Interactive Fact

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Justin Morgan

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Apr 7, 2005, 7:26:13 AM4/7/05
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Yes, it's another of my hare-brained God-forsaken grand ideas.

How about interactive fact? That is, games that are set in the real
world - real locations on Earth. How about a project that aims (but
never quite achieves, like them all) for a complete, free, interactive
version of the places on the planet, which could be used either for
prospective tourists, or for students, or even for IF developers, who
could write a story based in real world locations that they need not
have visited, already written for them.

OK - it's too ambitious, but what do you think of the general idea? Has
it been done? Or does it have six hundred problems I just haven't
thought of yet?

Clicking, the send button with regret,
-- Corfizz, http://www.corfizz.com

I am not a horse.

Eric Eve

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Apr 7, 2005, 8:03:20 AM4/7/05
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"Justin Morgan" <feed...@corfizz.com> wrote in message
news:42550af8$0$94514$ed26...@ptn-nntp-reader01.plus.net...

>
> How about interactive fact? That is, games that are set in the
> real world - real locations on Earth. How about a project that
> aims (but never quite achieves, like them all) for a complete,
> free, interactive version of the places on the planet, which could
> be used either for prospective tourists,

I've sometimes wondered along these lines, without getting any
further than the vaguest of wonderings. Presumably if you were using
an IF system to represent a real place you could include photographs
of the locations and of particular objects of interest they
contained, although that might make the factual 'games' rather
bulky, especially if you were planning to model a sizeable area.
Without such pictures, I'm not sure how attractive the end result
would be. Even with them, though, I'm not sure how much of a market
you'd find among prospective tourists (how many prospective tourists
would think of downloading an IF-interpreter to experience a virtual
tour of some location?).

Again, unless your IF-tour included rather more interaction than
just moving around and examining things, I'm not sure what it would
achieve that couldn't be achieved just about as well by a series of
hyperlinked web-pages (a medium a prospective tourist might be more
inclined to use). On the other hand, once you start to include a
significant amount of other interactive possibilities (e.g.
collecting objects, conversing to NPCs), your interactive fact is
starting to slide into interactive fiction set in a real-world
location (which may be an interesting idea, but is more likely to
appeal to touristically-mnded fans of IF than any wider market).

> or for students,

Again this is something I've wondered about without coming to
anything like an intelligent conclusion. In the abstract using IF
for educational purposes seems like a neat idea; in practice it
seems a bit problematic unless you happen to have students who are
already IF-enthusiasts. It's an area that might be interesting to
explore further, though.


> or even for IF developers, who could write a story based in real
> world locations that they need not have visited, already written
> for them.

I should have thought that most IF developers would want to create
their own locations, suited to their own style and to the nature of
the game/story they were trying to create.

-- Eric


Rexx Magnus

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Apr 7, 2005, 8:18:09 AM4/7/05
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On Thu, 07 Apr 2005 11:26:13 GMT, Justin Morgan scrawled:

> How about interactive fact? That is, games that are set in the real
> world - real locations on Earth. How about a project that aims (but
> never quite achieves, like them all) for a complete, free, interactive
> version of the places on the planet, which could be used either for
> prospective tourists, or for students, or even for IF developers, who
> could write a story based in real world locations that they need not
> have visited, already written for them.
>
> OK - it's too ambitious, but what do you think of the general idea? Has
> it been done? Or does it have six hundred problems I just haven't
> thought of yet?

The premise is sound - after all, there are plenty of entries to the IF
artshow based on real world locations that are more of an exploration.

--
http://www.rexx.co.uk

To email me, visit the site.

Rikard Peterson

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Apr 7, 2005, 8:33:27 AM4/7/05
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Justin Morgan wrote in
news:42550af8$0$94514$ed26...@ptn-nntp-reader01.plus.net:

> OK - it's too ambitious, but what do you think of the general
> idea? Has it been done? Or does it have six hundred problems I
> just haven't thought of yet?

I think of 1893 - A World's Fair Mystery and the original Adventure.
Neither is what you describe, but they're both based on a real place
and quite successful. (I think. I still haven't played either of
them.)

But creating Tellus - The IF Experience is indeed way too abitious.
Just implementing the village I live in in some reasonable detail
would take one person years. That's only a small part of Gotland,
which is only one small part of Sweden, which is only one small part
of Europe, ...

It would be *very* impressive even if only Gotland was implemented,
but I still think it'd get boring quickly unless there was some game
and/or story in it. It wouldn't have to be an adventure game, but
*something* more than "look - I've described this place". Maybe
simply ("simple" - yeah, right) populating it with interesting people
and things would be enough, if the prose was good. I don't know.

Rikard

Justin Morgan

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Apr 7, 2005, 11:25:04 AM4/7/05
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I have had the inkling that interactive tourism websites, though good,
are likely to be biased by tourism companies. What IF would do is give
the real sense of what it is like to be somewhere - somewhere that
really exists - giving information about the five senses that you can't
realistically get from any other medium: what it looks like, sounds
like, feels like, smells like, and what sort of food you can expect.

I suppose one might build in games into it - searching for things,
buying a house, averting a disaster, causing a disaster, and so on.

I'll investigate.

Mike Snyder

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Apr 7, 2005, 10:49:01 AM4/7/05
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"Justin Morgan" <feed...@corfizz.com> wrote in message
news:425542f1$0$27828$ed26...@ptn-nntp-reader03.plus.net...

>I have had the inkling that interactive tourism websites, though good, are
>likely to be biased by tourism companies. What IF would do is give the real
>sense of what it is like to be somewhere - somewhere that really exists -
>giving information about the five senses that you can't realistically get
>from any other medium: what it looks like, sounds like, feels like, smells
>like, and what sort of food you can expect.

Seems like it would be very subjective. The writing will favor the opinion
of the author, right? I'm not sure how you could write generically enough to
present an unbiased experience (allowing the player's biases to manifest
uninfluenced by the author's biases)... if that makes sense. If you could, I
wonder if it would be too bland for most visitors to even sit through?
Interesting thought, though.

---- Mike.


Paul Drallos

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Apr 7, 2005, 1:44:14 PM4/7/05
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Justin Morgan wrote:

> Yes, it's another of my hare-brained God-forsaken grand ideas.
>
> How about interactive fact? That is, games that are set in the real
> world - real locations on Earth.

Actually, your proposal is probably the first thing just about everybody does when they are learning how to write IF. Typically, one starts modeling a real place, like one's house or apartment. These games usually don't see the light of day.

That said, I offer a slightly different slant on your proposal. The concept of Interactive Fact (as opposed to Interactive Fiction) need not be limited to towns and cities or ares populated by people. Suppose you write an IFact in which the player is, say, an electron floating in a gas plasma and subject to all the forces, collision and interactions of the local environment? Or maybe you're a gasoline molecue starting out in the tank of a car and eventually find your way to the fuel pump, fuel line, carburetor, etc., and eventually get blown out the exhaust. Or maybe a tour through the human body. The possibilities are endless.

Seems to me like that could be a lot of fun.

Justin Morgan

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Apr 7, 2005, 3:29:56 PM4/7/05
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Paul Drallos wrote:
> Actually, your proposal is probably the first thing just about everybody
> does when they are learning how to write IF. Typically, one starts
> modeling a real place, like one's house or apartment. These games
> usually don't see the light of day.
>
> That said, I offer a slightly different slant on your proposal. The
> concept of Interactive Fact (as opposed to Interactive Fiction) need not
> be limited to towns and cities or ares populated by people. Suppose you
> write an IFact in which the player is, say, an electron floating in a
> gas plasma and subject to all the forces, collision and interactions of
> the local environment? Or maybe you're a gasoline molecue starting out
> in the tank of a car and eventually find your way to the fuel pump, fuel
> line, carburetor, etc., and eventually get blown out the exhaust. Or
> maybe a tour through the human body. The possibilities are endless.
>
> Seems to me like that could be a lot of fun.

Yes! That does sound like fun. Of course, for best results you'd need a
physics/engineering/biology qualification (in the case of your three
ideas). Thanks for that.


--

Poster

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Apr 7, 2005, 4:59:52 PM4/7/05
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Actually the idea of using IF for students isn't new. Teachers used the
Zork series to teach kids basic rules of grammar. Why it worked was
that the kids were learning grammar though playing a game that
reinforced grammar rules but not a game designed to teach grammar
rules. They were trying to solve puzzles, explore an interesting area,
and to do so, they had to use grammatical sentences. I think if you
aimed at the education audience, the only way that the game would
succeed is if you hit it from the side, like Zork I did. I.e. that you
taught without the making teaching your primary goal.

With that said, you'd have to make the place exciting and exciting at
least to me entails something secret, bizarre, or weird and obstacles
to get there. Yes you can do this without reconstructing Fall of the
House of Usher, but it does look like you'd need some kind of plot or
at least puzzles. Heck, even Oregon Trail had those. :)

~Poster

RootShell

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Apr 7, 2005, 4:47:10 PM4/7/05
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The idea of a Atom/Molecule world based IF is pretty cute/interesting.

I guess that there's still a lot of ground needing to be
explored/uncovered in Interactive Fiction... imagine yourself playing
not as human PC but as a dust of sand... the possibilities are huge
(literally :p).

Nevertheless, you showed three excelent ideas for a IF game theme :)

Regards,
RootShell

Ian Haberkorn

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Apr 8, 2005, 2:21:22 AM4/8/05
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> The idea of a Atom/Molecule world based IF is pretty cute/interesting.

Just wondering about the possible actions if the player were a
molecule of gasoline:

>bond with neighbor
You build a temporary connection with the neighboring molecule,
bringing you closer to the gas nozzle.

>bond west
To the west is a polar molecule. You cannot bond with that.

>z
Brownian motion and the negative pressure of the gas nozzle bring you
closer to the exit.

>burn self
You have no oxygen molecule!

Another idea for IF to become useful in the real world might be
teaching language through IF.

You are in the Hofbräuhaus. You can see a waiter (Kellner).
>rufe Kellner
"Ja, mein Herr?"
>order beer
The waiter doesn't understand order. You can order by typing "Ich
möchte bitte ein" = "I'd like a"
The waiter doesn't understand beer. Beer in german is spelled "Bier".

>Ich möchte bitte ein Bier
"Gerne!"
The waiter disappears in the crowd. He soon returns carrying a large
glass of cold beer with a beautiful head of froth.
(your score has just gone up)

JohnnyMrNinja

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Apr 10, 2005, 4:40:41 AM4/10/05
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http://www.funeducation.com/products/ibooks/

This may be like what you're talking about (Study in Tokyo, Fun with
Science), though I haven't been able too actually download, so I can't
say for sure.

Bob_Woodward

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Apr 11, 2005, 6:28:46 AM4/11/05
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Justin Morgan <feed...@corfizz.com> wrote in message news:<42550af8$0$94514$ed26...@ptn-nntp-reader01.plus.net>...

> How about interactive fact? That is, games that are set in the real
> world - real locations on Earth. How about a project that aims (but
> never quite achieves, like them all) for a complete, free, interactive
> version of the places on the planet, which could be used either for
> prospective tourists

Like somebody mentioned before, 1893 seems to strive for that. The
idea also reminds my of this years IF-Comp entry "Blue Sky" which was
kind of an interactive tourist guide. I liked the game pretty much,
but thought it lacked information. It would also work much better
using photographs.

Bob

Al Turniansky

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Apr 11, 2005, 2:04:37 PM4/11/05
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in article 3e174d1e.05041...@posting.google.com, Bob_Woodward at
soen...@yahoo.com wrote on 4/11/05 5:28 AM:

It just struck me that another area where "interactive fact" might be
interesting would be a sort of natural history/biology/zoology game on the
theme of predator/prey.

That is, the PC is, say, a lion on the African plain, looking for food to
sustain herself. "There is a waterhole to the east. You smell a herd of
zebras to your south, moving away from you." A game where "starvation
puzzles' make sense!

ChicagoDave

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Apr 11, 2005, 2:16:25 PM4/11/05
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I thought of this and then using a GPS device to enable IF
story-telling as you wander around a locale.

The technology is there. Just needs to be pulled together.

David C.

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