Cooperative Locale. Just an idle thought.

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fiziwig

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Jan 3, 2006, 2:17:27 PM1/3/06
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First off, I've haven't written any IF since Jan. of 2002, but I am
getting close to retirement and looking forward to having more time to
spend on fun stuff.

I was dusting off the source code from my first, last, and only
complete IF project (http://fiziwig.com/intfic/index.html) and thinking
about porting it from TADS 2 to TADS 3. Then It occured to me to expand
the adventure while I was at it. And then this random thought occured
to me:

Suppose a city were to be built in TADS 3 that could be used for lots
of different adventures. After people played several different
adventures in the city they would become familiar with it, and know
their way around. They could find the bank, and would know Mr. Gurbb,
the banker, by name from some previous adventure.

Then if someone else wanted to create a new adventure in the same city
they could cut and past the portions of the city they wanted to use,
close off the parts of the city that weren't relevant, and add a few
new details, like the interior of the Kravitz Building that we've
passed by a hundred times, but never been inside of. Or a new street or
alley could be branched off the existing road map. Or the addition of a
park and picnic grounds south of town. But always consistent with what
has gone before.

The city could be cooperatively built by many authors over a long
period of time and grow to be rich and complex, like a real city.

Just a nutty idea I thought I'd toss out there for comment.

--gary shannon

Ashiq Alibhai

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Jan 3, 2006, 4:27:03 PM1/3/06
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Sounds awesome. Of course, you limit your setting to one theme--you
wouldn't have a spaceport and a medievil dungeon in the same city,
would you? And that limits who you collaborate with.

However, it's an amazing idea for a series of games...perhaps I'll do
just that. Thanks for the idea!

Jim Aikin

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Jan 3, 2006, 7:07:43 PM1/3/06
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This could be a lot of fun, I think, at least for those who have plenty of
time on their hands.

But it seems you're assuming that none of the games will alter the state of
the city in any significant way. If, to use your example, 'kill banker' is
required by one game, the state of the banker becomes undefined in every
game created for the city environment afterward.

Also, I think you'd need zoning ordinances and a Planning Commission, just
as in a real city ;-)

--JA

"fiziwig" <fiz...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
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Ashiq Alibhai

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Jan 3, 2006, 8:06:53 PM1/3/06
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Actually, assuming data runs independantly from game to game, you have
essentially a gigantic generalized template with very specific sections
and a fixed theme. Not bad.

fiziwig

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Jan 3, 2006, 8:43:01 PM1/3/06
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Perhaps actors need to be left out then. Just build a big, empty city
with no actors or portable objects. Maybe establish some guidelines
about where the rich folks live and where the heavy industry is. Of
course, the first step would be to establish a time and place, like
futuristic Mars colony, or Ancient Egypt, or whatever. Then whoever
wants to use that city is free to download the whole city and populate
it with whatever NPCs and portable objects are needed for the
adventure.

And of course there's nothing to prevent various people from heading up
the "city council" of various different kinds of cities. I might even
use my little Middle Ages town of Stonebridge from my own "Dwenodon"
adventure as a starting point for a more extensive medieval village.
Whoever hosts a particular city project could keep the current map (and
source file) on the web site so people could consult it before adding
something new to the template.

As for adventures that alter the city in some significant wayt, say
knock down a building with an earthquake, well, they're just "alternate
futures" I guess. As long as the city starts out the same at the
beginning of the adventure then players would be famililar with it to
start with.

Or, for that matter, nothing says every use of the city has to be
identicial. It would just be neat to have a collection of really
complex or elaborate cities already built and ready to populate. As an
old TV show in the 50's or 60's used to say, "There are eight million
stories in The Naked City. This is one of them."

--gary

Paul E Collins

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Jan 4, 2006, 11:32:01 AM1/4/06
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"fiziwig" <fiz...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> Suppose a city were to be built in TADS 3 that could be
> used for lots of different adventures. After people played
> several different adventures in the city they would become

> familiar with it, and know their way around. [...]

Hmm. Interesting.

One possible caveat: If the city was simplistic, it would be an
uninteresting set of "corridors" connecting the locations that
actually *were* unique and important for the game in question. If the
city was complex, I think I'd get tired of having to examine all the
same statues, fountains, etc. in every game, in case there was
something there this time.

P.


fiziwig

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Jan 4, 2006, 11:57:32 AM1/4/06
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Good points. Rather than having to examine every statue, etc., it would
require that the game design rely on good clues leading the player to
the next step in solving the puzzle. It would require that the flow of
the puzzles be more life-like, in that a real-life detective solving a
real-life mystery doesn't make his first step the examination of the
statue of General Custer in the city park. At least, not unless there
is some solid reason for doing so.

So the steps in solving the puzzles would have to be real-world
logical, not just the arbitrary "search everything mentioned until you
find something interesting" variety. If you needed to find a key, for
example, there would have to be some solid reason connected with the
story line for looking only in specific places for that key, like the
apartment of the suspect who last had the key. It just wouldn't be
logical for the key to be lying in the bottom of the fish pond in the
park on the other side of town.

In other words, having a wide open city where the player could go
anywhere, instead of forcing the player down a narrowly scripted path,
would also require a different kind of quest design, perhaps more
related to the way quests are handled in EQ, WoW and other MMORPGs. (or
MUDs)

It might even be a whole different genre of IF, closer to a solo MUD.
(I know, that's a contradiction in terms. ;-)

--gary

pesononline

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Jan 24, 2006, 7:12:12 PM1/24/06
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Sounds interesting. Anything that promotes logical puzzles is a good idea.

This thread reminded me of the Thieves' World series I read as a
teenager. For those who missed it, this is a series of anthologies with
short stories set in the same fantasy world, where the authors would
frequently borrow characters from each other. I remember reading about
the guidelines they used to know what was fair use of another author's
character. Does anybody know where to find those guidelines?

I did find some info at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shared_universe

-- peson

Andrew Plotkin

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Jan 25, 2006, 12:01:56 AM1/25/06
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Here, pesononline <f...@pesononline.com> wrote:
>
> This thread reminded me of the Thieves' World series I read as a
> teenager. For those who missed it, this is a series of anthologies with
> short stories set in the same fantasy world, where the authors would
> frequently borrow characters from each other. I remember reading about
> the guidelines they used to know what was fair use of another author's
> character. Does anybody know where to find those guidelines?
>
> I did find some info at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shared_universe

I went to look for the ground rules on some of the other shared-world
anthologies like Liavek. The only one I could find was "You must
mention a camel."

Seems like a good working principle to me.

--Z

--
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
If the Bush administration hasn't subjected you to searches without a warrant,
it's for one reason: they don't feel like it. Not because you're innocent.

Fish

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Jan 25, 2006, 12:20:14 AM1/25/06
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fiziwig wrote:

> Good points. Rather than having to examine every statue, etc., it would
> require that the game design rely on good clues leading the player to

> the next step in solving the puzzle. ...

There is another possibility. One game author can seed the city with
red herring clues, empty vaults (that can only be opened with a key
object that can never be obtained), secret-looking doors that require a
spoken password that nobody knows, a mysterious lost locket that doesn't
seem to belong to anyone, a blood-stained note, a key that opens no
door, and so on.

If the player tries to pursue these things, the game says, "There are a
million stories in Naked City, but <<this object>> is not in yours."

The *next* author can come along and
a) tie together some of the red herring clues that are spread around
throughout Naked City, and
b) add some more red herrings into the new locations he's created

So, for instance, the Statue of General Bluster in City Square is odd,
because his sword seems to be pointing at something. When you try to
examine the sword to see what it's pointing at, you can find out
instantly that it's a clue for a later game. And when that later game
is written, *the clue was already there.*

You wouldn't have to go back and examine every statue every single time
through the game, because it would have TONS of clues which (so far)
don't go anywhere, but only a few which are meaningful to Game 1. You
might even get some satisfaction out of saying, "This clue says, 'the
password is WALT SENT ME.' Damn! A door with a password! Where did I
see that? Wasn't that over on 5th and Gorilla?"

This way, I think, is very doable. There would be some consequences to
this approach, and probably some rules as a result.

1. Continuity. The author of the first IF could glue together whatever
clues he wanted. Thereafter, people should probably agree on who was
going to write the next one so they didn't both use up the same clues.
Or heck, they could use up the same clues, it'd just be confusing. :)
That's part of the problem with shared storytelling.

2. Naked City itself would have to have a *huge* number of
this-is-not-your-story clues to start with, because no more would ever
be added to those basic starter rooms. (We don't want to change the
city; players should be able to expect the same things in it.)

3. Leave more than you take. If you use up 5 red herrings, you should
at least leave 5 more for the next person.

4. New locations. Because of (2), new red herrings have to come from
new locations, so new games should all feature new places to go (so we
can lay down track ahead of the train, so to speak). Nobody wants to
walk through the city checking every door to see if maybe, this time,
there's a reason to go into the Go-Go Club. If you ever get into that
new unmapped part of the city, there's got to be a reason to send the
player there.

5. Game size. Yeah, if people kept adding onto the Naked City
template, with all its new rooms and places to go and objects and
red-herring descriptions, it'd get pretty large and unwieldy pretty
quickly. You'd have to decide whether to keep adding to the template,
or just keep the same starter pack. (If you keep adding to the
template, then [1] is a problem; if not, not.)


Personally, I think the idea of a shared IF location is wonderful. If
the above approach seems workable, we can talk about how to do it, what
genre, etc. :)

FISH

Fish

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Jan 27, 2006, 4:52:40 AM1/27/06
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Here's another idle thought on the idea of a shared city template.

If the design of the city were done carefully, it would take only a
minor renaming of rooms and re-writing of the descriptions and you could
convert the city to, I dunno... medieval, Mexican border town,
Gothic/Victorian horror city, ramshackle bayou country, Western town,
futuristic spaceport, film noir, etc.

For instance, you might have Fletch's Discount Guns in the City, but
he'd be Fletch the bowyer in magic world. Or Flech's Bandolero in the
Mexican village, Fletcher & Sons in Victorian world, etc. He'd always
be in the same place on the city map in every city.

Stout's Bar would be Stout's Pub, or Malto's Cantina, or Stout's
Fermented Juice Center in the future, or whatever.

There would be some locations that wouldn't translate. You wouldn't
have Mr. Soak, the insurance broker, in medieval times, so instead that
square would be open land... someone's garden, maybe, or just no square
there at all to visit. And the present-day city would have no room for
a town crier (unless he turned into a newspaper boy?), or a
spinner/spinster.

The clever bit would be making a way to switch between worlds, or a
puzzle you had to solve by going to different versions of the city.

Still thinking on it to see what comes of it.

FISH

Adam Thornton

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Jan 28, 2006, 1:22:16 AM1/28/06
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In article <m4CdnXVrl-DJd0Te...@w-link.net>,

Fish <fi...@w-link.net> wrote:
>Here's another idle thought on the idea of a shared city template.
>
>If the design of the city were done carefully, it would take only a
>minor renaming of rooms and re-writing of the descriptions and you could
>convert the city to, I dunno... medieval, Mexican border town,
>Gothic/Victorian horror city, ramshackle bayou country, Western town,
>futuristic spaceport, film noir, etc.

I *think* this has been done somewhere. It seems very familiar. I also
think that whatever-it-was did it but not very well, so I thought, "this
has more potential than this demonstrates."

Adam


Kevin Forchione

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Jan 28, 2006, 2:15:11 PM1/28/06
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"Adam Thornton" <ad...@fsf.net> wrote in message
news:drf2io$pvk$1...@localhost.localdomain...

Some things, like the plots of Agatha Christie, are more robust in potential
than in practice.

--Kevin


Janieluk

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Jan 29, 2006, 3:59:51 AM1/29/06
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Another useful reference point might be Discworld MUD (or similar,
http://discworld.atuin.net/lpc/ ), with a community of authors building
up locations and puzzles in a shared environment over a long time
period.

There's a related question to this, which is why each game has to be
entirely separate but with a shared landscape? Would it instead be
possible to create an extensible game, such that new puzzles and
plotlines were added over time by different authors, but the old
plotlines, puzzles etc. remained also? It goes without saying that the
game save file could be carried across as the main game file was
updated.

'Twould be a helluva job to set things up so that authors didn't end up
breaking each others' stuff, but might be quite fun to sort out...

Dan

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