[INFORM] Menu-driven conversation

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Magnus Olsson

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Apr 8, 2001, 6:04:50 AM4/8/01
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We've seen a number of Inform games with menu-driven conversation
lately - Photopia and Rameses for example. Both theses games use
a text-based menu system, basically "Type 1 to tell the dwarf
that his beard is ugly" (not that that particular line would appear
in either game, of course :-) ).

But I have some vague memory of having seen a game where the
conversation menus are more like typical Inform help menus - that is,
you move the cursor between alternatives and press return to choose
one. But now I can't find any such games - am I totally confused, or
are there any examples of this?

And is there any source code available for this kind of conversation
menus? (There is for the other kind of menus; phtalkoo.h, for example).


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

Sean T Barrett

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Apr 8, 2001, 6:47:12 AM4/8/01
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In article <9apd42$sk8$1...@news.lth.se>, Magnus Olsson <m...@pobox.com> wrote:
>But I have some vague memory of having seen a game where the
>conversation menus are more like typical Inform help menus
>
>And is there any source code available for this kind of conversation
>menus? (There is for the other kind of menus; phtalkoo.h, for example).

I believe you are looking for converse.h, by L. Ross Raszewski:
ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/programming/inform6/library/contributions/converse.h

Personally I dislike switching to fullscreen
conversations--too significant a break from the rest of
the play, and you give up all the context and the ability
to scrollback through it reasonably.

On the programming side, converse.h, like the hint system, uses
object trees to encode the conversations.

If you want phototalk-style menus but programming using object trees,
I believe there are a few unpublished libraries to do so--I have one
but the game I wrote it for was never completed, so it's undertested,
and I believe the author of The Big Mama talked about releasing his
conversation system, which also worked that way.

SeanB

Alex Watson

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Apr 8, 2001, 7:36:58 AM4/8/01
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"Sean T Barrett" <buz...@world.std.com> wrote in message
news:GBGzA...@world.std.com...

> In article <9apd42$sk8$1...@news.lth.se>, Magnus Olsson <m...@pobox.com>
wrote:
> >But I have some vague memory of having seen a game where the
> >conversation menus are more like typical Inform help menus
> >
> >And is there any source code available for this kind of conversation
> >menus? (There is for the other kind of menus; phtalkoo.h, for example).
>
> I believe you are looking for converse.h, by L. Ross Raszewski:
>
ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/programming/inform6/library/contributions/conver
se.h
>
> Personally I dislike switching to fullscreen
> conversations--too significant a break from the rest of
> the play, and you give up all the context and the ability
> to scrollback through it reasonably.

I think that, since Converse.h uses DoMenu, you should be able to use
once-mode-emulation (not full-screen, see Textfire game _Once_) by setting
the constant Menu_mode to ONCE. I haven't tried this, however.

--
Alex Watson
http://www.watson1999-69.freeserve.co.uk/
http://www.h2g2.com/U103477
Remove kill.the.spam to reply. (Usenet-wise)


Alex Watson

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Apr 8, 2001, 7:49:09 AM4/8/01
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"Alex Watson" <m...@watson1999-69.freeserve.co.uk.kill.the.spam> wrote in
message news:9apiih$eti$1...@news8.svr.pol.co.uk...
<snip>

> setting
> the constant Menu_mode to ONCE. I haven't tried this, however.

My mistake; it's a global variable, and can be set from somewhere inside
your code (in Initialise, for example) and changed later (e.g. in HelpSub or
some such).

Iain Merrick

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Apr 8, 2001, 8:58:40 AM4/8/01
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Magnus Olsson wrote:
[...]

> I have some vague memory of having seen a game where the
> conversation menus are more like typical Inform help menus - that is,
> you move the cursor between alternatives and press return to choose
> one. But now I can't find any such games - am I totally confused, or
> are there any examples of this?

You may be thinking of Chris Klimas' Textfire game, which IIRC was called
_Once_. (His more substantial game _Mercy_ does some similar stuff too.)

--
Iain Merrick
i...@spod-central.org

OKB -- not okblacke

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Apr 8, 2001, 11:59:16 AM4/8/01
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buz...@world.std.com (Sean T Barrett) wrote:
>If you want phototalk-style menus but programming using object trees,
>I believe there are a few unpublished libraries to do so--I have one
>but the game I wrote it for was never completed, so it's undertested,
>and I believe the author of The Big Mama talked about releasing his
>conversation system, which also worked that way.

Okay, I finally released it. The documentation is severely incomplete,
but the file (OKBScrpt.h) is now in incoming/if-archive , presumably to be
moved to if-archive/infocom/compilers/inform6/library/contributions .

To compensate for the lack of documentation, I've also uploaded the source
code for The Big Mama (bigmama.inf), which will probably go to
if-archive/games/source/inform . The majority of this source is NPC code, so
it may be helpful for those who want to figure out how to use the library. I'm
also available for interrogation at Bren...@aol.com .


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

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

John Colagioia

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Apr 8, 2001, 10:48:35 PM4/8/01
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Magnus Olsson wrote:

> We've seen a number of Inform games with menu-driven conversation
> lately - Photopia and Rameses for example. Both theses games use
> a text-based menu system, basically "Type 1 to tell the dwarf
> that his beard is ugly" (not that that particular line would appear
> in either game, of course :-) ).

As a potentially-irrelevant aside, while I have adored many of the games
that have used this approach, menu-based chit-chat was NOT the reason for
it. In fact, I really don't care for it much at all. It feels like I've
been dumped into a multiple-choice exam (or perhaps a
Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book would be more appropriate, here).

I would (and this is definitely my personal opinion and could be mine
alone) much rather read line after line of "I can't say I know anything
about that," than I would seeing:

A midget wearing a blue turban and long, green cape enters the room
with a flourish.
An albino chimpanzee lifts the edges of the cape to prevent them from
attracting dust.

> TALK TO MIDGET
You say:
(1) "I should kill you where you stand."
(2) "You are my bestest buddy."
(3) "Tell me more about the soup."
(4) "Let's samba!"

...and for this exact reason. Unless the game is astoundingly well put
together (or astoundingly simple in structure), there will be at least one
point where either the player will feel that none of the comments are at
all appropriate, or at least one of the comments will "feel" wrong, either
because it gives up too much information or because it seems out of
context.

It also takes some of the interaction (and let's face it, fun) out of my
hands.

Again, though, that's only my view on it, and it's admittedly a bit
extreme.


J. Robinson Wheeler

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Apr 9, 2001, 2:57:36 AM4/9/01
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Magnus Olsson wrote:

> But I have some vague memory of having seen a game where the
> conversation menus are more like typical Inform help menus - that is,
> you move the cursor between alternatives and press return to choose
> one. But now I can't find any such games - am I totally confused, or
> are there any examples of this?
>
> And is there any source code available for this kind of conversation
> menus? (There is for the other kind of menus; phtalkoo.h, for example).

Hey, how come I'm the first to mention this? You should look at
Pytho's Mask, by Emily Short, from the SmoochieComp. You might
also ask Emily for the source code for her menu system. Bribing
her first with a gourmet cheese might help.

--
J. Robinson Wheeler Games - http://raddial.com/if/
whe...@jump.net Movie - http://thekroneexperiment.com

Magnus Olsson

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Apr 9, 2001, 6:24:10 AM4/9/01
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In article <3AD15D61...@jump.net>,
J. Robinson Wheeler <whe...@jump.net> wrote:

>Magnus Olsson wrote:
>> And is there any source code available for this kind of conversation
>> menus? (There is for the other kind of menus; phtalkoo.h, for example).
>
>Hey, how come I'm the first to mention this? You should look at
>Pytho's Mask, by Emily Short, from the SmoochieComp.

I haven't had time to look at the Smoochies yet, but I surely
will. Thanks for the tip!

>You might
>also ask Emily for the source code for her menu system. Bribing
>her first with a gourmet cheese might help.

Much as I would love to treat Emily to some cheese, I somehow doubt
that the Post Office would be very enthusiastic about me sending,
say, a ripe Limburger by mail across the Atlantic. :-)

Mark Musante - Sun Microsystems

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Apr 9, 2001, 10:54:52 AM4/9/01
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Magnus Olsson (m...@pobox.com) wrote:
> Much as I would love to treat Emily to some cheese, I somehow doubt
> that the Post Office would be very enthusiastic about me sending,
> say, a ripe Limburger by mail across the Atlantic. :-)

It could only improve.


-markm

Magnus Olsson

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Apr 9, 2001, 2:46:35 PM4/9/01
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In article <9asifs$5n5$2...@eastnews1.east.sun.com>,

I wasn't thinking so much about the cheese as about the postal
workers.

On second thought I wouldn't send a Limburger, though, since there are
plenty of interesting Swedish cheeses to choose from. Why cross the
river for water?

John Colagioia

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Apr 10, 2001, 8:36:49 AM4/10/01
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Magnus Olsson wrote:

> In article <3AD15D61...@jump.net>,
> J. Robinson Wheeler <whe...@jump.net> wrote:
> >Magnus Olsson wrote:
> >> And is there any source code available for this kind of conversation
> >> menus? (There is for the other kind of menus; phtalkoo.h, for example).
> >
> >Hey, how come I'm the first to mention this? You should look at
> >Pytho's Mask, by Emily Short, from the SmoochieComp.
>
> I haven't had time to look at the Smoochies yet, but I surely
> will. Thanks for the tip!

Even if you don't use the system (which was extraordinary, incidentally, as
Mr. Wheeler suggests), it's
worth it just to get a "feel" for the conversation flow.


> >You might
> >also ask Emily for the source code for her menu system. Bribing
> >her first with a gourmet cheese might help.
>
> Much as I would love to treat Emily to some cheese, I somehow doubt
> that the Post Office would be very enthusiastic about me sending,
> say, a ripe Limburger by mail across the Atlantic. :-)
>

Heh...I have one thing to say to this: "Cheesemaking.com".

I'd have other things to say (regarding my dinner last night which
substantially featured their "30-minute mozzerella," made as soon as I got
home from work), but I'm doubting anybody's interested in that particular
adventure.


David Given

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Apr 10, 2001, 7:45:46 AM4/10/01
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In article <9at02b$qnu$1...@news.lth.se>,
m...@pobox.com (Magnus Olsson) writes:
[...]

> I wasn't thinking so much about the cheese as about the postal
> workers.
>
> On second thought I wouldn't send a Limburger, though, since there are
> plenty of interesting Swedish cheeses to choose from. Why cross the
> river for water?

The US post office apparently sends anything. Mostly.

http://www.improbable.com/airchives/paperair/volume6/v6i4/postal-6-4.html

And they did try a cheese.

--
+- David Given --------McQ-+ "Opportunity is missed by most people because it's
| Work: d...@tao-group.com | dressed in overalls and looks like work." ---
| Play: d...@cowlark.com | Thomas Edison
+- http://www.cowlark.com -+

Adam Cadre

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Apr 10, 2001, 3:48:17 PM4/10/01
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Dan Schmidt

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Apr 11, 2001, 9:09:25 AM4/11/01
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d...@pearl.tao.co.uk (David Given) writes:

| The US post office apparently sends anything. Mostly.
|
| http://www.improbable.com/airchives/paperair/volume6/v6i4/postal-6-4.html

As an additional data point, I have successfully received a 12"
long-playing vinyl record sent through the US postal service. No
jacket. No sleeve. Just a record with some stamps on it.

It was kinda scratchy.

--
http://www.dfan.org

Magnus Olsson

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Apr 11, 2001, 10:27:11 AM4/11/01
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In article <3AD12303...@csi.com>,

John Colagioia <JCola...@csi.com> wrote:
> A midget wearing a blue turban and long, green cape enters the room
>with a flourish.
> An albino chimpanzee lifts the edges of the cape to prevent them from
>attracting dust.

I must say that I would *love* to see an entire game with this
kind of imagery :-).

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