The Player Will Get It Wrong (LONG)

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Mark Musante - Sun Microsystems

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Apr 21, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/21/00
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Stephen Granade (sgra...@login2.phy.duke.edu) wrote:
> (Aside #1: Admit it, how many of you kicked the head instead of trying
> to save it? You can do both. Last I checked the head kickers were
> beating out the head savers by nearly a ten-to-one margin. Clearly I
> have tapped into some primal human instinct. Perhaps our ancestors
> were hunted by heads buried in mud, and only by kicking those heads
> could those ancestors save themselves.)

To be honest, I did try to save it before resorting to violence.

I remember spending several turns trying to pull out or dig up the
head in some way. The kicking was more a frustration-venting
action. "There's the head," I said to myself, "at foot level.
And there's my foot at, um... well, at it's own level." So I
conducted an experiment in inelastic collisions, completely
expecting to see the response 'I don't know the word "kick".'

I blinked with surprise when the game actually knew what I wanted
to do. And then I restarted in case I had just performed an action
which put me in an unwinnable state.


-=- Mark -=-

Second April

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Apr 21, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/21/00
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On 20 Apr 2000, Stephen Granade wrote:

> (Aside #1: Admit it, how many of you kicked the head instead of trying
> to save it? You can do both. Last I checked the head kickers were
> beating out the head savers by nearly a ten-to-one margin. Clearly I
> have tapped into some primal human instinct. Perhaps our ancestors
> were hunted by heads buried in mud, and only by kicking those heads
> could those ancestors save themselves.)

I seem to recall that I tried to save it, and only discovered the kicking
option when it was mentioned here. It may be that the kicking was in
reaction to what the head is saying--"you're blaming me for something I
don't understand or remember? well, take that!"--but I think my reaction
was just to walk away.

> Or take "Common Ground." It grew out of my interest in stories told
> from multiple viewpoints. Aha, I thought, there aren't that many games
> in which you see the same things through different eyes; I think I'll
> write one.
>
> As I was programming the game, I had visions of players running
> around, taking sledgehammers to my game world. Once they figured out
> that their earlier actions were being replayed in later scenes, I just
> knew players would try to make this replay fail. Because of my
> expectations, I spent a lot of time trying to thwart or accomodate
> this behavior.

Huh. I noticed, and commented on it in my review, but I didn't spend a lot
of time trying to make the recording device fail, mostly because I was
more interested in the characters. (Really. I spent a _lot_ of time
UNDOing so that I could have the characters say or do something different,
in order to get different reactions.) I guess it felt uncharitable to me
to try to "break" something as difficult as a recording device--I mean, I
noted that the game was recording what I'd done earlier, noted that it did
it pretty well though it missed some of the complexities, gave it full
technical marks, and went back to the story.

Duncan Stevens
dns...@merle.acns.nwu.edu

But buy me a singer to sing one song--
Song about nothing--song about sheep--
Over and over, all day long;
Patch me again my thread-bare sleep.

--Edna St. Vincent Millay

Brad O'Donnell

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Apr 21, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/21/00
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[Mild Spoilers for Aisle, The City, Losing Your Grip, I-0 ]

Stephen Granade wrote:

> It happened with _Losing Your Grip_, and it surprised the hell out of
> me. Here I was, all pleased with myself because I was putting in
> multiple paths. This will be interesting, I thought. People will
> discover that some sections of the game come in two flavors, and
> they'll talk about it.
>
> Instead, what is Grip known for? Head kicking. An action which took
> all of five minutes to dream up, code, and re-write has come to
> symbolize my game.

The very first thing I did in LYG was kick the head. It was
startling and enjoyable that the game allowed me. I was thrilled.

Then I couldn't get through the First Fit. I couldn't figure out
what to do, and the thrill of this beautiful head-kicking game
was more or less over. I didn't ask for hints because I was very
anti-puzzle at the time; my patience for playing games with
walkthrough-in-hand is exhausted by the Competition.

> Or take "Common Ground." It grew out of my interest in stories told
> from multiple viewpoints. Aha, I thought, there aren't that many games
> in which you see the same things through different eyes; I think I'll
> write one.

<snip>


> As I was programming the game, I had visions of players running
> around, taking sledgehammers to my game world. Once they figured out
> that their earlier actions were being replayed in later scenes, I just
> knew players would try to make this replay fail. Because of my
> expectations, I spent a lot of time trying to thwart or accomodate
> this behavior.

<snip>

I think one reason that players might not have tried to break the
replay is because they're traditionally fairly easy to break. I
never broke the replay in The City, for instance, but from what I
hear it's not to hard to muck up.

Given that replay-systems are easy to break, if my first attempts
at breaking the system don't work, I'll be suitably impressed that
I won't try any more.

(But that brings up a twisty little side-note: How do I know,
intrinsically, that such systems are easy to break? Because, like
most players, I am also an author, and I have some idea of what
it might take to build such a system. If I were a "pure" player,
maybe I would act differently; but "pure" authors (authors who
don't play) seem to outnumber "pure" players (players who don't
write) by quite a wide margin. Most of us are in the hybrid
author/player category.)

> But the point is -- no, wait, I've mislaid my point. Ah, right. The
> point is, the disjoint between author and player can be troubling. You
> write a game. You release it. Magically, the community comes to a
> consensus about your game...and it's not what you were
> expecting. Everyone's missed the things you thought were neat and have
> instead focused on things that, to you, are very minor.
>
> You sit there, wondering where you went wrong. You're a player, right?
> So why didn't you realize this would happen? Why didn't you have a
> better idea of how people will view your game?
<snip>


Sometimes, when writing a game, a smashing idea comes into your
head at 11:30 PM. Then you spend until 2:00 AM coding it; and then
you're hooked: you've got to finish this bit of buffoonery. So
you spend all your coding time of the next three days finishing it
off. When the beta-test results come in, you spend two (or ten) more
programmer-days fixing bugs related to this code. And voila, five
days sucked away by an 11:30 idea. But at the root of it is the
idea that supports all this code, an idea that came to you in
god-knows-what kind of mental state. Players will have to chance
upon that same state at that spot in the game, or all that code
goes unnoticed. (Good beta-testers, however, induce all mental
states at once, so that's why they notice :) The author values it,
and the player doesn't.


I don't know who said it first, but it's taped up over my
computer, printed in two-inch-high letters: "If the user
doesn't know about a feature, it might as well not exist."
I think it applies to IF as well.

--
Brad O'Donnell

Andrew Plotkin

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Apr 21, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/21/00
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Brad O'Donnell <s7...@unb.ca> wrote:
> I don't know who said it first, but it's taped up over my
> computer, printed in two-inch-high letters: "If the user
> doesn't know about a feature, it might as well not exist."
> I think it applies to IF as well.

Yes. Yes, it does.

See the standard problem with puzzles that can be solved by brute force.

--Z

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

Dan Schmidt

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Apr 21, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/21/00
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mmus...@Sun.COM (Mark Musante - Sun Microsystems) writes:

| I remember spending several turns trying to pull out or dig up the
| head in some way. The kicking was more a frustration-venting
| action. "There's the head," I said to myself, "at foot level.
| And there's my foot at, um... well, at it's own level." So I
| conducted an experiment in inelastic collisions, completely
| expecting to see the response 'I don't know the word "kick".'
|
| I blinked with surprise when the game actually knew what I wanted
| to do. And then I restarted in case I had just performed an action
| which put me in an unwinnable state.

I restarted so that I could kick the head again.

--
Dan Schmidt | http://www.dfan.org

Sean T Barrett

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Apr 21, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/21/00
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I hope I understand correctly that what Stephen Granade was getting
at was the idea that 'what the author thinks is important is not
what the player will think is important.'

This can be on many levels--theme, plot, actions,
backstory.

But let me apply (abuse?) this subject line as follows:

I cannot strongly enough stress what I think is the
most important dimension that the player will get
wrong: the gameplay.

Your game ("you"="some generic author") is itself merely
a phase space that your players instantiate in inordinate
variations, but that you are lucky to see several of
explored in beta test.

The commercial gameworld is littered with poorly-thought
through game designs in which implicit linearities are
unconsciously relied on, but not coded. Designers assume
that you'll go to Junktown in Fallout before you go to the
Hub, but they don't enforce it, so it's trivial to have
bizarre conversations and even plot bugs. Games assume
the player will encounter character A before encountering
character B because character A is near the entrance to
the area and character B is at the far end of it. A work
of IF has a room description that assumes that you first
entered it from a particular direction because that's the
only "reasonable" way for a first-time explorer to come from.

And most of the time, they're right. Most players do
these things in the right order. Rarely, a player misses
out on Junktown entirely. Once in a while, a player enters
a section of the game and uses a left-wall-following maze
algorithm to explore it, finding character B before A.
Once in a while a player gets totally lost in a work of
IF and ends up coming into a room from an unexpected
direction.

The problem is it only takes one of these things happening
once for a player to step outside the expected space of
gameplay of the game. Even though each one might be
very unlikely, with enough ways to screw things up, a
significant number of players may well have an experience
that is far from the carefully calculated effect you
had intended.

My best and favorite example of this is BioForge, a commercial
"adventure" game of the same kind as 'Alone in the Dark'.
Odds are that very few of you have this game, and I certainly
wouldn't recommend buying it just to see this. The interesting
lesson you can learn is to install it, then go into the
direectory and browse the scripts. The scripts are there in
plain readable english (perhaps packed in larger files? I forget,
it was many years ago). But the best part is to read through
some of these scripts, which are full of comments of the form
"and then the player will do X, so we do blah:" followed by
some code, and then "so of course the player will now do Y,
so we etc." The best part of this is the tower sequence where
you have to shoot down the plane before it lands. The interaction
with the character there *never* went like the sequence described
in the script for me. So much for yet another attempt at
duplicating Hollywood in games.

Unfortunately, the world of commercial game design does not
offer many lessons to the hobbyist IF author who think of
herself as a game designer; I really need to get off my ass
and post a response to Doe's Iffy theory along these lines,
but there is basically close to zero discussion within the
commercial game development community about what good game
design is and how you can do it. Dig up a "game developer's
magazine"--it's full of information about the technical aspects
of programming and of creating art content, and sometimes
about the business/managerial side of game development, and
*sometimes* (if you're lucky) information about the flow and
process of game design (things like "write a design document")--
but essentially devoid of useful information to learn how
to better design games. And this is largely true of the
industry's conference (Game Developers Conference, nee
Computer Game Developers Conference)--exacerbated by the
conference being run for profit and therefore having increasing
amounts of content aimed at wannabees and biz folks, but that's
a separate and totally irrelevant rant.

Anyway, I personally bitch about this because I've played
so many highly-respected IF games and gotten stuck on them--not
necessarily on hard parts of them, but just stuff like: what
the heck am I supposed to be doing in the first fit of LYG,
once I'm wandering around with the thing I got to name? How
the heck am I supposed to remember the existence of a crucial
thing very near the beginning of Spider&Web when I come back
there in the endgame, since it's not mentioned in the room
description?

These are parts of the phase space that are perhaps a little
hard to anticipate, but don't seem *that* hard to avoid.
Expect *some* players to miss the one detail somewhere--so
make sure you put in two. Don't put crucial information on
a one-shot daemon. Presumably there are some other reasonable
rules, although if the only way to come up with them is in
hindsight from seeing them break for someone, then, well, woe
to us poor authors.

SeanB

Adam Cadre

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Apr 21, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/21/00
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Sean Barrett wrote:
> The commercial gameworld is littered with poorly-thought
> through game designs in which implicit linearities are
> unconsciously relied on, but not coded.

Yeah. One of the groups of aliens in Star Control 3 spits out nonsense
like "888 warning!" at you until you get a translator... which I never
did get. Nevertheless, upon encountering other aliens later in the
game, my character was full of information that the 888-warning aliens
had supposedly supplied. Sigh. How hard is it to code a flag for
whether the player has the translator? Really shoddy.

-----
Adam Cadre, Sammamish, WA
http://adamcadre.ac

Matthew T. Russotto

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Apr 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/22/00
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In article <3900F7...@adamcadre.ac>,

888-warning means your RS/6000 has crashed.
--
Matthew T. Russotto russ...@pond.com
"Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in pursuit
of justice is no virtue."

n...@spam.com

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Apr 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/22/00
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[Mild spoiler for Anchorhead]

Sean T Barrett wrote:

> I hope I understand correctly that what Stephen Granade was getting
> at was the idea that 'what the author thinks is important is not
> what the player will think is important.'
>

> [...]


>
> Anyway, I personally bitch about this because I've played
> so many highly-respected IF games and gotten stuck on them--not
> necessarily on hard parts of them, but just stuff like: what
> the heck am I supposed to be doing in the first fit of LYG,
> once I'm wandering around with the thing I got to name? How
> the heck am I supposed to remember the existence of a crucial
> thing very near the beginning of Spider&Web when I come back
> there in the endgame, since it's not mentioned in the room
> description?
>
> These are parts of the phase space that are perhaps a little
> hard to anticipate, but don't seem *that* hard to avoid.
> Expect *some* players to miss the one detail somewhere--so
> make sure you put in two. Don't put crucial information on
> a one-shot daemon. Presumably there are some other reasonable
> rules, although if the only way to come up with them is in
> hindsight from seeing them break for someone, then, well, woe
> to us poor authors.
>

Yet, it seems the main practical way to obviate these situations is to
rely on extensive beta-testing and feedback from players. I'm not an
author (yet), but I can well-imagine that the author's perception of the
game is necessarily very different from any player's perception. This
is the same reason you shouldn't proofread your own writing (well, you
can, but it's not nearly as effective). Nothing can substitute for
tester feedback, especially the more non-linear your game.

I encountered an example recently. I just finished Anchorhead, a highly
enjoyable and absorbing game. It's a large, sprawling, rich game, and
fairly easy, but there was a stretch of maybe twelve hours or so that I
was stuck. The situation was, I couldn't figure out how to end the
second day. Because the game is so large, it wasn't clear what the
bottleneck was. I tried everything, and still the day just wouldn't
end!

Finally, I made an exhaustive pass over a detailed game transcript I'd
made (yes, I'm one of those players who refuses to look at hints),
trying anything and everything that popped into my head. Somewhere
toward the end, I tried something that I'd done before...and it worked!
What the heck? Near as I can figure, the reason is that you had to talk
to a character about a topic and *then* show that character an object.
Of course, I had done it in the reverse order, and was blissfully
unaware of the mistake. (Reviewing the transcript, I notice I actually
showed the character that object two different times before mentioning
the topic, with negative results.)

It's a testament to the quality of the game (or my own
anal-retentiveness) that it sustained my interested for twelve hours at
that bottleneck. It's clear that this was not intended to be a
bottleneck at all, but I bet it would be highly difficult for authors to
anticipate situations like this one.

(As a side note, a crucial factor in keeping me playing for twelve hours
at that point was the game's detailed and intriguing back story. I
don't know if it was just me, but I had enormous fun doing research and
cross-referencing information, history, and events. Plus, the game is
rich in the sense that many described items provoke responses, and NPC's
react to many different stimuli, and there are so many topics to follow
up on. Long after I had done everything "obvious" I was still walking
around, trying out NPC reactions and experimenting with hunches.)

Top
--
W. Top Changwatchai
chngwtch at u i u c dot edu

Travers Naran

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Apr 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/22/00
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"Sean T Barrett" <buz...@world.std.com> wrote in message
news:FtDxJ...@world.std.com...

> I hope I understand correctly that what Stephen Granade was getting
> at was the idea that 'what the author thinks is important is not
> what the player will think is important.'
>
> This can be on many levels--theme, plot, actions,
> backstory.
>
> But let me apply (abuse?) this subject line as follows:
>
> I cannot strongly enough stress what I think is the
> most important dimension that the player will get
> wrong: the gameplay.
>
> Your game ("you"="some generic author") is itself merely
> a phase space that your players instantiate in inordinate
> variations, but that you are lucky to see several of
> explored in beta test.

A neat way of describing it. I wonder how many people understood what you
meant.

> The commercial gameworld is littered with poorly-thought
> through game designs in which implicit linearities are
> unconsciously relied on, but not coded.

I used to work in the commercial gameworld. The attitude was: "Let's have
scenes that only allow the player to travel in one direction. Also make
sure you have dancing arrows so they know where to go next." It's called a
RAIL GAME because you are essentially travelling along a rail through the
gameworld. The scenes are arranged to ensure there's pretty much only one
way of making it through the scene. If there is another, it's either a plot
hole or a doorway to a "side trip" for those who are playing the game again.

You will see this *endlessly* on console games because a) rail games are
easy on computing resources (CPU Cycles, memory, I/O, etc.), and b) it
ensures even the dimmest player knows what he is supposed to do.

In fact, rail games make writing a 3-D "Environment" or "World" game so much
easier that some companies have a framework for plugging in the pieces to
make a new rail game. It takes very little RAM or CPU cycles to make a rail
game.

> The problem is it only takes one of these things happening
> once for a player to step outside the expected space of
> gameplay of the game. Even though each one might be
> very unlikely, with enough ways to screw things up, a
> significant number of players may well have an experience
> that is far from the carefully calculated effect you
> had intended.

_Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy_ comes to mind

> Unfortunately, the world of commercial game design does not
> offer many lessons to the hobbyist IF author who think of
> herself as a game designer; I really need to get off my ass
> and post a response to Doe's Iffy theory along these lines,
> but there is basically close to zero discussion within the
> commercial game development community about what good game
> design is and how you can do it.

[deleted good stuff]

There's been articles written and presented, but reading it through, you
realise that the person really has no clue on what makes a good game design.
For IF games, I would recommend Joseph Campbel's _The Power Of Myth_ as the
best design reference I've ever read.

> Anyway, I personally bitch about this because I've played
> so many highly-respected IF games and gotten stuck on them--not
> necessarily on hard parts of them, but just stuff like: what
> the heck am I supposed to be doing in the first fit of LYG,
> once I'm wandering around with the thing I got to name? How
> the heck am I supposed to remember the existence of a crucial
> thing very near the beginning of Spider&Web when I come back
> there in the endgame, since it's not mentioned in the room
> description?

My beef with _Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy_ was several puzzles were
unforgiving, and they were all crucial to getting to the end game. If you
failed to solve them from the beginning, you couldn't solve the game again
after you've some so far. And the puzzles were almost impossible to solve
without InvisiClues.


Branko Collin

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Apr 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/22/00
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On Sat, 22 Apr 2000 06:45:20 GMT, "Travers Naran" <tna...@direct.ca>
wrote:

>"Sean T Barrett" <buz...@world.std.com> wrote in message
>news:FtDxJ...@world.std.com...

>> Your game ("you"="some generic author") is itself merely


>> a phase space that your players instantiate in inordinate
>> variations, but that you are lucky to see several of
>> explored in beta test.
>
>A neat way of describing it. I wonder how many people understood what you
>meant.

I did not. :-) But it sounded cool. :-)

>> The commercial gameworld is littered with poorly-thought
>> through game designs in which implicit linearities are
>> unconsciously relied on, but not coded.

An example from another world that many people may know from the
design side, although not many may have realised it is a design
problem.

Web sites usually have a page that is expected by the designer to be
the one that visitors see the first. For instance, if I have a web
site called www.snazzy.com (I have not tried if this is a real URL), I
would expect visitors to first see the page that you get if you type
in www.snazzy.com. However, web sites are far from linear. Search
engines, links from other sites and bookmarks will make sure that a
lot of visitors will enter the site on another page.

Designers that catch on to this: will they change their ways and start
making their web site usable? No, they will blame the visitor, the
search engine and the linking site, and will try to force them to
change their behaviour. For instance, a lot of web sites nowadays will
redirect you to the home page if you enter the site on another page. I
have actually seen web sites with legal disclaimers that tell you they
will sue you if you link to anything else than the expected page of
entry. Needless to say a web based on (these) rotten design principles
makes the web experience much less enjoyable.

>I used to work in the commercial gameworld. The attitude was: "Let's have
>scenes that only allow the player to travel in one direction. Also make
>sure you have dancing arrows so they know where to go next." It's called a
>RAIL GAME because you are essentially travelling along a rail through the
>gameworld. The scenes are arranged to ensure there's pretty much only one
>way of making it through the scene. If there is another, it's either a plot
>hole or a doorway to a "side trip" for those who are playing the game again.
>
>You will see this *endlessly* on console games because a) rail games are
>easy on computing resources (CPU Cycles, memory, I/O, etc.), and b) it
>ensures even the dimmest player knows what he is supposed to do.
>
>In fact, rail games make writing a 3-D "Environment" or "World" game so much
>easier that some companies have a framework for plugging in the pieces to
>make a new rail game. It takes very little RAM or CPU cycles to make a rail
>game.

There is nothing against this type of game. I would much rather play a
simple rail game that does not break than a complex game that does.

--
branko collin
col...@xs4all.nl

Branko Collin

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Apr 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/22/00
to
On 20 Apr 2000 21:30:14 -0400, Stephen Granade
<sgra...@login2.phy.duke.edu> wrote:

>But the point is -- no, wait, I've mislaid my point. Ah, right. The
>point is, the disjoint between author and player can be troubling. You
>write a game. You release it. Magically, the community comes to a
>consensus about your game...and it's not what you were
>expecting. Everyone's missed the things you thought were neat and have
>instead focused on things that, to you, are very minor.

I think all creative people experience this, not just IF designers.
:-)

I have had this happen several times, and I have not published a
single fragment of IF.

Once I was the lay-out person for an amateur magazine. I had entered a
poem for the arts page anonymously and found myself in a position
where I had to lay out the arts page together with the editor-in-chief
and the arts page editor.

From a marketing point of view -- if you will, since it was an amateur
mag, nobody got paid -- I had made smart move by being the only one
not entering the nth poem about love. I did not know if that is why it
was selected, but I gather it was a reason.

The funny thing was hearing the two editors talking about my poem,
seeing all kinds of stuff in there that I never intended. The even
funnier thing is that arts editors will of course talk like they have
spent some time lodging rooms in your brain, knowing their way around
there better than you do yourself. In other words, the comments were
not like "maybe he meant this", but more like "clearly, without a
doubt the author meant this".

Another incident was when I was editor of the school news paper. I
remember that these papers were always strewn across the school yard
as soon as people had finished reading them, as if their value was
purely transitional. However, there were always a few die hard fans
that absolutely loved almost anything we published, that discussed the
contents and took the paper home to keep. I realised there and then
that I would much rather have one percent of the people adoring what I
did that ninety percent thinking it was kind of OK what I did.

My guess is that this latter sentiment must be very familiar to those
reading this newsgroup. Especially seeing how many IF authors are also
doing creative work for money: they should be able to contrast the
two. (Unless they are really good at what they do and can choose to
only work for an appreciative and hopefully still critical and large
audience.)

--
branko collin
col...@xs4all.nl

Stephen Granade

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Apr 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/22/00
to
Even in my essays, the head kicking gets most of the attention....

mmus...@Sun.COM (Mark Musante - Sun Microsystems) writes:

> Stephen Granade (sgra...@login2.phy.duke.edu) wrote:
> > (Aside #1: Admit it, how many of you kicked the head instead of trying
> > to save it? You can do both. Last I checked the head kickers were
> > beating out the head savers by nearly a ten-to-one margin. Clearly I
> > have tapped into some primal human instinct. Perhaps our ancestors
> > were hunted by heads buried in mud, and only by kicking those heads
> > could those ancestors save themselves.)
>

> To be honest, I did try to save it before resorting to violence.
>

> I remember spending several turns trying to pull out or dig up the
> head in some way. The kicking was more a frustration-venting
> action. "There's the head," I said to myself, "at foot level.
> And there's my foot at, um... well, at it's own level." So I
> conducted an experiment in inelastic collisions, completely
> expecting to see the response 'I don't know the word "kick".'

Wow. Now I hadn't expected this reaction. "How ungrateful of you not
to be saved by my actions! I think I'll try to hurt you instead."

Stephen

--
Stephen Granade | Interested in adventure games?
sgra...@phy.duke.edu | Visit About.com's IF Page
Duke University, Physics Dept | http://interactfiction.about.com

Stephen Granade

unread,
Apr 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/22/00
to
Second April <dns...@merle.acns.nwu.edu> writes:

> On 20 Apr 2000, Stephen Granade wrote:
>

> > As I was programming the game, I had visions of players running
> > around, taking sledgehammers to my game world. Once they figured out
> > that their earlier actions were being replayed in later scenes, I just
> > knew players would try to make this replay fail. Because of my
> > expectations, I spent a lot of time trying to thwart or accomodate
> > this behavior.
>

> Huh. I noticed, and commented on it in my review, but I didn't spend a lot
> of time trying to make the recording device fail, mostly because I was
> more interested in the characters. (Really. I spent a _lot_ of time
> UNDOing so that I could have the characters say or do something different,
> in order to get different reactions.)

This is, I believe, the nicest thing anyone has ever said about
"Common Ground."

> I guess it felt uncharitable to me to try to "break" something as
> difficult as a recording device--I mean, I noted that the game was
> recording what I'd done earlier, noted that it did it pretty well
> though it missed some of the complexities, gave it full technical
> marks, and went back to the story.

Heh. I've never heard of players being charitable towards a technical
part of a game before.

Sean T Barrett

unread,
Apr 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/22/00
to
In article <39013945...@spam.com>, <n...@spam.com> wrote:

>Sean Barrett wrote:
>> These are parts of the phase space that are perhaps a little
>> hard to anticipate, but don't seem *that* hard to avoid.
>> Expect *some* players to miss the one detail somewhere--so
>> make sure you put in two. Don't put crucial information on
>> a one-shot daemon. Presumably there are some other reasonable
>> rules, although if the only way to come up with them is in
>> hindsight from seeing them break for someone, then, well, woe
>> to us poor authors.
>
>Yet, it seems the main practical way to obviate these situations is to
>rely on extensive beta-testing and feedback from players.
...

>Nothing can substitute for
>tester feedback, especially the more non-linear your game.

But I'm arguing the opposite, I guess: you will never get enough
feedback to catch all the bugs. You are better off targeting a
design that is less susceptible to this problem.

That doesn't mean you have to be totally linear to avoid it, nor
totally storyless. It does argue for "simulation, not emulation",
as we call it at my place of employment.

A coworker has made the comment--which is clearly more true of the
commercial world than of the IF world, but it's not inapplicable--
that in the first day of the release of a commercial game, we get
more "playtest" than we did over the life of the project. (And
we take betatesting very seriously.)

>Of course, I had done it in the reverse order, and was blissfully
>unaware of the mistake.

...


>It's clear that this was not intended to be a
>bottleneck at all, but I bet it would be highly difficult for authors to
>anticipate situations like this one.

I don't know about that. "I have some crucial information to give
the player, and I will only give it to the player if she does X
followed by Y, even though there are no dependencies between the
two actions." Why not do it on "Y followed by X"? If "Sins Against
Mimesis" can pay attention to which room's miscellaneous junk
objects you look at first, and allow both sequences, why can't other
more serious games?

If anything, I think my argument is that we should have better
tools for authoring to make it easier to do this sort of thing,
and we should make authors more aware as they're coding of the
fact that players will miss details and they generally need to
be clubbed over the head.

Of course, maybe I'm overgeneralizing about games and players
(especially due to my personal experiences).

SeanB

Sean T Barrett

unread,
Apr 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/22/00
to
Sean T Barrett <buz...@world.std.com> wrote:
>In article <39013945...@spam.com>, <n...@spam.com> wrote:
>>It's clear that this was not intended to be a
>>bottleneck at all, but I bet it would be highly difficult for authors to
>>anticipate situations like this one.
>
>I don't know about that. "I have some crucial information to give
>the player, and I will only give it to the player if she does X
>followed by Y, even though there are no dependencies between the
>two actions." Why not do it on "Y followed by X"?

Let me be more specific. When I code (and maybe I shouldn't even be
commenting, since I have yet to release a work of IF), I look through
my entire "transcript" of actions, and I consider every action--
even ones that aren't intended as puzzles--and I ask myself,
"Is the player going to think to do this? Are there clues
about this? Have I ramped the player up so the player's
expectations about the world suggest that this action is going
to make sense?"

And sometimes my answer to some of these questions is "no",
because, after all, it's not supposed to be *trivially* easy.
But these things should be consciously decided, and anything
which isn't a puzzle probably shouldn't have a "no".

To deal with non-linearity is more complex, obviously. If the
player is *allowed* to do things out of order, I have to think
about it. Certainly there's a class of bugs where an author didn't
*intend* the player to be able to do things except in a particular
order, but didn't enforce it. But there's no reason to run through
that transcript and say "and of course the player will know X,
because he had to do Y earlier" if the player didn't *have* to do
Y earlier. I mean, you might get it wrong, but there's no reason
not to try. You can do it a lot more easily than a playtester can,
because you know how it works--or at least how it works in theory.

The real danger, as I described for BioForge, is assuming that
the player will do the transcript in that order. If your game
really relies on it, then you can go through the transcript and
make sure it's not possible to do tasks "early", thus enforcing
the sequence. If your game doesn't rely on it, then you have to
pay more attention while going through that transcript, either
considering how things are non-linear and might have been done
in a different order, or else explicitly un-sequencing your
transcript and turning it into a flow chart or some other form.

SeanB

Adam Cadre

unread,
Apr 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/22/00
to
Branko Collin wrote:
> I realised there and then that I would much rather have one percent
> of the people adoring what I did that ninety percent thinking it was
> kind of OK what I did.

A few of us Seattle-area IF folk have recently taken up stand-up
comedy as a hobby, which is a great medium if you like instantaneous
feedback. It too displays the disparity of reaction you mention: some
jokes will get tepid chuckles out of everyone in the room, while others
will elicit stony silence from the entire audience except for one
person who falls out of his chair screaming with laughter.

Then you just have to hope that that one guy is a booking agent.

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Apr 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/23/00
to
Sean T Barrett <buz...@world.std.com> wrote:
> Anyway, I personally bitch about this because I've played
> so many highly-respected IF games and gotten stuck on them--not
> necessarily on hard parts of them, but just stuff like: what
> the heck am I supposed to be doing in the first fit of LYG,
> once I'm wandering around with the thing I got to name? How
> the heck am I supposed to remember the existence of a crucial
> thing very near the beginning of Spider&Web when I come back
> there in the endgame, since it's not mentioned in the room
> description?

Which thing?

I really try not to leave things out of room descriptions. It *can* be
done deliberately (anything can) but it's obviously a tricky maneuver. I
don't remember the case you're talking about.

TableSaw

unread,
Apr 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/23/00
to
In article <3901b67f....@news.xs4all.nl>,

col...@xs4all.nl (Branko Collin) wrote:
> On 20 Apr 2000 21:30:14 -0400, Stephen Granade
> <sgra...@login2.phy.duke.edu> wrote:
>
> >But the point is -- no, wait, I've mislaid my point. Ah, right. The
> >point is, the disjoint between author and player can be troubling.
You
> >write a game. You release it. Magically, the community comes to a
> >consensus about your game...and it's not what you were
> >expecting. Everyone's missed the things you thought were neat and
have
> >instead focused on things that, to you, are very minor.

Can you repost this? Deja.com has apparently missed it, and I'm
wondering if I understand you correctly, from what I've read in replies.
My experiencee in writing and directing for theatre is that the
audience, being made up of more people than you, are *never* wrong, and
that if they don't "get" something then I have to change something. I
would imagine that in IF, where the player has so much more influence
over the performance, it would similarly be the case that the author
should conform to the understanding of the player.

--
Tony

"There is a saying that a play is never finished, only abandoned. That
is certainly yhe case here . . ."


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

Branko Collin

unread,
Apr 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/23/00
to
On Sun, 23 Apr 2000 08:20:38 GMT, TableSaw <adel...@umail.ucsb.edu>
wrote:

[I mailed the original posting to you]

>My experiencee in writing and directing for theatre is that the
>audience, being made up of more people than you, are *never* wrong, and
>that if they don't "get" something then I have to change something. I
>would imagine that in IF, where the player has so much more influence
>over the performance, it would similarly be the case that the author
>should conform to the understanding of the player.

Of course the audience can get it wrong: you have to expect a certain
level of understanding, otherwise you keep dumbing your work down
until there's nothing left.

However, if the audience that you aim at does not get, then you should
take a long hard look at your work again.

(It depends of course on what you define as 'audience': anyone
experiencing your work, or the people that you wrote for.)

--
branko collin
but, I should warn you, this is no time for complacency.
no, there are still many things, and I cannot emphasize
this too strongly, /not/ on top of other things. -- monty python

Stephen Granade

unread,
Apr 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/23/00
to
TableSaw <adel...@umail.ucsb.edu> writes:

> wondering if I understand you correctly, from what I've read in replies.

> My experiencee in writing and directing for theatre is that the
> audience, being made up of more people than you, are *never* wrong, and
> that if they don't "get" something then I have to change something.

I can repost, and will. I'll hold off on more comments, except to say
that I think you've missed the point of my editorial.

ical...@my-deja.com

unread,
Apr 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/23/00
to
In article <jdg0scw...@login2.phy.duke.edu>,
Stephen Granade <sgra...@login2.phy.duke.edu> wrote:

> I can repost, and will.

The original post finally showed up on DejaNews today (April 23).

irene

Stephen Granade

unread,
Apr 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/23/00
to
ical...@my-deja.com writes:

> In article <jdg0scw...@login2.phy.duke.edu>,
> Stephen Granade <sgra...@login2.phy.duke.edu> wrote:
>
> > I can repost, and will.
>
> The original post finally showed up on DejaNews today (April 23).

Actually, the original post hasn't shown up yet, but my repost showed
up moments after I sent it.

Ah, the joys of Deja.

ical...@my-deja.com

unread,
Apr 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/23/00
to
In article <jdk8hol...@login2.phy.duke.edu>,

Stephen Granade <sgra...@login2.phy.duke.edu> wrote:
> ical...@my-deja.com writes:
>
> > In article <jdg0scw...@login2.phy.duke.edu>,
> > Stephen Granade <sgra...@login2.phy.duke.edu> wrote:
> >
> > > I can repost, and will.
> >
> > The original post finally showed up on DejaNews today (April 23).
>
> Actually, the original post hasn't shown up yet, but my repost showed
> up moments after I sent it.

Ah, okay, I was expecting a "repost" in the header, I guess.

Stephen Granade

unread,
Apr 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/23/00
to
ical...@my-deja.com writes:

> In article <jdk8hol...@login2.phy.duke.edu>,
> Stephen Granade <sgra...@login2.phy.duke.edu> wrote:
> > ical...@my-deja.com writes:
> >
> > > The original post finally showed up on DejaNews today (April 23).
> >
> > Actually, the original post hasn't shown up yet, but my repost showed
> > up moments after I sent it.
>
> Ah, okay, I was expecting a "repost" in the header, I guess.

Hm. My repost is prefaced by [Repost], and that's the only one I'm
seeing at Deja. Truly, Deja moves in mysterious ways.

Gene Wirchenko

unread,
Apr 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/24/00
to
col...@xs4all.nl (Branko Collin) wrote:

>On 20 Apr 2000 21:30:14 -0400, Stephen Granade
><sgra...@login2.phy.duke.edu> wrote:
>
>>But the point is -- no, wait, I've mislaid my point. Ah, right. The
>>point is, the disjoint between author and player can be troubling. You
>>write a game. You release it. Magically, the community comes to a
>>consensus about your game...and it's not what you were
>>expecting. Everyone's missed the things you thought were neat and have
>>instead focused on things that, to you, are very minor.
>

>I think all creative people experience this, not just IF designers.
>:-)
>
>I have had this happen several times, and I have not published a
>single fragment of IF.

I have done programming/analysis work for my present boss for
over ten years. I have been to the office where the service is
provided only ONCE. When I was there, I asked about what they thought
of my [client billing] system. One of the raves was about something
that had taken me about 1/2 line of code and about the same number of
minutes. The stuff I had really sweated over? Not worth mentioning
or not noticed.

User point of view = author's point of view. Read "=" as "hardly
ever is".

[snip]

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko

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

S Bobbitt

unread,
Apr 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/24/00
to

--
"Gene Wirchenko" <ge...@shuswap.net> wrote in message
news:3903e447...@news.shuswap.net...
> col...@xs4all.nl (Branko Collin) wrote:

> >On 20 Apr 2000 21:30:14 -0400, Stephen Granade
> ><sgra...@login2.phy.duke.edu> wrote:
> >
> >>But the point is -- no, wait, I've mislaid my point. Ah, right. The
> >>point is, the disjoint between author and player can be troubling. You
> >>write a game. You release it. Magically, the community comes to a
> >>consensus about your game...and it's not what you were
> >>expecting. Everyone's missed the things you thought were neat and have
> >>instead focused on things that, to you, are very minor.
> >
> >I think all creative people experience this, not just IF designers.
> >:-)
> >
> >I have had this happen several times, and I have not published a
> >single fragment of IF.

> I have done programming/analysis work for my present boss for
> over ten years. I have been to the office where the service is
> provided only ONCE. When I was there, I asked about what they thought
> of my [client billing] system. One of the raves was about something
> that had taken me about 1/2 line of code and about the same number of
> minutes. The stuff I had really sweated over? Not worth mentioning
> or not noticed.

----------
Same here.
I have been a musician/song writer for twenty years and I have had similar
situations. I have had people come up to me and tell me that they really
liked the song about the ---. Sometimes, it would catch me off guard and I
would have to ask for more information before I recognized which song they
were talking about.
They remembered the song from some obscure word in the middle of a verse
rather than from the "hook". Never mind that I had spent many sleepless
nights coming up with that catchy little line.

----------


> User point of view = author's point of view. Read "=" as "hardly
> ever is".

> [snip]

> Sincerely,
S Bobbitt
sbob...@concentric.net
(ICQ) 32852773
Read Audyssey magazine online - New HTML Version!
http://www.geocities.com/sbobbitt21

Mark Musante - Sun Microsystems

unread,
Apr 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/24/00
to
Stephen Granade (sgra...@login1.phy.duke.edu) wrote:
> Wow. Now I hadn't expected this reaction. "How ungrateful of you not
> to be saved by my actions! I think I'll try to hurt you instead."

Ouch.


-=- Mark -=-

Michael Brazier

unread,
Apr 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/24/00
to

I'd bet it's the air vents. As I recall, none of the room descriptions
in "Spider & Web" mention the vents, even though all the passageways (at
least) have one. There's only one place where the game draws your
attention to the vents, and it's a very easy passage to overlook...

--
Michael Brazier But what are all these vanities to me
Whose thoughts are full of indices and surds?
X^2 + 7X + 53 = 11/3
-- Lewis Carroll

Jason Melancon

unread,
Apr 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/25/00
to
On 24 Apr 2000 06:04:19 EDT, "S Bobbitt" <sbob...@concentric.net>

wrote:

> > >On 20 Apr 2000 21:30:14 -0400, Stephen Granade
> > ><sgra...@login2.phy.duke.edu> wrote:
> > >
> > >>But the point is -- no, wait, I've mislaid my point. Ah, right. The
> > >>point is, the disjoint between author and player can be troubling.

> I have had people come up to me and tell me that they really


> liked the song about the ---. Sometimes, it would catch me off guard and I
> would have to ask for more information before I recognized which song they
> were talking about.
>
> They remembered the song from some obscure word in the middle of a verse
> rather than from the "hook". Never mind that I had spent many sleepless
> nights coming up with that catchy little line.

Of course, all you have to do to solve this problem is to spend many
sleepless nights on *every* word of the song. This way, you can feel
justifiably warm and fuzzy no matter which part sticks with people.
This should generalize easily to programming, as well.

:-)

--
Jason Melancon

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Apr 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/25/00
to

Plus, you get to feel trodden-on and hallucinatory from lack of sleep.

Not to mention artistically obsessive, which I hear feels *really* good in
about the second year. If you drink enough absinthe.

digital

unread,
Apr 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/25/00
to
And with this topic I finally decide to de-lurk.

I don't know if others see the player as "getting it wrong" is a
bad thing. I am currently working on my first work of IF (how
often have you heard that). I've still got a few training games
to work on yet, but I am also doing a lot of work on the design.

What I am trying to do is create a game which the player can't
get
wrong. I don't mean that I will hamsting them to a certain path,
I don't like that idea and one of the key concepts are that there
are multiple endings (I am looking at around four at this stage
in
development). Rather, it is my oppinion that the player can't
have got it wrong if they enjoyed the game. And if they didn't
enjoy the game I got it wrong (it will be interesting to see if I
have the same oppinion after(if) the game is released and pulled
appart by the players).

So the player didn't do what I expected. I have been GMing
traditional tabletop RPGs for too long to expect them too. It
doesn't mean they got it wrong. If my game coped with them doing
it it means that I got it right.

I'll probably go back to relurking now. Bye.

Kieren - Who is using a spellchecker for the actual games


* Sent from RemarQ http://www.remarq.com The Internet's Discussion Network *
The fastest and easiest way to search and participate in Usenet - Free!


Jon Ingold

unread,
Apr 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/25/00
to
>> I really try not to leave things out of room descriptions. It *can* be
>> done deliberately (anything can) but it's obviously a tricky maneuver. I
>> don't remember the case you're talking about.
>
>I'd bet it's the air vents. As I recall, none of the room descriptions
>in "Spider & Web" mention the vents, even though all the passageways (at
>least) have one. There's only one place where the game draws your
>attention to the vents, and it's a very easy passage to overlook...


This is a dumb question, but are the air vents important? I've played the
game through, start to finish, and I don't think I ever needed to use them -
apart from (I think it was an air vent) in one place, but that was obvious
AND in the room description. Or at any rate, I was told about it.

Jon

Adam Biltcliffe

unread,
Apr 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/25/00
to

Jon Ingold <ji...@cam.ac.uk> wrote in message
news:8e4v4c$eot$1...@pegasus.csx.cam.ac.uk...

[mild spoilers]

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

I assume you mean the air vent you hide your gun in as the important
one. There's also the one you have to put your gear in to prevent it
being captured. I don't recall either being in the room description,
although I might just not have noticed. The first one is mentioned if
you're in the right place for about five turns.

You don't need to do anything else to the air vents, but if you try to
examine the air vent which in real life you hid the gun in (or open the
door where you hid the blast tab) you get a 'the ventillator grille
isn't important' message, but in highlighted text. For me, this helped
me work out what the whole first part of the game was about, I didn't
immediately realise that I was hiding things from the interrogator.


Jw

Jon Ingold

unread,
Apr 26, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/26/00
to

>[mild spoilers]
>
>.
>
>.
>
>.
>
>.
>
>.
>
>.
>
>.
>
>.
>
>.
>
>.
>
>.
>
>.
>
>.
>
>.
>
>.
>
>I assume you mean the air vent you hide your gun in as the important
>one. There's also the one you have to put your gear in to prevent it
>being captured. I don't recall either being in the room description,
>although I might just not have noticed. The first one is mentioned if
>you're in the right place for about five turns.


Erm.. maybe it changed in a different release or something, but there's the
hole in the ceiling, where you get the cloth bag from? I jumped up again and
found my gun there. At least; I think I did. It was a while ago. I thought
that fitted just because it explains the bag thing rather neatly.

>You don't need to do anything else to the air vents, but if you try to
>examine the air vent which in real life you hid the gun in (or open the
>door where you hid the blast tab) you get a 'the ventillator grille
>isn't important' message, but in highlighted text. For me, this helped
>me work out what the whole first part of the game was about, I didn't
>immediately realise that I was hiding things from the interrogator.


I got it on the blast tab door, and I think on the pedestal in the
interrogation room.

Adam Biltcliffe

unread,
Apr 26, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/26/00
to

Jon Ingold <ji...@cam.ac.uk> wrote in message
news:8e7515$kse$1...@pegasus.csx.cam.ac.uk...

The initial room description mentions the hole in the ceiling, and you
can jump up and get the package. In the endgame, however, you find the
gun inside the ventillator grille, which isn't mentioned until you've
been hanging from the hole for a few turns and you notice it 'hissing
into your ear'.

I may just be being slow, but what do you mean about it explaining the
bag thing rather neatly?

> >You don't need to do anything else to the air vents, but if you try
to
> >examine the air vent which in real life you hid the gun in (or open
the
> >door where you hid the blast tab) you get a 'the ventillator grille
> >isn't important' message, but in highlighted text. For me, this
helped
> >me work out what the whole first part of the game was about, I didn't
> >immediately realise that I was hiding things from the interrogator.
>
> I got it on the blast tab door, and I think on the pedestal in the
> interrogation room.

Yeah, there's a whole load of other stuff you can do in the
interrogation room as well, such as sitting in the chair. If you do
that, you get a shadowy image of the interrogator at the desk, and the
interrogator in 'real life' asks you if you are telling the truth. If
you say yes, he realises that you made plans for what to do if you were
captured, and kills you, or wipes your brain, or whatever.


Jw

Jon Ingold

unread,
Apr 27, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/27/00
to

Adam Biltcliffe wrote in message ...

>
>Jon Ingold <ji...@cam.ac.uk> wrote in message
>news:8e7515$kse$1...@pegasus.csx.cam.ac.uk...
>>
>> >[mild spoilers]
>> >
>> >.
>> >
>> >.
>> >
>> >.
>> >
>> >.
>> >
>> >.
>> >
>> >.
>> >
>> >.
>> >
>> >.
>> >
>> >.
>> >
>> >.
>> >
>> >.
>> >
>> >.
>> >
>> >.
>> >
>> >.
>> >
>> >.
>> >
>
>I may just be being slow, but what do you mean about it explaining the
>bag thing rather neatly?


Hmm? Oh, well it looks like I've remembered it wrong. I thought you jumped
up again, getting the gun from the same place as the bag - that's what I
mean by explaining the bag. You *did* jump there, but you weren't getting
something, you were hiding something.

However, if the guns not there... fair enough.

Jon

Adam Biltcliffe

unread,
Apr 27, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/27/00
to

Jon Ingold <ji...@cam.ac.uk> wrote in message
news:8e8r20$9j6$1...@pegasus.csx.cam.ac.uk...

Well it is there, sort of ... but I suppose you didn't mention the
ventillator grille when you replayed your memories for the man ... I
didn't notice this when I played it: is the cloth package real, or was
it just an excuse for you to remember jumping up to the hole? ... so
maybe you're right.


Jw

Sean T Barrett

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Apr 27, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/27/00
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[Spider&Web spoilers]

Adam Biltcliffe <abilt...@bigfoot.NOHORMELPRODUCTS.com> wrote:
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>

>The initial room description mentions the hole in the ceiling, and you
>can jump up and get the package. In the endgame, however, you find the
>gun inside the ventillator grille, which isn't mentioned until you've
>been hanging from the hole for a few turns and you notice it 'hissing
>into your ear'.

Which is, indeed, what I meant when I said it was something you couldn't
find in the room at all--because if you triggered that daemon at the
beginning of the game, you can't trigger it during the endgame. By
the time I got there, the only clue I had to its existence, having
never found it the first time, was being informed that there was a
system of them--and so I never solved the puzzle.

The player will get it wrong.

In this case, the problem is that the author depends on the player
seeing the clue that is there (the italic message suggesting you
ignore the vent)--and remembering the clue--but makes no guarantee
that the player will follow up the pointer to the clue; the player
is not required to get that clue to advance the game. But advancing
the game without getting the clue makes it impossible to get the clue,
and in some sense thus puts the game in what you might call an
unwinnable state, despite author's promises to the contrary.

Maybe it should be:

Some players will get it wrong.

SeanB

Andrew Plotkin

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Apr 28, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/28/00
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Sean T Barrett <buz...@world.std.com> wrote:
> Maybe it should be:
>
> Some players will get it wrong.

Well, sure. *Some* player somewhere will do everything perfectly,
understand the point instantly, and encounter no flaws at all.

The trick is finding that player. :)

--Z

(The other trick is *not getting that player as a beta-tester*.)

Stephen Granade

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Apr 28, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/28/00
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Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com> writes:

> Sean T Barrett <buz...@world.std.com> wrote:
> > Maybe it should be:
> >
> > Some players will get it wrong.
>
> Well, sure. *Some* player somewhere will do everything perfectly,
> understand the point instantly, and encounter no flaws at all.
>
> The trick is finding that player. :)
>
> --Z
>
> (The other trick is *not getting that player as a beta-tester*.)

Aha. I would nominate Mike Kinyon (and probably Cody Sandifer) as the
canonical opposite of who you are describing.

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