About IF and Gamebooks

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JB

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Apr 19, 2007, 12:29:21 PM4/19/07
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Hi fellow writers

I wonder : what can be done through an inform-based IF that can't be
done through a gamebook ?

Thanks for your answer.

JB

markw...@myway.com

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Apr 19, 2007, 3:11:50 PM4/19/07
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What do you mean by a gamebook?

David Fisher

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Apr 19, 2007, 4:12:18 PM4/19/07
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"JB" <lej...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1177000161.0...@b58g2000hsg.googlegroups.com...

> Hi fellow writers
>
> I wonder : what can be done through an inform-based IF that can't be
> done through a gamebook ?

I assume you mean a "Choose Your Own Adventure" type of gamebook ...

There are a lot of puzzles whose solution would be given away if it was
included in a list of options - for example, the maze in Photopia (rot13
spoiler: Lbh arrq gb ernyvfr lbh unir jvatf naq tb hc).

A gamebook can't keep track of past events very well, either - for example,
the location of everything you have dropped (or any other changes you have
made to the game world), the number of times you have met someone, or how
long you have been in a room. The book could ask you to keep track of these
things with pen and paper, but it kind of defeats the purpose ... this kind
of information is usually used in "behind the scenes" calculations that the
player shouldn't know about at the time.

Experimentation with objects is also very limited in a gamebook - in
computer based IF, you can try out whatever verbs you can think of. To do
the same thing in a book would mean having a list of 20+ options for each
object you come across (not to mention combinations of objects - "cut rope
with shard", etc.).

Just some thoughts,

David Fisher


JB

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Apr 19, 2007, 4:58:15 PM4/19/07
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Hi David,

Thank you for your answer. Indeed I was talking about gamebooks like
"Creature From Havoc".

I was wondering if there was something that couldn't be done on
paper.

But actually, if you have enough pages in your book, you may have the
same liberty you have in a inform game.

Those two ways to tell a story are a little bit different and a little
bit the same ; i would like to grasp the best of the both, to better
tell better stories :-)

JB

JB

Jeff Nyman

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Apr 19, 2007, 5:09:21 PM4/19/07
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"JB" <lej...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1177016295.0...@e65g2000hsc.googlegroups.com...

> I was wondering if there was something that couldn't be done on
> paper.

You can't have the paper (the book) respond to you in the same way that a
text-based interactive fiction game can. Your interaction with such books is
not quite as passive as it is with a static novel or short story but it's
definitely not as active as you would get in terms of most
interactive-fiction games.

(Caveat: some games do force you into such a linear path that it's barely
different than a Choose Your Own Adventure Game in that sense.)

> But actually, if you have enough pages in your book, you may have the
> same liberty you have in a inform game.

But the nature of the interaction is still different and so you would have
differences in how both things are "played", regardless of how many pages
you have in your book. Speaking as an author, you do have liberty to craft
situations in both types, but speaking as a player, the interaction model is
largely different.

> Those two ways to tell a story are a little bit different and a little
> bit the same ; i would like to grasp the best of the both, to better
> tell better stories :-)

So, it seems the way to start, based on what you just said, is to list those
things that you see as different and those that you see as the same. I'm
currently looking at ideas of "telling better stories" as well and one thing
I have to constantly do is keep in mind what elements I'm dealing with so
that I can judge them relative to what I end up deciding "better story"
means.

- Jeff


Victor Gijsbers

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Apr 19, 2007, 5:10:58 PM4/19/07
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JB wrote:

> I wonder : what can be done through an inform-based IF that can't be
> done through a gamebook ?
>
> Thanks for your answer.

You might be interested in two of my blog posts, which are about the
difference between menu-based and parser-based choices:

http://gamingphilosopher.blogspot.com/2007/02/if-veiled-and-unveiled-spaces-of.html
http://gamingphilosopher.blogspot.com/2007/02/if-veiling-and-unveiling-i.html

Regards,
Victor

David Doty

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Apr 19, 2007, 5:40:55 PM4/19/07
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JB <lej...@gmail.com> wrote in news:1177016295.034714.220870
@e65g2000hsc.googlegroups.com:

> But actually, if you have enough pages in your book, you may have the
> same liberty you have in a inform game.

True, but for some of the more complex games, you'd have to have *millions*
of pages to account for all of the permutations. It's a fairly impractical
idea, therefore counts a a difference in practice, even if you can make a
semantic, hypothetical scenario in which both are equal.

Plus, IF presents more of a *sense* of freedom, that you can try anything
by typing anything, that you're the driving force behind the story.
Obviously, you're limited by what the programmer actually implemented. And
if you're willing to produce a 200-volume gamebook, you might be able to
offer just as many possibilities. But A) would the reader wade through 5
pages of possible options to select one? and B) typing your own choices
FEELS freeer than selecting from a list of options.

I love both media, but there's no question that IF is the more immersive
and engaging.

Conrad

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Apr 19, 2007, 6:19:07 PM4/19/07
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On Apr 19, 12:29 pm, JB <lej...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi fellow writers
>
> I wonder : what can be done through an inform-based IF that can't be
> done through a gamebook ?

Have you ever played a work of interactive fiction? Have you ever
read a cyoa?

What were the differences?


Conrad.

Matthew

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Apr 19, 2007, 6:23:27 PM4/19/07
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Possibly of interest: There is an (out of print) series of game books
titled "Fabled Lands". There is a Yahoo group dedicated to this series
and the reproduction thereof. I have "played" one book from this
series myself and there are many interesting similarities and
differences between game books (which really could be considered
interactive fiction) and Inform based IF.

This type of game book is much more in depth than a choose your own
adventure type story. There are character attributes, inventories,
player stats, relationships, elements of random chance, freedom to
roam around and do what you want (within reason) and so forth.

A member of this Yahoo group has created an Inform version of books
1,3, and 4. So here we have a paper and electronic (Inform) version of
the same story/game.

-Matt

Ryusui

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Apr 19, 2007, 7:20:12 PM4/19/07
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I love a good CYOA. Where can I find these?

Picguy

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Apr 19, 2007, 10:03:57 PM4/19/07
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Ryusui <TheR...@gmail.com> wrote in news:1177024812.698224.42090
@l77g2000hsb.googlegroups.com:

> I love a good CYOA. Where can I find these?

We're drifting further off topic, but Project Aon has published electronic
editions of Joe Dever's Lone Wolf gamebooks, free and with formal
permission from Dever himself. They're up to, I think, volume 15, plus the
complete Grey Star spinoff series.

www.projectaon.org

David Fisher

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Apr 20, 2007, 12:38:51 AM4/20/07
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"Matthew" <mtw...@beakstar.com> wrote in message
news:1177021407....@e65g2000hsc.googlegroups.com...

> Possibly of interest: There is an (out of print) series of game books
> titled "Fabled Lands". There is a Yahoo group dedicated to this series
> and the reproduction thereof. I have "played" one book from this
> series myself and there are many interesting similarities and
> differences between game books (which really could be considered
> interactive fiction) and Inform based IF.
...

> A member of this Yahoo group has created an Inform version of books
> 1,3, and 4. So here we have a paper and electronic (Inform) version of
> the same story/game.

Is anyone aware of any IF that has been transformed into a gamebook / CYOA
(assuming it wasn't CYOA in the first place) ? It would be interesting to
read ...

Would you like to:

* Examine the mailbox? Turn to page 50.
* Open the mailbox? Turn to page 37.
* Walk north around the house? Turn to page 195.
* Walk south around the house? Turn to page 254.
* Walk west, into the forest? Turn to page 453.
* Try the door? Turn to page 212.
* Take inventory of your possessions? Turn to page 585.
* Drop something you are holding? Turn to page 290.
* Say "xyzzy"? Turn to page 898.
* Wait around to see if anything interesting happens? Turn to this page
again.

David Fisher


Matthew

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Apr 20, 2007, 12:49:49 AM4/20/07
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Join the Yahoo "fabled_lands" group.

Message has been deleted

Stephen Gilbert

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Apr 20, 2007, 7:41:47 AM4/20/07
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There seems to be a little confusing in the group over the term
"gamebook", as many people are equating it with Choose Your Own Adventure
books. CYOA is a type of gamebook, but most are more complex. A gamebook
generally employs CYOA-style choices, but also incorporates RPG elements
such as character statistics, items, weapons and the like, which the
player keeps track of on a chart. Dice or random number tables are needed
to play. Some, like the Lone Wolf series mentioned in another thread, have
you playing the same character over the course of the series, carrying
over your stats and items from book to book.

JB, I'd recommend that you play an assortment of IF and draw your own
conclusions. Emily Short maintains an IF literacy list that you might find
helpful: http://emshort.wordpress.com/reading-if/

Andrew Plotkin

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Apr 20, 2007, 11:56:26 AM4/20/07
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Here, niz <n...@infidel.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
>
> the zork series was adapted into gamebooks: see
> http://www.the-underdogs.info/showbook.php?id=24

Those appear to be set in the Zork universe, but they're not
adaptations of the Zork games. They have original stories, mechanics,
puzzles, actions, etc.

In other words, they don't address the question of how to adapt a
particular IF work into CYOA form.

--Z

--
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
If the Bush administration hasn't shipped you to Syria for interrogation, it's
for one reason: they don't feel like it. Not because you're innocent.

JB

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Apr 20, 2007, 6:35:37 PM4/20/07
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Hello,

My question may seem naive - it was hard to formulate in english. I
know about some Gamebooks, whether complex (my example about "Creature
from Havoc" wasn't that random, have you ever tried finished it ?) or
simple. I wrote some games using inform and before that, played a
couple of games too ;)

I read with attention the posts given by Victor Gijsbers and they gave
me some really interressing items to think about, so thanks you.

The exemple with the mailbox several posts earlier given by David
Fisher is not a 100% faithfull simulation of what could be inform as a
paper gamebook. For example, you could in an IF game "smell the
mailbox", "attack the mailbox"...however, how vas the possibilities
given by the standard librairies of Inform are, they are not
unlimited. As far as the efforts of the author go, you are always
somehow limited in IF : you are not only limited by the lexical and
Objects field, but by the nature of the fiction itself : since you are
told a story, you play within its limits.

Gamebooks seem to give less liberties to the player, but it focuses
only on the progress of the story, and I wondered if it could or not
give more emotion or pleasure (and thus, achieving a greater success)
than a standard IF.

JB


steve....@gmail.com

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Apr 20, 2007, 6:54:01 PM4/20/07
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JB writes:
> But actually, if you have enough pages in your book, you may have the
> same liberty you have in a inform game.

Heh, I have repeatedly heard the equivalent rationale for the Inform
language itself. As Graham has pointed out, "with a Turing machine,
you can simulate any programming approach with pretty much any other."
But that doesn't mean that all approaches are equal.

Conrad

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Apr 22, 2007, 12:46:53 AM4/22/07
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On Apr 19, 10:03 pm, Picguy <pic...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Ryusui <TheRyu...@gmail.com> wrote in news:1177024812.698224.42090

Thanks for the link.

There may be something more sophisticated than this out there (I'm not
well-surfed on this topic):

[http://www.sandman.connectfree.co.uk/prog/gamebook.htm]

This is a little editor that allows you to make (50-page) game-books.
The editor/player is free, game files can be locked, and you can keep
track of character stats and roll virtual dice if you like. It's a
nice setup if you want to put together one of the old Steve Jackson-
style gamebooks.

It can handle bitmaps, too, and export to html or rtf. It's well
thought-out.

It can't, however, provide you with any more than 50 pages: so longer
works need to be done in segments.


I'm not especially interested in writing in the gamebook format: but
I am using it to prototype a standard IF game for this Lovecraft
comp. I want to get as much writing and logic done as I can while I
try to wrestle the programming language into something like
submission. And the Game Book Player is quite nice for that purpose.

Again, there may be more sophisticated gamebook authoring software
available.


Conrad.

fel...@yahoo.com

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Apr 22, 2007, 2:59:15 AM4/22/07
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On Apr 22, 12:46 am, Conrad <conradc...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Again, there may be more sophisticated gamebook authoring software
> available.

How about Krister Fundin's MCA library for Inform 6?
It's on the if-archive, in the Infocom -> Compilers -> Inform 6 ->
-> Library -> Contributions subdirectory and looks nice enough.
There's also the more recent Tweebox, by Chris Klimas
(http://gimcrackd.com/etc/src/#Twee).

Felix


David Fisher

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Apr 22, 2007, 3:43:06 AM4/22/07
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"Matthew" <mtw...@beakstar.com> wrote in message
news:1177021407....@e65g2000hsc.googlegroups.com...
> Possibly of interest: There is an (out of print) series of game books
> titled "Fabled Lands". There is a Yahoo group dedicated to this series
> and the reproduction thereof. I have "played" one book from this
> series myself and there are many interesting similarities and
> differences between game books (which really could be considered
> interactive fiction) and Inform based IF.

I just had a play with book one of this series ... some thoughts:

Nice method for tracking player history - codewords. If something
significant happens such as being assigned a quest, completing a quest or
visiting an important location, you get assigned a codeword such as "aloft".
A later section might ask you if you have that codeword, which is a good way
of hiding unknowable information from the player.

There are a lot of random events (mostly "skill checks") that wouldn't work
well in IF ... in the gamebook, you are usually told what the possible
outcomes are. In IF, you can't tell when a one-off event is random. If you
try to climb a wall and fail, there is no way you could know that you had a
25% chance of success - it just looks like you can't climb the wall (and you
won't know to try again). I wonder if there is a way to change the normal IF
model and somehow inform the player that an event is random, and what
influences its chance of happening?

When the gamebook gives you several different options to choose from, it
feels a little bit like the TADS 3 conversation "topic inventory" - a list
of suggestions you might like to try (but without the option of trying
things not on the list). The advantage is that you can do things that would
be quite hard to express in an IF command, or would be too obscure to think
of (eg. "renounce worship of Lacuna"). The disadvantage is that you have
very limited options, and the player isn't allowed to try and figure out
options that aren't spelled out (or to try something unusual just to see
what happens).

The level of abstraction is also interesting. IF commands aren't usually at
the level of "explore the castle" - more like "n. n. up. open door." I
wonder what an IF game might look like with a mixture of these levels -
where you could "micro manage" when you wanted to, but also give broad, high
level commands ("n. e. enter boat. sail to Dweomer. assassinate king." -
well, maybe not that high level).

David Fisher

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Apr 22, 2007, 3:53:04 AM4/22/07
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"David Fisher" <da...@hsa.com.au> wrote in message
news:132m4dn...@corp.supernews.com...

> "Matthew" <mtw...@beakstar.com> wrote in message
> news:1177021407....@e65g2000hsc.googlegroups.com...
>> Possibly of interest: There is an (out of print) series of game books
>> titled "Fabled Lands". There is a Yahoo group dedicated to this series
>> and the reproduction thereof. I have "played" one book from this
>> series myself and there are many interesting similarities and
>> differences between game books (which really could be considered
>> interactive fiction) and Inform based IF.
>
> When the gamebook gives you several different options to choose from, it
> feels a little bit like the TADS 3 conversation "topic inventory" - a list
> of suggestions you might like to try (but without the option of trying
> things not on the list). The advantage is that you can do things that
> would be quite hard to express in an IF command, or would be too obscure
> to think of (eg. "renounce worship of Lacuna"). The disadvantage is that
> you have very limited options, and the player isn't allowed to try and
> figure out options that aren't spelled out (or to try something unusual
> just to see what happens).

I meant to add - an idea for hybrid CYOA / IF (similar to a conversation
system with a topic inventory):

You could be presented with a menu of options every turn (or maybe only upon
request, after typing "?"), but you are also allowed to enter an arbitrary
command as usual. Too weird ? Has this been done before ?

David Fisher


David Whyld

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Apr 22, 2007, 4:31:46 AM4/22/07
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On Apr 22, 8:43 am, "David Fisher" <d...@hsa.com.au> wrote:
> There are a lot of random events (mostly "skill checks") that wouldn't work
> well in IF ... in the gamebook, you are usually told what the possible
> outcomes are. In IF, you can't tell when a one-off event is random. If you
> try to climb a wall and fail, there is no way you could know that you had a
> 25% chance of success - it just looks like you can't climb the wall (and you
> won't know to try again). I wonder if there is a way to change the normal IF
> model and somehow inform the player that an event is random, and what
> influences its chance of happening?

Something like

"You attempt to climb the wall but slip and fall, landing at the
bottom with a painful thud. Something tells you another attempt might
be more successful."

might work.


Andrew Plotkin

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Apr 22, 2007, 10:46:25 AM4/22/07
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Here, David Fisher <da...@hsa.com.au> wrote:
>
> The level of abstraction is also interesting. IF commands aren't usually at
> the level of "explore the castle" - more like "n. n. up. open door." I
> wonder what an IF game might look like with a mixture of these levels -
> where you could "micro manage" when you wanted to, but also give broad, high
> level commands ("n. e. enter boat. sail to Dweomer. assassinate king." -
> well, maybe not that high level).

Although it didn't come out exactly that way, I was thinking about
that sort of high-level command when I designed _Wallpaper_. (The
second part, obviously.)

It got weird because I needed a space where the player could
reasonably experiment. I didn't want to take a large handful of
possible plot events and map them to an enormous basketful of possible
command inputs -- it would have been too sparse.

Then there's the Gilbert and Sullivan IF idea I've been throwing
around for years, where the command space consists of choosing
arbitrary characters and having them (a) fall in love, (b) pretend to
be each other, (c) turn out to be twins... Unsurprisingly, this is
also the Shakespeare comedy IF idea.

--Z

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

If the Bush administration hasn't subjected you to searches without a warrant,
it's for one reason: they don't feel like it. Not because you're an American.

Emily Short

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Apr 22, 2007, 11:01:05 AM4/22/07
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On Apr 22, 2:43 am, "David Fisher" <d...@hsa.com.au> wrote:
> The level of abstraction is also interesting. IF commands aren't usually at
> the level of "explore the castle" - more like "n. n. up. open door." I
> wonder what an IF game might look like with a mixture of these levels -
> where you could "micro manage" when you wanted to, but also give broad, high
> level commands ("n. e. enter boat. sail to Dweomer. assassinate king." -
> well, maybe not that high level).

It's not quite to the degree you describe, but "City of Secrets"
permits this a bit, especially at the beginning of the game; in an
attempt to make things reasonable for newbies, it allows commands like
>CHECK INTO HOTEL. A more seasoned player could still do all the
constituent activities individually, and probably wouldn't think of
doing otherwise.

In that case, the high-level commands were all given quite specific
scripts, but at some point or other we've talked about using goal-
seeking for this: instead of using your goal-seeking engine to work
out what an NPC might do, you would accept the high-level command as
specifying a goal and then try to work out how to perform that goal
for the player. If the action was impossible at that point in the
game, the player would be discouraged, but otherwise, the action would
succeed. (At that level, >GO TO [DISTANT ROOM] sorts of commands are a
specialized example of just this kind of thing: instead of giving a
sequence of directions, the player names the endpoint he wants to
reach and the game works out the rest.)

I suspect expanding this method to cover most game actions would make
things a bit dull for puzzly IF, since one could magic-command one's
way out of just about anything. It might be more relevant in a highly
narrative IF.

Jacek Pudlo

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Apr 22, 2007, 12:17:31 PM4/22/07
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> On Apr 22, 2:43 am, "David Fisher" <d...@hsa.com.au> wrote:
>> The level of abstraction is also interesting. IF commands aren't usually
>> at
>> the level of "explore the castle" - more like "n. n. up. open door." I
>> wonder what an IF game might look like with a mixture of these levels -
>> where you could "micro manage" when you wanted to, but also give broad,
>> high
>> level commands ("n. e. enter boat. sail to Dweomer. assassinate king." -
>> well, maybe not that high level).

Andrew Plotkin

> Although it didn't come out exactly that way, I was thinking about
> that sort of high-level command when I designed _Wallpaper_.

Emily Short

> It's not quite to the degree you describe, but "City of Secrets"
> permits this a bit

Only fifteen minutes apart. Are you guys competing in shameless
self-promotion?

Well, I'm sorry, Emily, but Andrew is winning. His self-plug is simply more
irrelevant. As opposed to you, he's not even discussing existing
functionality, just something he was "thinking about." I don't think you can
quite achieve his level of self-obsession. I mean, the presumption alone
that the world cares what he was thinking about when he was writing a game
is worth a medal, or something. He just topped Paul Panks.

How about this? I'll throw you two a bone. The word "fuselage." Can you guys
misdirect a fuselage discussion while plugging your own games?


JB

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Apr 22, 2007, 1:02:30 PM4/22/07
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On 22 avr, 09:43, "David Fisher" <d...@hsa.com.au> wrote:
> "Matthew" <mtwo...@beakstar.com> wrote in message

The methods using to give a complex adventure using only paper
sometimes are very clever.

Once again, in creature of Havoc, you discover a magic medaillion that
open a secret door using this rule : add 80 to the current paragraph
number if the paragraph begins with "you are in complete darkness"...

Later in the game, you may travel with or without an orc. In order to
have the orc reactions to your travel, you can deduct to each
paragraph the number 7 to see what's your friend is saying or how he
reacts.

JB

Ryusui

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Apr 22, 2007, 3:16:09 PM4/22/07
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I'm very much enjoying the Lone Wolf books at Project Aon...and if
anyone else does as well, then I strongly recommend a title by the
name of "Riviera: The Promised Land".

The game was originally released on the Japan-only Bandai Wonderswan
Color handheld; it was later ported to Game Boy Advance, and this
version was released in English by Atlus. If you're willing to wait a
few more months, there is now a PSP version with voice acting and
enhanced graphics and sound, and Atlus will release this in the United
States this coming July.

Riviera is very much like a gamebook...you do not control the
protagonist and his party directly, but rather direct his movement
across the dungeons and towns (or rather, "town") you encounter.
Rather than being aided by "Disciplines" (or hindered by your lack
thereof), victory in battle earns you Trigger Points: spending these
allows you to examine your surroundings, perhaps discovering items or
useful shortcuts.

Battle is a major focus, but so is item management: unlike most RPGs,
your party members' actions in combat are decided by a set of up to
four items each can carry. Items not in use can be carried in a fairly
spacious group inventory, but even that is limited in size.
Furthermore, the vast majority of items have only limited use before
they break; exceptions are rare, one-of-a-kind objects such as the
protagonist's weapon, but at the same time, successful use in combat
allows your characters to improve their skills with each item,
unlocking special attacks and skill bonuses.

It's fairly unusual as far as JRPGs go, but after playing Lone Wolf, I
realize how many similarities it has to the gamebook genre. Before I
tried Lone Wolf, the closest comparison I could make was to Infocom's
"Journey" (another gem worth digging up, if you have the
chance)...granted, no gamebook has ever permitted you to "practice
battle" against enemies for the sake of stat bonuses (or have they?),
but if you enjoy gamebooks such as Lone Wolf, I suggest you get
Riviera - and a GBA/DS/PSP, if you don't have one yet.

Mike Rozak

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Apr 22, 2007, 6:08:42 PM4/22/07
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"David Fisher" wrote:
> I meant to add - an idea for hybrid CYOA / IF (similar to a conversation
> system with a topic inventory):
>
> You could be presented with a menu of options every turn (or maybe only
> upon request, after typing "?"), but you are also allowed to enter an
> arbitrary command as usual. Too weird ? Has this been done before ?

That's kind of the direction that I'm heading with (shameless plug)
www.CircumReality.com , but not exactly:

1) I expect to have sections of the game that are CYOA, and other sections
that are more IF/CRPG like. This already happens in some IF (and almost all
CRPGs) with NPC conversation trees. My tiny demo world has a small example
of this accessed from one of the in-world book pages.

2) Every object displayed on the screen, including the room, has a context
menu. These menus mostly contain automatic and commonly used options like
"Pick up" and "Examine", but I expect authors to add CYOA-style commands
like "Explore the castle".

Glenn P.,

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Apr 22, 2007, 7:18:44 PM4/22/07
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On 22-Apr-07 at 5:43pm +1000, <da...@hsa.com.au> wrote:

> ..."n. e. enter boat. sail to Dweomer. assassinate king."

Dweomer! In AD&D (when it still WAS AD&D), this meant a variety of magic
spell.

In a one-on-one adventure I played once, it was the name of my wizard
character's cat familiar. :)

-- %%%%%%%%%%% "Glenn P.," <C128UserD...@FVI.Net> %%%%%%%%%%%
_____ -----------------------------------------------------------------
{~._.~} "...Nor is it strange,
_( Y )_ After changes upon changes, we are more or less the same;
(:_~*~_:) After changes, we are more or less the same..."
(_)-(_) --------------------------------
========= --SIMON, Paul; & GARFUNKLE, Art:
========= "The Boxer" (Sung In Concert).

:: Take Note Of The Spam Block On My E-Mail Address! ::

Glenn P.,

unread,
Apr 22, 2007, 7:57:37 PM4/22/07
to
On 22-Apr-07 at 8:01am -0700, <ems...@mindspring.com> wrote:

> At that level, >GO TO [DISTANT ROOM] sorts of commands are
> a specialized example of just this kind of thing: instead
> of giving a sequence of directions, the player names the
> endpoint he wants to reach and the game works out the rest.

To my recollection, the only game I've ever played which allowed
this was Infocom's "Seastalker".

Far less extremely, >GO THROUGH [LOCKED DOOR], provided you have
the proper key in your inventory, is occasionally permitted, and
will automagically generate the proper series of responses, as
in the following (completely imaginary) game snippet:

>GO THROUGH BRASS DOOR.

[Taking the Brass Key from your pocket first]

Taken.

[Unlocking the Brass Door first]
[With the Brass Key]
The key turns easily in the massive lock, and you both hear, and
feel, its very substantive "Click!" as the well-oiled cylinders
slip smoothly into place.

[Opening the Brass Door first]
The massive Brass Door opens slowly, smoothly, and noiselessly on
its friction-bearing hinges, revealing a small chamber beyond.

Vault
This tiny, airless, windowless room doesn't do your claustrophobia any
good. Or perhaps to be more accurate, it's fine for your claustrophobia,
but that doesn't do YOU any good. Each of the three walls to the west,
north, and east are lined, wall to ceiling, with metal drawers of varying
sizes. Each and every one of them has, not one, but TWO keyholes apiece!
The floor and ceiling are both solid brass; the only way out is through
the open Brass Door to the south.

Abruptly, you notice the light grow dim, and you whirl around just in
time to see the Brass Door swinging closed behind you. Unfortunately,
although you are just in time to SEE it, you are much too late to
actually DO anything abou it. There is a hiss of air, and a soft
"Click!", and then you are trapped and sightless.

You have moved into a dark place. It is pitch black. You are likely
to be eaten by a Frybble (whatever that is, I just made it up, as I
didn't want to disrespect the Implemetors by saying "grue").

Conrad

unread,
Apr 23, 2007, 5:06:07 AM4/23/07
to
On Apr 22, 7:57 pm, "Glenn P.," <C128UserDELETE-T...@FVI.Net> wrote:
>
> You have moved into a dark place. It is pitch black. You are likely
> to be eaten by a Frybble (whatever that is, I just made it up, as I
> didn't want to disrespect the Implemetors by saying "grue").

Careful there. "Grue" is meaningful in a way that "Frybble" (so far
as I can tell) is not. When someone says the false McCoy has a
gruesome personality, they are explicitly comparing him to a grue.


Conrad.

ps - I'll look up Seastalker.

Blank

unread,
Apr 23, 2007, 6:04:22 AM4/23/07
to
David Fisher wrote:
> "Matthew" <mtw...@beakstar.com> wrote in message
> news:1177021407....@e65g2000hsc.googlegroups.com...
>> Possibly of interest: There is an (out of print) series of game books
>> titled "Fabled Lands". There is a Yahoo group dedicated to this series
>> and the reproduction thereof. I have "played" one book from this
>> series myself and there are many interesting similarities and
>> differences between game books (which really could be considered
>> interactive fiction) and Inform based IF.
>
> I just had a play with book one of this series ... some thoughts:
>
> Nice method for tracking player history - codewords. If something
> significant happens such as being assigned a quest, completing a quest or
> visiting an important location, you get assigned a codeword such as "aloft".
> A later section might ask you if you have that codeword, which is a good way
> of hiding unknowable information from the player.
>
> There are a lot of random events (mostly "skill checks") that wouldn't work
> well in IF ... in the gamebook, you are usually told what the possible
> outcomes are. In IF, you can't tell when a one-off event is random. If you
> try to climb a wall and fail, there is no way you could know that you had a
> 25% chance of success - it just looks like you can't climb the wall (and you
> won't know to try again). I wonder if there is a way to change the normal IF
> model and somehow inform the player that an event is random, and what
> influences its chance of happening?
>

I was thinking about this over the weekend, noodling with some sort of
rpg-ish model. I came to the conclusion that having skills with a
percentage success/failure rate simply encourages players to go into a
save/restore loop until they get lucky. I decided it would make a better
game to make "skill checks" either pass or fail: so if the player had
achieved "lockpicker 2" skill, then an attempt at a grade three lock
would always fail - therefore the player would know that the way to
progress in the game was to find some other npc and either hire in the
skill or raise their own stats. (Of course other, plot driven solutions
would be clued in-game as usual.)


> When the gamebook gives you several different options to choose from, it
> feels a little bit like the TADS 3 conversation "topic inventory" - a list
> of suggestions you might like to try (but without the option of trying
> things not on the list). The advantage is that you can do things that would
> be quite hard to express in an IF command, or would be too obscure to think
> of (eg. "renounce worship of Lacuna"). The disadvantage is that you have
> very limited options, and the player isn't allowed to try and figure out
> options that aren't spelled out (or to try something unusual just to see
> what happens).

But as you point out, the trade-off is that the options can be very plot
rich. I wonder if it might not be fun to make a game where the
mechanical puzzles use the standard IF model, but plot crises are
resolved using cyoa style cutscenes.

So the player has an IF-style free hand breaking into the Fanged Temple
(lots of whizzing darts, rolling boulders and sudden death), but having
picked up the MacGuffin, the player encounters the Snake Spirit, and the
limited cyoa paths through that encounter mean that the player ends up
(a) confined to the temple precincts: new mechanical problem - escape,
(b) enslaved to the amulet of Qah: new problem - quest, (c) escaping but
now recruited to the dangerous sect of the tablet breakers, or (d)
escaping with MacGuffin and the new skills of Bluff and Moral Vacuum
that open up the career of Politician.

Note that there are no 'lose' results: the cyoa sections shouldn't be a
maze but rather a junction of different plot possibilities. It might
even be worth autosaving the game just before a cyoa section begins so
that the player doesn't have to worry about getting the 'ideal' result.
I'd want to reduce the perception that lawnmower strategies are either
useful or necessary and encourage the player to role play through the
encounter in order to maintain immersion.

Glenn P.,

unread,
Apr 23, 2007, 6:05:42 AM4/23/07
to

I *am* being careful: that's why I used Frybble instead. :)


> ps - I'll look up Seastalker.

A nice beginner's game! :)

David Fisher

unread,
Apr 23, 2007, 7:48:11 AM4/23/07
to
"Emily Short" <ems...@mindspring.com> wrote in message
news:1177254064.9...@y5g2000hsa.googlegroups.com...

> On Apr 22, 2:43 am, "David Fisher" <d...@hsa.com.au> wrote:
>> The level of abstraction is also interesting. IF commands aren't usually
>> at
>> the level of "explore the castle" - more like "n. n. up. open door." I
>> wonder what an IF game might look like with a mixture of these levels -
>> where you could "micro manage" when you wanted to, but also give broad,
>> high
>> level commands ("n. e. enter boat. sail to Dweomer. assassinate king." -
>> well, maybe not that high level).
>
> It's not quite to the degree you describe, but "City of Secrets"
> permits this a bit, especially at the beginning of the game; in an
> attempt to make things reasonable for newbies, it allows commands like
>>CHECK INTO HOTEL. A more seasoned player could still do all the
> constituent activities individually, and probably wouldn't think of
> doing otherwise.

That's a lot of potential commands! Could I ask you for some more examples -
or ones that didn't make it in, because they didn't seem worth the effort?

[goal seeking comments snipped]


>
> I suspect expanding this method to cover most game actions would make
> things a bit dull for puzzly IF, since one could magic-command one's
> way out of just about anything. It might be more relevant in a highly
> narrative IF.

I think the automatically-doable stuff should be a bit limited - "go to
<place>" is great, but "steal money from bank" should probably tell you to
do it yourself (maybe doing the first step only - getting you to the bank).

Another possibility is to be able to specify a goal, and have the game keep
track of it:

---

You are in the financial district of the town. One institution in particular
stands out: the Royal Bank of Durum.

>?
Special options: (1) Rob the bank.

>1
To rob the Royal Bank of Durum, you will need to find an accomplice and
acquire some lockpicks. Information about the bank vault would also be
useful.

>goals
Your current goals are:

* Rob the Royal Bank of Durum
=> Find and accomplice.
=> Acquire some lockpicks.

[... when the lockpicks are found ...]
You have acquired a set of lockpicks. Now all you need to do is find an
accomplice to help you rob the Royal Bank of Durum.

>goals
Your current goals are:

* Rob the Royal Bank of Durum
=> Find and accomplice.
=> Acquire some lockpicks (done).

[... upon meeting a thief ...]
You are in need of an accomplice to help you rob the Royal Bank of Durum.
Would you like to ask Neddie the Nimble?

>y
The pair of you wait until later that night, and then set off for the bank.

---

Another example:

You are stuck in the salt mines of Jaden. You're not sure how much longer
you can handle the heat.

>?
Special options: (1) Plan an escape (2) Mount a rebellion (3) Be a model
prisoner (4) Pretend to get sick.

>plan escape
To escape, you will need to (1) Decide who to take with you (if anyone) (2)
Find a way out.

... [later on] ...
You are now prepared to escape from the salt mines. When you are ready, just
type "escape".

>goals
Your current goals are:

* Plan an escape
=> Decide who to take with you: Elric, Meghar and Djohn.
=> Find a way out: blind spot by the east tower or through the abandoned
tunnels.

>escape
Which escape route do you want to try, the blind spot by the east tower or
the abandoned tunnels?

>tower
You wait for a time when none of you will be missed, and then
inconspicuously amble up to the tower.

---

David Fisher


Conrad

unread,
Apr 23, 2007, 4:08:02 PM4/23/07
to

Replying to two posters here...


Blank <b...@nowhere.com> wrote:


> David Fisher wrote:


> > I just had a play with book one of this series ... some thoughts:
>
> > Nice method for tracking player history - codewords. If something
> > significant happens such as being assigned a quest, completing a quest or
> > visiting an important location, you get assigned a codeword such as "aloft".
> > A later section might ask you if you have that codeword, which is a good way
> > of hiding unknowable information from the player.

Yeah, I'm coming to the same conclusion: this would permit you to use
the same entry in more than one plot line. However, it's a little
difficult, I think, to pull off elegantly, for two reasons:

For one thing, you're counting on the player not to cheat. Or else,
you need to work traps, sprung by bogus keywords, into the story.
Either way, it strikes me as messy -- maybe I'm not giving the player
enough credit, though.


> > There are a lot of random events (mostly "skill checks") that wouldn't work
> > well in IF ... in the gamebook, you are usually told what the possible
> > outcomes are. In IF, you can't tell when a one-off event is random. If you
> > try to climb a wall and fail, there is no way you could know that you had a
> > 25% chance of success - it just looks like you can't climb the wall (and you
> > won't know to try again). I wonder if there is a way to change the normal IF
> > model and somehow inform the player that an event is random, and what
> > influences its chance of happening?
>
> I was thinking about this over the weekend, noodling with some sort of
> rpg-ish model. I came to the conclusion that having skills with a
> percentage success/failure rate simply encourages players to go into a
> save/restore loop until they get lucky. I decided it would make a better
> game to make "skill checks" either pass or fail: so if the player had
> achieved "lockpicker 2" skill, then an attempt at a grade three lock
> would always fail - therefore the player would know that the way to
> progress in the game was to find some other npc and either hire in the
> skill or raise their own stats. (Of course other, plot driven solutions
> would be clued in-game as usual.)

Yeah, I like that. In my prototype, when you decide to FIGHT THE
NURSE, you're directed to the entry:

" (Description setting up the fight.)
"
" You have a 50% chance of beating the nurse.
"
">YOU BEAT THE NURSE.
" THE NURSE BEATS YOU.

-- Which really is how the old-style gamebooks worked: I just make it
more clear.


> > When the gamebook gives you several different options to choose from, it
> > feels a little bit like the TADS 3 conversation "topic inventory" - a list
> > of suggestions you might like to try (but without the option of trying
> > things not on the list). The advantage is that you can do things that would
> > be quite hard to express in an IF command, or would be too obscure to think
> > of (eg. "renounce worship of Lacuna"). The disadvantage is that you have
> > very limited options, and the player isn't allowed to try and figure out
> > options that aren't spelled out (or to try something unusual just to see
> > what happens).
>
> But as you point out, the trade-off is that the options can be very plot
> rich. I wonder if it might not be fun to make a game where the
> mechanical puzzles use the standard IF model, but plot crises are
> resolved using cyoa style cutscenes.
>
> So the player has an IF-style free hand breaking into the Fanged Temple
> (lots of whizzing darts, rolling boulders and sudden death), but having
> picked up the MacGuffin, the player encounters the Snake Spirit, and the
> limited cyoa paths through that encounter mean that the player ends up
> (a) confined to the temple precincts: new mechanical problem - escape,
> (b) enslaved to the amulet of Qah: new problem - quest, (c) escaping but
> now recruited to the dangerous sect of the tablet breakers, or (d)
> escaping with MacGuffin and the new skills of Bluff and Moral Vacuum
> that open up the career of Politician.
>
> Note that there are no 'lose' results: the cyoa sections shouldn't be a
> maze but rather a junction of different plot possibilities. It might

Well, there would be 'lose' results in the gamey, simulationist aspect
of play, or there would be no stakes and the game would lose most all
meaning.


> even be worth autosaving the game just before a cyoa section begins so
> that the player doesn't have to worry about getting the 'ideal' result.
> I'd want to reduce the perception that lawnmower strategies are either
> useful or necessary and encourage the player to role play through the
> encounter in order to maintain immersion.

I largely agree with that, although in my games failure always has
been a real option. But I don't like to discourage experimentation,
either: I generally set things up so that players have to make
several bad judgements in order to die; but they also have to make
several good judgements to succeed.

Therefore I tend to include at least one, sometimes several
intermediate outcomes.


So what do you guys say: If you were playing a keyword-based story,
would you cheat? If so, would you be worried about the story becoming
incoherent?


Conrad.


Blank

unread,
Apr 24, 2007, 6:28:55 AM4/24/07
to

Yes, I agree - sorry I wasn't clear: I meant that *within the CYOA
section* there would be no lose results because I think once players hit
the "you have died"/UNDO they are thereafter more likely to switch to
lawnmower strategies whenever a CYOA section comes up.

>
>> even be worth autosaving the game just before a cyoa section begins so
>> that the player doesn't have to worry about getting the 'ideal' result.
>> I'd want to reduce the perception that lawnmower strategies are either
>> useful or necessary and encourage the player to role play through the
>> encounter in order to maintain immersion.
>
> I largely agree with that, although in my games failure always has
> been a real option.

I wasn't thinking of the autosave as a way of insuring the player
against failure, but a courtesy feature: essentially by the time the
player has finished the game, all the major plot junctions from that
path are neatly bookmarked** and the player can easily go back and find
out what happens if he tells the dragon Metnab where to stick the Pointy
Medallion of Zarg instead of imitating Douglas Fairbanks/the Roadrunner
like any sensible protein tidbit.

That's not to say that I consider this feature trivial: quite the
reverse. We as authors are asking the player to spend their valuable
leisure time playing our game. We should do our utmost to avoid wasting
such time the player is willing to invest. The two things which annoy me
most as a waste of my playing time are:
(1) Stat-bashing, where the player must repeat ad nauseam some trivial
action in order to jack the PC up to the next skill level, and
(2) Save-Undo-Repeat loops resulting from percentage skill scores and
similar randomized game mechanics.

Having less than 100% chance of an action succeeding is fine in
live/tabletop roleplaying because the player doesn't have the option of
looping until the numbers 'come out right', so the likelihood of success
is a genuine factor affecting what the player decides to attempt. (Also,
good human GMs don't let mere numbers dictate the drama anyway.) Solo
games are a different beast, and one where I feel that randomness is
only useful for textual variation - for example when you're trying to
make an npc feel more lifelike and less like the jackpot text machine
that it really is.

**Some players might consider a game impolite if it drops autosaves all
over its home folder like rabbit poo. Naturally I would include a brief
warning in the intro and the option to turn this feature off.

But I don't like to discourage experimentation,
> either: I generally set things up so that players have to make
> several bad judgements in order to die; but they also have to make
> several good judgements to succeed.
>
> Therefore I tend to include at least one, sometimes several
> intermediate outcomes.
>
>
> So what do you guys say: If you were playing a keyword-based story,
> would you cheat? If so, would you be worried about the story becoming
> incoherent?
>

Well, I'm interested in *writing* games as well as playing them, so for
me investigating the story machinery is part of the enjoyment - I don't
consider it cheating since there's no question of gain; in fact it's all
loss, since it makes the game world more obviously mechanical and less
realistic. It's just that sometimes I can't resist!

--jz

>
> Conrad.
>
>

Glenn P.,

unread,
Apr 24, 2007, 7:45:10 AM4/24/07
to
On 24-Apr-07 at 11:28am +0100, <bl...@nowhere.com> wrote:

> Some players might consider a game impolite if it drops autosaves
> all over its home folder like rabbit poo. Naturally I would include
> a brief warning in the intro and the option to turn this feature off.

Shouldn't it be possible to save all such data to a single-file database...?
I know that I, for one, would be MUCH more tolerant of a large, single file,
than of a long series of small ones...

--
=========================================================================
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% "Glenn P.," <C128UserD...@FVI.Net> %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
=========================================================================

"Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which,
if perservered in, they must lead... but if the courses be
departed from, the ends will change."
--Ebenezer Scrooge

=========================================================================
%%%%%%%%%%% DICKENS, Charles: "A Christams Carol" (Stave IV) %%%%%%%%%%%
=========================================================================

Adam Thornton

unread,
Apr 24, 2007, 10:25:12 AM4/24/07
to
In article <Pine.LNX.4.61.07...@Bfjrtb.SbkInyyrl.arg>,

Glenn P., <C128UserD...@FVI.Net> wrote:
> > Some players might consider a game impolite if it drops autosaves
> > all over its home folder like rabbit poo. Naturally I would include
> > a brief warning in the intro and the option to turn this feature off.
>
>Shouldn't it be possible to save all such data to a single-file database...?
>I know that I, for one, would be MUCH more tolerant of a large, single file,
>than of a long series of small ones...

Recoverability via a text editor is high on my list of things I would
want.

So why not have the game create an .autosaves (or whatever) folder
within the folder that contains the game (the I7 model that a game is
actually a *directory*, not a file, is a nice one) and write your
autosaves to there, where they're easy to clean up?

Adam

Blank

unread,
Apr 24, 2007, 10:58:32 AM4/24/07
to
Glenn P., wrote:
> On 24-Apr-07 at 11:28am +0100, <bl...@nowhere.com> wrote:
>
> > Some players might consider a game impolite if it drops autosaves
> > all over its home folder like rabbit poo. Naturally I would include
> > a brief warning in the intro and the option to turn this feature off.
>
> Shouldn't it be possible to save all such data to a single-file database...?
> I know that I, for one, would be MUCH more tolerant of a large, single file,
> than of a long series of small ones...
>

I'll fess up that my coding skills are so rudimentary that I've no idea
how complicated or otherwise such an 'integrated' save system would be.

In I6 I could probably work out if the 'rabbit poo' option is within my
abilities or not after about an evening's experimentation. T3/I7/Hugo?
No idea.

jz

Ryusui

unread,
Apr 24, 2007, 4:58:25 PM4/24/07
to
This is where it might pay to take some cues from the mundane world of
console gaming.

How about a system where finishing the story allows you to save a
"clear file", and loading this clear file would give you access to a
level select of sorts? (Perhaps one with "New Game+"-ish features,
like restarting with all your ending stats and equipment, or being
able to pick and choose which ones you have.)

John W. Kennedy

unread,
Apr 24, 2007, 5:53:08 PM4/24/07
to
Glenn P., wrote:
> On 23-Apr-07 at 2:06am -0700, <conra...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > On Apr 22, 7:57 pm, "Glenn P.," <C128UserDELETE-T...@FVI.Net> wrote:
>
> >> You have moved into a dark place. It is pitch black. You are likely
> >> to be eaten by a Frybble (whatever that is, I just made it up, as I
> >> didn't want to disrespect the Implemetors by saying "grue").
>
> > Careful there. "Grue" is meaningful in a way that "Frybble" (so far
> > as I can tell) is not. When someone says the false McCoy has a
> > gruesome personality, they are explicitly comparing him to a grue.
>
> I *am* being careful: that's why I used Frybble instead. :)

In the NE US, "Fribble" is a brand-name milkshake (the "Friendly's"
chain), so you might want to try again, unless you're /trying/ to sound
silly.

--
John W. Kennedy
"The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have
always objected to being governed at all."
-- G. K. Chesterton. "The Man Who Was Thursday"
* TagZilla 0.066 * http://tagzilla.mozdev.org

Ryusui

unread,
Apr 25, 2007, 4:25:44 AM4/25/07
to
On Apr 21, 9:46 pm, Conrad <conradc...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> It can't, however, provide you with any more than 50 pages: so longer
> works need to be done in segments.
>

There's a signature on the site's guestbook that says the same thing,
but oddly enough, the program has no qualms with letting me create 200
pages. O_O;

Or perhaps that's 50 *filled* pages with references...so I haven't hit
that upper limit yet. Damn.

Blank

unread,
Apr 25, 2007, 4:46:44 AM4/25/07
to

Smart idea!
I guess a series of flags which control the population of a "choose your
starting point" menu off the Help screen. My only concern would be that
since I'd have to manually set up the game state (if the player chooses
the "Chamberlain's interview" plot node then they must possess the
silver candlestick and the phial of spider-venom, the wood nymph won't
have spoken to them yet, so she will still be crying over her lover's
favour etc etc) which strikes me as highly bug-prone compared to saving
the game's state at each point.

I think maybe Adam's suggestion up-thread of bunging all the saves into
a dedicated directory is worth investigating, though not all players
would necessarily have given the 'terp sufficient rights to create folders.

--jz

Conrad

unread,
Apr 26, 2007, 7:08:24 AM4/26/07
to
On Apr 25, 4:25 am, Ryusui <TheRyu...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Apr 21, 9:46 pm, Conrad <conradc...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>
> > It can't, however, provide you with any more than 50 pages: so longer
> > works need to be done in segments.
>
> There's a signature on the site's guestbook that says the same thing,
> but oddly enough, the program has no qualms with letting me create 200
> pages. O_O;

Really... Mine konks out at 50, blank or not.


Conrad.


ps - Yeah, that guestbook entry was me; I haven't heard back.

C.

Ryusui

unread,
Apr 26, 2007, 10:38:29 PM4/26/07
to
In the meantime, I've discovered Advelh, which is simultaneously its
own set of benefits and its own set of annoyances.

Version 27 is the most recent available in English; the current French
version is 34, though best I can tell it fails to fix the program's
more egregious failings.

First of all, Advelh has one feature *sorely* missing from Game Book
Player: "MasterMix", which despite its fancy title is simply a
function for shuffling the pages at random without breaking links. In
GBP, you have to write your book out-of-order to begin with, which
effectively means you have to gauge how many pages you'll need before
you write a single word: if you require fewer, you will have a book
full of blank pages; if you need more, you will find yourself writing
a subsection of the book with very closely-spaced links. It also has
numerous useful tools, such as grids and graphs describing what pages
are used and how and how pages connect with one another.

But in terms of overall user-friendliness...Advelh seems to be written
under the assumption that the user does not want to go back and reread
anything he's done before. Scrolling back and forth through a book in
GBP is a chore, but at least you can follow the links you've
established. Advelh has no such feature. The only way to check your
links is by manually scrolling through pages (or inputting the page
number into the box in the top-left), and there is no way to keep
track of which page comes before which page (except by consulting the
graph, which idiotically does not allow you to jump to pages by
clicking on the numbered boxes). And while the author of GBP is
terminally colorblind, at least he could write a system for converting
a book to HTML that preserved formatting. If you have bold or
italicized text in your Advelh game, say goodbye to it...or else watch
in horror as entire paragraphs are mislabeled as bold, italic or both.
It's like telling a mentally-challenged boy to paint a wall, and he
decides he likes the activity so much, he goes on and whitewashes your
expensive mahogany desk as well. And the player doesn't have the
convenient customizable action sheet functions, either. -_-;

You know what? I should probably write my *own* gamebook development
system.

Lem Signwriter

unread,
Apr 26, 2007, 11:08:09 PM4/26/07
to
Ryusui wrote:
> You know what? I should probably write my *own* gamebook development
> system.

Well...if you don't mind playing that sort of thing in a Z-machine or
Glulx terp, and writing them in Inform 7, I've been working on a simple
I7 framework for CYOA-style games.

Player input is currently restricted to single digits 0-9, plus "S"
(save), "R" (restore) and "Q" (quit).

Sample code:

<code>
Outside Castle is a room. "You stand before the ancestral castle of the
Barons de Pierre, a slowly disintegrating pile of damp and damnable
granite. The massive oaken door [digit 1] is closed behind you. The
bleached and dusty road runs eastward to the village of Emmet [digit 2]
and curves gently northwest into the depths of the forest [digit 3]."
Option two is Emmet. Option three is the Forest.

Instead of selecting 1 when the location is Outside Castle: say "The
massive oaken door is too firmly closed for you to open it."

Emmet is a room. "The village of Emmet slumps amidst the fields like a
sunstruck drunk. The road runs back to the castle [digit 1]." Option one
is Outside Castle.

The Forest is a room. "A gloomy forest. An overgrown trail leads east
into Emmet [digit 1]." Option one is Emmet.
</code>

While playing, that first room looks like this:

<transcript>
You stand before the ancestral castle of the Barons de Pierre, a slowly
disintegrating pile of damp and damnable granite. The massive oaken door
[1] is closed behind you. The bleached and dusty road runs eastward to
the village of Emmet [2] and curves gently northwest into the depths of
the forest [3].

>
</transcript>


There's no reason why you couldn't arrange the text in a more
gamebook-like way, with a menu of options at the bottom; this was just
to test that the thing was working.

Blank

unread,
Apr 27, 2007, 5:10:35 AM4/27/07
to

If you do, I'd suggest an "Export to .txt" safety feature. I've been
wary of QML ever since an instance went belly-up and irretrievably
scrambled a project after a long session where the writing had flowed
really well (I felt.) Nothing like losing a couple of days worth of
original content to really take the steam out of a project.

jz

Blank

unread,
Apr 27, 2007, 5:12:46 AM4/27/07
to

I think there's an example in the I7 documentation: Desperate
Millionaires? Can't remember what the navigation was like though.

jz

Mark Tilford

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Apr 27, 2007, 10:16:59 AM4/27/07
to
On 2007-04-27, Ryusui <TheR...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> You know what? I should probably write my *own* gamebook development
> system.
>

You can also check out my "Simple CYOA" extension for I7.

It automatically tracks choice numbers if you want to have optional
choices; you can have something like:

"Do you want to: [link to fight ogre]fight?[if game state is has
money][link to bribe ogre]offer it your gold?[end if][link to run away
from ogre]run away?"

and it will number "run away" 3 if you have the money and 2 if you
don't.

It also has save/restore/undo, but is currently limited to a maximum of
four choices per state, which can be raised, but requires editing the
extension source.

Glenn P.,

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Apr 28, 2007, 3:55:00 AM4/28/07
to
On 24-Apr-07 at 5:53pm -0400, <jwk...@attglobal.net> wrote:

> Glenn P., wrote:
> On 23-Apr-07 at 2:06am -0700, <conra...@gmail.com> wrote:

>> On Apr 22, 7:57 pm, "Glenn P.," <C128UserDELETE-T...@FVI.Net> wrote:

>> You have moved into a dark place. It is pitch black. You are likely
>> to be eaten by a Frybble (whatever that is, I just made it up, as I
>> didn't want to disrespect the Implemetors by saying "grue").

> Careful there. "Grue" is meaningful in a way that "Frybble" (so far
> as I can tell) is not. When someone says the false McCoy has a
> gruesome personality, they are explicitly comparing him to a grue.

>> I *am* being careful: that's why I used Frybble instead. :)

:> In the NE US, "Fribble" is a brand-name milkshake (the "Friendly's"
:> chain), so you might want to try again, unless you're /trying/ to
:> sound silly.

1. "Frybble" is not the same as "Fribble", as any computer can tell you.

2. Of COURSE I'm trying to be silly. What, you think I'm SERIOUS?!? :)

--
=========================================================================
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% "Glenn P.," <C128UserD...@FVI.Net> %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
=========================================================================

"Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which,
if perservered in, they must lead... but if the courses be
departed from, the ends will change."
--Ebenezer Scrooge

=========================================================================
%%%%%%%%%%% DICKENS, Charles: "A Christams Carol" (Stave IV) %%%%%%%%%%%
=========================================================================

:: Take Note Of The Spam Block On My E-Mail Address! ::

Richard Bos

unread,
Apr 29, 2007, 3:38:54 PM4/29/07
to
"Glenn P.," <C128UserD...@FVI.Net> wrote:

> On 22-Apr-07 at 5:43pm +1000, <da...@hsa.com.au> wrote:
>
> > ..."n. e. enter boat. sail to Dweomer. assassinate king."
>
> Dweomer! In AD&D (when it still WAS AD&D), this meant a variety of magic
> spell.
>
> In a one-on-one adventure I played once, it was the name of my wizard
> character's cat familiar. :)

And if you wonder why, look up Tolkien's explanation (in the Unfinished
Tales, IIRC) of why Eowyn calls the Ringwraith "Dwimmerlaik".

Richard

Sandm...@gmail.com

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May 1, 2007, 9:36:05 AM5/1/07
to
On Apr 22, 5:46 am, Conrad <conradc...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Apr 19, 10:03 pm, Picguy <pic...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Ryusui <TheRyu...@gmail.com> wrote in news:1177024812.698224.42090
> > @l77g2000hsb.googlegroups.com:
>
> > > I love a good CYOA. Where can I find these?
>
> > We're drifting further off topic, but Project Aon has published electronic
> > editions of Joe Dever's Lone Wolf gamebooks, free and with formal
> > permission from Dever himself. They're up to, I think, volume 15, plus the
> > complete Grey Star spinoff series.
>
> >www.projectaon.org
>
> Thanks for the link.
>
> There may be something more sophisticated than this out there (I'm not
> well-surfed on this topic):
>
> [http://www.sandman.connectfree.co.uk/prog/gamebook.htm]
>
> This is a little editor that allows you to make (50-page) game-books.
> The editor/player is free, game files can be locked, and you can keep
> track of character stats and roll virtual dice if you like. It's a
> nice setup if you want to put together one of the old Steve Jackson-
> style gamebooks.
>
> It can handle bitmaps, too, and export to html or rtf. It's well
> thought-out.

>
> It can't, however, provide you with any more than 50 pages: so longer
> works need to be done in segments.
>
> I'm not especially interested in writing in the gamebook format: but
> I am using it to prototype a standard IF game for this Lovecraft
> comp. I want to get as much writing and logic done as I can while I
> try to wrestle the programming language into something like
> submission. And the Game Book Player is quite nice for that purpose.
>
> Again, there may be more sophisticated gamebook authoring software
> available.
>
> Conrad.

Hi there

I was prompted to find this message and reply to in by someone that
emailed me.

I know that the GBP is not the best bit of software in the world - so
thanks for your praises. It does the job it was intended to. I've not
really had any time to improve it. And I doubt that I will - sorry.
You never know though. One day when there is infinite time.

I'm just wondering why you think that there is a 50 page limit imposed
by the software!? There shouldn't be.

Thanks

Paul Jordan

Conrad

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May 1, 2007, 11:25:52 AM5/1/07
to
On May 1, 9:36 am, "Sandman1...@gmail.com" <Sandman1...@gmail.com>
wrote:

Now that's kind of funny...

So, you hit a button that says "+ Add Pages." Then, you're invited to
type a number into a field with a prompt that reads: "No. of pages."

But that doesn't mean that what you're typing in is the number of
pages you're adding; it means what you're typing in is the number of
pages the book will now reach cumulatively.

And I'm now seeing that the "add pages" dialogue box *title* does
indeed say, "Increase page count to..."

Logic error on my part, I guess.


Conrad.


ps - As I say, a very nice program.


C.

Sandm...@gmail.com

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May 1, 2007, 5:00:43 PM5/1/07
to

Ah - I understand what you're doing now - phew.

I'm glad that there are some people out there using and enjoying it.

Have fun.

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