Lying in IF

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chads...@my-deja.com

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Jan 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/7/00
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I just had a thought the other day. How would the player tell the PC to
lie to an NPC? Sure, there's the standard TELL x ABOUT y, but that
would generally be the truth. The way I figure it, it could be done any
of the following ways:

1) Menu based
Menu based conversation systems are one way. Just >TALK TO x, and the
player can pick the appropriate option to lie to a character. Of
course, this would probably only be useful if you already were using a
menu based conversation system.

2) TELL x ABOUT y
This would be where the player uses the standard system to tell a
character about something, only in this, the PC would lie. It could be
done, but this should be by no means the standard. Also, it would lead
to many more "read the author's mind" puzzles.

3) Natural parsing
Sure, a very fine thing if you have it. You could write a good-sized
article on natural language parsing, so I won't include it here. It
would be very easy to lie with such a system, but the difficulty and
validity of making and using such a system are important factors which
will make this impossible for the time being.

4) "Lie" verb
This is my personal favorite. It would work something like:

>ASK FRED ABOUT DAM
"It's been up since before I was born. At night, my father would scare
me with stories about how rickety it was getting, and how suddenly it
would flood."

>TELL FRED ABOUT DAM
"Yes, I know it's old. But the town can't afford a new one, so there it
stays."

>LIE TO FRED ABOUT DAM
Your eyes grow wide. Your mouth drops open. With a trembling arm, you
point behind Fred and exclaim "The D-d-d-d-am broke! We're all gonna
DIE!!!"

Without even pausing to look behind him, Fred takes off for the county
line. So paniced is he, and so little time does it take for him to get
out of sight, that he doesn't even stop to remember that the dam would
be over a hundred miles to his left, not just behind him as he
apparently thought.


Come to think of it, why isn't this standard already? And that brings
up the question of other conversation verbs, such as confuse, scare,
bargain with, offer (in addition to give), fool, and so on.

Chad Schultz (chads...@hotmail.com)


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Dan Shiovitz

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Jan 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/10/00
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In article <855jn8$ac4$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, <chads...@my-deja.com> wrote:
>I just had a thought the other day. How would the player tell the PC to
>lie to an NPC? Sure, there's the standard TELL x ABOUT y, but that
>would generally be the truth. The way I figure it, it could be done any
>of the following ways:
[..]
>4) "Lie" verb
[..]

>Come to think of it, why isn't this standard already? And that brings
>up the question of other conversation verbs, such as confuse, scare,
>bargain with, offer (in addition to give), fool, and so on.

Because it's already hideously difficult to communicate with NPCs,
even with just the "ask" verb. Adding more verbs would make games more
complicated and less fun.

--
Dan Shiovitz :: d...@cs.wisc.edu :: http://www.drizzle.com/~dans
"He settled down to dictate a letter to the Consolidated Nailfile and
Eyebrow Tweezer Corporation of Scranton, Pa., which would make them
realize that life is stern and earnest and Nailfile and Eyebrow Tweezer
Corporations are not put in this world for pleasure alone." -PGW

Miseri

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Jan 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/10/00
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In article <s7i8jdl...@corp.supernews.com>,

d...@cs.wisc.edu (Dan Shiovitz) wrote:
> In article <855jn8$ac4$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, <chads...@my-deja.com>
wrote:
> >I just had a thought the other day. How would the player tell the PC
to
> >lie to an NPC? Sure, there's the standard TELL x ABOUT y, but that
> >would generally be the truth. The way I figure it, it could be done
any
> >of the following ways:
> [..]
> >4) "Lie" verb
> [..]
> >Come to think of it, why isn't this standard already? And that brings
> >up the question of other conversation verbs, such as confuse, scare,
> >bargain with, offer (in addition to give), fool, and so on.
>
> Because it's already hideously difficult to communicate with NPCs,
> even with just the "ask" verb. Adding more verbs would make games more
> complicated and less fun.
>

But it's been done, in "Nine Princes in Amber". Mind you, that game was
terribly linear (albeit with many many many branching storylines), but
you could confess, threaten, wheedle, coax, placate and, yes, lie.

But yes, I agree that it could be difficult, especially if you want to
tell a very specific lie. Such as telling Aunt Bertha that the barn is
burning (as opposed to the barbecue catching fire, or guy fawkes going
out of control, or....). You'd have to keep a large number of switches
and variables handy, to keep track of what's been done or said to any
particular npc. Making it possible to >TEMPT FATE is easy; making it
matter in the grand scheme of things is not.

Still, no harm trying, right?

edr...@my-deja.com

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Jan 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/10/00
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In article <855jn8$ac4$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,
chads...@my-deja.com wrote:
> 4) "Lie" verb
> This is my personal favorite. It would work something like:
>
> >ASK FRED ABOUT DAM
> >TELL FRED ABOUT DAM

> >LIE TO FRED ABOUT DAM

This is probably the best solution, but you would need to mention it to
the player in the "ABOUT" text, or in a readme file. It's not part of
the "canon" vocabulary, which means most people wouldn't even think of
typing it.

-M.

David Samuel Myers

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Jan 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/10/00
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Yeah, it's sorta been done. It's difficult. There is something a little
like it in Varicella with "tone". As long as you don't try to to include
TOO many new verbs in a new game, you can usually get by (from what I've
seen) telling people what the new features are in your game from the get
go. And Varicella, Worlds Apart are good examples of this recently.

As for making this "standard", good luck. It really has to go thru a few
iterations and a few authors worth of contribution in general before
something gets into the vernacular.


Less ugly (a LOT less ugly) is trying to actually sort of honesty from
lies when your PC is in the middle of the game. If an NPC lies to you, you
have a lot to think about as a player trying to figure out what to believe
if you have conflicting information. That can be a fun game almost by
itself right there. (That is if you don't try to implement a
knowledge-based system, god forbid, 'cuz THAT would be a helluva trick).


Joe Mason

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Jan 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/10/00
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In article <855jn8$ac4$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, <chads...@my-deja.com> wrote:
>1) Menu based
>Menu based conversation systems are one way. Just >TALK TO x, and the
>player can pick the appropriate option to lie to a character. Of
>course, this would probably only be useful if you already were using a
>menu based conversation system.

I'm playing _Planescape - Torment_ right now, and enjoying the hell out of
it. In conversation, you often get the exact same option several times, but
with qualifiers. For instance:

"Well, I *could* tell you where the secret entrance is, but then everybody'd
be able to cut in on my business."

- (Truth) I promise, what you tell me is for my ears alone.
- (Lie) I promise, what you tell me is for my ears alone.
- Never mind, then. I had some other questions...

Or, one of my favourites:

"I look nothing like my father? What does THAT mean?"

- (Truth) Well, even without his limp, it's obvious that he doesn't move
with your poise and grace. And you've got such beautiful red hair.
- (Lie) Well, even without his limp, it's obvious that he doesn't move
with your poise and grace. And you've got such beautiful red hair.
- (Truth) Just look at yourself! You have a face that would make a corpse
scream, and I can smell you from here. You disgust me.
- (Lie) Just look at yourself! You have a face that would make a corpse
scream, and I can smell you from here. You disgust me.
- Um, nevermind. I misspoke. I had some other questions...

Joe

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