Do you like or hate "absurd returning" exits?

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rcb...@muvms3.bitnet

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Apr 22, 1992, 1:59:35 PM4/22/92
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Hello all,

I got "Dungeon" the other day, for my Amiga.

How many people out there are annoyed when you go north, then south, and you
are not at the place you just came from? Is this not the most annoying thing
on earth?? It makes Dungeon a real pain to play, it takes _forever_ to figure
out what is where, before you can concentrate on the puzzles... :^(

Who else agrees? (or disagrees :^)....)

Later
(( || /\\ \\ / /\\ (( R. Alan Monroe (( For best results, ((
)) _// /--\\ \\/ /--\\ )) rcb...@muvms3.wvnet.edu )) squeeze sig from ))
(( _ (( (( the bottom and ((
)) || /\\ // ||_/ )) Pinkwater Rules! )) flatten it as you ))
(( _// /--\\ \\_ || \ (( :^) (( go up. ((

Bill Dueber

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Apr 23, 1992, 12:39:19 PM4/23/92
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There was a bit of discussion on this a while back. Only in *very
rare* instances is it acceptable to have a non-topographically sound
environment in a game. Mazes are excuses for people writing games who
want to pad the room count.

For example: I recently downloaded "Dunjin" from the michigan
archives. It lasted about 20 minutes. It seems as if *every* area in
that game is a maze, with a few corridors to hook them together. All,
shall we say, "challenging to the person living in a Cartesian world".
It's the same old story: people don't want to map, they want to solve
puzzles. If a maze is going to be included (and it shouldn't) and if
it's going to be some weird topology (and it shouldn't), it should at
least have some sort of underlying rule to the topology inherant in
the system as opposed to random junctures.

I have extraordinary respect for anyone who has the will and endurance
to write a text adventure. I just wish more people would be content
with small room counts and interesting games instead of silly "drop
an item and move around" exercises in mapping.

--Bill

Erik G. Olson

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Apr 24, 1992, 12:03:55 PM4/24/92
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In article <1992Apr23.1...@bronze.ucs.indiana.edu> Bill Dueber <wdu...@copper.ucs.indiana.edu> writes:
>
>I have extraordinary respect for anyone who has the will and endurance
>to write a text adventure. I just wish more people would be content
>with small room counts and interesting games instead of silly "drop
>an item and move around" exercises in mapping.
>
> --Bill

I see your point and agree with you, especially about the "more" part,
but I feel as if someone ought to speak up for the truly great maze
devices of history:

What would Zork be without a totally frustrating maze, filled with
hard-to-stumble-into nooks that are nevertheless essential? And a
maze denizen who says, "My, I wonder who left this fine rope lying
here?"

The thief's maze is maze with charm. I would recommend do not use
mazes unless you have an idea that makes it worthwhile: in Zork,
the point is that the thief is sadistic and frustrating and the text
bears this out. ("The gentleman with the large bag bows to you on his
way out, after removing several valuables from your possession.")
So the maze is that way, too. But lest the player become discouraged,
the skilful mapper has some three rewards lying out there to stumble onto.

Let us not forget:
"It seems to be an invective against picking up and dropping small
objects," which might evoke the antiphon:
"Dost thou know the magnitude of thy sin before the gods?"

A maze is, after all, one kind of puzzle. Just do it tastefully.

--
Erik G. Olson =+ Where am I? Tell the truth--
ols...@rpi.edu =+ I can bear it. In what quarter of the globe
=+ Have I descended like a meteorite?
=+ ---Cyrano de Bergerac, Act III

David M. Baggett

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Apr 24, 1992, 1:22:07 PM4/24/92
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In article <qpcvg#a...@rpi.edu> ols...@aix.rpi.edu (Erik G. Olson) writes:
>What would Zork be without a totally frustrating maze, filled with
>hard-to-stumble-into nooks that are nevertheless essential?

A better game. Why is Zork canonized this way? It was one of the
first good adventure games, but was nowhere near Infocom's best
effort. While it's true that Zork established certain precedents, it's
just not right to assume that everything in Zork is good, or to label
it the "premier adventure game." (I'm not saying Erik did this, but I
see it alluded to fairly often.) If you do call it that, you're really
denegrating all the work that's been done in interactive fiction since
then: no one's been able to advance the state of the art since 1979?

For one thing, Zork was just a treasure fest -- the interactive fiction
equivalent of a picaresque novel (e.g. from "real" literature: Don
Quixote). Very simple plot, but amusing enough. Later Infocoms like
Deadline, Suspended, Trinity, etc. were a lot more ambitious and
interesting, at least in terms of how they fit into the interactive
fiction genre as a whole.

Believe me, twisting the standard adventure game formula around even a
little makes the game much harder to write, at least in the beginning
of the project, because you can't fall back on the old bag of tricks.
As soon as you try to give a game a more meaningful plot (or "theme" in
general) you start worrying a lot more about internal consistency,
realism, etc. I've found that even going from "silly fantasy" genre to
"semi-silly SF" genre makes things a lot harder.

All of the above is IMHO and FPEO (from personal experience only).

>A maze is, after all, one kind of puzzle. Just do it tastefully.

Mazes are really fun for the game designer, but really tedious
and frustrating for the player. There may be some players that
like mazes, and some mazes may be clever enough to amuse most
people, but any maze will definitely significantly annoy some
part of the game's audience. Those people may completely lose
interest in the game (and possibly the rest of your product line,
if you're a commerical company like Infocom).

That's a big risk, and consequently I don't think mazes are worth it.
Ditto for overly-confusing game topology. One recurring theme in
computer game design is that's it's trivial to make a game that's too
hard. It's very hard to make a game that's challenging but not
frustrating. Adventure game topology is just one more area in which
this axiom applies.

Dave Baggett
d...@wam.umd.edu

Melchar

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Apr 24, 1992, 2:47:31 PM4/24/92
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rcb...@muvms3.bitnet writes:

>
>
> Hello all,
>
> I got "Dungeon" the other day, for my Amiga.
>
> How many people out there are annoyed when you go north, then south, and you
> are not at the place you just came from? Is this not the most annoying thing
> on earth?? It makes Dungeon a real pain to play, it takes _forever_ to figur

> out what is where, before you can concentrate on the puzzles... :^(
>
> Who else agrees? (or disagrees :^)....)
>
> Later
> (( || /\\ \\ / /\\ (( R. Alan Monroe (( For best results, ((
> )) _// /--\\ \\/ /--\\ )) rcb...@muvms3.wvnet.edu )) squeeze sig from )

> (( _ (( (( the bottom and ((
> )) || /\\ // ||_/ )) Pinkwater Rules! )) flatten it as you )

> (( _// /--\\ \\_ || \ (( :^) (( go up. ((
>

'Dungeon' is one game you absolutely MUST map (pref on graph paper)
as you play the game. If you do this, you'll avoid getting lost &
starving/dying of thirst (like I did) the first 10 or so times you play
the game

Phil Goetz

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Apr 24, 1992, 3:39:18 PM4/24/92
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>How many people out there are annoyed when you go north, then south, and you
>are not at the place you just came from? Is this not the most annoying thing
>on earth??

I agree - this is as annoying as having to solve another damn maze!
That is NOT what I call intriguing problem solving OR interaction!

Phil
go...@cs.buffalo.edu

rcb...@muvms3.bitnet

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Apr 27, 1992, 1:32:08 PM4/27/92
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> 'Dungeon' is one game you absolutely MUST map (pref on graph paper)
> as you play the game. If you do this, you'll avoid getting lost &
> starving/dying of thirst (like I did) the first 10 or so times you play
> the game

How can you map it on graph paper, when the rooms have non-logical exits like

You are in room A
>north
You are in room B
>north
You are in room A

You can't map this! Can you?...

(( || /\\ \\ / /\\ (( R. Alan Monroe (( For best results, ((

)) _// /--\\ \\/ /--\\ )) rcb...@muvms3.wvnet.edu )) squeeze sig from ))


(( _ (( (( the bottom and ((

)) || /\\ // ||_/ )) Pinkwater Rules! )) flatten it as you ))

Steven McLeod

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Apr 27, 1992, 8:51:32 PM4/27/92
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In <1992Apr24.1...@wam.umd.edu> d...@wam.umd.edu (David M. Baggett) writes:

>In article <qpcvg#a...@rpi.edu> ols...@aix.rpi.edu (Erik G. Olson) writes:
>>What would Zork be without a totally frustrating maze, filled with
>>hard-to-stumble-into nooks that are nevertheless essential?

>A better game. Why is Zork canonized this way? It was one of the
>first good adventure games, but was nowhere near Infocom's best

>>A maze is, after all, one kind of puzzle. Just do it tastefully.

>Mazes are really fun for the game designer, but really tedious
>and frustrating for the player. There may be some players that
>like mazes, and some mazes may be clever enough to amuse most
>people, but any maze will definitely significantly annoy some
>part of the game's audience. Those people may completely lose
>interest in the game (and possibly the rest of your product line,
>if you're a commerical company like Infocom).

>That's a big risk, and consequently I don't think mazes are worth it.
>Ditto for overly-confusing game topology. One recurring theme in
>computer game design is that's it's trivial to make a game that's too
>hard. It's very hard to make a game that's challenging but not
>frustrating. Adventure game topology is just one more area in which
>this axiom applies.

Consider the hedge maze in Hollywood Hijinx. It is there merely as a
red herring, until the player finds the two parts of the
map and overlays one on the other. Then the maze becomes a mere
task of following directions. I think the maze was a good example
in this case. Like all interactive fiction puzzles, it frustates
you until you hit the solution.

Steven McLeod

David M. Baggett

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Apr 28, 1992, 11:31:29 AM4/28/92
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In article <95...@muvms3.bitnet> rcb...@muvms3.bitnet writes:
>How can you map [Dungeon] on graph paper, when the rooms have

>non-logical exits like
>
>You are in room A
>>north
>You are in room B
>>north
>You are in room A
>
>You can't map this! Can you?...

Sure you can; your map will be a directed graph. The only thing is
that it may not be planar (able to be represented in 2D without
crossing lines)!

Dave Baggett
d...@wam.umd.edu

John Farrell

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Apr 28, 1992, 8:59:18 PM4/28/92
to

Most complaints about dungeon topology can be explained by holes where "you
can go down but you may not be able to get back up", tunnels that leave north
and then twist around so they enter somewhere else from the north, or that go
down under another tunnel. Dungeons aren't planar, and they aren't square, and
that's that!


Friendless

David M. Baggett

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Apr 29, 1992, 12:54:27 AM4/29/92
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In article <farrell....@coral.cs.jcu.edu.au> far...@coral.cs.jcu.edu.au (John Farrell) writes:
> Dungeons aren't planar, and they aren't square, and
>that's that!

Wouldn't we expect dungeon levels to be planar? I mean, when someone
says "dungeon" I think of something man-made, with a floor plan. Caves
might not be planar, but that's because you can only consider them
in 3D; there are no distinct levels.

Besides, I bet caves have a lot more wide open caverns than they do
random little squiggly passages. Having never been in a cave, I could
be wrong.

And has anyone ever wondered why you always know which way is north
in theses games when you don't have a compass? Playability always
wins over realism. (And rightly so!)

Dave Baggett
d...@wam.umd.edu

John Farrell

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Apr 29, 1992, 2:09:57 AM4/29/92
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In <1992Apr29.0...@wam.umd.edu> d...@wam.umd.edu (David M. Baggett) writes:
>In article <farrell....@coral.cs.jcu.edu.au> far...@coral.cs.jcu.edu.au (John Farrell) writes:
>> Dungeons aren't planar, and they aren't square, and
>>that's that!

>Wouldn't we expect dungeon levels to be planar? I mean, when someone
>says "dungeon" I think of something man-made, with a floor plan. Caves
>might not be planar, but that's because you can only consider them
>in 3D; there are no distinct levels.

OK, "dungeons" are usually planar, unless otherwise designed. However using
"dungeon" in the wider sense of an underground place to explore, they are not
necessarily planar. But who's to say that the passage north doesn't turn east,
go down some steps, turn south, turn west, go up some steps, and turn east?
Maybe it does but the game designer though you would be bored by 8 locations
which get you nowhere.

>Besides, I bet caves have a lot more wide open caverns than they do
>random little squiggly passages. Having never been in a cave, I could
>be wrong.

You are exactly right. The Chillagoe Caves have only a few little squiggly
passages. But then, maybe these caves are actually the path of some enormous
rock-eating worm...

>And has anyone ever wondered why you always know which way is north
>in theses games when you don't have a compass? Playability always
>wins over realism. (And rightly so!)

Mysterious isn't it? I don't think returning exits necessarily inhibit
playability. I always map games because I just can't remember hundreds of
locations. Well, I can eventually, but only after I have seen a picture of it.
So what if a few of my corridors are represented by long wiggly lines going
halfway across the map?

All of this is not to say, of course, that I have not seen some pretty
stupid maps in adventure games!


Friendless

Neil K. Guy

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Apr 29, 1992, 3:39:49 AM4/29/92
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d...@wam.umd.edu (David M. Baggett) writes:

>Besides, I bet caves have a lot more wide open caverns than they do
>random little squiggly passages. Having never been in a cave, I could
>be wrong.

If I'm not mistaken most real caves have a lot of narrow tight
squeezes and angled shafts. Hardly the corridors one strolls through
in adventure games...

>And has anyone ever wondered why you always know which way is north
>in theses games when you don't have a compass? Playability always
>wins over realism. (And rightly so!)

Well it's the old absolute vs. relative direction thing, isn't it? In
real life you could say "walk through the door that's located just to
the right of the orange box on the wall." It's a heckuva lot easier
just to make a simple parser that handles "GO WEST." Not only is it
easier to parse but cardinal points on the compass don't change when
you turn around. I suppose a game like The Colony which is kind of
primitive wireframe VR or something is about the only way to avoid
this. Either that or maps onscreen.

- Neil K.

Paul DuBois

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Apr 29, 1992, 5:20:47 AM4/29/92
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In article <1992Apr29.0...@wam.umd.edu> d...@wam.umd.edu (David M. Baggett) writes:
>In article <farrell....@coral.cs.jcu.edu.au> far...@coral.cs.jcu.edu.au (John Farrell) writes:
>> Dungeons aren't planar, and they aren't square, and
>>that's that!
>
>Wouldn't we expect dungeon levels to be planar? I mean, when someone
>says "dungeon" I think of something man-made, with a floor plan. Caves
>might not be planar, but that's because you can only consider them
>in 3D; there are no distinct levels.
>
>Besides, I bet caves have a lot more wide open caverns than they do
>random little squiggly passages. Having never been in a cave, I could
>be wrong.

Having done a fair bit of spelunking in my time, I can say that caves
are most definitely not mostly open spaces with few squiggly passages.
There is no reason to believe caves should be planar (and dungeons
might not even need to be, either, but this doesn't rule out "absurd"
exits)

TOo tired, more later.

>
>And has anyone ever wondered why you always know which way is north
>in theses games when you don't have a compass? Playability always
>wins over realism. (And rightly so!)
>
>Dave Baggett
>d...@wam.umd.edu

Paul

Mark Purtill

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Apr 29, 1992, 10:29:22 AM4/29/92
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far...@coral.cs.jcu.edu.au (John Farrell) writes:
>But who's to say that the passage north doesn't turn east,
>go down some steps, turn south, turn west, go up some steps, and turn east?
>Maybe it does but the game designer though you would be bored by 8 locations
>which get you nowhere.
That would be fine if the game said "Heading north, you go

down some steps, turn south, turn west, go up some steps, and turn
east into the Eggplant Room." However, typically they just say
"You're in the Eggplant Room", so you end up going north, and "not
noticing" all the turns.

^.-.^ Mark Purtill, IDA/CCR-P, Thanet Road, Princeton NJ 08540; (609)924-4600.
((")) Email: purtill%ida...@princeton.edu; uunet!idacrd!purtill. (609)497-0526.

Scott Eckelman

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Apr 30, 1992, 11:24:04 AM4/30/92
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In article <95...@muvms3.bitnet> rcb...@muvms3.bitnet writes:
>> 'Dungeon' is one game you absolutely MUST map (pref on graph paper)
>> as you play the game. If you do this, you'll avoid getting lost &
>> starving/dying of thirst (like I did) the first 10 or so times you play
>> the game
>
>How can you map it on graph paper, when the rooms have non-logical exits like
>
>You are in room A
>>north
>You are in room B
>>north
>You are in room A
>
>You can't map this! Can you?...

This seems to me to be a perfectly valid mapping -- if you've ever
been in a cave, you'd know what i mean. Rarely, if ever, are
passages from one room to another a straight line. In the case
above:

-------------------------------
| |
--------- --------
| | | |
| A | | B |
--------- --------

Denis/Tesser Morris Moskowitz

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Apr 30, 1992, 4:25:06 PM4/30/92
to

A good "pre-step" for this, and a good way to map when you don't like to
draw lines, is this:

n e w s
out knife
knife shoe bag model warrant
shoe bag cave model warrant
bag knife warrant cube treas
model bag tree towel warrant
warrant bag knife witch towel
towel cube treas shoe model
cube towel model clear demon
treas knife knife model out
clear treas
tree shoe
cave sorcrr towel
witch shoe
demon knife
sorcrr cave

Each of these is either the distinguishing characteristic of the room
(demon, sorcrr, clear) or the thing I dropped in that room for mapping
(treas, shoe, bag).

From this, a good map can be made if you want (well, not in this case, too
many one-way doors, but in general.).
--
Denis/Tesser M Moskowitz Jen feroca malbona kuniklo; rigardu liajn
dmos...@jarthur.claremont.edu sovagxajn vangharojn, kaj liajn ungojn kaj
This Is Realtime! lian faldan voston.

Matthew Crosby

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May 3, 1992, 8:42:54 PM5/3/92
to
In article <95...@muvms3.bitnet> rcb...@muvms3.bitnet writes:
>> 'Dungeon' is one game you absolutely MUST map (pref on graph paper)
>> as you play the game. If you do this, you'll avoid getting lost &
>> starving/dying of thirst (like I did) the first 10 or so times you play
>> the game
>
>How can you map it on graph paper, when the rooms have non-logical exits like
>
>You are in room A
>>north
>You are in room B
>>north
>You are in room A
>
It is not that hard.
Firstly most non returning exits really are returning, they just return in
a different direction--for example you go north but return SW.

|-------|
| |
|-------|
| \
| \
| |
|-------| |
| | |
|-------| |
|
|-----|
| |
|-----|

The forest in Zork/Dungeon is like this.

Then for those that are truly not returning, just draw two passages with an
arrow on one....

--
-Matt
mcr...@nyx.cs.du.edu ...uunet!isis!nyx!mcrosby

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