IF Cliches I would like to not see any more of, thank you

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Andrew Plotkin

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Dec 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/19/96
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Today's rant: the crack so narrow that you can't get through if you're
carrying anything.

It was in Adventure, it was in Zork, and it *never made any sense.*
Picture it, folks. You're squishing through a narrow crack. You're holding
a lantern. What gets stuck -- the lantern, or your butt? *Visualize*.
Very good. Your typical brass lantern is smaller in every dimension than
my torso, and I'm 155 pounds stretched six feet tall.

Show me a hole that I can wiggle through, and I will wiggle through it
holding a flashlight in one hand. It's just not a problem. I bet I could
push my backpack through ahead of me, too.

A human-sized gold sarcophagus in one thing. (I won't get into the
question of what such a thing would weigh, mind you.) A flashlight is
quite another. And what about those games that force you to drop a *gold
coin*? Or an emerald the size of a bird's egg? (Plovers aren't
ostrich-sized, you know.)

As many a physics professor has put it: "This is a non-physical
solution."

But somehow those narrow cracks just keep getting programmed. One at
least in the '96 competition; one in Unnkulian Zero; probably more I've
forgotten or blocked the memory of.

Oh, another thing. "PUT LANTERN THROUGH CRACK." It makes perfect sense to
*me*, but somehow the parser never manages to understand it. Bleah.

Footnote: No, I am not a spelunker. Maybe I'm missing something. Maybe a
*long* narrow tunnel, with lots of climbing, would require you to have
both hands free. But even if this were what Crowther&Woods were
visualizing, imitators often miss the point. The competition entry I'm
thinking of, for example, has a "crack" which is an ordinary hallway
door, which is blocked so that it can only be opened a few inches. That's
no climbing chimney.

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Roger Carbol

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Dec 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/19/96
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More IF Cliches...

The terrible and eminently evil cliche of starving to death.

I know that if I got to bed late after studying all night, and then
get up and don't manage to get anything to eat by 10:30 AM, heck, I'm
heading off to the astral plane to push up the daisies.

I mean really...maybe if you're lost in the wilderness, or homeless, or
in the middle of a civil war...but I kinda doubt that the average
university student (who is a cliche all in himself, but let's not get
too far ahead) is feckless enough to starve on the bus to the mall.


Roger Carbol .. r...@col.ca .. mmm...tripe

Phil Goetz

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Dec 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/19/96
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What I'm doing is giving every object a width, depth, and height.
When you try to put A in B, the program sorts the width, depth, and
height of A and B, then checks that the largest dimension of A is
less than the largest of B, etc.
I plan to write portals as objects that come between room objects.
Thus the crack would have a certain width, depth, and height,
and only objects of certain shapes could fit through it.

This is simple because the crack (a room, really) is just another
container, like any other object.
I don't understand why Inform and the Z-machine don't treat
rooms as ordinary objects. There's no additional code needed
to create "vehicles", for instance, as long as a room is just
an object that can move from room to room.

Phil Go...@cs.buffalo.edu

Matthew T. Russotto

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Dec 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/19/96
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In article <erkyrathE...@netcom.com>,

Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
}Footnote: No, I am not a spelunker. Maybe I'm missing something. Maybe a
}*long* narrow tunnel, with lots of climbing, would require you to have
}both hands free. But even if this were what Crowther&Woods were
}visualizing, imitators often miss the point. The competition entry I'm
}thinking of, for example, has a "crack" which is an ordinary hallway
}door, which is blocked so that it can only be opened a few inches. That's
}no climbing chimney.

I can visualize such a hallway door set up in such a manner that you
couldn't get ONE of the two important items through. But the other I
could always get through somehow.

BTW, such a "crack" also existed in at least one version of Curses. But
using it was the wrong answer.

Spoilers
IIRC, the two items were a rug and your sword. If I can squeeze
through a crack, I can certainly get any sword from a rapier through a
claymore through it. But a rug could be harder, depending on the
geometry.
--
Matthew T. Russotto russ...@pond.com
"Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in pursuit
of justice is no virtue."

George Caswell

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Dec 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/19/96
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On 19 Dec 1996, Phil Goetz wrote:

> What I'm doing is giving every object a width, depth, and height.
> When you try to put A in B, the program sorts the width, depth, and
> height of A and B, then checks that the largest dimension of A is
> less than the largest of B, etc.

I had some plans along those lines for containment of objects a while
ago... but since one can't be exact (we can't accurately describe the objects
themselves, and, even if you could, who would want to?) my thought was to have
some sort of parameters that described various ways it could be inserted into
another object... probably one number representing some aspect of the
object's profile from one direction (such as area), and one number
representing the depth in that direction... [so a soda can would be
represented by the profile from top/bottom, and the profile from the side, in
cases of inserting it into another object...]
________________________________________________
______________ _/> ____ | George Caswell, WPI CS 1999. Member L+L and |
<___ _________// _/<_ / | SOMA. Projectionist-in-training. MSTie #69762. |
// <> ___ < > / _/ | Linux + computer hobbyist. Admin of ADAMANT, a |
// /> / / _/ / / <____ | medium-powered Linux PC. Death to Microsoft! |
// </ <<</ < _/ <______/ |_For more info see http://www.wpi.edu/~timbuktu_|
</ </


Aapo Haapanen

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Dec 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/19/96
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Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
...
: But somehow those narrow cracks just keep getting programmed. One at
: least in the '96 competition;...

There was going to be another game in competition with a narrow crack,
but (luckily?) it didn't get finished before the deadline, and that game
will probably never be published. (well maybe in 97 comp...)

: --Z

____ ____________ ____________ ____
/'www.`\ \==-- --==/ /'www.`\
|uta.fi/ | aapo haapanen |uta.fi/ |
|~ah56846| ah5...@uta.fi |~ah56846|
\.____,/ ____________ /==-- --==\ ____________ \.____,/

R Othello Signes

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Dec 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/20/96
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And so go...@cs.buffalo.edu was like,

>What I'm doing is giving every object a width, depth, and height.
>When you try to put A in B, the program sorts the width, depth, and
>height of A and B, then checks that the largest dimension of A is
>less than the largest of B, etc.

Do you plan on doing this in Inform? I forsee a problem: a 1.4m wide
surface will fit through a 1m square hole, because the diagonal is longer
than the edge. You'll need trig, which AFAIK Inform doesn't do.

Also, you'll only be able to Implement right edged surfaces, it seems. It
seems like an awful lot of work for a very limited system.

Note: this is only a thought, I do not mean to be criticising!

-samael

Chip Orange

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Dec 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/20/96
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mazes!!!!!!!!

Having to repeatedly, try, die, and restore in order to solve a puzzle!!


--
Chip Orange

Matthew Russotto

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Dec 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/20/96
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In article <59c170$m...@prometheus.acsu.buffalo.edu> go...@cs.buffalo.edu (Phil Goetz) writes:
}What I'm doing is giving every object a width, depth, and height.
}When you try to put A in B, the program sorts the width, depth, and
}height of A and B, then checks that the largest dimension of A is
}less than the largest of B, etc.

}I plan to write portals as objects that come between room objects.


}Thus the crack would have a certain width, depth, and height,
}and only objects of certain shapes could fit through it.

I'll be looking forward to you Inform square-root finder :-) Fitting things
in, say, a Miata depends quite a bit on turning them diagonally.

(Sorry, I don't remember the middle school algebra repeated division method...
awful, isn't it)

Magnus Olsson

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Dec 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/21/96
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In article <slrn5bkmro...@marvin.bu.edu>,

R Othello Signes <sam...@bu.edu> wrote:
>And so go...@cs.buffalo.edu was like,
>>What I'm doing is giving every object a width, depth, and height.
>>When you try to put A in B, the program sorts the width, depth, and
>>height of A and B, then checks that the largest dimension of A is
>>less than the largest of B, etc.
>
>Do you plan on doing this in Inform? I forsee a problem: a 1.4m wide
>surface will fit through a 1m square hole, because the diagonal is longer
>than the edge. You'll need trig, which AFAIK Inform doesn't do.

In fact, what is needed is the diameter of everything (defined as the
longest distance between two points on the surface of the thing). For
simple shapes the diameter can be calculated from the width, depth and
height, but only for simple ones.

--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se)

Phil Goetz

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Dec 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/21/96
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In article <59g6f3$g...@bartlet.df.lth.se>,

Magnus Olsson <m...@bartlet.df.lth.se> wrote:
>In article <slrn5bkmro...@marvin.bu.edu>,
>R Othello Signes <sam...@bu.edu> wrote:
>>And so go...@cs.buffalo.edu was like,
>>>What I'm doing is giving every object a width, depth, and height.
>>>When you try to put A in B, the program sorts the width, depth, and
>>>height of A and B, then checks that the largest dimension of A is
>>>less than the largest of B, etc.
>>
>>Do you plan on doing this in Inform? I forsee a problem: a 1.4m wide
>>surface will fit through a 1m square hole, because the diagonal is longer
>>than the edge. You'll need trig, which AFAIK Inform doesn't do.

It's not perfect, but it's a better approximation than having just 1
dimension on your size measure.

>In fact, what is needed is the diameter of everything (defined as the
>longest distance between two points on the surface of the thing). For
>simple shapes the diameter can be calculated from the width, depth and
>height, but only for simple ones.
>

>Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se)

The diameter wouldn't help you calculate whether you could fit something
through a crack. A pole has a large diameter but can fit through small
cracks. You also need a measure of cross-section. Basically, you're going
to want 3 numbers, and height/width/length seem to me like the simplest
3 numbers.

3 dimensions seemed a reasonable compromise between too many details
and too little realism.

Phil Goetz

Staffan Friberg

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Dec 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/22/96
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In article <slrn5bkmro...@marvin.bu.edu>


sam...@marvin.bu.edu (R Othello Signes) writes:

> Do you plan on doing this in Inform? I forsee a problem: a 1.4m wide
> surface will fit through a 1m square hole, because the diagonal is longer
> than the edge. You'll need trig, which AFAIK Inform doesn't do.

You don't actually need trig since approximating such simple functions
isn't exactly difficult.

--

Staffan Friberg (st...@rabbit.augs.se) Sweden GothCode 2.0:
GoPS+3TJt(NrZ)B4/18Bk!cNRs--PSh(MoSa)V+sM++ZGo(GnNr--)C+2p3pa27-n
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Clyde Sloniker

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Dec 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/23/96
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In article <staff...@rabbit.augs.se>,

Staffan Friberg <st...@rabbit.augs.se> wrote:
>
>In article <slrn5bkmro...@marvin.bu.edu>
>sam...@marvin.bu.edu (R Othello Signes) writes:
>
>> Do you plan on doing this in Inform? I forsee a problem: a 1.4m wide
>> surface will fit through a 1m square hole, because the diagonal is longer
>> than the edge. You'll need trig, which AFAIK Inform doesn't do.
>
>You don't actually need trig since approximating such simple functions
>isn't exactly difficult.

What exactly would you need trig for, anyway? If you want to see if a>sqr(n),
why not just see if a*a>n?

Staffan Friberg

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Dec 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/24/96
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In article <59l0mh$r...@nntp5.u.washington.edu>
pu...@u.washington.edu (Clyde Sloniker) writes:

I wouldn't know since I wasn't the one who suggested that. I merely stated
that needing trig functions isn't a problem.

Joe Mason

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Dec 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/24/96
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"IF Cliches I would like t", declared Andrew Plotkin from the Vogon
ship:

AP>Today's rant: the crack so narrow that you can't get through if
AP>you're carrying anything.

Yep. I always hated those too. The only one of those that I ever liked
was in Scott Miller's "Beyond the Titanic".

*** SPOILERS: Beyond the Titanic ***


This space intentionally left blank.


In this one, its a long tunnel, so you can't get through with anything
in your hands. I can buy this, since its near the start of the game and
the only objects you can find at this point are big, like a shovel or
coil of rope. The only small object is a flashlight, which of course
you have to be holding to use. So I can see how you need to have your
hands free in order to get through the passage, and how it's long enough
that putting the flashlight through won't work - you couldn't get it all
the way to the other side.

The solution is the most sensible thing in the world - just tie yourself
to the flashlight with the rope. Then crawl through the tunnel (and in
this, it was explicit that you had to *crawl* - trying to walk through
would say something like, "You'll have to crawl.") and pull the rope.

Joe

ş CMPQwk 1.42 9550 şApathists of the world...ahh, forget it.

John Holder

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Dec 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM12/26/96
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Matthew Russotto (russ...@ariel.ct.picker.com) wrote:
: In article <59c170$m...@prometheus.acsu.buffalo.edu> go...@cs.buffalo.edu (Phil Goetz) writes:
: }What I'm doing is giving every object a width, depth, and height.

: }When you try to put A in B, the program sorts the width, depth, and
: }height of A and B, then checks that the largest dimension of A is
: }less than the largest of B, etc.

: }I plan to write portals as objects that come between room objects.


: }Thus the crack would have a certain width, depth, and height,
: }and only objects of certain shapes could fit through it.

: I'll be looking forward to you Inform square-root finder :-) Fitting things
: in, say, a Miata depends quite a bit on turning them diagonally.

compare the sides squared to the largest dimension squared. Who needs
a sqrt to do that? ;)

--
John Holder (jho...@frii.com) /\ http://www.frii.com/~jholder/
UNIX Specialist, Paranet Inc. <--> Raytracing|Fractals|Interactive Fiction
http://www.paranet.com/ \/ Homebrewing|Strange Attractors

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