Two words: eye candy. Text adventures had their heydey in the era when
computer graphics were still pretty ugly. Infocom's ad campaign that nobody
had yet invented an imaging computer better than the human brain was
well-stated. Nowadays, that argument is no longer true. I've seen plenty
of computer images that are every bit as creative as a thousand words...
indeed, it's paintings vs. paragraphs. A painting is a perfectly capable
"deep" medium of expression and we have that kind of capability in computers
>Text game would seem to be a genre
>that could finally break into the mass market. Anyone with
>minimal computer skills can play them and games would
>run on just about any system configuration.
You mean boot up the game, or actually finish it? If the latter, your
statement simply isn't true. An adventure game is a contract of
expectations between author and audience. And unfortunately, the authors
have tended to write for a highly specific game-educated audience, not a
general audience. If the author's plotline contains adventure-isms and Joe
Schmo doesn't know about adventure-isms, then Joe Schmo is SOL when he tries
to play the game. In other words, the playability of any text adventure is
not a given. It's entirely up to how well the author fleshes out the verb
tree, the plot branches, etc.
Contrast this to a Myst/Riven adventure interface, where one need merely
click with a mouse to get another pretty picture. Although the problems of
plot development are still present, any idiot can manage the basic
>Development of text games is not especially expensive,
>(specifically as regards content creation) making them
>desirable on the developer front, as well. Why are companies
>unwilling to invest in the text game genre?
Because as someone else said, text itself makes no money. Personally, I
think text is tremendously valuable for writing the storyline of a game. A
good plot is a good plot. But I wouldn't confuse it for the end product of
a modern game.
>Are text games a genre that ought to be re-investigated,
>or is it actually folly to try developing them for profit?
Folly. The correct business approach IMHO is to apply lessons learned from
the text world in creating 3D graphical adventure games. And there's a LOT
the 3D guys could go to school on. Sure there's new things in 3D to be
considered as well, but really, you wouldn't be too bad off to pick up
Cheers, 3d graphics optimization jock
Brandon Van Every Seattle, WA
ad hominem (adj) "To the person." Attributed to Aristotle.
1: appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect.
2: marked by an attack on an opponent's character rather than
by an answer to the contentions made.
3: a 2000+ year old problem of civil debate, antedating Usenet.
True on average in a mass populace. So perhaps the more creative
intellectuals are the mark, i.e. there's a certain demographic for book
On the other hand, visual images can be bland, and purple prose
scintillating. It depends upon the quality of the writer.
And also, upon the rate of speed of the reader! I hardly read anything,
because I'm such a slow reader. Whereas an avid reader would probably
demand a paragraph of description, I'd probably want two words. In fact, as
I evolve as a creative writer, I find myself leaning towards the terribly
terse. Pick three words. The *right* words. That's a sentence. And a
sentence is an entire scene.
It remains to be seen whether my writing is of interest for anyone else to
read. Creative people will fill in their own imagery, that's part of the
fun of my mechanism. Non-creative people will probably find my writing
terribly bland. I hope that as I get better, I'll find more ways to have my
cake and eat it too. But I simply CAN'T be bothered to write a zillion
details about things. It's boring! I want to move along.
>Good point. You hear a lot of people say that the book was much
>better than the movie. Would this apply to text based games as well?
The quality of writing in games has to go WAY up before anyone would ever
take text adventures seriously. As you said, the games industry is
currently into programming, not writing.
>>run on just about any system configuration.
>Except for console :)
Or people who can't type. Or who don't have a good speech recognition
program (i.e. right now, everybody).
> >Why have text adventures (text games) almost completely died?
> >Text game would seem to be a genre that could finally break into
> >the mass market. Anyone with minimal computer skills can play
> >them and games would run on just about any system configuration.
> You mean boot up the game, or actually finish it? If the latter, your
> statement simply isn't true. [...] In other words, the playability of
> any text adventure is not a given.
> Contrast this to a Myst/Riven adventure interface, where one need merely
> click with a mouse to get another pretty picture. Although the problems of
> plot development are still present, any idiot can manage the basic
Yes, but it was also a puzzle-oriented game that many people found
themselves unable to finish. They put up with the frustration longer
than with a text game probably because of the pretty pictures, although
those pictures became maddening for them after a while as well.
Note the disappointing sales of the even-prettier sequel. A lot of
people had enough the first time.
This doesn't exonerate text adventure/puzzle games from being always
too hard for even other IF authors to figure out how to finish. (Like
myself, for example.)
> >Are text games a genre that ought to be re-investigated,
> >or is it actually folly to try developing them for profit?
> Folly. The correct business approach IMHO is to apply lessons learned from
> the text world in creating 3D graphical adventure games. And there's a LOT
> the 3D guys could go to school on. Sure there's new things in 3D to be
> considered as well, but really, you wouldn't be too bad off to pick up
Development for profit doesn't look too healthy on the old spreadsheet's
bottom line. Development for its own sake, to advance the craft of game
design, is probably going to keep text games alive for a little time.
Actually, I believe it is possible that, as an exception-proving-the-rule
kind of thing, a text game could break into the mass market and be hailed
as a word of art, entertainment, and enduring genius. However, it wouldn't
do much good for text IF as a genre or medium; it might even be a detriment
to it in the (short? long?) run.
> I evolve as a creative writer, I find myself leaning towards the
> terse. Pick three words. The *right* words. That's a sentence.
> sentence is an entire scene.
There is truth here. Never use a sentence where a word will do.
Just the other day my mom was trying to explain something to
me about the way a person was behaving, trying to present himself
in a certain way, but it wasn't real, et cetera. I looked at her
said, "Oh, facade". That was it. That was exactly what she was
trying to say. She just didn't think of the word and was trying to
explain it in sentences -- much less effective.
OTOH, sentences are a killer technique for playing Taboo.
> >>run on just about any system configuration.
> >Except for console :)
> Or people who can't type. Or who don't have a good speech
> program (i.e. right now, everybody).
Voice recognition is an interesting thing. Hee hee. Just think of
jump text adventures will have when voice recognition becomes
practical. VoiceFrotz can hand the dictionary and the sound wave
off to a library VoiceRec function and get back a text sentence, and
then everything works as before!
[Insert hilarious quote here.]
Nice to see that you're setting up your excuse in advance: "Think my
writing is tripe? That's because *you're* not creative enough to
comprehend its manifest genius!" Assembling words without concern for the
audience is not writing. It is masturbating with a keyboard.
A few days back the issue of why your posts tend to cause newsgroups to
burst into flame arose. You asserted that "I *do* talk out of my ass on
occasions, most of the time I'm hoping the other guy is going to give
some benefit of the doubt, do some homework, and contribute some
brainwork so we can skip past certain 'uninteresting moves' in the
argument." Which is the same basic idea: just as you "can't be bothered"
-- excuse me, "CAN'T be bothered" (gotta preserve the mind-bogglingly
obnoxious tenor of your statement there) -- not to talk out of your ass
and insist that everyone just assume you are correct, now you maintain
that you "CAN'T be bothered" to take the audience into account when you
write, and insist that everyone just assume your prose is brilliant.
Anyone who doesn't simply isn't creative enough to appreciate your unique
By the way, in case you're looking for the "I *do* talk out of my ass"
post, it should be easy to find: it's the same one where you assert that
"others leap to the name calling and I don't", posted a few days after
you referred to another poster as "Weird Bird". But then, I suppose you
CAN'T be bothered to avoid outright lies.
Adam Cadre, Anaheim, CA
When it suits his ego, Brandon van Every tries to redefine
anything. Witness the O(n) discussion on comp.games.development.*
recently-- his statments were along the lines of "In the US, where
everyone drives on the left side of the road." And then tried to claim
his redefinition of O(n) was because he wanted it so, not because
someone with authority-- e.g. the CS profs who defined it in the first
place-- said so.
This has been repeated several times, such as his outright
dismissal of all programs used as PC benchmarks, in favor of a program
he admitted he couldn't cleanly port to win32-- because he said so. Of
course, his lack of convincing arguments sure haven't convinced any
magazines, websites, or any other sources to throw out all their
benchmarks (usually including realworld apps like Quake2, 3DSMax, and
other titles) in favor of one dinky program-- or even add that program
to their mix. "Because Brandon van Every says so" didn't have any
merit here, and didn't have any merit with anyone else.
He may try and either lie his way out of things (such as "I never
attacked anyone personally") or threaten his way out of
them. Remember, when his facts are wrong, attacking them is not a
personal attack, though he sure sees it as that. And with so many
statements of his on record that are wrong, just ignore any supposed
<*> Nathan Mates http://www.visi.com/~nathan/ <*>
# What are the facts? Again and again and again-- what are the _facts_?
# Shun wishful thinking, avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors
# think-- what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? -R.A. Heinlein
Wow! What a concept! Centuries later I see it as a condemmnation in a
Marxist diatribe somewhere. :-)
>On the other hand, Infocom ultimately failed because they failed to
>take on board advances in computer gaming technology, despite the fact
>that the content of their games was spot on.
>The one company that did successfully combine interesting adventure
>content with new technology was Lucasarts, which is why Monkey Island
>was such a runaway success.
Yeah. Sierra Online adapted pretty well too, I think. But they were always
graphical, so that was natural for them.
>I suppose it would be like trying to market a silent, black & white
>movie. Sure, it may outclass Birth of a Nation, Metropolis or
>Battleship Potemkin, but with CGI & THX'd dinosaurs and sinking cruise
>ships showing on the screen next door, who's really going to watch it?
>Certainly not a mass market.
I like what J. Robinson Wheeler said in another post about this sort of
thing, both for trying to make a silent movie and for a text adventure:
>Actually, I believe it is possible that, as an exception-proving-the-rule
>kind of thing, a text game could break into the mass market and be hailed
>as a word of art, entertainment, and enduring genius. However, it wouldn't
>do much good for text IF as a genre or medium; it might even be a detriment
>to it in the (short? long?) run.
Yadda yadda yadda. The author of I-0 comes out of the woodwork to grind an
axe. Michael Gentry, this is a concrete example why I was vague about
authorship the 2nd time around. The 1st time around my remarks caused a lot
of problems. Adam, I swear, it's people with your memory and attitude in
rec.arts.int-fiction that can make the group a real bore, at least for me.
Reading my words above as a boast is REALLY missing the point. I was
estimating my current skills, delineating my own problems between author and
audience, and trying to be fairly self-effacing. I don't know how you feel
about being a "popular" writer or not. But to me, if you can't please a
mass audience in some way, that's the kiss of death. I'm not convinced that
popular audiences really want to read a zillion words anymore than I want to
write a zillion words, but there is a difficulty in relying on the mass
audience's mind to fill in the blanks.
Anyways, if you want to see whether I (and others) can write or not, and/or
whether we pay attention to the audience or not, join us in The Game Of
Immortals. I think my writing is far from perfect but quite frankly, as a
group we're doing pretty well.
>By the way, in case you're looking for the "I *do* talk out of my ass"
>post, it should be easy to find: it's the same one where you assert that
>"others leap to the name calling and I don't", posted a few days after
>you referred to another poster as "Weird Bird". But then, I suppose you
>CAN'T be bothered to avoid outright lies.
Excuse me Adam, have you lost your mind??!? The poster's e-mail handle was
"Weird Bird." It wasn't an epithat, it was his chosen name!
Alright Nathan, I've had enough of you. I sent you private e-mail offering
to clear the air in a language I thought you'd understand, about a week or
two ago. No response from you. Now you jump the gun with the same-old
same-old, on a ridiculous issue about whether "Weird Bird" was actually
named Weird Bird or not. You are clearly out for blood and I don't find
your diatribes particularly productive for me personally, or for the quality
of the c.g.d.* newsgroups.
Welcome to my killfile. You are the 2nd person in my 6 year history of
Usenet to enjoy this dubious honor. I hope you are proud.
It *is* productive for you to seriously consider the points I and
others continually raised about your lack of attention to facts and
established standards. I always listed what was wrong with your
comments, and blatantly wrong comments-- like constants in O(n)
There was never anything to "settle" in private-- the things you
say that were wrong in public must be corrected by you in
public. Unfortunately, admitting such things seems to be impossible.
> Brandon Van Every <vane...@earthlink.net> wrote in article
> > I evolve as a creative writer, I find myself leaning towards the
> > terse. Pick three words. The *right* words. That's a sentence.
> And a
> > sentence is an entire scene.
> There is truth here. Never use a sentence where a word will do.
Thought about writing IF that way?
>turn on light
Would anyone like any toast?
Be fair Brandon. Here, not lie. Weird Bird name. I M O.
You write good. Long write, bad.
Me write essay:
ME LOOK GAME
write by Jon
Game by Arcum. Game is good. Lines are short!
Long image bad. Short image good. So, short image. Puzzles are good. IN
BED! good. Make me laugh.
Me vote XYZZY. Arcum be win.
No, "the right words" is a sentence fragment.
>It remains to be seen whether my writing is of interest for anyone else to
>read. Creative people will fill in their own imagery, that's part of the
>fun of my mechanism. Non-creative people will probably find my writing
>terribly bland. I hope that as I get better, I'll find more ways to have my
>cake and eat it too. But I simply CAN'T be bothered to write a zillion
>details about things. It's boring! I want to move along.
So what you're saying is, if I hate your prose because I feel that you
haven't bothered with, say, adjectives, because you're simply too lazy to
put work into your writing, that it's my fault for not being creative
"There's a border to somewhere waiting, and a tank full of time." - J. Steinman
> Excuse me Adam, have you lost your mind??!? The poster's e-mail handle was
> "Weird Bird." It wasn't an epithat, it was his chosen name!
No, it's 'Weird Beard'.
By the way, this very thread is exactly the kind of 'BVE thread' which
people get up-tight about. Sorry to be rude, but you've got a tremendous
ability to turn _any_ subject into a discussion about yourself.
You could argue that this only occurs because people like Adam Cadre
jump on you, and you have to defend yourself. But they jump on you
because you've _already_ redirected the thread! It was reasonably
on-topic to talk about writing style; but you were so enthusiastic about
that subject that by the end of your post, you were talking purely about
yourself - _your_ ideas, _your_ writing - rather than the original
To put it bluntly: if I see Adam Cadre's name in a thread, I think
'hmmm, I bet this is an interesting discussion, he's always got
something interesting to say.' If I see _your_ name in a thread, I think
'oh god, here's BVE talking about himself again.'
Which is a shame, because you _do_ sometimes have interesting things to
say - I'd be happy to read them if I didn't have to fight through reams
of opinionated ranting.
> Adam Cadre wrote in message ...
> >Brandon Van Every wrote:
> >> It remains to be seen whether my writing is of interest for anyone else
> >> read. Creative people will fill in their own imagery, that's part of the
> >> fun of my mechanism. Non-creative people will probably find my writing
> >> terribly bland. I hope that as I get better, I'll find more ways to have
> >> cake and eat it too. But I simply CAN'T be bothered to write a zillion
> >> details about things. It's boring! I want to move along.
> >Nice to see that you're setting up your excuse in advance: "Think my
> >writing is tripe? That's because *you're* not creative enough to
> >comprehend its manifest genius!" Assembling words without concern for the
> >audience is not writing. It is masturbating with a keyboard.
> Yadda yadda yadda. The author of I-0 comes out of the woodwork to grind an
> Adam, I swear, it's people with your memory and attitude in
> rec.arts.int-fiction that can make the group a real bore, at least for me.
> Reading my words above as a boast is REALLY missing the point.
It may be missing the point you _want_ to make, but not the point you
actually made. When I read the first paragraph above, I thought the same
thing Adam did. Your paragraph very clearly states that creative people
will enjoy your writing and non-creative people will find it bland.
Whether or not you meant it, you seem to be putting yourself in a position
where, in the future, you can blame people's dislike of your writing on
their lack of creativity.
If anything, it seems as if _your_ memory is part of the problem. Adam
disagrees with you and you, based on your prior experience with him,
dismiss his critique out of hand.
=>Brandon Van Every wrote:
=>> Excuse me Adam, have you lost your mind??!? The poster's e-mail
=>> "Weird Bird." It wasn't an epithat, it was his chosen name!
=>No, it's 'Weird Beard'.
=>By the way, this very thread is exactly the kind of 'BVE thread'
=>people get up-tight about. Sorry to be rude....
"I'm rude. It's a job."
> =>people get up-tight about. Sorry to be rude....
> IMPOSTER! <g>
Sigh, guess I shouldn't have continued cross-posting after all.
Sorry, folks. Fixed now.
No, the fellow's chosen handle was -- and I cranked up Deja News just to
make sure we were talking about the same person -- "Weird Beard". Which
you knew, since you yourself posted the URL where you responded to him.
Meaning that you had just then called up the post and looked at it on
Deja News. And indeed, in the post where you referred us all to that
URL, you also quote someone else who uses the poster's chosen name
correctly. But your exchange with him had been less than friendly,
so you decided to tweak his name. Which is to say, you engaged in
name-calling. Mere days after announcing that you were above such.
Then, when called on your lie, you repeated the lie, with some excess
punctuation thrown in for emphasis.
It's kind of funny that you bring that up that old slogan. A couple
months ago, I'd have argued that you're all wet. Nothing I'd ever seen
on a PC could compare to the mental imagery evoked by the writing in the
old Zork titles or their contemporaries.
What changed my mind -- what finally forced me to start questioning the
old Infocom axiom after more than fifteen years -- was playing through
the "Temple of Vandora" level in Unreal on a fast Voodoo2-based machine.
Going through that level, I couldn't help wondering, and not without
some dismay, if the graphics really had finally caught up with the
highest imagery found in the old Infocom games. Pure cognitive
dissonance at 60 frames per second.
But you know what? I stuck with the game, slogging my way through
40-some-odd levels of Unreal in "God" mode, and sure enough, I ended up
with a firm validation of the *real* first principles of Infocom.
Namely, that clever imagery, whether literal or merely suggestive, is
not enough. There's got to be a point to it all, some sense of the
artistry of fiction, or all you have is 600 megabytes of sexy-looking
So there may be hope yet, in the Brave New World where a 3Dfx card can
do a better job rendering Zork than your mind's eye ever could. :-)
Note: My E-mail address has been altered to avoid spam
Lordy lordy. I finally figured it out. I didn't even notice the difference
between "Bird" and "Beard" in your first accusatory post, probably because
you only mentioned "Weird Bird." Weird Bird, Weird Beard, what's the
difference? They're pretty darn similar, and they're both weird. You're
calling me a liar and a mean insulting person because I couldn't remember
the exact e-mail handle of a person I had a conversation with 4 months
ago??!? Adam, it was a reasonable mistake. Even if you think that I check
these sorts of details when cranking up old DejaNews posts, I don't.
I hope this puts the matter to rest. If you can't accept that it was indeed
an honest mistake, then frankly I think your behavior towards me is
bordering on the obsessive.
In this entire interchange, it seems you lept readily to conclusions and
then went for the jugular. I admit that it's not too hard to read my
paragraph about my writing abilities as insulting. I apologize for the
misunderstanding, my intent was to say "Gee people might think my writing
sucks, it's a difficult problem." But the words came out in such a way that
another reading was possible. "Brandon is an arrogant SOB." As for Bird
vs. Beard, it seems you have been seeking slights where indeed there were
none. I don't even understand how calling "Weird Beard" a "Weird Bird"
could be particularly insulting. To give you benefit of the doubt, I am
guessing that you got ticked off by the "hostile" reading of my paragraph,
and then you went looking for ammunition. In other words, if I had been
more clear in the first place, none of this nasty interchange would have
Now, does this settle the matter or is there something else we have to
address? I must admit, I'm feeling a little testy right now. If I hear
"liar" bandied about in a public forum one more time, you're in my killfile.
Also I'd ask you to cease and desist from referring to me as a "liar," as
you're doing it in a public forum, I do business with people I meet in
c.g.d.*, and you are engaged in slander and libel.
Think what you like. If you go back and read my thread, you'll see there
was *lots* of stuff other than the so-called BVE talking about himself. And
also, that the BVE talking about himself was addressing a general problem of
author/audience communication. Whereas if you look at Adam Cadre's response
to it, it's a flame. I think we all realize now that my lack of clarity is
to blame for the misunderstanding, but hey, a flame is a flame. Someone has
to sit down and decide they're gonna start flaming.
Interesting that you think realtime 3D graphics is approaching that level of
quality. I was thinking more of static, pre-processed images though? Don't
need a 3Dfx for that, just a true-color video card. This is part of why
Myst was such a big seller (4 million copies to date). And I think we can
do better than Myst imagery, nowadays.
Absolutely. Go play Unreal on a 3Dfx, and then come back here and tell
me you can still even remember anything called Myst. My point was, Myst
was not good enough to challenge my own long-held faith in the primacy
of verbal imagery in interactive games. Unreal did the trick.
There are those who claim that all-text games are not exactly a great
use of a computer's resources. Be that as it may, throwing up sequences
of static images in a game like Myst is a far worse misuse of what a PC
can do. The trouble is that the artists behind Myst are competing
directly with the Monets, the Da Vincis, the Dalis of the past. They're
using a new medium to shovel the same old stuff at us. Much of the
aesthetic appeal of something like Unreal lies in its dynamism -- even
though the environment itself is not much more interactive than Myst's,
the ability to navigate it in real time and view it from any perspective
makes all the difference in the world. The difference between Myst and
Unreal is the difference between looking at photographs of the Sistine
Chapel in a coffee-table book, and actually walking through the real
Myst was a big seller for two reasons: (1) it could actually run on
people's machines; and (2) it was designed for, and marketed to,
"non-gamers" by people who had a clue. It showed those people something
they hadn't seen before, prosaic as it might have seemed to those
Quake-heads among us. (And (3), it was bundled with everything from
$4000 PCs to small kitchen appliances.)
Unreal, comparatively speaking, falls short in accessibility, marketing,
and overall execution. It runs like a slug on a P6-200 with a Voodoo 1
-- I couldn't fully appreciate it until I moved to a 500 MHz P-II with a
Voodoo 2. Good luck selling 4 million of *anything* with requirements
like that. :) And Unreal is a complicated, challenging, and above all,
seemingly-interminable game with no real story continuity or payoff for
those few who stick with it all the way through. But it's the
best-looking thing I've ever seen on a computer, and I suspect that
somebody, somewhere is going to take that engine and build one hell of a
nice adventure game with it. When that happens, we're going to have to
stand by and watch out for other falling assumptions from the Infocom
>Also I'd ask you to cease and desist from referring to me as a "liar," as
>you're doing it in a public forum, I do business with people I meet in
>c.g.d.*, and you are engaged in slander and libel.
You're not going to get him that way. Not in this country. If he can
find anything like a decent lawyer, you shouldn't have a case. ISTR
that you've got a pretty heavy burden of proof to meet to demonstrate
that his statements are false without a doubt, and I think there are
other requirements. I was part of an organization that was threatened
the same way a few years ago, but after we anxiously researched the
issue and found out (from UF's law school) what's involved, we just
Of course, we were broke anyway.
I didn't say I wanted to sue him, I said that he was engaged in slander and
libel. I wouldn't sue somebody over something like that unless they made it
an agenda of personal vengeance to bad-mouth me in public forums without
basis in truth over an extended period of time, thereby damaging my
credentials as an honest businessman. As an old Usenet hand who believes in
the rules of the argumentative game, I assure you, for me to take such
action the case would have to be so drastic and clear-cut, that the action
Rather, I want to raise people's consciousness about what proper public
behavior in a newsgroup forum is. Although a good idea in its own regard,
it's not just a matter of people being "nice" to each other. There are
legal repurcussions for shooting your mouth off unthinkingly in a medium
that's considered as actionable as print media. Generally, I think people
should check themselves on the use of words like "liar," just out of
politeness. There's a good chance that if you're calling someone a liar,
you might have misunderstood something and you're overreacting / engaged in
flammage. Well, if the doctrine of tact is not enough to jog people's
memory, perhaps legal doctrine is.
I'm cross-posting so that the cyber-laywers can refresh our memory with
cases of Internet libel that actually did go to trial and result in damages.
They can give us some clear perspective on what's entailed. The only one I
remember was that of Gil Hardwick, a cultural anthropologist from Australia.
Something about accusing one of his colleagues of being a child molester
in a newsgroup, or some such. Gil Hardwick did lose and did pay damages to
the tune of $40,000 or some such. I don't remember the details, anyone
else, please feel free to correct my wild inaccuracies. I *did* however,
have the pleasure of a private e-mail conversation with Gil Hardwick once, I
can't remember why, other than that we share a background in cultural
anthropology. And IN MY OPINION :-) I was not surprised that the man lost
his suit! IN MY OPINION :-) he was a live one, possibly the biggest asshole
I'd ever met in the face of all Usenet-dom.
A back-post about the Gil Hardwick affair may be had from
Anyways, let me be clear about my motivations in this matter. I am TIRED of
threads reducing c.g.d.* to this level of banality. It wastes my energy and
it wastes the group's energy. It has to stop and I'll use any mechanism
available to set the tone, whether that's legal reminders, killfiles,
apologies, more caution in the choice of my words next time, whatever. But
frankly, for all my good intents I seem to be drawing a lot of flames from
the woodwork lately, I feel a lot of it is over-the-top or even non-sequiter
compared to what I posted, and I think there's only so much I can do to
rectify the situation.
People have to learn to agree to disagree, without getting PERSONAL about
Wrong! Weird Beard! No Bird, Beard! Jon Wrong! Wrong Evil! Git Rope!
Brog write IF. Brog good! Brog write short! Short good! Brog CAN'T be
>I was part of an organization that was threatened
>the same way a few years ago,
On second thought, I shouldn't say that. The threat I refer to was
far more explicit. Yours was veiled, so much so that you could later
plausibly deny its existence. :) (Not that you would, necessarily.)
| It has to stop and I'll use any mechanism available to set the tone,
| whether that's legal reminders, killfiles, apologies, more caution
| in the choice of my words next time, whatever.
You forgot, that you can also complain to ISPs. I hear it sometimes
Boris Schaefer -- s...@psy.med.uni-muenchen.de
You can never tell which way the train went by looking at the tracks.
If you really want to protect these newsgroups from such screaming
off-topicness, then don't perpetrate it. And preferably don't invite an
entire newsgroupful of lawyers to post stories that are completely
off-topic. All this, in my opinion of course.
> Assembling words without concern for the
> audience is not writing. It is masturbating with a keyboard.
You know, I distinctly remember hearing an anti-creative character in a
musical movie say a line just like that.
Um, not that I have a point or anything, or disagree with what you
gla...@NOSPAMuscom.com | http://onramp.uscom.com/~glasser
DGlasser @ ifMUD : fovea.retina.net:4000 (webpage fovea.retina.net:4001)
Sadie Hawkins, official band of David Glasser: http://sadie.retina.net
"We take our icons very seriously in this class."
This used to be on my web page "The Doe Page" when I was on compuserve.
(Slightly abbreviated.) Because of modem problems this is several posts.
Not saying it is good, but it expresses the delight I felt when I discovered
ftp.gmd.de about 4-5 years ago.
*** In light of a recent discussion, this is Dedicated To Volker Blasius. ***
URL Title was -- Games For The Non-Illiterate
Page Title was -- "The Storybook Kingdom of IF"
Draw up your terminal and listen to a story...
Once upon a time, a l-o-n-g time ago (1979) a troupe of clever young
men (recent MIT graduates) formed a court (a software company) that
entertained the land with whimsical, challenging and fun-to-play all-text
adventure games. They named it Infocom and the era during which it
reined is known as "The Golden Age of IF". People in the Kingdom of IF
(Interactive-Fiction) liked that stories that were games (or the games
that were stories) and snatched them up as soon as they came out.
So the people of IF were happy. Well, except when they got stuck on an
almost-impossible-to-solve puzzle that would keep them involved
and frustrated for hours, even days. But the Infocom court jesters,
which mischievous, were also merciful and offered hints in hint books.
So Infocom prospered, the people played and everyone was happy...
Doe doea...@aol.com (formerly known as FemaleDeer)
"In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane." Mark Twain
Then a disturbing change swept the land... GRAPHICS. After its
onslaught, most people rushed to play graphic games instead,
turning up their noses at text games, jeering they were old-fashioned.
The new games required little or no reading (most didn't even require
much thought), but that was okay with the land's many barbarian
residents (because reading had been too much work for them). Unfortunately,
they were also full of violence, although few noticed at first, because
it was called "action". The snubbed court of Infocom tried to lure the
defectors back by offering comics, graphic short stories for short attention
spans, but precisely because they were not challenging, it did not work.
Scorned, the Infocom retinue decided to seek their fortunes elsewhere and
ventured into a foreign land (the database market), but not knowing their
way, they wandered around and got lost. Seeing their weakness, another
court siezed the opportunity to capture them (buy them out). The bright (but
no longer young) men and women (who had joined the court) of Infocom disbanded
(1987) rather than submit meekly to the conquerers, although for a while the
victors pretended to everyone the troupe were now their loyal vassals.
The remaining players of If watched this and were saddened. They didn't
want to play mindless and/or violent games (the land had enough of both
already anyway), they wanted to THINK and have fun.
So the Kingdom of IF disappeared and the land because a less joyful (but
paradoxically, more colorful) place. Then, lo, from out of the thin air a
hollow voice seemed to whisper... "Write your own games". The still dedicated
players of IF looked at each other and grinned (<g>). More bright men (age
undetermined) created game authoring systems and people started writing new
games. But everything was scattered all over the land and it took an onerous
quest (extensive searching using archie and other methods) to find them. So a
German knight, Volker Blasius, rode forward and said, "I will gather everything
in one place so dedicated Iffers won't have to search". He kept his pledge
and created the if-archive to the immense relief of all IF refugees.
Wait a minute, I have to back up... something wonderful had happened
before this that helped make the if-archive even possible. A previous
change swept the land, but that time a good one, the creation of the
magical place we call the Internet. However, for a long time only wizards
(computer variety) knew the complicated spells (URLS and commands) that allowed
one to materialize there. Then town markets (on-line services) offered simple
potions (easy access) so ordinary mortals could pop in out out of (surf) the
NOW FOR THE HAPPY ENDING. Because of the dedicated IF players and
programmers (who are also players) the Kingdom of IF lives again,
floating in the mystical land of the Net. But now it is protected from
uncaring, non-reading, graphic-obsessed people. First you must BELIEVE
in the magic of IF before you can successfully cast the spell that will
transport you to its enchanted new court...
click your heels three times and say, "ftp.gmd.de".
That is why I told you this story.
Doe :-) Also see, Neil K's post to "[Announce] Once and Future Ships".
[in reference to Myst and Riven...]
>Note the disappointing sales of the even-prettier sequel. A lot of
>people had enough the first time.
Over a million copies sold is "disappointing sales"? Oh that I would
be twice as disappointed... ;)
- Alan Conroy
I don't want to say a word against brains--I've
a great respect for brains--I often wish I had
- Lord Mountararat
> You forgot, that you can also complain to ISPs. I hear it sometimes
> is effective.
Sometimes. Usually the ISP will stop you simply because they don't want
the pleasure of being sued as well.
Erik Max Francis / email m...@alcyone.com / whois mf303 / icq 16063900
Alcyone Systems / irc maxxon (efnet) / finger m...@sade.alcyone.com
San Jose, CA / languages En, Eo / web http://www.alcyone.com/max/
USA / icbm 37 20 07 N 121 53 38 W / &tSftDotIotE
/ He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.
/ George Bernard Shaw
I disagree about *.industry, as far as I'm concerned it's on-topic regarding
how we communicate with one another in industry through the c.g.d.* forum.
Let me make my point clear: people conduct business here and it is not
appropriate to engage in libel. You can damage someone's business
reputation and taken to an extreme, it could cost you a pretty penny. We
could all use some pointers from the legal eagles regarding what that does
and doesn't mean, to jog our memories.
You'll note that followups already removed *.design. I think you know why I
originally cross-posted to rec.arts.int-fiction, I'm removing it from
Please remove REC.ARTS.INT-FICTION from any stray posts. Thanks.
Grown. Die, rad brew! Bier, bard? (nod). Jon wring glove (worn). Grope
>Adam Cadre <ad...@acpub.duke.edu> wrote:
>> Assembling words without concern for the
>> audience is not writing. It is masturbating with a keyboard.
No, *this* is mast....
Image! Image! Can't... get the... image... out of... my... head....
>Um, not that I have a point or anything, or disagree with what you
John Miles wrote:
> It's kind of funny that you bring that up that old slogan. A couple
> months ago, I'd have argued that you're all wet. Nothing I'd ever seen
> on a PC could compare to the mental imagery evoked by the writing in the
> old Zork titles or their contemporaries.
> What changed my mind -- what finally forced me to start questioning the
> old Infocom axiom after more than fifteen years -- was playing through
> the "Temple of Vandora" level in Unreal on a fast Voodoo2-based machine.
Maybe not a real important point, but text adventures can (and probably
should) include smells, feelings and other kinds of sensations which can't be put
into a graphical game. Those -could- be used to make text adventures more
immersive than graphical ones (think about how swimming works un your standard
Quake-like; not only does the water usually look crappy, but it can't make you
feel cold or out of breath).
I don't think that this'll level the playing field, but maybe it
relates to the novel/TV analogy. I always feel like newer books are written to
You're right, and that's why I followed that comment with something like
"graphic imagery alone doesn't cut it." The swimming analogy is a good
one. It would seem that the trick is to come up with some way to get
the best of both worlds.
> I don't think that this'll level the playing field, but maybe it
> relates to the novel/TV analogy. I always feel like newer books are written to
> the camera.
There's no doubt whatsoever that they are. So many novels these days
are just thinly-disguised screenplays with an ISBN # on the back.
Compare Crichton's post-Jurassic-Park work ("Airframe," "Disclosure,"
etc.) to "The Andromeda Strain," for instance.
With only a few recent exceptions, I'm starting to think the novel as a
literary form is even deader than the adventure game. <g>
I think Duke Nukem's underwater sequences were terribly effective, both for
atmospheric lighting, and because you could hear Duke Nukem breathing, plus
water bubbling. Very claustrophobic effect. Also Myst used the souns of
lapping waves to communicate movement upon the water surrounding the island,
when there was no water whatsoever. So I think audio + visual provides a
very good approximation to the missing senses of feeling, smell, and taste.
The difficulty with words is that what one audience perceives as brilliance,
others find boring. I think Edgar Allan Poe's work is the most highly
visual and graphic of anything I've read. I REALLY feel like I'm in some
dank pit when I'm reading his work. But I could easily see how a less
intellectual audience would get put off by his big words or 19th century
Some authors manage to reach several audiences simultaneously. For
instance, I saw "Apt Pupil" recently, an adaptation of Stephen King's
novella about a kid who discovers his neighbor is a Nazi war criminal. The
dialogue, eye contact, and body language would be played at a subtle level,
and I'd catch on right away. A few seconds later, some extra piece of
dialogue would be inserted that clearly explains the scene for the less
astute. A bit disappointing for one that "got it anyway," but as I was
first allowed my moments of discovery, I don't begrudge the power of writing
for 2 different levels of audience understanding. Let the smart ones catch
it first, then explain it to the dumb ones a few seconds later.
On the other hand, the sound of labored breathing in an aqualung is
claustrophobia on a platter, regardless of one's intellectual training. In
some ways the audio-visual job is far easier.
> The difficulty with words is that what one audience perceives
> as brilliance, others find boring.
And how is this different from the difficulty with pictures,
or paintings, or music, or dance?
.. Roger Carbol .. r...@shaw.wave.ca .. pollack on a half-pipe
At times, less skill is required to convey an effect. If I want the sound
of water, I record water. There's no barrier of literacy or low-brow
filtering to contend with.
Cheers, 3d graphics optimization jock
Brandon Van Every Seattle, WA
If we are all Gods and we have thrown our toys the mortals away
and we are Immortal What shall we do
and we cannot die to entertain ourselves?
>>> The difficulty with words is that what one audience perceives
>>> as brilliance, others find boring.
>> And how is this different from the difficulty with pictures,
>> or paintings, or music, or dance?
> At times, less skill is required to convey an effect.
> If I want the sound of water, I record water.
That doesn't deal with whether that effect is brilliant
.. Roger Carbol .. r...@shaw.wave.ca .. splash
Indeed. And I hope Mr. Van Every isn't making the ham-fisted blunder
of assuming it takes no skill to record the sound of water, or any
other sound for that matter. There are a number of audio engineers
and artists who would quickly take exception to such a boastful
statement. Myself included, naturally.
And of course one will often find out that a brilliant water sound
effect in a movie or whatever is not a recording of water at all, but
someone banging two pieces of metal together or something weird like
> I think this is overrated. If an ISP cancels someone's account, it
> means loss of monthly income from the booted subscriber. Have there
> been any cases in which ISP was successfully sued for a libel posted
> by a subscriber?
I don't know of one offhand, but I suspect there is one. Certainly they
could be subject to a subpoena (because the libellous material would
have gone through their machines). Having your machines taken for
evidence in court is a sure way to cost you a great deal more money.
ISPs do not always act rationally; they do what they think is best for
their own purposes. If someone is making a great big pain of himself
and drawing a lot of attention to himself and the ISP, an ISP may very
well decide to cancel his account. Note that such criteria are usually
_explicitly_ specified as grounds for cancellation in terms of service.
And noticed I started my first response with "sometimes." It is
certainly not a given that _every_ ISP would do this, but it is a fact
that ISPs routinely cancel subscribers' accounts for misbehavior that
strictly speaking would not put the ISP itself at legal risk.
Erik Max Francis / email m...@alcyone.com / whois mf303 / icq 16063900
Alcyone Systems / irc maxxon (efnet) / finger m...@sade.alcyone.com
San Jose, CA / languages En, Eo / web http://www.alcyone.com/max/
USA / icbm 37 20 07 N 121 53 38 W / &tSftDotIotE
/ The believer is happy; the doubter is wise.
/ (an Hungarian proverb)
> In article <71ivhb$ned$1...@news-2.news.gte.net>, lon...@gte.net says ...
> >Went through and cleaned up my Infocom bookmarks the other day, and
> >across a notice at the Legend Entertainment site. They have licensed
> >Unreal game engine for use in one of their upcoming games. I didn't
> >much time to investigate what kind of game that they are going to
> make, but
> >at least this sort of fits in with what you wrote, John, being as how
> >Legend Entertainment (www.legendent.com) was founded by a former
> The game is "The Wheel of Time" based on the fantasy series by Robert
> Jordan. While it does use the Unreal engine, it does so in a much
> way than Unreal does.
> You can check out the game here:
If I remember well, Weel of time was cancelled. What I'm sure of,
though, is that Epic asked Legend to make Unreal 2.
PaG's Shadowrun page: http://www.geocities.com/timessquare/alley/7931/
"[...] the computer can demonstrate unanticipated creativity in the
stupidity of its mistakes"
- Chris Crawford, "The Art of Computer Game Designing"
Can't imagine where you heard anything about WoT being cancelled - none
of the web sites or newsgroups I frequent, that's for sure. The last
programmer update on the web page mentioned above is October 26th.
However, it is true that Legend will be creating the _game- Unreal 2 for
Epic, as Epic apparently wants to focus on engine development rather
The ex-Infocommie founder of Legend being Bob Bates, btw, who I believe
is working on yet another game himself.
>Went through and cleaned up my Infocom bookmarks the other day, and came
>across a notice at the Legend Entertainment site. They have licensed the
>Unreal game engine for use in one of their upcoming games. I didn't have
>much time to investigate what kind of game that they are going to make, but
>at least this sort of fits in with what you wrote, John, being as how
>Legend Entertainment (www.legendent.com) was founded by a former Infocom
The game is "The Wheel of Time" based on the fantasy series by Robert
Jordan. While it does use the Unreal engine, it does so in a much different
way than Unreal does.
You can check out the game here:
David A Gasior
Fight spam - remove the word
"nospam" from my email address
> If I remember well, Weel of time was cancelled. What I'm sure of,
>though, is that Epic asked Legend to make Unreal 2.
I doubt it would be cancelled at this stage of its development (though
dumber things have happened in the game industry). Their web site
makes no mention of it and it is proudly displayed on the main page of
the Legend site as well.
Definitely something to look forward to! I know a few of the people
over there (such as Mark Poesch) and I'm sure that they'll turn out some
fantastic game(s) with the engine.
I guess it'd be too much to hope for to expect Steve Meretzky to come
back to Legend to work with them on their Unreal-derived title. It
would be interesting to see the Spellcasting x01 games ported to the
Unreal engine. :-)
>John Miles wrote:
>> Unreal, comparatively speaking, falls short in accessibility, marketing,
>> and overall execution. It runs like a slug on a P6-200 with a Voodoo 1
>> -- I couldn't fully appreciate it until I moved to a 500 MHz P-II with a
>> Voodoo 2. Good luck selling 4 million of *anything* with requirements
>> like that. :) And Unreal is a complicated, challenging, and above all,
>> seemingly-interminable game with no real story continuity or payoff for
>> those few who stick with it all the way through. But it's the
>> best-looking thing I've ever seen on a computer, and I suspect that
>> somebody, somewhere is going to take that engine and build one hell of a
>> nice adventure game with it. When that happens, we're going to have to
>> stand by and watch out for other falling assumptions from the Infocom
Like a slug with a K6 200??
I've got at TrueP200MMX w/Voodoo1 and it does jerk sometimes, but like a slug?
You gotta have some weird memory or something...
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Ad Astra!! =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Me: sf-fan, philosopher, historian, dreamer...
Loves: my good friends, ale, art in many forms, dreaming...
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= mail me: an...@update.uu.se /FIAWOL!
> > If I remember well, Weel of time was cancelled. What I'm sure of,
> > though, is that Epic asked Legend to make Unreal 2.
> Can't imagine where you heard anything about WoT being cancelled -
> of the web sites or newsgroups I frequent, that's for sure. The last
> programmer update on the web page mentioned above is October 26th.
> However, it is true that Legend will be creating the _game- Unreal 2
> Epic, as Epic apparently wants to focus on engine development rather
> than content.
> The ex-Infocommie founder of Legend being Bob Bates, btw, who I
> is working on yet another game himself.
That's why I said I wasn't sure :). Seems it was another game that was
supposed to use the Unreal engine that was cancelled and I didn't
remember the name (It's been a long time ago...)
The Journeyman Project 4, which might or might not be called
Wheel of Time (I forget; 3 was Legacy of Time) lost its publisher
in a buyout, but the developer is continuing and looking for a new publisher.
Is that what you're thinking of?