Shipboard directions - opinions?

6 views
Skip to first unread message

Steven Marsh

unread,
Aug 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/24/99
to
Okay; I'm writing a game set on a ship going from America to England.

Trouble is, I don't know how I want to handle directions.

I'd originally used the cardinals, until I realized that I'd made
"north" towards the front of the ship... less than intuitive.

So... should I use cardinals, with "north" being the port side of the
ship? Or should I use port/starboard/fore/aft?

In honesty, I don't like either, and hope there's a "better"
alternative I just haven't thought of; I don't like HHGTTG's or
Starcross's "port/aft" designation, and, as a reader, have a hard time
figuring out what "There is a door to port, with a dresser aft" means.

Any advise would be appeciated!

Steven Marsh
ma...@nettally.com
www.waitingforgo.com

Aris Katsaris

unread,
Aug 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/24/99
to

Steven Marsh <ma...@nettally.com> wrote in message
news:37c21ec2...@news.nettally.com...

> Okay; I'm writing a game set on a ship going from America to England.
>
> Trouble is, I don't know how I want to handle directions.
>
> I'd originally used the cardinals, until I realized that I'd made
> "north" towards the front of the ship... less than intuitive.
>
> So... should I use cardinals, with "north" being the port side of the
> ship? Or should I use port/starboard/fore/aft?

IMO it's better if you use both. Make port/starboard/fore/aft the synonyms
of north/south/etc... so that players can use whichever they feel more
comfortable with.

Aris Katsaris

BrenBarn

unread,
Aug 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/24/99
to
>> Okay; I'm writing a game set on a ship going from America to England.
>>
>> Trouble is, I don't know how I want to handle directions.
>>
>> I'd originally used the cardinals, until I realized that I'd made
>> "north" towards the front of the ship... less than intuitive.
>>
>> So... should I use cardinals, with "north" being the port side of the
>> ship? Or should I use port/starboard/fore/aft?
>
>IMO it's better if you use both. Make port/starboard/fore/aft the synonyms
>of north/south/etc... so that players can use whichever they feel more
>comfortable with.
I agree. The more people you can please, the better.
If you're insanely interested in this, there was a huge discussion on this
topic a while ago. (It may still be going on! Hurry up and read before this
limited-time offer expires! :-)

From,
Brendan B. B. (Bren...@aol.com)
(Name in header has spam-blocker, use the address above instead.)

"Do not follow where the path may lead;
go, instead, where there is no path, and leave a trail."
--Author Unknown

okbl...@my-deja.com

unread,
Aug 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/24/99
to
In article <37c21ec2...@news.nettally.com>,

ma...@nettally.com (Steven Marsh) wrote:
> Okay; I'm writing a game set on a ship going from America to England.
>
> Trouble is, I don't know how I want to handle directions.

Since the problem is people getting confused, use both (as others have
suggested) and sprinkle liberally with GOs, ENTERs, and so on.

--
[ok]


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Share what you know. Learn what you don't.

Avrom Faderman

unread,
Aug 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/24/99
to

Aris Katsaris wrote in message <7ptvse$7qs$1...@newssrv.otenet.gr>...

>
>Steven Marsh <ma...@nettally.com> wrote in message
>news:37c21ec2...@news.nettally.com...
>> Okay; I'm writing a game set on a ship going from America to England.
>>
>> Trouble is, I don't know how I want to handle directions.
>>
>> I'd originally used the cardinals, until I realized that I'd made
>> "north" towards the front of the ship... less than intuitive.
>>
>> So... should I use cardinals, with "north" being the port side of the
>> ship? Or should I use port/starboard/fore/aft?
>
>IMO it's better if you use both. Make port/starboard/fore/aft the synonyms
>of north/south/etc... so that players can use whichever they feel more
>comfortable with.


I'm inclined to agree, but of course, there's still the question what to
call the directions in descriptions.

If absolutely necessary, you could have a "mode" command:

>MODE NAUTICAL
Descriptions are now in nautical mode.

>LOOK
Starboard Deck, Center

The sun sparkles on the endless mirrored facets of the sea. The wooden
planks beneath your feet creak softly as the ship rocks back and forth. The
serenity is disrupted only by the chatter and bustle coming from the open
sliding glass door of the cafe/bar to port. The deck stretches fore and
aft.

On the railing, a snowy white gull perches, its head and left leg tucked
into its body like a turtle's.

>MODE GEOGRAPHIC
Descriptions are now in geographic mode.

>LOOK

Southern Deck, Center

The sun sparkles on the endless mirrored facets of the sea. The wooden
planks beneath your feet creak softly as the ship rocks back and forth. The
serenity is disrupted only by the chatter and bustle coming from the open
sliding glass door of the cafe/bar to the north. The deck stretches east
and west.

On the railing, a snowy white gull perches, its head and left leg tucked
into its body like a turtle's.


That might be a bit annoying to program, though.

Best,
Avrom


John W. Kennedy

unread,
Aug 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/24/99
to
Steven Marsh wrote:
> In honesty, I don't like either, and hope there's a "better"
> alternative I just haven't thought of; I don't like HHGTTG's or
> Starcross's "port/aft" designation, and, as a reader, have a hard time
> figuring out what "There is a door to port, with a dresser aft" means.

If only because of the Infocom precedent, I think p/port, sb/starboard,
aft and f/forward are best. And it _is_ normal marine terminology,
after all; I certainly have no trouble whatsoever reading it.

--
-John W. Kennedy
-rri...@ibm.net
Compact is becoming contract
Man only earns and pays. -- Charles Williams


Andrew Frederiksen

unread,
Aug 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/27/99
to
In article <7ptvse$7qs$1...@newssrv.otenet.gr>,
Aris Katsaris <kats...@NOSPAMotenet.gr> wrote:

>Steven Marsh <ma...@nettally.com> wrote in message
>news:37c21ec2...@news.nettally.com...
>> Okay; I'm writing a game set on a ship going from America to England.

[cardinal vs. nautical directions]

>IMO it's better if you use both. Make port/starboard/fore/aft the synonyms
>of north/south/etc... so that players can use whichever they feel more
>comfortable with.

<appalling-pedantry>
Of course, 'fore' should be equivalent to 'east'...
</appalling-pedantry>


--
-- Andrew Frederiksen, fred...@unixg.ubc.ca aka an...@geop.ubc.ca
-- http://www.geop.ubc.ca/~andyf

Dylan O'Donnell

unread,
Aug 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/28/99
to
fred...@unixg.ubc.ca (Andrew Frederiksen) writes:
> In article <7ptvse$7qs$1...@newssrv.otenet.gr>,
> Aris Katsaris <kats...@NOSPAMotenet.gr> wrote:
> >Steven Marsh <ma...@nettally.com> wrote in message
> >news:37c21ec2...@news.nettally.com...
> >> Okay; I'm writing a game set on a ship going from America to England.
>
> [cardinal vs. nautical directions]
>
> >IMO it's better if you use both. Make port/starboard/fore/aft the synonyms
> >of north/south/etc... so that players can use whichever they feel more
> >comfortable with.
>
> <appalling-pedantry>
> Of course, 'fore' should be equivalent to 'east'...
> </appalling-pedantry>

That never worried Graham Nelson.

(Yes, that was a low blow, admittedly.)

--
: Dylan O'Donnell : "It is pitch black. You are likely :
: Forgotten Office, Demon : to be eaten by a grue." :
: http://www.fysh.org/~psmith/ : -- Dave Lebling and Marc Blank, "Zork" :

Gene Wirchenko

unread,
Aug 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/28/99
to
fred...@unixg.ubc.ca (Andrew Frederiksen) wrote:

>In article <7ptvse$7qs$1...@newssrv.otenet.gr>,
>Aris Katsaris <kats...@NOSPAMotenet.gr> wrote:
>
>>Steven Marsh <ma...@nettally.com> wrote in message
>>news:37c21ec2...@news.nettally.com...
>>> Okay; I'm writing a game set on a ship going from America to England.
>
>[cardinal vs. nautical directions]
>
>>IMO it's better if you use both. Make port/starboard/fore/aft the synonyms
>>of north/south/etc... so that players can use whichever they feel more
>>comfortable with.
>
><appalling-pedantry>
>Of course, 'fore' should be equivalent to 'east'...
></appalling-pedantry>

That's not appalling but appealing.

Just imagine docking where the two directional systems could
conflict.

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko

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

Phil Goetz

unread,
Sep 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM9/1/99
to
In article <7ptvse$7qs$1...@newssrv.otenet.gr>,
Aris Katsaris <kats...@NOSPAMotenet.gr> wrote:
>
>Steven Marsh <ma...@nettally.com> wrote in message
>news:37c21ec2...@news.nettally.com...
>> Okay; I'm writing a game set on a ship going from America to England.
>>
>> Trouble is, I don't know how I want to handle directions.
>>
>> I'd originally used the cardinals, until I realized that I'd made
>> "north" towards the front of the ship... less than intuitive.
>>
>> So... should I use cardinals, with "north" being the port side of the
>> ship? Or should I use port/starboard/fore/aft?
>
>IMO it's better if you use both. Make port/starboard/fore/aft the synonyms
>of north/south/etc... so that players can use whichever they feel more
>comfortable with.

Have port (left), starboard (right), fore, and aft work as expected.
Make the ship a sailing ship, and change N/S/E/W every time it tacks.
Please. ;)

Phil

Shannon Klimek

unread,
Sep 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM9/1/99
to
Phil requests:

>Have port (left), starboard (right), fore, and aft work as expected.
>Make the ship a sailing ship, and change N/S/E/W every time it tacks.

Note: It seems likely some will use the nautical directions on 'space'
ships. The synonym solution isn't so bad in this case, unless you used
'coreward', 'rimward' and the like (this is obscure and unlikely).

Recommendation:
IF the ship is a sailing ship then change N/S/E/W every time it tacks.
IF it is a space ship then either (allow N/S/E/W as synonyms for
F/A/S/P) or not.

(I for one, prefer writing sci-fi if using both cardinal AND nautical
directions. Synonyms are fine with me, however, lately I am not up to the
programming)

Sincerely,

Shannon Klimek
go...@mindspring.com


Erik Max Francis

unread,
Sep 2, 1999, 3:00:00 AM9/2/99
to
Shannon Klimek wrote:

> Note: It seems likely some will use the nautical directions on
> 'space'
> ships. The synonym solution isn't so bad in this case, unless you
> used
> 'coreward', 'rimward' and the like (this is obscure and unlikely).

Well, that really depends on the shape and configuration of the ship,
now doesn't it? :-)

--
Erik Max Francis | icq 16063900 | whois mf303 | email m...@alcyone.com
Alcyone Systems | irc maxxon (efnet) | web http://www.alcyone.com/max/
San Jose, CA | languages en, eo | icbm 37 20 07 N 121 53 38 W
USA | Thu 1999 Sep 2 (73%/948) | &tSftDotIotE
__
/ \ A physicist is an atom's way of knowing about atoms.
\__/ George Wald

Shannon Klimek

unread,
Sep 3, 1999, 3:00:00 AM9/3/99
to
Erik Max Francis replies:

>Well, that really depends on the shape and configuration of the ship,
>now doesn't it? :-)

Not exactly what I meant Erik. I was referring to the galactic core, or
rim. I know it's unlikely, but an IF space ship may not even be travelling
within the confines of a galaxy. ;)

Erik Max Francis

unread,
Sep 3, 1999, 3:00:00 AM9/3/99
to
Shannon Klimek wrote:

> Not exactly what I meant Erik. I was referring to the galactic core,
> or
> rim. I know it's unlikely, but an IF space ship may not even be
> travelling
> within the confines of a galaxy. ;)

Ah, I see (you switched from talking about shipboard to ship navigation
terms and I didn't notice the jump). Coreward, rimward, spinward,
antispinward, north, south ... sure. These were used in a few (though
non-IF) games, for instance.

--
Erik Max Francis | icq 16063900 | whois mf303 | email m...@alcyone.com
Alcyone Systems | irc maxxon (efnet) | web http://www.alcyone.com/max/
San Jose, CA | languages en, eo | icbm 37 20 07 N 121 53 38 W

USA | Fri 1999 Sep 3 (75%/948) | &tSftDotIotE
__
/ \ Love, the itch, and a cough cannot be hid.
\__/ Thomas Fuller, M.D.

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages