Water-as-object opinions

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DarrenH

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May 16, 2002, 2:35:49 PM5/16/02
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Hi there,

What should one expect of water in a game in terms of useability in order to
be considered reasonably fair?

To generalize, would it be safe to say that the only thing that really
distinguishes water from other objects is that water must remain in a
container of some sort?

Thanks for your opinions....cheers, d

Matthew F Funke

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May 16, 2002, 2:57:21 PM5/16/02
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DarrenH <jer...@overtime.ca> wrote:
>
>What should one expect of water in a game in terms of useability in order to
>be considered reasonably fair?
>
>To generalize, would it be safe to say that the only thing that really
>distinguishes water from other objects is that water must remain in a
>container of some sort?

That partially depends on what it is possible to do in the game.
If I pour (put?) water on something, that something will be wet; the
water fundamentally changes the attributes of the thing on which it is
put. Moreover, unlike "> PUT BOOK ON TABLE", once I "> PUT WATER ON
TABLE", I cannot then "> GET WATER"; the water, unlike the book, is
unrecoverable.
If I pour water from Container A to Container B, I can have "some
water" in A and B -- unlike, say, pouring a marble from A to B.
Water can douse fires (but not electrical or chemical ones). If it's
cold enough, it will freeze. If it's hot enough, it will either evaporate
or turn to steam. (While these last physical changes are true of any
substance, water is special in that the temperatures at which they occur
are not unusual to everyday human experience.)
Water can hold impurities -- so typing "> PUT PARROT IN WATER" makes
sense. Sometimes, those impurities will dissolve, making them also
unrecoverable. The drinkability of water may change depending on the
impurities in it. The amount of things you can put in water depends both
on the solubility of the impurities and the amount of water involved.
Impurities will alter freezing and boiling properties. Adding water to
water doesn't cout as adding an impurity.
Water cannot be held in *just any* container. "> PUT WATER IN
BOTTLE" is okay; "> PUT WATER IN CANVAS BAG" is not.
Enough water can cause a person -- or parrot -- to drown, depending
on what they are doing in or to it. It would be harder to drown in, say,
a pile of kindling.
If you want to get *really* exotic, water does funky (but small)
things in response to magnetism.
Water can be sucked, squirted, or pumped; solid objects that can be
held in containers may not necessarily possess these properties.
This is only the tip of the iceberg <g>, but I trust you can see that
implementing water in a game can increase headaches far beyond needing to
keep it in a container. :)
--
-- With Best Regards,
Matthew Funke (m...@hopper.unh.edu)

DarrenH

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May 16, 2002, 3:15:16 PM5/16/02
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Thanks Matthew,
Given the list of properties that you've compiled here, that the presence of
a carryable liquid can result in the need for a large network of associated
actions and limitations. Are there any games where you have seen liquid
objects handled rather well (or badly, for that matter)?

Thanks!
D

"Matthew F Funke" <m...@hypatia.unh.edu> wrote in message
news:ac0veh$kmn$1...@tabloid.unh.edu...

Neil Cerutti

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May 16, 2002, 3:19:48 PM5/16/02
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DarrenH posted:

>What should one expect of water in a game in terms of useability
>in order to be considered reasonably fair?

It depends on the context and almost nothing else. A Fire Fighter
wants to do different things with water than what a Mermaid might
want to do.

The only other thing it depends on is your patience and skill as
implementor.

>To generalize, would it be safe to say that the only thing that
>really distinguishes water from other objects is that water must
>remain in a container of some sort?

Not in every game. But it may be very reasonable for your game.

--
Neil Cerutti <cer...@trans-video.net>

DarrenH

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May 16, 2002, 3:31:09 PM5/16/02
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Hi Neil,
Thanks for your reply...of course you have a point. To be more clear I was
looking for what would be considered an acceptable amount of functionality,
given the presence of a carryable liquid.

I suppose a programmer could simply say "you can't do that" to just about
any action the player may propose (i.e. throw water at wall, spill water,
etc.) but I'm trying to guage what the standard would be, without the player
feeling like the game is being somewhat unfair in its restrictions.

Thanks,
D


"Neil Cerutti" <cer...@trans-video.net> wrote in message
news:slrnae81sq...@fiad06.norwich.edu...

Jim Aikin

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May 16, 2002, 8:07:38 PM5/16/02
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In addition to what Matthew mentioned, there's a tricky bit that comes
up in English syntax, which is that "pick up the water" is a standard
synonym for "pick up the bottle" (or other water-bearing container).
This synonym should be implemented only in the case when there is
actually water _in_ the container, and you need to be careful about what
happens with different actions. For instance, "water" and "bottle" may
be synonyms when the action is "pick up" or "put down" but not when it's
"pour." Or else, you could simply allow "pour bottle on parched fern,"
but that's a bit odd.

Another (fairly obvious) thing about water is that it's not unitary, the
way an accordion is, or a gerbil. If you have a water source, "fill
bottle from faucet" doesn't remove the water object that's associated
with the faucet object (or at least, associated when the faucet object
is turned on).

If the water source is large, you also have to deal with "swim" and
"wade" (which might not be the same action). If you "drop the bowling
ball in the lake" the bowling ball object will most likely be removed
from the game forever, but if you "drop the toy boat in the lake" the
toy boat will float, remaining accessible until it drifts too far away,
and observable for some period of time thereafter.

Still water can be used as a way of observing your own reflection;
that's used as part of a puzzle in one game I've played, can't remember
the title offhand. Running water makes a noise, so your implementation
of "listen" needs to be sensitive to whether running water is nearby.

Your players may try to use "sprinkle" as a verb, so as to pour just a
_little_ of the water.

--Jim Aikin

************************************
"Those instances of it which lack
the quality referred to as 'swing'
are meaningless." --Duke Ellington
************************************

Timothy Groves

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May 16, 2002, 7:30:52 PM5/16/02
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I would like to throw my $0.02 into the mix...

The way that I have added 'water' in the one IF that I used it was as a
quality. An object could either contain water, or it could not. An
object which could contain water either did contain water, or did not.
Water could either be hot, warm or cold. Mixing any two different
temperatures produced warm water. Locations that contained water could
not have their water temperature changed; it was assumed that that much
water was unlikely to be affected by a man-portable amount. Finally,
objects could become wet, usually after a 'Pour' command or by being
placed in a location that was full of water.

Therefore, I had defined the following attributes: WithWater, Hot,
Cold, Wet. I used Container to signify that something could hold water,
as I had no containers in the game that could not actually hold water.
'Warm' was defined as (Hot && Cold), so that mixing water was easy to
code. Plus, I had to add the verb 'Pour', and alter all containers so
that their names changed as their state did. (So you could do a 'pour
hot water' as easily as 'pour kettle'.

Hope this helps.
--
ICQ#66022322

"Of all sexual aberrations, I think that chastity is the strangest."
-Anatole France

Jim Fisher

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May 16, 2002, 11:31:03 PM5/16/02
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Another issue about water is that it can be mixed with other liquids. If
have half a cup of water and mix in half a cup of coffee, what response do
you see when you...

>look in cup

Is it:

In the cup you see a half-cup of water and a half-cup of coffee.

(which is silly, but the default behavior of the library), or do you see:

In the cup you see a cup of watered-down coffee.

Just a thought.

--
Jim (AT) OnyxRing (DOT) com
Visit "An Inform Developer's Guide" or browse the
"ORLibrary" extensions to the standard library at
www.OnyxRing.com
----------------------
Some days you eat the code; some days the code eats you

"DarrenH" <jer...@overtime.ca> wrote in message
news:9_SE8.22712$f5.1882130@news...

Daniel Barkalow

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May 17, 2002, 1:04:00 AM5/17/02
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On Thu, 16 May 2002, DarrenH wrote:

> Thanks Matthew,
> Given the list of properties that you've compiled here, that the presence of
> a carryable liquid can result in the need for a large network of associated
> actions and limitations. Are there any games where you have seen liquid
> objects handled rather well (or badly, for that matter)?

_So Far_ handled several liquids well, in my opinion. But it didn't allow
you to do all that many things with the liquids. Like many aspects of game
design, water is something where you should implement everything the
players want to do, and make the players not want to do anything you don't
implement.

Adventure also did well at it, for that matter.

Your implementation of water should be driven by the puzzles you want to
be solved with it (or by things you want the player to try to no avail),
and the rest of the puzzles should not logically be helped by water, or
the water should be logically used up or impossible to bring to where it
would be useful.

-Iabervon
*This .sig unintentionally changed*

MFischer5

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May 17, 2002, 2:10:47 AM5/17/02
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From: "DarrenH" jer...@overtime.ca
>I suppose a programmer could simply say "you can't do that" to just about
>any action the player may propose (i.e. throw water at wall, spill water,
>etc.) but I'm trying to guage what the standard would be, without the player
>feeling like the game is being somewhat unfair in its restrictions.

It sometimes seems that writing IF is little more than coming up with
believable reasons why the player can't do the obvious.

Kathleen (waxing philosophical as she glares at her own water class)

-- Prized Posession (Comp 2001):
http://www.ifarchive.org/if-archive/games/competition2001/inform/possess
-- Masquerade (Comp 2000):
http://www.ifarchive.org/if-archive/games/zcode/Mask.z5
-- The Cove (Art Show 2000):
http://www.ifarchive.org/if-archive/games/zcode/Cove.z5

D. R. Porterfield

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May 17, 2002, 10:19:33 AM5/17/02
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If you're using Inform, Roger Firth has an excellent section on liquid
and vessel classes here:

http://www.firthworks.com/roger/infancy/index.html

I found it very helpful myself, although toward the end it gets a
little advanced for beginners.

David


"DarrenH" <jer...@overtime.ca> wrote in message news:<9_SE8.22712$f5.1882130@news>...

David Picton

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May 17, 2002, 11:13:05 AM5/17/02
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"DarrenH" <jer...@overtime.ca> wrote in message news:<8zTE8.22716$f5.1882554@news>...

> Thanks Matthew,
> Given the list of properties that you've compiled here, that the presence of
> a carryable liquid can result in the need for a large network of associated
> actions and limitations. Are there any games where you have seen liquid
> objects handled rather well (or badly, for that matter)?
>
> Thanks!
> D

Mild spoilers follow.

Well - Mulldoon II: The Mulldoon Murders. There is a considerable
level of complexity here because liquids, powders and solid objects
can all be put into containers, and can interact in various ways! For
example, coffee powder can react with hot water to make coffee, but
not with cold water. Another powder reacts with a liquid to form a
solid, but if the solid is heated the powder precipitates out again.
The only area of weakness is in attempts to mix liquids which
sometimes get wrong responses, but I guess that it's hard to get
everything 100% perfect in these circumstances.

Badly - in my view the wooden spoon goes to an otherwise excellent
game, Once and Future. A scene with coloured liquids is very buggy
and imposes guess-the-verb puzzles on the player, although I think the
original shareware version had a manual which told players which
commands would work. In my view it's far better to make the game
user-friendly by catering for at least some alternative command forms
- for example, if the player wants to fill a bucket with green liquid
from a cauldron, there are many ways to say it e.g. "fill bucket with
green liquid", "pour green liquid into bucket", "pour cauldron on
bucket", "put green liquid in bucket", or "put bucket into cauldron".

Daryl McCullough

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May 17, 2002, 11:52:51 AM5/17/02
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mfis...@aol.com (Kathleen) says...

>It sometimes seems that writing IF is little more than coming up with
>believable reasons why the player can't do the obvious.

Good point! But I wonder, why is that an issue in IF, but not in (for example)
graphical computer games? In a graphical game, you see a window on a building
and try to open it, and it doesn't work. So it was just scenery. No big deal.
Why is it a bigger deal in IF?

--
Daryl McCullough
Ithaca, NY

Andrew Plotkin

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May 17, 2002, 12:25:22 PM5/17/02
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Graphical IF is so painfully sparse -- due to the sheer cost of
creating new responses -- that you're grateful for *any* kind of
reaction from the game.

In text IF, the author can easily throw in another scenery object.
This makes for a richer world, and also allows a lot more subtlety in
mixing important-later objects in with the interesting-but-scenery.
However, it also raises the player's expectations; the author can't
create scenery objects for *everything* mentioned, only a lot of them.

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
* Make your vote count. Get your vote counted.

Matthew F Funke

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May 17, 2002, 12:28:15 PM5/17/02
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It's not a big deal if the computer tells you you can't open it in
some logical fashion. When it doesn't, it's like clicking on the window,
but nothing happens in response -- or it barks at you.

Daniel Barkalow

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May 17, 2002, 11:42:16 PM5/17/02
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In graphical games the computer has less room to explain why something
doesn't work. In IF, when you type "open window", you're going to get some
response, and you can hope that the response will be clever. In a
graphical game, if the window doesn't move, you don't expect much. You
only really see what's going on, and you don't see it move. You're then
free to believe there's some good reason the window doesn't move, because
nothing the game has done contradicts this.

Unless, of course, you're trying to open the window with a baseball bat,
and you've got some good reason to be trying this.

Trent

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May 18, 2002, 5:07:13 PM5/18/02
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> > Thanks Matthew,
> > Given the list of properties that you've compiled here, that the
presence of
> > a carryable liquid can result in the need for a large network of
associated
> > actions and limitations. Are there any games where you have seen liquid
> > objects handled rather well (or badly, for that matter)?
> >
> > Thanks!
> > D

I played a game once which had a great way of handling the water situation.
I can't remember what it was called. Basically, everytime I had a great
idea and tried to execute it, the computer seemed to read my mind. The
author had figured out just why I was doing what I was doing, and then was
able to give a longer than normal response, which ended with the puzzle not
being solved. So, for example, if I thought that I miight drown the little
bug that has been tormenting me, so that it would leave me alone, the game
would respond as such:

>Pour water on bug
In a vicious attempt to drown the poor insect, you shower it with the
water from your flask. Unfortunately, the fly manages to crawl out of the
puddle, and a few moments later, is about and about, tormenting you once
again.

Now, it seems to me that a game must be very carefully constructed if the
author knows exactly why you would be doing each thing you do. If I had
been trying to give the bug some water to drink, for example, then the above
response would have been frustrating. But in this particular game, it
worked, and I though it was a very classy way to deal with the problem.

Regarding the graphical games where you can't open a window, I have to agree
with what Iabervon said. A graphical game doesn't have the ability to say,
"You can't do that" and so when I can't do something, I make up a reason in
my head. "Oh, so I can't open the window, I guess it's locked." However,
if I fire a gun at a window, even in a graphical game, I expect the window
to break, and if it doesn't, I get just as frustrated as I would in IF.

-Christopher


Sean T Barrett

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May 19, 2002, 12:40:28 AM5/19/02
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Graphical games create their sense of "you are thereness"
with graphics, even non-responsive graphics. Text games
rely on some level of interactive responsivity to get you
to feel the place is real.

SeanB

Phil Lewis

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May 19, 2002, 1:35:54 AM5/19/02
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DarrenH <jer...@overtime.ca> wrote in message
news:9_SE8.22712$f5.1882130@news...

> Hi there,
>
> What should one expect of water in a game in terms of useability in order
to
> be considered reasonably fair?
>
> To generalize, would it be safe to say that the only thing that really
> distinguishes water from other objects is that water must remain in a
> container of some sort?

Check out Emily Short's Savoir-Faire, and her notes on liquid modeling at
http://emshort.home.mindspring.com/liquids.html (note: possible mild
spoilage for the game there).

Phil


Plugh!

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May 19, 2002, 12:00:33 PM5/19/02
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"DarrenH" <jer...@overtime.ca> wrote in message news:<9_SE8.22712$f5.1882130@news>...


I believe that the TADS 3 standard library will address this,
including a liquid class from which classes like 'water', 'oil', etc
can be derived.

However, the standard library can only address so much - how large
does a 'body' of water have to be before you can swim in it?

It also provides a FireSource class; most discussions on beta testing
have agreed that fire and liquids are the nastiest sort of objects, in
terms of unexpected side effects, so it is good that these things are
being addressed, as far as is possible, in the standard library.

tarage

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May 20, 2002, 7:07:46 AM5/20/02
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Sean T Barrett wrote:
> Daryl McCullough <da...@cogentex.com> wrote:
>
>>mfis...@aol.com (Kathleen) says...
>>Good point! But I wonder, why is that an issue in IF, but not in (for example)
>>graphical computer games? In a graphical game, you see a window on a building
>>and try to open it, and it doesn't work. So it was just scenery. No big deal.
>>Why is it a bigger deal in IF?
>
>
> Graphical games create their sense of "you are thereness"
> with graphics, even non-responsive graphics. Text games
> rely on some level of interactive responsivity to get you
> to feel the place is real.
>
> SeanB

Agreed. Inaction in the graphical world is immediate and obvious, and
is, in a sense, generic. In the text world, you expect a greater deal of
detail because you're engaging the world on a more Platonic (the realm
of ideas) level. In say, Zelda, if you don't open a window, you see
immediately that you don't do it. In Zork, at the worst, you end up with
the "Nothing happens." Because you're engaging the mind and not just the
eyes, you along with the player, realize that the "nothing happens"
isn't satisfying all the time, which explains the emphasis on bounding
the user experience with "You see/feel/taste nothing unexpected" and the
other varieties of bounding statements.

.02,
~Mike

A.P. Hill

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May 20, 2002, 4:44:22 PM5/20/02
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I disagree. During the 'nothing happens' disclosure, my mind is still
racing a thousand times per second with the following imaginary
scenario:

"My boots beneath my feet felt uneven against the hard brimstone that
was the floor. Dust krept up forming hideous phantoms below my tunic
as I approached the black box. Silence was defeaning, and the
stillness limited my breathing to small breathes as I craddled the box
between my bracers. The senses were alarming. I opened the box to
reveal it to be empty, ...nothing happened, either. My thoughts
raced, as I placed my hand upon my sword. I pulled the sword from my
sheath and kissed it. Then replaced the blade into the Thorlock
scabbard. I pulled it out again and practice a few maneuvers with the
blade. I thought of my father, how he was a pissy magicuser, what a
fairy I thought to myself. Thinking again of the fact that nothing as
occurred for an hour in this dreadful room, I find a small space on
the floor to rest."

That's my scenario, your scenario is probably, after typing "open box"
and getting nothing happens, you exclaim, "Damn, this game sucks. You
then kick your dog, and type "take box". You can't take the box.
"Man! Life sucks!" Then you turn on Trading Places and order pink
drapes from some lady named Ela from ebay. Actually, that would be
a cool life. ELA! ELA!! Give me Drapery ELA!!!!

A.P. Hill
Santoonie Corp.

tarage

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May 20, 2002, 9:14:40 PM5/20/02
to


A.P., your judgementalism is exactly why people don't care for you.
You're way off base in your extrapolation into my thoughts about the
game. Are you just another person maniacally bent on getting into as
many filters, killfiles and ignore rules as possible? Your actions would
seem to indicate such.

Regards,
~Mike


A.P. Hill

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May 21, 2002, 8:45:33 AM5/21/02
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Yes. Allow me to introduce myself. I am A.P. Hill. Normally I don't
act like this, but (pssssstt), *whispers* 'Just between you and me,
I'm trying to charm the ladies, if you know what I mean. Dude your
gettin' a Dell.'

My hobbies include knitting, riding my rl20-II, stealing car change,
and Broadway. I starred in 'A Boot for Hazel'. I also collect work
from Hans Belmer. I am related to James A. Michener. I am James A.
Michener's first wifes great nephew, though I receive no royalties or
money from such, but my writing can show my great skills.

Have you seen my paragraphing techniques? Watch this.

It was a hot summer night, and Jack was bored. The dogs were
barking. The birds were chirping. Jack decided to go for a walk. He
decided to take a walk down by the railroad tracks. In the distance,
he heard a train. As he started to cross the tracks, his foot got
caught in the tracks. There was nothing he could do.
EEEEEEEAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRNNNNNNTTTTTTTTT CHOO CHOO.

DarrenH

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May 21, 2002, 9:33:08 AM5/21/02
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Hi Trent,
If you can post a basic description of the game, I'm sure someone here will
know the title.

Thanks!
Darren


"Trent" <chris...@the-ether.port5.com> wrote in message
news:5ozF8.26239$Db5.7...@typhoon.nyc.rr.com...

Ethyl Yuter

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May 21, 2002, 5:47:30 PM5/21/02
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Why does it say 2 posts?

aph...@altavista.com (A.P. Hill) wrote in message news:<61188078.02052...@posting.google.com>...

L. Ron Hubbard

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May 22, 2002, 3:46:52 PM5/22/02
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rangier...@hotmail.com (Ethyl Yuter) wrote in message news:<5fc0cf9a.02052...@posting.google.com>...

> Why does it say 2 posts?

Why does _what_ say 2 posts?

If you're look at the group with google, there are 23 posts to the
thread with its original title and there were 2 posts to the modified
title when you asked that.

On google, as soon as a thread receives a post with a different title,
it is treated as new thread, although this is not the way that
some/most newsreaders treat it.

C.M.

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May 29, 2002, 7:32:38 AM5/29/02
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Mr. Hill (may I call you A.P. ??), you absolutely bloody ROCK.

I've been on the Internet about 16 hours a day for the past 10 years,
so I've seen a lot of flame wars, but you have a certain wit and charm
that rivals anything I've seen before. You can put flamers in their
place with no effort at all. That's what makes you such a good
author, too.

ROCK ON!!!

Whatever happened to Tilli by the way? He hasn't posted here lately.
Are you still working together? I wouldn't want to think that you'd
have to be working on Amissville all by yourself!


aph...@altavista.com (A.P. Hill) wrote in message news:<61188078.02052...@posting.google.com>...

C.M.

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May 29, 2002, 7:33:55 AM5/29/02
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tarage <tar...@NOSPAM.bellsouth.net> wrote in message news:<3CE99F80...@NOSPAM.bellsouth.net>...

> A.P., your judgementalism is exactly why people don't care for you.

I care for him. Not in a homosexual way, I mean, but I respect him as
a writer and as the most skilled IF author to come along during the
21st century.

Ethyl Yuter

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May 29, 2002, 6:24:51 PM5/29/02
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Ah, I see. I apologize for taking up your time with my technical inferiority.

xe...@email.com (L. Ron Hubbard) wrote in message news:<e530a463.02052...@posting.google.com>...

A.P. Hill

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May 30, 2002, 8:51:41 AM5/30/02
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AWESOME GAME!!!! AWESOME!

I was wondering, how would I go about suggesting to leaders of
R.A.I.F. that this year should be known as 'The year of Amissville'?
I think it would be appropriate to use that terminology when
discussing events of 2002, like competitions and MUD Events.
Something like, "...Make sure to complete your game prior to this
years, The year of Amissville 2002 IF competition...." - or - "...In
the Year of Amissville, we had an amazing 352 games released, way to
go!..." - or - "...the deadline for speed IF for the Year of
Amissville 2002 is Friday, August 11...."

Would a petition help, or is there someone I can talk to directly?

Andrew Plotkin

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May 30, 2002, 10:34:18 AM5/30/02
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Here, A.P. Hill <aph...@altavista.com> wrote:

> I was wondering, how would I go about suggesting to leaders of
> R.A.I.F. that this year should be known as 'The year of Amissville'?

Oh, don't worry. I think there's no risk of anyone forgetting.

A.P. Hill

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May 30, 2002, 3:26:30 PM5/30/02
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splendid.
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