Suggesting a solution

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Andrew C. Plotkin

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Oct 24, 1994, 1:15:25 PM10/24/94
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Excerpts from netnews.rec.arts.int-fiction: 20-Oct-94 Suggesting a
solution The E. Addition@netcom.c (2366)

> Now I'm considering adding an object called the Jones Anti-Puzzle
> Device. This device can be used at any time by the player, and when the
> player pushes its one button, the device changes into some object which
> makes a puzzle instantly solvable. I don't want to give away any of my
> puzzles at the moment, but let's say you were trying to figure out how to
> get past the guard in Ditch Day Drifter. It's a fairly simple puzzle to
> solve, but if the player wanted to just move on in the story, he would
> push the button on the device and suddenly be holding a "Sleepytime
> Security Ray," which will trigger the guard to fall asleep, just as if
> the puzzle had actually been solved.

I've considered something like this before (one of my friends suggested
a "solve" command. That is, "solve guard" would cause the guard to fall
asleep.)

One big problem I noticed: interconnected puzzles. The usual example is
a one-use object, like the Dispel Magic scroll in Enchanter. There are
several puzzles that can be solved with that scroll, but you can only
use it once. Obviously, all but one of the puzzles have alternate
solutions.

So how does the "solve" command handle this? If you use it to solve the
"correct" scroll puzzle (the one for which the scroll is the only
solution), then the player also gets a free ride on one of the other
puzzles -- because he still has the scroll. This seems to defeat the
purpose of giving only as much help as the player wants.

--Z

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

The Essential Addition

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Oct 20, 1994, 10:02:16 AM10/20/94
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Last night, as I was diddling around with Firegods, I suddenly had an
inspiration, and I wanted to get some feedback on it.

Recently, I've been given reason to reflect on some of my own opinions on
many aspects of interactive fiction as a genre, and it occurred to me
that Firegods really is too good a game to be lost on people who don't
want to deal with some of the more difficult puzzles.

I've already made some "special" changes to Firegods, such as certain areas
that are only available to people with certain scores, a secondary score
based on whether or not players choose a "flashy" solution as opposed to
the more mundane solutions, and an entire short story which is only
available to those who achieve the highest standard score and the highest
"flashy" score.

Now I'm considering adding an object called the Jones Anti-Puzzle
Device. This device can be used at any time by the player, and when the
player pushes its one button, the device changes into some object which
makes a puzzle instantly solvable. I don't want to give away any of my
puzzles at the moment, but let's say you were trying to figure out how to
get past the guard in Ditch Day Drifter. It's a fairly simple puzzle to
solve, but if the player wanted to just move on in the story, he would
push the button on the device and suddenly be holding a "Sleepytime
Security Ray," which will trigger the guard to fall asleep, just as if
the puzzle had actually been solved.

Now, there would be a penalty involved for using it (basically, certain
parts of the story would remain closed to the player), but if the player
just used the device, received the ray, and then solved the puzzle
normally, no penalty would result. What's the use, then? Well, it would
serve as a hint that you want the guard to fall asleep, so you could then
work towards solving it.

This device could work at any given moment where there is a puzzle to be
solved. If the ray mentioned above were not used within one turn, the
device would return to its original form.

Anyway, does this seem like an acceptable way of handling the problem?

--

| "I drank what?" The Essential Addition "Dave, I'm feeling |
| - Socrates rbryan@ netcom.com much better now." |
| [PRISM I: Firegods Coming in November] - HAL, 2001 |

Richard Forster

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Oct 25, 1994, 8:57:15 AM10/25/94
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The Essential Addition (rbr...@netcom.com) wrote:
: Now I'm considering adding an object called the Jones Anti-Puzzle
: Device. This device can be used at any time by the player, and when the
: player pushes its one button, the device changes into some object which
: makes a puzzle instantly solvable. I don't want to give away any of my
: puzzles at the moment, but let's say you were trying to figure out how to
: get past the guard in Ditch Day Drifter. It's a fairly simple puzzle to
: solve, but if the player wanted to just move on in the story, he would
: push the button on the device and suddenly be holding a "Sleepytime
: Security Ray," which will trigger the guard to fall asleep, just as if
: the puzzle had actually been solved.

: ...serve as a hint that you want the guard to fall asleep, so you could then
: work towards solving it.

While I think the idea of an Anti-Puzzle device is _a good idea_, I don't
like the way using it would give a hint towards how the puzzle is supposed
to be solved. Allowing puzzles to be bypassed makes the game more accesible
to new players, and allows more of the game to be seen by all. Giving extra
hints towards the puzzles takes that feeling of satisfaction when you do
solve it.

Richard


Bill.Edwards

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Oct 21, 1994, 12:26:06 PM10/21/94
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In article <rbryanCx...@netcom.com> rbr...@netcom.com
(The Essential Addition) writes:

[SNIP]


>Now I'm considering adding an object called the Jones Anti-Puzzle
>Device. This device can be used at any time by the player, and when the
>player pushes its one button, the device changes into some object which
>makes a puzzle instantly solvable.

[SNIP]


>Anyway, does this seem like an acceptable way of handling the problem?

Do it.
Bill.E...@ASU.edu
Arizona State University
Survey Research Laboratory

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