One- or no- object games.

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Chad Schultz

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Apr 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/14/99
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We've all seen several single room games, and plenty of games with one or no
NPCs, but I have yet to see a game with only *one* inanimate object. Such a
game would have to have many NPCs, and dozens of responses for most NPCs,
not to mention the object!

Then there is the possibility of a game with *no* objects. This game would
have to have social puzzles for the most part, although there could be some
standard puzzles.

And would it be possible to have absolutely no PC? This raises questions if
its own. What do you think?

Chad Schultz

okbl...@usa.net

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Apr 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/14/99
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In article <7f2hn9$i...@newsops.execpc.com>,

"Chad Schultz" <chads...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> We've all seen several single room games, and plenty of games with one or no
> NPCs, but I have yet to see a game with only *one* inanimate object. Such a
> game would have to have many NPCs, and dozens of responses for most NPCs,
> not to mention the object!

Well the Art Show (or whatever it's called) is all about single inanimate
objects, though I suppose not really =games=.

Your supposition--that it would have to have many NPCs--is not necessarily
true. The player could interact entirely with the environment, e.g., a maze
that must be escaped. (This could be as primitive as "you are in a maze of
twisty passages, all alike" or complex and subtle in myriad ways.) Other
possibilities exist, as well. (See "The Space Under The Window".)

If these seem like odd or contrived examples, I hasten to point out that a
universe populated with NPCs but only one manipulable object would be equally
odd.

> Then there is the possibility of a game with *no* objects. This game would
> have to have social puzzles for the most part, although there could be some
> standard puzzles.

Not at all. Colossal Cave could be redone with no objects. Don't believe
me? All the objects could be replaced by rooms with special properties that
transferred to the player. For example, going to the grate once could give
the player a "light" property that lasted for X turns. When it started to
wear out, the player could have to brave the pirate's maze to find another
room that transferred the "light" property--simulating the lamp and battery
situation.

This could get very detailed, too. For example, in CC, if you needed the
batteries, you had to take the coins to the vending machine (located in the
maze). You could be required to visit the "coin location" before visiting the
"vending machine location" or else the light property wouldn't be transferred.

Or you could only pass through the snake temple if you visited the bird
temple, but you couldn't go into the bird temple unless you'd visited the egg
temple and not if you'd been to the cat temple recently. (Like CC's
cage/bird/rod/snake puzzle.)

Not that any of this recommended. I imagine such a thing could be done well,
though probably not by trying to force a "classic" into this no-object mold.
I'm just pointing out that traditional puzzles would not only be possible in
this situation, they'd =still= be easier than NPC puzzles.

I'd also like to point out that the line between NPC and object is pretty
gray. Are the bird and the snake NPCs or are they objects? They're
certainly no more complex than objects, but the player perceives them as
NPCs, as I believe was intended.

And, as one can see from "Curses", social puzzles can certainly involve
objects (like wheeling out the radio for your aunt or granny or whoever).

> And would it be possible to have absolutely no PC? This raises questions if
> its own. What do you think?

Yes, it's possible. This has been discussed in a number of ways. First of
all, the PC could be a "thing". In a suggestion made last year, the player
would be a dungeon, trying to stop adventurers from plundering. (Similar in
theme to the game "Dungeon Keeper".)

This still, in my opinion, has a PC, just a PC who acts indirectly. (Most RTS
games work that way.)

Another possibility would be to have the player direct the characters. He
doesn't exist in the game, but he can determine the fates of the various
characters with his commands. This certainly could be interesting.

> SNIDELY, TIE NELL TO RAILROAD TRACKS

Snidely takes the screaming Nell and throws her carelessly on the tracks,
cackling wildly the whole time. As he lashes her down, a train can be heard
in the distance.

Or whatever.

[ok]

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Kathleen M. Fischer

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Apr 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/14/99
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Chad Schultz wrote:
> And would it be possible to have absolutely no PC?

Sure, why not? What if you had a game where you were something like a
director
of a movie - telling the NPC's to do things and then watching what
happens:

> l
Kitchen
What a mess. Dirty dishes are everywhere and not a drop of edible
food in sight. To the north is the livingroom.

> wash dishes
There is no one here to do that.

John enters from the livingroom.

> wash dishes
John rolls up his sleeves and commences washing the mess.

> n
Livingroom
Jane is stretched out on the sofa reading the hockey news while
watching tv.

> get tv
Jane walks over to the 36" set and attempts to pick it up. After
wrestling with the 500lb set for a few minutes, she decides it can't
be moved and returns to the sofa.

John enters from the south and plops down on the sofa next to Jane.

> get tv
John and Jane begin to bicker over who will try to pick up the tv set.

> John, kiss Jane
<censored>

You aren't playing a single character, or switching between characters,
you are in some god-like state issuing orders to NPC's. Of course,
I have no idea if that would be entertaining for the player or not.

Kathleen

--
*******************************************************************
* Kathleen M. Fischer *
* kfis...@greenhouse.nospam.gov (nospam = llnl) *
** "Don't stop to stomp ants while the elephants are stampeding" **

Doeadeer3

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Apr 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/14/99
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>Subject: Re: One- or no- object games.
>From: okbl...@usa.net
>Date: 4/14/99 12:56 PM Pacific Daylight Time

>Well the Art Show (or whatever it's called) is all about single inanimate
>objects, though I suppose not really =games=.

Close enough. IF Art Show. Single Inanimate objects, single rooms, or single
NPCs. Actually one is allowed 3 objects, 3 rooms or 1 NPC.

Not games, no, but one could certainly build a game around the concept.

It would just be a little tougher than the way we normally think of games, but
not impossible.

Doe :-) BTW - Thanks for the plug, ok.

Doe doea...@aol.com (formerly known as FemaleDeer)
****************************************************************************
"In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane." Mark Twain

R. Alan Monroe

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Apr 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/16/99
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In article <7f2hn9$i...@newsops.execpc.com>, "Chad Schultz" <chads...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>And would it be possible to have absolutely no PC? This raises questions if
>its own. What do you think?

Suspended?

Have fun
Alan

okbl...@usa.net

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Apr 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/16/99
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In article <19990414195519...@ng-ft1.aol.com>,

doea...@aol.com (Doeadeer3) wrote:
>
> Doe :-) BTW - Thanks for the plug, ok.
>

My pleasure. The more I think about it, the more I like it.

This is a really, really good idea.

I doubt my "object" will be ready in time, unfortunately.

Ricardo Dague

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Apr 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/16/99
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Chad Schultz wrote:
> Then there is the possibility of a game with *no* objects. This game would
> have to have social puzzles for the most part, although there could be some
> standard puzzles.

Someone posted a game like the following on one of the perl
newsgroups...

#!/usr/bin/perl
print "Welcome to a RUDE adventure!\n";
print "What??\n" while(print("\n>"),<>);

-- Ricardo

Gandalf

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Apr 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/17/99
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Have you tried FourInOne from Comp98. That has a lot more NPC's than objects.
What you have to do is get all the stars and extras together in one place to
shot a film, but they all have their own personalities and keep wondering off.
You not only have to get them, but learn where they are likely to go.

What about having a game as a diplomatic conference ie. you have several NPCs
each representing their countries with different and opposing interests and
you can play each one to see negotiations from everyones viewpoint. EXAMINE
NPC would tell you what they want from you and you want from them and give a
personnel description. It might be a bit difficult to switch between
characters though, programming wise. Then when you type WAIT the conference
ends and you get to vote with say three options for each issue, the object
being trying to please everyone as much as possible. Of course it's
impossible to keep all the people happy all the time, but you can keep most
of the people happy most of the time - this will be the object. Then you
could have a little historic commentry saying what the results of this vote
were in the coming years. I acutally have a specific peace conference in mind
for a game I might right. Any one got any ideas which one it might be?

David Ledgard
--
"The some of the whole is greater than the sum of the parts"
"I wish I was back in my Hobbit Hole", Bilbo Baggins
"Quantity has a Quality all of its own", Uncle Joe
"Zaphods just zis guy, you know"

Gandalf

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Apr 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/17/99
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Gordy Wheeler

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Apr 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/18/99
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Kathleen M. Fischer <kfis...@greenhouse.nospam.gov> wrote in message
news:3714F43D...@greenhouse.nospam.gov...

> Chad Schultz wrote:
> > And would it be possible to have absolutely no PC?
>
> Sure, why not? What if you had a game where you were something like a
> director
> of a movie - telling the NPC's to do things and then watching what
> happens:
<snip>

>You aren't playing a single character, or switching between characters,
>you are in some god-like state issuing orders to NPC's. Of course,
>I have no idea if that would be entertaining for the player or not.

Okay, I've got to reply to this, because I have here a book by an "Andrew M.
Greeley" called "God Game". Published 1986, it may have the first use of the
term "interactive fiction", although don't hold me to that. The narrator is
beta-testing an interactive fantasy novel, when Things Go Dramaticly Wrong
and he winds up directly controlling the lives of people on the screen.

The reason I mention this is that it uses a mixture of the system you
described...
-
>OFFER TRUCE
Who?

>DUCHESS

"B'Mella sagged back against a young lady-in-waiting. She forced words from
her lips as if she were spending her life's blood. "Offer a truce.""
-
....And the author talking directly to the characters.

-
>SING AND DANCE AND MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY. THAT'S WHAT PEOPLE LIKE YOU ARE FOR.
-
Or
-
>APOLOGIZE TO HER, YOU IDIOT.
-

The book gets very heavily into some Christian theory and such, but is
entertaining even if that's not your sort of thing (it isn't mine). but is
worth reading for the novel (no pun) take on IF. I'm also pretty sure a real
game could work this way, simplified. (And with less emotional replies by
the player.)

- Gordy Wheeler

Jonadab the Unsightly One

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May 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/24/99
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"Chad Schultz" <chads...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> Then there is the possibility of a game with *no* objects. This game would
> have to have social puzzles for the most part, although there could be some
> standard puzzles.

Hmmm... depends how "object" is defined. Are rooms objects? The
PC? NPCs? Only takeable stuff? Inanimate, whether takeable or not?
How you define it is going to have an effect on the ease with which a
game could do without. If you want a game with no objects at all, of
any kind, you're going to have... nothing. I mean, even Freefall,
Robots, and the like have objects of a sort...

> And would it be possible to have absolutely no PC?

Depends how you define PC. There's going to be a player (unless you
never release the game...), but whether you give the player
*character*... Hmmm.... I don't know if you could have IF without
charactarizing the player at all. You can avoid direct
characterization, but there's going to be indirect characterization.
Then again, maybe not. I guess Freefall pretty much escapes this, at
least if you exclude the intro. Of course, we've now left the realm
of traditional IF, but you knew that when you proposed "no PC". But
I bet you could get closer to traditional IF than Freefall does
without a real PC. I imagine puzzles are likely possible, and
storyline too.

Someone else has already suggested the all-NPCs approach (Suspended,
wasn't it?) But this is almost a semantic issue; it's really a
third-person form of multiple PCs. Which brings up another point.
If you've got several PCs that interact with one another, say by
using ChangePlayer a lot, with the other players acting as NPCs
whenever you're not them, but with them being characters that you
have controlled in the past and will again in the future... you could
muddy the water a lot, but I don't think you'd escape having PCs,
you'd just mix them up with the NPCs a bit more than usual.

The more I think about it, I'm not sure a PC-less game would usually
make for good IF. Granted, it may be possible, but I am thinking it
would be a lot easier to write good IF if you do allow yourself at
least one PC.

I'll toss out one more wild notion: what about a game that builds
from an existing game but switches the protagonists and antagonists?
Maybe a game played from the perspective of the Pirate in Adventure?
This has already been tossed about in the Dungeon/Maze scenario
(which I'd really like to see done well...), but that was more in the
sense of reversing a generic typical situation, rather than a
specific situation. I'm thinking of taking two actual characters and
reversing their roles, say having the player play the Pirate,
desperately seeking to protect his treasures from the marauding
kleptomaniac adventurer, or whatever. Might be even more interesting
with, say, Krill protecting his castle from the invading meddling
apprentice wizard or somesuch. Actually, that one probably wouldn't
work because Krill in the original doesn't do much except at the
climax. How about the theif from Zork? For the moment, I'm only
thinking about how this would work as IF, not what hoops you'd have
to jump through to get permission. Let's assume for the moment you
*had* permission -- could you make it work?

-- jonadab

Username in email address is dyslexic; correct to jonadab

Jonadab the Unsightly One

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May 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/24/99
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Gandalf <dled...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> What about having a game as a diplomatic conference ie. you have several NPCs
> each representing their countries with different and opposing interests and
> you can play each one to see negotiations from everyones viewpoint.

And the game could end differently depending on what alliances you
make, et cetera...

How about Diplomacy, with six NPCs?

There'd be only one room probably, although there might be a couple
of corners off to the side for conferencing... could go either way
on that. There'd be a board, which would keep track of positions of
units similar to the way the puzzle board in Jigsaw keeps track of
the pieces (but slightly more complex). And there'd be seven
characters, including the player. There could be a few other objects
(conference maps, social features like chips and pop), but they'd be
optional extras, not really germaine to the game.

The only really *hard* part would be getting the AI right.

I've also thought about bridge and chess with NPCs... the AI would
be easier for either of those than for Diplomacy.

Also, the parsing for Diplomacy could get quite hairy. I'd want to
be able to parse these:

---

Czar Bob, Sultan Rick says he will support me into Trieste, should I
believe him?

Premier Susan, I think King George will attack Brest from the English
Channel and the Mid-Atlantic Ocean.

Kaiser Angie, I don't trust Premier Susan because she built a fleet
in Marsailles after I asked her not to.

Archduke Francis, if you attack Warsaw I will support Sultan Rick
into Serbia.

Czar Bob, if you move to Galicia Kaiser Angie will bounce you in
Sweden.

---

Which means we're moving beyond imperative simple sentences into
subjects, verbs, direct and indirect objects, adverbial phrases,
conditionals, ...

John Elliott

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May 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/24/99
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bad...@bright.net (Jonadab the Unsightly One) wrote:
>I mean, even Freefall,
>Robots, and the like have objects of a sort...

SameGame has four objects (in the sense of Z-machine objects) - "Class",
"Object", "Routine" and "String"; so does Robots. Freefall doesn't.

------------- http://www.seasip.demon.co.uk/index.html --------------------
John Elliott |BLOODNOK: "But why have you got such a long face?"
|SEAGOON: "Heavy dentures, Sir!" - The Goon Show
:-------------------------------------------------------------------------)

Philip W. Darnowsky

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May 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/25/99
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Jonadab the Unsightly One (bad...@bright.net) wrote:

: I'll toss out one more wild notion: what about a game that builds


: from an existing game but switches the protagonists and antagonists?
: Maybe a game played from the perspective of the Pirate in Adventure?
: This has already been tossed about in the Dungeon/Maze scenario
: (which I'd really like to see done well...), but that was more in the
: sense of reversing a generic typical situation, rather than a
: specific situation. I'm thinking of taking two actual characters and
: reversing their roles, say having the player play the Pirate,
: desperately seeking to protect his treasures from the marauding
: kleptomaniac adventurer, or whatever. Might be even more interesting
: with, say, Krill protecting his castle from the invading meddling
: apprentice wizard or somesuch. Actually, that one probably wouldn't
: work because Krill in the original doesn't do much except at the
: climax. How about the theif from Zork? For the moment, I'm only
: thinking about how this would work as IF, not what hoops you'd have
: to jump through to get permission. Let's assume for the moment you
: *had* permission -- could you make it work?

Try troll.z5 from gmd. I don't have an actual transcript, but this is
pretty much how it goes...

>WAIT

Time passes.

>WAIT

Time passes.

>WAIT

Time passes.

An adventurer walks into the room, carrying an elvish sword.
The elvish sword is glowing brightly.

>KILL ADVENTURER WITH AXE

...etc.

--
---------------------------------------------------------------
Phil Darnowsky pdar...@spameggsbaconandspam.qis.net
Remove spam, eggs, bacon, spam, and dot to reply.

The IBM Pollyanna Principle:
Computers should work. People should think.

Jon Petersen

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May 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/26/99
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Jonadab the Unsightly One wrote:

> Which means we're moving beyond imperative simple sentences into
> subjects, verbs, direct and indirect objects, adverbial phrases,
> conditionals,

Even if Diplomacy AI would be impossible, it would be kind of cool to
write a Diplomacy _moderator_ in Inform, which could ajudicate the moves
and store the positions of all the pieces in case the cat decides to
play with them or whatever. It would even, I think, not be all that
hard. The rules are pretty simple.

> Premier Susan, I think King George will attack Brest from the English
> Channel and the Mid-Atlantic Ocean.
>
> Kaiser Angie, I don't trust Premier Susan because she built a fleet
> in Marsailles after I asked her not to.

Archduke Francis, Oh, no!!! I accidentally took Serbia from you, thus, I
fear, violating the delicate pact of trust and harmony between us! What
was I thinking? HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA HA

Man, I _love_ Diplomacy. Hey, any IFers want to try a PBeM game?

Jon

Joe Mason

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May 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/27/99
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Jon Petersen <en...@ucla.edu> wrote:
>
>Even if Diplomacy AI would be impossible, it would be kind of cool to
>write a Diplomacy _moderator_ in Inform, which could ajudicate the moves
>and store the positions of all the pieces in case the cat decides to
>play with them or whatever. It would even, I think, not be all that
>hard. The rules are pretty simple.

<IFmud>

Sounds like a Floyd project! (Of course, Floyd's only working intermittently
at the moment...)

</IFmud>

>Archduke Francis, Oh, no!!! I accidentally took Serbia from you, thus, I
>fear, violating the delicate pact of trust and harmony between us! What
>was I thinking? HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA HA

Anybody see the Family Guy episode with the Polish Sausage? Heh, heh.

Joe
--
"Think hard and long about what your favorite book is. Once identified, read
it a paragraph at a time. Then after having read the paragraph, read each
sentence. See the way the sentences interrelate. Then, read the words..."
-- Mike Berlyn, on learning to write

Philip W. Darnowsky

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May 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/27/99
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Jon Petersen (en...@ucla.edu) wrote:

: Jonadab the Unsightly One wrote:

: Even if Diplomacy AI would be impossible, it would be kind of cool to
: write a Diplomacy _moderator_ in Inform, which could ajudicate the moves
: and store the positions of all the pieces in case the cat decides to
: play with them or whatever.

: > Premier Susan, I think King George will attack Brest from the English


: > Channel and the Mid-Atlantic Ocean.
: >
: > Kaiser Angie, I don't trust Premier Susan because she built a fleet
: > in Marsailles after I asked her not to.

King Bob, I'm afraid a giant cat has knocked your army clean out of Sweden
and onto the floor.

If there's interest in a PBeM game, I'm willing to moderate.

Fraser Wilson

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May 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/27/99
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paene lacrimavi postquam en...@ucla.edu scripsit:

>Even if Diplomacy AI would be impossible, it would be kind of cool to
>write a Diplomacy _moderator_ in Inform, which could ajudicate the moves
>and store the positions of all the pieces in case the cat decides to

>play with them or whatever. It would even, I think, not be all that
>hard. The rules are pretty simple.

The rules are, indeed, fairly simple, but adjudication is surprisingly
tricky. It's not a huge deal, though, and there's existing source
code lying around.

As to a Diplomacy AI, I've read a few papers on that. There's more
information at the Diplomacy Programming Project home page, which
is here: http://dept-info.labri.u-bordeaux.fr/~loeb/dpp/

I last looked at it some years ago, and it hadn't gotten all that far,
but to be fair it's a very difficult problem.

>Man, I _love_ Diplomacy. Hey, any IFers want to try a PBeM game?

I'm too scared.

Fraser.
(change i's to y's for my real email address)

Rene van 't Veen

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May 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/29/99
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Jon Petersen <en...@ucla.edu> wrote in message
news:374CE02F...@ucla.edu...

> Jonadab the Unsightly One wrote:
>
> > Which means we're moving beyond imperative simple sentences into
> > subjects, verbs, direct and indirect objects, adverbial phrases,
> > conditionals,
>
> Even if Diplomacy AI would be impossible, it would be kind of cool
to
> write a Diplomacy _moderator_ in Inform, which could ajudicate the
moves
> and store the positions of all the pieces in case the cat decides to
> play with them or whatever. It would even, I think, not be all that
> hard. The rules are pretty simple.
>

Yes, but they can get quite complex to rule. Look at the code for any
of
the Diplomacy Adjudicator servers out there on the net.

> > Premier Susan, I think King George will attack Brest from the
English
> > Channel and the Mid-Atlantic Ocean.
> >
> > Kaiser Angie, I don't trust Premier Susan because she built a
fleet
> > in Marsailles after I asked her not to.
>

> Archduke Francis, Oh, no!!! I accidentally took Serbia from you,
thus, I
> fear, violating the delicate pact of trust and harmony between us!
What
> was I thinking? HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA HA
>

> Man, I _love_ Diplomacy. Hey, any IFers want to try a PBeM game?
>

> Jon

Yes, sure, let's make friends on RAIF, count me in ....

--
----
"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat
---
Rene van 't Veen - r.nospa...@wxs.nospam.nl

Jon Petersen

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May 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/29/99
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Fraser Wilson wrote:
>
> The rules are, indeed, fairly simple, but adjudication is surprisingly
> tricky. It's not a huge deal, though, and there's existing source
> code lying around.

Hmm. The web site you listed was pretty interesting. I'll have to take
a look at it more in depth when I get some time.

> >Man, I _love_ Diplomacy. Hey, any IFers want to try a PBeM game?
>

> I'm too scared.

Yeah, well, guess I can't blame you, after those examples.

Hey, what if I promise to be your supporting, non-treacherous,
super-loyal pal? :)

Jon

Jon Petersen

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May 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/29/99
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Rene van 't Veen wrote:
> > Man, I _love_ Diplomacy. Hey, any IFers want to try a PBeM game?
> >
> > Jon
>
> Yes, sure, let's make friends on RAIF, count me in ....

All right! That's, um, two. Almost a third of the way there!

Jon

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