type and read? how about say and listen!

4 views
Skip to first unread message

John E

unread,
May 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/6/98
to

Ok guys (and girls),
I've had this idea in my head for 5 years and I've never
told anyone so as not to be laughed at. Suddenly
the technology is closer than ever, so, in hopes that
it will 'happen' whether or not I actually do it, I'd like to share this
idea with all of you.

===============================================
You are standing before an off-white house.
There is a mail box here.

>open mailbox

Opening the mailbox reveals a note.

>read note

(after taking note)
Welcome adventurer to the text adventure of the future!
Where text and typing are replaced by sound and speech.
===============================================

now before all you 'text' purists go off on me...listen.

Many of you will agree that text is more powerful than images..
but I feel that sound is stronger than text.

A game would go like this.....

------------------------------------------------
(you slip on a pair of headphones with a mic)
From a menu on your computer you select the game Zirk.

In your headphones you hear (with the latest advances of 3D
recordings) the wind blowing, birds chirping....
You begin to close your eyes and the blackness is replaced
by a vivid forest in the minds eye.

You speak into the mic "Go North"

You hear a narrator's voice give an acknowledgement.
Followed by the sounds of your on feet on grass.

The narrator begins to describe the next area to you.
"You stand before a white house with all the windows barred"

You say..."Go East"

You hear the birds get distant and the wind more harsh
You hear your feet walk on grass.. THEN GRAVEL.

"WHO GOES THERE!" booms a giant......................
============================================
This can currently be done with a parser that responds
to voice recognition. Anyone who says that voice recognition
is not good, has not used the modern software. Current
software can recognize thousands of words...WITHOUT
TRAINING the computer to your voice.

The TREMENDOUS amount of recording can be handled by
CD-Rom, Mp3, or DVD.

Imagine a "gameboy" version of this.

You sit, relax, put on the phones and mic. Choose your
favorite CD (or DVD) and pop it into a 'Walk-man' size
machine...hit play...
and dive into a great underground kingdom.

A keyboard with an LCD line of text could serve for
playing on a bus without seeming to talk to yourself.
===============================================

I think it can be done and will finance anyone who can make this
happen.

Please contact me here or e-mail me
DON'T write me just to tell me how it won't work!

A few years ago a game with ALL characters and the world
itself being COMPLETELY in 3D was impossible.

The technology exists... we CAN do this.
Who wants in?
DELETEj...@earthlink.net

Den of Iniquity

unread,
May 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/6/98
to

On Wed, 6 May 1998, John E wrote:

>Ok guys (and girls),
>I've had this idea in my head for 5 years and I've never

>told anyone so as not to be laughed at...


>Welcome adventurer to the text adventure of the future!
>Where text and typing are replaced by sound and speech.

Hmm, time for another gratuitous StoryHarp advertisement. ;)

Actually, I've thought about using speech as an input and I'm not sure I
want it... For a start I've a tendency to mutter to myself if thinking
away at a problem, and then I'm pretty sure the output from an adventure
might go something like this (I leave you to guess the input):

Taken.

I only understood you as far as wanting to put the vase...

You let the vase slip to the ground, where it shatters noisily,
sonorously and heart-breakingly into a million iridescent fragments.
[Your score has gone down by ten points.]

Real adventurers do not use such language!
[Your score has gone down by one point.]

Real adventurers do not use such language!
[Your score has gone down by one point.]

Real adventurers do not use such language!
[Your score has gone down by one point.]

Real adventurers do not use such language!
[Your score has gone down by one point.]

Real adventurers do not use such language!
[Your score has gone down by one point.]

Real adventurers do not use such language!
[Your score has gone down by one point.]

Real adventurers do not use such language!
[Your score has gone down by one point.]

I only understood you as far as wanting to stop...

I only understood you as far as wanting to stop...

Real adventurers do not use such language!
[Your score has gone down by one point.]

Why are you being so negative?

Real adventurers do not use such language!
[Your score has gone down by one point.]

(etc...)

--
Den


Matt Kimball

unread,
May 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/6/98
to

John E <johnDEL...@earthlink.net> wrote:
: Suddenly the technology is closer than ever, so, in hopes that it will

: 'happen' whether or not I actually do it, I'd like to share this idea
: with all of you.
<snip>
: Welcome adventurer to the text adventure of the future!

: Where text and typing are replaced by sound and speech.

Yes, this would be interesting. There was a thread about a game like
this a month or so ago on rec.games.design. Everyone there seemed to
generally think it was a good idea. If IF is ever to make a
mainstream comeback, I'd bet that it will be in this form.

Text IF does still have a few advantages over your proposal. It is
more portable and has lower production costs. But don't let that
discourage you from producing auditory IF.

: The TREMENDOUS amount of recording can be handled by
: CD-Rom, Mp3, or DVD.

Exactly. With MP3 encoding, you could store ten hours of audio on a
standard CD-ROM. With DVD you could store a lot more. Surely this is
enough to make a decent sized game.

: I think it can be done and will finance anyone who can make this
: happen.

Wow. There is an offer that is sure to sound good to the authors
trying to make a living from writing IF.

--
Matt Kimball
mkim...@xmission.com

Darrell Rudmann

unread,
May 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/6/98
to

This is not a silly idea at all.

Natural language processing/speech recognition would be the difficulty.
While you may be able to get 60 to 80% recognition reliably, this may be
frustrating to users. Since IF relies on a generally small list of
verbs and a set number of objects, IF might do well with speech
recognition, since you can constrain the dictionary size.

Another way to boost performance would be to constrain words based on
the previous word. So, if "open" was heard and identified, all objects
would be 'primed' and weighted/expected for the next word to give "open
mailbox" a better chance at being recognized. Alternatively, all
objects that were in the player's location or possession could be
primed.

It's worth trying.

Darrell

John E

unread,
May 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/6/98
to

As you mentioned

the reason I feel we can do Voice Recognition now with out
training is to what I would call the Z-engines 'elegantly' small
dictionary.

Darrell Rudmann wrote in message <3550C6...@nyx.net>...
>Natural language processing would be the difficulty. While you may be


>able to get 60 to 80% recognition reliably, this may be frustrating to
>users. Since IF relies on a generally small list of verbs and a set

>number of objects, IF might do well with NLP, since you can constrain
>the dictionary size.
>
>One way to boost NLP performance would be to constrain words based on

@worldnet.att.net Kyle Neet

unread,
May 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/6/98
to

Hmmmm. While fooling around with home automation stuff, I downloaded
Microsoft's Speech SDK, and lo and behold, a text adventure with speech
input was included. Now, there wasn't any ambient sounds as John described,
but it did take spoken commands.

It was actually very hilarious - between the poorly written and buggy game,
and the mis-recognized words, some pretty funny transcriptions occurred. I
was going to record a transcript and post it, but never got around to it.

I do recall a dragon which could be killed, but never died, and a merchant
who didn't sell anything, but you could buy a torch from. I remember saying
"attack dragon", seeing "attack torch" entered on the screen, then seeing
the the adventurer attack the dragon anyways.

The game is very short, buggy, and unimaginative, but if interested, the url
is http://research.microsoft.com/msrinfo/demodwnf.htm and I know the Speech
SDK 3.0 Suite included the text adv. as a demo. Not sure if the 4.0
includes it or not.

-Kyle

John E

unread,
May 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/6/98
to

Hmm,

Story Harp looks nice.
But it's a step backwards.

I don't want sound in exchange for programability.
The site itself say...
"While StoryHarp is not as powerful or flexible as some interactive fiction
engines (TADS, Inform, Hugo), StoryHarp development requires little
programming skills. The emphasis is on rapidly putting your ideas in motion.
"

Also, the "speech" is just text-to-speech, which is NOT the same a recorded
voice!

Looks good to try, but it's retails at $79.99!

Bob Newell

unread,
May 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/7/98
to

John E (johnDEL...@earthlink.net) wrote:
: I don't want sound in exchange for programability.

: The site itself say...
: "While StoryHarp is not as powerful or flexible as some interactive fiction
: engines (TADS, Inform, Hugo), StoryHarp development requires little
: programming skills. The emphasis is on rapidly putting your ideas in motion.

ALAN is a good vehicle for putting your ideas in motion, and it doesn't
cost $79.95, it's free.

When I think of the power that's available in TADS, Hugo, and Inform,
done for free as a labor of love, the idea of $79.95 for Story Harp has
no appeal.

Bob Newell


Eric O'Dell

unread,
May 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/8/98
to

On Thu, 7 May 1998 17:32:43 GMT, bne...@gobblernet.dynip.com (Bob
Newell) wrote:

>When I think of the power that's available in TADS, Hugo, and Inform,
>done for free as a labor of love, the idea of $79.95 for Story Harp has
>no appeal.

I wouldn't have any problem paying $79.95 for Story Harp -- after all,
I did pay for TADS when it was shareware -- but it would have to be
substantially better than any of the free systems, which doesn't
appear to be the case.

To return to an earlier subject, this is an example of why I think
free and commercial IF can coexist -- the free systems provide a
standard that commercial systems must exceed in order to be
profitable, and if and when a commercial exceeds the free systems, it
gives the freeware programmers a standard to exceed. Ultimately,
everyone benefits.


--Eric


+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
| "I have come a very long way from myself only to realize that |
| identity is a skill and self-betrayal is a habit. Once lost, the |
| former is very hard to regain; once gained, the latter is very |
| hard to lose." ---I. Corvus, _The Europe of Our Dreams_ |
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+

Matt Ackeret

unread,
May 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/8/98
to

In article <6ipc2g$h...@ecuador.earthlink.net>,

John E <johnDEL...@earthlink.net> wrote:
>Welcome adventurer to the text adventure of the future!
>Where text and typing are replaced by sound and speech.

But..
(1) If you're going to add sound, why not add pictures? The closer you make
it to the holodeck, the better... (I think Barclay's addiction to the
holodeck is pretty realistic.)

(2) Sound is SO MUCH SLOWER than reading. I sort of like the idea of
books-on-tape, so I can hear them while driving, or just be _even lazier_
and listen to them [though I like reading, it's hard to find a comfortable
way to read for a long time -- when we have eyeglasses that project the text
of a book, then it'll be better.. but even the *little* weight of a book gets
annoying.].....
But anyway, books on tape/CD are virtually all abridged, and still
are many many many hours...
--
mat...@area.com

Paul Fernhout

unread,
May 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/9/98
to John E

John E wrote:
> Story Harp looks nice.
> But it's a step backwards.

Ah, progress... Sometimes you have to backup to go forward. :-)

> I don't want sound in exchange for programability.
> The site itself say...
> "While StoryHarp is not as powerful or flexible as some interactive fiction
> engines (TADS, Inform, Hugo), StoryHarp development requires little
> programming skills. The emphasis is on rapidly putting your ideas in motion.
> "

Clearly, parser based IF systems with full programming languages like
Inform, Tads, or Hugo will always be able to do more -- if you're
willing to put the effort in to learn them and use them. However,
StoryHarp has many advantages related to its simplicity and the modular
nature of rules.

Despite our standard disclaimer, please try StoryHarp before judging its
power and versatility. Also, we feel telling an interesting story may
not actually require that much programmability or parsing. After you
spend a couple of hours with StoryHarp, I'd be curious to hear if you
think it is good enough for many interactive stories (despite its
obvious limits). If there is some one specific feature you think it
needs, maybe we could address that in a version 1.2 release.

We also have more programmability planned for version 2.0. Ideally, we
want to include a complete Smalltalk development system based on Squeak.
There are other programming systems we could include instead (Python,
TCL, or some Delphi specific macro languages). However, we would always
want a programming language to be in the background until you want to
use it for something special.

The biggest issue regarding flexibility is that we don't include a
parser. (Actually, you can do some funky parsing things with Agent, but
we don't document them or officially support them.) I'm not sure at what
point we would want to officially add a parser (if ever). Getting rid of
the parser really makes everyone's life easier (at a cost, it's true).
There are also technical reasons we eliminated the parser, given the
limits of today's text-to-speech systems. The following URL has a
section on the issues we encountered when we tried to link the ViaVoice
dictation engine directly to JZIP to play Hitchiker's Guide to the
Galaxy (the test game) about six or so months ago:
http://www.kurtz-fernhout.com/StoryHarp/help/storyharpHow_is_StoryHarp_different_from_.html

> Also, the "speech" is just text-to-speech, which is NOT the same a recorded
> voice!

You can use recorded voice in StoryHarp by using a sound macro. There is
not an explicit example with this though. Just record what you want to
say in a wave file, and reference it in the reply field like so:

{sound WhatISaid.wav}

Of course, voice synthesis from text takes up much less disk space and
is much easier to change. We had wanted to add a better facility for
including recorded voice that helped manage snippets of voice and such,
but we decided to get version 1.0 out first, and see what reception it
got, rather than add every feature we thought it could have.

> Looks good to try, but it's retails at $79.99!

Well, US$79.95 actually. But there is a 50% educational discount that is
broadly applicable. We also have quantity discounts for organizations.
At the moment, for a limited time we're giving away a few complimentary
registrations to people who fill out and email us a survey about the
product.

Obviously, if we had other funding for this, we could think about giving
away registrations forever or releasing the source code under the GPL or
some other open source license, like at: http://www.opensource.org

You wrote in an earlier post:


> I think it can be done and will finance anyone who can make this
> happen.

We have lots of things we'd like to add to StoryHarp if we had the
time/money. We think it would make a great boxed piece of software
(except for possible tech support issues related to Microsoft Agent or
SR/TTS, although other companies somehow deal with those). We'd like to
bundle in TTS/SR into it, or make it work with a wide variety of SR/TTS
engines (like directly with ViaVoice rather than requiring Agent). We'd
also like to make it run on more platforms (especially the Mac PowerPC
with PlainTalk/MacinTalk), support collaborative development, allow
multiple users, support moving stereo sounds, etc.

Right now, we fund our products mainly by consulting for big Fortune 500
companies and then blowing all the cash by buying time to make quality
software we want to make that might otherwise not be written. At typical
industry wide registration rates of 1% of downloads, for example, we'd
have to get 100,000 people to try StoryHarp to earn about US$70,000 (or
less, considering reduced educational registrations). That would be
enough to do another small project. What are the odds of 100,000
downloads, considering there's probably only 200 regulars to r.a.i-f?
We've only had a little over 1000 downloads of our totally free (GPL'd)
garden simulator over the past year and a half. Still, every
registration is like a little bit of applause that keeps us going. And,
you never know...

Right now we're pursuing a low key word-of-mouth approach by
distributing a fully functional trial version. An alternative would be
something boxed or in a catalogue, and would entail taking a big risk
with up front costs in the hundreds of thousands of US dollars for
advertising, schmoozing, and production. I've heard it can take one
million US dollars to get a product into chains like Sears, CompUSA, and
Egghead, for example. Those costs can easily be many, many times more
than development costs. One could do a small marketing push for tens of
thousands of US dollars initially, but with a much smaller return and
you'd never get into stores -- just catalogues. If one goes either
route, then technical support costs become a much bigger issue, as do
dealing with returns. We'd rather develop products than do all that,
since that's what we're best at, and we enjoy it. Also, with a huge
marketing push one may have to start modifying the product so it is
guaranteed to be profitable at the very start, and that may mean
tradeoffs we might not want to make.

You can send us email about funding version 2.0 or wider distribution of
version 1.1 if you want though. We're always happy to talk. :-)

-Paul Fernhout
Kurtz-Fernhout Software
=========================================================
Developers of custom software and educational simulations
Creators of the Garden with Insight(TM) garden simulator
http://www.kurtz-fernhout.com

Bob Newell

unread,
May 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/9/98
to

Eric O'Dell (er...@gadgetguru.com) wrote:
: I wouldn't have any problem paying $79.95 for Story Harp -- after all,

: I did pay for TADS when it was shareware -- but it would have to be
: substantially better than any of the free systems, which doesn't
: appear to be the case.

I also paid for TADS at the time, but I recall the price as around $40,
or half the price of Story Harp; and TADS delivered a lot of real value
for that price. I am reminded of the old authoring system called
Gamescape, for which the author was asking $100. It didn't go very far,
and I don't expect Story Harp will either. As you point out, there is
simply nothing there that is so compelling that it would be a choice over
freeware systems.

: To return to an earlier subject, this is an example of why I think


: free and commercial IF can coexist -- the free systems provide a
: standard that commercial systems must exceed in order to be
: profitable, and if and when a commercial exceeds the free systems, it
: gives the freeware programmers a standard to exceed. Ultimately,
: everyone benefits.

You are undoubtedly correct about this. Of course, the other side of it
is that when really excellent freeware systems are in existence the
incentive to try to develop a commercial system that is so far superior
that it would sell well, is rather limited.

Bob Newell


Paul Fernhout

unread,
May 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/9/98
to

Bob Newell wrote:
> When I think of the power that's available in TADS, Hugo, and Inform,
> done for free as a labor of love, the idea of $79.95 for Story Harp has
> no appeal.

Bob -

I know where Graham Nelson and others are coming from when they give
things away for free as labors of love (maybe with hopes someday of
profiting from it). My wife and I put over six person-years total of
work into a garden simulator we currently give away for free with source
under the GPL. About 1100 people have now downloaded the garden
simulator from around the planet and we hope they have learned something
from it. I would guess that's probably around how much effort Graham has
put into Inform and related IF efforts.

But, just because someone gives you a free car, it doesn't mean you
might not want to pay for a sailboat. This time around we just decided
to charge for a product (or rather, give people an opportunity to
provide applause with their dollars). If we're not getting applause from
you, what can we do to encourage it? What feasible feature would make
StoryHarp so compelling you just had to use it?

-Paul Fernhout
Kurtz-Fernhout Software
=========================================================
Developers of custom software and educational simulations
Creators of the Garden with Insight(TM) garden simulator

Creators of the StoryHarp(TM) Audioventure Authoring System
http://www.kurtz-fernhout.com

Paul Fernhout

unread,
May 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/9/98
to

Eric O'Dell wrote:
> I wouldn't have any problem paying $79.95 for Story Harp -- after all,
> I did pay for TADS when it was shareware --

Great!

> but it would have to be
> substantially better than any of the free systems, which doesn't
> appear to be the case.

I'm curious if that opinion is from using StoryHarp or from just looking
at information on it. We're very happy to receive any first hand
opinions or comments from using it (good or bad). It's only in version
1.1 and subject to continual improvement based on user feedback.

> To return to an earlier subject, this is an example of why I think
> free and commercial IF can coexist -- the free systems provide a
> standard that commercial systems must exceed in order to be
> profitable, and if and when a commercial exceeds the free systems, it
> gives the freeware programmers a standard to exceed. Ultimately,
> everyone benefits.

I agree that some friendly competition could benefit everyone. However,
IF is not just going in one direction to meet one standard. StoryHarp
pushes the boundaries of what is doable -- but not in the same way as
many other IF systems. It doesn't attempt to be a better TADS than TADS.
It attempts to be -- StoryHarp, a system optimized for quickly producing
interactive stories, especially ones with sound, music, text-to-speech,
and voice recognition.

One can't really put TADS and StoryHarp on the same scale -- it's like
comparing "apples" and "the color orange". For a similar example,
boiling a person's intelligence or performance down to one number is not
usually sensible (even though we do it all the time). There are many
forms of intelligence. For example, Howard Gardner in his book "Multiple
Intelligences" lists musical, bodily-kinesthetic, logical-mathematical,
linguistic, spatial, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. Different people
and different programs are better or worse at different things and so
they fill different niches.

Since users may have different strengths or weaknesses, they may find a
better fit with one program or another. StoryHarp reduces the need for
logical-mathematical skill when writing IF. There still is some
logical-mathematical skill required, but not nearly as much. This means
more people may be able to write IF, even if of a slightly different
sort. We're hoping the story will shine through the limitations imposed
by not using a complex parser.

-Paul Fernhout
Kurtz-Fernhout Software
=========================================================
Developers of custom software and educational simulations
Creators of the Garden with Insight(TM) garden simulator

http://www.kurtz-fernhout.com

Paul Fernhout

unread,
May 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/9/98
to

Bob Newell wrote:
> I also paid for TADS at the time, but I recall the price as around $40,
> or half the price of Story Harp; and TADS delivered a lot of real value
> for that price. I am reminded of the old authoring system called
> Gamescape, for which the author was asking $100. It didn't go very far,
> and I don't expect Story Harp will either. As you point out, there is
> simply nothing there that is so compelling that it would be a choice over
> freeware systems.

We're hoping that playing an adventure with the computer monitor turned
off and without the keyboard will be compelling. We're hoping that
quickly creating a small but fun story world in an afternoon (like the
"House and Yard.wld" example) will be compelling. We're hoping that
relatively easily managing worlds with hundreds or thousands of rooms
using the map and browser will be compelling. All of those features
differentiate StoryHarp from TADS.

If those features aren't as compelling as we hope, that is valuable
information to us. If that is the case, we can either work on features
that people will find compelling or change our marketing strategy. At
this point, it looks like the r.a.i-f group is very happy with the
status quo, so we're starting to feel our best market is people who
otherwise wouldn't do IF (and those people don't usually hang out in
r.a.i-f, except maybe temporarily).

By the way, we offer a 50% educational discount to a wide group,
including teachers, parents purchasing the product for use by children
in school, and people taking certain adult education courses. For a
limited time, we are also giving out a limited number of complimentary
registrations in return for trying StoryHarp and filling out a survey
and emailing it to us.

> when really excellent freeware systems are in existence the
> incentive to try to develop a commercial system that is so far superior
> that it would sell well, is rather limited.

I raised the topic of people paying for a new IF system about a year ago
in r.a.i-f and people said pretty much it had to be better or different.
Since Inform, TADS, Hugo, ALAN, etc. are so good, we're trying for
different with StoryHarp.

William Volk

unread,
May 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/9/98
to

John E wrote in message <6ipc2g$h...@ecuador.earthlink.net>...


>Ok guys (and girls),
>I've had this idea in my head for 5 years and I've never

>told anyone so as not to be laughed at. Suddenly


>the technology is closer than ever, so, in hopes that
>it will 'happen' whether or not I actually do it, I'd like to share this
>idea with all of you.

and

>Welcome adventurer to the text adventure of the future!
>Where text and typing are replaced by sound and speech.

Pretty major point of discussion at Steve Meretzky's session at CGDC
yesterday....

Bill

Paul Francis Gilbert

unread,
May 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/11/98
to

Paul Fernhout <pdfer...@kurtz-fernhout.com> writes:

>I'm curious if that opinion is from using StoryHarp or from just looking
>at information on it. We're very happy to receive any first hand
>opinions or comments from using it (good or bad). It's only in version
>1.1 and subject to continual improvement based on user feedback.

>-Paul Fernhout


>Kurtz-Fernhout Software
>=========================================================
>Developers of custom software and educational simulations
>Creators of the Garden with Insight(TM) garden simulator
>http://www.kurtz-fernhout.com

Is there a shareware or demo version of StoryHarp available for trial use?
I tried connecting to the www.kurtz-fernhout.com website, but I keep getting
DNS errors, so can't actually see anything on the website.

--
Paul Gilbert | p...@yallara.cs.rmit.edu.au (The DreamMaster)
Bach App Sci, Bach Eng | The opinions expressed are my own, all my own, and
Year 5, RMIT Melbourne | as such will contain no references to small furry
Australia | creatures from Alpha Centauri.

Josh Westbury

unread,
May 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/11/98
to

Following the suggestion of talk&listen IF:

I like the idea. However I don't think it would work for conventional IF
themes - why should I tell "myself" to go west, throw the troll at the
axe, whatever...

It would be more interesting if the game was based around dialogue, or
co-ordinating lots of NPCs. For example:

chief-of-police, co-ordinating cars, helicopters, forensic scientists,
interviewing witnesses, etc. to catch an escaped killer...
captain of a starship (somewhat cliched)
captain of a pirate galleon, giving orders like raise the sails, fire
a warning shot, board them, make x walk the plank...
NATO commander co-ordinating air squadron, radar, army units, etc. to
investigate breach of airspace (Invasion Earth-type scenario)

What would distinguish the game from strategy wargaming is that you are
not commanding thousands of zombie NPCs but a small group - so they
can make suggestions, have personalities, disagree, make judgement
calls, interact with each other etc. In the last example (IE) you could
order two jets to identify the airspace violator; one of the pilots
engages it in combat and defies your orders (and the other pilot's
pleas) to disengage...

What do people think? I don't have the programming skills for
talk&listen
(I'm an Inform beginner); anyway any game like this would be a large
project, probably collaborative. I'll try and knock up an example (not
using voice recognition!) in the meantime.

Josh

Paul Fernhout

unread,
May 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/11/98
to

Josh -

These are great ideas for putting dialog into IF.

I agree that it feels strained to both give commands and engage in
conversation using the same interface.

You might want to try prototyping your example conversations in
StoryHarp.

-Paul Fernhout
Kurtz-Fernhout Software
=========================================================
Developers of custom software and educational simulations
Creators of the Garden with Insight(TM) garden simulator
http://www.kurtz-fernhout.com

Paul Fernhout

unread,
May 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/11/98
to Paul Francis Gilbert

Paul Francis Gilbert wrote:
> Is there a shareware or demo version of StoryHarp available for trial use?
> I tried connecting to the www.kurtz-fernhout.com website, but I keep getting
> DNS errors, so can't actually see anything on the website.

Paul -

There is a fully functional trial version on the site, and
http://www.kurtz-fernhout.com is the correct URL.

I apologize for any difficulties you may have had connecting to our
site. We checked our logs, and there are no entries for two hours at the
end of Sunday (around the time of your post), so it is possible our ISP
had difficulties then. There are hits for this morning, so if there was
a problem, it may be fixed by now. The ISP we use is large and offers
7X24 service and monitoring, but it is possible they could mess up
occasionally. We're going to contact them about this. In the meanwhile,
according to our logs and email, many people can usually get to the
site.

Please let us know if the problem persists. We have another related URL
you can try as well at http://www.gardenwithinsight.com which is hosted
at the same ISP. It doesn't contain StoryHarp information, but if you
can get to that URL, perhaps the issue is related to your ISP's domain
name lookup system or related to propagating the domain information to
your ISP.

Steven Posey

unread,
May 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/11/98
to

On Wed, 6 May 1998 16:00:29 +0100, Den of Iniquity <dms...@york.ac.uk> wrote:

>Actually, I've thought about using speech as an input and I'm not sure I
>want it... For a start I've a tendency to mutter to myself if thinking
>away at a problem

Agreed. You'd need some sort of toggle switch for when you actually wanted to try out a command.
As good as the idea sounds, I think MOST of us tend to talk to the screen inbetween commands, so
it'd be very frustrating having to throw that toggle on and off all the time.

The other option would be to have the computer sit quietly with no responses to incorrect commands.
That way, it would only leap to life when you said something it really understood. But then, you
would lose out on some of the wittier moments of IF.

In the movie "Demolition Man," a computer would fine you one credit every time you cursed, and it
would yell out your infraction as it spit out the ticket from a printer terminal. Stallone's
character was ranting about how nobody in the future used toilet paper and, instead, used 3
seashells (though they never explained how), so to get some paper, he just started calling the
machine all sorts of names and using every curse word he could think of. It spit out enough paper
for him to carry with him to the facilities -- one of Stallone's finer moments!

Read into that what you will...
Steven

Paul Fernhout

unread,
May 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/11/98
to

Steven Posey wrote:
>
> On Wed, 6 May 1998 16:00:29 +0100, Den of Iniquity <dms...@york.ac.uk> wrote:
>
> >Actually, I've thought about using speech as an input and I'm not sure I
> >want it... For a start I've a tendency to mutter to myself if thinking
> >away at a problem
>
> Agreed. You'd need some sort of toggle switch for when you actually wanted to try out a command.
> As good as the idea sounds, I think MOST of us tend to talk to the screen inbetween commands, so
> it'd be very frustrating having to throw that toggle on and off all the time.

Microsoft Agent (currently used by StoryHarp to support speech input)
requires pressing the ScrollLock key (or another selected key) whenever
you want to talk. I'm not sure if I like this because it keeps you from
playing totally hands free. But I do see now the reason for it. I'd like
the option to either use the key or not, but Microsoft Agent doesn't
provide that option.

Neil K.

unread,
May 12, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/12/98
to

pdfer...@kurtz-fernhout.com wrote:

> Microsoft Agent (currently used by StoryHarp to support speech input)
> requires pressing the ScrollLock key (or another selected key) whenever
> you want to talk. I'm not sure if I like this because it keeps you from
> playing totally hands free. But I do see now the reason for it. I'd like
> the option to either use the key or not, but Microsoft Agent doesn't
> provide that option.

Apple's PlainTalk speech input software permits the user to specify a
string that tells the computer that the next bit of speech will be a
command. By default this is set to "computer", so you get the Star Trekky
effect of saying things like "Computer, what time is it?" You can also use
a keypress to get the computer's attention if you prefer, however, for
noisy environments and so on.

PlainTalk was an interesting piece of software. Quite ahead of its time
in some ways, but in typical Apple fashion they only took it so far and
then dropped the ball. So it's not really incredibly useful for anything,
but might have been had they kept at it. As it is you can do fun stuff
like write simple AppleScripts that activate your program of choice and
send AppleEvents on voice commands, (eg: "Computer, check mail" can launch
Eudora - or bring it to the front if it's already running - and then see
if you have any new mail) but the recognition is not of high enough
quality to be used for dictation purposes. I was sort of hoping that
someone would try and get it to work with a Macintosh IF interpreter, but
nobody has.

- Neil K.

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

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages