[Inform] Where is French.h?

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David Welbourn

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Jan 24, 2001, 3:40:26 PM1/24/01
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Hope this isn't a stupid question, but where is French.h (and the French
version of Grammar.h)? I've looked on GMD in the
.../programming/inform6/library/contributions directory, and also checked
the Master-Index, but still couldn't find it. I'm assuming there is a file
called French.h, since the translation manual refers to it. I'm thinking of
translating Adventureland into French, if only to see if I can.

-- David Welbourn

j...@pc486.bidon.org

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Jan 25, 2001, 7:21:57 PM1/25/01
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In article <_4Hb6.4659$9v2.1...@quark.idirect.com>,

David Welbourn <dsw...@look.ca> wrote:
>Hope this isn't a stupid question, but where is French.h (and the French
>version of Grammar.h)? I've looked on GMD in the
>the Master-Index, but still couldn't find it. I'm assuming there is a file
>called French.h, since the translation manual refers to it. I'm thinking of
>translating Adventureland into French, if only to see if I can.
>
>-- David Welbourn

You will find in ftp://ftp.gmd.de/incoming/if-archive :

- french.zip : a french translation of the Inform 6 library

- aventure.zip : a french translation of adventure.z5

It is not perfect but it can help.

-- JL

David Welbourn

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Jan 26, 2001, 3:21:43 PM1/26/01
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> You will find in ftp://ftp.gmd.de/incoming/if-archive :
>
> - french.zip : a french translation of the Inform 6 library
>
> - aventure.zip : a french translation of adventure.z5
>
> It is not perfect but it can help.
>
> -- JL

Thank you. I never thought of checking incoming; I thought it'd be older
than that. And you're right on both counts. It isn't perfect. And it will
help. Thanks again,
-- David Welbourn

chun...@chungkuo.dynip.com

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Jan 27, 2001, 12:40:57 AM1/27/01
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> - aventure.zip : a french translation of adventure.z5

Enfin, quelque chose en francais! C'est du vrai bon boulot!

Really, really well done! Felicitations!

Magnus Olsson

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Jan 29, 2001, 10:31:57 AM1/29/01
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In article <94qfv5$pe$1...@pc486.bidon.org>, <j...@pc486.bidon.org> wrote:
>- aventure.zip : a french translation of adventure.z5

C'est hyper-bon!

But one thing that surprised me a bit was that the parser expects
commands in the infinitive rather than the imperative ("entrer" rather
than "entrez", for example). Is this the usual convention for French
IF? Come to think of it, perhaps I've been typing infinitives rather
than imperatives all the time when playing English IF as well, without
knowing it...

--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se, m...@pobox.com)
------ http://www.pobox.com/~mol ------

j...@pc486.bidon.org

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Jan 29, 2001, 6:21:40 PM1/29/01
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In article <9542dd$6sd$1...@news.lth.se>, Magnus Olsson <m...@pobox.com> wrote:

>But one thing that surprised me a bit was that the parser expects
>commands in the infinitive rather than the imperative ("entrer" rather
>than "entrez", for example). Is this the usual convention for French
>IF? Come to think of it, perhaps I've been typing infinitives rather
>than imperatives all the time when playing English IF as well, without
>knowing it...

Well, indeed there is a problem. I don't know what the convention is, if it exists.

In a first version of the translation I allowed 2 possibilities:
* infinitive : "prendre"
* imperative (tutoiement) : "prends"

Later, I removed the imperative, because:
- another translation used only the infinitive (explanation: "prendre le livre" means "(j'aimerais) prendre le livre")
- the imperative (tutoiement) is often difficult to spell (allow errors?)
- the number of "verb tokens" is doubled (this can be solved with better code)
- the other imperative (vouvoiement) was missing

But there is a case where the imperative is the best solution:
"Robot, take the book"
"Robot, prends le livre"

Moreover the imperative is more natural for some (many?) people. And the feeling is better when the game expects this case too.

So a (future?) solution is to allow the 3 possibilities :
* infinitive : "prendre"
* imperative (tutoiement) : "prends"
* imperative (vouvoiement) : "prenez"

Qu'en pensez-vous ?


-- JL

LoneCleric

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Jan 29, 2001, 7:58:25 PM1/29/01
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Magnus Olsson wrote:

> C'est hyper-bon!

Aack! The great Magnus also speaks french?

> But one thing that surprised me a bit was that the parser expects
> commands in the infinitive rather than the imperative ("entrer" rather
> than "entrez", for example). Is this the usual convention for French
> IF? Come to think of it, perhaps I've been typing infinitives rather
> than imperatives all the time when playing English IF as well, without
> knowing it...

I didn't play that much text-based "adventure games" back then, but they
always used infinitive verbs. Instructions usually stated that you were
to picture the command prompt as implying "Now I want to...". So yes,
with that in mind, you've been playing infinite IF in English too. ;-)
And it does make some sense. If you're the PC, why give order to yourself?

As later, commercial point-and-click games go, it was the same thing:
LucasArts & Sierra games described the actions as "Prendre", "Examiner",
"Utiliser", and so on...

LC

David Welbourn

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Jan 29, 2001, 11:20:17 PM1/29/01
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> But one thing that surprised me a bit was that the parser expects
> commands in the infinitive rather than the imperative ("entrer" rather
> than "entrez", for example). Is this the usual convention for French
> IF?

Yes, that surprised me too. But then I checked the French instructions on
various things in my apartment (I'm in Canada, so all instructions are in
both French and English), lo and behold, the imperative is indeed what's
used. At least on printed impersonal instructions. Maybe it'd be different
if you're giving instructions to a real person, or a friend, or
something...?

(I don't speak French at all, so translating Adventureland into French is
... interesting. I'm gonna have to ask a real person what an idiom like
"TIMBER!" would translate into, though. I can't trust the dictionary for
something like that.)

-- David Welbourn

Marie-Line Chabanol

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Jan 30, 2001, 5:24:16 AM1/30/01
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In article <954tu4$8r$1...@pc486.bidon.org>,

j...@pc486.bidon.org writes:
|> In article <9542dd$6sd$1...@news.lth.se>, Magnus Olsson <m...@pobox.com> wrote:
|>
|> >But one thing that surprised me a bit was that the parser expects
|> >commands in the infinitive rather than the imperative ("entrer" rather
|> >than "entrez", for example). Is this the usual convention for French
|> >IF? Come to think of it, perhaps I've been typing infinitives rather
|> >than imperatives all the time when playing English IF as well, without
|> >knowing it...
|>
|> Well, indeed there is a problem. I don't know what the convention is, if it exists.
|>
|> In a first version of the translation I allowed 2 possibilities:
|> * infinitive : "prendre"
|> * imperative (tutoiement) : "prends"
|>
|> Later, I removed the imperative, because:
|> - another translation used only the infinitive (explanation: "prendre le livre" means "(j'aimerais) prendre le livre")
|> - the imperative (tutoiement) is often difficult to spell (allow errors?)
|> - the number of "verb tokens" is doubled (this can be solved with better code)
|> - the other imperative (vouvoiement) was missing

Well I guess that if it is clearly precised at the beginning of the game,
one imperative (maybe the vouvoiement one, I think it is easier to spell)
should be enough.

|>
|> But there is a case where the imperative is the best solution:
|> "Robot, take the book"
|> "Robot, prends le livre"
|>
|> Moreover the imperative is more natural for some (many?) people. And the feeling is better when the game expects this case too.

Well I am french and I always think my IF instructions (in english) as being
actions I want to make, that is infinitive verbs. Maybe it is also, as was
already pointed, because of all the graphical adventure games
with their infinitive icons.
So I would think it simpler to make the game accept only infinitives,
except for cases such as "Robot, prenez le livre". Actually it could also
be "Dire au robot de prendre le livre" (= "Tell the robot to take the book")
... with only infinitives.

By the way, I have not played the french "Adventure" yet, but I surely will.
(thank you for it). I was thinking of writing some IF some day; For me,
it would certainly be easier in french (and the writing would certainly
be much better, at least I hope so).
How many people here would be able to play something in french ?
(Of course my friends would, but most of them are not adventure or IF players).

Is it possible to write non-english IF with TADS, or should one use Inform ?
Marie-Line

Magnus Olsson

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Jan 31, 2001, 5:55:09 AM1/31/01
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In article <3A7611ED...@huh-huh.bigfoot.com>,

LoneCleric <lonecleric@yeah_right.bigfoot.com> wrote:
>Magnus Olsson wrote:
>
>> C'est hyper-bon!
>
>Aack! The great Magnus also speaks french?

I'm learning, or trying to learn...

And "great"? You're flattering me (unless you're being sarcastic), but
honestly I think there are perhaps two or three persons in the active
IF scene who can be described as "great" (and, no, I don't consider
myself among them). There are a lot of very talented people here,
though.

>> But one thing that surprised me a bit was that the parser expects
>> commands in the infinitive rather than the imperative ("entrer" rather
>> than "entrez", for example). Is this the usual convention for French
>> IF? Come to think of it, perhaps I've been typing infinitives rather
>> than imperatives all the time when playing English IF as well, without
>> knowing it...
>
>I didn't play that much text-based "adventure games" back then, but they
>always used infinitive verbs. Instructions usually stated that you were
>to picture the command prompt as implying "Now I want to...". So yes,
>with that in mind, you've been playing infinite IF in English too. ;-)
>And it does make some sense. If you're the PC, why give order to yourself?

Interesting - I'm aware of this view, of course, but I've always seen
the interaction in IF in a different way: as a dialogue between me and
the computer, with me giving the commands to the computer, which
replies by telling me what happens. Slightly schizophrenic, perhaps,
considering that I'm really ordering my own avatar around, but that
schizophrenia was built into the genre from the very start - the way
ADVENT would comment on the player's actions, and so on.

A natural comparison is with humans-around-a-table RPGs (I don't like
the term "pencil-and-paper RPG", because almost all the interaction is
oral), where the interaction is done in the present tense indicative:
"I take the key"/"Je prends la clé".

>As later, commercial point-and-click games go, it was the same thing:
>LucasArts & Sierra games described the actions as "Prendre", "Examiner",
>"Utiliser", and so on...

How did commercial games handle orders to NPC's?

LoneCleric

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Feb 2, 2001, 2:19:23 AM2/2/01
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Magnus Olsson wrote:

>> Aack! The great Magnus also speaks french?
>

> And "great"? You're flattering me (unless you're being sarcastic), but
> honestly I think there are perhaps two or three persons in the active
> IF scene who can be described as "great" (and, no, I don't consider
> myself among them). There are a lot of very talented people here,
> though.

Of course. Well, what can I say... Maybe my standards aren't as high.
:-) If you want to be humble, just think of "great" as in
"great-grandfather". Can you at least concede that you're venerable?

And come to think of it, isn't "Great Magnus" somewhat redundant? :-)

> Interesting - I'm aware of this view, of course, but I've always seen
> the interaction in IF in a different way: as a dialogue between me and
> the computer, with me giving the commands to the computer, which
> replies by telling me what happens. Slightly schizophrenic, perhaps,
> considering that I'm really ordering my own avatar around, but that
> schizophrenia was built into the genre from the very start - the way
> ADVENT would comment on the player's actions, and so on.
>
> A natural comparison is with humans-around-a-table RPGs (I don't like
> the term "pencil-and-paper RPG", because almost all the interaction is
> oral), where the interaction is done in the present tense indicative:
> "I take the key"/"Je prends la clé".

True. Then again, I feel more related with an RPG character (which I
usually helped created and 'design'), rather than a PC which is usually
thrust upon me by an IF author. But I realize that's a whole different
debate, having no real relationship with language issues.

> How did commercial games handle orders to NPC's?

Yikes! Frankly... I don't know. I don't think they actually did. I mean,
the only commercial games I saw in french were graphical point-and-click
adventures. None of them had anything like the NPC orders you found in
Infocom games. I saw text-only games in french, too, but they were of
the cheaper (waaay cheaper) kind.

Sorry I can't bring any more insight here.

LC

Magnus Olsson

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Feb 4, 2001, 10:11:13 AM2/4/01
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In article <3A7519B5...@huh-huh.bigfoot.com>,

LoneCleric <lonecleric@yeah_right.bigfoot.com> wrote:
>Magnus Olsson wrote:
>
>>> Aack! The great Magnus also speaks french?
>>
>> And "great"? You're flattering me (unless you're being sarcastic), but
>> honestly I think there are perhaps two or three persons in the active
>> IF scene who can be described as "great" (and, no, I don't consider
>> myself among them). There are a lot of very talented people here,
>> though.
>
>Of course. Well, what can I say... Maybe my standards aren't as high.
>:-) If you want to be humble, just think of "great" as in
>"great-grandfather". Can you at least concede that you're venerable?

Watch it - now you're insulting my age. :-) No, no offence, but I'm
too young to be called venerable. I know I've posted before here about
feeling old, but that was "old" in internet terms. (If you need to know,
I'm four years older than Graham Nelson).

John Colagioia

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Feb 7, 2001, 8:53:49 AM2/7/01
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Marie-Line Chabanol wrote:
[...]

> |> Moreover the imperative is more natural for some (many?) people. And the feeling is better when the game expects this case too.
>
> Well I am french and I always think my IF instructions (in english) as being
> actions I want to make, that is infinitive verbs. Maybe it is also, as was
> already pointed, because of all the graphical adventure games
> with their infinitive icons.

Well, the majority of documentation for IF games tends to say that each command completes the sentence "I want to..."

I would imagine that the equivalent French (or any other of the hundreds of verb-conjugating languages) documentation would want you
to complete "Je voudrais..." or the equivalent, which would require commands to be the infinitive.

A nifty (although almost totally useless) fringe benefit of infinitive-only usage is that, since the infinitive forms of verbs are far
more regularly structured (-er, -ir, and -re in French), it is easier to distinguish bad verbs from verb-lacking sentences--something
like:

] souvenir la
Je ne sais pas le verbe "souvenir."

] abcdefg la
Le mot "abcdefg" n'est pas un verbe.

...or something like that, anyway.

[...]


Daryl McCullough

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Feb 7, 2001, 9:46:36 AM2/7/01
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John says...

>Well, the majority of documentation for IF games tends to say that
>each command completes the sentence "I want to..."

Really? I always thought of the commands to the interpreter
as imperatives. It's as if you are a passenger in a taxicab,
issuing directions such as: "Turn right here. Stop at the
yellow house on the left."

I guess it's a peculiarity of English that the imperative
is syntactically the same as the infinitive (if you ignore
the "to"). So, either interpretation is equally good for
the English version.

--
Daryl McCullough
CoGenTex, Inc.
Ithaca, NY

John Colagioia

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Feb 8, 2001, 9:28:49 AM2/8/01
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Daryl McCullough wrote:

> John says...
>
> >Well, the majority of documentation for IF games tends to say that
> >each command completes the sentence "I want to..."
>
> Really? I always thought of the commands to the interpreter
> as imperatives. It's as if you are a passenger in a taxicab,
> issuing directions such as: "Turn right here. Stop at the
> yellow house on the left."

I suppose that from a certain perspective, that's true, also. It's
certainly not an invalid interpretation.

I was just pointing out that many instruction booklets. Uhm...let's
see...Wishbringer looks like a good example: "Wishbringer usually acts
as if your sentence begins with 'I want to...,' although you shouldn't
actually type those words." Looks like most of the other Infocom
guides make this comment.


> I guess it's a peculiarity of English that the imperative
> is syntactically the same as the infinitive (if you ignore
> the "to"). So, either interpretation is equally good for
> the English version.

Exactly. The text you type is identical in English. The
interpretation, I guess, is a matter of "politesse," if you will...

Hm. Does anybody happen to know what the German translation of Zork
was supposed to do? That might shed some light on what Infocom
intended, at least.


Richard Bos

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Feb 8, 2001, 10:58:34 AM2/8/01
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John Colagioia <JCola...@csi.com> wrote:

> I was just pointing out that many instruction booklets. Uhm...let's
> see...Wishbringer looks like a good example: "Wishbringer usually acts
> as if your sentence begins with 'I want to...,' although you shouldn't
> actually type those words." Looks like most of the other Infocom
> guides make this comment.

Of course, this fails for 'HELLHOUND, BITE INFERNAL MACHINE', and the
"imperative" view doesn't; or at least, it can be forced to fit the
imperative view.

Richard

Frank Borger

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Feb 8, 2001, 2:46:43 PM2/8/01
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John Colagioia <JCola...@csi.com> writes:

> Hm. Does anybody happen to know what the German translation of Zork
> was supposed to do? That might shed some light on what Infocom
> intended, at least.

Well, I didn't know Infocom tried to translate Zork to German, but I
don't think that would clear the matter. In German you have to use the
imperative

Take the lamp! ^= Nimm die Lampe!

if you don't want to modify the parser for a different paradigm (the
trailing verb):

(I want to) take the lamp. ^= (Ich moechte) die Lampe nehmen.

(Besides, using commands like "die Lampe nehmen" instead of the
imperative would make me sick. But that's just me, perhaps.)

cu
--
Frank Borger | Aliloka chielo
fr...@tmt.de | estas sama chielo.
Bayreuth (49°57,566'N 11°34,473'O)

Magnus Olsson

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Feb 8, 2001, 6:40:45 PM2/8/01
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In article <3A82AD21...@csi.com>,
John Colagioia <JCola...@csi.com> wrote:

>Daryl McCullough wrote:
>> Really? I always thought of the commands to the interpreter
>> as imperatives. It's as if you are a passenger in a taxicab,
>> issuing directions such as: "Turn right here. Stop at the
>> yellow house on the left."
>
>I suppose that from a certain perspective, that's true, also. It's
>certainly not an invalid interpretation.
>
>I was just pointing out that many instruction booklets. Uhm...let's
>see...Wishbringer looks like a good example: "Wishbringer usually acts
>as if your sentence begins with 'I want to...,' although you shouldn't
>actually type those words." Looks like most of the other Infocom
>guides make this comment.

But that's a late-time corruption! :-)

The help texts for the Inform port of Advent says the following:

> I know of places, actions, and things. You can guide me using
>commands that are complete sentences. To move, try commands like
>"enter," "east," "west," "north," "south," "up," "down," "enter
>building," "climb pole," etc.

(and I think this help text is taken from the original FORTRAN
version).

This suggests that Crowther thought of the commands as commands
(for which the natural mood is the imperative) rather than wshes
or intentions.

What I think all this boils down to is if you're used to giving
commands to a computer via a command-line interface. In that case,
it's very natural to think of the player-adventure game interaction as
commands directed at the parser (never mind that this is more than a
little bit schizophrenic if you think about it). And the parser in
Advent seems to take on a life of its own, like the
omniscient-narrator-with-a-personality in old novels. ("Do you want me
to resurrect you? Sorry, I'm out of orange smoke.")

On the other hand, for people who aren't familiar with a command-line
interface (in Infocom's days, the people who weren't computer
literate; nowadays, almost everyone who isn't a programmer, and some
programmers as well), the idea of typing commands at the game may seem
unnatural. Perhaps the "I want to..." formula was initially a way of
making the command syntax seem more natural.

>> I guess it's a peculiarity of English that the imperative
>> is syntactically the same as the infinitive (if you ignore
>> the "to"). So, either interpretation is equally good for
>> the English version.
>
>Exactly. The text you type is identical in English.

And it's the same in Swedish.

>The
>interpretation, I guess, is a matter of "politesse," if you will...

I think it's more a matter of which metaphor you're using for the UI.

>Hm. Does anybody happen to know what the German translation of Zork
>was supposed to do? That might shed some light on what Infocom
>intended, at least.

What would be really interesting is to see if they had planned
to go to the trouble of introducing a non-orthogonality in the
parser when handling orders to NPC's. Of course, in German you
can express orders in the infinitive - "Achtung! Einsteigen!"
("Attention! Embark!").

OKB -- not okblacke

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Feb 8, 2001, 10:00:47 PM2/8/01
to
in...@hoekstra-uitgeverij.nl (Richard Bos) wrote:
>>"Wishbringer usually acts
>> as if your sentence begins with 'I want to...,' although you shouldn't
>> actually type those words." Looks like most of the other Infocom
>> guides make this comment.
>
>Of course, this fails for 'HELLHOUND, BITE INFERNAL MACHINE', and the
>"imperative" view doesn't; or at least, it can be forced to fit the
>imperative view.

Although it doesn't fail for "TELL HELLHOUND TO BITE INFERNAL MACHINE". I
don't know about you, but I find the latter much more intuitive. I think it
depends on what premise you start with. If you decide everything's supposed to
be commands, then you can rationalize "PERSON, DO X". If you decide
everything's supposed to be "I want to", then you can come up with "TELL PERSON
TO DO X".

--OKB (Bren...@aol.com) -- no relation to okblacke

"Do not follow where the path may lead;
go, instead, where there is no path, and leave a trail."
--Author Unknown

Linards Ticmanis

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Feb 8, 2001, 10:06:35 PM2/8/01
to
Frank Borger wrote:

> Well, I didn't know Infocom tried to translate Zork to German, but I
> don't think that would clear the matter. In German you have to use the
> imperative
>
> Take the lamp! ^= Nimm die Lampe!

A comment from a lurker... also in German there seems to be a
tradition to make the player refer to the protagonist as "you", not as
"me" as is the English standard. How do other languages handle this?

--

Linards Ticmanis

The Master said, "The business of laying on the colors follows the
preparation of the plain ground."

John Colagioia

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Feb 9, 2001, 9:07:59 AM2/9/01
to
Richard Bos wrote:

Maybe I've been programming too long, but this would actually make sense to
me, since the "HELLHOUND, " tag is basically "redirecting" the comment to
another character, making this "HELLHOUND, (I want you to) BITE INFERNAL
MACHINE." Kind of like using file handles...or device numbers on the C64...

Again, I'm not defending either position (I don't think--I hope I'm not,
anyway). Just pointing out that there is known and accessible documentation
supporting the infinitive view.

That's why I asked about the German Zork. Presumably, that would make a
"first-hand account" to match up to the documentation--at least for Infocom's
take on the situation.


Branko Collin

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Feb 9, 2001, 9:21:04 AM2/9/01
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On 08 Feb 2001 20:46:43 +0100, Frank Borger <fr...@tmt.de> wrote:

>John Colagioia <JCola...@csi.com> writes:
>
>> Hm. Does anybody happen to know what the German translation of Zork
>> was supposed to do? That might shed some light on what Infocom
>> intended, at least.
>
>Well, I didn't know Infocom tried to translate Zork to German, but I
>don't think that would clear the matter. In German you have to use the
>imperative
>
> Take the lamp! ^= Nimm die Lampe!
>
>if you don't want to modify the parser for a different paradigm (the
>trailing verb):
>
> (I want to) take the lamp. ^= (Ich moechte) die Lampe nehmen.

The same goes for Dutch. Dutch text adventures are based on English
ones, AFAIK. I'll go ask an author. ;-)

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

John Colagioia

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Feb 9, 2001, 9:41:11 AM2/9/01
to
Magnus Olsson wrote:

> In article <3A82AD21...@csi.com>,
> John Colagioia <JCola...@csi.com> wrote:
> >I was just pointing out that many instruction booklets. Uhm...let's
> >see...Wishbringer looks like a good example: "Wishbringer usually acts
> >as if your sentence begins with 'I want to...,' although you shouldn't
> >actually type those words." Looks like most of the other Infocom
> >guides make this comment.
> But that's a late-time corruption! :-)

(Feels kind of weird to go back to thinking of Infocom as "the new guys"...)

Maybe, but it comes from the most successful of the creators.


> The help texts for the Inform port of Advent says the following:
>
> > I know of places, actions, and things. You can guide me using
> >commands that are complete sentences. To move, try commands like
> >"enter," "east," "west," "north," "south," "up," "down," "enter
> >building," "climb pole," etc.
>
> (and I think this help text is taken from the original FORTRAN
> version).
>
> This suggests that Crowther thought of the commands as commands
> (for which the natural mood is the imperative) rather than wshes
> or intentions.

I really want to say something cleverly snide about FORTRAN programmers
(which I still do on occasion, before anyone gets offended), but I'm drawing
a blank. Insert your own punchline about the literary skills of FORTRAN
programmers here.

But, yes, point taken. It is one more perspective.


> What I think all this boils down to is if you're used to giving
> commands to a computer via a command-line interface. In that case,
> it's very natural to think of the player-adventure game interaction as
> commands directed at the parser (never mind that this is more than a
> little bit schizophrenic if you think about it).

Interestingly, I never saw this model as strange or schizophrenic, but that
may just say something about me...


> And the parser in
> Advent seems to take on a life of its own, like the
> omniscient-narrator-with-a-personality in old novels. ("Do you want me
> to resurrect you? Sorry, I'm out of orange smoke.")
>
> On the other hand, for people who aren't familiar with a command-line
> interface (in Infocom's days, the people who weren't computer
> literate; nowadays, almost everyone who isn't a programmer, and some
> programmers as well), the idea of typing commands at the game may seem
> unnatural. Perhaps the "I want to..." formula was initially a way of
> making the command syntax seem more natural.

It may also have been a nod to many English-as-a-second-language players,
who tend to (at least, in my experience) be excessively polite, and will ask
for help with an "if you please, I would very much like you to..." sort of a
question.


> >> I guess it's a peculiarity of English that the imperative
> >> is syntactically the same as the infinitive (if you ignore
> >> the "to"). So, either interpretation is equally good for
> >> the English version.
> >
> >Exactly. The text you type is identical in English.
>
> And it's the same in Swedish.

Good to know.


> >The
> >interpretation, I guess, is a matter of "politesse," if you will...
>
> I think it's more a matter of which metaphor you're using for the UI.
>
> >Hm. Does anybody happen to know what the German translation of Zork
> >was supposed to do? That might shed some light on what Infocom
> >intended, at least.
>
> What would be really interesting is to see if they had planned
> to go to the trouble of introducing a non-orthogonality in the
> parser when handling orders to NPC's. Of course, in German you
> can express orders in the infinitive - "Achtung! Einsteigen!"
> ("Attention! Embark!").

That, would, yes.


Jonadab the Unsightly One

unread,
Feb 9, 2001, 10:44:55 AM2/9/01
to
m...@pobox.com (Magnus Olsson) wrote:

> Watch it - now you're insulting my age. :-) No, no offence, but I'm
> too young to be called venerable. I know I've posted before here about
> feeling old, but that was "old" in internet terms. (If you need to know,
> I'm four years older than Graham Nelson).

Aack! A veritable curmudgeon!

- jonadab

Greg Ewing

unread,
Feb 11, 2001, 7:37:44 PM2/11/01
to
John Colagioia wrote:
>
> Maybe I've been programming too long, but this would actually make sense to
> me, since the "HELLHOUND, " tag is basically "redirecting" the comment to
> another character, making this "HELLHOUND, (I want you to) BITE INFERNAL
> MACHINE." Kind of like using file handles...or device numbers on the C64...

Hmmm...

> OPEN HELLHOUND FOR COMMANDING AS NPC #1
> #1, BITE INFERNAL MACHINE

--
Greg Ewing, Computer Science Dept, University of Canterbury,
Christchurch, New Zealand
To get my email address, please visit my web page:
http://www.cosc.canterbury.ac.nz/~greg

Magnus Olsson

unread,
Feb 13, 2001, 10:31:44 AM2/13/01
to
In article <3A840186...@csi.com>,

John Colagioia <JCola...@csi.com> wrote:
>Magnus Olsson wrote:
>
>> In article <3A82AD21...@csi.com>,
>> John Colagioia <JCola...@csi.com> wrote:
>> >I was just pointing out that many instruction booklets. Uhm...let's
>> >see...Wishbringer looks like a good example: "Wishbringer usually acts
>> >as if your sentence begins with 'I want to...,' although you shouldn't
>> >actually type those words." Looks like most of the other Infocom
>> >guides make this comment.
>> But that's a late-time corruption! :-)
>
>(Feels kind of weird to go back to thinking of Infocom as "the new guys"...)

Which is why I put a smiley on that sentence...

>> The help texts for the Inform port of Advent says the following:
>>
>> > I know of places, actions, and things. You can guide me using
>> >commands that are complete sentences. To move, try commands like
>> >"enter," "east," "west," "north," "south," "up," "down," "enter
>> >building," "climb pole," etc.
>>
>> (and I think this help text is taken from the original FORTRAN
>> version).

(...)

>I really want to say something cleverly snide about FORTRAN programmers
>(which I still do on occasion, before anyone gets offended), but I'm drawing
>a blank. Insert your own punchline about the literary skills of FORTRAN
>programmers here.

You're questioning the literary skills of Crowther, inventor of the
adventure game, because he wrote in FORTRAN? May I ask what you have been
smoking?

(And what on earth has his literary skills to do with the
imperative/infinitive debate?)

I think it's time for a big, fat reality check here. We're talking
about a program written in 1976, for heaven's sake! While there were
certainly languages around in 1976 that were better suited to IF
programming (C, Algol, Lisp (including MDL, the language of Zork),
Simula (object-oriented, hence eminently suited for IF)), none of
them was very standardized and/or widely available (C, for example,
was a weird systems programming language used on one, rather exotic, OS.)

If you wanted your program to be portable in 1976, your choice of
langauges was limited to FORTRAN, COBOL, and possibly BASIC. Would we
really have been better off if Advent had been written in COBOL?

>> What I think all this boils down to is if you're used to giving
>> commands to a computer via a command-line interface. In that case,
>> it's very natural to think of the player-adventure game interaction as
>> commands directed at the parser (never mind that this is more than a
>> little bit schizophrenic if you think about it).
>
>Interestingly, I never saw this model as strange or schizophrenic, but that
>may just say something about me...

It's schizophrenic because you're basically ordering yourself around :-).

Matthew Russotto

unread,
Feb 13, 2001, 1:52:02 PM2/13/01
to
In article <96bk10$7nc$1...@news.lth.se>, Magnus Olsson <m...@pobox.com> wrote:
>
>I think it's time for a big, fat reality check here. We're talking
>about a program written in 1976, for heaven's sake! While there were
>certainly languages around in 1976 that were better suited to IF
>programming (C, Algol, Lisp (including MDL, the language of Zork),
>Simula (object-oriented, hence eminently suited for IF)), none of
>them was very standardized and/or widely available (C, for example,
>was a weird systems programming language used on one, rather exotic, OS.)

Portability was not a concern; the earliest ADVENT code depends on
some very machine-specific features.
--
Matthew T. Russotto russ...@pond.com
"Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in pursuit
of justice is no virtue."

Magnus Olsson

unread,
Feb 13, 2001, 4:51:24 PM2/13/01
to
In article <mnfi6.42174$wu5.5...@e420r-sjo2.usenetserver.com>,

Matthew Russotto <russ...@wanda.pond.com> wrote:
>In article <96bk10$7nc$1...@news.lth.se>, Magnus Olsson <m...@pobox.com> wrote:
>>
>>I think it's time for a big, fat reality check here. We're talking
>>about a program written in 1976, for heaven's sake! While there were
>>certainly languages around in 1976 that were better suited to IF
>>programming (C, Algol, Lisp (including MDL, the language of Zork),
>>Simula (object-oriented, hence eminently suited for IF)), none of
>>them was very standardized and/or widely available (C, for example,
>>was a weird systems programming language used on one, rather exotic, OS.)
>
>Portability was not a concern; the earliest ADVENT code depends on
>some very machine-specific features.

Come to think of it, you're right.

But, anyway, FORTRAN was very big and mainstream back then, somewhat
like C is today.

And, of course, if anybody today voluntarily chose to write adventure
games in Fortran (note that the capitalization changed with the
Fortran 77 standard) , there would be cause for raised eyebrows.

Michael Brazier

unread,
Feb 14, 2001, 6:26:51 PM2/14/01
to
On Mon, 12 Feb 2001 13:37:44 +1300, Greg Ewing <gr...@cosc.canterbury.ac.nz>
wrote:

>John Colagioia wrote:
>>
>> Maybe I've been programming too long, but this would actually make sense to
>> me, since the "HELLHOUND, " tag is basically "redirecting" the comment to
>> another character, making this "HELLHOUND, (I want you to) BITE INFERNAL
>> MACHINE." Kind of like using file handles...or device numbers on the C64...
>
>Hmmm...
>

>% OPEN HELLHOUND FOR COMMANDING AS NPC #1
>% #1, BITE INFERNAL MACHINE

[The Microsoft Interactive Fiction Engine has performed an illegal
operation and will be shut down.]

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

Gene Wirchenko

unread,
Feb 15, 2001, 2:10:40 PM2/15/01
to
mbra...@argusinc.com (Michael Brazier) wrote:

>On Mon, 12 Feb 2001 13:37:44 +1300, Greg Ewing <gr...@cosc.canterbury.ac.nz>
>wrote:
>
>>John Colagioia wrote:
>>>
>>> Maybe I've been programming too long, but this would actually make sense to
>>> me, since the "HELLHOUND, " tag is basically "redirecting" the comment to
>>> another character, making this "HELLHOUND, (I want you to) BITE INFERNAL
>>> MACHINE." Kind of like using file handles...or device numbers on the C64...
>>
>>Hmmm...
>>
>>% OPEN HELLHOUND FOR COMMANDING AS NPC #1
>>% #1, BITE INFERNAL MACHINE
>
>[The Microsoft Interactive Fiction Engine has performed an illegal
>operation and will be shut down.]

HELLHOUND has performed an illegal operation and will be put
down.

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko

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

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