Narrative Poll

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ChicagoDave

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Jun 27, 2007, 11:07:15 AM6/27/07
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>From Jeff Nyman's interesting thread about IF narrative, I thought I'd
ask the question...

What narrative form do you prefer in IF Games?

David C.

Emily Short

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Jun 27, 2007, 8:58:06 PM6/27/07
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Are you asking specifically about the first/second/third person
question, or something broader?

Rune

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Jun 27, 2007, 9:25:06 PM6/27/07
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On Jun 27, 5:07 pm, ChicagoDave <david.cornel...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> What narrative form do you prefer in IF Games?
>
> David C.

Dragons.

- Rune

steve....@gmail.com

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Jun 27, 2007, 9:31:59 PM6/27/07
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"People who respond to survey questions on RAIF" is not a target
group. I know you have a lot invested in the idea that you're actually
a legitimate businessman, and you're not just blowing smoke up
everyone's ass, hence the pretense at marketing questions. But
seriously, get bent.

ChicagoDave

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Jun 27, 2007, 9:38:04 PM6/27/07
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First person, second person, third person, present/past tense, with or
without the "you"....

What is your preference?

Maybe everyone could rewrite the following command/response in the way
that is most appealing. Alterations are perfectly fine, so long as we
get a distinct idea of how a response is most appealing to you:

> EXAMINE GOLD UMBRELLA STAND
The antique umbrella stand, with golden filigree etched into the criss-
cross housing, frames a delicate porcelain portrait of a woman dressed
in her Sunday best. The woman is wearing a delicate silk sun hat and
bracing her neck is a large emerald on a string of the whitest pearls.
Within the stand are two solid and substantial wooden umbrellas, one
crook handle and one of a mallard.

David C.

Jeff Nyman

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Jun 28, 2007, 6:45:38 AM6/28/07
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"ChicagoDave" <david.c...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1182956835.1...@n2g2000hse.googlegroups.com...

When you say "narrative form" ... are you asking this in the broad sense?
For example, linear vs. non-linear; cosmogonic vs. natural history, etc? A
resume is technically a narrative form as is a case study for patients used
in hospitals. Oral communication is a narrative form. A narrative form would
be contrasted with an outline, for example. Narrative form specifies the
elements of the story, and that includes its structure, themes, characters,
and settings.

It sounds like you're talking solely about the point of view that's useds
for or within a given narrative form.

For me, it's hard to tell. I've seen third-person done in a few games (very
few) but it didn't work for me. However, in looking at the game itself, I
think a lot of this has to do with the type of writing that was used. The
narrative didn't play to the strengths of third-person (and what it allows)
because the readers were still stuck in a limited role for the protagonists
and thus any exposition was similarly limited. I would like to see a
third-person game done with some of the techniques that third-person allows,
if nothing else just to see if those work in such a format.

I definitely like first-person, particularly when there is characterization.
(I was very much able to get into the characters, for example, in "A Crimson
Spring", "Necrotic Drift", "Fallacy of Dawn", and "Rameses.") Since I've
been ranting about second-person in another thread, I will say that
second-person still seems limiting to me. However, I have found a few
examples (and I'm still gathering data) where some games were written in
second-person, but almost with the techniques of first-person. ("Blue
Chairs" comes to mind as does "Varicella.")

So, bottom-line, right now I don't know if I have a preference for
point-of-view, per se. What I have is a preference for works that utilize
various techniques that exploit the possibilities that point-of-view offers,
by providing a deeper understanding of characters and a more full
understanding of how those characters fit into the story itself. Then,
depending on the story, and how it's told, I can go with wither past tense
or present tense.

- Jeff


Jeff Nyman

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Jun 28, 2007, 9:59:57 AM6/28/07
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"ChicagoDave" <david.c...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1182994684.0...@n60g2000hse.googlegroups.com...

> Maybe everyone could rewrite the following command/response in the way
> that is most appealing. Alterations are perfectly fine, so long as we
> get a distinct idea of how a response is most appealing to you:
>
>> EXAMINE GOLD UMBRELLA STAND
> The antique umbrella stand, with golden filigree etched into the criss-
> cross housing, frames a delicate porcelain portrait of a woman dressed
> in her Sunday best. The woman is wearing a delicate silk sun hat and
> bracing her neck is a large emerald on a string of the whitest pearls.
> Within the stand are two solid and substantial wooden umbrellas, one
> crook handle and one of a mallard.

As I think on this, another thing I've noticed, related to the above, is
that I'm finding it hard when we all try to give isolated examples of
point-of-view. I say that because any point-of-view can render a scene. Any
point of view can display a bit of dialogue.

For me, the benefit of looking at point-of-view comes with a sustained
narrative. Meaning, you have to sort of see the examples in context to get a
feel for how they operate with the point-of-view. The issue there, of
course, is you're not always comparing the exact same text. In other words,
in a sustained narrative done in different points-of-view, it doesn't work
to just use the exact same text except switch the pronouns. This is because
*how* you decide to write the text, the way the narrative unfolds, will
change based on the viewpoint. (It doesn't *have* to, of course, but
directly translating a third-person account to a first-person account,
word-for-word, without considering the benefits of what the changed
point-of-view offers you in terms of narrative is not a good comparison. In
unnaturally force sone point-of-view to act like another.)

With the class I'm teaching, our current focus is taking an opening scene to
a putative work of text-based IF and doing some passes at writing that scene
in the following formats:

Second-person, present tense, "You"
Second-person, past tense, "You"
Second-person, present tense, "No You"
Second-person, past tense, "No You"

First-person, past tense
First-person, present tense

Third-person limited, past tense
Third-person limited, present tense

A couple things to note. When I say "you" and "no you" for second-person,
here I'm utilizing a technique that others have told me, in the other
thread, they often do to remove the reliance on the "you" narration
elements. So "no you" refers to aspects where it's almost some sort of
omniscient viewpoint. That said, and the other thing to note, we're not
looking at third-person omniscient right now. That may get included.

The point is that these scenes will then be given to various people to "play
out" and see what kinds of responses we get, in terms of what people liked
or didn't like in each case. My belief is that these are the kinds of
experiments that practitioners of text-based IF might want to consider doing
more of, particularly when showcasing to different audiences. Either way the
results should prove interesting: it will either validate the hypothesis
that second-person is the "more natural" format for text-based IF (as some
have contended) or it may give a little more evidence to the idea that other
points-of-view are more amenable to audiences of text-based IF. (Of course
there's a spectrum of viewpoints that are possible within and around those
two hypotheses, so I'm necessarily simplifying here.)

- Jeff


Benjamin Caplan

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Jun 28, 2007, 10:04:47 AM6/28/07
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> I would like to see a
> third-person game done with some of the techniques that third-person allows,
> if nothing else just to see if those work in such a format.

While it's perhaps not quite what you were thinking of, the second
half of _Delightful Wallpaper_ strikes me as relevant here. The player
manipulates several NPCs, not quite with direct control, but not face-
to-face as a normal character either. Third person allows this kind of
plurality quite elegantly.
It has been done in second person too, but if (for example) Max and
Doris had expanded to an eight-person team, the game would have become
unwieldy. Third person makes plurality of greater magnitude feasible.

ChicagoDave

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Jun 28, 2007, 10:42:26 AM6/28/07
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This has nothing to do with Textfyre. I'm genuinely curious about what
people think about the traditional second person of IF.

I always assumed (apparently incorrectly) that this was an accepted
standard.

The other poll I did was because an Inform 6 programmer was concerned
that no one was still working with or supporting questions about
Inform 6 on this newsgroup. Again, nothing to do with my business
stuff. I was just curious if people really had moved on from Inform 6
or not.

David C.

Andrew Plotkin

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Jun 28, 2007, 10:55:21 AM6/28/07
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Here, Benjamin Caplan <celestial...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > I would like to see a
> > third-person game done with some of the techniques that third-person allows,
> > if nothing else just to see if those work in such a format.
>
> While it's perhaps not quite what you were thinking of, the second
> half of _Delightful Wallpaper_ strikes me as relevant here. The player
> manipulates several NPCs, not quite with direct control, but not face-
> to-face as a normal character either. Third person allows this kind of
> plurality quite elegantly.

But I made no attempt to avoid the standard IF "you" there. The second
person is there. It's just that the NPCs never see or refer to you.

The IF/prose experiment in DW was putting the NPC fragments in
past-tense.

--Z

--
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
9/11 did change everything. Since 9/12, the biggest threat to American
society has been the American president. I'd call that a change.

Adam Thornton

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Jun 30, 2007, 11:55:34 AM6/30/07
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In article <1182993906.1...@u2g2000hsc.googlegroups.com>,

GRRRAAAAARGH!

Adam

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