IF "minimalism"

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Adam Dawes

Feb 10, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/10/97

Hi Neil!

NKG> Well, this is the tack I've taken with my game in progress. The
NKG> problem is that I find some players get really annoyed at having a lot
NKG> of doors they can never open, and consider it unfair.

In the case of a hotel with lots of locked doors, I personally would not rest
until I'd tried every single one -- who knows which one might have an easter
egg hidden behind it. ;)

I don't think unlockable doors are necessarily a bad things in a game.. Think
about the mystery surrounding those locked doors in The Great White House.. I
think letting one of them give passage to the Cyclops Room actually spoiled the
atmosphere a little..

.\dam. [Team AMIGA] //\ Ad...@darkside.demon.co.uk \//
> Homepage at http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/1225/

Adam Dawes

Feb 10, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/10/97

Hi Kathleen!

>> tell bell boy 1
KF> The bell boy nods and push the button for the first floor...

I personally find this rather irritating, though..! Perhaps if dressed up
enough to be funny it would work, but otherwise I want to be able to get to the
other floors!

Being told in Curses that I can't push my way through crowds of people provokes
the same response. I know I'm basically being told, "Don't worry, you don't
need to go that way," but if there's something there (in game-world reality,
not necessarily in the game), I want to see it!

James Trischman

Feb 11, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/11/97

Whenever you write anything you have to consider your audience.
Most of us are going to write something that we would enjoy if
we were playing. Obviously there are different approaches. Some
like to brute force their way though a fairly complete world while
others want subtle hints to stear them back towards the right track.

Maybe a subtle approach is to make the descriptions get terse and
boring when you get away from the main thread of action.
I've always wondered if it's fair to allow the player to pick up
rocks, leaves, empty cola cans, etc. until he's carrying around
about 100 pounds of trash. It's sort of the same issue. In a
world that allows a realistic degree of freedom, there are going
to be 10-100 boring or useless things to do for every one that
moves the story along. This is always going to annoy the person
who wants to exercise every path in the program.

By the way:
I've had a wonderful time exploring hotels with out ever going into
a guest room. Any of the big Victorian Hotels like the Hotel del
Coronado in San Diego or the Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta are great
examples to go see. You need a map to find you way around the shops,
restaurants, bars, dining room, pools, spas, baconies... That's without
even exploring the employee only parts.
If I had started barging into guest rooms I'm sure a security
type would have bounced me out pretty soon. Anyway I've found that
hotel rooms are pretty much the most boring part.


Den of Iniquity

Feb 12, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/12/97

On Mon, 10 Feb 1997, Adam Dawes wrote:

>In the case of a hotel with lots of locked doors, I personally would not rest
>until I'd tried every single one -- who knows which one might have an easter
>egg hidden behind it. ;)

Has anyone come across a game called Damocles (Mercenary II) by Novagen?
It may have been out for other systems but I only know it from the Amiga.
It's one of those first person 3D games which lies as close to adventure
and exploration as any other genre. The aim of the game is to save the
main, populated planet of a solar system from a comet on direct collision
course. There are a few solutions to the game one or two of which are
quite interesting in their own right but are irrelevant here.

One planet (or planetoid) in the game (I forget) is completely covered
with pyramids. Millions of them, equally spaced, all identical but for an
eight figure identification number written in huge numbers round its four
corners. If you wanted to explore every single pyramid you could - it
would take thousands of years in real time, and only one of them contained
the magic ancient artefact (one of the (very) alternative solutions -
again, my memory fails me as to what it is and how it works).

The trick was lying on another nearby planet(oid) with similar Egyptian
architecture - one sphynx (I think) had a bizarre set of eight hieroglyphs
tucked away in it and another building had eight or nine storeys - with a
different hieroglyph on each floor - one for 0, one for 1, one for 2, etc,
etc - finding the ancient magic artefact was then a matter of minutes.
(Finding the pyramid even with nice sequential numbers is still quite time
consuming because you have to be slow down to point your ship to read the
number and then figure out which way the numbers descend and ascend and so

Of course this kind of excess, quite the opposite of minimalism, is so
much easier to do in the in-yer-face 3D environment, but often this kind
of repetition of empty buidings (as can be found all over the place in the
solar system) seems to make the task of finding the requisite items
(explosives and the like) nearly impossible. There are clues to tell you
which buidings to go to, and named buildings are ten times more useful to
search than unnamed, but all the same it did often make me feel weirdly
agoraphobic. A great game for Easter Eggs though. One solution was to find
'the author's computer...'


Jason Compton

Feb 12, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/12/97

Well, speaking of minimalism, perhaps everyone should play Pick Up the
Phone Booth and Die and THEN re-evaluate what "minimalist" is. One room,
one manipulable object, one puzzle, yet STILL a good game. :)

Jason Compton jcom...@xnet.com
Editor-in-Chief, Amiga Report Magazine (847) 741-0689 FAX
AR on Aminet - docs/mags/ar???.lha WWW - http://www.cucug.org/ar/
Pythagoras with the looking glass... ...reflects the full moon.

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