Zarfian cruelty rating system

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Michel Nizette

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Dec 23, 2005, 10:40:29 AM12/23/05
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I'm trying to understand the Zarfian cruelty rating system, but I'm
stumbling on details. The IFMES 1.1 Specification defines the Zarfian
rating levels as follows:

- Merciful: Cannot die; cannot make the game unwinnable.

- Polite: Can die or make the game unwinnable, but it is immediately
obvious that this has occurred.

- Tough: Can make the game unwinnable, but it is obvious before the fact
when an action will be irrevocable.

- Nasty: Can make the game unwinnable, but it is immediately obvious after
the fact that an action was irrevocable.

- Cruel: Can make the game unwinnable, and there may be no indication that
this has occurred.

Now, I can't figure out the difference between "polite" and "nasty," at
least not from the wording of the definitions, so I'd be grateful if someone
could clarify that for me. Could the distinction be that a "polite" game
ends immediately after an irrevocable action and a "nasty" game does not?
Or is it a matter of whether the warning about an irrevocable action is
absolutely explicit or only a strong hint of potential failure?

And whatever the distinction is, what is the rationale for considering
"polite" more forgiving than "tough," seeing that a "tough" game must give
early warnings whereas a "polite" game doesn't have to?

Thanks,
--Michel.

Stephen Bond

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Dec 23, 2005, 11:00:36 AM12/23/05
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Michel Nizette wrote:
> I'm trying to understand the Zarfian cruelty rating system, but I'm
> stumbling on details. The IFMES 1.1 Specification defines the Zarfian
> rating levels as follows:

> - Polite: Can die or make the game unwinnable, but it is immediately


> obvious that this has occurred.
>
> - Tough: Can make the game unwinnable, but it is obvious before the fact
> when an action will be irrevocable.
>
> - Nasty: Can make the game unwinnable, but it is immediately obvious after
> the fact that an action was irrevocable.
>

> Now, I can't figure out the difference between "polite" and "nasty," at
> least not from the wording of the definitions, so I'd be grateful if someone
> could clarify that for me.

An irrevocable action is not necessarily one that makes the game
unwinnable. This should explain the difference, and the ordering.

Stephen.

Andrew Plotkin

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Dec 23, 2005, 3:36:31 PM12/23/05
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Here, Stephen Bond <steph...@ireland.com> wrote:
> Michel Nizette wrote:
> > I'm trying to understand the Zarfian cruelty rating system, but I'm
> > stumbling on details. The IFMES 1.1 Specification defines the Zarfian
> > rating levels as follows:

Yeah, whenever I look back at it, I have to think about the wording to
remember what I meant. This obviously indicates that the wording is
non-great. :) But, as I said a while ago, it's the idea of the
measurement that's stuck, not the specific definitions.



> > - Polite: Can die or make the game unwinnable, but it is immediately
> > obvious that this has occurred.
> >
> > - Tough: Can make the game unwinnable, but it is obvious before the fact
> > when an action will be irrevocable.
> >
> > - Nasty: Can make the game unwinnable, but it is immediately obvious after
> > the fact that an action was irrevocable.
> >
> > Now, I can't figure out the difference between "polite" and "nasty," at
> > least not from the wording of the definitions, so I'd be grateful if someone
> > could clarify that for me.
>
> An irrevocable action is not necessarily one that makes the game
> unwinnable. This should explain the difference, and the ordering.

Right. In a "nasty" game, you drop the china vase and it smashes to
bits. That's an irreversible state change, but is it a serious mistake
or just a sideline bit of simulationism? You don't know. You could see
lots of irreversible state changes as you progress through the game,
and only a few of them turn out to be critical.

Now, if the game tells you in advance that the china vase is a
Treasure -- you must preserve it in order to win -- then when you see
it smash, you know you'd better type "undo". By providing this extra
info, the author has made the game substantially less cruel.

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
I'm still thinking about what to put in this space.

Michel Nizette

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Dec 24, 2005, 4:29:41 AM12/24/05
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"Stephen Bond" <steph...@ireland.com> wrote in message
news:1135353636.6...@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

> > Now, I can't figure out the difference between "polite" and "nasty," at
> > least not from the wording of the definitions, so I'd be grateful if
someone
> > could clarify that for me.
>
> An irrevocable action is not necessarily one that makes the game
> unwinnable. This should explain the difference, and the ordering.

Ah! Yes, of course, that explains it. Thanks!

--Michel.


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