Bathrooms

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HappyEngineer

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Aug 19, 2006, 7:47:17 PM8/19/06
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I just saw in another thread that apparently people mark games down if
their bathrooms aren't fully functional.

I have a bathroom in my game and, due to the nature of the game, you
won't be able to use anything that makes noise. Nevertheless, if people
get a bee in their bonnet about this then I'd like to respond to all
expected functions with something other than "command not recognized".

WITHOUT getting disgusting, what commands do you expect to work in the
bathroom?

My list (including some that are just getting excessive and silly)
would be:
>turn on/off sink faucet
>wash/clean hands/face/me (with soap)
>flush toilet
>@%#@# in toilet
>turn on/off shower/tub faucet
>open/close medicine cabinet
>put thing in medicine cabinet
>look in mirror
>scrub grout
>clean floor
>polish tile
>take shower

fel...@yahoo.com

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Aug 20, 2006, 1:22:00 AM8/20/06
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HappyEngineer wrote:
> I just saw in another thread that apparently people mark games down if
> their bathrooms aren't fully functional.

It's not that simple. If you do implement a full bathroom, people will
complain that they expected it to host something significant to the
game. In other words, you'll be building a big, fat, juicy red herring.

Besides, do you really want to implement a dozen or so objects and
two new verbs that don't even help the setting much... at all?

Cheers,
Felix

P.S. Check out the thread "Borders of the game world", started
30 November 2005. It mentions bathrooms a lot :D

Jim Aikin

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Aug 20, 2006, 2:00:43 AM8/20/06
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> P.S. Check out the thread "Borders of the game world", started
> 30 November 2005. It mentions bathrooms a lot :D

I'd like to read it, but it doesn't seem to have been archived. Where would
I find it?

--JA


Erik Wennstrom

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Aug 20, 2006, 2:13:17 AM8/20/06
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You don't need to implement things, but the game should respond to most
of these commands differently than it would to "blargle bloop". If I
type "turn on sink" and I get the generic response for whatever engine
you are using ("That's not something you can turn on," or "I didn't
understand that command"), then I'm not sure whether that has happened
because the bathroom fixtures haven't been implemented, or if it's
because the particular phrasing I used wasn't implemented (e.g., it was
expecting "turn on faucet" or some such). The fixtures don't have to
function, but the game should recognize that I was trying to use them
with some message like "You don't need to use the toilet/sink/shower
right now." That way I won't sit around trying to rephrase things. To
answer your question, I would say that the game should recognize trying
to "turn on the sink/faucet/shower/water", "use/flush/open/close toilet,
use/take/enter shower/tub", or "look in mirror". There are probably a
few others, but I would just leave out the medicine cabinet unless you
actually have a use for it, and then you should implement it fully.

This brings up the related issue that I've had some (relatively) recent
personal revelations on. One of the major consequences in mathematics
of the proof of Godel's Incompleteness Theorems is that you can't use
the fact that your mathematical system is consistent as a fact with
which to prove something within your mathematical system, i.e., when you
are reasoning, don't use the fact that your reasoning is perfect to
prove anything. I think a similar guideline (this is art, not math)
should apply to writing interactive fiction. Never assume that you will
have implemented everything perfectly by the time you finish your game.
This is the mistake made when someone assumes that when the player
receives a default message, he'll know that this is because he has not
figured out the solution yet. This is a mistake because the player
doesn't know how well you've implemented your game. For all he knows,
he could think that he's stumbled into a guess-the-verb/noun/phrasing
problem.

Beta-tester: You should implement some alternate solutions to the puzzle
where you have to give the dog the steak to get past him. What if the
player wants to attack him with the fireplace poker?

Author: No, I don't want a violent game, so I'm not going to implement that.

Player: HIT DOG WITH POKER
Game: I only understood you as far as wanting to hit Bob.
Player: ATTACK DOG WITH POKER
Game: I only understood you as far as wanting to attack Bob.
Player: STAB DOG WITH POKER
Game: That's not a verb I recognise.
Player: POKE DOG WITH POKER?
Game: That's not a verb I recognise.
Player: Screw this. I'm going to go play outside.

Author: Philistine.
Beta-tester: I told you so. You should listen to your mother.

Glenn P.,

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Aug 20, 2006, 5:43:34 AM8/20/06
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On 19-Aug-06 at 4:47pm -0700, <googl...@g42.org> wrote:

> ,..what commands do you expect to work in the bathroom?

> My list (including some that are just getting excessive and silly)
> would be:

> >turn on/off sink faucet

Don't forget the generic "use" -- "Use Sink".

Consider whether there will be separate "Hot" and "Cold" faucets.

> >wash/clean hands/face/me (with soap)
> >flush toilet

Also "Use Toilet"

Open toilet.

"Plunge" or "unstop" or "unstuff" toilet (assuming there's a plunger
in the room.)

Clean the toilet.

> >@%#@# in toilet
> >turn on/off shower/tub faucet

Consider whether there will be separate "Hot" and "Cold" faucets.

> >open/close medicine cabinet

Look in...

> >put thing in medicine cabinet

"Take Medicine" (and if you list contents specifically, you must take
account of the specific items as well.)

You'll also have to decide whether "TAKE MEDICINE" will mean merely picking
up the bottle of pills, or actually consuming the pills themselves. It is
quite possible that it might mean EITHER, depending on whether the Bottle Of
Pills is, or is not, currently in the player's inventory.

> >look in mirror

"Break Mirror" (Seven years bad luck!)

> >scrub grout

"Clean" or "Remove" grout, too. (Lick grout, if you really want to be nasty.)

> >clean floor

"Scrub", "Mop", "Polish"

> >polish tile

"Clean", etc.

> >take shower

Now this has possibilities. And problems.

If you really want to implement TAKE SHOWER, you also must consider that
the player will want to REMOVE CLOTHES or UNDRESS first. This command need
not actually be implemented, but the game must recognize the attempt as
valid (i.e., you mustn't leave the standard "Can't Do That" message -- you
must customize.) Once you've plausibly disallowed undressing, you can then
respond to TAKE SHOWER with, "O.K., your clothes are now sopping wet!" or
some such idiocy. :)

Of COURSE, if you REALLY want to be off-the-wall, you can intentionally put
a "shower" in the players inventory, accompanied by a humorous response which
makes it clear that this is a "feature" rather than a bug. (If you want to
be semi-nasty about it, make this "shower" a completely useless object that
weighs a ton, slowing the character down and/or wearing him out until he
thinks to drop it.)

"TAKE PULSE" is another thing you might similarly play around with. (In
fact I seem to recall that in the early stages of writing one of its games,
an Infocom Inplementor unintentionally did precisely that -- "You can drop
[character]'s pulse on the floor", read the Bug Report... :)

Hope this helps...

-- ==================================================================
%%%%%%%%%%%% "Glenn P.," <C128UserD...@FVI.Net> %%%%%%%%%%%
==================================================================
_____
{~._.~} "The man in the wilderness said to me,
_( Y )_ 'How many strawberries grow in the sea?'
(:_~*~_:) I answered him as I thought good --
(_)-(_) 'As many red herrings as grow in the wood.'"

==================================================================
POTTER, Beatrix: The Fourth Riddle, "The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin".
==================================================================

:: Take Note Of The Spam Block On My E-Mail Address! ::

Jan Thorsby

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Aug 20, 2006, 5:52:51 AM8/20/06
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"HappyEngineer" <googl...@g42.org> skrev i melding
news:1156031237.2...@h48g2000cwc.googlegroups.com...

>>take shower

Just "shower". Maybe "enter shower".
Maybe "bathe" "take bath" and "enter bath"

But implementing in great detail something that is boring is likely to make
your game more boring. To avoid it you could make the description of the
bathroom something like "Just the usual bathroom stuff, oh and a large green
turtle." (Assuming the only important thing in there was the turtle.)

Or if there was nothing important there you could do this:

"> flush toilet

You don't want to bother with the stuff in the bathroom."

Or if there is no real reason for the player to enter the bathroom you could
stop him and say something like "You don't feel a need to go to the
bathroom."


Glenn P.,

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Aug 20, 2006, 6:14:02 AM8/20/06
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On 20-Aug-06 at 2:13am -0400, <h...@qrREMOVEivy.net> wrote:

> ...One of the major consequences in mathematics of the proof of Godel's


> Incompleteness Theorems is that you can't use the fact that your
> mathematical system is consistent as a fact with which to prove something
> within your mathematical system, i.e., when you are reasoning, don't use
> the fact that your reasoning is perfect to prove anything.

Phew! You are FAR too technical, dude. You also have FAR too much time on
your hands. You need to get out more!


> Beta-tester: You should implement some alternate solutions to the puzzle
> where you have to give the dog the steak to get past him. What if the
> player wants to attack him with the fireplace poker?

> Author: No, I don't want a violent game, so I'm not going to implement
> that.

> Player: HIT DOG WITH POKER
> Game: I only understood you as far as wanting to hit Bob.
> Player: ATTACK DOG WITH POKER
> Game: I only understood you as far as wanting to attack Bob.
> Player: STAB DOG WITH POKER
> Game: That's not a verb I recognise.
> Player: POKE DOG WITH POKER?
> Game: That's not a verb I recognise.
> Player: Screw this. I'm going to go play outside.

> Author: Philistine.
> Beta-tester: I told you so. You should listen to your mother.

LOL!!!

This can be put a bit more simply than invoking that Godel-What's-His-Face
Person, though.

The distinction I would make is between a game IMPLEMENTING a command,
versus merely RECOGNIZING it. The two are asymetrically related, in that
a command which is implemented is, of necessity, recognized; but this
relationship need not run the other way. A game can recognize a command
without the command being implemented. Three examples will illustrate
the difference:

> > HIT DOG WITH POKER.
> I don't understand that.

Command is neither recognized, nor implemented.

> > HIT DOG WITH POKER.
> It's not necessary to attack the dog to finish this game.

Command is clearly recognized, but it isn't implemented.

> > HIT DOG WITH POKER.
> With a sickening crunch, the dog drops to the ground dead, a disgusting
> pink oatmeal oozing from its shattered skull.

This command is implemented (and, therefore, necessarily recognized as well).

What the Little Girl (the Dog's owner) will say when she spies the Pink
Oatmeal is no doubt another story.

By the way, anyone who would have his or her MOTHER for a Beta-Tester should
probably have his or her Pink Oatmeal examined!

Message has been deleted
Message has been deleted

Stevie B

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Aug 20, 2006, 10:44:22 AM8/20/06
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The bathroom in the game written by Erik's mother is not a perfectly
implemented bathroom, but it works reasonably well. More importantly,
has a solid purpose in the game and is not merely included in the game
simply because houses usually have bathrooms. Among other things, you
can get a useful hint if you try to take a leak. You can also take a
bath in the tub (if it doesn't happen to be filled with
brightly-colored machine tools at the time) and the game will deal with
dressing and undressing issues. But if you want to take a shower you
need use the phonebooth, which is inconvenient to say the least
(especially so since the phonebooth has run out of hair conditioner.)

I had an e-mail conversation with Erik's mother recently, and she had
this to say:

.>Most reasonably well-adjusted adults tend to ignore their mother's
.>advice on a regular basis. Erik showed an early aptitude for this.

.>When he was in high school I once asked him to stop talking about
.>mathematics at the dinner table because I was concerned that his
.>sister would get so bored that she would fall asleep face down into
.>her mashed potatoes. However, being stubborn runs in the family, so
.>Erik's lecture about prime numbers continued. Fortunately we had
.>two fully functioning bathrooms in the house, so his sister was able
to
.>take a shower and wash the potatoes out of her hair without having
the
.>bathroom tell her that she couldn't take the shower because it was
.>fixed in place.

.>His sister had her revenge the next evening, when she decided to
.>dominate the dinner conversation by explaining how ballet dancers
.>treat ankle injuries in Russia. This time it was Erik who fell
asleep,
.>but that night it was spaghetti instead of mashed potatoes. Once
.>again, the came through for the Wennstroms.

.>But now Erik lives 18,000 miles away from his parents and gets to
.>lecture about math in a college classroom. His girlfriend is also a
math
.>teacher, so presumably she doesn't mind talking about prime
.>numbers or Godel at dinner. If you want their opinion on mashed
.>potatoes vs. spaghetti, you should read their online restaurant
.>review column at http://eat.qrivy.net/ .

.>I talk to him once and a while on Usenet and he sends me an e-mail
.>if he needs a last minute beta-tester.

Erik Wennstrom

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Aug 20, 2006, 11:41:47 AM8/20/06
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Glenn P., wrote:
> On 20-Aug-06 at 2:13am -0400, <h...@qrREMOVEivy.net> wrote:
>
> > ...One of the major consequences in mathematics of the proof of Godel's
> > Incompleteness Theorems is that you can't use the fact that your
> > mathematical system is consistent as a fact with which to prove something
> > within your mathematical system, i.e., when you are reasoning, don't use
> > the fact that your reasoning is perfect to prove anything.
>
> Phew! You are FAR too technical, dude. You also have FAR too much time on
> your hands. You need to get out more!

I point out the connection between the two for amusement's sake. (And
as my mother's alter-ego pointed out in a reply, I do math for a living
anyway.)


> > Beta-tester: You should implement some alternate solutions to the puzzle
> > where you have to give the dog the steak to get past him. What if the
> > player wants to attack him with the fireplace poker?
>
> > Author: No, I don't want a violent game, so I'm not going to implement
> > that.
>
> > Player: HIT DOG WITH POKER
> > Game: I only understood you as far as wanting to hit Bob.
> > Player: ATTACK DOG WITH POKER
> > Game: I only understood you as far as wanting to attack Bob.
> > Player: STAB DOG WITH POKER
> > Game: That's not a verb I recognise.
> > Player: POKE DOG WITH POKER?
> > Game: That's not a verb I recognise.
> > Player: Screw this. I'm going to go play outside.
>
> > Author: Philistine.
> > Beta-tester: I told you so. You should listen to your mother.
>
> LOL!!!
>
> This can be put a bit more simply than invoking that Godel-What's-His-Face
> Person, though.
>
> The distinction I would make is between a game IMPLEMENTING a command,
> versus merely RECOGNIZING it.

Of course, this is exactly the specific difference I was driving at, and
it can be simply put this way. However, I was thinking that the general
principle (that you shouldn't presume that your game is implemented
perfectly when making decisions) might have other consequences, though
none occur to me at the moment.

There might be some consequences related to verbs that take topics as
nouns (ask about ___, tell about ___, look up ___ in ___, remember ___).
If you believe that you've implemented the game perfectly, then you'll
make the (almost certainly false) assumption that you've covered every
possible phrasing of the topic, so it might be a good idea to use some
sort of hinting technique that gives the player a good clue as to what
phrasing they should use. I've seen bolded text before, but I think
that just putting the words into an NPC's mouth is effective. Granted,
you should implement as many synonyms and alternate phrasings as
possible, but never presume that you got them all.

Erik

signwriter

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Aug 20, 2006, 12:17:47 PM8/20/06
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Glenn P., wrote:
> By the way, anyone who would have his or her MOTHER for a Beta-Tester should
> probably have his or her Pink Oatmeal examined!

And why is that, exactly?

Granted, I wouldn't let my mother loose on my
perpetual-work-in-progress, but that's because of all the swearing.

(The swearing in the WIP, that is, not because she'd swear at it.
Although she might.)

Glenn P.,

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Aug 20, 2006, 12:54:01 PM8/20/06
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On 20-Aug-06 at 7:35am -0700, <StevenB...@aol.com> wrote:

> ...Among other things, you can get a useful hint if you try to take
> a leak.

"You can't see any leak here."

> ...You can also take a bath in the tub (if it doesn't happen to be
> filled with brightly-colored machine tools at the time)... But if


> you want to take a shower you need use the phonebooth, which is

> incovenient to say the least (especially so since the phonebooth


> has run out of hair conditioner.)

Oh, nice. In other words, a solid, logical, sensible, down-to-earth game.


> I had an e-mail conversation with Erik's mother recently, and she had
> this to say:

[ Snip! ]

LOL!!!!!

-- _____
{~._.~} >>>>>> [ "Glenn P.," <C128UserD...@FVI.Net> ] <<<<<<
_( Y )_ ---------------------------------------------
(:_~*~_:) [My Sister, On Her Dog's Obedience]: "Nothing with teeth bigger
(_)-(_) than mine is going to think it's in charge around here."

Adam Thornton

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Aug 20, 2006, 4:45:42 PM8/20/06
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In article <Pine.LNX.4.61.06...@Bfjrtb.SbkInyyrl.arg>,

Glenn P., <C128UserD...@FVI.Net> wrote:
>By the way, anyone who would have his or her MOTHER for a Beta-Tester should
>probably have his or her Pink Oatmeal examined!

I just want you all to imagine this in the context of a Stiffy Makane
game.

Thank you.

Adam

Gayla

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Aug 20, 2006, 6:23:54 PM8/20/06
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I certainly wouldn't want MY mother playing games like that.

--Gayla

aph...@altavista.com

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Aug 20, 2006, 11:06:07 PM8/20/06
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I would step back and decide a 1step or 2step depth to coding. Then go
in and code to that chosen depth for the entire game making gameplay
consistent.

For example:
0step would be default parser response
1step would be a working sink( sink is on)
2step would be , turn sink handle, (which one? the hot or cold?)

In my opinion, I'd just use a 1step.

You know you've done too much coding when a player enters a bathroom
and trumpets blare 'O Fortuna'.

AP

Glenn P.,

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Aug 20, 2006, 11:38:49 PM8/20/06
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On 20-Aug-06 at 8:45pm -0000, <ad...@fsf.net> wrote:

>> By the way, anyone who would have his or her MOTHER for a Beta-Tester
>> should probably have his or her Pink Oatmeal examined!

> I just want you all to imagine this in the context of a Stiffy Makane
> game.

O.K., I give up: What's a "Stiffy Makane game"???

-- _____ %%%%%%%%% "Glenn P.," <C128UserD...@FVI.Net> %%%%%%%%%%
{~._.~} -----------------------------------------------------------------
_( Y )_ ...For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are
(:_~*~_:) standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are...
(_)-(_) --Lewis, C.S.: "The Magician's Nephew",
========= Book I in "The Chronicles Of Narnia".

fel...@yahoo.com

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Aug 20, 2006, 11:47:24 PM8/20/06
to

On Google Groups. But that wasn't the right thread actually. I was
thinking of "How to Write a Great Game", from 25 Nov 2004. A search
for "bathrooms" will find a few others, too.

Cheers,
Felix

Adam Thornton

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Aug 21, 2006, 12:47:22 AM8/21/06
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In article <Pine.LNX.4.61.06...@Bfjrtb.SbkInyyrl.arg>,
Glenn P., <C128UserD...@FVI.Net> wrote:
>O.K., I give up: What's a "Stiffy Makane game"???

Well, you could play "The Incredible Erotic Adventures of Stiffy
Makane," although I don't recommend it.

Or you could play the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 version of it, which
is a little more entertaining.

With that under your belt, you could proceed to the 2001 IF-Comp entry,
"Stiffy Makane: The Undiscovered Country." There is also an
unsubstantiated rumor that the work in progress by the author of This
Very Post is yet another Stiffy Makane game.

The three games that actually exist all ought to be available at the IF
Archive.

Adam

Adam Thornton

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Aug 21, 2006, 1:56:29 AM8/21/06
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In article <1156112634....@m79g2000cwm.googlegroups.com>,

Gayla <ga...@qrivy.net> wrote:
>I certainly wouldn't want MY mother playing games like that.

Good to know, then, that, like the Snort, you are not my mother.

Adam

Aatu Koskensilta

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Aug 21, 2006, 9:22:58 AM8/21/06
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Erik Wennstrom wrote:
> This brings up the related issue that I've had some (relatively) recent
> personal revelations on. One of the major consequences in mathematics
> of the proof of Godel's Incompleteness Theorems is that you can't use
> the fact that your mathematical system is consistent as a fact with
> which to prove something within your mathematical system, i.e., when you
> are reasoning, don't use the fact that your reasoning is perfect to
> prove anything.

You seem to be referring to the second incompleteness theorem, and it is
certainly possible that it has inspired these revelations. However, they
don't have much to do with the actual content of the theorem. The second
incompleteness theorem states that for formal theories satisfying
certain criteria - "proving certain elementary arithmetical facts" as
the saying goes - the statement of the consistency of the theory
formulated as an arithmetical assertion is not provable in the theory
provided the theory is in fact consistent. From this it does indeed
follow that in such a theory a proof with the consistency of the theory
as a premise won't go through, but unfortunately no revelations about
our actual mathematical practice is obtained. For obviously there is no
reason to care about the provability of anything in a theory not known
to be consistent - or, more strongly, true. To put this less
technically, a proof using this or that mathematical principle is
utterly unacceptable if the principle itself is not accepted as true.
You use phrases like "prove something within your mathematical system"
possibly referring to formal provability within some theory - but
mathematics is not about producing formal proofs, which is in any case a
tedious and pointless task, but about producing arguments that establish
the truth of mathematical statements to the satisfaction of
mathematicians. The relation of formal theories to this activity is
subtle, although popular expositions of the incompleteness theorems do
indeed present such silly formulations as "mathematics can't be proved
consistent by mathematical proof". This claim is in fact true, but for
the rather trivial reason that "mathematics" is not a formal theory or a
mathematically defined object at all and hence none of its properties
are subject to mathematical proof, not because of the second
incompleteness theorem.

Of course, all this is off-topic here, and quite irrelevant to your
observation concerning interactive fiction. In case you're interested in
these issues I suggest Torkel Franzén's excellent books _Gödel's theorem
- its use and abuse_ and _Inexhaustibility - a non-exhaustive treatment_
the first of which is a popular exposition correcting the common
misconceptions regarding Gödel's theorems and the second is a technical
exposition of the inexhaustibility phenomenon alluded to above - that no
formal theory known to be sound can exhaust all mathematical truths we
can come to know.

--
Aatu Koskensilta (aatu.kos...@xortec.fi)

"Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, daruber muss man schweigen"
- Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

Gayla

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Aug 21, 2006, 10:07:04 AM8/21/06
to

I'm not your mommy? I could have sworn that I had a boy named Adam out
there somewhere.

Well, that certainly explains why you never call or drop by for a
visit. And all these years I thought it was the Brussel sprouts.

But that's OK, dear. The Snort and I are proud of you anyway.

--Gayla

David Fisher

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Aug 21, 2006, 10:23:51 AM8/21/06
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<fel...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1156132044.7...@p79g2000cwp.googlegroups.com...

If you haven't located it yet, here it is:

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.int-fiction/browse_thread/thread/dbc75f8cd79a36eb

You can also look for past RAIF topics in the IF wiki (up to September
2005):

http://www.ifwiki.org/index.php/Past_raif_topics%3A_IF_Theory%3A_part_1#Mimesis_.2F_game_consistency_.26_completeness

(Search for "bathroom" ...)

David Fisher


Nathan

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Aug 21, 2006, 12:11:25 PM8/21/06
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Glenn P., wrote:

> "TAKE PULSE" is another thing you might similarly play around with. (In
> fact I seem to recall that in the early stages of writing one of its games,
> an Infocom Inplementor unintentionally did precisely that -- "You can drop
> [character]'s pulse on the floor", read the Bug Report... :)

They never caught this bug in Suspect. If you're carrying Veronica's
body, you can DROP PULSE.

Erik Wennstrom

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Aug 21, 2006, 3:44:57 PM8/21/06
to
Aatu Koskensilta wrote:
> Erik Wennstrom wrote:
>
>> This brings up the related issue that I've had some (relatively)
>> recent personal revelations on. One of the major consequences in
>> mathematics of the proof of Godel's Incompleteness Theorems is that
>> you can't use the fact that your mathematical system is consistent as
>> a fact with which to prove something within your mathematical system,
>> i.e., when you are reasoning, don't use the fact that your reasoning
>> is perfect to prove anything.
>
> You seem to be referring to the second incompleteness theorem, and it is
> certainly possible that it has inspired these revelations. However, they
> don't have much to do with the actual content of the theorem.

I wasn't implying that the proof had anything to do with it, just that
this was a consequence.

[snip]

> The relation of formal theories to this activity is
> subtle, although popular expositions of the incompleteness theorems do
> indeed present such silly formulations as "mathematics can't be proved
> consistent by mathematical proof". This claim is in fact true, but for
> the rather trivial reason that "mathematics" is not a formal theory or a
> mathematically defined object at all and hence none of its properties
> are subject to mathematical proof, not because of the second
> incompleteness theorem.

All valid points which are 100% true. I hope I did not give the wrong
impression. I was making a (probably very strained) metaphorical
connection between one very specific consequence of Godel's second
incompleteness theorem to proof-writing in formal systems and a
self-created guideline for writing interactive fiction. I did not mean
to imply that any other aspects of the incompleteness theorems
(inexhaustibility, the impossibility of proving the consistency of
certain systems within certain systems, the Godel sentence itself, etc.)
had anything useful to say about the subject. I also did not mean to
imply that this impact to _formal_ proof-writing has much to say about
the proof-writing that we mathematicians engage in (with the rare
exception of us logicians who occasionally write formal proofs for fun
or as examples and counterexamples to be used when making normal
mathematical proofs _about_ formal proof-writing).

> Of course, all this is off-topic here, and quite irrelevant to your
> observation concerning interactive fiction. In case you're interested in
> these issues I suggest Torkel Franzén's excellent books _Gödel's theorem
> - its use and abuse_ and _Inexhaustibility - a non-exhaustive treatment_
> the first of which is a popular exposition correcting the common
> misconceptions regarding Gödel's theorems and the second is a technical
> exposition of the inexhaustibility phenomenon alluded to above - that no
> formal theory known to be sound can exhaust all mathematical truths we
> can come to know.

Certainly I am interested in these topics. That's why formal logic is
the current emphasis of my PhD, though I'm more likely to write my
dissertation in a related field, such as computability theory or
categorical models of logic (both of which I'm only just getting into).
I haven't heard of those books, though, so I may check them out.

Erik

Adam Thornton

unread,
Aug 21, 2006, 6:15:10 PM8/21/06
to
In article <1156169224.2...@74g2000cwt.googlegroups.com>,

Gayla <ga...@qrivy.net> wrote:
>But that's OK, dear. The Snort and I are proud of you anyway.

Who's my daddy and what does he do?

Adam

Gayla

unread,
Aug 21, 2006, 8:57:42 PM8/21/06
to

Your Daddy was a mime. I was never quite sure that I understood his
name correctly, but I think it might have been Walter or Walden or
something like that. Or maybe Box.

Last I heard he was in Norway trying to piss off a turret.

--Gayla

Adam Thornton

unread,
Aug 22, 2006, 12:51:20 AM8/22/06
to
In article <1156208262.0...@p79g2000cwp.googlegroups.com>,
Gayla <ga...@qrivy.net> wrote:

>Adam Thornton wrote:
>> Who's my daddy and what does he do?
>Your Daddy was a mime.

OH DEAR GOD NO THE SHAME

>I was never quite sure that I understood his
>name correctly, but I think it might have been Walter or Walden or
>something like that. Or maybe Box.

"Wendy," perhaps?

>Last I heard he was in Norway trying to piss off a turret.

It's easy. Those Norwegian turrets? Very, very touchy. And they
*never* finish their games on time.

Adam

Aatu Koskensilta

unread,
Aug 22, 2006, 9:11:19 AM8/22/06
to
Erik Wennstrom wrote:
> All valid points which are 100% true. I hope I did not give the wrong
> impression. I was making a (probably very strained) metaphorical
> connection between one very specific consequence of Godel's second
> incompleteness theorem to proof-writing in formal systems and a
> self-created guideline for writing interactive fiction.

The incompleteness theorems do indeed prompt all sorts of reflections
and metaphorical invocations in a way, say, the fundamental theorem of
arithmetic doesn't. But since most of the invocations of the
incompleteness theorem are either non-sensical or have no actual
connection to the mathematical content or proof of the theorem I
personally feel it's best to leave the theorems out altogether. While
you might well know the actual mathematical content of these theorems,
the description you offered of their implications is likely to spread
further - by a minuscule amount, it's not like people aren't capable of
getting confused about these issues without any help - the
misconceptions and mystique associated to them by many who are not
really interested in technical results of mathematical logic.

> Certainly I am interested in these topics. That's why formal logic is
> the current emphasis of my PhD, though I'm more likely to write my
> dissertation in a related field, such as computability theory or
> categorical models of logic (both of which I'm only just getting into).
> I haven't heard of those books, though, so I may check them out.

Here's what the esteemed logician Solomon Feferman had to say about
Torkel's books:

I first became aware of Torkel Franzén through the comments on his
homepage, Gödel on the net, that he turned into a book last year,
"Gödel's Theorem. An incomplete guide to its use and abuse"
(A.K. Peters, Ltd., 2005). For the flap, I wrote:

"This unique exposition of Kurt Gödel's stunning incompleteness
theorems for a general audience manages to do what none other has
accomplished; explain clearly and thoroughly just what the theorems
really say and imply and correct their diverse misapplications to
philosophy, psychology, physics, theology, post-modernist criticism and
what have you."

(A much abbreviated article by Franzén on the same topic has appeared
in the April 2006 Notices of the AMS.)

A year before that, he published "Inexhaustibility. A non-exhaustive
treatment" (ASL Lecture Notes in Logic #16, 2004), that I consider the
best exposition of Gödel's incompleteness theorems in print, together
with an introduction to the work on transfinite progressions of
theories (aka ordinal logics) by Turing and me.

I wholeheartedly agree: _Inexhaustibility_ is the best exposition of
Gödel's incompleteness theorems in print. In addition, Torkel's writing
is a pleasure to read, his language beatiful, simple and elegant; unlike
many others Torkel didn't indulge in formalism for formalisms sake, and
always preferred clear explanations as free of technicalese as possible.

Sadly, Torkel passed away earlier this year, a great loss not only to
his friends and family, but also to USENET.

Gayla

unread,
Aug 22, 2006, 10:31:16 AM8/22/06
to

Adam Thornton wrote:
> In article <1156208262.0...@p79g2000cwp.googlegroups.com>,
> Gayla <ga...@qrivy.net> wrote:
> >Adam Thornton wrote:
> >> Who's my daddy and what does he do?
> >Your Daddy was a mime.
>
> OH DEAR GOD NO THE SHAME
>
> >I was never quite sure that I understood his
> >name correctly, but I think it might have been Walter or Walden or
> >something like that. Or maybe Box.
>
> "Wendy," perhaps?

You must be thinking of his twin brother, the one who wrote the musical
score for Tron. Your father was not nearly as well-tempered as his
twin; in fact his personality was usually rather stiff, especially when
he was asleep.

> >Last I heard he was in Norway trying to piss off a turret.
>
> It's easy. Those Norwegian turrets? Very, very touchy. And they
> *never* finish their games on time.

That's the problem exactly. The turret waited until the last minute and
didn't leave enough time for beta-testing. So now, the result of any
action is exactly the opposite of what it should be. I'm sorry to say
that your Daddy has been Stonewalled Again since last October. The
only member of your family who's had any success trying to piss off the
turret has been Uncle Wendy.

Adam Thornton

unread,
Aug 22, 2006, 11:06:41 PM8/22/06
to
In article <1156257076....@m73g2000cwd.googlegroups.com>,

Gayla <ga...@qrivy.net> wrote:
>You must be thinking of his twin brother, the one who wrote the musical
>score for Tron. Your father was not nearly as well-tempered as his
>twin; in fact his personality was usually rather stiff, especially when
>he was asleep.

Wow, my uncle is Wendy Carlos Williams, author of the famous:

"I have eaten
the CPU that was in
the icebox
and which
you were probably
saving
for ray-tracing..." ?

That's totally cool.

>That's the problem exactly. The turret waited until the last minute and
>didn't leave enough time for beta-testing. So now, the result of any
>action is exactly the opposite of what it should be. I'm sorry to say
>that your Daddy has been Stonewalled Again since last October.

Well, at least he hasn't been A.P. Hilled again. That would *really* be
unfortunate.

>The
>only member of your family who's had any success trying to piss off the
>turret has been Uncle Wendy.

Maybe he should try inviting it to a web forum.

Adam


Glenn P.,

unread,
Aug 23, 2006, 5:28:46 AM8/23/06
to

Oh, they CAUGHT the bug, all right -- it was reported in "The Status Line"
(and indeed, since I have never played "Suspect" [mysteries aren't my cup
of tea], I culd have learned of it in no other way) -- so what you REALLY
mean to say, is that they never CORRECTED it. That is a totally different
kettle of fish. :)

-- %%%%%%%%%% "Glenn P.," <C128UserD...@FVI.Net> %%%%%%%%%%
_____ -----------------------------------------------------------------
{~._.~} "The amazing drama which you are about to see, is a matter of
_( Y )_ human record. You may believe it, or not. But the real people who
(:_~*~_:) lived this story -- they believe it. They KNOW. They *took* that
(_)-(_) One Step Beyond." --------------------------------
========= --NEWLAND, John: Host of TV Show
========= "One Step Beyond" (1959-1961).

Glenn P.,

unread,
Aug 23, 2006, 5:33:43 AM8/23/06
to
On 21-Aug-06 at 9:11am -0700, <nts...@netscape.net> wrote:

> They never caught this bug in Suspect. If you're carrying Veronica's

> body...

Now, I KNOW they corrected THAT -- being able to take or carry Veronica's
body -- because "The Status Line" specifically mentioned that particular
correction. How then are you able to carry Veronica's body around???

Gene Wirchenko

unread,
Aug 23, 2006, 7:18:23 AM8/23/06
to
ad...@fsf.net (Adam Thornton) wrote:

Think of all of the experience she could bring to bear. After
all, it is doubtful she is a virgin.

MOM: "Son, while your game was pretty good, it appears I was
remiss, or at best, incomplete when I covered the following matters:"
followed by an updated version of The Talk.

Son exits room very quickly, but not without taking time to
blush.

>Thank you.

You are welcome, I am sure.

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko

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

Gayla

unread,
Aug 23, 2006, 7:24:32 AM8/23/06
to
Adam Thornton wrote:
> In article <1156257076....@m73g2000cwd.googlegroups.com>,
> Gayla <ga...@qrivy.net> wrote:
> >You must be thinking of his twin brother, the one who wrote the musical
> >score for Tron. Your father was not nearly as well-tempered as his
> >twin; in fact his personality was usually rather stiff, especially when
> >he was asleep.
>
> Wow, my uncle is Wendy Carlos Williams, author of the famous:
>
> "I have eaten
> the CPU that was in
> the icebox
> and which
> you were probably
> saving
> for ray-tracing..." ?
>
> That's totally cool.


No, no, you're thinking of your Daddy's OTHER twin. Aunt Wendy and
Uncle Wendy aren't the same person. It used to be easier to tell them
apart.

As your father always used to say, "She's been practicing her ping-pong
serve again. Don't eat the plums."


> >That's the problem exactly. The turret waited until the last minute and
> >didn't leave enough time for beta-testing. So now, the result of any
> >action is exactly the opposite of what it should be. I'm sorry to say
> >that your Daddy has been Stonewalled Again since last October.
>
> Well, at least he hasn't been A.P. Hilled again. That would *really* be
> unfortunate.
>
> >The
> >only member of your family who's had any success trying to piss off the
> >turret has been Uncle Wendy.
>
> Maybe he should try inviting it to a web forum.


Hah! I always knew you'd grow up to be terribly clever.

--Gayla

Adam Thornton

unread,
Aug 23, 2006, 2:02:10 PM8/23/06
to
In article <1156332272.3...@h48g2000cwc.googlegroups.com>,

Gayla <ga...@qrivy.net> wrote:
>Adam Thornton wrote:
>No, no, you're thinking of your Daddy's OTHER twin. Aunt Wendy and
>Uncle Wendy aren't the same person. It used to be easier to tell them
>apart.

One claps for Tinkerbell, and the other has the clap but bears it while
he tinkles (off turrets) ?

>As your father always used to say, "She's been practicing her ping-pong
>serve again. Don't eat the plums."

He *was* a talented mime, wasn't he?

>Hah! I always knew you'd grow up to be terribly clever.

I try to be witty. I'm almost halfway there.

Adam

Adam Thornton

unread,
Aug 23, 2006, 2:03:57 PM8/23/06
to
In article <rgpke2dnamiimniet...@4ax.com>,

Gene Wirchenko <ge...@abhost.us.NOTTHIS> wrote:
> MOM: "Son, while your game was pretty good, it appears I was
>remiss, or at best, incomplete when I covered the following matters:"
>followed by an updated version of The Talk.

When The Talk includes the phrase "Antler Job," it's probably time to
crawl under the comforter and pray for a quick death.

Adam

Daniel Dawson

unread,
Aug 23, 2006, 1:43:59 PM8/23/06
to
You pick up and read article
<Pine.LNX.4.61.06...@Bfjrtb.SbkInyyrl.arg>, written by Glenn P.,

<C128UserD...@FVI.Net>. It says:
>"TAKE PULSE" is another thing you might similarly play around with. (In
>fact I seem to recall that in the early stages of writing one of its games,
>an Infocom Inplementor unintentionally did precisely that -- "You can drop
>[character]'s pulse on the floor", read the Bug Report... :)

Also, 'pulse' could refer to certain legumes. :-)

--
| Email: Daniel Dawson <ddawson at icehouse.net> ifMUD: DanDawson |
| Web: http://www.icehouse.net/ddawson/ PGP key: 'about' on web site |

Nathan

unread,
Aug 24, 2006, 12:18:08 AM8/24/06
to
Glenn P., wrote:
> On 21-Aug-06 at 9:11am -0700, <nts...@netscape.net> wrote:
>
> > They never caught this bug in Suspect. If you're carrying Veronica's
> > body...
>
> Now, I KNOW they corrected THAT -- being able to take or carry Veronica's
> body -- because "The Status Line" specifically mentioned that particular
> correction. How then are you able to carry Veronica's body around???

I couldn't find any mention of that being a bug, corrected or not.
You just GET BODY. Indeed, the game specifically tracks whether
you've moved her body, and whether anyone saw you carrying it, to
list the evidence against you when you lose.

> >...you can DROP PULSE.

You're absolutely right! Volume 3 Number 4 (the Fall 1984 issue) of
the New Zork Times lists this as a bug caught by a playtester.
So why didn't they fix it?

Blank

unread,
Aug 30, 2006, 12:02:57 PM8/30/06
to
Stevie B wrote:

> ..>When he was in high school I once asked him to stop talking about
> ..>mathematics at the dinner table because I was concerned that his
> ..>sister would get so bored that she would fall asleep face down into
> ..>her mashed potatoes. However, being stubborn runs in the family, so
> ..>Erik's lecture about prime numbers continued. Fortunately we had
> ..>two fully functioning bathrooms in the house, so his sister was able
> to
> ..>take a shower and wash the potatoes out of her hair without having
> the
> ..>bathroom tell her that she couldn't take the shower because it was
> ..>fixed in place.
>
> ..>His sister had her revenge the next evening, when she decided to
> ..>dominate the dinner conversation by explaining how ballet dancers
> ..>treat ankle injuries in Russia. This time it was Erik who fell
> asleep,
> ..>but that night it was spaghetti instead of mashed potatoes. Once
> ..>again, the came through for the Wennstroms.
>

Pshaw, math audiences have it easy. You should try sharing a dinner
table with two biologists.
"No, I haven't finished with my drumstick, and I *don't care* how the
tendons articulate the foot."

JZ

Gayla

unread,
Aug 31, 2006, 12:22:30 AM8/31/06
to

This brings up the question of why that poet guy (you know, the one who
was named after Homer Simpson) spent so much time writing about the
Trojan horse, but he never once mentioned the Trojan chicken. Doh!!
Talk about stupid mistakes! Pass me another doughnut and I'll explain
what I mean.

Unlike Achilles (and Brad Pitt), chickens don't even HAVE heels.
Furthermore, chickens have been known to run around even after their
heads have been cut off. So this makes them practically invulnerable,
right? It follows logically that if the people of Troy had drafted
their chickens into the army instead of eating them, then the Trojans
could have won the Trojan War instead of losing it to the Greeks.

As a result, all of that poetry stuff about the war and the victorious
journey home afterwards would have been a lot shorter. The Trojans
didn't have very far to go to get home; it would have taken them about
fifteeen minutes. The whole story could have fit into one book instead
of two.

More importantly, this would have had an enormous effect on modern
dining practices, not the least of which is that all of the physics
students who scribble formulas on napkins would be using Trojan letters
instead of Greek letters. This means that if you were to have any
trouble understanding your friend's napkinized derivation of special
relativity you could always ask the chicken.

--Gayla

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