[Inform] Implementing mixed drinks

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Ben Schaffer

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Feb 15, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/15/98
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Well, I've got a bar with some nice bottles and a glass. I want the player
to be able to mix drinks.

There are five possibilities for the glass.

1) It is empty.
2) It has one shot of only one kind of liquid in it.
3) It has more than one shot of only one kind of liquid in it.
4) It has more than one kind of liquid in it, but only one shot of each.
5) It has more than one kind of liquid in it, and any number of shots of each.

It's easy to deal with the first three possibilities, but the last two are
tricky. The problem is I want it to report how many "parts" of each liquid
are there. Right now I'm gathering this information like this:

objectloop (x in glass && x ofclass Vodka) vodkaCount = vodkaCount + 1;
objectloop (x in glass && x ofclass Rum) rumCount = rumCount + 1;
...
if (vodkaCount == 1) { vodkaString = "one part vodka"; }
if (vodkaCount > 1) { vodkaString = vodkaCount + " parts vodka"; }
if (rumCount == 1) { rumString = "one part rum"; }
if (rumCount > 1) { rumString = rumCount + " parts rum"; }
...


My idea was to have all these strings with each part of the desired
result, and then concatenate them a la "WriteListFrom", but that only
works on objects, and not strings. I want a nice neat list with commas,
"and", etc. Something on the order of WriteListFrom seems likely, but I'm
not exactly sure where to begin to develop my own string-based version.

Any help greatly appreciated.

Ben Schaffer

Brent VanFossen

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Feb 16, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/16/98
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On Sun, 15 Feb 1998 16:19:58 -0400, what...@epix.net (Ben Schaffer)
wrote:

>Well, I've got a bar with some nice bottles and a glass. I want the player
>to be able to mix drinks.

[Text snipped]

>The problem is I want it to report how many "parts" of each liquid
>are there. Right now I'm gathering this information like this:
>
>objectloop (x in glass && x ofclass Vodka) vodkaCount = vodkaCount + 1;
>objectloop (x in glass && x ofclass Rum) rumCount = rumCount + 1;
>...
> if (vodkaCount == 1) { vodkaString = "one part vodka"; }
> if (vodkaCount > 1) { vodkaString = vodkaCount + " parts vodka"; }
> if (rumCount == 1) { rumString = "one part rum"; }
> if (rumCount > 1) { rumString = rumCount + " parts rum"; }
>...
>My idea was to have all these strings with each part of the desired
>result, and then concatenate them a la "WriteListFrom", but that only
>works on objects, and not strings. I want a nice neat list with commas,
>"and", etc. Something on the order of WriteListFrom seems likely, but I'm
>not exactly sure where to begin to develop my own string-based version.

Liquids are some of the hardest things to do well. I think I would
implement each shot as a separate object. Any time you pour a drink,
you create a new shot and move it to the glass. Then, let the parser
take care of counting the number of shots.

The trick here that affects the way the parser lists similar objects
is in the "plural" property. If you include that, the parser knows to
group similar objects. That way, you can have any number of various
liquors, and the parser doesn't care. And you don't have to write a
separate description of every possible case. The following code is
compilable, and works okay. There is a lot you could do to embellish
it. It could be simplified by making a bottle class and a liquor
quantity class.

It's set up so there are 10 shots available of each of the rum and the
vodka. The glass will hold 3 shots. The verb is set up to POUR RUM
or POUR VODKA. You can DRINK GLASS or DRINK RUM, etc. The
ChooseObjects routine helps the parser default to the right object.


QUESTION TO RAIF:
If there are more than two shots of rum, say, in the glass, DRINK RUM
asks for disambiguation of the shot, the bottle, or the quantity. If
there is only one shot in the glass, ChooseObjects does the job right.
Did I miss something, or is this a bug?

Hope this helps.

Brent VanFossen

Constant Story "Pourable Liquids Test";
Constant Headline "^An Interactive Test^\
by Brent VanFossen.^";

Constant Debug;

Include "Parser";
Include "VerbLib";
Attribute pourable;

Class Drinkable
with name 'shot' 'shots' 'of' 'liquor' 'alcohol' 'spirit',
before
[i j;
Drink:
objectloop(i ofclass Drinkable)
if(i in glass) {remove i; j++;}
if(j==0) "But you have nothing to drink.";
"You empty the glass. Almost immediately,
you begin to feel the effect.";
];

Class Vodka(10) ! 10 shots available
with name 'vodka',
short_name "shot of vodka",
plural "shots of vodka", ! This affects grouping. COOL!
class Drinkable;

Class Rum(10)
with name 'rum',
short_name "shot of rum",
plural "shots of rum",
class Drinkable;

Object Bar "Bar"
with description
"This is the bar.",
has light;

Object glass "glass" Bar
with name 'glass' 'tumbler' 'cup',
before
[i;
Examine: <<Search self>>;
Drink:
objectloop(i ofclass Drinkable)
if(i in glass) {<<Drink i>>;}
"There is nothing in the glass.";
],
capacity 3, ! Can hold three shots, any combination.
! If you want to change this, you must also
! change the "if(j>=3)" in both the PourShot
! cases below.
has container open;

Object RumBottle "bottle of rum" Bar
with name 'bottle' 'of' 'rum',
before
[; Examine: <<Search self>>;
PourShot: <<PourShot RumQuantity>>;
Drink: "You'll have to pour some first.";
],
has container open;

Object RumQuantity "quantity of rum" RumBottle
with name 'quantity' 'of' 'rum',
before
[i j;
Take, Remove: <<PourShot self>>;
Drink: "You'll have to pour some first.";
PourShot:
objectloop(i in glass) j++;
if(j>=3) "The glass is already full.";
i=Rum.create( ); ! Creates a shot of rum
if(i~=0) ! Make sure "create" was successful.
{ move i to glass; ! If so, put it in the glass.
PronounNotice(i); ! So the player can DRINK IT
"You pour a shot of rum into your glass.";
}
remove self; ! If not, we're out of rum.
"The bottle of rum is empty.";
],
has pourable;

Object VodkaBottle "bottle of vodka" Bar
with name 'bottle' 'of' 'vodka',
before
[; Examine: <<Search self>>;
PourShot: <<PourShot VodkaQuantity>>;
Drink: "You'll have to pour some first.";
],
has container open;

Object VodkaQuantity "quantity of vodka" VodkaBottle
with name 'quantity' 'of' 'vodka',
before
[i j;
Take, Remove: <<PourShot self>>;
Drink: "You'll have to pour some first.";
PourShot:
objectloop(i in glass) j++;
if(j>=3) "The glass is already full.";
i=Vodka.create( );
if(i~=0)
{ move i to glass;
PronounNotice(i);
"You pour a shot of vodka into your glass.";
}
remove self;
"The bottle of vodka is empty.";
],
has pourable;

[ Initialise;
location = Bar;
print "^^^^^Welcome to the test...^^";
];

[ChooseObjects obj code;
!The higher the return value, the more likely the object will be
!chosen.
if(code<2) rfalse; ! See page 164 in Designer's Manual
if(action_to_be==##PourShot)
{if(obj has pourable) return 2;
}
if(action_to_be==##Drink or ##Examine)
{if(obj ofclass Drinkable) return 3;
if(obj has pourable) return 2;
}
];

Include "Grammar";

[PourShotSub;
"That's not something you can pour.";
];
verb 'pour'
* pourable -> PourShot
* noun -> PourShot; ! Grammar can be
! separated, if desired.


Laurel Halbany

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Feb 16, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/16/98
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On Sun, 15 Feb 1998 16:19:58 -0400, what...@epix.net (Ben Schaffer)
wrote:

>Well, I've got a bar with some nice bottles and a glass. I want the player
>to be able to mix drinks.

As long as you're at it, you might consider a way for the game to
recognize a certain combination of liquids and give the name for the
drink, i.e., instead of

"a tall glass, containing one part vodka and four parts orange juice"

you get

"a tall glass, contaning a Screwdriver."


Steve McKinney

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Feb 16, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/16/98
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Nicholas Daley had this to say:

>And after you've done that try:
>> take vodka from glass
>You'll need a before rule on the vodka to stop people taking it out of
>the glass (good chance to say something witty here too:"You stick your
>hand in the glass but can't seem to get a good grip on the vodka")

Some people just can't hold their liquor.
--
Steve McKinney <sj...@bellsouth.net>

"Never let your sense of morals keep you from doing what is right."
--Isaac Asimov

Brent VanFossen

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Feb 16, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/16/98
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On Mon, 16 Feb 1998 10:23:21 GMT, vanf...@compuserve.com (Brent
VanFossen) wrote:

Correction:

QUESTION TO RAIF:
If there is more than one shot of rum, say, in the glass, DRINK RUM


asks for disambiguation of the shot, the bottle, or the quantity. If
there is only one shot in the glass, ChooseObjects does the job right.
Did I miss something, or is this a bug?

Brent VanFossen

Nicholas Daley

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Feb 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/17/98
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And after you've done that try:
> take vodka from glass
You'll need a before rule on the vodka to stop people taking it out of
the glass (good chance to say something witty here too:"You stick your
hand in the glass but can't seem to get a good grip on the vodka")

Anson Turner wrote:
>
> In article <anson-16029...@d-ma-fallriver-4.ici.net>,
> an...@ici.net (Anson Turner) wrote:
>
> :In article <whataguy-150...@grmn-105ppp162.epix.net>,


> :what...@epix.net (Ben Schaffer) wrote:
> :
> ::Well, I've got a bar with some nice bottles and a glass. I want the player
> ::to be able to mix drinks.

> ::
> ::Any help greatly appreciated.
> :
> :
> :You're making this much more complicated than it needs to be. Have you
> :tried something like:
> :
> :Class Vodka
> : with
> : short_name "one part vodka",
> : plural "parts vodka";
> :
> :WriteListFrom should do the work for you.
>
> To amend my own suggestion:
>
> Class Vodka
> has proper,
> with
> name 'vodka',
> short_name "one part vodka",
> plural "parts vodka";
>
> will work correctly.
>
> Anson.

--
Nicholas Daley
<mailto:link_...@geocities.com>

"Retail:The art of making money by convincing others that
they need or want things which they don't."
- Me

Kenneth Fair

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Feb 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/17/98
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In article <34e8afa7...@hermes.rdrop.com>,
myt...@twisty-little-maze.com (Laurel Halbany) wrote:

>As long as you're at it, you might consider a way for the game to
>recognize a certain combination of liquids and give the name for the
>drink, i.e., instead of
>
>"a tall glass, containing one part vodka and four parts orange juice"
>
>you get
>
>"a tall glass, contaning a Screwdriver."


BTW, YM "one part orange juice and four parts vodka."

But maybe I just like my screwdrivers strong.

--
KEN FAIR - U. Chicago Law | <http://student-www.uchicago.edu/users/kjfair>
Of Counsel, U. of Ediacara | Power Mac! | CABAL(tm) | I'm w/in McQ - R U?
"Any smoothly functioning technology will be
indistinguishable from a rigged demo." Isaac Asimov

Michael Kearns

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Feb 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/17/98
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On Mon, 16 Feb 1998 21:34:37 GMT, myt...@twisty-little-maze.com
(Laurel Halbany) wrote:

>On Sun, 15 Feb 1998 16:19:58 -0400, what...@epix.net (Ben Schaffer)


>wrote:
>
>>Well, I've got a bar with some nice bottles and a glass. I want the player
>>to be able to mix drinks.
>

>As long as you're at it, you might consider a way for the game to
>recognize a certain combination of liquids and give the name for the
>drink, i.e., instead of
>
>"a tall glass, containing one part vodka and four parts orange juice"
>
>you get
>
>"a tall glass, contaning a Screwdriver."

Ermm... maybe it's just me but...

>take screwdriver

YOU TAKE THE SCREWDRIVER

>remove screw with screwdriver

???????????

Okay, so maybe *in* context it would be better. However, this all
assumes that when we find a glass, we can tell instantly that it
contains a particular cocktail, or the specific component parts.

Why not try to simulate mixing (I don't have any ideas where to start)
such that if you just have a shot of vodka, it looks clear, it smells
like vodka, and it tastes like vodka. If you then add a shot of
orange, it looks orange, smells of orange and tastes of orange,
although there's a hint of vodka... etc....

I know, just me being pedantic, but I've yet to look at a glass and
think... ah - that's got two shots of vodka, and 1 of rum, and 1 of
coke....

Michael.

Laurel Halbany

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Feb 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/17/98
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On Tue, 17 Feb 1998 10:18:07 GMT, mic...@obsession.prestel.co.uk
(Michael Kearns) wrote:

>Ermm... maybe it's just me but...
>
>>take screwdriver
>
>YOU TAKE THE SCREWDRIVER
>
>>remove screw with screwdriver
>
>???????????

"Do you mean the Screwdriver beverage or the Black and Decker cordless
screwdriver?"

or

"You pour the drink onto the screw. It's wet but still firmly in
place."

(Is this a Yank/Brit thing? Last time I was in England, nobody knew
what the hell I was talking about when I ordered drinks 'by name.' Of
course, they seemed to think that mixed drinks were a little odd
anyway...)

>Okay, so maybe *in* context it would be better. However, this all
>assumes that when we find a glass, we can tell instantly that it
>contains a particular cocktail, or the specific component parts.

The example suggested presumed that; if the player had mixed the drink
herself I'd assume that she would know it was a screwdriver. Obviously
if you saw a "glass of orange liquid" you wouldn't know it was a
screwdriver unless you tasted it.

>I know, just me being pedantic, but I've yet to look at a glass and
>think... ah - that's got two shots of vodka, and 1 of rum, and 1 of
>coke....

Which is why I suggested a change to the proper name. An initial
description might be something like "looks like a glass of orange
liquid" or "orange juice," a smell might reveal that it smells of
vodka, and a taste might reveal that it's a screwdriver (or OJ and
vodka, if you prefer).

Funnier mixed drinks would probably be unintelligble to the novice. :*

Laurel Halbany

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Feb 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/18/98
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On Tue, 17 Feb 1998 06:42:16 GMT, kjf...@midway.uchicago.edu.REMOVEME
(Kenneth Fair) wrote:

>BTW, YM "one part orange juice and four parts vodka."
>
>But maybe I just like my screwdrivers strong.

If you're going to pollute perfectly good vodka with orange juice, why
worry about the proportions? :*

TenthStone

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Feb 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/18/98
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myt...@twisty-little-maze.com (Laurel Halbany) caused this to appear in our collective minds on Mon, 16 Feb 1998 21:34:37 GMT:

>On Sun, 15 Feb 1998 16:19:58 -0400, what...@epix.net (Ben Schaffer)
>wrote:
>
>>Well, I've got a bar with some nice bottles and a glass. I want the player
>>to be able to mix drinks.
>
>As long as you're at it, you might consider a way for the game to
>recognize a certain combination of liquids and give the name for the
>drink, i.e., instead of
>
>"a tall glass, containing one part vodka and four parts orange juice"
>
>you get
>
>"a tall glass, contaning a Screwdriver."

Except here, to tie in another post, you run the risk of violating the "common knowledge"
rule... I mean, what if there was a drink called a White Rat, and the player mixed it
on accident and then looked at the glass. All of the sudden, there's a White Rat
in the glass (and the capitals don't mean anything: Carroll capitalized White Rabbit).
Is it magic? No, it's a drink, but I know I wouldn't recognize this right off.

Then again, that would be a really cool way of implementing magic into a game...
I need a ten-gallon hat, and so I put in five parts vodka, one part gin,
and eight parts mineral water (that sounds painful...) and suddenly, I have a
ten-gallon hat. Hmm...
-- TenthStone
tenth...@hotmail.com mcc...@erols.com a987...@titan.vcu.edu

Laurel Halbany

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Feb 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/18/98
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On Wed, 18 Feb 1998 05:10:51 GMT, mcc...@erols.com (TenthStone) wrote:

>Except here, to tie in another post, you run the risk of violating the "common knowledge"
>rule...

True, which is why I asked if this were a 'regional' thing. A
screwdriver is a pretty well-known drink; I wouldn't expect players to
be able to remember the recipe for, say, a Killer Kool-Aid (more's the
pity). I s'pose if this were an important part of the game you could
throw in a bartender's guide, or menu help. Boy, is this a
disgression...


Den of Iniquity

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Feb 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/18/98
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On Tue, 17 Feb 1998, Laurel Halbany wrote:

>On Tue, 17 Feb 1998 10:18:07 GMT, Michael Kearns wrote:
>>>take screwdriver
>>
>>YOU TAKE THE SCREWDRIVER
>>
>>>remove screw with screwdriver

As one or two other people have hinted at - this would make a cool kind of
puzzle in a purely pun-oriented-environment way. Though it would mean that
in this case the oft-quoted battle between the crossword and the narrative
has gone very much the way of the former.

>(Is this a Yank/Brit thing? Last time I was in England, nobody knew
>what the hell I was talking about when I ordered drinks 'by name.' Of
>course, they seemed to think that mixed drinks were a little odd
>anyway...)

Depends where you're drinking. Most drinking establishments are good old
public houses, and you won't find many of those that serve cocktails by
name. Bars would be a different matter but they're less easily come by,
except in certain sectors of larger cities. You wouldn't be greatly
frowned on in the average pub if you asked for a vodka and orange, but
expect to be patronised in a confused way (or maybe just stared at) if you
ask for a multiple screaming orgasm or sex on a beach, especially if in an
obviously-not-local accent.

>a taste might reveal that it's a screwdriver (or OJ and vodka)

S'funny, I've never come across the abbreviation OJ in British usage.
Another one of those 'not so common knowledge' things that should be
treated with care. People here would probably think you meant a certain
infamous American sports-person.

--
Den


Zachery J. Bir

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Feb 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/18/98
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On Wed, 18 Feb 1998 14:34:16 +0000, Den of Iniquity <dms...@york.ac.uk> wrote:
>On Tue, 17 Feb 1998, Laurel Halbany wrote:
>
>>a taste might reveal that it's a screwdriver (or OJ and vodka)
>
>S'funny, I've never come across the abbreviation OJ in British usage.
>Another one of those 'not so common knowledge' things that should be
>treated with care. People here would probably think you meant a certain
>infamous American sports-person.

Haven't you heard that particular OJ Simpson joke?

"Switch to cranberry juice. That OJ'll kill ya."

Zac

Joe Mason

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Feb 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/18/98
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In article <34fcc882...@news.atl.bellsouth.net>,

Steve McKinney <sj...@bellsouth.net> wrote:
>Nicholas Daley had this to say:
>
>>And after you've done that try:
>>> take vodka from glass
>>You'll need a before rule on the vodka to stop people taking it out of
>>the glass (good chance to say something witty here too:"You stick your
>>hand in the glass but can't seem to get a good grip on the vodka")
>
>Some people just can't hold their liquor.

ROTFL. That one deserves to go in the archives...

Joe

Joe Mason

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Feb 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/18/98
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In article <34ea62e6...@news-reader.bt.net>,

Michael Kearns <mic...@obsession.prestel.co.uk> wrote:
>>
>>As long as you're at it, you might consider a way for the game to
>>recognize a certain combination of liquids and give the name for the
>>drink, i.e., instead of
>>
>>"a tall glass, containing one part vodka and four parts orange juice"
>>
>>you get
>>
>>"a tall glass, contaning a Screwdriver."

<snip>

>I know, just me being pedantic, but I've yet to look at a glass and
>think... ah - that's got two shots of vodka, and 1 of rum, and 1 of
>coke....

Allow me to take this opportunity to shift the thread into a purely theoretical
discussion of how game mechanics can give character to the main PC in I-F.

We know that, unlike in traditional fiction, we can't give personality to the
main character by describing their thoughts, emotions, or conclusions. Only
the player has this right. The entire character must be imparted through the
author's description of what the character senses. I think this is an example
of how the definition of a game mechanic (in this case, how should I describe
a mixed drink?) depends on what the author wants the character to be like.

For instance, lets take a shot glass with four parts orange juice and one part
vodka. Now, like you said, YOU have yet to look at a glance and think,
"This glass contains x parts this and y parts that..." But what if you were
a bartender?

Let's look at how some (stereotypical) main characters would react to four
parts orange juice and one part vodka:

Bartender: "The glass contains four parts orange juice and one part vodka."
Your Average Drinker: "The glass contains a Screwdriver."
Heavy Drinker: "The glass contains a very weak Screwdriver."
Fanatical Drinker: "The glass contains vodka, but its been polluted with orange
juice."
Non-drinker: "The glass contains something orange."
Puritan: "The glass contains the Devil's own cocktail!"

Joe

Joe Mason

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Feb 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/18/98
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In article <34ea6c40...@news.erols.com>,
TenthStone <mcc...@erols.com> wrote:

>Then again, that would be a really cool way of implementing magic into a game...
>I need a ten-gallon hat, and so I put in five parts vodka, one part gin,
>and eight parts mineral water (that sounds painful...) and suddenly, I have a
>ten-gallon hat. Hmm...

Nord and Bert Get Sloshed?

Joe


Joe Mason

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Feb 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/18/98
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In article <34ed1393...@news.eur.sprynet.com>,

Brent VanFossen <vanf...@compuserve.com> wrote:
>
>Object glass "glass" Bar
> with name 'glass' 'tumbler' 'cup',
> before
> [i;
> Examine: <<Search self>>;
> Drink:
> objectloop(i ofclass Drinkable)
> if(i in glass) {<<Drink i>>;}
> "There is nothing in the glass.";
> ],
> capacity 3, ! Can hold three shots, any combination.
> ! If you want to change this, you must also
> ! change the "if(j>=3)" in both the PourShot
> ! cases below.
> has container open;

Better yet, change both to

if (j >= glass.capacity)

which makes it easy to change the glass, and makes the PourShot code clearer
too.

Very nice code. Only thing I can see offhand would be to change all the
references of "glass" in poursub to a variable, to allow drinks to be poured
into different containers.

Why don't you upload this to GMD so it can be archived for posterity?

Joe

Joe Mason

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Feb 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/18/98
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In article <34e9dc33...@hermes.rdrop.com>,

Laurel Halbany <myt...@twisty-little-maze.com> wrote:
>
>(Is this a Yank/Brit thing? Last time I was in England, nobody knew
>what the hell I was talking about when I ordered drinks 'by name.' Of
>course, they seemed to think that mixed drinks were a little odd
>anyway...)

Reminds me of the last time I went out with this friend of mine. We were
talking about drinks a while before, and he mentioned a "Screwdriver".

Me: What's in that?
Him: A Screwdriver? You've never had a Screwdriver?
Me: I don't think so. What's in it?
Him: Vodka and orange juice!
Me: Oh! I just call that "Vodka and Orange Juice".

So a couple of nights later we go out to this club, and there's a VERY cute
waitress there. Somebody in front of me orders a Screwdriver, but by this
point I've forgotten the name.

Me: (not wanting to look like a small-town hick) Quick! What's that called
again?
Him: What, a Screwdriver?
Me: Thanks! <ahem> I'll have a Screwdriver please.
Her: Okay. <pause> You know, it's a good thing that first guy ordered the same
thing, or I wouldn't have known what you were talking about! I always
just call it "Vodka and Orange Juice".
Me: This your first night here?
Her: Yeah... how'd you know?

Joe

Kenneth Fair

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Feb 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/18/98
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In article <34EB01E2...@brisnet.org.au>, Dancer
<dan...@brisnet.org.au> wrote:

>>I certainly know 'Screwdriver' as a drink, but would you know a
>'Reconstituted Jovian Lynxbat >Sweat' or an 'Evil Green Thing' if either
>of them got up and bit you on the liver?

Or even a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster?

Dancer

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Feb 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/19/98
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I certainly know 'Screwdriver' as a drink, but would you know a 'Reconstituted Jovian Lynxbat
Sweat' or an 'Evil Green Thing' if either of them got up and bit you on the liver?

D

Laurel Halbany wrote:

--
Did you read the documentation AND the FAQ?
If not, I'll probably still answer your question, but my patience will
be limited, and you take the risk of sarcasm and ridicule.

Geoff Bailey

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Feb 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/19/98
to

In article <EoL8J...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca>,

Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Cocktails out of it.

Cheers,
Geoff.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Geoff Bailey (Fred the Wonder Worm) | Programmer by trade --
ft...@cs.usyd.edu.au | Gameplayer by vocation.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Dancer

unread,
Feb 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/19/98
to Joe Mason


Joe Mason wrote:

> Allow me to take this opportunity to shift the thread into a purely theoretical
> discussion of how game mechanics can give character to the main PC in I-F.

Good plan. I'll even make an on-topic post, having been distracted by other things,
over the last several days.

> We know that, unlike in traditional fiction, we can't give personality to the
> main character by describing their thoughts, emotions, or conclusions.

I contest this point. I'll do that below.

> Only
> the player has this right. The entire character must be imparted through the
> author's description of what the character senses. I think this is an example
> of how the definition of a game mechanic (in this case, how should I describe
> a mixed drink?) depends on what the author wants the character to be like.

I've spent portions of the last several weeks discussing "Interactive Fiction -
Where we've been, where we are, and where we're going", offline.

In regular fiction, the character of the protagonist is open to the examination of
the reader (usually). The protagonist is usually also able to be identified with by
the reader. I can think of cases where it is not so. I can also think of cases
where an otherwise easily identifiable-with character can make a choice that the
reader would not, due to his/her background/circumstances/beliefs. In many cases
this can underscore a choice, or be some element of growth (the character overcomes
a fear of water, or makes an effort to deal with it in some way, by the end of the
story...Or doesn't, and it's just an ongoing thing that must be worked around by
the characters).

I think this is a good bet for I-F as it stands. The personality of the main
character (whose actions you - as the player - guide) may be a challenge in and of
themselves.

Let's look at Christminster for a moment, and at our (presumably) attractive female
lead. Here we had an outstanding opportunity. We had a character with a specific
gender and background, confronting a mystery in the (virtually cloistered) walls of
what amounts to another culture. By her upbringing, background, and circumstances,
there are quite a number of things that the character _should_ never even consider
doing, excepting in extremis. The value system would not otherwise permit it.

Acts of vandalism, including stones and windows, or thefts of keys come immediately
to mind. Unless the macguffin was a lot stronger, it is hard to see the character
doing that. A friend sat down and played that one. Never got in the gate. She would
_not_ perform either of the above actions, because she felt the character (as
presented) would never do so. They were "inconceivable".

For an I-F author, this actually helps, somewhat. The personality, beliefs and
priorities of the protagonist limit the available choices. Access to the
character's thoughts and opinions allow us to pull away from the 'amnesiac
adventurer' model, and reveal key information, just from the character's opinions,
expressed in the prose.

Personally, I think we can get better 'fiction' using this model, for all that it's
still 'interactive'. Lemme quote a moment...
(Oh, btw, I _am_ using an amnesiac as the protagonist, but that's just a plot
gimmick. The story itself could be rewritten with a firm personality with a set of
personal standards, codes, and opinions that would colour the game, the
descriptions, and limit courses of action)

##########
You remember the blood-pounding surge of accelleration, and the sickening instant
of weightlessness and the scream of tortured structural components that comes with
an impact.

You were awake, perhaps once or twice..Or was that all just a dream?
Whatever...either you couldn't move, or you dreamed that you couldn't. The end
result was about the same. Perhaps you are dreaming now. Dreaming of thirst, and
maybe hunger and that same nightmare, that it is dark, and you cannot move.

Then, far in the distance, a massive flare of light. Red. Gone. Again. Again. Like
a heartbeat, warm and friendly. You blink with crusted eyes and focus on the
compassionate star wondering if it will make things right. Then everything twists
and it resolves into something small. Small and blinking just in front of your
face. You manage to shift your head a fraction, frustrated that you seem to have
some sort of helmet on, and it is jammed against things, unable to move much.

Again, you focus on the little light, and you can make out small white letters
underneath it. P. P-something. R....

P R O X I M I T Y A L E R..

And there is a sudden and terrifying noise, and riding it comes the darkness
again....

With Enemies Like These...
An Interactive Incident
Copyright (c) 1997, 1998 by Andrew "Dancer" Vesperman. (dan...@brisnet.org.au)
Release 1 / Serial number 961216 / Inform v6.11 Library 6/4 D
Standard interpreter 1.0


You hazily waken, uncertain of your senses. A brief examination shows you to be in
some kind of spacecraft cockpit (or at least what one would look like after being
crushed or wrecked), suited, and still strapped to the ..whatever it is called.
Control chair? Something.
The buckle has clearly marked arrows, and you twist it, freeing yourself.

Cockpit
The small light that you thought so friendly is gone now, lost among the trash and
shattered panels. Even the glass of the cockpit window has had the sense to abandon
it's post - the unlucky bits remaining inside - edges lit weirdly by a wavering
blue glow.

>LOOK AT BUCKLE
A heavy metal buckle marked with arrows showing how to open and close it. There
are slots for three clips to slot in around it, and the fourth edge has about a
half metre of heavy belt affixed to it.

>GET IT
Taken.

>WHO AM I
Honestly, you don't know who or where you are, exactly. You know the words. Jamais
vous. The feeling that you've never been here before. You should probably know
everything about everything...or at least something about everything, but it's all
a blank, lurking like a grue in the dark, buried somewhere beneath shock, trauma or
injury.

>WHAT IS A GRUE
A grue is umm..Something that lurks. In the dark. Probably some kind of fish or
man-eating banana that lurks in shady pools or dark rivers or something. You feel
vaguely confident about that memory. A banana, yes.

>U
The indicator display inside your helmet changes.

You float up..and then up suddenly has no meaning. It is merely out and away.

Bereft of anything to hold or clutch at, your stomach does slow rolls at the
prospect of a snail's-pace journey toward the uncaring stars.

Then a tug and your movement is arrested. Well...transformed, anyway. Some wiring
was snagged around your foot. It is gone now, and you collide with the hull. The
impact is almost stunning, considering your lack of apparent weight.

Desperately, your gloved hands skitter over the surface as you start to bounce
back. A handle or rung comes under your left hand, and you seize it, as you and the
wiring part from your brief association.

Hull
You hold onto the recessed handle. It is a firm anchor-point in the starry night.
Buckled metal curves away from you on all sides, but nothing affords any surface to
prevent you following the coloured wires to the far galaxies.

From what you can see, this metal structure seems to intersect a very different
one, but by starlight there isn't much to make out. The bluish glow seems to be
coming from behind both structures somewhere but you cannot see the cause.

>D
To let go is to die. The hard slow way. Your primal fears gather in your mind for
a council of war. The vote is handed down. You hang on.

#############
The choice here is simple. The character won't let go. The character won't
knowingly contribute to his/her own death, unless there is sufficient cause...Some
characters would be such that no cause was sufficient. Some characters might never
fight. Others might never steal.

Realistically speaking, we've been doing this in rudimentary fashion for a long
time.

'That belongs to the bishop.'
'Don't you think you should ask the devil first?'
'That would be stealing!'
'No way!'

We already hint at _something_ that restricts a character's actions. Doesn't it
make more sense for that to (demonstrably) be the character's own personality and
views, rather than just a voice from above?

And it certainly makes it a heck of a lot easier to write fiction..

D

Dancer

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Feb 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/19/98
to

Do you have a recipe for one? I have recipes for the two I mentioned.

D

Kenneth Fair wrote:

> In article <34EB01E2...@brisnet.org.au>, Dancer
> <dan...@brisnet.org.au> wrote:
>

> >>I certainly know 'Screwdriver' as a drink, but would you know a
> >'Reconstituted Jovian Lynxbat >Sweat' or an 'Evil Green Thing' if either
> >of them got up and bit you on the liver?
>

> Or even a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster?
>
> --
> KEN FAIR - U. Chicago Law | <http://student-www.uchicago.edu/users/kjfair>
> Of Counsel, U. of Ediacara | Power Mac! | CABAL(tm) | I'm w/in McQ - R U?
> "Any smoothly functioning technology will be
> indistinguishable from a rigged demo." Isaac Asimov

--

Dave G.

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Feb 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/19/98
to

Geoff Bailey wrote:

>Joe Mason <jcm...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca> wrote:
>>TenthStone <mcc...@erols.com> wrote:
>>
>>> Then again, that would be a really cool way of implementing magic into
>>> a game... I need a ten-gallon hat, and so I put in five parts vodka,
>>> one part gin, and eight parts mineral water (that sounds painful...)
>>> and suddenly, I have a ten-gallon hat. Hmm...
>>
>> Nord and Bert Get Sloshed?
>
>Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Cocktails out of it.

The Bartender's Guide to the Galaxy?

Michael Kearns

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Feb 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/19/98
to

On Wed, 18 Feb 1998 18:45:04 GMT, jcm...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca
(Joe Mason) wrote:

>In article <34ea62e6...@news-reader.bt.net>,
>Michael Kearns <mic...@obsession.prestel.co.uk> wrote:

>>I know, just me being pedantic, but I've yet to look at a glass and
>>think... ah - that's got two shots of vodka, and 1 of rum, and 1 of
>>coke....
>

>Allow me to take this opportunity to shift the thread into a purely theoretical
>discussion of how game mechanics can give character to the main PC in I-F.

certainly...

>We know that, unlike in traditional fiction, we can't give personality to the

>main character by describing their thoughts, emotions, or conclusions. Only


>the player has this right. The entire character must be imparted through the
>author's description of what the character senses. I think this is an example
>of how the definition of a game mechanic (in this case, how should I describe
>a mixed drink?) depends on what the author wants the character to be like.

I agree completely.

>For instance, lets take a shot glass with four parts orange juice and one part
>vodka. Now, like you said, YOU have yet to look at a glance and think,
>"This glass contains x parts this and y parts that..." But what if you were
>a bartender?

Okay. I don't argue the fact that a barman could (would) pick up a
glass, smell it, drink it, and say "that's four parts orange, and one
part vodka", or at least estimate. Let me give you an example of my
quandry.

Bar.
You stand before a mahogany bar. Bottles of drink line the far wall,
producing a painter pallette of liquid colour. A Barman stands behind
the bar, awaiting your order.

On the bar are three glasses, one containing an orange liquid and two
containing a dark black liquid.

>

My point is, with just that description, could (should) anyone be able
to tell what is in the glasses. If they then 'examine' the glasses,
would this include taste and smell by default, or merely produce a
repsonse along the lines of "a tumbler with an orange liquid filling
the bottom inch)".

Discuss. ;-)

Michael.

crag...@hotmail.com

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Feb 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/19/98
to

In article <6cg7gq$f...@staff.cs.usyd.edu.au>,

ft...@cs.usyd.edu.au (Fred the Wonder Worm) wrote:
>
> In article <EoL8J...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca>,
> Joe Mason <jcm...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca> wrote:
> >In article <34ea6c40...@news.erols.com>,
> >TenthStone <mcc...@erols.com> wrote:
> >
> >> Then again, that would be a really cool way of implementing magic into
> >> a game... I need a ten-gallon hat, and so I put in five parts vodka,
> >> one part gin, and eight parts mineral water (that sounds painful...)
> >> and suddenly, I have a ten-gallon hat. Hmm...
> >
> > Nord and Bert Get Sloshed?
>
> Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Cocktails out of it.
>
Shouldn't it be?: Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Heads nor Cocktails out of it.


-----== Posted via Deja News, The Leader in Internet Discussion ==-----
http://www.dejanews.com/ Now offering spam-free web-based newsreading

Brent VanFossen

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Feb 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/19/98
to

On Wed, 18 Feb 1998 18:32:12 GMT, jcm...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca
(Joe Mason) wrote:

>Better yet, change both to
>
> if (j >= glass.capacity)
>
>which makes it easy to change the glass, and makes the PourShot code clearer
>too.
>
>Very nice code. Only thing I can see offhand would be to change all the
>references of "glass" in poursub to a variable, to allow drinks to be poured
>into different containers.

Good suggestions.

>Why don't you upload this to GMD so it can be archived for posterity?

Maybe I will. Should it go here?
ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/programming/inform6/library/contributions

And, I'd like to fix the ChooseObjects problem first. That one bugs
me and I haven't looked at the libraries to see if I could figure it
out. Any suggestions? In case you missed it,

QUESTION TO RAIF:
If there is more than one shot of rum (or vodka) in the glass, DRINK
RUM (or DRINK VODKA) asks for disambiguation of the shot, the bottle,
or the quantity. If there is only one shot in the glass,

Joe Mason

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Feb 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/19/98
to

In article <34eedc7e...@news.eur.sprynet.com>,

Brent VanFossen <vanf...@compuserve.com> wrote:
>
>QUESTION TO RAIF:
>If there is more than one shot of rum (or vodka) in the glass, DRINK
>RUM (or DRINK VODKA) asks for disambiguation of the shot, the bottle,
>or the quantity. If there is only one shot in the glass,
>ChooseObjects does the job right. Did I miss something, or is this a
>bug?

Hmmm... Off-hand, I'd say that ChooseObjects can't distinguish between the
two shots of rum, so it hands the whole batch back to the parser and says,
"I just don't know". I don't have a copy of the code anymore - how did it
handle the plural shots of rum? Perhaps you need to use the full parse_name /
##PluralFound thing from the DM.

Joe


Joe Mason

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Feb 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/19/98
to

In article <34EBC24D...@brisnet.org.au>,

Dancer <dan...@brisnet.org.au> wrote:
>
>> We know that, unlike in traditional fiction, we can't give personality to the
>> main character by describing their thoughts, emotions, or conclusions.
>
>I contest this point. I'll do that below.

Let me rephrase: we don't have a free hand in describing their thoughts,
emotions, or conclusions. We can do it, certainly, but we have to go easy on
it lest we become heavy-handed. If we can impart character details more
subtly, we should.

>the reader. I can think of cases where it is not so. I can also think of cases
>where an otherwise easily identifiable-with character can make a choice that the
>reader would not, due to his/her background/circumstances/beliefs. In many cases
>this can underscore a choice, or be some element of growth (the character overcomes
>a fear of water, or makes an effort to deal with it in some way, by the end of the
>story...Or doesn't, and it's just an ongoing thing that must be worked around by
>the characters).

Are there any similar moments in IF? How were they handled? I can think of
a situation where I wasn't too impressed with it:

In Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, at the beginning of the game you find
out there there was a phone call from a Wolfgang Ritter, in Germany, who claims
to be an uncle of yours. The response: "Call Germany? Like hell. If its
important, he'll call back." This is alright the first time: you're a
struggling writer, you can't afford the long-distance charges, and - at the
beginning - your character really does have no reason to think Wolfgang is
improtant. But as you investigate your family history, it becomes clear that
there is a big secret that's been hidden, and the name "Ritter" does come up.
However, Gabriel still refuses to call when you try to until Day 7, I believe.
It's a blatant way to force the timing of the plot: as its set up, you can't
call until the authors let you, so they can pick the timing to be dramatic.
And, I'll admit that when it finally came, there was enough happening that it
really WAS dramatic. The way they set it up still sucked, thouhg.

That's an example of how NOT to handle character development: simply disallow
an action until you've decided that some arbitrary point has been passed and
the character is now "ready". That's what I disliked about Sunset Over
Savannah, BTW - the arbitrary point was too visible. It wasn't subtle enough.

Are there any other games which deal with overcoming an aspect of personality?
Last year's _Fear_ is an obvious example. I suppose _Delusions_ would be, too,
although I that's more of a discovery than a change of personality. Is there
anything where its not CENTRAL to the story, though, just part of a scene? It
would be harder to handle this casually than it would be if its the main goal
of the story.



>>D
> To let go is to die. The hard slow way. Your primal fears gather in your mind for
>a council of war. The vote is handed down. You hang on.

Very nice setup. A setting that I was sucked in to immediately. I can't wait
to see more of it.

>The choice here is simple. The character won't let go. The character won't
>knowingly contribute to his/her own death, unless there is sufficient cause...Some

However, this is a trivial point. You let go, you die - the options are
clear-cut. What about something less tangible? A situation where the
player could legitimately disagree with you about how far the character would
go? These situations have to be handled with a lot of tact.

Speaking of which, in my... Well, I'll wait and post from my home computer,
where I've got the source code. That way I can quote a big long sample of my
game and get free publicity while pretending its all for an academic debate,
too! Expect another posting from me soon.

(And notice the Subject: change.)

Joe

Andrew Plotkin

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Feb 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/19/98
to

Joe Mason wrote:

> We know that, unlike in traditional fiction, we can't give personality
> to the main character by describing their thoughts, emotions, or
> conclusions.

Some objections to this have already been covered. Here's another: you
can have non-interactive scenes, where the protagonist acts under the
control of the author.

This does not have to be "cut scenes" in the main game flow. There could
be offstage action before the game starts, or between chapters. They
don't even have to be explicitly written out as prose; the player could
just come in and discover the protagonist's actions by their consequences.

_Infidel_ is one kind of example of this. The pre-game intro sets up the
protagonist's personality by the diary, and then the game starts with the
player in a bind which results directly from his (assholish) character.

--Z

--

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

Joe Mason

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Feb 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/19/98
to

In article <34EBD3...@bigfoot.com>, Dave G. <d...@bigfoot.com> wrote:
>Geoff Bailey wrote:
>>Joe Mason <jcm...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca> wrote:
>>>TenthStone <mcc...@erols.com> wrote:
>>>
>>>> Then again, that would be a really cool way of implementing magic into
>>>> a game... I need a ten-gallon hat, and so I put in five parts vodka,
>>>> one part gin, and eight parts mineral water (that sounds painful...)
>>>> and suddenly, I have a ten-gallon hat. Hmm...
>>>
>>> Nord and Bert Get Sloshed?
>>
>>Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Cocktails out of it.
>
>The Bartender's Guide to the Galaxy?

Sousederer! (Sorry, Zarf!)

Joe

Brock Kevin Nambo

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Feb 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/19/98
to

Dancer wrote in message <34ECF232...@brisnet.org.au>...
>I realise that. I was however discussing real-world drinks, and I thought
>that there was the possibility that the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster might
>have an associated real-world recipe.
>

Project Galactic Guide has one...

http://megadodo.com/articles/1S1.html

>>BKNambo
--

http://come.to/brocks.place
Hey look, it's the Roman Empire!

>
>Nicholas Daley wrote:


>
>> Dancer wrote:
>> >
>> > Do you have a recipe for one? I have recipes for the two I mentioned.

>> [snip]
>> If you're talking about the 'Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster' Douglas Adams'
>> book of 'The Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy'
>>
>> --
>> Nicholas Daley
>> <mailto:link_...@geocities.com>
>>
>> "Retail:The art of making money by convincing others that
>> they need or want things which they don't."
>> - Me

Nicholas Daley

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Feb 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/20/98
to

Dancer

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Feb 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/20/98
to


Joe Mason wrote:

> [lots of very cogent discussion, pertinent questions and deep chains of thought
> clipped...Okay, so maybe it brings praise up to the obvious top of the message...Not
> my fault. I wanted to answer something down here, first. I'll get onto the other
> topics in another message, I think.]

> >>D
> > To let go is to die. The hard slow way. Your primal fears gather in your mind for
> >a council of war. The vote is handed down. You hang on.
>

> Very nice setup. A setting that I was sucked in to immediately. I can't wait
> to see more of it.

I guess we I-F authors (I hope I still count as one, not having released a game since
1983) don't usually distribute any work before it's finished...except to the
beta-testers. I don't recall ever (or ever having seen anyone) quote from a
work-in-progress. Anyway, thanks for the good words. Inspirational.

> >The choice here is simple. The character won't let go. The character won't
> >knowingly contribute to his/her own death, unless there is sufficient cause...Some
>

> However, this is a trivial point. You let go, you die - the options are
> clear-cut. What about something less tangible? A situation where the
> player could legitimately disagree with you about how far the character would
> go? These situations have to be handled with a lot of tact.

In film (and in written works) we often have the 'establishing shot'. The character is
presented in a situation which highlights the important traits of the character.

I considered doing something like this in I-F, by playing out an 'establishing shot' (a
short scene) and letting the player's choices set notional values (a handful of numbers
representing things like gender and personality), and let the NPC's thereafter respond
according to _that_...Which I suppose, on reflection, does not sit well, if the player
plays the character inconsistantly, or if I do not tally up the numbers, or do not have
an establishing scene of enough scope. Hmm. Put that idea aside.

Anyway, before I waffle off too far. Good old Gabriel's situation, and so forth are
fair...so long as they are driven by the character and not the plot. But the prose has
to make it clear, and the author has to present the character strongly enough that they
can see where that comes from, or at least that the trait has _consistancy_ within the
character.

> Speaking of which, in my... Well, I'll wait and post from my home computer,
> where I've got the source code. That way I can quote a big long sample of my
> game and get free publicity while pretending its all for an academic debate,
> too! Expect another posting from me soon.
>
> (And notice the Subject: change.)

Noted, applauded...and changed again :)

Dancer

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Feb 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/20/98
to

I realise that. I was however discussing real-world drinks, and I thought
that there was the possibility that the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster might
have an associated real-world recipe.

After all, the Reconstituted Jovian Lynxbat Sweat once only existed in Harry
Harrison's febrile imagination. Now it has a recipe, and the unwary, stupid,
brave, or foolhardy can enjoy it.

D

Nicholas Daley wrote:

--

Dancer

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Feb 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/20/98
to

Andrew Plotkin wrote:

> Joe Mason wrote:
>
> > We know that, unlike in traditional fiction, we can't give personality
> > to the main character by describing their thoughts, emotions, or
> > conclusions.
>

> Some objections to this have already been covered. Here's another: you
> can have non-interactive scenes, where the protagonist acts under the
> control of the author.
>
> This does not have to be "cut scenes" in the main game flow. There could
> be offstage action before the game starts, or between chapters. They
> don't even have to be explicitly written out as prose; the player could
> just come in and discover the protagonist's actions by their consequences.
>
> _Infidel_ is one kind of example of this. The pre-game intro sets up the
> protagonist's personality by the diary, and then the game starts with the
> player in a bind which results directly from his (assholish) character.

Umm, yes. That was another one. Of course once the game got past the first few
moves, the personality of the character was hardly relevant to what happened.
Only to how they got there.

Still, I won't complain. Personality was there, at the beginning and at the
end.

D

Dancer

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Feb 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/20/98
to

Andrew Plotkin wrote:

> Joe Mason wrote:
>
> > We know that, unlike in traditional fiction, we can't give personality
> > to the main character by describing their thoughts, emotions, or
> > conclusions.
>

Iain Merrick

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Feb 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/20/98
to

Dancer wrote:


> Joe Mason wrote:
>
> > (And notice the Subject: change.)
>
> Noted, applauded...and changed again :)

Subject change. Good device. Will be used more later.

(Oops, this isn't the Hofstadter thread, is it?)

Michael Straight

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Feb 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/20/98
to

This post contains spoilers for the Comp96 game "In the End."

On Thu, 19 Feb 1998, Andrew Plotkin wrote:

> Joe Mason wrote:
> > We know that, unlike in traditional fiction, we can't give personality
> > to the main character by describing their thoughts, emotions, or
> > conclusions.
>

> Some objections to this have already been covered. Here's another: you
> can have non-interactive scenes, where the protagonist acts under the
> control of the author.

[..]


> _Infidel_ is one kind of example of this. The pre-game intro sets up the
> protagonist's personality by the diary, and then the game starts with the
> player in a bind which results directly from his (assholish) character.

You have to be careful with this, to avoid the "Quantum Leap" syndrome of
the player finding himself trapped in the body of a character he doesn't
want to play and wanting to fight the authors's interpretation of who that
character should be.

I think "In the End" was a prime example of this. While I can imagine a
good short story written in the "In the End" universe about a man who gets
bored and commits suicide, the game did not succeed in making me want to
play such a character. The author wanted me to play a depressed and
suicidal character but stuck me in an interesting world that I wanted to
explore with characters (the woman) I wanted to interact with.

In static fiction you're much more inclined to accept a character as
"given" (although even there sometimes you find yourself saying, "I can't
believe he would do x, when realistically someone in that situation would
do y"). In IF, the author doesn't just have to make the characterization
realistic, he has to convince the player to want to follow that
characterization. He has to create a world that encourages to player to
act as the character would.

Speaking of Quantum Leap, now that I think of it, that TV show (or a
scenario based on it) seems like a perfect backdrop for a whole series of
IF games, or a long work of IF. The player gets dropped into the body of
a person she knows nothing about but whose aquaintances expect to act a
certain way, and the player has to accomplish some goal that the actual
person might not have wanted or been able to do without breaking character
so much that other people get suspicious.

SMTIRCAHIAGEHLT


Dancer

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Feb 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/21/98
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Iain Merrick wrote:

Sometimes you just have to take the thread by the throat and squeeze.
Harder.

Dancer

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Feb 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/21/98
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Michael Straight wrote:

> This post contains spoilers for the Comp96 game "In the End."
>
> On Thu, 19 Feb 1998, Andrew Plotkin wrote:
>
> > Joe Mason wrote:

> > > We know that, unlike in traditional fiction, we can't give personality
> > > to the main character by describing their thoughts, emotions, or
> > > conclusions.
> >

> > Some objections to this have already been covered. Here's another: you
> > can have non-interactive scenes, where the protagonist acts under the
> > control of the author.
> [..]
> > _Infidel_ is one kind of example of this. The pre-game intro sets up the
> > protagonist's personality by the diary, and then the game starts with the
> > player in a bind which results directly from his (assholish) character.
>
> You have to be careful with this, to avoid the "Quantum Leap" syndrome of
> the player finding himself trapped in the body of a character he doesn't
> want to play and wanting to fight the authors's interpretation of who that
> character should be.

Then don't play. Heck, I don't watch Sylvester Stallone films. He's typically
cast into characters that leave me cold. So I don't watch them. I watch
something else. I can write puzzle-games galore, but there are some stories
that cannot be written unless the character that the player represents has a
personality of their own. And one that was defined at the time of writing.

Personality in the lead-character isn't a strait-jacket. It's a partnership.

> I think "In the End" was a prime example of this. While I can imagine a
> good short story written in the "In the End" universe about a man who gets
> bored and commits suicide, the game did not succeed in making me want to
> play such a character. The author wanted me to play a depressed and
> suicidal character but stuck me in an interesting world that I wanted to
> explore with characters (the woman) I wanted to interact with.

I've not looked at this game, yet. Been busy with other things. Like I said, if
you don't like the character that the author thought was necessary, don't play
it. There'll be others.

> In static fiction you're much more inclined to accept a character as
> "given" (although even there sometimes you find yourself saying, "I can't
> believe he would do x, when realistically someone in that situation would
> do y").

That's usually a flaw either in the author's ability to communicate why, or the
reader's perception of the character. But then, humans spend half their time
wondering why everyone else does what they do, and thinking that they would
have done it differently, anyway. So I guess part of the author's art is
fooling you into somehow being _more_ accepting of her choices for the
character than you would be of, say, your brother, best-friend, or co-worker.

> In IF, the author doesn't just have to make the characterization
> realistic, he has to convince the player to want to follow that
> characterization. He has to create a world that encourages to player to
> act as the character would.

Hmmm. I think we're working along different lines here. Related, but not quite
the same.

> Speaking of Quantum Leap, now that I think of it, that TV show (or a
> scenario based on it) seems like a perfect backdrop for a whole series of
> IF games, or a long work of IF. The player gets dropped into the body of
> a person she knows nothing about but whose aquaintances expect to act a
> certain way, and the player has to accomplish some goal that the actual
> person might not have wanted or been able to do without breaking character
> so much that other people get suspicious.

The series was cute, but a pretty tired formula.

Brent VanFossen

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Feb 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/22/98
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On Thu, 19 Feb 1998 17:11:26 GMT, jcm...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca
(Joe Mason) wrote:

>how did it
>handle the plural shots of rum? Perhaps you need to use the full parse_name /
>##PluralFound thing from the DM.

All shots were ofclass Rum, which was ofclass Drinkable. The word
'shots' is in the name property. I tried it with 'shots//p' with no
different result. The shots are dynamically created as needed, and
each shot is interchangeable with the next. I could make a "create"
routine to assign each new shot a unique number, but that's ugly and
defeats the general way the parser is designed. Hmm. I just want the
parser to quit thinking it's confused when it sees two shots in the
glass.

Brent VanFossen

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