Mysteries in TADS

5 views
Skip to first unread message

David Michael Tuller

unread,
Feb 6, 1994, 6:11:57 PM2/6/94
to
I am trying to write a murder mystery in TADS and would like to know what you
would like in an interactive murder mystery? E.g. multiple possible endings,
types of clues (obviously incriminating or otherwise), should you have to
deduce something, etc.

David M. Tuller
tul...@rpi.edu

Darin Johnson

unread,
Feb 8, 1994, 1:43:53 PM2/8/94
to
Should have real clues, and be a real mystery. I thought the
Infocom one's stunk, personally. Witness was the best, but way
too short (less than a couple of hours :-) Deadline was just
plain boring.

Ie, mysteries like Ellery Queen, where the mystery is solved and
deduced, not things like a lot of Agatha Christie where only a vague
hunch and bluffing works, or the hero literally stumbles into the
clues. Locked room mysteries are good, chatting for hours on end
over cups of tea is bad.

The big trouble is, the trouble with writing a good mystery gets
compounded when you make it into IF. A good mystery shouldn't have
the reader constantly saying "but there's another logical explanation
that's much simpler". In IF, the player/reader will undoubtedly
pursue these other avenues of approach, and may not take any of the
intended ones because they're considered illogical or silly. The
motives have to be straight forward, else the read may not relate to
them or pursue them (ie, nothing with the word "escrow"). In fact,
don't rely upon the motive - the mystery should be solvable even if
the motive isn't discovered (it's a boring read in many mysteries when
they only pursue the motive end of investigation). In a good mystery,
everyone has a motive, and digging at them only provides red herrings
(and the culprit often was the one with the weakest motive or had a
heretofore unknown motive). And forget the "motive+means+opportunity"
stuff, it's unrealistic.

Finally, don't require endless hours of replaying things over again.
Suspect did this and it was incredibly annoying. Ie, restore saved
game, wait around in a different location to see what happens, then
try again elsewhere, etc.

In a book, you can read beyond the boring or badly written stuff. In
IF, those spots are where the reader will get stuck and remain stuck.

--
Darin Johnson
djoh...@ucsd.edu
- Luxury! In MY day, we had to make do with 5 bytes of swap...

Joanne Omang

unread,
Feb 8, 1994, 6:26:16 PM2/8/94
to
Re writing a murder mystery in TADS: I would like to see a team of
detectives looking at various angles of the case, eventually coming together
to pool their clues and solve the mystery. The user could follow one or
another of them and have various adventures--car chases, narrow escapes,
confrontations with bad guys for one; laboratory work, archive searches,
interviews with suspects, witnesses etc. for others. It would give the
reader not only a little suspense but maybe insight into how a real crime
probe works. Your heroes/heroines ought to be real people, with quirks and
habits that make them interesting. Maybe the reader would be able to explore
the life and family of the victim(s), with rich material there, or of the
suspects, through choices of which investigator to follow. I do think you
want one plot ending, though, not several alternative solutions...I'm
speaking now as a writer, you understand, not a programmer, so I'm not even
sure that what I suggest is possible. Is it??
Joanne Omang


Gerry Kevin Wilson

unread,
Feb 8, 1994, 6:59:48 PM2/8/94
to
Yes! That's an excellent suggestion. A team of investigators working
together would be a really fun suggestion. I dread the coding that lays
in wait though. <shudder> Theoretically it would be possible through TADS
to just transform the player object into the various people, storing their
info somewhere with their items. And of course, several puzzles would HAVE
to require cooperation between the different characters. I would suggest as
players:
One hardboiled detective, with a twist.
One lab technician who suffers from delusions of adventure.
One psychic who works with the police frequently.
Maybe a cabbie who gets caught up in the whole thing.

I may just have to write something like this eventually. Of course,
I have a lot of other stuff to get to first.
--
<~~~~~E~~~G~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|~~~~~~~>
< V R I O Software. We bring words to life! | ~~\ >
< T | /~\ | >
<_WATCH for Avalon in early '94!____wh...@uclink.berkeley.edu_|_\__/__>

Darius Katz

unread,
Feb 9, 1994, 12:56:43 PM2/9/94
to
In article <2j61kc$s...@usenet.rpi.edu>,
David Michael Tuller <tul...@rpi.edu> wrote:
>In article <2j5vho$l...@nic.lth.se>, ka...@marvin.df.lth.se (Darius Katz) writes:
>|> Woow...I have waited for more murder mysteries than Infocom's and here
>|> they are...
>|>
>|> I don't like multiple endings, I mean, the game should be the same
>|> everytime. The clues could be information, things...and, yes, the player should
>|> have to deduce to get more clues.
>
>What I meant by multiple endings is that, say, the wrong person is arrested and
>you know that. Perhaps something similar to Colonel's Bequest.
>

Well, in that case I agree. Of course there should be some "wrong" endings, if
the wrong person gets arrested.

I don't know much about Colonel's Bequest, since I haven't played it.

>|> I think Infocom's Deadline is the best one I have played, the difficulty-level
>|> is low enough. Witness and Suspect were to easy!
>|>
>|> -DK
>
>The only Infocom game I've ever played was LGOP so this type of info isn't of much use to me.
>

If you like murder games, you MUST play Deadline. That's IF when it is
as best.

-Darius Katz

Darius Katz

unread,
Feb 9, 1994, 1:04:59 PM2/9/94
to
In article <DJOHNSON.9...@arnold.ucsd.edu>,

Darin Johnson <djoh...@arnold.ucsd.edu> wrote:
>Should have real clues, and be a real mystery. I thought the
>Infocom one's stunk, personally. Witness was the best, but way
>too short (less than a couple of hours :-) Deadline was just
>plain boring.
>

How come you didn't like Deadline?

Witness was MUCH simpler, very few suspects, not as many clues as in Deadline.

In Deadline you have to THINK to solve it. In Witness you just can hide around
and then see who it was.

Ok, the prose was better in Witness but as a Murder Mystery I think Deadline
is still the best.

-Darius Katz

David Michael Tuller

unread,
Feb 9, 1994, 6:34:03 PM2/9/94
to
In article <2jb84r$i...@nic.lth.se>, ka...@marvin.df.lth.se (Darius Katz) writes:
|> In article <2j61kc$s...@usenet.rpi.edu>,
|> David Michael Tuller <tul...@rpi.edu> wrote:
|> >In article <2j5vho$l...@nic.lth.se>, ka...@marvin.df.lth.se (Darius Katz) writes:
|> >What I meant by multiple endings is that, say, the wrong person is arrested and
|> >you know that. Perhaps something similar to Colonel's Bequest.
|> >
|>
|> Well, in that case I agree. Of course there should be some "wrong" endings, if
|> the wrong person gets arrested.
|>
|> I don't know much about Colonel's Bequest, since I haven't played it.

Great game. You should play it.



|> >|> I think Infocom's Deadline is the best one I have played, the difficulty-level
|> >|> is low enough. Witness and Suspect were to easy!
|> >|>
|> >|> -DK
|> >
|> >The only Infocom game I've ever played was LGOP so this type of info isn't of much use to me.
|> >
|>
|> If you like murder games, you MUST play Deadline. That's IF when it is
|> as best.

Now, if only I can find a copy somewhere....

|> -Darius Katz

David M. Tuller
tul...@rpi.edu

Darin Johnson

unread,
Feb 9, 1994, 7:45:44 PM2/9/94
to
> How come you didn't like Deadline?

It was too "fuzzy". No hard evidence or facts, at least not early on.
Probably because I got stuck early on, with nothing to do, and had
given a valid motive to every single person met, so I was stuck
following everyone around all day, then restoring, then doing the
same with someone else, etc. Didn't get the lead until I started
doing the same with each room. (maybe I wouldn't have been stuck
if I hadn't been led to believe that the physical evidence was
important)

Maybe it's because I like mysteries, and Deadline just didn't fit the
mold of a good mystery. Heck, I don't even remember much about it,
and it wasn't that long ago that I played it (not too memorable :-)

Darin Johnson

unread,
Feb 9, 1994, 7:51:21 PM2/9/94
to
> How come you didn't like Deadline?

It was too "fuzzy". No hard evidence or facts, at least not early on.


Probably because I got stuck early on, with nothing to do, and had
given a valid motive to every single person met, so I was stuck
following everyone around all day, then restoring, then doing the
same with someone else, etc. Didn't get the lead until I started
doing the same with each room. (maybe I wouldn't have been stuck
if I hadn't been led to believe that the physical evidence was
important)

Maybe it's because I like mysteries, and Deadline just didn't fit the
mold of a good mystery. Heck, I don't even remember much about it,
and it wasn't that long ago that I played it (not too memorable :-)

--
Darin Johnson
djoh...@ucsd.edu
- I'm not a well adjusted person, but I play one on the net.

Ville Lavonius

unread,
Feb 10, 1994, 2:02:31 PM2/10/94
to
Gerry Kevin Wilson (whiz...@uclink.berkeley.edu) wrote:
: Yes! That's an excellent suggestion. A team of investigators working

: together would be a really fun suggestion. I dread the coding that lays
: in wait though. <shudder> Theoretically it would be possible through TADS
: to just transform the player object into the various people, storing their
: info somewhere with their items. And of course, several puzzles would HAVE
: to require cooperation between the different characters. I would suggest as
: players:
: One hardboiled detective, with a twist.
: One lab technician who suffers from delusions of adventure.
: One psychic who works with the police frequently.
: Maybe a cabbie who gets caught up in the whole thing.

Like Suspended written by Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler.
I *WANT* this :-)

: <_WATCH for Avalon in early '94!____wh...@uclink.berkeley.edu_|_\__/__>
--
Ville Lavonius / ... the less I have the more I gain
lavo...@peruvian.cs.utah.edu / off the beaten path I reign ...

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages