[Inform] Newbie description question + style question

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Kathleen Fischer

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Apr 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/16/96
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I have a room (gee only one? Well, I've only been at this a day or so) and
what I WANT to have happen is the following:

> GO N
You are standing smack dab in the middle of Kathleen's first room. There are
probably objects here... maybe a clue or two, and if she ever finishes the
Inform designer's manual then she might even put a puzzle here.
> LOOK
You are standing smack dab in the middle of Kathleen's first room. There are
probably objects here... maybe a clue or two, and if she ever finishes the
Inform designer's manual then she might even put a puzzle here.

Oh, by the way, there is something else here that you didn't notice before.
>

Now, ignoring for the moment the stylistic issue of having something not
visible in a room unless you actually LOOK... how do I implement this?

Ok, fine... go ahead and consider the stylistic issure if you must... is it
considered a real no-no or could it be considered appropriate under certain
specific situations?

Anyway, back to "real" issue. I'll even give you a head start. This is what I
am currently doing:

Object kathleens_room "Kathleens Room"
with description "You are standing smack dab in the middle of \
Kathleen's ... <snip> .. put a puzzle here.",
after[; Look: "Oh, by the way, there is something else here \
that you didn't notice before.";],
has light;

... re-typed by hand just now so don't get cross if I'm missing a comma :)

Now, since I'm writting this question, you can guess that the above didn't
work. In fact, it does the following:

> GO N
You are standing smack dab in the middle of Kathleen's first room. There are
probably objects here... maybe a clue or two, and if she ever finishes the
Inform designer's manual then she might even put a puzzle here.

Oh, by the way, there is something else here that you didn't notice before.
>

Since I didn't type LOOK... why am I getting it when I first walk in the room?

Thanks,
Kathleen

--
// Kathleen Fischer
// kfis...@greenhouse.llnl.gov
// *** "Don't stop to stomp ants while the elephants are stampeding" ***


Jesse Mcgrew

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Apr 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/16/96
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[caution: I am not an Inform expert!]

Kathleen Fischer (kfis...@greenhouse.llnl.gov) wrote:
: I have a room (gee only one? Well, I've only been at this a day or so) and


: what I WANT to have happen is the following:

[a clue appears the second time you see the description]

I think you'd do something like this:

with description [;
print "Here's the description.";
if (self has visited) "And here's the clue you didn't see before."
],

Note that this will show the clue if you leavee the room and walk in again.
I don't see anything wrong with this.

: Anyway, back to "real" issue. I'll even give you a head start. This is what I
: am currently doing:
[after Look]

: Now, since I'm writting this question, you can guess that the above didn't


: work. In fact, it does the following:

[displays the clue when you first walk into the room]

This is happening because the library generates a <Look> action when you
walk into a room.

--
Jesse "Monolith" McGrew
http://www.concentric.net/~jmcgrew

Bozzie

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Apr 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/17/96
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Well, being as I have virtually no experience with inform, and my only
programs I have written dont really work well, I'll gladly pretend
I know what I'm talking about. ;-)

What I'm assuming is happening is that when you move from one place to
annother, inform automatically uses the "Look" command in the new place.
Unlese you're using brief mode. The answer to your problem would
probably have to do with something like initial or you could make it
so theres only a random possibility of seeing what you have to discover it,
or maybe have a varibale that increments once and once it's greater
then 1, would show the object. or there could be a much easier way.


Andrew C. Plotkin

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Apr 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/17/96
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[Message appearing the second time you look around a room.]

Kathleen Fischer <kfis...@greenhouse.llnl.gov> writes:
> Ok, fine... go ahead and consider the stylistic issure if you must... is it
> considered a real no-no or could it be considered appropriate under certain
> specific situations?

I think it would annoy certain people. I type "look" at a moment's
boredom (and I always turn on verbose mode.) But other players might
not. On the other hand, if the player is going to walk through the
room several times, that would guarantee that they found the object.

I guess my conclusion is that it's a terrible *puzzle*; you shouldn't
require me to think of typing "look" an extra time; it's an
unreasonable violation of the conventions of the game. But if the
player is bound to stumble across it eventually, in the course of
doing other things, it could be an effective stylistic device.

Jmc...@cris.com (Jesse Mcgrew) writes:
> : Now, since I'm writting this question, you can guess that the above didn't
> : work. In fact, it does the following:
> [displays the clue when you first walk into the room]
>
> This is happening because the library generates a <Look> action when you
> walk into a room.

Right. I would handle this with a counter or flag. The first <Look>
action in the room prints nothing and increments the counter. The
second prints the clue. You could rig it to show the clue every
<Look> thereafter, or not.

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."

Julian Arnold

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Apr 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/17/96
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In article <4l0ol4$2...@lll-winken.llnl.gov>, Kathleen Fischer

<mailto:kfis...@greenhouse.llnl.gov> wrote:
>
> Now, ignoring for the moment the stylistic issue of having something not
> visible in a room unless you actually LOOK... how do I implement this?

Use attributes:

object kathleens_room "Kathleen's Room"
with description [;
print "You are standing smack dab in the middle of \


Kathleen's first room. There are probably objects \
here... maybe a clue or two, and if she ever finishes \
the Inform designer's manual then she might even put a \

puzzle here.^";
if (self has general)
"^Well looky-here, there's that thing you didn't \
notice at first.";
if (self has visited)
{
give self general;
"^Oh, by the way, there is something else here that \
you didn't notice before.";
}
rtrue;
],
has light;

The description routine is run whenever the player looks in a room. Upon
entering a room for the first time a `Look' action is generated by the game
(though not in `superbrief' mode), and then the room is given `visited'. So,
`kathleens_room' will print the first lot of text in its description then
return true. Then it will be given `visited'. Following a subsequent
`Look' action (either as a result of the player typing "look" or re-entering
the room [but only in `verbose' mode]) the room has `visited', so the extra
info is printed. We also give the room the `general' attribute, so that the
player isn't told he didn't notice something before every time the room is
entered (or every time the player looks).

> Ok, fine... go ahead and consider the stylistic issure if you must... is it
> considered a real no-no or could it be considered appropriate under certain
> specific situations?

I think it's ok if handled correctly. Why should the player be entirely
aware of her surrounding the very first time she enters them?

> Since I didn't type LOOK... why am I getting it when I first walk in the room?

This is because the act of entering a room implicitly generates a `Look'
action (though certain circumstances may alter this behaviour-- particularly
setting different look modes, like `brief' and `superbrief').

Jools


Phil Goetz

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Apr 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/19/96
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In article <4l0ol4$2...@lll-winken.llnl.gov>,
Kathleen Fischer <kfis...@greenhouse.llnl.gov> wrote:

>Now, ignoring for the moment the stylistic issue of having something not
>visible in a room unless you actually LOOK... how do I implement this?
>

>Ok, fine... go ahead and consider the stylistic issure if you must... is it
>considered a real no-no or could it be considered appropriate under certain
>specific situations?

My initial reaction is,

NO NO NO NO! Don't even dare to THINK about doing that to me! Arrgh!

<ahem>

If there's a /real reason/ to do this -- and putting something necessary
in a room and saying that having to 'look' is a puzzle does NOT count
-- then put a big notice in the documentation for your game, preferably
in capitals, like this:


WARNING: At some points in this game, you must type 'look' after
entering a room in order to see items in the room.


If you don't give this warning, I can guarantee that I will never be
able to finish it. If you do, though, I'll type 'look' on entering
every room, spoiling whatever fun you had in mind with this technique
and annoying me considerably.


Phil Go...@cs.buffalo.edu

Julian Arnold

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Apr 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/20/96
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In article <4l8vgq$2...@azure.acsu.buffalo.edu>, Phil Goetz

I don't see the problem. When you enter a room should you really expect to
be instantly aware of _everything_? I think rather than just by looking an
extra time, Kathleen also meant that the at-first-unnoticed thing would be
noticed on a second vist as well, which IMO is fine. No warning necessary.

Now for a couple of spoilers:

Similar techniques were used in "Trinity" (where re-examining the map in the
cottage gives you extra info), and "Legend" (where you had to wait a number
of turns in one location in the market for the ship to appear).

I guess the thing is that people who don't like, say, objects hidden
underneath other objects ("LOOK UNDER SILL > You find a key") won't like the
aforementioned techniques either. Some players don't like information being
concealed or withheld from them.

Jools


Andrew C. Plotkin

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Apr 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/21/96
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Excerpts from netnews.rec.arts.int-fiction: 20-Apr-96 Re: [Inform]
Newbie descrip.. Julian Arn...@arnod.demo (2111*)

> I don't see the problem. When you enter a room should you really expect to
> be instantly aware of _everything_? I think rather than just by looking an
> extra time, Kathleen also meant that the at-first-unnoticed thing would be
> noticed on a second vist as well, which IMO is fine. No warning necessary.

I disagree (that is, I do demand a warning of some sort.) There are lots
of conventions in text adventures. One is that "look" and "examine" tell
you everything, and doing them multiple times gives the same result
unless some game state has changed. If you violate that convention, you
will annoy the hell out of me.

Here's another angle at my attitude: when I want to look around in a
text game, I type "look". When I want to look around really carefully, I
type "look" and then read the results carefully. When I want to look
around again, I scroll back (instead of typing "look" again.) If you
want me to not necessarily be aware of something, mention it somehow and
let me decide (or not decide) to "examine" it for the important details.

> Now for a couple of spoilers:

> Similar techniques were used in "Trinity" (where re-examining the map in the
> cottage gives you extra info), and "Legend" (where you had to wait a number
> of turns in one location in the market for the ship to appear).

I don't remember that from Trinity; what was the difference?

As for waiting, of course! Everyone knows that waiting multiple times
may have more results than waiting once. Having to wait several times
*in the same place* is a problem, but it's a common enough problem that
I watch out for it. The "looking is idempotent" convention is
practically universal.

> I guess the thing is that people who don't like, say, objects hidden
> underneath other objects ("LOOK UNDER SILL > You find a key") won't like the
> aforementioned techniques either. Some players don't like information
> being concealed or withheld from them.

Your guess does not account for my annoyance. I expect that looking
under will find things that just looking around won't. I do not consider
that concealing information.

Really, I don't think "concealing information" is a useful phrase. The
first move of the game doesn't tell you the entire plot; is that
concealing information? Obviously not, not in any way that ticks people
off.

Dan Shiovitz

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Apr 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/22/96
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In article <ant20160...@arnod.demon.co.uk>,
Julian Arnold <jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk> wrote:
[..]

>I guess the thing is that people who don't like, say, objects hidden
>underneath other objects ("LOOK UNDER SILL > You find a key") won't like the
>aforementioned techniques either. Some players don't like information being
>concealed or withheld from them.
Mm. I don't like objects hidden under objects, but I don't agree with your
conclusion. After all, it's not much of a story if all information is given
at the start of the game. What I object to, basically, is this: IF is
a simulation of reality, in a way. Since we can't perfectly simulate
reality (duh), we make certain concessions. This, in turn, leads to
stereotyped actions. For instance, it's a convention that NPCs can be
addressed by either "ASK NPC ABOUT FISH", "ASK NPC FOR FISH", or "NPC, GIVE
ME FISH". When a game doesn't use these conventions (for instance, what if
it required you to talk by doing SAY "HELLO"?), it bugs me. *I* know what
I'm trying to do, so why can't it figure it out? On the other hand, there's
no real convention in IF for hidden objects like this. In some games,
you have to use "SEARCH FROG" to find anything. Other games require you
to type "LOOK UNDER FROG" or "LOOK BEHIND FROG". Other games allow either.
Other games require you to type "X FROG" twice, or three times, or whatever.
I don't like hidden objects this because I often get convinced the item isn't
there by a misunderstanding with the parser. (Also, this isn't really a very
interesting puzzle, is it? Anything solvable with one command can't be
terribly sophisticated, and it's a shame to have a vital part of the game
depend on it, usually.)

>Jools
--
dan shiovitz scy...@u.washington.edu sh...@cs.washington.edu
slightly lost author/programmer in a world of more creative or more sensible
people ... remember to speak up for freedom because no one else will do it
for you: use it or lose it ... carpe diem -- be proactive.
my web site: http://weber.u.washington.edu/~scythe/home.html some ok stuff.

Roger Giner-Sorolla

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Apr 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/22/96
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Looking-a-second-time is an awful way to hide things, from a text-VR
design point of view. What's worse, it goes against the conventions of
playing IF games. I remember being very annoyed when the "second look"
showed up in one of the weaker episodes of "Jigsaw" (puzzle-wise). Even
then, the information so discovered was not absolutely essential to the
puzzle.

Well-designed location descriptions should offer some clue as to which of
their features can be examined in more detail. Any goodies to be found
should be described as part of a detail. In the following room:

Study
This is a generic text-adventure study. Crammed bookshelves line the
wall, and dim sunlight filters in from a high, narrow window. The
obligatory desk is pushed up against a wall, its drawer invitingly
locked. A door leads east.

it rewards the player's intelligence when she discovers the equation on
the inkblotter with a "look at desk" ("Smart player! You thought to look
on the desk!"); but it insults the player's intelligence when a mere
second look suffices.

Incidentally, knowing how to reveal features that would not be obvious at
a quick glance --the "dance of the seven details" -- is one of the
trickiest feats in text-VR design. The writer, knowing all the room's
secrets, should visually imagine the scene, checking exactly what should
and should not be apparent, using both line-of-sight and expectedness as
guides. A too-coy writer will come up with something like:

>look at bookshelves

The books are old and musty and do nothing to inspire you. But on a
shelf free of books, directly ahead of you, you notice a cat.

>look at cat

The cat is large and orange and it is purring loudly. On its head it
wears a miniature green felt fedora, with holes for its ears.

But! An actual person entering the room would immediately notice "a cat
wearing a green felt fedora, sitting on a bookshelf," and words to this
effect should consequently go in the initial room description. (To refer
to an actual game, the saloon in Lost New York was a frustrating place to
explore, because the placement of several objects in the structure of
nested details violates common-sense rules of obviousness.)

Anyway, if you do insist on the second look, the description should give
a clue that it is needed. It's only fair to players who expect (in
spite of Heisenberg's theory) that just observing something again will not
change its status.

My own modest example...

>look at tapestry

The swirling montage of rays and slightly imbalanced circles fascinates
you, draws you in. You almost can fancy that you see a more familiar
pattern, struggling to emerge from chaos...

>again

Staring at the tapestry is confusing, even tiring. Nevertheless, just at
the point when you stop trying to make sense out of it -- and perhaps for
this very reason -- a word in block letters fairly leaps out of the
geometric tangle! But whatever can "POTRZEBIE" mean?

Roger Giner-Sorolla New York University gi...@xp.psych.nyu.edu
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Department of Psychology ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Sur l'oreiller du mal c'est Satan Trismegiste
qui berce longuement notre esprit enchante' ..." -- Baudelaire

Richard G Clegg

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Apr 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/22/96
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Julian Arnold (jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk) wrote:
: I guess the thing is that people who don't like, say, objects hidden

: underneath other objects ("LOOK UNDER SILL > You find a key") won't like the
: aforementioned techniques either. Some players don't like information being
: concealed or withheld from them.

(Grin) I'm one of those people who gets infuriated by the object hidden
under other object puzzle. It's not too bad if it's something that you
could have guessed - e.g. a lost sock being found under a bed - but quite
often games designers seem to have just put it there because the code was
easy to write. The early stages of Jigsaw really irritated me by continually
doing this - it's kind of like having to tidy up after a particularly messy
housemate. It just means that every time I encouter a new room I have to
look in, around, under and behind every object before I can get on with
playing the game. Shame really because other than that Jigsaw is pretty
good.

--
Richard G. Clegg There ain't no getting round getting round
Dept. of Mathematics (Network Control group) Uni. of York.
email: ric...@manor.york.ac.uk
www: http://manor.york.ac.uk/top.html


Julian Arnold

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Apr 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/22/96
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In article <Pine.SUN.3.91.96042...@xp.psych.nyu.edu>,
Roger Giner-Sorolla <mailto:gi...@xp.psych.nyu.edu> wrote:
>
> [...blahblahblah...]

A lot of good points, but the sort of situation you describe wasn't exactly
what I meant.

Basically, I suggest that upon entering a room for the first time, most
people are not going to notice and observe _every_ feature of the room, or
_every_ object within it. Sure, their gaze would most likely first be drawn
to movement, and they would almost certainly notice the obviously
out-of-place, or unusual (such as a cat in a green felt fedora, on a
bookshelf). However, I would still argue it is not inconceivable that the
person would not register some not-so-obvious feature (even if it later
turned out to be the most noteworthy feature of the room, and they
subsequently thought "how the hell did I miss _that_?"). Perhaps the
counter-argument is the old "this-is-a-game-not-a-simulation-of-life" one?
(I generally agree with this, but don't actually think it's that relevant in
this cse anyway.)

OTOH, when a player explicitly examines something ("examine vase") she is
looking at the object in detail, giving it her full concentration (probably),
so should generally notice anything which isn't specifically and well hidden.
It is thus fair to complain if a "puzzle" depends upon examining something
multiple times, unless the necessity of this action is in some way clued by
the author, as Roger has demonstrated below:

> My own modest example...
>
> >look at tapestry
>
> The swirling montage of rays and slightly imbalanced circles fascinates
> you, draws you in. You almost can fancy that you see a more familiar
> pattern, struggling to emerge from chaos...
>
> >again
>
> Staring at the tapestry is confusing, even tiring. Nevertheless, just at
> the point when you stop trying to make sense out of it -- and perhaps for
> this very reason -- a word in block letters fairly leaps out of the
> geometric tangle! But whatever can "POTRZEBIE" mean?

Although in this case I would think a more elegant solution would be to have
the first paragraph displayed as a result of examining (looking at) the
tapestry, and the second displayed after a number of turns (when the player
may well be nowhere near the tapestry). IOW the player's character is
working on this "puzzle" by subconsciously re-examining the tapestry.

I also think Dan Shiovitz made a good point in another post about
parser/vocabulary problem. Ie, is SEARCH DEBRIS the same as MOVE DEBRIS the
same as LOOK UNDER DEBRIS? There seems to be no convention here, with some
authors treating these three commands as directly interchangeable, while
others differentiate. This is perhaps a slightly different topic though.

Jools


Julian Arnold

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Apr 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/24/96
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In article <glSfPhe00...@andrew.cmu.edu>, Andrew C. Plotkin

<mailto:erky...@CMU.EDU> wrote:
>
> > Now for a couple of spoilers:
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> > Similar techniques were used in "Trinity" (where re-examining the map in the
> > cottage gives you extra info), and "Legend" (where you had to wait a number
> > of turns in one location in the market for the ship to appear).
>
> I don't remember that from Trinity; what was the difference?

Ack, rumbled. That was a stab in the dark (well, poor lighting anyway) as I
haven't actually finished "Trinity" yet, and I'm not sure that the "extra
info" is useful. But anyway, the first time you examine the map you're told
it's a map. On subsequent occasions you're told you see familiar-looking
squiggly lines (and I assume that later still you work out what the lines
are). Actually, this seemed to work on the basis of the number of turns
between examinations, rather than merely the quantity of examinations.

> As for waiting, of course! Everyone knows that waiting multiple times
> may have more results than waiting once. Having to wait several times
> *in the same place* is a problem, but it's a common enough problem that
> I watch out for it. The "looking is idempotent" convention is
> practically universal.

Hmm, I just don't like these conventions I guess. After all, everyone knows
that no-one will like a game like "Weather"...

> Your guess does not account for my annoyance...
>
> Really, I don't think "concealing information" is a useful phrase...

You're right on both counts. Guilty as charged.

Jools


Roger Giner-Sorolla

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Apr 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/24/96
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On Mon, 22 Apr 1996, Julian Arnold wrote:

[snip]

> OTOH, when a player explicitly examines something ("examine vase") she is
> looking at the object in detail, giving it her full concentration (probably),
> so should generally notice anything which isn't specifically and well hidden.
> It is thus fair to complain if a "puzzle" depends upon examining something
> multiple times, unless the necessity of this action is in some way clued by
> the author, as Roger has demonstrated below:

[snip]

The problem with drawing a distinction between a cursory "look" and a more
thorough "examine" is that under current conventions there'd be no
incentive to use "look" at all when you can just as easily "examine."

The distinction between the description you get when you enter a room,
and the description displayed to an explicit "look," might be more
defensible -- assuming players were warned of this departure from current
conventions.

Still, I tend to resist this as a game feature, if only because there's so
little challenge in automatically typing "look" after entering each room.

Joe Mason

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Apr 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/26/96
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"[Inform] Newbie descripti", declared Kathleen Fischer from the Vogon ship:

KF>Now, ignoring for the moment the stylistic issue of having something not
KF>visible in a room unless you actually LOOK... how do I implement this?

KF>Ok, fine... go ahead and consider the stylistic issure if you must... is it
KF>considered a real no-no or could it be considered appropriate under certain
KF>specific situations?

I like the idea for a chase situation: as you're running through it gives you a
brief description but doesn't say more unless you actually *type* Look, when it
would give you a more detailed description - but of course it would waste a
turn, while the pursuers get closer. I think that would be a perfect way to
create time pressure, if used sparingly - do I stop and search this place or
keep going and hope I'm not missing something vital?

Of course, in this situation you'd probably re-write the whole description based
on whether it was entering the room or the player actually typing Look that
called the Look: routine. The solution Jesse Mcgrew gave (checking if the room
has "visited") wouldn't work here, since you'd probably be in just as much of a
hurry the next time. Can anybody think of another way to implement this?

Joe

-- Coming soon: "In the End", a work of Interactive Fiction --
-- More about the 1996 IF Contest at rec.arts.int-fiction --

þ CMPQwk 1.42 9550 þIf all else fails, lower your standards.

Magnus Olsson

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Apr 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/26/96
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In article <glSfPhe00...@andrew.cmu.edu>,

Andrew C. Plotkin <erky...@CMU.EDU> wrote:
>Excerpts from netnews.rec.arts.int-fiction: 20-Apr-96 Re: [Inform]
>Newbie descrip.. Julian Arn...@arnod.demo (2111*)
>
>> I don't see the problem. When you enter a room should you really expect to
>> be instantly aware of _everything_? I think rather than just by looking an
>> extra time, Kathleen also meant that the at-first-unnoticed thing would be
>> noticed on a second vist as well, which IMO is fine. No warning necessary.
>
>I disagree (that is, I do demand a warning of some sort.) There are lots
>of conventions in text adventures. One is that "look" and "examine" tell
>you everything, and doing them multiple times gives the same result
>unless some game state has changed. If you violate that convention, you
>will annoy the hell out of me.

(...)

>> I guess the thing is that people who don't like, say, objects hidden
>> underneath other objects ("LOOK UNDER SILL > You find a key") won't like the
>> aforementioned techniques either. Some players don't like information
>> being concealed or withheld from them.

That's true, to a certain extent. But I don't think that's the issue here.
The issue is breaking the conventions of the game. If the player expects
"look" to show him everything there is in a location, then it will be
unfair if it doesn't.

>Really, I don't think "concealing information" is a useful phrase. The
>first move of the game doesn't tell you the entire plot; is that
>concealing information? Obviously not, not in any way that ticks people
>off.

Of course it is concealing information. But the fact is that the player
expects that the entire plot will not be revealed at once, so he is
prepared for it.

--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se)

Julian Arnold

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Apr 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/29/96
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In article <Pine.SUN.3.91.960424...@xp.psych.nyu.edu>,

Roger Giner-Sorolla <mailto:gi...@xp.psych.nyu.edu> wrote:
>
> The problem with drawing a distinction between a cursory "look" and a more
> thorough "examine" is that under current conventions there'd be no
> incentive to use "look" at all when you can just as easily "examine."

But the convention I was adhering to was the one that says "look is for
rooms, examine is for objects". IOW "look" gets a general description of the
immediate environment (the location itself) while "examine <object>" is used
to gain a more detailed description of individual components of that
environment (the objects).

Now it seems to me to be a fair call if when the player "looks" at her
environment as a whole she might fail to register some detail. OTOH, when
she then "examines" individual components there should be a very good reason
if she still doesn't notice something. (This is not to say there shouldn't
be a reason for not mentioning something in the original room description--
don't go hiding things just for the hell of it...)

From a gameplay POV I agree it would be unfair to have a location where some
feature was not revealed at first, if the player was unlikely to enter it
another time. Ie, if the revelation depends on the player "looking" in or
re-entering a room purely to get that revelation, this is a Bad Thing. If,
however, the room is positioned so that the player is _guaranteed_ to
re-enter it for another reason then, IMO, this technique is fine.

NOTE: I am not calling this a puzzle. It isn't.

> The distinction between the description you get when you enter a room,
> and the description displayed to an explicit "look," might be more
> defensible -- assuming players were warned of this departure from current
> conventions.

True, but this is a matter of coding isn't it? For example, if the player
didn't get the extra message the second time he entred a room just because he
was playing in `brief' mode this would be bad, and would be due to sloppy
coding. It shouldn't be too hard to code a room where something wasn't
revealed until _either_ the player re-entered it _or_ "looked". Or perhaps
then the "looking" bit should be dropped, and the revelation would only come
when the room was re-entered?

Jools


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