Assigning Personality to Player

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Russ Bryan

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Apr 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/25/96
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So here I am, putting together the many elements that will someday become:


>=-> S P H E R E <-=<


Trailers are so much more effective on video. Anyway, I've been working
on the I-F competition portion, "Sphere Discovery: An Interacticve
Prologue" and simultaneously building a mythos, a series of epic
adventures building on that mythos, and a character progression for Harold
Jenkins, the primary character of the tale. Herein lies a problem.

Do you prefer interactive fiction as a role-playing experience or do you
prefer to put yourself -- with your own personal biases, opinions, and
emotions -- into the game? When you played Plundered Hearts, did you
shake yourself into the mindset of an eighteenth century lady?

Without giving away details of the game, I need to rather vaguely get
opinions on whether you dislike a game telling you what character you are
playing. Do you prefer to be Everyman, dropped into a situation with no
past and no present, or do you prefer to be a specific character, with a
lifetime of past experiences which could naturally effect the character's
actions?

-- Russ

Nulldogma

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Apr 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/25/96
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>Do you prefer interactive fiction as a role-playing experience or do you
>prefer to put yourself -- with your own personal biases, opinions, and
>emotions -- into the game?

Either is fine by me, if done well. Playing a poorly-drawn character is no
fun at all.

Andrew C. Plotkin

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Apr 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/25/96
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russ...@aol.com (Russ Bryan) writes:
> Without giving away details of the game, I need to rather vaguely get
> opinions on whether you dislike a game telling you what character you are
> playing. Do you prefer to be Everyman, dropped into a situation with no
> past and no present, or do you prefer to be a specific character, with a
> lifetime of past experiences which could naturally effect the character's
> actions?

The latter. If the game provides a character, it can *have* a
character. If it does not, it's a story about a nobody. Which is more
interesting? (Either, depending on how it's written. But which is more
likely to be interesting?)

I should probably go into more detail here... when I'm playing, I can
learn about the story's protagonist in three ways. (1) The game can
provide introductory information; (2) the game can put your character
into situations in which you must react in certain ways; or (3) the
game can put your character into situations and let *you* react, and
thus determine what the character is like dynamically.

If none of these happen, there's no character. That's the Colossal
Cave approach. It's a story about, uh, someone who's a treasure
collector. Ok, a tiny amount of (2) there. But no personality other
than that. I've gotten tired of this, and I believe it's what you're
suggesting as "drop in Everyman", so I recommend against that.

Jigsaw rests almost entirely on (2). Nothing in the introduction about
you, but there's only one set of choices which wins, and when you do
all that, you've revealed White's character.

(1) is good for a start, but it needs to be supported during the game
itself, or it's just window-dressing. (It's no use having a starting
dossier saying how much you like classical music, if there isn't any
music in the game.)

I don't think I've seen (3) done effectively. I wouldn't have the
nerve to try.

--Z

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

Roger Giner-Sorolla

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Apr 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/25/96
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On 25 Apr 1996, Russ Bryan wrote:

> Without giving away details of the game, I need to rather vaguely get
> opinions on whether you dislike a game telling you what character you are
> playing. Do you prefer to be Everyman, dropped into a situation with no
> past and no present, or do you prefer to be a specific character, with a
> lifetime of past experiences which could naturally effect the character's
> actions?

Funny you should ask -- my next installment of "Crimes Against Mimesis"
is going to cover this issue (among others related to the protagonist's
identity and motives.)

Without giving away details of the essay, here's my vaguely-gotten
opinion: I don't care whether I am Everyman or a specific character.
What's more important to me is that the author has consciously chosen
whether the protagonist will be an empty habitation for the player or a
definite person -- and that the game consistently follows through on this
decision.

Roger Giner-Sorolla New York University, New York, NY
gi...@xp.psych.nyu.edu Dept. of Psychology (Social/Personality)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"The F.B.I. has said that it believes he was a student of the history of
science, but on the evidence here he was a social psychology major with a
minor in sociology, and he shows all the distressing hallmarks of the
worst of that academic breed." -- Kirkpatrick Sale on the Unabomber, 9/95

Jamieson Norrish

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Apr 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/26/96
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In article <4lp0rq$k...@newsbf02.news.aol.com> russ...@aol.com (Russ
Bryan) writes:

Do you prefer interactive fiction as a role-playing experience or
do you prefer to put yourself -- with your own personal biases,


opinions, and emotions -- into the game?

I should think I would prefer a role-playing experience, if it were
done well. The problem as I see it is not so much whether to do it one
way or the other, but how to do the first well.

It is necessary to ensure that the player understands and can
sympathise with the character they are required to play. To do this, I
think the game needs to provide sufficient information about the
character and the world for things to make sense.

Which leads me to this question: what are the real differences between
a game in which you play a role, and one which you play "as yourself"?
I thought of the following:

* restricting actions ("Sorry, but a person in your position wouldn't
do that")

* assuming actions; where the game forces a particular incidental
action on the character

* slanting descriptions, so as to present the viewpoint of the
character

* making NPCs react to the particular persona or even merely status of
the character

Would any of these differences, or the sum of them, enhance the game?
That's something I really don't know; having played a limited amount
of IF, I'm having difficulty getting my head around just what this
sort of thing would mean in an IF game.

Jamie

Gerry Kevin Wilson

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Apr 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/26/96
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In article <JAMIE.96A...@kauri.vuw.ac.nz>,

Jamieson Norrish <ja...@kauri.vuw.ac.nz> wrote:
>
>Would any of these differences, or the sum of them, enhance the game?
>That's something I really don't know; having played a limited amount
>of IF, I'm having difficulty getting my head around just what this
>sort of thing would mean in an IF game.
>
>Jamie

Well, let me examine a certain soldier named Frank Leandro.

I have used many techniques to try and give Frank some personality.

1. Diary pages, ala Planetfall.
2. Action restrictions.
3. Memories mixed in with descriptions.
4. (This is my favorite one.) Dialogue with NPCs.

I insert the player's half of the conversation into the game, so that you
get an idea of how Frank speaks and thinks. I rather like the technique
myself. I forget who else has used it, but I'm sure I've seen it somewhere.

I also use incidental actions and dialogue, but dialogue is key.
--
<~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|~~~~~~~>
< Join in the 1996 Interactive Fiction Competition. | ~~\ >
< The Deadline is September 30, 1996. Enter, judge, betatest or ?? | /~\ | >
<_______________________...@uclink.berkeley.edu_|_\__/__>

Jamieson Norrish

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Apr 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/26/96
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In article <4lpkfb$9...@agate.berkeley.edu>

whiz...@uclink.berkeley.edu (Gerry Kevin Wilson) writes:

I insert the player's half of the conversation into the game, so
that you get an idea of how Frank speaks and thinks.

How do you do this, exactly? That is, if the player types "ask Arthur
about Excalibur", you provide what Frank actually says, using his
own words? Do you provide any "set-piece" conversations in which
you put words into Frank's (and therefore the player's) mouth?

Jamie

Christopher E. Forman

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Apr 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/26/96
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Russ Bryan (russ...@aol.com) wrote:
: Do you prefer interactive fiction as a role-playing experience or do you

: prefer to put yourself -- with your own personal biases, opinions, and
: emotions -- into the game? When you played Plundered Hearts, did you

: shake yourself into the mindset of an eighteenth century lady?

Either way, but I have to know who I'm supposed to be if I'm to play a
specific character. If the introduction is poorly done, it's hard to get
into character. If there is no intro, I tend to default to the "nameless
adventurer" personality -- be clever, solve puzzles.

--
C.E. Forman cef...@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu
Read the I-F e-zine XYZZYnews, at ftp.gmd.de:/if-archive/magazines/xyzzynews,
or on the Web at http://www.interport.net/~eileen/design/xyzzynews.html

russell wallace

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Apr 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/27/96
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In <4lp0rq$k...@newsbf02.news.aol.com> russ...@aol.com (Russ Bryan) writes:


>Do you prefer interactive fiction as a role-playing experience or do you
>prefer to put yourself -- with your own personal biases, opinions, and
>emotions -- into the game? When you played Plundered Hearts, did you
>shake yourself into the mindset of an eighteenth century lady?

>Without giving away details of the game, I need to rather vaguely get


>opinions on whether you dislike a game telling you what character you are
>playing. Do you prefer to be Everyman, dropped into a situation with no
>past and no present, or do you prefer to be a specific character, with a
>lifetime of past experiences which could naturally effect the character's
>actions?

I would ideally like to have a defined persona, and to be able to choose
what that defined persona is, as in RPGs. Whether to have an explicit
character generation phase before the game proper starts or to determine
it by your actions during the game isn't terribly important - whichever
suits the particular case - but it'd be interesting to see even
something on the level of a locked door puzzle where you could break it
down if you were sufficiently big and strong, or pick the lock if your
character was a nimble thief.

Given the two options you outlined above, I'd say either can work, but
if you're going to use the second option be sure to do it well, to know
exactly why you're doing it and how the character fits the story. If
you're not sure, I'd be inclined to go for the first option.

--
"To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem"
Russell Wallace, Trinity College, Dublin
rwal...@vax1.tcd.ie

Gerry Kevin Wilson

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Apr 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/28/96
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In article <JAMIE.96A...@kauri.vuw.ac.nz>,
Jamieson Norrish <ja...@kauri.vuw.ac.nz> wrote:
^^^^^
Mmm, I disagree here. If I were saying that the character was the
character, sure. I have, however, worked on the basis that the player is
pretending to be the character instead, and might be therefore interested
in what Frank Leandro has to say. So, there might come a scene when
Merlin and Galahad are chatting about wars and religion, and as it goes,
Merlin's a rather hard-line cynic, but Frank then butts into the
conversation without the player's say-so and interjects:

"What a dreary philosophy," you interject. They both look at
you. "Not all men lust to kill and hack their way through their
enemies. There are men, good men, who want a little house, someone to
share their life, and a loving family, no more."

In another instance, Frank can ask Mordred about God. He gets:

"Look around you. Can you truly believe there's a God when all
you can see is crumbling and evil?"
"All I can see is you, Mordred. I would scarcely call you
crumbling."
He laughs at that. "A sharp wit indeed, boy. A pity you cannot
fight me with wit instead of sword."


So I do both, basically. I HAVE tried, however, never to FORCE the
player into a bad decision on Frank's part, unless it is necessary for
the plot, which I believe happens once. Even then, the player has to
make the decision (or quit the game, granted, but it's the player who is
making the character cave in to pressure from the programmer. :) <-Note
smiley.)

In essence, I attempt to balance interactivity and fiction. There must
be a reason why the player cares about Frank Leandro, so Frank needs a
personality. There are only so many avenues into the mind of the player
character, so it is important not to waste any of them. Maybe the
player's control suffers sometimes and the plot suffers other times, but
at least the effort is there.
--
<~~~VERTIGO~~~~~~~~~~~~THE~BRASS~LANTERN~~~~~~ISSUE~1~INCL~W/AVALON~~|~~~~~~~>
< In the irreverent tradition of _The New Zork Times_ comes The | ~~\ >
< Brass Lantern, an informative newsletter from Vertigo Software. | /~\ | >
<___SOFTWARE____________...@uclink.berkeley.edu__|_\__/__>

Phil Goetz

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Apr 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/29/96
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In article <4lvgrg$8...@agate.berkeley.edu>,

Gerry Kevin Wilson <whiz...@uclink.berkeley.edu> wrote:
>Mmm, I disagree here. If I were saying that the character was the
>character, sure. I have, however, worked on the basis that the player is
>pretending to be the character instead, and might be therefore interested
>in what Frank Leandro has to say.

This is interesting. Like experimental literature --
I don't think I'll like it, but I think it's worth trying.

Phil Go...@cs.buffalo.edu

Phil Goetz

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Apr 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/29/96
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In article <4lu2l4$5...@web3.tcd.ie>, russell wallace <rwal...@tcd.ie> wrote:
>In <4lp0rq$k...@newsbf02.news.aol.com> russ...@aol.com (Russ Bryan) writes:
>
>
>>Do you prefer interactive fiction as a role-playing experience or do you
>>prefer to put yourself -- with your own personal biases, opinions, and
>>emotions -- into the game? When you played Plundered Hearts, did you
>>shake yourself into the mindset of an eighteenth century lady?
>
>I would ideally like to have a defined persona, and to be able to choose
>what that defined persona is,

Aren't you contradicting yourself?

Phil Go...@cs.buffalo.edu

Christopher E. Forman

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Apr 30, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/30/96
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russell wallace (rwal...@tcd.ie) wrote:
: > >I would ideally like to have a defined persona, and to be able to choose

: > >what that defined persona is,
:
: >Aren't you contradicting yourself?
:
: I don't get it. How do you figure this is a contradiction? Surely you
: don't think there's anything logically impossible about the player
: defining who his character is? (It's the norm in RPGs.)

It's a contradiction because the person in question wants to "have a
defined persona," i.e. one that's created ahead of time by the author,
and yet "be able to choose what that defined persona is," implying that
the player creates the persona himself/herself. Can't have both.

--
C.E. Forman cef...@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu
Read the I-F e-zine XYZZYnews, at ftp.gmd.de:/if-archive/magazines/xyzzynews,
or on the Web at http://www.interport.net/~eileen/design/xyzzynews.html

Vote I-F in 1996! Visit http://www.xs4all.nl/~jojo/pcgames.html for info!

russell wallace

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Apr 30, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/30/96
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In <4m3ckk$d...@azure.acsu.buffalo.edu> go...@cs.buffalo.edu (Phil Goetz) writes:

>In article <4lu2l4$5...@web3.tcd.ie>, russell wallace <rwal...@tcd.ie> wrote:
> >In <4lp0rq$k...@newsbf02.news.aol.com> russ...@aol.com (Russ Bryan) writes:
> >
> >
> >>Do you prefer interactive fiction as a role-playing experience or do you
> >>prefer to put yourself -- with your own personal biases, opinions, and
> >>emotions -- into the game? When you played Plundered Hearts, did you
> >>shake yourself into the mindset of an eighteenth century lady?
> >

> >I would ideally like to have a defined persona, and to be able to choose
> >what that defined persona is,

>Aren't you contradicting yourself?

I don't get it. How do you figure this is a contradiction? Surely you
don't think there's anything logically impossible about the player
defining who his character is? (It's the norm in RPGs.)

--

Fred Michael Sloniker

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Apr 30, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/30/96
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Phil Goetz <go...@cs.buffalo.edu> wrote:

>In article <4lu2l4$5...@web3.tcd.ie>, russell wallace <rwal...@tcd.ie> wrote:

> >I would ideally like to have a defined persona, and to be able to choose
> >what that defined persona is,
>
>Aren't you contradicting yourself?

I think what he *meant* to say is that he would like to have several
defined personas and be able to select one to be the protagonist. Or,
possibly, that he would like to be able to construct a protagonist in
much the same way one creates a character for a role-playing game,
having the character of his character be important in the game rather
than trying to breathe life into some sort of generic 'Everyman'.
Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages.

The only int-fiction game I can think of off the top of my head that
does the latter is Beyond Zork (though my playing experience is
limited); Bureaucracy uses the concept to limited and comic effect,
while LGOP essentially follows the first model (are you Everyman or
Everywoman)? Beyond Zork also follows the first model to the extent
of having pre-defined characters to choose from if you don't care to
'roll' your own. Outside of interactive fiction, the game "New
Horizons" for the SNES and Genesis comes to mind: there are six
protagonists, and you choose one to control, encountering the others
on a regular basis. The two techniques (pre-defined characters and
character generation) came together in the "Quest for Glory" series,
about the only Sierra series that still holds my interest.

Of course, I could be totally wrong, as per usual. (:3

---Fred M. Sloniker, stressed undergrad
L. Lazuli R'kamos, FurryMUCKer
laz...@u.washington.edu

Sometimes the only solution is to find a new problem.

Kathleen Fischer

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Apr 30, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/30/96
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cef...@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu (Christopher E. Forman) wrote:

>russell wallace (rwal...@tcd.ie) wrote:
>: > >I would ideally like to have a defined persona, and to be able to choose
>: > >what that defined persona is,
<snip>

>It's a contradiction because the person in question wants to "have a
>defined persona," i.e. one that's created ahead of time by the author,
>and yet "be able to choose what that defined persona is," implying that
>the player creates the persona himself/herself. Can't have both.

Sorry, I don't see this as a contradiction... In RGP's the player can select
attributes that make up her character (athletic, intelligent, lucky... male or
female... tall or short... extrovert/introvert ???). This forms a well defined
yet player selectable persona. The program should then be able to modify the
game based on those preselected options to create a different "flavor" with
each selection.

--
// Kathleen Fischer
// kfis...@greenhouse.llnl.gov
// *** "Don't stop to stomp ants while the elephants are stampeding" ***


Jamieson Norrish

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May 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM5/1/96
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In article <4lvgrg$8...@agate.berkeley.edu>

whiz...@uclink.berkeley.edu (Gerry Kevin Wilson) writes:

In article <JAMIE.96A...@kauri.vuw.ac.nz>,
Jamieson Norrish <ja...@kauri.vuw.ac.nz> wrote:

> Do you provide any "set-piece" conversations in which you put
> words into Frank's (and therefore the player's) mouth?
^^^^^

Mmm, I disagree here.

Judging by your examples, I don't think you do, actually. I did not
mean the phrase in any pejorative sense; I meant simply that you made
the character say things which the player did not even remotely type -
which is exactly what you describe. I personally quite like this sort
of thing, though it does perhaps make for a more distanced character
than otherwise (in that when playing yourself you are also playing a
character).

Could you provide some examples of the first method, which you also
said you used; that is, of filling out the player's "ask person about
thing" with Frank's words. I'm wondering just to what extent you've
done this.

Jamie

Gerry Kevin Wilson

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May 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM5/1/96
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In article <JAMIE.96M...@kauri.vuw.ac.nz>,

Jamieson Norrish <ja...@kauri.vuw.ac.nz> wrote:
>
>Judging by your examples, I don't think you do, actually. I did not
>mean the phrase in any pejorative sense; I meant simply that you made
>the character say things which the player did not even remotely type -
>which is exactly what you describe. I personally quite like this sort
>of thing, though it does perhaps make for a more distanced character
>than otherwise (in that when playing yourself you are also playing a
>character).

Ooooooh. Yeah, I do THAT. It's that other thing I don't do.

>Could you provide some examples of the first method, which you also
>said you used; that is, of filling out the player's "ask person about
>thing" with Frank's words. I'm wondering just to what extent you've
>done this.

Hmm, looking over the code it doesn't seem really prevalent. Let me see
if I've actually done it at all. Ahh, I DO use it in at least one or two
'ask about' statements. Much more prevalent in the actions you take. I
think I'll revise that. Oh, here's one example:

>ask galahad about mushroom
"It is a bad idea to eat strange fungi, my Liege."
"Hunh, you sound just like my mother, Galahad."
"She is a wise woman then."

It's not exact, but that's the sort of thing I've done. Man, I though I
had much more 'Frank' dialogue. I will remedy that post-haste.
--
"Day turns to night in a single step. A gleaming pool of silvery
water captures the moon within its shivering arms and holds it near."

-An excerpt from "Avalon", a game under construction.

russell wallace

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May 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM5/1/96
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In <4m5q18$23...@thor.cmp.ilstu.edu> cef...@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu (Christopher E. Forman) writes:

>russell wallace (rwal...@tcd.ie) wrote:
>: > >I would ideally like to have a defined persona, and to be able to choose
>: > >what that defined persona is,

>:
>: >Aren't you contradicting yourself?
>:
>: I don't get it. How do you figure this is a contradiction? Surely you


>: don't think there's anything logically impossible about the player
>: defining who his character is? (It's the norm in RPGs.)

>It's a contradiction because the person in question wants to "have a


>defined persona," i.e. one that's created ahead of time by the author,
>and yet "be able to choose what that defined persona is," implying that
>the player creates the persona himself/herself. Can't have both.

If I meant "persona created ahead of time by the author", I'd have said
that. I didn't, I said "defined persona" by which I meant just that -
a persona which is defined, rather than being left as the anonymous
puzzle-solver.

russell wallace

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May 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM5/1/96
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In <4m5scb$3...@nntp4.u.washington.edu> laz...@u.washington.edu (Fred Michael Sloniker) writes:

>Phil Goetz <go...@cs.buffalo.edu> wrote:

>>In article <4lu2l4$5...@web3.tcd.ie>, russell wallace <rwal...@tcd.ie> wrote:

>> >I would ideally like to have a defined persona, and to be able to choose
>> >what that defined persona is,
>>
>>Aren't you contradicting yourself?

>I think what he *meant* to say is that he would like to have several


>defined personas and be able to select one to be the protagonist. Or,
>possibly, that he would like to be able to construct a protagonist in
>much the same way one creates a character for a role-playing game,
>having the character of his character be important in the game rather
>than trying to breathe life into some sort of generic 'Everyman'.

I intended the statement in the latter sense (though I can see the
former having interesting potential as well).

>Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages.

Yep.

Edan Harel

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May 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM5/1/96
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cef...@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu (Christopher E. Forman) wrote:
>russell wallace (rwal...@tcd.ie) wrote:
>: > >I would ideally like to have a defined persona, and to be able to choose
>: > >what that defined persona is,
>:
>: >Aren't you contradicting yourself?
>:
>: I don't get it. How do you figure this is a contradiction? Surely you
>: don't think there's anything logically impossible about the player
>: defining who his character is? (It's the norm in RPGs.)
>
>It's a contradiction because the person in question wants to "have a
>defined persona," i.e. one that's created ahead of time by the author,
>and yet "be able to choose what that defined persona is," implying that
>the player creates the persona himself/herself. Can't have both.

I wasn't created ahead of time by the author, does that mean I don't
have a defined personality?

OK, jokes aside, I see nothing wrong with having a well defined character
which can have several venues depending on the players actions. For
example, the action each have values, and depending on which action the
player has done. Then, as the game goes on, the player must then become
that character and act more like it. The only major fallicy in this that
I can see is that this would most probably be based on a few major
decisons at the start of the game, rather then the entire game and most
decisions. For example, the order a person solves the puzzles could tell
you something about them. Or the way in which they solve the puzzle. OR
weather they're moral, or immoral, niave or realistic or what-have-you.

For example, let's imagine that you are the main character. Your
girlfriend is taken over by the devil. You are given, at one point, a
decision: Kill her, Try and save her or do nothing. If you try to save
her, for example, you might not be able to succeed at that moment, but
later you might be able. If you try and kill her, on the other hand, you
might find out later that she *couldn't* be saved, or maybe that she
could be saved (depending on how the author wants to make the story for
each seperate personality). And if you do nothing, maybe, oh I dunno,
you die. :)


Jamieson Norrish

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May 3, 1996, 3:00:00 AM5/3/96
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In article <4m3ckk$d...@azure.acsu.buffalo.edu> go...@cs.buffalo.edu
(Phil Goetz) writes:

In article <4lu2l4$5...@web3.tcd.ie>, russell wallace

<rwal...@tcd.ie> wrote:

> I would ideally like to have a defined persona, and to be able
> to choose what that defined persona is,

Aren't you contradicting yourself?

Well, it would be possible to have some number of defined personae
available, and to choose amongst them.

Jamie

Lucian Paul Smith

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May 3, 1996, 3:00:00 AM5/3/96
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Edan Harel (edh...@eden.rutgers.edu) wrote:
<snip>
: OK, jokes aside, I see nothing wrong with having a well defined character
: which can have several venues depending on the players actions. For
: example, the action each have values, and depending on which action the
: player has done. Then, as the game goes on, the player must then become
: that character and act more like it. The only major fallicy in this that
: I can see is that this would most probably be based on a few major
: decisons at the start of the game, rather then the entire game and most
: decisions. For example, the order a person solves the puzzles could tell
: you something about them. Or the way in which they solve the puzzle. OR
: weather they're moral, or immoral, niave or realistic or what-have-you.

: For example, let's imagine that you are the main character. Your
: girlfriend is taken over by the devil. You are given, at one point, a
: decision: Kill her, Try and save her or do nothing. If you try to save
: her, for example, you might not be able to succeed at that moment, but
: later you might be able. If you try and kill her, on the other hand, you
: might find out later that she *couldn't* be saved, or maybe that she
: could be saved (depending on how the author wants to make the story for
: each seperate personality). And if you do nothing, maybe, oh I dunno,
: you die. :)

I've been contemplating a game sort of like this, with certain 'stats'
that the player develops over the course of the game. For example, one
stat would be 'inquisitiveness' which would increase every time the
player looks behind or under something. Then, later in the game, a
player with a high enough inquisitiveness, when they typed 'look behind
news stand' would get 'You search carefully behind the newsstand.
Pushing a couple dust bunnies aside, you discover a penny in the dirt'.
A player without such a rating would get, 'You glance behind the
newsstand, but see nothing.' Another stat might be 'chattiness': "You
see Frank coming down the hall. Fearful that you are going to barrage
him with questions, he darts into a doorway, and locks it behind him."

The one forseeable problem with this is re-starting the game. Someone
who didn't know what was happening could get very frustrated when the
first time they played the game they searched everywhere and finally got
the penny, and the second time they played they went straight to the
newsstand and couldn't find it again!

Anyway, some random musings,...

-Lucian "Lucian" Smith

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