suggested readings

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Rodney Waldhoff

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Jan 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/21/97
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I have recently been reading the Whizzard's Guide to Text Adventure
Authorship by G. Kevin Wilson (available from ftp.gmd.de) in which he
suggests a number of works that he considers to be "required reading" for
would-be i-f authors. In particular, Mr. Wilson suggests:

* J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit"
* Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
* Peter Beagle's "The Last Unicorn"
* William Gibson's "Neuromancer"
* Arthur Conan Doyle's "Sherlock Holmes" series

Which seems to be representative of most i-f genres, including sword-and-
sorcery/fantasy, humor/sci-fi, cyberpunk and detective/historical fiction.
(I'm afraid I've never heard of Beagle or "The Last Unicorn"--fantasy,
I gather?)

I was intrigued by these comments for I, as a would-be i-f author, have
been doing a bit of research and searching for inspiration, and have
discovered some works that seem to be particularly good examples of style,
atmosphere, plot development, etc. for interactive fiction.

I've primarily been looking at the detective genre, so of course we have
Dolye's Sherlock Holmes series. To this I would add:

* Edgar Allen Poe's mysteries:
"The Murders in the Rue Morgue", "The Mystery of
Marie Roget", "The Gold Bug" and "The Purloined Letter"

More importantly I think both these authors offer something to i-f writers
in any genre. Specifically,
* Doyle's "The Adventure of Silver Blaze"
for its red herrings, excellent distribution of clues and an
ending that (imho) strikes a perfect balance between surprise and
foreshadowing
* Poe's "The Man of the Crowd", "The Oblong Box", and above all, "The
Oval Portrait"
as examples of the power and depth of the description of objects

Similarly, I would suggest that theater is (or should be) a closer
relative of i-f than most novels, but maybe that's because I wish I could
see more meaningful/useful dialogue. And of course we had interactive
theater long before interactive novels...

To bring this long post to a conclusion, I wonder if anyone else has any
suggested readings for i-f authors. Note that these could be tied to
specific genres or, even better, for any i-f author.

Any comments?
--rod w.

Paul O'Brian

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Jan 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/21/97
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On Tue, 21 Jan 1997, Andrew Plotkin wrote:

> Everyone's going to hate me, but I think Piers Anthony is a great author
> to read for IF writers. He's inexhaustibly fixated on puzzles,
> *especially* IF-type puzzles, especially ones with clever,
> hidden-but-logical solutions. And puzzle-oriented use of magic. And if he
> preaches a lot, well, we've been talking about intertwining morality, IF,
> and puzzles, haven't we?

I concur. In fact, I mentioned at the end of "Claw" that the fortress'
three tests were Anthony-influenced. I was reading the "Incarnations"
series during the writing of "Claw" and was amazed at how closely some of
Anthony's work aligned with IF tropes. (For example, the incarnations in
the first few books get a magic object which symbolizes their power, and
which can influence the world when it is pushed, pulled, turned, spun,
etc.) They read almost like novels adapted from pieces of IF! (Now,
*there's* a genre we haven't yet seen revived.)

I know there was a graphical IF game based on Anthony. Out of curiousity,
do those of you who've played it think it lived up to Anthony's potential
as a great author for adaptation into IF?

Paul O'Brian obr...@ucsu.colorado.edu
"It makes no difference which one of us you vote for! Your planet is
doomed! DOOMED!"
-- Kodos


Stephen Granade

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Jan 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/21/97
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Rodney Waldhoff wrote:
> >> (I'm afraid I've never heard of Beagle or "The Last Unicorn"--fantasy,
> >> I gather?)

To which Andrew Plotkin replied:
> >Yeah. Schmendrick the Magician! Read it.

Then Kevin Soucy said:
> Or rent it....the animated movie is at long last avalable on video.

Are you sure the movie hasn't been available on video previously? The first
video I remember renting when my parents bought a VCR in '85 or so was
"The Last Unicorn."

Stephen

--
Stephen Granade | "It takes character to withstand the
sgra...@phy.duke.edu | rigors of indolence."
Duke University, Physics Dept | -- from _The Madness of King George_


Andrew Plotkin

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Jan 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/21/97
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Rodney Waldhoff (rw...@bard.edu) wrote:
> I have recently been reading the Whizzard's Guide to Text Adventure
> Authorship by G. Kevin Wilson (available from ftp.gmd.de) in which he
> suggests a number of works that he considers to be "required reading" for
> would-be i-f authors. In particular, Mr. Wilson suggests:

> * J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit"
> * Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
> * Peter Beagle's "The Last Unicorn"
> * William Gibson's "Neuromancer"
> * Arthur Conan Doyle's "Sherlock Holmes" series

> Which seems to be representative of most i-f genres, including sword-and-
> sorcery/fantasy, humor/sci-fi, cyberpunk and detective/historical fiction.

> (I'm afraid I've never heard of Beagle or "The Last Unicorn"--fantasy,
> I gather?)

Yeah. Schmendrick the Magician! Read it.

I think this is more a reading list for would-be genre authors (mystery,
fantasy, SF) *regardless* of whether it's IF or static fiction. And very
minimal for that, of course. I'd add all my favorite authors, but I've
listed them before.

> I was intrigued by these comments for I, as a would-be i-f author, have
> been doing a bit of research and searching for inspiration, and have
> discovered some works that seem to be particularly good examples of style,
> atmosphere, plot development, etc. for interactive fiction.

> I've primarily been looking at the detective genre, so of course we have
> Dolye's Sherlock Holmes series. To this I would add:

> * Edgar Allen Poe's mysteries:
> "The Murders in the Rue Morgue", "The Mystery of
> Marie Roget", "The Gold Bug" and "The Purloined Letter"

Sure (actualy I'm a weasel, since I haven't read much Poe. But Poe's
horror writing was excellently adapted to a graphic IF work, _The Dark
Eye_.)

> More importantly I think both these authors offer something to i-f writers
> in any genre. Specifically,
> * Doyle's "The Adventure of Silver Blaze"
> for its red herrings, excellent distribution of clues and an
> ending that (imho) strikes a perfect balance between surprise and
> foreshadowing
> * Poe's "The Man of the Crowd", "The Oblong Box", and above all, "The
> Oval Portrait"
> as examples of the power and depth of the description of objects

What, these are limited to IF? But the points are good.

One of the reasons I keep recommending Cherryh and McKillip (ok, I gave
in to temptation) is that they can pack tremendous amounts of information
(and emotion) into single sentences. A useful talent in an IF work, where
big screenfuls of text annoy the reader. ("reader" == "me".)

> Similarly, I would suggest that theater is (or should be) a closer
> relative of i-f than most novels, but maybe that's because I wish I could
> see more meaningful/useful dialogue. And of course we had interactive
> theater long before interactive novels...

My uncle is studying interactive theater in New York somewhere... I
talked with him about it a little. Conclusion was that you can't transfer
the good stuff to computers until we invent AI. Of course.

Everyone's going to hate me, but I think Piers Anthony is a great author
to read for IF writers. He's inexhaustibly fixated on puzzles,
*especially* IF-type puzzles, especially ones with clever,
hidden-but-logical solutions. And puzzle-oriented use of magic. And if he
preaches a lot, well, we've been talking about intertwining morality, IF,
and puzzles, haven't we?

Mind you, I haven't read any Anthony myself for years. I got started
early, while he was still an original and creative writer. And I've done
my time reading his later stuff. :) But pull down, I don't know, the first
three or six Xanth books, the first three Proton/Phaze books, the first
three Incarnations books. (Ok, skip to the end of the third. It's got a
couple of good game scenarios.)

--Z

--

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

Kevin P. Soucy

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Jan 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/21/97
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erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) wrote:

>Rodney Waldhoff (rw...@bard.edu) wrote:
>> I have recently been reading the Whizzard's Guide to Text Adventure
>> Authorship by G. Kevin Wilson (available from ftp.gmd.de) in which he
>> suggests a number of works that he considers to be "required reading" for
>> would-be i-f authors. In particular, Mr. Wilson suggests:

>> * J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit"
>> * Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
>> * Peter Beagle's "The Last Unicorn"
>> * William Gibson's "Neuromancer"
>> * Arthur Conan Doyle's "Sherlock Holmes" series

>> Which seems to be representative of most i-f genres, including sword-and-
>> sorcery/fantasy, humor/sci-fi, cyberpunk and detective/historical fiction.
>> (I'm afraid I've never heard of Beagle or "The Last Unicorn"--fantasy,
>> I gather?)

>Yeah. Schmendrick the Magician! Read it.

Or rent it....the animated movie is at long last avalable on video.

>I think this is more a reading list for would-be genre authors (mystery,

>fantasy, SF) *regardless* of whether it's IF or static fiction. And very
>minimal for that, of course. I'd add all my favorite authors, but I've
>listed them before.

Well, here's a few of mine:

Stephen King. Great for "Normal person trapped in a bad situation"
ideas (Misery, Gerald's Game) and "haunted building" (The
Shining....and don't cheat on this one. Stanly Kubrick's film pales in
comparison to the book.)

Michael Crichton. He pays close attention to technical detail in many
of his novels which are dubbed "Techno-thrillers". There's "Jurassic
Park", the ultimate story of man screwing around with nature and
getting bit in the ass for his trouble.<G> "Disclosure" was a good
mystery with sexual harassment undertones. And don't forget the movie
"Westworld" with Yul Brenner. Crichton directed that movie...another
tale of an amusement park gone haywire. (Robotic cowboys begin
tormenting the tourists.)

Wendy & Richard Pini. One word...."ElfQuest" Even though it's in
comic book format, it is still the most epic story I will probably
ever read. Large ensamble cast, great mix of action, adventure,
romance, and humor. The world of the story really pulls you in and it
isn't very hard to imagine an IF game set in that world. (Heck, there
is a MUSH or two on the Internet already.)

Any of the Star Wars and Star Trek stories can be good sources of
inspiration if you're writing an IF space opera, as well as Sierra's
graphical Space Quest games. (Ok, the hero's an intergalactic janitor
who gets into a variety of bad situations.....most hilarious is Space
Quest 4 which deals with time travel and has the hero end up in future
and past Space Quest games.<G> Kinda like the flashback area in Zork
3.)

>Everyone's going to hate me, but I think Piers Anthony is a great author
>to read for IF writers. He's inexhaustibly fixated on puzzles,
>*especially* IF-type puzzles, especially ones with clever,
>hidden-but-logical solutions. And puzzle-oriented use of magic. And if he
>preaches a lot, well, we've been talking about intertwining morality, IF,
>and puzzles, haven't we?

Why would everyone hate you? I read Anthony myself and yes, he is
also a good source of inspiration for IF authors. Check out
"Killobyte", the "Mode" series, any of the "Xanth" series, and all of
the "Incarnations" series. I think a series of games based on
Incarnations is very possible....think about it! You get to be
Death!!!<G> (And Time, and Fate, and War, and Nature, and even
Satan!<G>)

"The AGT/AGATE Guy"

Stee...@Mindspring.Com


Neil Bowers

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Jan 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/21/97
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Rodney Waldhoff <rw...@bard.edu> wrote:
: I have recently been reading the Whizzard's Guide to Text Adventure
: Authorship by G. Kevin Wilson [...] In particular, Mr. Wilson suggests:
: * "The Hobbit" * "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
: * "The Last Unicorn" * "Neuromancer"
: * "Sherlock Holmes"
:
: I've primarily been looking at the detective genre, so of course we have
: Dolye's Sherlock Holmes series. [...]
: I wonder if anyone else has any suggested readings for i-f authors. [...]

Raymond Chandler, "The Big Sleep"
For writers of hard-boiled detective IF.

neilb
--
Software development means never having to say you're finished -- Unknown

Aquarius

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Jan 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/22/97
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Rodney Waldhoff (rw...@bard.edu) spoo'd forth:

: More importantly I think both these authors offer something to i-f writers
: in any genre. Specifically,
: * Poe's "The Man of the Crowd", "The Oblong Box", and above all, "The


: Oval Portrait"
: as examples of the power and depth of the description of objects

Probably we should have "The Cask of Amontillado" to remind one of the
feeling that there was something you should have done a long time ago,
but forgot, and now you can't finish the game :-)


Aquarius

--
"The grand plan that is Aquarius proceeds apace." - 'Ronin', Frank Miller.
----aqua...@cryogen.com | http://www.netforward.com/cryogen/?aquarius----
I would not bet against the existence of time machines. My opponent might
------ have seen the future and know the answer. - Stephen Hawking -------

Laurel Halbany

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Jan 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/23/97
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erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) wrote:

>Everyone's going to hate me, but I think Piers Anthony is a great author
>to read for IF writers. He's inexhaustibly fixated on puzzles,
>*especially* IF-type puzzles, especially ones with clever,
>hidden-but-logical solutions. And puzzle-oriented use of magic. And if he
>preaches a lot, well, we've been talking about intertwining morality, IF,
>and puzzles, haven't we?

He's pretty awful when it comes to character development and
motivation, though. I wouldn't recommend anybody pick up an Anthony
book when considering coding up an NPC.

----------------------------------------------------------
Laurel Halbany
myt...@agora.rdrop.com
http://www.rdrop.com/users/mythago/

Andrew Plotkin

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Jan 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/23/97
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Laurel Halbany (myt...@agora.rdrop.com) wrote:
> erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) wrote:

> >Everyone's going to hate me, but I think Piers Anthony is a great author
> >to read for IF writers. He's inexhaustibly fixated on puzzles,
> >*especially* IF-type puzzles, especially ones with clever,
> >hidden-but-logical solutions. And puzzle-oriented use of magic. And if he
> >preaches a lot, well, we've been talking about intertwining morality, IF,
> >and puzzles, haven't we?

> He's pretty awful when it comes to character development and
> motivation, though.

Simplistic, not necessarily awful, at least in the earlier stuff.

> I wouldn't recommend anybody pick up an Anthony
> book when considering coding up an NPC.

Well, it depends what you mean. When you're *writing* an NPC, I'd want
something more interesting than Anthony's characters. When you're *coding*
an NPC, though, our technology is primitive enough that we have to do
pretty mechanical, predictable behavior. Sound familiar? :-)

I'm not just being facile, here. Some kinds of puzzles (and other
scripted events) have NPCs that act algorithmically -- either simple
mechanism, or a predictable kind of reaction to story or player events.
Anthony *does* do that kind of character in his books.

Peter Berger

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Jan 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/23/97
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Medeival:
Bocaccio's "Decameron".
Tuchman's, "A Distant Mirror"

--
Pete Berger, Esq.
Coordinator, Regional Information Infrastructure
Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center
pet...@psc.edu http://www.psc.edu/~peterb

Peter Berger

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Jan 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/23/97
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In article <E4DGA...@canon.co.uk>, Neil Bowers <ne...@canon.co.uk> wrote:
>Rodney Waldhoff <rw...@bard.edu> wrote:
>: I have recently been reading the Whizzard's Guide to Text Adventure
>: Authorship by G. Kevin Wilson [...] In particular, Mr. Wilson suggests:
>: * "The Hobbit" * "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
>: * "The Last Unicorn" * "Neuromancer"
>: * "Sherlock Holmes"
>:
>: I've primarily been looking at the detective genre, so of course we have
>: Dolye's Sherlock Holmes series. [...]
>: I wonder if anyone else has any suggested readings for i-f authors. [...]
>
> Raymond Chandler, "The Big Sleep"
> For writers of hard-boiled detective IF.

Also, pretty much anything by Dashiell Hammett, particularly
_The Maltese Falcon_ and _The Glass Key_.

What I wouldn't give for an IF game with the economy of
style of Hammett.

WhirlJack

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Jan 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/24/97
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Kenneth Albanowski <kja...@kjahds.com> wrote:
> On the subject of fantasy movies, I'd also recommend the Rankin/Bass
> productions of The_Hobbit_ and _The_Lord_Of_The_Rings_, if you can find
> them. Although the latter cuts out most of the story, both are excellent
> productions, though probably of less worth from an I-F standpoint. The music
> and voice acting are superb, and shows a dimension that I-F doesn't have
> direct access to. (I've also heard of a Bakshi production of
> _The_Hobbit_, but have also heard it is bizarre and not worth watching.)

I hate to nitpick, but Rankin/Bass did "The Hobbit" and "The Return of the
King". Bakshi did "The Lord of the Rings", which does indeed leave a lot
of the story out -- including TRotK, which means it really doesn't have
much of an ending! and is, I suppose, why R/B were able to do their own
version of it, with a very catchy "The Road Goes Ever Ever On", though I
always have had soft spots for much of this music -- I had it on an album
as a child -- "Down, Down to Goblin-town" and "Where There's A Whip"
especially -- and damn, if this isn't one impossible sentence. Bakshi's
movie is, indeed, bizarre, but I think it's worth seeing just to see two
different ways of telling the same story. I once watched all three in a
row and it was interesting.

--

WhirlJack -- cinn...@io.com -- http://www.io.com/~cinnamon/
Some things are just pictures; they're scenes before your eyes.

Gareth Rees

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Jan 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/24/97
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Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
> [Piers Anthony a good source of material for IF]

I agree with Andrew. Piers Anthony's novels may be unreadably bad, but
precisely because of their poor characterisation and absurd wandering
puzzle-driven plots they would make good adventure-game fodder.

For example, in "With a Tangled Skein" (1985), the heroine saves the
universe by remembering how to find one crooked coin among twelve in
only three weighings on a set of balances; this is the kind of absurdity
one could only put up with in an adventure game.

(As the author of an adventure game in which you need to win a game of
two-by-two dots and boxes, I feel bound to point out that Anthony's
analysis of said game in the novel "Golem in the Gears" (1986) is
completely incorrect. Why didn't he hire a consultant?)

--
Gareth Rees

Andrew Plotkin

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Jan 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/24/97
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WhirlJack (cinn...@io.com) wrote:
> Kenneth Albanowski <kja...@kjahds.com> wrote:
> > On the subject of fantasy movies, I'd also recommend the Rankin/Bass
> > productions of The_Hobbit_ and _The_Lord_Of_The_Rings_, if you can find
> > them. Although the latter cuts out most of the story, both are excellent
> > productions, though probably of less worth from an I-F standpoint. The music
> > and voice acting are superb, and shows a dimension that I-F doesn't have
> > direct access to. (I've also heard of a Bakshi production of
> > _The_Hobbit_, but have also heard it is bizarre and not worth watching.)

> I hate to nitpick, but Rankin/Bass did "The Hobbit" and "The Return of the
> King". Bakshi did "The Lord of the Rings", which does indeed leave a lot
> of the story out -- including TRotK, which means it really doesn't have
> much of an ending!

I found that Bakshi did an extremely good job of finding the *important*
parts of the story and leaving them *in*. (Up to, as you said, the Battle
of Minas Tirith.)

I don't know if this has anything to IF anymore, but it was a great
adaptation of book to film. I wish he had done TRotK as well.

(Rankin/Bass's approach, with musical numbers, worked well for _The
Hobbit_ but was kind of disastrous for a trip through Mordor. Much as I
love the orcs singing "Where There's A Whip".)

Patrick Kellum

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Jan 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/24/97
to

For some reason, Paul O'Brian was chating and out came these words of greatness:

>I know there was a graphical IF game based on Anthony. Out of curiousity,
>do those of you who've played it think it lived up to Anthony's potential
>as a great author for adaptation into IF?

I played it once a while back. IMO, the only reason to get it is if your
a Piers Anthony fan. It could have been alot better with a little work.

Patrick
---

"Every weekday morning the school bell cast its glamour over the
surounding hills, calling the young to classes. They came running
down the slopes and leaping over the streams, out from caves and the
hollows of trees and suburban tract homes, impelled by powers greater
then their own to gain an education."
"The Iron Dragon's Daughter" by Michael Swanwick

Will Grzanich

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Jan 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/24/97
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I watched an old movie with my dad a while ago starring Peter O'Toole and
Audrey Hepburn entitled "How to Steal A Million." I think it'd be great
as a resource for IF writers; all through the film, I kept thinking to
myself, "Your score has just gone up." =) Especially when Peter broke
out of the closet he was locked in (anyone who's seen the film will know
what I mean).

Take care, all.

-Will
--
"All you need is love."
-John Lennon


Linards Ticmanis

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Jan 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/24/97
to

In article <5c92ep$a...@hoopoe.psc.edu>,

pet...@hoopoe.psc.edu (Peter Berger) wrote:
>
> In article <E4DGA...@canon.co.uk>, Neil Bowers <ne...@canon.co.uk> wrote:
> >Rodney Waldhoff <rw...@bard.edu> wrote:
> >: I have recently been reading the Whizzard's Guide to Text Adventure
> >: Authorship by G. Kevin Wilson [...] In particular, Mr. Wilson suggests:
> >: * "The Hobbit" * "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
> >: * "The Last Unicorn" * "Neuromancer"
> >: * "Sherlock Holmes"
> >:
> >: I've primarily been looking at the detective genre, so of course we have
> >: Dolye's Sherlock Holmes series. [...]
> >: I wonder if anyone else has any suggested readings for i-f authors. [...]
> >
> > Raymond Chandler, "The Big Sleep"
> > For writers of hard-boiled detective IF.
>
> Also, pretty much anything by Dashiell Hammett, particularly
> _The Maltese Falcon_ and _The Glass Key_.
>

Have you read "Miss Smilla's Sense of Snow" (Title is my translation, might be
a bit different) by the Danish Author Peter Hoeg (sorry, can't enter o slashed)
?

A great story, and lots of stuff is immediately IF-able IMHO.

(Sorry about DejaNews - our server is down ATM)


-------------------==== Posted via Deja News ====-----------------------
http://www.dejanews.com/ Search, Read, Post to Usenet

Russell Glasser

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Jan 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/24/97
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Andrew Plotkin wrote:
>
> Everyone's going to hate me, but I think Piers Anthony is a great author
> to read for IF writers. He's inexhaustibly fixated on puzzles,
> *especially* IF-type puzzles, especially ones with clever,
> hidden-but-logical solutions. And puzzle-oriented use of magic. And if he
> preaches a lot, well, we've been talking about intertwining morality, IF,
> and puzzles, haven't we?
> PLEASE tell me you made that comment without having played the
supremely awful "Companions of Xanth" from Legend.
--
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one
persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all
progress depends on the unreasonable man."
-- George Bernard Shaw

Russell can be heckled at
http://sdcc8.ucsd.edu/~rglasser

John Wood

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Jan 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/25/97
to

erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) writes:
> Everyone's going to hate me, but I think Piers Anthony is a great author
> to read for IF writers. He's inexhaustibly fixated on puzzles,
> *especially* IF-type puzzles, especially ones with clever,
> hidden-but-logical solutions. And puzzle-oriented use of magic. And if he
> preaches a lot, well, we've been talking about intertwining morality, IF,
> and puzzles, haven't we?

Cheer up - I don't hate you. ;-)
He may not be a master of prose, but as you say he's a marvellous source
of ideas. And I don't find the preaching too bad, except when he's trying
to prove he's not sexist. (cringe!)

> Mind you, I haven't read any Anthony myself for years. I got started
> early, while he was still an original and creative writer. And I've done
> my time reading his later stuff. :) But pull down, I don't know, the first
> three or six Xanth books, the first three Proton/Phaze books, the first
> three Incarnations books. (Ok, skip to the end of the third. It's got a
> couple of good game scenarios.)

Sounds like you stopped reading at about the right point. I'd quit
Xanth earlier than six, except as an "ideas mine", but I'd also include
another earlier series - his Cluster books. _Chaining The Lady_ even has
a lead heroine who behaves like a normal human being...

If you're into heavy symbolism, it's worth wading through _Tarot_. It's
a great showcase for his "system design" abilities, though cringeworthy
at times. I'd love to see a game based on this one.

Incidentally, how many of you played a game called _The Case of the
Missing Shymer_? It was based on nursery rhymes, and had an
"alternative" logic that gave it a lot of charm, in spite of some
shortcomings from a technical point of view. Written using STAC, IIRC -
I mention it because it had a dreamlike quality that should probably
come across in a _Tarot_ game.


On another note: P.J. Farmer's _World of Tiers_ would make a great
setting for an adventure, though the plot might be harder unless you
(a) stick closely to the books, or (b) toss them out completely.
Again, it's puzzle-oriented fiction.

John


David Glasser

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Jan 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/26/97
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In article <yxssp3r...@stint.cl.cam.ac.uk>,
Yes! It _was_ wrong! I've been trying to figure out what was wrong with my reasoning about that scene for a year!
>
> --
> Gareth Rees
>


Andrew Plotkin

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Jan 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/26/97
to

Russell Glasser (rgla...@penning.lanl.gov) wrote:

> Andrew Plotkin wrote:
> >
> > Everyone's going to hate me, but I think Piers Anthony is a great author
> > to read for IF writers. He's inexhaustibly fixated on puzzles,
> > *especially* IF-type puzzles, especially ones with clever,
> > hidden-but-logical solutions. And puzzle-oriented use of magic. And if he
> > preaches a lot, well, we've been talking about intertwining morality, IF,
> > and puzzles, haven't we?

> PLEASE tell me you made that comment without having played the

> supremely awful "Companions of Xanth" from Legend.

I've never played it. (It takes me time and effort to arrange to play
IBM-only games.) However, the commercial IF market is a different thing
than it was. I think Anthony would have made a great 80's-text-game
author -- because he would have been either writing the entire game
single-handed, or collaborating with a programmer, as Adams did for
_Hitchhiker_.

I have no idea how much input Anthony had into the Legend game. Somewhere
in between full plot design and just licensing his copyrighted characters,
I assume. But I would be very surprised if he designed all the puzzles
and their implementation himself.

Dan Shiovitz

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Jan 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/26/97
to

In article <MacWeb26J...@207.41.27.101>,

I remember the illustration was wrong, but I don't remember that the
word description of the game was incorrect.

>> Gareth Rees
--
dan shiovitz scy...@u.washington.edu sh...@cs.washington.edu
slightly lost author/programmer in a world of more creative or more
sensible people ... remember to speak up for freedom because no one else
will do it for you: use it or lose it ... carpe diem -- be proactive.
my web site: http://weber.u.washington.edu/~scythe/home.html some ok stuff.

Gregory LeBaron

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Jan 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/27/97
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On Tue, 21 Jan 1997 16:35:03 GMT, erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin)
wrote:

>Rodney Waldhoff (rw...@bard.edu) wrote:
>> (I'm afraid I've never heard of Beagle or "The Last Unicorn"--fantasy,
>> I gather?)

I remember reading that one in Grade 7. That would be around 1964.
I've seen it in stores but it might not be easy to find. It was the
first fantasy I'd ever read.

>> I've primarily been looking at the detective genre, so of course we have

>> Dolye's Sherlock Holmes series. To this I would add:

I'm not sure how appropriate this suggestion is to the I-F genre but
the short stories of Somerset Maughm are perfect gems. I recommend
them for the quality of their story structure rather than their
adaptibility to the IF genre.

The books recommended in the original posting seemed more like
research material into the sci-fi/fantasy world, much as a book on
Native American Indian legends would be for a story about a tribe of
Navaho.


Linards Ticmanis

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Jan 31, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/31/97
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John Wood wrote:


> On another note: P.J. Farmer's _World of Tiers_ would make a great
> setting for an adventure, though the plot might be harder unless you
> (a) stick closely to the books, or (b) toss them out completely.
> Again, it's puzzle-oriented fiction.

Well, although it's 13 years ago I read this I remember the first part
being very interesting, with the Jadawin guy slowly discovering that he
isn't just some ordinary mortal thrown into this world. The second part
was still kind of cool, but the three parts that focused on the other
guy (whatsisname? Kikaha or so) weren't worth it IMHO, also there was a
certain anal fixation that got more and more annoying towards the end of
the series.

Am I talking about the right book ? I read it in German, but the title
sounds right. If you don't know what I'm saying please just forget it.

--

Linards Ticmanis

<A HREF="mailto:tic...@reze-1.rz.rwth-aachen.de">
tic...@reze-1.rz.rwth-aachen.de</A>

<BRIBE> me. I'll leave.

Edan Harel

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Feb 1, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/1/97
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rw...@bard.edu (Rodney Waldhoff) writes:

[Snip IF-like books]

>I've primarily been looking at the detective genre, so of course we have
>Dolye's Sherlock Holmes series. To this I would add:

> * Edgar Allen Poe's mysteries:


> "The Murders in the Rue Morgue", "The Mystery of
> Marie Roget", "The Gold Bug" and "The Purloined Letter"

The Gold Bug, and perhaps the Purloined later, but I don't think Rue
Morgue should be there.

Also, I would suggest Sue Grafton's ABC series. While a lot
of them have a simmilar format, her climaxs would be excellent
as text adventure climaxs (especially C for Corpse). Also,
theres annother writer who's name eludes me who wrote a couple
of Computer related mysteries. One was called, I think, Love Bytes.
The other also had a simmilar, badly punny title.

Also, for fantasy, Tracy Hickman and Margret Weiss are great.

For Sci Fi, the only thing that I can think of is Christopher's Tripod
Trilogy. And his other works.

>Similarly, I would suggest that theater is (or should be) a closer
>relative of i-f than most novels, but maybe that's because I wish I could
>see more meaningful/useful dialogue. And of course we had interactive
>theater long before interactive novels...

Movies?
Seven (I think someone said something like this when it came out)
Clue. :) Any old cliched b&w mystery movie. (Maltese falcon,
Big Sleep, Charlie Chan, Mr Moto, etc).
13 monkey's (although I disliked parts of the movie, like the whole last half hour) could be a really well done IF piece... speciallyif the player gets
lots of freedom..
Princess Bride
It's a mad, mad, mad world
And with the great multitude of (IMHO, but Ive only played a few, bland)
Collegiate IF-games, I'd love to see one in the style of Dead Poet's
Society, or The Waterlands.
--
*********Edan Harel******edh...@remus.rutgers.edu*****AKA Bozzie************
Math & CS Major * http://remus.rutgers.edu/~edharel * Computer Consultant
"Structure is the essence of matter, and the essence of structure
is mathematics." - The Monitor [_Doctor Who: Logopolis_]

John Wood

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Feb 2, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/2/97
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Linards Ticmanis <Linards....@post.rwth-aachen.de> writes:
> John Wood wrote:
>
> > On another note: P.J. Farmer's _World of Tiers_ would make a great
> > setting for an adventure [snip]

>
> Well, although it's 13 years ago I read this I remember the first part
> being very interesting, with the Jadawin guy slowly discovering that he
> isn't just some ordinary mortal thrown into this world. The second part
> was still kind of cool, but the three parts that focused on the other
> guy (whatsisname? Kikaha or so) weren't worth it IMHO, also there was a
> certain anal fixation that got more and more annoying towards the end of
> the series.
>
> Am I talking about the right book ? I read it in German, but the title
> sounds right. If you don't know what I'm saying please just forget it.

"Kickaha", and yes, that's the one. I agree the first book was the best
from a literary POV, but _The Lavalite World_ is a mine of traps and
puzzles for the game writer (or GM).
[Hey, Jools! You weren't thinking of this when you created the Red Jelly
Plain, were you?]

Mind you, it's been a good few years since I've read them too - at least
eight - so I don't know what I'd think of them now.

John

Rick Dague

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Feb 2, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/2/97
to

I found the following quote from _The Maltese Falcon_ by Dashiell
Hammett, and of course thought of this newsgroup. It seems to be an
example of _exactly_ what we're trying to do in I-F: building up
verisimilitude by having the computer automatically generate tons of
text. (There's also the perverse pleasure of going through someone elses
pockets.)

The copyright notice at the front of the book is "Copyright 1964 by
Alred A. Knopf, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be
reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher,
except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review to be
printed in a magazine or newspaper."

It was published in 1930. When was "Colossal Cave" written? 1982?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

. . . Spade emptied the unconscious man's pockets one by one, working
methodically, moving the lax body when necessary, making a pile of the
pockets' contents on the desk. When the last pocket had been turned out
he returned to his own chair, rolled and lighted a cigarette, and began
to examine his spoils. He examined them with grave unhurried
thoroughness.

There was a large wallet of dark soft leather. The wallet contained
three hundred and sixty-five dollars in United States bills of several
sizes; three five-pound notes; a much-visaed Greek passport bearing
Cairo's name and portrait; five folded sheets of pinkish onion-skin
paper covered with what seemed to be Arabic writing; a raggedly clipped
newspaper-account of the finding of Archer's and Thursby's bodies; a
post-card-photograph of a dusky woman with cold cruel eyes and a tender
drooping mouth; a large silk handkerchief, yellow with age and somewhat
cracked along its folds; a thin sheaf of Mr. Joel Cairo's engraved
cards; and a ticket for an orchestra seat at the Geary Theatre that
evening.

Besides the wallet and its contents there were three gaily colored silk
handkerchiefs fragrant of _chypre_; a platinum Longines watch on a
platinum and red gold chain, attached at the other end to a small
pear-shaped pendant of some white metal; a handful of United States,
British, French, and Chinese coins; a ring holding half a dozen keys; a
silver and onyx fountain-pen; a metal comb in a leatherette case; a
nail-file in a leatherette case; a small street-guide to San Francisco;
a Southern Pacific baggage-check; a half-filled package of violet
pastilles; a Shanghai insurance-broker's business-card; and four sheets
of Hotel Belvedere writing paper, on one of which was written in small
precise letters Samuel Spade's name and the addresses of his office and
his apartment.

Having examined these articles carefully--he even opened the back of the
watch-case to see that nothing was hidden inside--Spade leaned over and
took the unconscious man's wrist between finger and thumb, feeling his
pulse . . .

Andrew Plotkin

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

Rick Dague (bifu...@geocities.com) wrote:
> I found the following quote from _The Maltese Falcon_ by Dashiell
> Hammett, and of course thought of this newsgroup. It seems to be an
> example of _exactly_ what we're trying to do in I-F: building up
> verisimilitude by having the computer automatically generate tons of
> text. (There's also the perverse pleasure of going through someone elses
> pockets.)

Heh. (*Some* of what we're trying to do in IF, though...)

I just finished _Hexwood_, by Diana Wynne Jones. She is the all-time
champion of creating a scenario in which there are rules, and hints about
the rules, and it all *makes sense* at the end, without *anything* ever
being made explicit.

That's a lot of what *I* am trying to do in IF.

By the same author, _Homeward Bounders_, and _Fire and Hemlock_.

Those of you that already saw this post on rec.arts.sf.written, I
apologize. But not very much, because these are all great books.

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