I-F Musicals?

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Quentin.D.Thompson

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Dec 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/12/99
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Digressing a little from the romance thread, I was intrigued to see an idea
that I'd thought off about six months ago, but written off as impractical,
make it to the surface: the I-F musical. Now, the musical's raison d'etre are
the songs and (usually) dance/performance numbers - otherwise, the stories
aren't too radically different from the ordinary comedy/melodrama/mythical
story/etc. Therefore, how is one to implement an I-F musical? It would be
possible to retell the story of, say, "The Sound Of Music", as a piece of
first-person IF (with Maria as the PC - more Four In One disease would result
while implementing the seven kids..:D) but that wouldn't be a musical; it
would be a vague-ish sort of romance. And how does one implement, say, a Fred
Astaire dance number?

The reason I'm bringing this up is because I tried it myself some time ago -
I was working on a musical comedy titled "Over My Counter" (a whimsical take
on Arthur Hailey's Strong Medicine, with a greying research scientist as
bemused PC), and though I got to implementing one memorable dance sequence of
sorts (in which two of my NPCs performed a paean to pharmaceuticals in
rubber-ducky raincoats), it didn't _feel_ right. I was printing out the
lyrics turn by turn, but it just felt like, say, the theatre scene at the
beginning of So Far - well implemented, but nothing like watching a real
play. I still have the game source, but I doubt I'll ever get back to it.

But now, with the advent of HTML-TADS/Glulx, it is _possible_ (though
difficult) to actually have graphical images of showstoppers, and even to
have the 'songs' performed by different voices (we saw it work, albeit with
speech, in Six Stories.) So, is anyone seriously interested in writing songs,
finding vocalists, designing images, and putting it all together in a
multimedia I-F game? Sounds terribly ambitious. Or does anyone feel that the
first kind of game I mentioned, though not really a musical, would be
intriguing or interesting at least? If anyone agrees with either of the
propositions, we might just see an exciting new I-F genre.


- Quentin D. Thompson
(who's currently working on peaceful, unexperimental story IF)


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

Emily Short

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Dec 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/12/99
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----------
In article <8301c2$7op$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Quentin.D.Thompson
<stup...@my-deja.com> wrote:

>speech, in Six Stories.) So, is anyone seriously interested in writing songs,
>finding vocalists, designing images, and putting it all together in a
>multimedia I-F game? Sounds terribly ambitious. Or does anyone feel that the
>first kind of game I mentioned, though not really a musical, would be
>intriguing or interesting at least? If anyone agrees with either of the
>propositions, we might just see an exciting new I-F genre.

Joking aside, I think that the exuberance and illusion of spontaneity that
makes musical numbers work would be lost in I-F. And I think you're right
that having lyrics simply pop onto the screen over successive turns would be
less than gripping. It would be a trivial coding task to ensure that one
didn't see the same scene over and over in the course of the same game ("Oh,
#*@%!," mutters Joe Player, as he sits through the ninetieth repetition of
"Be Our Guest." "I wonder whether it's possible to 'extinguish Lumiere'.");
nonetheless, I think there would be all the standard I-Fian objections to
sitting through long uncontrollable events.

Some other possibilities, even more bizarre: a Nord-and-Bert-esque game
involving correctly assembling the lyrics, say, or one in which the main
character can only communicate significantly with the NPCs via song. (So in
addition to your inventory, you'd have a songlist, from which you'd be
allowed to sing each song exactly once. Sort of like talking by menus, but
more operatic.)

ES

IF

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Dec 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/12/99
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Well, perhaps it isn't reasonable, but I'd LIKE this genre to work,
mainly because I'm currently majoring in acting with a minor in musical theatre
performance so this would be great fun.

More realistically though, this brings to mind another concept I've been
playing around with and have brought up on the MUD a few times and I might as
well throw out here to you guys. I'm working on my post-comp release of
Exhibition and am considering making it into more of a IF "play," i.e. hiring
some of my actor friends to perform the paintings descriptions. This would make
the size of the game Monumental, so would it be worth it? Lemme know, I'm having
trouble with this decision on my own.

Ian Finley


Steven Jones

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Dec 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/13/99
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HTML TADS supports MP3 and WAV files. It seems to me that a musical
would be just like a regular game but with songs.


Neil K.

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Dec 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/13/99
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IF <mord...@ix.netcom.com> wrote:

> More realistically though, this brings to mind another concept
I've been
> playing around with and have brought up on the MUD a few times and I might as
> well throw out here to you guys. I'm working on my post-comp release of
> Exhibition and am considering making it into more of a IF "play," i.e. hiring
> some of my actor friends to perform the paintings descriptions. This
would make
> the size of the game Monumental, so would it be worth it? Lemme know,
I'm having
> trouble with this decision on my own.

Hm. I'd be inclined to say that depends on your reasons for doing it. If
you're looking to bask in the unalloyed adoration of the IF-playing
masses, I expect you aren't going to get it. Some people liked Six Stories
and some didn't, but the most common criticism that seemed to be voiced
was that people didn't like the lack of interactivity embodied in the
stories themselves. As I recall, Exhibition was similarly criticized. And
switching to a little musical section would be inherently non-interactive
by its very nature.

Of course, if you want to embark on such an ambitious project for the fun
of it, regardless of what anyone else thinks, then great! I know I for one
would be very interested to see your final results. All I can say is that
at one point I was going to release Six Stories version 2.0, with
additional multimedia (eg: slideshows rather than static images for the
stories, ambient sound for the varying locations, improved photos of the
NPCs, etc) but I shelved those plans. The mass of work involved simply
wouldn't be worth it.

- Neil K.

--
t e l a computer consulting + design * Vancouver, BC, Canada
web: http://www.tela.bc.ca/tela/ * email: tela @ tela.bc.ca

Quentin.D.Thompson

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Dec 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/13/99
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In article <385400A8...@tsn.cc>,

Steven Jones <ste...@tsn.cc> wrote:
> HTML TADS supports MP3 and WAV files. It seems to me that a musical
> would be just like a regular game but with songs.
>

The problem isn't that we don't have the technology - as I already mentioned,
we _do_. The problem is that songs in a musical serve a definite function.
They fill in gaps in the story, they entertain, they shed light on a
particular character's emotions, they elicit a laugh or a tear as the case
may be. If one were to have a "classical" musical in I-F, it would play a
trifle passively, to say the least. Of course, having written a game with a
good deal of passive plot-unfolding in it, I'm not saying this is entirely a
bad thing, but I think the jury's verdict isn't out yet on whether such games
would work in the long run. (As I noted last Comp while playing Photopia:
"This is a great game, but it's the kind of thing that can only be done
once.") And, leaving technique aside, there's one small hitch with the sung
or spoken (as opposed to the written) word - suppose a player mis-hears a
lyric or an accent and is sent off on an entirely wrong tangent? (That last
comment wasn't entirely serious.) -- Quentin.D.Thompson. [The 'D' is a
variable.] Lord High Executioner Of Bleagh (Formerly A Cheap Coder)

Message has been deleted

Fred M. Sloniker

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Dec 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/13/99
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On Mon, 13 Dec 1999 15:20:52 -0000, "Nizam Ahmed"
<nizam...@yahoo.com> wrote:

>Final Fantasy 6 has a great sequence where your character is required
>to learn the words of an opera. You then go on stage to perform the
>opera, and are given a series of multiple choice options as to what
>your next line is. Get it wrong, and you've blown it and have to
>start again. Very simple, but it works brilliantly. I still whistle
>the tune and remember (some of) the lyrics even now....

Another example that might be of use is Monkey Island 3; about halfway
through the game is a musical interlude that reacts to your
conversation choices. I deliberately prolonged that one, it was so
funny. (:3


Mary J Mcmenomy

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Dec 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/14/99
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Greg Ewing (greg....@compaq.com) wrote:
: "Quentin.D.Thompson" wrote:
: >
: > The problem is that songs in a musical serve a definite function.
: > They fill in gaps in the story, they entertain...

: Seems to me the closest text-IF analogy to a musical would be
: one in which large chunks of the narrative and/or dialogue
: was in the form of poetry. Reading poetry is sort of the
: text equivalent of listening to music, in terms of entertainment,
: conveyance of emotions, etc.

: What would such a work be called? A poetical?

Now there's an interesting idea. Effectively what you'd end up with
would be something reminiscent of Greek drama, with Choral insertions at
key points. Possibly strange, but it could be eerily effective if done
properly. (IF Bacchae, anyone?)

The trick about any of these suggestions -- musical or "poetical" -- is
that they demand an impressive repertoire of skills from the hypothetical
author. I have some faith in my writing skills and I can learn to
program, but I'm less certain that I'd like my poetry to see the light of
day, and I'm sure as hell no musician.

But if anyone does feel up to it, I think this sort of thing could be fun.

-- Mary McMenomy

Iain Merrick

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Dec 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/14/99
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Greg Ewing wrote:

[...]


> Seems to me the closest text-IF analogy to a musical would be
> one in which large chunks of the narrative and/or dialogue
> was in the form of poetry. Reading poetry is sort of the
> text equivalent of listening to music, in terms of entertainment,
> conveyance of emotions, etc.
>
> What would such a work be called? A poetical?

If anyone still hasn't played them, Andrew Plotkin's _The Space Under
the Window_ and Graham Nelson's _The Tempest_ are about the closest I've
seen to this sort of concept.

(_The Tempest_ suffers from some overly difficult puzzles, unfortunately
-- unobvious actions, fiddly syntax and so on -- but it's still worth
playing.)

--
Iain Merrick
i...@cs.york.ac.uk

Andrew Plotkin

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Dec 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/14/99
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Iain Merrick <i...@cs.york.ac.uk> wrote:
> Greg Ewing wrote:
>
> [...]
>> Seems to me the closest text-IF analogy to a musical would be
>> one in which large chunks of the narrative and/or dialogue
>> was in the form of poetry. Reading poetry is sort of the
>> text equivalent of listening to music, in terms of entertainment,
>> conveyance of emotions, etc.
>>
>> What would such a work be called? A poetical?
>
> If anyone still hasn't played them, Andrew Plotkin's _The Space Under
> the Window_ and Graham Nelson's _The Tempest_ are about the closest I've
> seen to this sort of concept.

I've referred to _SUTWIN_ as a sort of IF poetry, but only in a
metaphorical sense. The text is straightforward prose. It's not poetry,
even in the loosest free-verse sense.

I keep considering writing an Inform game entirely in verse -- in the
style of Dr. Seuss. Then I come to my senses. The rhyme and meter would
have to be perfect all the way through, for the joke to work. Talk about a
library rewrite. Like _The Tempest_, but with less room for flexibility.

(I think it was Randall Garrett that pointed out that comic verse is the
most technically demanding form.)

--Z

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

Iain Merrick

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Dec 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/14/99
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Andrew Plotkin wrote:

> Iain Merrick <i...@cs.york.ac.uk> wrote:
[...]


> > If anyone still hasn't played them, Andrew Plotkin's _The Space Under
> > the Window_ and Graham Nelson's _The Tempest_ are about the closest I've
> > seen to this sort of concept.
>
> I've referred to _SUTWIN_ as a sort of IF poetry, but only in a
> metaphorical sense. The text is straightforward prose. It's not poetry,
> even in the loosest free-verse sense.

You know, I think I disagree with that. Possibly.

I have a hard time seeing 'free verse' as anything other than prose with
line breaks in odd places. Okay, it also has to be 'poetic'; but if
you're not talking about actual _rhymes_, it's just flow and rhythm and
so on. And prose can have that too.

To my mind at least, _SUTWIN_ definitely has 'poetic prose'. Whatever
that means. Though I'm pretty much immune to poetry, so I'm probably
just talking random nonsense here.

> I keep considering writing an Inform game entirely in verse -- in the
> style of Dr. Seuss. Then I come to my senses. The rhyme and meter would
> have to be perfect all the way through, for the joke to work. Talk about a
> library rewrite. Like _The Tempest_, but with less room for flexibility.

Mmm. Interactive verse would be much harder, yes. _The Tempest_ does it
here and there -- some of the room descriptions are wonderful -- but a
Dr. Suess game would be bloody hard to write, as you say. Hm.

--
Iain Merrick
i...@cs.york.ac.uk

Jake Wildstrom

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Dec 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/14/99
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In article <38567B...@cs.york.ac.uk>,

Iain Merrick <i...@cs.york.ac.uk> wrote:
>Mmm. Interactive verse would be much harder, yes. _The Tempest_ does it
>here and there -- some of the room descriptions are wonderful -- but a
>Dr. Suess game would be bloody hard to write, as you say. Hm.

Would input have to be in couplet form? Or would you take a line of the input
and make the response a couplet with it?

>GET BEER
You can't see any such thing here.

>DROP HAT
You aren't even carrying that!

>KILL BLOKE
The man dissolves in a cloud of black smoke.

(OK, the last was a little lame)

Shades of INTERCAL --iambic here. :-)

To make life easier (or maybe harder) how about a game in which every response
is a haiku?

+--First Church of Briantology--Order of the Holy Quaternion--+
| A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into |
| theorems. -Paul Erdos |
+-------------------------------------------------------------+
| Jake Wildstrom |
+-------------------------------------------------------------+

Greg Ewing

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Dec 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/15/99
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"Quentin.D.Thompson" wrote:
>
> The problem is that songs in a musical serve a definite function.
> They fill in gaps in the story, they entertain...

Seems to me the closest text-IF analogy to a musical would be


one in which large chunks of the narrative and/or dialogue
was in the form of poetry. Reading poetry is sort of the
text equivalent of listening to music, in terms of entertainment,
conveyance of emotions, etc.

What would such a work be called? A poetical?

Greg

TenthStone

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Dec 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/16/99
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On 14 Dec 1999 17:35:23 GMT, wil...@mit.edu (Jake Wildstrom) wrote:

>In article <38567B...@cs.york.ac.uk>,
>Iain Merrick <i...@cs.york.ac.uk> wrote:
>>Mmm. Interactive verse would be much harder, yes. _The Tempest_ does it
>>here and there -- some of the room descriptions are wonderful -- but a
>>Dr. Suess game would be bloody hard to write, as you say. Hm.
>
>Would input have to be in couplet form? Or would you take a line of the input
>and make the response a couplet with it?
>
>>GET BEER
>You can't see any such thing here.
>
>>DROP HAT
>You aren't even carrying that!
>
>>KILL BLOKE
>The man dissolves in a cloud of black smoke.
>
>(OK, the last was a little lame)

I think, to keep meter, you'd have to let the prompt be just that --
prompting -- and pretend as if it doesn't exist in the poetry itself.

>Get beer.
Not a drop of liquor around to be seen,
No Switzer nor Remas nor Androumenaadeen.

>Drop hat.
You haven't a thing which that you can call,
So you'll see this clear: that you can't let it fall.

Ah, you'll not be a poet yet, Mr. Stone.

>To make life easier (or maybe harder) how about a game in which every response
>is a haiku?

Game begins with scarring note;
Time is passed and play'r confused;
Game is off of disk.

----------------
The Imperturbable TenthStone
mcc...@erols.com tenth...@hotmail.com mcc...@gsgis.k12.va.us

Dylan O'Donnell

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Dec 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/16/99
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mcc...@erols.com (TenthStone) writes:
> On 14 Dec 1999 17:35:23 GMT, wil...@mit.edu (Jake Wildstrom) wrote:
> >In article <38567B...@cs.york.ac.uk>, Iain Merrick
> ><i...@cs.york.ac.uk> wrote:
> >>Mmm. Interactive verse would be much harder, yes. _The Tempest_ does
> >>it here and there -- some of the room descriptions are wonderful --
> >>but a Dr. Suess game would be bloody hard to write, as you say. Hm.
> > Would input have to be in couplet form? Or would you take a line of
> >the input and make the response a couplet with it?
> >
> >>GET BEER
> >You can't see any such thing here.
> >
> >>DROP HAT
> >You aren't even carrying that!
> >
> >>KILL BLOKE
> >The man dissolves in a cloud of black smoke.
> >
> >(OK, the last was a little lame)
>
> I think, to keep meter, you'd have to let the prompt be just that --
> prompting -- and pretend as if it doesn't exist in the poetry itself.
>
> >Get beer.
> Not a drop of liquor around to be seen,
> No Switzer nor Remas nor Androumenaadeen.
>
> >Drop hat.
> You haven't a thing which that you can call,
> So you'll see this clear: that you can't let it fall.

I'm sure I remember an 80s game that did exactly this sort of thing.
You played Denis Thatcher, husband of our quondam Prime Minister...
"Denis Through the Drinking Glass"?

--
Dylan O'Donnell : "And he that calls on thee, let him bring forth
Demon Internet : Eternal numbers to outlive long date."
Resident, Forgotten Office : -- William Shakespeare invokes the muse
http://www.fysh.org/~psmith/ : of Y2K programming in Sonnet XXXVIII

Jason Thibeault

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Dec 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/16/99
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On Sun, 12 Dec 1999 11:36:34 GMT, Quentin.D.Thompson
<stup...@my-deja.com> wrote:

>Therefore, how is one to implement an I-F musical? It would be
>possible to retell the story of, say, "The Sound Of Music", as a piece of
>first-person IF

Geh. As much as it'd be great to see such a thing implemented (I'd
adore having a game with music that serves as more than just
background), I'd love to see the IF implementation of this. =)

> THE HILLS ARE ALIVE
Please be more specific. What are they alive with?

> THE SOUND OF MUSIC
(assuming you mean the hills)
You sing the first line.

>And how does one implement, say, a Fred
>Astaire dance number?

In my twisted imagination, this would run one of two ways:

First Way:
You are in a ballroom. Ginger Rogers is here.

> DANCE
You swing around tapping wildly.

> G
You grab Ginger's hand and twirl her into her own dance routine.

> G
You start dancing on the ceiling. Your shoes start to smoke.

Second way:
> DANCE
Please be more specific.

> TAPDANCE
You start tapdancing.

> G
It's not such a good idea to repeat your last move. People will think
you have limited dancing skills.

> TWIRL THEN JUMP THEN CLICK HEELS TOGETHER
You spin around.

You throw yourself into the air.

While in the air, you click your heels together and land to wind up
your routine.

As you can see, this probably wouldn't be the best way of implementing
such a concept -- but I'd adore to see any efforts you could turn out.

>The reason I'm bringing this up is because I tried it myself some time ago -
>I was working on a musical comedy titled "Over My Counter" (a whimsical take
>on Arthur Hailey's Strong Medicine, with a greying research scientist as
>bemused PC), and though I got to implementing one memorable dance sequence of
>sorts (in which two of my NPCs performed a paean to pharmaceuticals in
>rubber-ducky raincoats), it didn't _feel_ right. I was printing out the
>lyrics turn by turn, but it just felt like, say, the theatre scene at the
>beginning of So Far - well implemented, but nothing like watching a real
>play. I still have the game source, but I doubt I'll ever get back to it.

Possibly, the reason it doesn't feel so right is that musicals are
meant to be a blend of visual and audio stimulus -- unless you have
video clips embedded in the game (Hugo can do this, I'm fairly
certain; at least cut-scenes, maybe not simultaneous video and
parser), the whole _musical_ aspect of the game gets lost in the fact
that you're typing to the tune of the music.

Another problem with converting this genre to IF is that with a
musical, you can get up, get a snack, come back, and you'll have
missed a good fifteen minutes of song-and-dances. In most cases, you
can stop and think every turn, and still scroll back the window to
catch up. Sure, this is analogous to the rewind button on a VCR, but
you lose the immediacy that musicals convey.

>But now, with the advent of HTML-TADS/Glulx, it is _possible_ (though
>difficult) to actually have graphical images of showstoppers, and even to
>have the 'songs' performed by different voices (we saw it work, albeit with

>speech, in Six Stories.) So, is anyone seriously interested in writing songs,
>finding vocalists, designing images, and putting it all together in a
>multimedia I-F game? Sounds terribly ambitious. Or does anyone feel that the
>first kind of game I mentioned, though not really a musical, would be
>intriguing or interesting at least? If anyone agrees with either of the
>propositions, we might just see an exciting new I-F genre.

By George, I'm up for anything you are. I'm experimenting with my own
ideas at the moment -- more traditional IF with a couple of twists --
but if you need a singer, I can sing loud. (If you can't sing well,
sing loud.) =)

No, seriously, I'd love to be a sounding board should you get an idea
together you feel worthy of presentation. (Anything's better than a
Romance IF. =) *ducks incoming flames*)

Actually, I'd love to see an IF implementation of Les Miserables --
probably the book, though, not the musical, as it gives so much more
leeway for traditional puzzles, such as Valjean carrying Marius
through the sewers. That just screamed out "Zork-like maze" when I
read it.

Jason
------------------------------------------
Jason Thibeault
3rd year BA(Eng)
Acadia University
http://www.crosswinds.net/~ragnaroknemo/
------------------------------------------

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