interactive fictions == adventure games ?

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ferd...@my-deja.com

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Sep 3, 2000, 5:03:39 AM9/3/00
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'lo all,

I've been reading this group for some time now, and I'm wondering why
is deals exclusively with adventure games, to the point that
interactive fiction is now synonymous with adv. games.
Don't get me wrong : i like the group, i like playing text adventures,
but i wonder where are discussed the other forms of int. fiction such
as, for instance :
* 'choose a path' books
* story where the audience (reader) inputs ideas and the writer picks
one. (see www.scottmccloud.com for an implementation)
* hypertext literature, with links to definitions, digressions,
portraits etc. (granted this is the low end of interactivity, but the
reader has still a choice of the way he reads the text).

I'm sure there are many others (combinatorial poetry comes to mind ...)

Is it appropriate to discuss that here ? the FAQ doesn't say anything
about it.

Thanks

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

Aris Katsaris

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Sep 3, 2000, 6:12:29 AM9/3/00
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<ferd...@my-deja.com> wrote in message news:8ot458$mmb$1...@nnrp1.deja.com...

> 'lo all,
>
> I've been reading this group for some time now, and I'm wondering why
> is deals exclusively with adventure games, to the point that
> interactive fiction is now synonymous with adv. games.

Check out "Space Under The Window". It's certainly interactive fiction but
I wouldn't call it an adventure game.

In short "adventure game" has been abandoned because it isn't accurate
anymore. Many of the works are far more stories than they are games, and
this trend continues.

> Don't get me wrong : i like the group, i like playing text adventures,
> but i wonder where are discussed the other forms of int. fiction such
> as, for instance :
> * 'choose a path' books
>
> * story where the audience (reader) inputs ideas and the writer picks
> one. (see www.scottmccloud.com for an implementation)

> * hypertext literature, with links to definitions, digressions,
> portraits etc. (granted this is the low end of interactivity, but the
> reader has still a choice of the way he reads the text).
>
> I'm sure there are many others (combinatorial poetry comes to mind ...)
>
> Is it appropriate to discuss that here ? the FAQ doesn't say anything
> about it.

I think that all of these are appropriate to discuss here (with perhaps the
exception of hypertext literature). "Choose Your Own Path" games have
certainly been discussed here, even though it's generally considered
an inferior versioon of interactive fiction. Some of it can certainly be
very fun
though. Check out "Love's Fiery Imbroglio", a very humorous game.

Works like "Planetarium" and "Once: join the dance" are also welcome for
discussion here, atleast the way I see it, even though both are very little
interactive..

Aris Katsaris


Jonadab the Unsightly One

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Sep 3, 2000, 7:01:43 AM9/3/00
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ferd...@my-deja.com wrote:

> but i wonder where are discussed the other forms of int. fiction such
> as, for instance :
> * 'choose a path' books
> * story where the audience (reader) inputs ideas and the writer picks
> one. (see www.scottmccloud.com for an implementation)
> * hypertext literature, with links to definitions, digressions,
> portraits etc. (granted this is the low end of interactivity, but the
> reader has still a choice of the way he reads the text).

Those are on-topic here according to the group's original charter.

But nobody discusses them very much because they're a lot less
interactive and therefore attract a lot less attention.


--

Forward all spam to u...@ftc.gov

Iain Merrick

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Sep 5, 2000, 6:05:50 AM9/5/00
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Jon Travaglia wrote:

> John E wrote:
>
> > Does any one remember 2 pairs of books.
> > One you are going in a maze of twisty... er..a maze.
> > And the other you are flying a vehicle.
> > Everypage was an image and you had to do complex
> > exchanges of numbers that you and a friend would
> > use to "see" each other by turning to the right pages
> > as you flew threw the sky or walked in the maze?
>
> Yup. I used to have one of them. I don't remember what they were
> called, but they were by Joe Dever IIRC, who also wrote the Lone Wolf
> books, if anyone remembers them...

I think the series was called _Duelmaster_ or some such. My brother and
I bought the first pair, _White Warlord_ and _Black Baron_. We didn't
get the second, which was two random wizards on flying carpets or
something like that. They were quite good fun, though the game map was
tiny and winning required more luck than skill.

And yes, I remember the _Lone Wolf_ books. That was one of the better
CYOA-with-fighting series, though that's not saying much, as other
people have pointed out in this thread. But it did have a reasonable
plot and reasonable characters, both of which developed as the series
progressed.

I wonder what Joe Dever's doing now?

--
Iain Merrick
i...@cs.york.ac.uk

John E

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Sep 5, 2000, 8:19:50 AM9/5/00
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Thanks for the info, it was enough to help me
find the books on-line. The four books are as follows...

Combat Heroes
Black Baron

Combat Heroes
Emerald Enchanter

Combat Heroes
White Warlord

Combat Heroes
Scarlet Sorcerer

I'm off to e-bay to hunt down these "analog IF" pieces.

Aside from muds.. has anyone thought to use Java to create 1-5 player text
quests?

-John

"Iain Merrick" <i...@cs.york.ac.uk> wrote in message
news:39B4C5...@cs.york.ac.uk...

Jon Travaglia

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Sep 7, 2000, 8:40:44 PM9/7/00
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On Tue, 05 Sep 2000 11:05:50 +0100, Iain Merrick <i...@cs.york.ac.uk>
wrote:

>And yes, I remember the _Lone Wolf_ books. That was one of the better
>CYOA-with-fighting series, though that's not saying much,

Yeah, they were my absolute favorite books in the world for many
years.

>I wonder what Joe Dever's doing now?

I recall reading a while ago that he's involved with computer games
now. I think he had something to do with the english translation of
Final Fantasy 7.

--
Jon Travaglia

"As writer Dinesh D'Souza pointed out in his wonderful
book, 'The End Of Racism,' the destruction of slavery
is uniquely western, while hatred and bigotry is not."

W. Top Changwatchai

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Sep 8, 2000, 2:30:15 AM9/8/00
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John E <john...@NOSPAMearthlink.net> wrote in message
news:Gx5t5.21236$K4.9...@newsread1.prod.itd.earthlink.net...

> Thanks for the info, it was enough to help me
> find the books on-line. The four books are as follows...
>
> Combat Heroes
> Black Baron
>
> Combat Heroes
> Emerald Enchanter
>
> Combat Heroes
> White Warlord
>
> Combat Heroes
> Scarlet Sorcerer
>
> I'm off to e-bay to hunt down these "analog IF" pieces.
>
> Aside from muds.. has anyone thought to use Java to create 1-5 player text
> quests?
>
> -John
>

I owned a couple of those myself. By the way, the mechanics of how the
books worked did *not* originate with these books. (It's a fascinating
system too. Hats off the person or persons who first worked it out.) I
believe the first books to use this system were the "Ace of Aces" series
which originally had WWI aircraft in combat. Ace of Aces was pure combat
though...I know the Combat Heroes books tried to inject some story and
choose-your-own-adventure elements.

By the way, anybody recall the choose-your-own-adventure books based on the
Middle Earth Roleplaying (MERP) system? When I was a kid those were my
favorite of this genre, because they had something none of the others did:
a tear-out hex map that you could navigate, together with the standard
choose-your-own adventure text. Plus the RPG system was reasonably
well-thought out, a rare trait. It encouraged you to develop your character
and use it from book to book.

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

Sean T Barrett

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Sep 9, 2000, 5:04:35 PM9/9/00
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W. Top Changwatchai <n...@spam.com> wrote:
>I owned a couple of those myself. By the way, the mechanics of how the
>books worked did *not* originate with these books. (It's a fascinating
>system too. Hats off the person or persons who first worked it out.) I
>believe the first books to use this system were the "Ace of Aces" series
>which originally had WWI aircraft in combat.

For what it's worth, Ace of Aces used a very simple
hex grid system under the hood, encoding a, um, maybe
4-radius hex around each plane. When you made two
moves, it was possible that one of the moves would
take you out of the 4-radius (which led to page 223
I think?) whereas the other wouldn't, and the sum
of the two wouldn't; that's why sometimes only one
player would get a valid page.

I used a computer to solve the game as best as possible
for the set of books I had; there were a set of pages
(generally at somewhat long range) that you were
guaranteed there was no way the other player could
shoot at you in one move, so if you memorized the
list of those pages (biased towards the ones facing
in directions the enemy player could move to that would
get him or her shot; my program enumerated those
possibilities), a move to any of those pages was
perfect in the sense that it could only hurt your
enemy more than you.

Those pages weren't always available, so the next
subset were pages which led to head-to-head shooting.
I believe in all but two or three cases one of those
two sorts of pages was available, thus effectively
guaranteeing you at least a draw.

I guess I should turn this into a web page or something.

Sean

Jonadab the Unsightly One

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Sep 9, 2000, 10:08:48 PM9/9/00
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"Philipp Lenssen" <len...@hitnet.rwth-aachen.de> wrote:

> Why is it considered inferior?

Not inherently inferior overall, just inferior when
considered as *interactive* fiction, because CYOA
is a lot less interactive than what most of us
think of when we think of IF. CYOA is more similar
to traditional non-interactive fiction than it is
to, say, Curses. Not that traditional non-interactive
fiction is bad. It's just less interactive, and
therefore inferior as an example of interactive
fiction.

Jonadab the Unsightly One

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Sep 9, 2000, 10:08:49 PM9/9/00
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"Konnrad / T Taylor" <t...@stutaylor.SPAMISBAD.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:

> As I remember, most of the Choose Your Own Adventure books had banal plots, mostly
> terrible endings, and, limited by the small thickness of the book, very few real different
> plotlines (usually about 3, all branching off after 16 pages of boring, dull intro) with a
> few more quickie deaths thrown in.
>
> And I for one found them remarkable boring after I'd bought 5 or 6, back when I was 11.

There's a lot of variance. I found some of Edward Packard's books
to be quite good; whereas, R. A. Montgomery should be legally
forced to get into some other profession besides writing. For
the good of the world, you know.

John E

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Sep 10, 2000, 6:51:50 AM9/10/00
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geez I thought assembly hacking was bad...

this guy tried ANALOG paper hacking!

"Sean T Barrett" <buz...@world.std.com> wrote in message
news:G0n17...@world.std.com...

W. Top Changwatchai

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Sep 10, 2000, 2:10:41 PM9/10/00
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Sean T Barrett <buz...@world.std.com> wrote in message
news:G0n17...@world.std.com...
> W. Top Changwatchai <n...@spam.com> wrote:
> >I owned a couple of those myself. By the way, the mechanics of how the
> >books worked did *not* originate with these books. (It's a fascinating
> >system too. Hats off the person or persons who first worked it out.) I
> >believe the first books to use this system were the "Ace of Aces" series
> >which originally had WWI aircraft in combat.
>
> For what it's worth, Ace of Aces used a very simple
> hex grid system under the hood, encoding a, um, maybe
> 4-radius hex around each plane. When you made two
> moves, it was possible that one of the moves would
> take you out of the 4-radius (which led to page 223
> I think?) whereas the other wouldn't, and the sum
> of the two wouldn't; that's why sometimes only one
> player would get a valid page.

Of course...it all makes sense now. That also explains why you have to turn
to an intermediate page: to account for your opponent's move. Ah, what
kids did before Nintendo...

>
> I used a computer to solve the game as best as possible
> for the set of books I had; there were a set of pages
> (generally at somewhat long range) that you were
> guaranteed there was no way the other player could
> shoot at you in one move, so if you memorized the
> list of those pages (biased towards the ones facing
> in directions the enemy player could move to that would
> get him or her shot; my program enumerated those
> possibilities), a move to any of those pages was
> perfect in the sense that it could only hurt your
> enemy more than you.
>
> Those pages weren't always available, so the next
> subset were pages which led to head-to-head shooting.
> I believe in all but two or three cases one of those
> two sorts of pages was available, thus effectively
> guaranteeing you at least a draw.
>
> I guess I should turn this into a web page or something.
>
> Sean

I had the original Ace of Aces book, in which the two planes were different
(one had a more devastating gun but could only shoot straight ahead, whereas
the other did less damage but in a wider arc). So doing the exact same
things wouldn't lead to a draw. I suppose you could work out the optimal
strategy for both and then figure which plane had the edge.

I'd be interested in the web page.

Matthew T. Russotto

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Sep 10, 2000, 4:51:45 PM9/10/00
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In article <39bae6be...@news.bright.net>,

You mean those weren't all randomly assigned pseudonyms for one of an
interchangable set of ghostwriters?

--
Matthew T. Russotto russ...@pond.com
"Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in pursuit
of justice is no virtue."

Ben Allen

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Sep 10, 2000, 8:12:04 PM9/10/00
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In article <BvSu5.33$Uc....@monger.newsread.com>, Matthew T. Russotto wrote:
>In article <39bae6be...@news.bright.net>,
>Jonadab the Unsightly One <jon...@bright.net> wrote:
>}"Konnrad / T Taylor" <t...@stutaylor.SPAMISBAD.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
>}
>}> As I remember, most of the Choose Your Own Adventure books had banal plots, mostly
>}> terrible endings, and, limited by the small thickness of the book, very few real different
>}> plotlines (usually about 3, all branching off after 16 pages of boring, dull intro) with a
>}> few more quickie deaths thrown in.
>}>
>}> And I for one found them remarkable boring after I'd bought 5 or 6, back when I was 11.
>}
>}There's a lot of variance. I found some of Edward Packard's books
>}to be quite good; whereas, R. A. Montgomery should be legally
>}forced to get into some other profession besides writing. For
>}the good of the world, you know.
>
>You mean those weren't all randomly assigned pseudonyms for one of an
>interchangable set of ghostwriters?
>

If they were pseudonyms for an interchangable set of monkeys with
typewriters^w^w^w ghostwriters, AFAICT they assigned the name Edward
Packard to the very best products of said group of ghostwriters. The one
of his I remember best (well, it's been over a decade since I've so much
as seen a CYOA book) involved a group of energy-based aliens visiting
earth in a gigantic cylindrical spaceship (doubtlessly stolen from
Rendezvous with Rama); IIRC the only way you could "achieve" the "best"
ending was by randomly opening the book to the correct page, since there
was no page that actually pointed there.

There was another one I remember where the "best" ending involved a
series of increasingly improbable events which culminated in you meeting
the author himself and telling him to knock it off. Or something like
that. It seems a trifle mundane now, but when I was 5 or 6 or so I
thought it was just the most innovative thing imaginable, and I
distinctly remember it being exclusively Edward Packard who played with
the "boundaries" of the "medium" in that fashion.

--
Field Marshall Stack

Philipp Lenssen

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Sep 11, 2000, 5:29:12 PM9/11/00
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W. Top Changwatchai <n...@spam.com> schrieb in im Newsbeitrag:
LI%t5.1078$Aq4....@vixen.cso.uiuc.edu...
>..

> By the way, anybody recall the choose-your-own-adventure books based on
the
> Middle Earth Roleplaying (MERP) system? When I was a kid those were my
> favorite of this genre, because they had something none of the others did:
> a tear-out hex map that you could navigate, together with the standard
> choose-your-own adventure text. Plus the RPG system was reasonably
> well-thought out, a rare trait. It encouraged you to develop your
character
> and use it from book to book.
>..

I played 2 of the middle earth choose-your-own-adventure books... I remember
they somehow implemented time. If you wasted too much time by going back and
forth or so, different events would occur without you I believe. I think
they had a dark and serious tone but weren't too hard to finish. Here they
had by far the best covers of any series (not that this is worth much).

My favorite book was not that or any of the Jackson/ Livingstone series (of
which I liked City of Thieves, and the 4-part book best), but another series
(of which I only knew 2 books). It took place in a snowy landscape and
inside mountains and you could assemble a party by and by (one member was a
speaking owl, as far as I remember). You had the chance of picking up a
member or not. There was a real story and a real sense of impact. The story
didn't have any pencil/ dice fights, which could become a bit annoying (for
one thing, the "flip through the pages instead of throwing the dice" method
didn't really work).


W. Top Changwatchai

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Sep 11, 2000, 10:02:49 PM9/11/00
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Philipp Lenssen <len...@hitnet.rwth-aachen.de> wrote in message
news:8pjiom$ads$1...@nets3.rz.RWTH-Aachen.DE...

> My favorite book was not that or any of the Jackson/ Livingstone series
(of
> which I liked City of Thieves, and the 4-part book best), but another
series
> (of which I only knew 2 books). It took place in a snowy landscape and
> inside mountains and you could assemble a party by and by (one member was
a
> speaking owl, as far as I remember). You had the chance of picking up a
> member or not. There was a real story and a real sense of impact. The
story
> didn't have any pencil/ dice fights, which could become a bit annoying
(for
> one thing, the "flip through the pages instead of throwing the dice"
method
> didn't really work).

I played a lot of those types of books as a kid (hmm..."playing" a "book")
but don't recall the snowy landscape one. Though I'm far too old to play
them now, if you do recall the name I'd appreciate it.

Philipp Lenssen

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Sep 12, 2000, 2:11:09 PM9/12/00
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W. Top Changwatchai <n...@spam.com> schrieb in im Newsbeitrag:
C6gv5.1871$Aq4....@vixen.cso.uiuc.edu...
>..

> I played a lot of those types of books as a kid (hmm..."playing" a "book")
> but don't recall the snowy landscape one. Though I'm far too old to play
> them now, if you do recall the name I'd appreciate it.
>..

I don't have any idea. This was more than 10 years ago. I remember there
were only 2 books of this series I read, it was not the Jackson/
Livingstone, I had to give it back to a friend, it was the best adventure
book I read, it was in german, and it had a cyan or light blue cover. As
with most of these kind, it was a quest, some long travel through unknown
territory. There were no rules except follow the station of your choice. I
could still give you a pretty detailed description of how the character
looked like but I don't know if that's from the cover, from the text
description or from my imagination back then.

Come to think of, there was another series with only some books, in which
you could take part in a historical setting. You would enter a time machine
I believe and be transported into some important event. One took place I in
england during some black plague in the 14th century and you started as a
squire. Those would teach you a little bit of history.


Jonadab the Unsightly One

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Sep 15, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/15/00
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hi...@news.speakeasy.org (Ben Allen) wrote:

> >}There's a lot of variance. I found some of Edward Packard's books
> >}to be quite good; whereas, R. A. Montgomery should be legally
> >}forced to get into some other profession besides writing. For
> >}the good of the world, you know.
> >
> >You mean those weren't all randomly assigned pseudonyms for one of an
> >interchangable set of ghostwriters?

I don't think so. If you start comparing the works of
those authors, you'll see some trends. R.A. Montgomery,
for example, concentrated so much on having a lot of
*endings*, that a typical storyline consisted of 5-6
choices and 6-7 pages. I expect his books sold well
because people didn't pay any attention to which
authors they liked but were impressed when they saw
"Choose from 44 possible endings" on the cover of a
117 page book. (This example is Space and Beyond;
and most of the 44 ending pages have barely a paragraph
of text; there are some SHORT stories in that book.)

> If they were pseudonyms for an interchangable set of monkeys with
> typewriters^w^w^w ghostwriters, AFAICT they assigned the name Edward
> Packard to the very best products of said group of ghostwriters.

I would agree with this.

[Snipped examples of his pushing boundaries.]

Packard also wrote You Are a Shark and Underground Kingdom,
both of which (but *especially* the former) featured more
choices than endings. This was achieved by having multiple
ways to arrive at some sections of the text. Underground
Kingdom remained linear in spite of this, AFAICT; You Are a
Shark allowed for some cycling if you picked just right,
although typically you would only achieve this deliberately,
and in any case the storyline accounted for it pretty well.
It was always my favourite book in the series.

Also, Edward Packard's prose is just plain better.

To this day, if I am at a used book sale and I see CYOA
books on sale, I pick up any Edward Packard books I see
and leave the rest.

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