Painting IF (or how do YOU create IF)

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Philip Bartol

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Feb 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/8/98
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I was thinking about the way to build and IF story, and was wondering if
anyone else would take this technique... one similar to how I've seen alot of
painting shows.

Often times when they show you how to paint, you start with a rough sketch on
a canvis, darken in some of the lines. Then you start applying the paint,
blending and adding details untill the whole is done....

Start on some IF with a rough outline of the story concept. Start to darken in
some of the lines by roughing in the locations in the game code itself (i.e. -
"This is the Boiler Room" for the description of the Boiler Room), start
filling in some color by filling in some of the workings of the game (i.e. -
placing doors, functional switches, etc.). Finally adding more color and
details till it's done (i.e. - adding detail to the room descriptions, adding
scenery objects, etc.).

What do you think?

PHIL

FemaleDeer

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Feb 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/8/98
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>From: phi...@gte.net (Philip Bartol)
>Date: Sun, Feb 8, 1998 02:07 EST

>Often times when they show you how to paint, you start with a rough sketch on
>
>a canvis, darken in some of the lines. Then you start applying the paint,
>blending and adding details untill the whole is done....
>
>Start on some IF with a rough outline of the story concept. Start to darken
>in
>some of the lines by roughing in the locations in the game code

Yeah, that sounds right. But I don't have a released "finished" game yet, to
validate my response.

I find also I create at the keyboard. So although, you have to plan first
(sketch the outline), unplanned things will emerge as you "fill in those
sketchy areas", that may add a lot to the story or the puzzles. Exactly the
same as painting, after you start mixing the colors, THEN you see how they
contrast and flow together ON the canvas itself.

The medium always affects the product.

FD
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Femal...@aol.com "Good breeding consists in
concealing how much we think of ourselves and how
little we think of the other person." Mark Twain

Irene Callaci

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Feb 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/8/98
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I am just now writing my first i-f piece, and your description
pretty much describes how I've approached it. However, I don't
think I'll do it this way again. My freewheeling "fill-in-the-
details" later attitude has made for a LOT of rewriting. My
biggest problem (among many) has been to recode the interactions
between new objects and old ones. I think if I had planned
things a little better, I could have anticipated these
relationships and reduced some of my work.

The other problem I have is with voice. I had a rough concept of
the story I wanted to tell but, as the story developed, it started
to change and I needed to go back and edit the earlier stuff to
keep it in line with later developments. I find that my mood of
the day affects the seriousness or silliness of the writing, and
that makes for a pretty uneven experience. I think novelists must
have this same problem of changing voice, but I'm not a novelist,
so I'm not sure how to handle it well. My point being: maybe a
little more planning on my part would make for a more coherent
work.

irene

On Sun, 08 Feb 1998 07:07:56 GMT, phi...@gte.net (Philip Bartol)
wrote:

>I was thinking about the way to build and IF story, and was wondering if
>anyone else would take this technique... one similar to how I've seen alot of
>painting shows.
>

>Often times when they show you how to paint, you start with a rough sketch on
>a canvis, darken in some of the lines. Then you start applying the paint,
>blending and adding details untill the whole is done....
>
>Start on some IF with a rough outline of the story concept. Start to darken in

Mary K. Kuhner

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Feb 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/9/98
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In article <34dde5c8...@news.csupomona.edu>,
Irene Callaci <ical...@csupomona.edu> wrote:

>I find that my mood of
>the day affects the seriousness or silliness of the writing, and
>that makes for a pretty uneven experience. I think novelists must
>have this same problem of changing voice, but I'm not a novelist,
>so I'm not sure how to handle it well.

At least some novelists I know make a rule of always reading
some of the previous material before picking up with writing
new material; this helps keep the tone more consistent. Not
the whole novel, but, say, the last scene or last chapter.

With a growing IF game, it might actually make more sense to
*play* a bit of it before diving into writing, especially if
you have the game set up to be able to jump to a specific
scene (really worthwhile in a partitioned game). This might
refresh your memory on what you were trying to accomplish
and what tone you were using.

Mary Kuhner mkku...@genetics.washington.edu

Carl Klutzke

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Feb 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/9/98
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In article <6bjlr6$lnv$2...@gte2.gte.net>, Philip Bartol <phi...@gte.net> wrote:
>Often times when they show you how to paint, you start with a rough sketch on
>a canvis, darken in some of the lines. Then you start applying the paint,
>blending and adding details untill the whole is done....

Art is art. I've considered the parallels between painting/drawing and
writing before. Probably any work of art must be created the way you
describe.

I also find that good writing (and IF by extension) has parallels with
music. I don't know much about writing music, but I know it has themes
and different lines. It creates tension and releases it. It has a
beginning and a middle and an end. Both are artforms that are experienced
serially, which probably has a lot to do with the parallels.

I'm also willing to bet that IF has more in common with sculpture (another
art I don't know much about) than traditional fiction does. Not only is
IF serial, it's deep. In good IF you move around, change perspective.

Carl

Daryl McCullough

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Feb 16, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/16/98
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ical...@csupomona.edu (Irene Callaci) says...

>The other problem I have is with voice. I had a rough concept of
>the story I wanted to tell but, as the story developed, it started
>to change and I needed to go back and edit the earlier stuff to

>keep it in line with later developments. I find that my mood of


>the day affects the seriousness or silliness of the writing, and
>that makes for a pretty uneven experience. I think novelists must
>have this same problem of changing voice, but I'm not a novelist,

>so I'm not sure how to handle it well. My point being: maybe a
>little more planning on my part would make for a more coherent
>work.

Well, if it is only a matter of changing the textual responses,
but not the actual logic of the program, then perhaps you could
take the approach used by the messages in English.h. That is,
you could give logical names to all the possible responses in your
game (call them things like dont_know, thats_silly, etc.) then
in a separate file (or a separate part of your main file), you
could set up the correspondences between these logical names and
actual text. That way, it would be easier to go through the responses
to try to make the tone consistent.

It would also make it easier to translate your game into Spanish,
if you ever wanted to do that.

Has anyone tried such an approach to textual responses?

Daryl McCullough
CoGenTex, Inc.
Ithaca, NY

Irene Callaci

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Feb 16, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/16/98
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[Note: just so I don't have to quote all the previous posts, we're
discussing how to keep a consistent tone or voice while writing a
piece of interactive fiction. I originally mentioned that I thought
better pre-game planning on my part would solve or partially solve
my difficulties in this area.]

Hmm... I think it might (for me, at least) involve more than the
textual responses. The entire tone of my game has swung wildly,
from scary/serious to silly to sarcastic to heavy-handed
moralizing (yuck). My mood seems to affect everything I write:
the room descriptions as well as the responses to certain actions.
Before I write my next game, I need to decide ahead of time who
the audience is, what story I am trying to tell, and how I should
tell it. Making it up as I go means LOTS of false starts and LOTS
of rewriting and LOTS of wasted time. For me, anyway.

irene

On 16 Feb 1998 09:14:07 -0800, da...@cogentex.com (Daryl McCullough)
wrote:

TenthStone

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Feb 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/18/98
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ical...@csupomona.edu (Irene Callaci) caused this to appear in our collective minds on Mon, 16 Feb 1998 20:05:00 GMT:

>Hmm... I think it might (for me, at least) involve more than the
>textual responses. The entire tone of my game has swung wildly,
>from scary/serious to silly to sarcastic to heavy-handed
>moralizing (yuck). My mood seems to affect everything I write:
>the room descriptions as well as the responses to certain actions.
>Before I write my next game, I need to decide ahead of time who
>the audience is, what story I am trying to tell, and how I should
>tell it. Making it up as I go means LOTS of false starts and LOTS
>of rewriting and LOTS of wasted time. For me, anyway.

My areas tend to have a consistent feel, but I find that going from one setting
to another can be rather strange. I suppose it's like this: my mood affects
how I'm writing, yes, but since my games tend to be rather nonlinear, my
mood also affects what I'm writing on. For instance, in my current game, I have
three different player characters. If I'm feeling energetic, I'll work on the
adventurer character. If I'm depressed or philosophic, I'll work on that character. If I'm
feeling angry or violent, I'll work on that character.

Of course, since it's winter and it's raining, I tend to write a lot more on that one
character than the others...

I don't believe I've ever moralized in my IF, or at least not yet.
-- TenthStone
tenth...@hotmail.com mcc...@erols.com a987...@titan.vcu.edu

p a t c h.net

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Feb 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/18/98
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Irene Callaci said "To hell with carpal tunnel!" and wrote:
> I am just now writing my first i-f piece, and your description
> pretty much describes how I've approached it. However, I don't
> think I'll do it this way again. My freewheeling "fill-in-the-
> details" later attitude has made for a LOT of rewriting. My
> biggest problem (among many) has been to recode the interactions
> between new objects and old ones. I think if I had planned
> things a little better, I could have anticipated these
> relationships and reduced some of my work.

One of the main reasons PUTPBAD 2 has yet to even be finished (other than
the fact that currently the source is in a computer that's missing a
processor) is that I started out writing it like its predecessor --
absolutely no forethought whatsoever. Gradually I carved out the
geography, finalizing on a rough layout of the area after only a few
minutes' thought. Then I wandered around aimlessly, implementing whatever
I could think of if only to prove I could. A lot of really bad ideas were
created this way; oddly enough, a few decent ideas also came about.
Work on the game mostly happened late at night / early in the morning,
when sleep deprivation removes a lot of mental inhibitions and lets one
come up with zany ideas like cow spit-encrusted grass and a
sheet-metal-throwing maniac (as well as lots of hyphens and sarcastic
responses doomed to be edited out the next day.) Just when I thought I
was almost finished with the stuff I had planned out, neurons would
collide in exactly the wrong way and I'd furiously start coding an alien
ship.

Some of the puzzles and concepts in the game gelled just nicely this way.
Others, however, continue to elude me. There's nothing worse than writing
up to a certain destination and then realizing you have no idea what to
put in that destination. Having a whizbang name and a small concept just
doesn't cut it, especially when you develop a nasty mental block and can
only work on solving THIS HERE PROBLEM RIGHT NOW.

That's the curse of the spontaneous author right there in a nutshell.
I'll eventually finish, beta, and release Booth 2; with any luck I'll be
satisfied with the end result. With binaries and source safely locked
away in a nonfunctional computer, I turned towards planning things out for
the next game I had in mind. Now I've got complete backstory and a map of
the area, plus the preliminary plot, primary/secondary/extra objectives,
NPC character outlines, even propaganda for the game. I'm enjoying taking
the exact opposite creative approach here, yet I fear there is a good
chance I might get more interested in the backstory than in the actual
game itself. Isn't life funny that way?

--
der Spatchel. spatula@s p a t c h.net. Proud to eat yummy red meat.
PUTPBAD is undergoing a facelift at http://www.spatch.net/booth. Soon!
"Tequila and nicotine. Like chewing on 2 of my 3 favorite things." - M. Laupin

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