzzle I'm thinking of.

I've not played that game, but that's an old cliche from many pulp

BTW you could try some of those old radio serials for inspiration:
things like Paul Temple or Dick Barton: Special Agent. An IF based on
them might be fun...

--
___ _ ___ _
/ __| ___ | | __ _ _ _ | _ \ ___ _ _ __ _ _ _ (_) _ _
\__ \/ _ \| |/ _` || '_| | _// -_)| ' \ / _` || || || || ' \
|___/\___/|_|\__,_||_| |_| \___||_||_|\__, | \_,_||_||_||_|
|___/
http://www.freewebs.com/solar_penguin/

** It's something for your father. He wants to get you in the middle of
the Earth.

** He won't, I don't know what time it is.

### Ken

Jan 17, 2006, 9:31:57 AM1/17/06
to
Hey that looks like a good resource Samwyse, thanks!

When I read Sophie FrÃ¼hling's signature another idea came to mind.
Anyone ever see the movie Welcome to Mooseport?
http://www.welcometomooseport.com/

In it there is a debate between an ex-President and the local handy-man
who are running against each other for Mayor of the small town of
Mooseport. The only thing that keeps Handy in the race against his
politically experienced opponent is his naivetÃ© in political
machinations and his better understanding of his own small town and
it's people.

During the public debate one woman raises her complaint over placement
of a stop sign in town. Her complaint causes a huge stir as many
residents counter with their reasons for keeping it. So what is the
solution that will make everyone happy?

The ex-President states that he will appoint a fact-finding committee,
a blue-ribbon advisory panel on city planning and traffic to
investigate the problem, and more panels to make sure that safety is
addressed. This wows the residents of Mooseport and brings them to a
hearty cheer.

Handy starts to defer to the ex-president, saying that Cole has the
best ideas, etc., but he stops to ask a neighbor what her objections
the corner) shine against her headboard at night,keeping her awake.
Handy suggests blackout curtains, and the town sweeps back into support
of him.

Provincial working-class simplicity and practicality wins over imported
urban sophistication, education and experience.

--Ken

### Drakore

Jan 17, 2006, 10:00:10 AM1/17/06
to
"John W. Kennedy" <jwk...@attglobal.net> in news:TG6zf.12\$EU...@fe12.lga...

> Paul Drallos wrote:
>> Andrew, would you please refrain from putting political content in your
>> signiture? I don't deny your right to post it, but it is a lightning rod
>> for off-topic wastes of time and often leads to bad-blood in an otherwise
>
> Oh, by all means, let us be nice to the thugs who wish to overthrow the
> Constitution and replace it with a theocratic dictatorship. What's
> freedom, anyway? Just a word. We can do perfectly well without it.

Ah, a fighting liberal sarcastically churning the void to make cheese.

> --
> John W. Kennedy
> A vote for any Republican is a vote for treason.

--
Drakore
Abortion is murder.

### Andrew Plotkin

Jan 17, 2006, 12:41:55 PM1/17/06
to
>
> Speaking as somebody who does theater regularly, here are some
> puzzle-type things you could take away from theater tricks:

I like your list. They all seem to be in the form of illusions
(obviously, given the theater derivation) which means they would apply
to the category of puzzle where you are trying to fool an NPC. Although:

> * Light, particularly knowing what something will look like under red
> light, yellow light, white light, et cetera. For instance, there might
> be a red-light puzzle you have to solve, where a coded message is
> written in color, but the red letters vanish from the code when you look
> at it under red light (or through a red lens or lighting gel).

That one is a nice exception: an "illusion" that you need to play on
yourself.

Thinking about the general category of physical effects, without
restricting it to illusions:

Levers, pulleys, simple machines: As I noted earlier.

Light: Magnifying lens (Zork 2). Concentrating light to set
something on fire.

Everyday chemistry: Baking soda and vinegar.

Everyday physics: Water freezing (So Far, Spellbreaker). Pouring water
into something to make an object float (Myst). Water boiling and
turning to steam.

Household toys: Plaster of paris. Glue. Oil for lubrication
(Adventure). Pocket heat packs (every play with one of those, the
acetate ones? Wacky.)

--Z

--
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
If the Bush administration hasn't shipped you to Syria for interrogation, it's
for one reason: they don't feel like it. Not because of the Eighth Amendment.

### Amanda

Jan 17, 2006, 12:53:11 PM1/17/06
to
Andrew Plotkin napisal(a):

Will you be covering the Bill of Rights in its entirety? May I ask what
you're hoping to achieve by this? (other than degrading the groups,
which is OK by you, I guess)

-- Amanda
Horses should wear diapers.

### Nathan

Jan 17, 2006, 1:17:27 PM1/17/06
to

Oh, wow! So the "Palantir" effect of those crystal spheres was
actually *useful* for something?!

I realized there was a key in the keyhole when I tried to look
through it.

### Default User

Jan 17, 2006, 2:43:43 PM1/17/06
to
John W. Kennedy wrote:

> Oh, by all means, let us be nice to the thugs who wish to overthrow
> the Constitution and replace it with a theocratic dictatorship.
> What's freedom, anyway? Just a word. We can do perfectly well without
> it.

Brian

--
If televison's a babysitter, the Internet is a drunk librarian who
won't shut up.
-- Dorothy Gambrell (http://catandgirl.com)

### Default User

Jan 17, 2006, 2:46:02 PM1/17/06
to
Neil Cerutti wrote:

When I worked that one, I just recognized the puzzle from old stories
and movies.

### Default User

Jan 17, 2006, 3:52:14 PM1/17/06
to
Amanda wrote:

> Will you be covering the Bill of Rights in its entirety? May I ask
> what you're hoping to achieve by this? (other than degrading the
> groups, which is OK by you, I guess)

*plonk*

### Ken

Jan 17, 2006, 8:26:40 PM1/17/06
to
The movie National Treasure had a good example of the use of tinted or
colored lenses to view hidden messages. A pair of glasses with
retractable lenses of various colors which combine in different ways to
reveal different messages.

--Ken

### Eyecatcher

Jan 17, 2006, 9:43:09 PM1/17/06
to

Drakore wrote:

> I love how liberals just assume that everything Bush does is bad, despite
> actual facts that show fow effective the war on terror has been.

the recent lack of terror attacks in America, they must also be ready
to accept full responsibility when and if another such attack occurs.

Eh?

### Eyecatcher

Jan 17, 2006, 9:50:49 PM1/17/06
to
Speaking of colored light problems:

I recall a certain wine-bottle-and-amulet puzzle
in BEYOND ZORK.

### Erik Wennstrom

Jan 17, 2006, 10:24:47 PM1/17/06
to
Autymn D. C. wrote:
> Erik Wennstrom wrote:
>
>>them. I don't know if it was MacGyver, but I remember some show or
>>movie or other that had the hero constructing a makeshift tracking
>>device by poking a small hole in the bottom of a paint bucket and
>>hanging it from the exhaust pipe of a truck so that the truck would drip
>>paint on the ground. Definitely a simple, practical, predictably
>>effective solution.
>
>
> It was MacGyver, but the device was a deathwish for obvious reasons.
> But "beggars can't be choosers". Should that be a rule in good IF?

Perhaps I'm being dense, but why was the device a deathwish?

>>I put "practical" in quotes because I didn't really have a good word to
>>describe what I was talking about. If there was a good word for the
>>concept, then it probably would have been talked to death already.
>>"Plausible" isn't any worse than "practical" in my opinion, but it
>>certainly doesn't sum up everything I was going for. Many puzzles that
>>require deep knowledge are quite plausible, but they're not really
>>lateral thinking puzzles. And many plausible solutions are not
>>predictable and require either repeated efforts to get things to work
>>nicely, or just dumb luck if you only get one shot at it.
>
>
> When there are manifold solutions, that doesn't become a stickler.
> Plausible means clapworthy.

I don't really know what you're referring to. What is it that doesn't
become a stickler? And what does "clapworthy" mean? It's not in any of
my dictionaries, and I can't seem to find any reference to the word
online other than as a name.

>>I haven't played _Risorgimento Represso_ before. Which puzzles in it do
>>you think most fit this ideal that we're discussing?
>
> I don't want to give examples here as it's your definition. There is a
> bunch of chemistry in it, but I don't see how that or other "special"
> knowledge doesn't fit into lateral thinking. The PC /does/ have a
> background and should know what the player knows.

I didn't mean to imply that special knowledge puzzles don't involve
lateral thinking. Nor am I implying that such puzzles are somehow bad.
They just weren't the types of puzzles I was talking about at the
moment. Some special knowledge puzzles are essentially solved once you
learn that item of special knowledge either through outside-of-the-game
research or inside-of-the-game discovery. Example: you have been set
the goal of blowing something up, and the solution is to find a
combination of chemicals that will form an explosive. This is not a
lateral thinking problem. On the other hand, there are some puzzles
that require both special knowledge and lateral thinking. Example: you
need to blow something up, and eventually you figure out the chemicals
that you need, but you also need some sort of timing mechanism. See
David Fisher's reply for lots of good suggestions regarding clever
timing mechanisms. In this case, this could be an excellent puzzle, but
I don't get that same kind of aha moment from this as I do from
solutions that require only truly commonplace knowledge.

Erik

### Samwyse

Jan 17, 2006, 10:42:11 PM1/17/06
to

Of course, real optics doesn't work the way that they showed in the movie.

### Erik Wennstrom

Jan 17, 2006, 10:34:02 PM1/17/06
to
Fish wrote:

> I understand your use of "practical puzzles" as being like "practical
> special effects," achieved mechanically, without resorting to magic,
> alchemy, or mysterious processes the player can't be expected to know.

That's definitely what I meant by the phrase.

> People use them all the time but they're not always aware of it.
>
> * Use a television as a light source when the light bulb goes out in the
> living room.
> * Use a potato to remove the broken collar of a lightbulb safely from
> the socket, without cutting your fingers.
> * Use soda water to remove a stain.
> * Use a glass to catch a spider, or a newspaper to swat a fly.
> * Chewing gum to stick two things together temporarily.
> * Use a screwdriver or a bobby pin to unlock one of those "push-button
> lock" bathroom doors.
> * Use a book to press a flower.
> * Use a telephone book to shim up one corner of a table.
> * Hot water to open the metal lid of a sticking jar.
> * Alcohol to disinfect a wound.
> * Coming in out of the cold and taking your coat *off* to warm up faster.
> * Using a chair to block a doorknob.

There are some excellent examples of practical lateral thinking puzzles
here. I've always really liked the potato/lightbulb solution.

> Lots of things would occur to you as examples of lateral thinking in a
> household environment. The only thing is, are they so obvious that
> they're not worth coding?

I think it's worth noting that some of these solutions are obvious
because while they do involve lateral thinking, they don't involve
_much_ lateral thinking. It doesn't take much cleverness to figure out
that a newspaper is good for swatting flies. On the other hand, some of
these solutions are only obvious because we've heard them before (such
as the broken light bulb solution). They might not be candidates for
future games, but they certainly deserve note as very clever, very
practical solutions to everyday problems.

> To me, good IF has more puzzles like the above and fewer puzzles like
> "find the paper with the combination to the safe, open the safe, get the
> silver key, open the silver lock, get the magic potion, use the magic
> option to get through the window," etc. Maybe that's just me. :)

I agree. I will say that there's nothing wrong with magic potions. But
it is certainly boring when all there is to the magic is a fairly
obvious application (use the unlock spell to unlock the door). It's far
more interesting when you learn the rules that apply to the magic and
_then_ have to apply them in a clever way. This, of course, is not what
I was talking about before, but I enjoy those types of puzzles too (I'm
thinking _Savoir Faire_ here).

Erik

### Erik Wennstrom

Jan 17, 2006, 10:41:36 PM1/17/06
to

Of course, now that I think about it, this only happens to me when it's
a door that can automatically lock itself (which I don't think could
happen in a door with a keyhole on both sides such as this). So it's
not ideally typical.

> I also got locked in a room at some point, which wasn't that long ago,
> but I don't remember anything about the key. I just kicked against the
> wooden door panels until one of them broke, which didn't help at all,
> at which point I aimed for the lock, which broke in no time, and the
> door flung open. Luckily, the door opened in the right direction.

I have never been locked _in_ a room that I can recall. I've gotten
myself locked out of the house as a kid on numerous occasions. Usually
I found a window to crawl into. I was small enough at the time to crawl
in the small bathroom window if I could get it open. Once I couldn't
get the window open and I pounded on the thing to try and knock the lock
loose, and promptly the window shattered. I was lucky not to cut
myself. I don't know if I ever properly owned up to that to my parents.
Well it's out of the bag now as my mom reads this newsgroup.

>>3) The solution is predictable and repeatable. In a real life
>>situation, once you were to think of it, you'd be sure it would work,
>>and would work every time. There's no randomness to it. It's not
>>merely that the solution's success be plausible, but that the solution's
>>success be _guaranteed_.
>
>
> I just tried that with a ballpoint-pen and a piece of paper (A4).
> There was no door plate (if that's what it's called in English, the
> thing you put between the handle and the door, so it looks prettier),
> so I could turn the key with my finger. Then I pushed it with the pen
> until it almost but not quite fell out; at that point I had to
> dissasemble the pen to push the lower part of the key, where the
> keyhole was too small for the whole pen to fit in. So it fell down and
> landed a good 40 cm away from the door, i.e. nowhere near my piece of
> paper.
>
> So the moral is, I guess, if you have to do this in real life, make
> sure you have a large enough paper/mat/whatever.

Excellent! I'm glad somebody tested it. So in addition to being a less
realistic situation, the solution isn't as predictable as I'd thought.

Erik

### Erik Wennstrom

Jan 17, 2006, 10:43:49 PM1/17/06
to

I'd completely forgotten about the scrying glass! Of course the
solution itself is very old, and while not quite as practical as I'd
once thought (see Sophie FrÃ¼hling's reply to my message), the core
puzzle is solved with everyday tools.

Erik

### Fish

Jan 18, 2006, 12:38:22 AM1/18/06
to
Ken wrote:
> No offense to you theatre guys and gals out there

Evidently code word for "I'm about to be as offensive as possible, but I
gave you fair warning, so it's your own fault if you're offended."

You really need to get out more.

Not that anybody asked, but theater teaches you immeasurable amounts
about how to build and create a character, how to create lines on the
fly that are "in character," how to create a personal backstory, and all
kinds of other things that are of great use in writing -- both in
writing ordinary fiction and IF.

> ... and I apologise if my honest feelings on the subject offends
> anyone.

I doubt it.

FISH

### Mark J. Tilford

Jan 18, 2006, 1:45:24 AM1/18/06
to

It can also help find the white sphere.

--
------------------------
Mark Jeffrey Tilford
til...@ugcs.caltech.edu

### L. Ross Raszewski

Jan 18, 2006, 2:29:39 AM1/18/06
to

There's one I always liked in the (graphical) adventure "Deathgate",
where you have to retrieve a clear bottle from a cart, but you are
seeing the cart through the eyes of a (color-blind) dog.

### Ken

Jan 18, 2006, 9:56:24 AM1/18/06
to
Yes, I did regret posting that here. Which is why I deleted it as soon

--Ken

### Default User

Jan 18, 2006, 3:47:23 PM1/18/06
to
Eyecatcher wrote:

Brian

### Default User

Jan 18, 2006, 3:51:31 PM1/18/06
to
Ken wrote:

> Yes, I did regret posting that here. Which is why I deleted it as soon
> as I had written it.

Just a note for Google users, canceling posts rarely works. It will
remove it from the Google archive, but once they've been distributed to
other servers there's little chance that ALL of them will honor a
cancel request. Some servers ignore all cancels.

Also, you may find the info in my .sig to be of use.

Brian

--
Please quote enough of the previous message for context. To do so from
Google, click "show options" and use the Reply shown in the expanded

### Gene Wirchenko

Jan 29, 2006, 3:09:45 AM1/29/06
to
Samwyse <sam...@gmail.com> wrote:

[snip]

>I'd also look into the works of Jacques Futrelle. About a centruy ago,
>he wrote a series of stories about a somewhat McGyver-like detective who
>made Sherlock Holmes look dim-witted. All of them have excellent
>puzzles many of which, I think, could be adapted to IF. Ironically,
>while Futrelle wrote about escapes from "insoluable" situations, he died
>in the Titanic disaster.
>
>The latest re-collection of his stories was published in 2003, or,
>thanks to their age, you can find all of them online here:
> http://www.futrelle.com/

Oh, scrumptious! Thank you.

Imagine an IF game on "The Problem of Cell 13". It would be very
user-unfriendly.

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko

Computerese Irregular Verb Conjugation:
I have preferences.
You have biases.
He/She has prejudices.

### Gene Wirchenko

Jan 29, 2006, 3:45:47 AM1/29/06
to
Samwyse <sam...@gmail.com> wrote:

[snip]

>The latest re-collection of his stories was published in 2003, or,
>thanks to their age, you can find all of them online here:
> http://www.futrelle.com/

ObRAIF: And "A Piece of String" has a small, white house in the
country.

### Autymn D. C.

Feb 1, 2006, 12:07:47 AM2/1/06
to
David Fisher wrote:
> If you start a fire to your right (east) and move out of the way (west),
> soon it will look like this:
>
> FFF////X/FFF////
>
> The back of the fire will stop burning after a while ("-") ...
>
> ---FFF/X/---FFF/
>
> ... at which point you can safely step into the burnt out area, where the
> western fire will never reach you:
>
> ---FFF///-X-FFF/

Why wouldn't the fire head left and burn me anyway? Why wouldn't the
other fire grow to burn me?