IF Conventions (was: Re: IF Contest Issues)

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Suzanne Skinner

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
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Hmmm. I don't normally get embroiled in things like this, but...

Mike Snyder (mikes...@worldnet.att.net) wrote:

>Some of what I consider standard does *not* seem to be implemented in the
>games I've played (look ___ should be synonymous with x ___ -- It's so
annoying to look at something and nothing happens, but if you x it,
something does... grrrr).

Er, it is synonymous. "x [object]" means exactly the same thing as "look at
[object]". At least in TADS. Does Inform implement these separately?

At any rate, I would call that a poorly-programmed game.

>"talk to ___ about ___"

Hmm...might as well throw this into my game. But this begs the question, do
I make TALK TO a synonym for ask, for tell, or do I ask for clarification?
In my case, at least, it matters. I think I'd rather ask for clarification,
because otherwise a newbie player might go through the game not realizing
there is a distinction between asking and telling, and missing out on
various nuances.

In many cases, alternate syntaxes like TALK TO x ABOUT y are not
implemented simply because the game authors don't think of it. We grow used
to the standard syntax and forget about other ways of wording things. Good
beta-testers help fix that before game release, though.

>And the whole verbose thing.
>It's soooo irritating to get short room descriptions then have to remember
>to type "Verbose."

TADS, at least, lets the game author choose whether the game should start
up in verbose or not. Some do choose to start in verbose. Personally, I
prefer terse, especially in games with long room descs (like mine). I'm
just careful to mention anything important every time the player enters the
room (terse or not).

>it seems only 1 command can be undone in what I've seen so far

For Inform, it depends on interpreter...I think Frotz allows multiple undo,
but Jzip doesn't. All TADS interpreters allow multiple undo.

>I got stuck in a popular entry from
>last year's competition merely because I didn't realize that "exit" would
>work where n/s/e/w/nw/ne/nw/se wouldn't.

If you're referring to Photopia, the author specifically avoided the use of
compass directions in the "real life" part of the game. Most IF games (good
ones, at least) would implement both. I actually have a pet peeve for games
that disable compass directions in the name of realism, but that's just me.

Anyway, I think "out" is a more familiar usage than "exit", though both
work in TADS (as well as "leave").

>Who sets these standards?

No one. They evolve.

Suzanne

--
tr...@igs.net http://www.igs.net/~tril/
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
McCoy: "Well, this looks like a safe enough place."
(A huge hole opens up in the ground and swallows one of the men in
red shirts.)
- Peter Anspach, "Who Shall Bring Us Light?"

Mike Snyder

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
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> Er, it is synonymous. "x [object]" means exactly the same thing as "look
at
> [object]". At least in TADS. Does Inform implement these separately?
> At any rate, I would call that a poorly-programmed game.

Ah! I think it was Inform, yes, but that may not have been the fault of the
parser itself and as peeves go, that's a mild one. "x chair" is easier than
"look chair" anyway, I just had to break the habit of "look under pot" and
do "x under pot" instead. This could all just be implementation issues,
then.

> >"talk to ___ about ___"
>
> Hmm...might as well throw this into my game. But this begs the question,
do
> I make TALK TO a synonym for ask, for tell, or do I ask for clarification?
> In my case, at least, it matters. I think I'd rather ask for
clarification,
> because otherwise a newbie player might go through the game not realizing
> there is a distinction between asking and telling, and missing out on
> various nuances.

I tend to lump verbal communication in a game all into an ask/talk/tell/say
verb that's interchangeable. While "ask man about bubba" and "tell man about
bubba" *do* have completely different objects, I try to assume the one that
furthers the game. This is probably nasty, bad style, and when (if?) my
NPC's become less than mindless zombies I'll need to do away with this
interchangeability for sure.

> In many cases, alternate syntaxes like TALK TO x ABOUT y are not
> implemented simply because the game authors don't think of it. We grow
used
> to the standard syntax and forget about other ways of wording things. Good
> beta-testers help fix that before game release, though.

I, for one, have recommended to my testers that any potential verb-guessing
problems be reported. However, I can think of things now that I haven't
before... "talk to man about advice" and "ask man for advice" is fine... but
woops, forgot "request advice from man." I tend to ignore guess-the-verb if
I can guess it from obvious tries. ("Ok, I've tried talk to... I've tried
ask... maybe I should TELL").

> >And the whole verbose thing.
> >It's soooo irritating to get short room descriptions then have to
remember
> >to type "Verbose."
>
> TADS, at least, lets the game author choose whether the game should start
> up in verbose or not. Some do choose to start in verbose. Personally, I
> prefer terse, especially in games with long room descs (like mine). I'm
> just careful to mention anything important every time the player enters
the
> room (terse or not).

Definitely, a game where I can turn "on" terse in a game where it's disabled
is more acceptable than a game where you can't turn terse off for players
who want it off. This is something I'll add to my "engine" unless I scrap
it.

> >it seems only 1 command can be undone in what I've seen so far
> For Inform, it depends on interpreter...I think Frotz allows multiple
undo,
> but Jzip doesn't. All TADS interpreters allow multiple undo.

I'm using DOS Frotz and it didn't. I hate to say it but after a reluctance
to think "undo" should be standard, I'm finding that I too get spoiled to
it... even if it's just to undo a simple mistakes (I dropped the cup and my
water spilled out. I *could* go back and get more water but nah I'll just
undo).

> If you're referring to Photopia, the author specifically avoided the use
of
> compass directions in the "real life" part of the game. Most IF games
(good
> ones, at least) would implement both. I actually have a pet peeve for
games
> that disable compass directions in the name of realism, but that's just
me.

Well for the point of realism I understand, I just couldn't figure out how
there could be *no* exit direction. I mean, The garage at my old place
exited to the south. I'm not knocking Photopia by any means, I just felt
stuck at that point. :)

> Anyway, I think "out" is a more familiar usage than "exit", though both
> work in TADS (as well as "leave").

Yep I figured this out after I read the "spoiler" to it. This has helped in
other games since then where I've been in or out of something with no
evident direction shown.

> >Who sets these standards?
> No one. They evolve.

For those such as myself who have returned to "interactive fiction" from
days when the label didn't exist, it's hard to know what is and isn't a
standard. Obviously I've taken an approach that is discouraged, and simply
learning an IF language would probably help me understand the standards. I
released a home-brewn game "Breath Pirates" two years ago which was my first
IF game in roughly 9 years. Many of its shortcomings were pointed out (X for
examine... who'd have thought?... and more). I think after Comp99 I'll have
a good understanding of what is and isn't expected from a game and its
parser.

Thank you!

Mike.

Mark J. Tilford

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Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
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On Tue, 5 Oct 1999 10:21:39 -0700, Mike Snyder <mikes...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:
>
>I'm using DOS Frotz and it didn't. I hate to say it but after a reluctance
>to think "undo" should be standard, I'm finding that I too get spoiled to
>it... even if it's just to undo a simple mistakes (I dropped the cup and my
>water spilled out. I *could* go back and get more water but nah I'll just
>undo).
>

Try undo-ing with Alt-U instead of typing "undo"

--
-----------------------
Mark Jeffrey Tilford
til...@cco.caltech.edu

Mike Snyder

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Oct 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/6/99
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>Try undo-ing with Alt-U instead of typing "undo"


Ah, that's a shortcut I wasn't aware of. Easy enough. Thanks for the tip!

Mike.

Aris Katsaris

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Oct 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/6/99
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Mike Snyder <mikes...@worldnet.att.net> wrote in message
news:7td5g1$pkm$1...@bgtnsc02.worldnet.att.net...

> > Er, it is synonymous. "x [object]" means exactly the same thing as "look
> at
> > [object]". At least in TADS. Does Inform implement these separately?
> > At any rate, I would call that a poorly-programmed game.
>
> Ah! I think it was Inform, yes, but that may not have been the fault of
the
> parser itself and as peeves go, that's a mild one. "x chair" is easier
than
> "look chair" anyway, I just had to break the habit of "look under pot" and
> do "x under pot" instead. This could all just be implementation issues,
> then.

In English "Look chair" is wrong. "Look at chair" is correct or "examine
chair"
or their abbreviations "l at chair" and "x chair"

"Look under pot" is correct though and I haven't seen an inform game where
you have to type "x under pot".

> Well for the point of realism I understand, I just couldn't figure out how
> there could be *no* exit direction. I mean, The garage at my old place
> exited to the south.

Not all people walk around with compasses; if you were in your garage
and wanted to leave it, would you be thinking to yourself "I'll go south" or
"I'll go out"?...

Aris Katsaris

Kevin Forchione

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Oct 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/6/99
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Aris Katsaris <kats...@NOSPAMotenet.gr> wrote in message
news:7tf4tm$oh9$1...@newssrv.otenet.gr...

> Not all people walk around with compasses; if you were in your garage
> and wanted to leave it, would you be thinking to yourself "I'll go south"
or
> "I'll go out"?...

Ah, but here's the problem. The connection between "you" and your body is
relatively seamless. "You" think the thought, "you" do the action. But a PC
is much more like a remote-control vehicle, an exploratory unit that is
camoflaged to resemble the other characters in the environment. Unless
someday they manage to hotwire the parser directly into your brain you'll
always have an interface between "you" and PC-YOU.

"Go north" is a convention, just as other symbols are. A traffic light are
not actually telling you to "stop" or "go", but is a remotely-controlled
messaging system telling you what to do in a convention that is accepted and
recognized.

While you "could" devise a system that uses left, right, forward, backward,
and turn around, etc. I think you would find that it would "break mimesis"
much more than "go north" does.

When you go to a play there are conventions used all the time. Scenes aren't
enacted that have no dramatic value to the story. It's all part of the magic
of suspended belief. But if you had a system which more realistically
demanded "go left", "go right", etc., you would find yourself bogged down in
an orientation feedback-loop, having to use "look" much more than you
currently do -- or to rely upon some "compass rose" style indicator to tell
you that you're facing the mirror instead of having your back turned to it.
Now that wouldn't be "realistic" either.

The directional commands are metacommands of a sort. They carry you from one
SCENE to the next in a game. They are like the '* * *' that break up
chapters in a book and allow for changes in character viewpoint or location.

--Kevin


Magnus Olsson

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Oct 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/6/99
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In article <7tf4tm$oh9$1...@newssrv.otenet.gr>,

Aris Katsaris <kats...@NOSPAMotenet.gr> wrote:
>
>Mike Snyder <mikes...@worldnet.att.net> wrote in message
>news:7td5g1$pkm$1...@bgtnsc02.worldnet.att.net...
>> > Er, it is synonymous. "x [object]" means exactly the same thing as "look
>> at
>> > [object]". At least in TADS. Does Inform implement these separately?
>> > At any rate, I would call that a poorly-programmed game.
>>
>> Ah! I think it was Inform, yes, but that may not have been the fault of
>the
>> parser itself and as peeves go, that's a mild one. "x chair" is easier
>than
>> "look chair" anyway, I just had to break the habit of "look under pot" and
>> do "x under pot" instead. This could all just be implementation issues,
>> then.
>
>In English "Look chair" is wrong. "Look at chair" is correct or "examine
>chair"
>or their abbreviations "l at chair" and "x chair"
>
>"Look under pot" is correct though and I haven't seen an inform game where
>you have to type "x under pot".

I think there's some confusion here.

"Examine" is *not* a synonym for "look" in standard Inform (nor in
TADS). "Examine" is a synonym for "look at", but you can't do things
like "x under pot", nor can you "look pot". I suppose this can be
confusing for people used to parsers where "look pot" works.

However, there's been some debate about whether "examine" and "search"
should be synonymous. If examining the flower pot doesn't turn up the
key that's hidden in the earth, but "search pot" does, is this fair?

I don't think there's any consensus on this issue.


--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se, zeb...@pobox.com)
------ http://www.pobox.com/~zebulon ------

Eric Mayer

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Oct 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/6/99
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On 6 Oct 1999 13:14:51 +0200, m...@bartlet.df.lth.se (Magnus Olsson)
wrote:

ok chair" is wrong. "Look at chair" is correct or "examine

>I think there's some confusion here.


>
>"Examine" is *not* a synonym for "look" in standard Inform (nor in
>TADS). "Examine" is a synonym for "look at", but you can't do things
>like "x under pot", nor can you "look pot". I suppose this can be
>confusing for people used to parsers where "look pot" works.
>
>However, there's been some debate about whether "examine" and "search"
>should be synonymous. If examining the flower pot doesn't turn up the
>key that's hidden in the earth, but "search pot" does, is this fair?
>
>I don't think there's any consensus on this issue.
>

As an almost total newbie to IF in general I've found some of the
standard methods for expressing things confusing -- at first. That is
to say the conventions used by the parsers had to be learned, at least
by me. Which was no big deal. Those were just rules of the game. I
don't see much problem with parsers differing from the norm so long as
the reader is alerted at the outset.

My problem is that I invariably communicate with the game via whatever
command takes less typing. When I was doing my ow game I tried to
remember to make sure that a player could "look at" an object as well
as "examine" it, but why anyone would actually type "look at" as
opposed to "examine" or -- more to the point "x" I don't know. I
mean, if my mind set was that it was more realistic for the hero to
"look at" things rather than "examine" them I'd just type "X" and
think "look at" :)

--
Eric Mayer

http://home.epix.net/~maywrite


Mike Snyder

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Oct 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/6/99
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>My problem is that I invariably communicate with the game via whatever
>command takes less typing. When I was doing my ow game I tried to
>remember to make sure that a player could "look at" an object as well
>as "examine" it, but why anyone would actually type "look at" as
>opposed to "examine" or -- more to the point "x" I don't know. I
>mean, if my mind set was that it was more realistic for the hero to
>"look at" things rather than "examine" them I'd just type "X" and
>think "look at" :)


The IF I played when younger didn't have "X" (yes, it's a great addition, I
just don't remember it being implemented anywhere). Many of the games I
played (and wrote) were simple 2-word parsers and "LOOK CHAIR" would succeed
where "LOOK AT CHAIR" would not. After playing dozens and dozens and writing
dozens of games like this (even when many years have passed) I find "look x"
a hard habit to break (although I'm getting pretty handy with "x" now).

I will try to implement as many expectations as I can, because current IF
players will expect "X" and "LOOK AT" and people who may have played
adventures in the past but not in the past few years will expect "LOOK".
I'll also implement X for searching (x under pot). Maybe this isn't the best
approach. "Looking at" something wouldn't mean the same as "examining" the
same thing in the real world (you can look at your checkbook without
examining it) but it's the one I think will cause the least confusion and
"guess the verb" problems.

Mike

Adam Cadre

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Oct 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/6/99
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Kevin Forchione wrote:
> While you "could" devise a system

Why the scare quotes?

> that uses left, right, forward, backward, and turn around, etc. I
> think you would find that it would "break mimesis" much more than
> "go north" does.

This is just conjecture, though. And it's unnecessary -- there is
at least one game that implements this very system. So go check it
out (the one I'm thinking of is in the comp, so best not to name it
just yet) and you can make this sort of statement based on at least
*some* data rather than just a hunch.

-----
Adam Cadre, Sammamish, WA
http://adamcadre.ac

T Raymond

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Oct 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/6/99
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m...@bartlet.df.lth.se (Magnus Olsson) spoke about :
[snip]

>I think there's some confusion here.
>
>"Examine" is *not* a synonym for "look" in standard Inform (nor in
>TADS). "Examine" is a synonym for "look at", but you can't do things
>like "x under pot", nor can you "look pot". I suppose this can be
>confusing for people used to parsers where "look pot" works.
>
>However, there's been some debate about whether "examine" and "search"
>should be synonymous. If examining the flower pot doesn't turn up the
>key that's hidden in the earth, but "search pot" does, is this fair?
>
>I don't think there's any consensus on this issue.

Well to add my 5% to the confusion, I think that examine is more
relative to look tham to search. To give a general, yet hopefully
familiar example that most folks can identify with, a doctor's
appointment. You go for an examination, the doctor looks at you.
At least in that or similar context, search would not be synonymous.

Examine might be used as "look at closely", but still, search implies
that you pick something up, rifle through it's contents (if any), or
turn it over, etc.

What do I know? I'm going to go examine some code and search for bugs
;)

Tom

Iain Merrick

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Oct 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/6/99
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T Raymond wrote:

[...]


> Well to add my 5% to the confusion, I think that examine is more
> relative to look tham to search. To give a general, yet hopefully
> familiar example that most folks can identify with, a doctor's
> appointment. You go for an examination, the doctor looks at you.

I don't think that example really supports your point. I mean, if I type
'X WOMAN' in a game, I don't mean that I want to whip out my stethoscope
and check her breathing. There are other verbs for that sort of thing.

Mike Snyder

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Oct 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/6/99
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> Examine might be used as "look at closely", but still, search implies
> that you pick something up, rifle through it's contents (if any), or
> turn it over, etc.
>
> What do I know? I'm going to go examine some code and search for bugs

=)

My original comment stems from being unfamiliar with the whole look, look
at, examine, search suite of verbs as it applies to IF now. I understand it
now, although for the point of simplicity I think I'll stick to a 1-for-all
approach. If I need to hide a clue in an object I'll probably allude to
"moving" it or otherwise indicate that some action is needed such as "look
behind it" as opposed to offering different results for "look at" and
"examine." I'll lump "search" in there too unless the particular object is
unique enough to require "searching" - and even then I'll probably cue the
player to it somehow.

I'm glad, in a way, that there is no consensus. :)

Mike.

Mike Snyder

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Oct 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/6/99
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> I don't think that example really supports your point. I mean, if I type
> 'X WOMAN' in a game, I don't mean that I want to whip out my stethoscope
> and check her breathing. There are other verbs for that sort of thing.

If checking her breathing were part of a puzzle, you'd do that by other
means, you're right.
> X WOMAN
... Her chest heaves in and out as though her breathing is pained. She leans
back on the examining table.
> LISTEN TO BREATHING, or
> PLACE STETHO ON HER CHEST, or
> etc etc etc etc.
as opposed to X WOMAN automatically listening to her breathing unless it's
just a description.

However, if you have a painting on a wall.
> LOOK AT PAINTING
...It's quite lovely.
> X PAINTING
... You examine the painting and discover what appears to be the bullet hole
you've been trying to find.

Seems unnecessary to me unless I have been clued to the fact that examining
things will show different info than merely looking at them. I would rather
adjust my puzzle/descriptions to allow "look at" and "examine" to be the
same:

> LOOK AT PAINTING
...It's a lovely mountain scene in a dark pine frame. It hangs slightly
uneven on the north wall.
> X FRAME ... or ... MOVE PAINTING
... You notice a notch in the wall, almost covered by the right edge of the
frame. This may be the bullet hole you've been trying to find.

The problem isn't a problem, of course, if you start off knowing that you'll
need to look at *and* examine an item to be sure you haven't missed a clue,
but I would like players to have the best opportunity to solve my games, so
I will most likely shy away from making puzzles that involve similar actions
unless there is some indication that a variant is required. However, I will
certainly play and enjoy (now that I know) games which don't. :)

Mike.

Suzanne Skinner

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Oct 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/6/99
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Kevin Forchione:

>> While you "could" devise a system that uses left, right, forward, backward,


>> and turn around, etc. I think you would find that it would "break mimesis"
>> much more than "go north" does.

Adam Cadre:

>This is just conjecture, though. And it's unnecessary -- there is
>at least one game that implements this very system.

I'll presume we're thinking of the same one. Actually, I found the movement
system clunky (I really couldn't get used to using "up" to mean anything
other than "up", for instance) and was going to say so in my review--but
when I found out *why* it was done that way, all was forgiven :-) This was
an instance where the author had a good reason for disabling compass
directions.

Using compass directions to move around is normally just a convenient way
of orienting the gameworld so that it is easy to traverse and map. I've
never found that it breaks mimesis, myself (in fact, it might be argued
that a snarky "you don't have a compass", in response to "north", breaks
mimesis *more*. The player may be so used to walking around that way that
they have to stop and figure out what the parser is complaining
about). Now, Photopia and the game in question both had fairly small,
simple areas which the player had to navigate without compass directions,
and that worked fine. But what about larger areas? Consider that, to be
realistic, any direction in which the player moves must then become
"forward" (otherwise, forward, back, right, left just become synonyms for
NSEW). So if the player goes forward, right, left, left, then wants to get
back to where they were, they have to go back, right, right, left. And then
there's mapping.

If anyone ever uses this scheme for a complex landscape in a pure-text
game, I'll have to kill them.

-Suzanne

David Brain

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Oct 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/6/99
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In article <7td3jm$scg$1...@news.igs.net>, tr...@host.ott.igs.net (Suzanne Skinner)
wrote:

> Hmmm. I don't normally get embroiled in things like this, but...

Me neither, but I was temporarily thrown by your change of subject line.
I was half-expecting a posting about the annual UK adventuring get-together in
Birmingham or something similar.

--
David Brain
London, UK

Stacy the Procrastinating

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Oct 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/6/99
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On 6 Oct 1999, Magnus Olsson wrote:

> I think there's some confusion here.
>
> "Examine" is *not* a synonym for "look" in standard Inform (nor in
> TADS). "Examine" is a synonym for "look at", but you can't do things
> like "x under pot", nor can you "look pot". I suppose this can be
> confusing for people used to parsers where "look pot" works.


I think I added to that confusion. I could have sworn I used to use L
OBJECT X to mean 'look at X' before being won over to 'X OBJECT X'...but I
checked several games and no dice. (Not that, as someone mentioned, LOOK X
is at all grammatical anyway.)

Sorry about that.

-stacy

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
bookbug of the browser's bookweb
http://bookweb.covehurst.net


Mark J. Tilford

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Oct 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/6/99
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Not just a shortcut, it also gives you multiple undo.

L. Ross Raszewski

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Oct 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/6/99
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On 6 Oct 1999 15:11:26 GMT, Suzanne Skinner <tr...@host.ott.igs.net> wrote:
>Kevin Forchione:
>
>>> While you "could" devise a system that uses left, right, forward, backward,
>>> and turn around, etc. I think you would find that it would "break mimesis"
>>> much more than "go north" does.
>
>Adam Cadre:
>
>>This is just conjecture, though. And it's unnecessary -- there is
>>at least one game that implements this very system.
>
>I'll presume we're thinking of the same one. Actually, I found the movement
>system clunky (I really couldn't get used to using "up" to mean anything
>other than "up", for instance) and was going to say so in my review--but
>when I found out *why* it was done that way, all was forgiven :-) This was
>an instance where the author had a good reason for disabling compass
>directions.

Ah ditto. I didn't quite forgive all, though, because it was, indeed, so
clunky. 'Forward', 'Backward', 'left' and 'right' only have
meaning if you convolute them to the way the player is facing:
"back" should always mean "back the way I came," which, in my experience,
it hasn't. If, OTOH, the player turns to orient themselves, then I'm gonna
be getting lost to the point of antimimesis.

Kevin Forchione

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Oct 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/6/99
to
Thanks, that's sound advice.

Oh, and I must be misusing the quotes, because I don't mean to scare anyone,
simply that it seems doable, but I thought it might not be practical. No,
I've only conjecture at this point in time, and I would enjoy seeing the
idea implemented, simply to "feel" (again with the quotes!) it in action.
I'm more than willing to abandon a false premise, and eat my words!

--Kevin
--------------------------
Adam Cadre <a...@adamcadre.ac> wrote in message
news:37FB5...@adamcadre.ac...


> Kevin Forchione wrote:
> > While you "could" devise a system
>

> Why the scare quotes?


>
> > that uses left, right, forward, backward, and turn around, etc. I
> > think you would find that it would "break mimesis" much more than
> > "go north" does.
>

> This is just conjecture, though. And it's unnecessary -- there is

Kevin Forchione

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Oct 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/6/99
to

Suzanne Skinner <tr...@host.ott.igs.net> wrote in message
news:7tfoqu$dpu$1...@news.igs.net...

> If anyone ever uses this scheme for a complex landscape in a pure-text
> game, I'll have to kill them.

Brutally honest! Your comments express my conjectural fears perfectly.
Still, if someone wants to implement such a system I do think that it would
be an interesting excersize in reflection. Imagine a room with a door on
each side (4 doors, it's a square room ... I know we've got a hyperspatial
thread going on somewhere, but let's keep it Euclidean!).

Entering the room from the "north" door means ... what? That you're facing
south? If so then west is right and east is left. Entering the room from the
"south" means west is left, east is right. Entering from the "west" means
that north is left and south is right. Entering from the "east" means that
north is right and south is left.

Finally, to add a little spice to it: when you leave through the same door
that you've entered, are you backing out or moving forward. And could you
"turn around"? Or "rotate 90 degrees"?

I must apologize, but I've enough trouble with left and right in "real"
life! In a maze I'd probably get hopelessy lost.

Still in all fairness, I'm looking forward to playing this game. Conventions
are, after all, learned tokens, and once we are habituated to them we'd
swear they were natural laws.

--Kevin

cozmo

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Oct 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/6/99
to Magnus Olsson
Magnus Olsson wrote:
<snip>

> "Examine" is *not* a synonym for "look" in standard Inform (nor in
> TADS). "Examine" is a synonym for "look at", but you can't do things
> like "x under pot", nor can you "look pot". I suppose this can be
> confusing for people used to parsers where "look pot" works.
>
> However, there's been some debate about whether "examine" and "search"
> should be synonymous. If examining the flower pot doesn't turn up the
> key that's hidden in the earth, but "search pot" does, is this fair?
>
> I don't think there's any consensus on this issue.

Here is my $0.02. I have a situation like this.

Junk Yard
You are at the entrance to the Junk Yard. A narrow isle leads north
between stacks of compressed cars. To the east is the fence. The west
is bordered by a large pile of misc. auto parts.

]Inventory
You are carrying: a broken starter motor and a screwdriver.

]x pile
The parts are all heaped together in one huge and disorganized pile.
You would have to search to find anything.

]search pile
You reach in at random and pull out a fuel pump for a Pinto. You toss
it back.

]search pile
This time your search reveals... A hood ornament for an Edsil. Having
no need for it you discard in it a hurry.

]search pile
Another random grab grants you a starter motor in fair condition. Just
what you needed.
(taken)

(Optionally I may impliment)
]search pile for starter
You dig around for a while with no success (this time...).

]again
Diging further into the pile you indeed find the object you seek, a new
starter motor.

When implimenting this I recognized a way to provide som humor content
(IMHO) and show a situation is a realistic way. Also I worded the
messages in a way that suggests the proper commands to use.

In this case there are big difrences between 'search' and 'examine'.
The sample above can be coded very easily in inform, and I can't imagine
being too difficult in other platforms.

BTW I have implimented a situation very similar to the above in a
project I am working on.

Regards,
Cozmo the Magician
http://www.superior.net/~cozmo

cozmo

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Oct 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/6/99
to Mike Snyder
Mike Snyder wrote:
>
> > Examine might be used as "look at closely", but still, search implies
> > that you pick something up, rifle through it's contents (if any), or
> > turn it over, etc.
> >
> > What do I know? I'm going to go examine some code and search for bugs
>
> =)
>
> My original comment stems from being unfamiliar with the whole look, look
> at, examine, search suite of verbs as it applies to IF now. I understand it
> now, although for the point of simplicity I think I'll stick to a 1-for-all
<snip>

> I'm glad, in a way, that there is no consensus. :)
>
> Mike.

Here is another example to ponder...

Living room
A big sofa parked in front of the Television dominates the back wall.
The front wall is dominated by the 72" Television set itself.

]x tv
The television was designed for people that loose remotes, it has an
on/off switch, a channel up button and channel down button, and a volume
dial. The tv is currently on and tunned to WZRK the all adventure
network.

]look at tv
You see a commercial offering used Zork trilogies and bargain prices.

]search tv
You look around the tv and notice nothing on top of it or behind it.

]look under tv
Bending down, you look under the tv and find a tv guide wedged
underneath.

L8tr,

David Glasser

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Oct 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/6/99
to
Suzanne Skinner <tr...@host.ott.igs.net> wrote:

> Kevin Forchione:
>
> >> While you "could" devise a system that uses left, right, forward, backward,


> >> and turn around, etc. I think you would find that it would "break mimesis"
> >> much more than "go north" does.
>

> Adam Cadre:


>
> >This is just conjecture, though. And it's unnecessary -- there is
> >at least one game that implements this very system.
>

> I'll presume we're thinking of the same one. Actually, I found the movement
> system clunky (I really couldn't get used to using "up" to mean anything
> other than "up", for instance)

Um, I'm going to guess from this comment that you two are not thinking
of the same game. Of course, I can't say more than that.

--
David Glasser | gla...@iname.com | http://www.davidglasser.net/
"It's good to explore the G.U.E. caves / It's good to explore the G.U.E.
caves / You can count all the leaves / You can KILL TROLL WITH SWORD /
You'll get stuck but you won't be bored"-Joe.Mason, rec.arts.int-fiction

Mike Snyder

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Oct 7, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/7/99
to
>Living room
>A big sofa parked in front of the Television dominates the back wall.
>The front wall is dominated by the 72" Television set itself.
>
>]x tv
>The television was designed for people that loose remotes, it has an
>on/off switch, a channel up button and channel down button, and a volume
>dial. The tv is currently on and tunned to WZRK the all adventure
>network.
>
>]look at tv
>You see a commercial offering used Zork trilogies and bargain prices.
>
>]search tv
>You look around the tv and notice nothing on top of it or behind it.
>
>]look under tv
>Bending down, you look under the tv and find a tv guide wedged
>underneath.


This is fine, I probably just wouldn't construct the tv like this. I'd
combine "X" and "Look At" so that the last sentence reads "The tv is
currently on and tuned to WZRK (the all-adventure network) where a
commercial is offering used Zork trilogies and bargain prices."

For the room description itself I'd try to indicate somehow that there is an
"under" to the TV (possibly by saying that its weight is precariously
balanced on four thick legs). As for search, I would either lump it in with
x/look (which would be confusing, I guess) or have it also find the tv guide
instead of having it search everywhere except under it.

I'm not saying that this isn't good or valid or the makings of a good
puzzle, I'm only saying that my personal preferences is to stay away from
what you've described in creating a game. I want the game to progress
without the player wondering if he/she looked at an object in every way
possible to get all clues.

Mike.


Suzanne Skinner

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Oct 7, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/7/99
to
David Glasser wrote:

>Um, I'm going to guess from this comment that you two are not thinking
>of the same game. Of course, I can't say more than that.

Heh. Since posting that message, I've come across two other comp games
that disable compass directions for part or all of the game (it seems
to be the gimmick of choice this year :-). So that could be the case.

tls

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Oct 7, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/7/99
to
Kevin Forchione <Lys...@email.msn.com> wrote:
>Aris Katsaris <kats...@NOSPAMotenet.gr> wrote
>> Not all people walk around with compasses; if you were in your garage
>> and wanted to leave it, would you be thinking to yourself "I'll go south"
>> or "I'll go out"?...

Alternately, there's 'neither'. I may think "I'll go through the garage
door." Particularly in a garage in which 'out' could theoretically refer
to both 'outdoors, through the garage door', and 'indoors, through the
door to the house' -- both are 'out' of the garage.

[snip]


>"Go north" is a convention, just as other symbols are. A traffic light are
>not actually telling you to "stop" or "go", but is a remotely-controlled
>messaging system telling you what to do in a convention that is accepted and
>recognized.
>

>While you "could" devise a system that uses left, right, forward, backward,
>and turn around, etc. I think you would find that it would "break mimesis"
>much more than "go north" does.

I think, at the very least, it would be easier to become confused.

On most MUSHes, the way exits are handled are with named exits; on a
large number of tinyMUSHes -- and possibly other codebases, but tiny is
what I'm most familiar with -- the exits generally carry an abbreviation
based on the name of the exit. For instance, 'Garage Door' would be
accessible as 'GD', or 'Oak Door' as 'OD'. 'out' and 'exit' are often
used as synonyms, both applying to the exit that will take you most
directly out of the sub-area you're in (such as a house or other
building).

I have not figured out a way to do this in Inform, but it is something on
my list of things to try, because I personally like it as an alternative,
and think it would be -- with minimal explanation -- fairly clear.

I would still use compass directions in places I felt they made sense,
most notably on streets -- where I /do/ think in terms of north/south and
east/west.
--
ti...@ripco.com - you...@foad.org - help, I'm stuck in a bottle

Andrew Frost

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Oct 7, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/7/99
to
Hmmm... were I in the garage, I think I would go 'into the kitchen' or
'outside'. I tend not to think of going through the door, but simply of
where I want to go to.


Andrew


tls <ti...@ripco.com> wrote in message news:7ti0bj$m1m$1...@gail.ripco.com...

T Raymond

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Oct 7, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/7/99
to
Iain Merrick <i...@cs.york.ac.uk> spoke about :

>T Raymond wrote:
>
>[...]
>> Well to add my 5% to the confusion, I think that examine is more
>> relative to look tham to search. To give a general, yet hopefully
>> familiar example that most folks can identify with, a doctor's
>> appointment. You go for an examination, the doctor looks at you.
>
>I don't think that example really supports your point. I mean, if I type
>'X WOMAN' in a game, I don't mean that I want to whip out my stethoscope
>and check her breathing. There are other verbs for that sort of thing.

OK, say in your example that the PC is a law officer.

>X WOMAN

She looks at you hesitantly, quickly looking away when she sees your
badge.

This definately shouldn't get you the response for 'search'

>SEARCH WOMAN

The woman does match the description of a reported shoplifter. You
politely ask to see the contents of her bag and pockets and find
several sales tags from the store that called.

Or something like that. Examples can fit the idea or they may not.
Heck if you cahnge the context to something like a law office,
'examine documents' could be synonymous with 'read'. It all depends on
the circumstances really.

I just think that in the general sense 'examine' should not implicitly
be the same as 'search'.

Tom

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Tom Raymond adk @ usa.net
"The original professional ameteur."
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Aris Katsaris

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Oct 7, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/7/99
to

Kevin Forchione <Lys...@email.msn.com> wrote in message
news:uScYmcEE$GA.244@cpmsnbbsa02...

> I must apologize, but I've enough trouble with left and right in "real"
> life! In a maze I'd probably get hopelessy lost.

That's the point of mazes, isn't it? :-)

Aris Katsaris

T Raymond

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Oct 7, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/7/99
to
"Mike Snyder" <mikes...@worldnet.att.net> spoke about :
[snip]

>However, if you have a painting on a wall.
>> LOOK AT PAINTING
>....It's quite lovely.
>> X PAINTING
>.... You examine the painting and discover what appears to be the bullet hole

>you've been trying to find.
>
>Seems unnecessary to me unless I have been clued to the fact that examining
>things will show different info than merely looking at them. I would rather
>adjust my puzzle/descriptions to allow "look at" and "examine" to be the
>same:
>
>> LOOK AT PAINTING
>....It's a lovely mountain scene in a dark pine frame. It hangs slightly

>uneven on the north wall.
>> X FRAME ... or ... MOVE PAINTING
>.... You notice a notch in the wall, almost covered by the right edge of the

>frame. This may be the bullet hole you've been trying to find.

Of course in this example, 'look at frame' is what you are doing,
while 'move painting' is basically 'look behind painting' which at the
least implies 'search' to me. But I think I said this already ;)

>The problem isn't a problem, of course, if you start off knowing that you'll
>need to look at *and* examine an item to be sure you haven't missed a clue,
>but I would like players to have the best opportunity to solve my games, so
>I will most likely shy away from making puzzles that involve similar actions
>unless there is some indication that a variant is required. However, I will
>certainly play and enjoy (now that I know) games which don't. :)

Right, it's not a problem for me because I usually 'examine object' to
look at it and 'search object' to find hidden things. But if one goes
and makes 'examine' mean the same as search, it'll cause confusion,
wven with the PC knowing it from the start, at elast until they get
used to the idea. This is all my own twisted and opinionated
conjecture of course :)

T Raymond

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Oct 7, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/7/99
to
"Mike Snyder" <mikes...@worldnet.att.net> spoke about :
>> What do I know? I'm going to go examine some code and search for bugs

Hmmm, looking at this, it might be my best example yet! :)

>My original comment stems from being unfamiliar with the whole look, look
>at, examine, search suite of verbs as it applies to IF now. I understand it
>now, although for the point of simplicity I think I'll stick to a 1-for-all

>approach. If I need to hide a clue in an object I'll probably allude to
>"moving" it or otherwise indicate that some action is needed such as "look
>behind it" as opposed to offering different results for "look at" and
>"examine." I'll lump "search" in there too unless the particular object is
>unique enough to require "searching" - and even then I'll probably cue the
>player to it somehow.

I think I may be more stuck on this separation because I program in
TADS, and for as long as I can remember it's supported 'look behind'
and other 'search' variants. While I'm hardly a logical person, it
seems more logical to me that 'examine' means 'look at'.

>I'm glad, in a way, that there is no consensus. :)

Nope, there's just conventions and standards, which can be broken,
changed, rearranged, and made to work in other situations.

M. David Krauss

unread,
Oct 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/10/99
to
Good example. It seems to me that this sort of situation would make more sense,
though, if the description from the examine command were more verbose (and
therefor valuable in itself) .. As it is, the distinction seems nit-picky. It's
amazing what a slight shift in perception can do.

Kathy I. Morgan

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Oct 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/25/99
to
Mike Snyder <mikes...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:

> My original comment stems from being unfamiliar with the whole look, look
> at, examine, search suite of verbs as it applies to IF now. I understand it
> now, although for the point of simplicity I think I'll stick to a 1-for-all
> approach.

I, for one, will appreciate that. :-)

--
Kathy

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