Myst vs. Text Adventure

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John E

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May 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/6/98
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I think I shows how powerful text adventures
can be if you try to imagine how much of Myst
could be made into a text adventure.

Everything that would be difficult or impossible
to program would show the first steps that
visual IF has taken over text IF.
(but that are not necessarily better)

John

Darryl Sloan

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May 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/7/98
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For me, Myst was a great game, but let down by a complete lack on
character interaction. Also, I had it completed in 5 days flat. I
never complete text adventures in so short a space of time. It seems
to me that a richer quality of puzzles is possible with text, because
a text-based parser is far more flexible than a mouse-click approach.
--
Regards

Darryl Sloan

E-mail: dar...@sloan.demon.co.uk
Web-site: http://www.sloan.demon.co.uk


michael...@ey.com

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May 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/7/98
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If I may once again play Devil's Advocate:

What I find baffling about most of the Myst-slammers out there are their
accusations that Myst was so un-interactive -- that the mouse-click interface
was a "thin veneer" of interactivity laid over a rigid, prearranged storyline.

The accusation is correct, of course -- the plot of Myst is entirely
pre-ordained, and the player doesn't "interact" with it so much as stumble
across it, piecing it together bit by bit until the last puzzle is solved and
you see the whole picture.

What puzzles me is that I fail to see how text adventure games are all that
different.

They have the POTENTIAL to be different, obviously. But I've seen very few
that honestly allow the player to interact with the plot to the extent of
actually changing it from its pre-ordained course.

"Losing Your Grip", "So Far", "Jigsaw", "Trinity", "Curses", "Babel",
"Christminster" -- all of these have pre-ordained plots. The player is allowed
some flexibility regarding the order in which he/she can solve the puzzles
(which, for that matter, is also the case in Myst), but in every case the
object is to simply get to the ending, not to write your own. In some cases --
"Grip" and "So Far" in particular -- the final (and I mean VERY final) move
allows you to alter the ending's emotional coloring a bit, but it really has
little effect on the overall story arc. A "thin veneer" if ever I saw one.

Now, this state of affairs doesn't bother me. A truly interactive plot (as
opposed to one you just have to work to get through) is always a nice thing,
but it's rather trickier to code than the standard fair, so I don't expect to
see it as often. It's a structure that you could implement in either a text-
or a graphics-based interface, though, if you worked at it. But most people
don't. I know I didn't.

So, what's my point? Well, I think that we should all encourage more truly
interactive plots, whether in text- or graphics-based fiction. The ability to
create that is, I think, what really sets IF on a level above the frothing sea
of DOOM-clones currently swamping the game market.

I also think that if one is criticizing a game for its lack of
plot-interactivity, one should keep in mind that most of the text-based IF out
there -- including those which we generally consider to be the "really good
ones" -- suffer from the same defect. One should a) be more consistent; b) be
more tolerant; or c) write better games yourself.

--M.

-----== Posted via Deja News, The Leader in Internet Discussion ==-----
http://www.dejanews.com/ Now offering spam-free web-based newsreading

okbl...@usa.net

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May 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/7/98
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In article <6isp7v$5sk$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,

michael...@ey.com wrote:
>
> If I may once again play Devil's Advocate:
>

Now it's my turn to play. ]:-)>

> So, what's my point? Well, I think that we should all encourage more truly
> interactive plots, whether in text- or graphics-based fiction. The ability
to
> create that is, I think, what really sets IF on a level above the frothing
sea
> of DOOM-clones currently swamping the game market.

It's entirely possible to draw the parallel between DOOM and its clones and
ADVENT and its "clones". The actions taken are more or less the same in each
genre.

In a 3D shoot-em-up, you run over stuff and fire a variety of weapons though
(more recently) there is some variety these days, in that you do sometimes
have options other than weapons. In that sense, all these DOOM clones are
alike. Actually, you can go back to the beginning of the action oriented
video game (PONG) and say they're all clones of that, though I'd guess more
people would be more comfortable with "Space Invaders" or maybe the original
(2D) Castle Wolfenstein, or Silas' other game (which was a maze game done with
a 3D perspective on the Apple ][, with 120x40 graphics).

Now, in an adventure game, you move through a defined space taking specified
actions with specified objects to advance the story. In that sense, all these
ADVENT clones are alike.

If you look at the advances in the two areas, they are approximately equal:
DOOM and its modern companions are more capable of giving you an adreniline
rush (in general) than older games, due to the technology's ability to create
a truly immersive environment and responsive interface. IF, too, has had a few
jumps in interface, although the immersive quality of the environment is more
or less dependent on the skill of the author, i.e., I don't think we've
evolved a more immersive environment. (Say, one that handles generic issues
realistically, like talking to passing strangers or smashing something in
anger.)

In truth, I don't believe that the goals of those who design and push the
boundaries of 3D gaming are much different than those of us who design IF.
The 3D gamers simply have a market that pays them while they work on the
issues.

Matt Kimball

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May 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/7/98
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okbl...@usa.net wrote:
: In a 3D shoot-em-up, you run over stuff and fire a variety of weapons

: though (more recently) there is some variety these days, in that you
: do sometimes have options other than weapons. In that sense, all these
: DOOM clones are alike. Actually, you can go back to the beginning of
: the action oriented video game (PONG) and say they're all clones of
: that, though I'd guess more people would be more comfortable with
: "Space Invaders" or maybe the original (2D) Castle Wolfenstein, or
: Silas' other game (which was a maze game done with a 3D perspective on
: the Apple ][, with 120x40 graphics).

This touches on something I have been thinking about for a bit. While
it seems a bit silly to classify games according to the history that
led up to them, ("So Far is really the same game as Tekken 3, by way
of Minesweeper"), it might be useful to classify the reasons people
have for playing them. I suspect that the reasons people people have
are different, even within the IF community, and if we understand them
we might better be able to find IF works that match our particular
interests.

Now, I can think of lots of reasons that I enjoy various games. They
include:

* Narrative. Many of the newer IF works fit here. I enjoy their
story in the same way that I would enjoy the story of a novel.
(I'm pretty sure this is seperate from the emotion goal I list
below).

* Artistry. I appreciate the craftsmanship of a job well done.
This can be prose, artwork, or a programming. For instance,
in the Doom/Quake series, my appreciation of John Carmack's
ability to apply new technology to first-person shooters falls
under this category. Appreciation of the art in Myst is here too.

* Emotion. If a work provokes an emotional reaction in me, I can
appreciate this too. Unfortunatly, most commercial games go
either for a pumped-up adrenalin rush, and in some cases fear or
sexual arousal. (Probably because those are the easiest emotional
reactions to provoke).

* Challenge. For many people, it is enjoyable to overcome a physical
or intellectual challenge. Puzzle heavy IF goes for this. I think
there is some of this in "twitch" games too.

* Exploration. In some cases, I enjoy the game simply because
I like exploring the interaction of the rules of the game or the
environment the designer has created. I can appreciate many
turn-based strategy games on this level. (Civilization comes to
mind). Good puzzle-based IF can touch on this too.

* Social. Some games are simply an excuse to be with familiar
friends or meet new friends.

How does this apply to IF? Well, it probably helps the authors to
create more effective IF if they understand which of the above goals
they are trying for. It also helps the players if they know which
goals they enjoy, and which games most closely match those goals. For
what its worth, I think Emotion is pretty rarely done effectively in
IF, and if you don't count MUDs, I think Social is pretty rare too.

I can appreciate Quake 2, for instance, on the Artistry, Emotion and
Challenge levels. Some people might also get Exploration and Social
out of it, but it doesn't do those things for me. I doubt anyone gets
Narrative out of it.

So, are there any reasons that I missed that other people have? Are
some of the above goals too coarse? Am I totally out to lunch with
these goals?

: In truth, I don't believe that the goals of those who design and push


: the boundaries of 3D gaming are much different than those of us who
: design IF. The 3D gamers simply have a market that pays them while
: they work on the issues.

Yes, but I wonder if being paid for it causes one to take less risks?

--
Matt Kimball
mkim...@xmission.com

Chris

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May 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/7/98
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Darryl Sloan wrote in message
<35519F48.MD-...@sloan.demon.co.uk!!!NOSPAM!!!>...

>For me, Myst was a great game, but let down by a complete lack on
>character interaction. Also, I had it completed in 5 days flat. I
>never complete text adventures in so short a space of time. It seems
>to me that a richer quality of puzzles is possible with text, because
>a text-based parser is far more flexible than a mouse-click approach.


But would you not say that despite the fact Myst was so easily completed,
the world that was trying to be portrayed in the game was easier to put
yourself into compared to that of a text based IF???? I am referring mainly
to Myst's graphical interface and the very atmospheric tunes, bearing in
mind that most text IF compilers don't let you use such media??

Personally, unless the text-based IF game was based around a genre that I am
really interested in and with a plot that really had me going, I would much
prefer playing games like Myst. Yes, granted, the two types of games are
almost completely different, but I like to be able to see pictures of what I
should be trying to imagine and hear music that helps to set the scene.

Yes, I agree that this perhaps doesn't make me a true IF fan, but I think
that the ability to use graphical and audio media to enhance gameplay should
be used to not so much change the face of the text-based IF game towards the
Myst type of creation, but more to enhance the player's gameplaying
experience.

But you might say that the purpose of text based IF is to let the player
*imagine* what the atmosphere is like in his mind, rather than having his
view shaped by the pictures and music chosen by the programmer.

--
Chris

Julian Arnold

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May 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/8/98
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In article <6isp7v$5sk$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,

<URL:mailto:michael...@ey.com> wrote:
> If I may once again play Devil's Advocate:
>
> What I find baffling about most of the Myst-slammers out there are their
> accusations that Myst was so un-interactive -- that the mouse-click interface
> was a "thin veneer" of interactivity laid over a rigid, prearranged storyline.
>
> The accusation is correct, of course -- the plot of Myst is entirely
> pre-ordained, and the player doesn't "interact" with it so much as stumble
> across it, piecing it together bit by bit until the last puzzle is solved and
> you see the whole picture.
>
> What puzzles me is that I fail to see how text adventure games are all that
> different.
>
> They have the POTENTIAL to be different, obviously. But I've seen very few
> that honestly allow the player to interact with the plot to the extent of
> actually changing it from its pre-ordained course.

I think it's a question of interactivity vs. linearity. Interactivity
between player and game world, not player and plot, vs. linearity of
plot, that is.

In this sense textual input offers far greater scope for interactivity
than does mouse-clicking[1]. Neither forms of input have a direct effect
on the (non-)linearity of plot, but higher quality interactivity *would
suggest* more potential for non-linearity of plot.

[1]: there are an extremely large number of different combinations of
words, with very different meanings, even given the limitations of the
IF parser. I can click the left mouse button, I can click the middle
one, I can click the right one, I can double-click them, I can perform
more complex sequences of clicking (triple-clicks, hold down one button
and click with another, etc.), but typing commands is easier, more
intuitive, and more flexible, and perhaps more precise.

Jools
--
"For small erections may be finished by their first architects; grand
ones, true ones, ever leave the copestone to posterity. God keep me from
ever completing anything." -- Herman Melville, "Moby Dick"


Benjamin Kenward

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May 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/8/98
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michael...@ey.com wrote:
: ....... In some cases --

: "Grip" and "So Far" in particular -- the final (and I mean VERY final) move
: allows you to alter the ending's emotional coloring a bit......

and dont forget my favourite - sins against mimesis ;)

ben.

okbl...@usa.net

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May 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/8/98
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In article <6it6o7$ci$1...@news.xmission.com>,

Matt Kimball <mkim...@xmission.com> wrote:
>
> This touches on something I have been thinking about for a bit. While
> it seems a bit silly to classify games according to the history that
> led up to them, ("So Far is really the same game as Tekken 3, by way
> of Minesweeper"), it might be useful to classify the reasons people
> have for playing them. I suspect that the reasons people people have
> are different, even within the IF community, and if we understand them
> we might better be able to find IF works that match our particular
> interests.

Indeed. You are talking about the "real product": People play different games
for different reasons. And, actually, people play different games for =same=
reasons, too. You can get a rush of adreniline from IF, but more than likely,
there's a puzzle that is going to get in the way of it.

> * Narrative. Many of the newer IF works fit here. I enjoy their
> story in the same way that I would enjoy the story of a novel.

Granted. Re Quake not having much of a narrative, that's true. DOOM seemed to
do better. But narrative gives way to atmosphere in most of these games.
Does "Redneck Rampage" have a narrative, or just an atmosphere?

> * Artistry. I appreciate the craftsmanship of a job well done.

I think any decent game has to have this to some extent. Even a plain-wrap
version of Monopoly wouldn't have quite the same impact, even though the rules
be all the same.

> * Emotion. If a work provokes an emotional reaction in me, I can
> appreciate this too. Unfortunatly, most commercial games go
> either for a pumped-up adrenalin rush, and in some cases fear or
> sexual arousal. (Probably because those are the easiest emotional
> reactions to provoke).

I don't know that I consider either adrenaline or arousal to be emotions. They
are associated with emotions but the queer thing about computer games is that
they can provide both in a totally emotionless environment. I find very
little emotional involvement in games--perhaps because I know at their core
they are a series of deterministic calculations fundamentally devoid of
emotion.

> * Challenge. For many people, it is enjoyable to overcome a physical
> or intellectual challenge. Puzzle heavy IF goes for this. I think
> there is some of this in "twitch" games too.

Agreed. I would say most people don't like IF puzzles, but it's probably more
accurate to say that they'll only accept IF puzzles when presented with
adequate eye-candy.

> * Exploration. In some cases, I enjoy the game simply because
> I like exploring the interaction of the rules of the game or the
> environment the designer has created. I can appreciate many
> turn-based strategy games on this level. (Civilization comes to
> mind). Good puzzle-based IF can touch on this too.

I think this is overdone in IF. I really don't want to have to explore the
house or apartment I've allegedly lived in for years, say to find the
bathroom. ADVENT probably got IF off on the wrong foot in that regard because
there *was* a genuine reason to explore there.

> * Social. Some games are simply an excuse to be with familiar
> friends or meet new friends.

IF is probably the worst for this, in the context of actually playing the
game. (In the context of the community, it may be one of the best.)
The amount of effort needed to coordinate simultaneous interactions with the
same story are mind-boggling.

> How does this apply to IF? Well, it probably helps the authors to
> create more effective IF if they understand which of the above goals
> they are trying for. It also helps the players if they know which
> goals they enjoy, and which games most closely match those goals. For
> what its worth, I think Emotion is pretty rarely done effectively in
> IF, and if you don't count MUDs, I think Social is pretty rare too.

I agree. But I think IF has the best shot giving an emotional impact. With the
possible exception of an RPG. An RPG's advantage is that you treat the
universe as a set of rules with certain randomity built-in. The disadvantage
is that you can't direct the story enough to create the necessary impact.
(I'm using absolute terms here, just for the sake of discussion. These are not
clearly defined lines.)

> I can appreciate Quake 2, for instance, on the Artistry, Emotion and
> Challenge levels. Some people might also get Exploration and Social
> out of it, but it doesn't do those things for me. I doubt anyone gets
> Narrative out of it.

I'd disagree on the emotion, as noted I don't consider the release of various
hormones to be emotion. (Ooh, that should be good for a few debates.)

> So, are there any reasons that I missed that other people have? Are
> some of the above goals too coarse? Am I totally out to lunch with
> these goals?

Probably. Just generally relieving boredom is probably a big starter with a
lot of folks. I often don't know what I'm going to get out of a game, and am
pleased to walk away with anything at all.

> Yes, but I wonder if being paid for it causes one to take less risks?

Certain kinds of risks are doubtless avoided. Is id likely to release a
romance? Not under their own name, I'd imagine.

However, this may be counter-balanced by the fact that they can take the risks
they *do* take a lot more seriously. Dreamworks is supposed to come out with
a Jurassic Park game where the dinosaurs have an existence outside of being
encountered by the player. From what I've seen (and I'm not an expert), IF
doesn't even do =that= much very well in general. (Most NPCs don't do much
but pose for the next scene.)

[ok]

Matt Kimball

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May 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/8/98
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okbl...@usa.net wrote:
:> * Narrative. Many of the newer IF works fit here. I enjoy their

:> story in the same way that I would enjoy the story of a novel.

: Granted. Re Quake not having much of a narrative, that's true. DOOM seemed to
: do better. But narrative gives way to atmosphere in most of these games.
: Does "Redneck Rampage" have a narrative, or just an atmosphere?

I haven't seen "Redneck Rampage", but I suspect that pure atmosphere
with no narrative purpose can help people to appreciate it on the
Artistry or Emotion levels.

:> * Emotion. If a work provokes an emotional reaction in me, I can


:> appreciate this too. Unfortunatly, most commercial games go
:> either for a pumped-up adrenalin rush, and in some cases fear or
:> sexual arousal. (Probably because those are the easiest emotional
:> reactions to provoke).

: I don't know that I consider either adrenaline or arousal to be
: emotions.

Well, I don't know if it is proper to call them emotions or not, but
they *are* reasons that people like particular games. I'd be tempted
to group them with emotional reactions, but you might group them
differently.

: They are associated with emotions but the queer thing about


: computer games is that they can provide both in a totally emotionless
: environment. I find very little emotional involvement in
: games--perhaps because I know at their core they are a series of
: deterministic calculations fundamentally devoid of emotion.

Do you never have an emotional reaction to a novel because it is just
a bunch of ink on dead trees? Do you never have an emotional reaction
to a film because it is just a bunch of film cells running through a
projector? I have had emotional reactions to both, even though they
are both "fundamentally devoid of emotion."

Admittedly, there isn't much IF that is very successful at provoking
an emotional reaction, but I don't think this is an inherent
limitation of the medium.

:> I can appreciate Quake 2, for instance, on the Artistry, Emotion and


:> Challenge levels. Some people might also get Exploration and Social
:> out of it, but it doesn't do those things for me. I doubt anyone gets
:> Narrative out of it.

: I'd disagree on the emotion, as noted I don't consider the release of various
: hormones to be emotion. (Ooh, that should be good for a few debates.)

Well, I can appreciate Quake 2 on the Artistry, Challenge and
Whatever-you-want-to-call-it-that-gives-me-an-adrenalin-rush levels.
Is that better? :)

:> So, are there any reasons that I missed that other people have? Are


:> some of the above goals too coarse? Am I totally out to lunch with
:> these goals?

: Probably. Just generally relieving boredom is probably a big starter with a
: lot of folks. I often don't know what I'm going to get out of a game, and am
: pleased to walk away with anything at all.

Well, why is it that anyone goes through an IF work instead of any
number of other things? This is what I am trying to get at. And how
would IF be different if we try to go for appreciation of different
levels?

:> Yes, but I wonder if being paid for it causes one to take less risks?

: Certain kinds of risks are doubtless avoided. Is id likely to release a
: romance? Not under their own name, I'd imagine.

: However, this may be counter-balanced by the fact that they can take
: the risks they *do* take a lot more seriously.

Probably. Commercial game manufacturers are probably much more careful
that their final product is very well polished.

: Dreamworks is supposed to come out with a Jurassic Park game where the


: dinosaurs have an existence outside of being encountered by the
: player.

Hmm. People have been saying things like this for years. I'll
believe it when I see it.

--
Matt Kimball
mkim...@xmission.com

Andrew Plotkin

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May 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/8/98
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John E (johnDEL...@earthlink.net) wrote:
> I think I shows how powerful text adventures
> can be if you try to imagine how much of Myst
> could be made into a text adventure.

I've imagined this in the past. I think it's perfectly feasible.

Certainly no harder than translating Stanislaw Lem novels into English.
:)

--Z

--

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

Andrew Plotkin

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May 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/8/98
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michael...@ey.com wrote:
> If I may once again play Devil's Advocate:

Sure. :)

> [on "rigid, pre-arranged storylines"]

> What puzzles me is that I fail to see how text adventure games are all that
> different.

> They have the POTENTIAL to be different, obviously. But I've seen very few
> that honestly allow the player to interact with the plot to the extent of
> actually changing it from its pre-ordained course.

> "Losing Your Grip", "So Far", "Jigsaw", "Trinity", "Curses", "Babel",


> "Christminster" -- all of these have pre-ordained plots. The player is allowed
> some flexibility regarding the order in which he/she can solve the puzzles
> (which, for that matter, is also the case in Myst), but in every case the

> object is to simply get to the ending, not to write your own. In some cases --


> "Grip" and "So Far" in particular -- the final (and I mean VERY final) move

> allows you to alter the ending's emotional coloring a bit, but it really has
> little effect on the overall story arc. A "thin veneer" if ever I saw one.

I can only comment on my own games:

I never intended anything else. I invent a storyline, and then present it
through the medium of interactive fiction. That's what I do. Other IF
authors intend other things, and they haven't so darn badly either.

> So, what's my point? Well, I think that we should all encourage more truly
> interactive plots, whether in text- or graphics-based fiction. The ability to
> create that is, I think, what really sets IF on a level above the frothing sea
> of DOOM-clones currently swamping the game market.

Mm. No.

First, you imply that "truly interactive" plots are inherently better than
"rigid pre-arranged" ones, to the point of using those judgemental terms.
I think they're just different forms. I have no desire to drop the one I
like to write in.

Second, good writing -- even in a single-plot game -- *also* sets IF
above the doom-clones. (There may be a doom-clone out there with
brilliant writing, but I haven't encountered it. :-)

> I also think that if one is criticizing a game for its lack of
> plot-interactivity, one should keep in mind that most of the text-based IF out
> there -- including those which we generally consider to be the "really good
> ones" -- suffer from the same defect. One should a) be more consistent; b) be
> more tolerant; or c) write better games yourself.

I'm with (a). I don't criticize Myst for lack of plot interactivity. I
criticize it for lack of *plot*, in the center 3/4ths of the center, and
a pretty weak plot even in the beginning and ending segments that have any.

As I said, I think Riven showed tremendous improvement.

Mary K. Kuhner

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May 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/9/98
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In article <3553a...@news1.mcmail.com>,
Chris <chris....@NOSPAM.mcmail.com> wrote:

>But would you not say that despite the fact Myst was so easily completed,
>the world that was trying to be portrayed in the game was easier to put
>yourself into compared to that of a text based IF???? I am referring mainly
>to Myst's graphical interface and the very atmospheric tunes, bearing in
>mind that most text IF compilers don't let you use such media??

I went back and replayed part of Myst last night, just to make sure
I wasn't speaking out of prejudice, and ... not for me. The music
was pretty keen, but I felt as though I couldn't touch any of the
landscape, couldn't turn my head except to a few positions, couldn't
take a closer look at the vast majority of things that interested
me, and this really interfered with the sense of immersion.

The last text IF I played was Spider and Web, which was *very* vivid
for me--it gave me weird dreams, which is about as immersive as it
gets for me.

I'm sure you're describing your own experiences accurately, but I
think people differ a whole lot in this regard. Some people are
more visually minded and they may well find visual games the most
compelling. I'm more verbally minded, and words are, for me, a
*very* effective way of getting a scene across. Not every scene:
complex spatial relationships don't come across well. But there
are things that don't come across in pictures, like the scene in
Spider where the protagonist is examining the chair he will be
imprisoned in, and keeps having to struggle against a body-
perception that he's really imprisoned already, with the cold
metal against his forehead and throat and wrists.

Education theory suggests that different students should be taught
by pictures, by lectures, and by hands-on projects, depending on
their preferred learning style; we're probably hitting the same
thing here.

Mary Kuhner mkku...@genetics.washington.eu

Dennis Matheson

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May 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/9/98
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Chris wrote:
>>snip<<

> But you might say that the purpose of text based IF is to let the player
> *imagine* what the atmosphere is like in his mind, rather than having his
> view shaped by the pictures and music chosen by the programmer.
>>snip<<

I am remembering a set of ads Infocom once ran, where they showed a
drawing of the brain with the caption "We Unleash the Worlds Most
Powerful Graphics Technology". The idea being, of course, that the
player's imagination would always be more powerful than anything they
could display on the screen.

--
"You can't run away forever, but there's nothing wrong
with getting a good head start" --- Jim Steinman

Dennis Matheson --- Dennis....@delta-air.com
--- http://home.earthlink.net/~tanstaafl

Cardinal Teulbachs

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May 10, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/10/98
to

On Fri, 8 May 1998 20:36:17 GMT, erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin)
made so bold as to state:

>> "Losing Your Grip", "So Far", "Jigsaw", "Trinity", "Curses", "Babel",
>> "Christminster" -- all of these have pre-ordained plots. The player is allowed
>> some flexibility regarding the order in which he/she can solve the puzzles
>> (which, for that matter, is also the case in Myst), but in every case the
>> object is to simply get to the ending, not to write your own. In some cases --
>> "Grip" and "So Far" in particular -- the final (and I mean VERY final) move
>> allows you to alter the ending's emotional coloring a bit, but it really has
>> little effect on the overall story arc. A "thin veneer" if ever I saw one.
>
>I can only comment on my own games:
>
>I never intended anything else. I invent a storyline, and then present it
>through the medium of interactive fiction. That's what I do. Other IF
>authors intend other things, and they haven't so darn badly either.

Righto, Andrew, and in any case I confess I don't understand this
"write your own ending" mentality, anyhow. Let's suppose such a thing
were even possible; the question I find myself asking is "Why would I
want to?" Hell, if what I want is to invent my own storyline, I can do
that perfectly well enough without the help of a computer program. I
can just sit and imagine it all "to my own specifications" and cut out
the meddlesome middleman.

What I ultimately want when I play IF (or any kind of story-centered
game, for that matter) is to be told the story the author intended to
tell.

--CardinalT

L. Ross Raszewski

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May 10, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/10/98
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In article <355510...@delta-air.com>,

Dennis....@delta-air.com wrote:
>
> Chris wrote:
> >>snip<<
> > But you might say that the purpose of text based IF is to let the player
> > *imagine* what the atmosphere is like in his mind, rather than having his
> > view shaped by the pictures and music chosen by the programmer.
> >>snip<<
>
> I am remembering a set of ads Infocom once ran, where they showed a
> drawing of the brain with the caption "We Unleash the Worlds Most
> Powerful Graphics Technology". The idea being, of course, that the
> player's imagination would always be more powerful than anything they
> could display on the screen.


There IS a problem here. You could just as easily say that text based IF
forces the player ti imagine what the author wrote, rather than letting him
imagine what he wants.

After all, the player's imagination is much more powerful than just some words
on the screen.

Let's all stop writing text games, and just let the players _imagine_ them.

I'm only partly serious, of course, but it is the height of arrogance to say
that text is somehow better at evoking the player's imagination than graphics.

Visual information isn't the only kind of thing one can imagine.

And after all, text is just "something you display on the screen" too...

Dan Shiovitz

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May 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/11/98
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In article <3554f783...@news.cwia.com>,
Cardinal Teulbachs <somebo...@another.place> wrote:
[..]

>Righto, Andrew, and in any case I confess I don't understand this
>"write your own ending" mentality, anyhow. Let's suppose such a thing
>were even possible; the question I find myself asking is "Why would I
>want to?" Hell, if what I want is to invent my own storyline, I can do
>that perfectly well enough without the help of a computer program. I
>can just sit and imagine it all "to my own specifications" and cut out
>the meddlesome middleman.
>
>What I ultimately want when I play IF (or any kind of story-centered
>game, for that matter) is to be told the story the author intended to
>tell.

Hmm. But if you're just going to get the exact story the author wanted
to tell, you might as well be reading a book. There's clearly always
at least a little wiggle room in the story; how much is going to
depend on a bunch of different stuff, including how much work the
programmer wants to put in. The interactive fiction game in
_Ender's Game_ seems to be very open to direction from the player, and
I think it would be great fun to play.

>--CardinalT


--
(Dan Shiovitz) (d...@cs.wisc.edu) (look, I have a new e-mail address)
(http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~dbs) (and a new web page also)
(the content, of course, is the same)

JC

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May 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/11/98
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Julian Arnold <jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk> wrote:

Michael Gentry wrote:

>> If I may once again play Devil's Advocate:

>> What I find baffling about most of the Myst-slammers out there are their


>> accusations that Myst was so un-interactive -- that the mouse-click interface
>> was a "thin veneer" of interactivity laid over a rigid, prearranged storyline.

>> The accusation is correct, of course -- the plot of Myst is entirely
>> pre-ordained, and the player doesn't "interact" with it so much as stumble
>> across it, piecing it together bit by bit until the last puzzle is solved and
>> you see the whole picture.

>> What puzzles me is that I fail to see how text adventure games are all that
>> different.

>> They have the POTENTIAL to be different, obviously. But I've seen very few
>> that honestly allow the player to interact with the plot to the extent of
>> actually changing it from its pre-ordained course.

>I think it's a question of interactivity vs. linearity. Interactivity


>between player and game world, not player and plot, vs. linearity of
>plot, that is.

>In this sense textual input offers far greater scope for interactivity
>than does mouse-clicking[1].

Perhaps, but the number of verbs does not neccessarily mean greater
interactivity, and I think that a more constrained input technique could
also offer far greater scope for interactivity but in a different way.

> Neither forms of input have a direct effect
>on the (non-)linearity of plot, but higher quality interactivity *would
>suggest* more potential for non-linearity of plot.

I can't see any reason for this, how come? And I don't think greater
number of verbs neccessarily equates to "higher quality interactivity".

>[1]: there are an extremely large number of different combinations of
>words, with very different meanings, even given the limitations of the
>IF parser. I can click the left mouse button, I can click the middle
>one, I can click the right one, I can double-click them, I can perform
>more complex sequences of clicking (triple-clicks, hold down one button
>and click with another, etc.), but typing commands is easier, more
>intuitive, and more flexible, and perhaps more precise.

I'm not sure what you mean by "more precise", but anyway..

You could click the right mouse button and bring up a menu of verbs. Of
course, if there were a lot of verbs this would be unmanagable, but this
could be solved, to some extent, by grouping related verbs to different
mouse clicks. So right clicking would bring up one set of verbs, and left
clicking another, etc. I'm not sure how you would group the verbs but I'm
sure you could come up with some sort of logical scheme.

';';James';';

Cardinal Teulbachs

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May 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/11/98
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On 11 May 1998 01:40:45 GMT, d...@mozzarella.cs.wisc.edu (Dan Shiovitz)

made so bold as to state:

>Hmm. But if you're just going to get the exact story the author wanted


>to tell, you might as well be reading a book. There's clearly always
>at least a little wiggle room in the story; how much is going to
>depend on a bunch of different stuff, including how much work the
>programmer wants to put in.

Granted, but my point is that no matter how many possible endings you
have, you still end up simply with multiple pre-ordained endings.
There's no such thing as complete freedom of invention when it comes
to the execution (reading, playing, whatever) of someone else's story.
The player can't just will the thing to end any old way he chooses.

Which seemed to me to be what the original poster was talking about,
though maybe I'm wrong about that.

--CardinalT

weird...@prodigy.net

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May 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/11/98
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In article <3556770b...@news.netspace.net.au>,

jrc...@netspace.net.au (JC) wrote:
> You could click the right mouse button and bring up a menu of verbs. Of
> course, if there were a lot of verbs this would be unmanagable, but this
> could be solved, to some extent, by grouping related verbs to different
> mouse clicks. So right clicking would bring up one set of verbs, and left
> clicking another, etc. I'm not sure how you would group the verbs but I'm
> sure you could come up with some sort of logical scheme.
>
You could do something similar to Curse of Monkey Islands's verb coin. If you
haven't seen it, when you hold the left button over an object, you see a coin
with 3 icons: a hand a skull and a parrots beak. The hand represents
manipulation verbs (take/push/open/close/use) the skull represents examine
and the beak represents talk to/eat/bite/inhale/drink etc. The verb chosen is
context-based depending on the noun (beak is automaticly eat for a biscuit,
inhale for a helium ballon, talk to for a person etc.) and partially on
whether you already have the object already.

Weird Beard
weird...@prodigy.net

Julian Arnold

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May 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/11/98
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In article <3556770b...@news.netspace.net.au>, JC
<URL:mailto:jrc...@netspace.net.au> wrote:

> Julian Arnold <jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> >I think it's a question of interactivity vs. linearity. Interactivity
> >between player and game world, not player and plot, vs. linearity of
> >plot, that is.
>
> >In this sense textual input offers far greater scope for interactivity
> >than does mouse-clicking[1].
>
> Perhaps, but the number of verbs does not neccessarily mean greater
> interactivity, and I think that a more constrained input technique could
> also offer far greater scope for interactivity but in a different way.
>
> > Neither forms of input have a direct effect
> >on the (non-)linearity of plot, but higher quality interactivity *would
> >suggest* more potential for non-linearity of plot.
>
> I can't see any reason for this, how come? And I don't think greater
> number of verbs neccessarily equates to "higher quality interactivity".

Well, the more ways in which the player can interact with the game (and
the more diverse those ways are), the more potential for non-linear
plot. And no, quantity ~= quality, but in this case I think it is fair
to say, in a general sense, quantity leads to quality.

> >[1]: there are an extremely large number of different combinations of
> >words, with very different meanings, even given the limitations of the
> >IF parser. I can click the left mouse button, I can click the middle
> >one, I can click the right one, I can double-click them, I can perform
> >more complex sequences of clicking (triple-clicks, hold down one button
> >and click with another, etc.), but typing commands is easier, more
> >intuitive, and more flexible, and perhaps more precise.
>
> I'm not sure what you mean by "more precise", but anyway..

I'm not sure either. :) Less abstract?

> You could click the right mouse button and bring up a menu of verbs. Of
> course, if there were a lot of verbs this would be unmanagable, but this
> could be solved, to some extent, by grouping related verbs to different
> mouse clicks. So right clicking would bring up one set of verbs, and left
> clicking another, etc. I'm not sure how you would group the verbs but I'm
> sure you could come up with some sort of logical scheme.

This is cheating! It's actually a point n' click interface to a
text-based interface to a game. Similarly, you could have a text-based
interface which only allowed input such as
>click left button on rucksack [open rucksack]
>drag magic potion to rucksack [put magic potion in rucksack]
>double-click left button on rucksack [close rucksack]
>drag rucksack to me [wear rucksack]

This would be a text-based interface to a point n' click interface to a
game.

Now why is it that you do see the first type of interface to an
interface, but not the second, I wonder?

Darryl Sloan

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May 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/11/98
to

> But would you not say that despite the fact Myst was so easily completed,
> the world that was trying to be portrayed in the game was easier to put
> yourself into compared to that of a text based IF????

If I use a similar comparison, novels & movies, I find some novels
very, very immersive, and some movies too. I think it probably comes
down to the skill of the game creator more than anything. One of my
most memorable experiences of IF was playing a game called "Rigel's
Revenge" on the ZX Spectrum long ago. It had very few graphics, but it
exuded pure atmosphere.

> I am referring mainly
> to Myst's graphical interface and the very atmospheric tunes, bearing in
> mind that most text IF compilers don't let you use such media??

Yeah, I agree actually. I like IF to use style and flair, and I'm
dissappointed that the likes of TADS and Inform have little or no
support for these. If you have access to an Amiga, you might want to
check out my own game on my website.

It was set in a deserted college, so I went around my local college
with a video camera, taking stills which I incorporated into the game.
I also composed a soundtrack for it.



> Yes, I agree that this perhaps doesn't make me a true IF fan, but I
think
> that the ability to use graphical and audio media to enhance
gameplay should
> be used to not so much change the face of the text-based IF game
towards the
> Myst type of creation, but more to enhance the player's gameplaying
> experience.

I kind of think of IF as a genre which doesn't - and shouldn't! -
evolve very much over time. Same as novels. Novels have been around
for a long, long time, and nothing about the format has changed. I see
IF as kind of the same. However, games by nature tend to evolve with
the technology. And I guess that's why IF will never sell anymore.

--
Regards

Darryl Sloan
(Musician with Vulcan Software, Alive MediaSoft, Applaud Software)

Neil K.

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May 12, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/12/98
to

"Darryl Sloan" <dar...@NOSPAMsloan.demon.co.uk> wrote:

> Yeah, I agree actually. I like IF to use style and flair, and I'm
> dissappointed that the likes of TADS and Inform have little or no
> support for these. If you have access to an Amiga, you might want to
> check out my own game on my website.
>
> It was set in a deserted college, so I went around my local college
> with a video camera, taking stills which I incorporated into the game.
> I also composed a soundtrack for it.

Well... HTML TADS, Hugo and (maybe soon) z6 with Blorb all let you do
just that - write an IF game with sound and graphics.

- Neil K.

--
t e l a computer consulting + design * Vancouver, BC, Canada
web: http://www.tela.bc.ca/tela/ * email: tela @ tela.bc.ca

JC

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May 13, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/13/98
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On Mon, 11 May 1998 card...@cwia.com (Cardinal Teulbachs) wrote:

>On 11 May 1998 d...@mozzarella.cs.wisc.edu (Dan Shiovitz)

>>Hmm. But if you're just going to get the exact story the author wanted
>>to tell, you might as well be reading a book. There's clearly always
>>at least a little wiggle room in the story; how much is going to
>>depend on a bunch of different stuff, including how much work the
>>programmer wants to put in.

>Granted, but my point is that no matter how many possible endings you
>have, you still end up simply with multiple pre-ordained endings.
>There's no such thing as complete freedom of invention when it comes
>to the execution (reading, playing, whatever) of someone else's story.
>The player can't just will the thing to end any old way he chooses.

[...]

This is the sort of thing "simululational IF" like The Erasmatron or the Oz
Project are trying to do.


';';James';';

spa...@spatch.net.nospam

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May 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/19/98
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On Fri, 8 May 1998 20:36:17 GMT, erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin)
wrote:

>Second, good writing -- even in a single-plot game -- *also* sets IF
>above the doom-clones. (There may be a doom-clone out there with
>brilliant writing, but I haven't encountered it. :-)

3D shoot-em-ups always have the same plot, just different variations.
The authors must explain why the player is in some strange bizarre
alien/inferno/destroyed city setting, why the player is alone, and why
tons of strange monsters, beasts, or former people are now running
straight for the player. Of course, multiplayer games abandon any
pretense of story and concentrate on the fourth point the authors must
explain, namely, how to blow things up as cool as possible.

Then again, I don't think people play shoot-em-ups for the brilliant
plot, much like people don't play IF to blow things up as cool as
possible[1].

There is a place for both genres in the world. It's just the
cross-genre stuff that starts to worry me. Hexen worried me because
it touted "puzzles and non-linear level structure". This basically
amounted to overglorified "search for Rock key to open Rock door"
quests spanning several levels you could return to once you opened the
Rock door and discovered you next needed to find the Rusty key because
there was a Rusty door behind the Rock door. What did Hexen 2 tout
and did it do it any better? One hopes so.


[1] In Spider and Web, though, it's fun to blow stuff up.


--
der spatchel reading, mass 01867
resident cranky fovea.retina.net 4000

"i just wanted to carve a little z on your forehead -- nothing serious."

Gunther Schmidl

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May 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/19/98
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On Fri, 8 May 1998 20:36:17 GMT, erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin)
wrote:

>Second, good writing -- even in a single-plot game -- *also* sets IF
>above the doom-clones. (There may be a doom-clone out there with
>brilliant writing, but I haven't encountered it. :-)

Ooo, but there is: Dark Forces and Jedi Knight, both by LucasArts, feature
an actual Storyline set in the Star Wars Universe. And while it's a plot
typical for that universe, it's still well written. As opposed to ten
thousands of other doom clones.
--
+------------------------+----------------------------------------------+
+ Gunther Schmidl + "I want a Blorb compatible interpreter. Now. +
+ Ferd.-Markl-Str. 39/16 + Please. Come on. Do it. Now." -- myself +
+ A-4040 LINZ +----------------------------------------------+
+ Tel: 0732 25 28 57 + http://gschmidl.home.ml.org - new & improved +
+------------------------+---+------------------------------------------+
+ sothoth (at) usa (dot) net + please remove the "xxx." before replying +
+----------------------------+------------------------------------------+

Philip Bartol

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May 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/19/98
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In article <356108ae...@news.ma.ultranet.com>, spa...@spatch.net.nospam wrote:
>On Fri, 8 May 1998 20:36:17 GMT, erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin)
>wrote:
>
>>Second, good writing -- even in a single-plot game -- *also* sets IF
>>above the doom-clones. (There may be a doom-clone out there with
>>brilliant writing, but I haven't encountered it. :-)
>
>3D shoot-em-ups always have the same plot, just different variations.
>The authors must explain why the player is in some strange bizarre
>alien/inferno/destroyed city setting, why the player is alone, and why

Actually there is one 3D "shooter" that I haven't heard much about (and have
only played the demo version, maybe I'll spring for the full version some
day). Strife is a 3D, 1st person shooter that has a RPG feel to it, almost a
bit of what IF is trying to create.

The demo game has multiple endings, a developing story line, puzzles to solve
(even if they are, "find the blue switch to raise the red platform to cross
the nasty water to get to the green switch to unlock the force field over the
door to our objective"). I've wanted to play the full version of Strife, but
couldn't.

Since I'm here, I'll have to say that Myst would have to fall in the category
of a short story... and quite a feet of software development. It has as fixed
of a plot as any IF game I've ever seen, in fact the objective is a bit
misleading, you could easily finish the game without ever opening the red or
blue books, all you'd have to know is the page number to look up the burned
book and grab the "Myst linking page" from the vault. But you don't find those
things out unless you explore the world, and try to figure out which one of
the two brothers are guilty... This is no more terrible than the ending of
Babel (one of my favorite IF games, I might add).

I haven't seen Riven yet, in fact I'll have to wait a while for that, all this
time I couldn't wait to get ahold of Myst and play it, took me up untill
Christmas time to finally get all the pieces of computers parts to be able to
run Myst (and I still wish I had a 4X CD-ROM), and now the requirements for
Riven are as high above my machine as Myst was back when it was released for
the PC. A more interactive version of these games would have to sacrifce some
of the image quality, you would have to marry the Quake type of engine with
the storyline of Myst or Riven to get something better.

The idea of Myst was to be "in" the game, to sit close to the screen and turn
up the sound. It was as much of an experience as it was a thing to do, the
idea was to not just control someone else, but to actually go to Myst island.
And I'll take that slideshow feel (as an option anyway) over something like
7th Guest's way of moving from place to place. The first few times I walked up
the stairs was OK, but after awhile I would just as soon be at the top of the
stairs not having to watch myself walk up them. (and no, I'm not saying that
7th Guest is IF, it's a collection of puzzles linked by a strange interface
and a story line that could be summed up in a short Quicktime flick).

I don't think that you will be able to call a game that is completely written
by the end user IF, it's more like a simulation then, and that's a whole other
area of life. Soloman wrote thousands of years ago that there is nothing new
under the sun. Anything you do with IF or any other type of game could be
boiled down to one thing or another, yet while you could boil all stories
of a particular type down to a few basic plots, there are still novels written
every day, the same with movies. Why would we think that we could do any
different in IF, rather we should look at what we can do with it. There are
still plenty of stories to tell, even if one or the other are similar in this
way or that.

Myst makes you feel alone, why, because you are alone. That's not such a bad
thing... (though if you read the journals they talk of other people, you just
have to assume that these people have been exploited to the point of death or
something... it is odd that there is no-one there, and no explination. But
most places look as though they've been abandoned for a long time.) AI is a
whole other world, yet Eliza proves that it doesn't take a whole lot of AI to
make something *appear* real. Think about it, is it the fact that something is
real makes it real in a movie? When a magician makes something disappear, is
it the fact that the item as really vanished that makes it appear real? No.
Something can be cardboard or bits in a computer and look real in a movie,
it's the *illusion* that makes it look real, not how real it is. Same with the
magician, the object has been moved to a different location or is being hidden
in a way that the viewer thinks it has disappeared, yet the object is still
there, just as real as it ever was. Think of Independance Day, you would think
that a huge spaceship is really hovering over NY city, yet the ship is tiny
compared to the illusion.

So what if NPCs are just carboard cutouts that sit and wait for the next scene
they appear in to start acting out their script again. The question isn't how
real are they, how real did they appear. You can bring about an emotion even
if you could never create such a thing, let me explain with another example I
just tought of.

In the movie "Short Circuit 2" the robot "Jonny 5" get beat up by two guys,
leaving him "dying," I honestly have to admit the first time I saw that (years
ago) I just about cryed... using special effects and a dubbed voice, the two
movies get you to feel for this "robot's" plight in life, and using the same
techniques (with some music mixed in to drive the whole thing home) I'm moved
emotionally by some stage props, for a "robot" that doens't have an once of AI
in him.

So I guess you could say a good IF author is going to be a bit of a story
teller, bit of a programmer, and a little bit magician.

I've rambled on for too long, I'll end here

PHIL

David Given

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May 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/20/98
to

In article <6js9vr$jgr$1...@gte1.gte.net>, Philip Bartol <phi...@gte.net> wrote:
[...]

>Actually there is one 3D "shooter" that I haven't heard much about (and have
>only played the demo version, maybe I'll spring for the full version some
>day). Strife is a 3D, 1st person shooter that has a RPG feel to it, almost a
>bit of what IF is trying to create.
>
>The demo game has multiple endings, a developing story line, puzzles to solve
>(even if they are, "find the blue switch to raise the red platform to cross
>the nasty water to get to the green switch to unlock the force field over the
>door to our objective"). I've wanted to play the full version of Strife, but
>couldn't.

Played the demo; was quite impressed. I wouldn't say that it has multiple
endings, as such, so much as if you do the wrong thing you run out of
plot. After some effort I managed to make my way up the decision tree to
one point where I was supposed to survive an attack by about 500 really
nasty bad guys, which, needless to say, I didn't. Is there in fact any
more to it, or am I supposed to die there?

[...]


>So I guess you could say a good IF author is going to be a bit of a story
>teller, bit of a programmer, and a little bit magician.

It helps if you're a mad mathemetician-poet, too (hi, Graham!). Shades of
Charles sub-Lunar?

--
+- David Given ----------------+
| Work: d...@tao.co.uk | Eat the rich. The poor are tough and
| Play: d...@freeyellow.com | stringy.
+- http://wiredsoc.ml.org/~dg -+

Philip Bartol

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May 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/20/98
to

In article <895675254.10699.0...@news.demon.co.uk>, dg@ (David Given) wrote:
>In article <6js9vr$jgr$1...@gte1.gte.net>, Philip Bartol <phi...@gte.net> wrote:
>[...]
>>Actually there is one 3D "shooter" that I haven't heard much about (and have
>>only played the demo version, maybe I'll spring for the full version some
>>day). Strife is a 3D, 1st person shooter that has a RPG feel to it, almost a
>>bit of what IF is trying to create.
>>
>>The demo game has multiple endings, a developing story line, puzzles to solve
>>(even if they are, "find the blue switch to raise the red platform to cross
>>the nasty water to get to the green switch to unlock the force field over the
>>door to our objective"). I've wanted to play the full version of Strife, but
>>couldn't.
>
>Played the demo; was quite impressed. I wouldn't say that it has multiple
>endings, as such, so much as if you do the wrong thing you run out of
>plot. After some effort I managed to make my way up the decision tree to
>one point where I was supposed to survive an attack by about 500 really
>nasty bad guys, which, needless to say, I didn't. Is there in fact any
>more to it, or am I supposed to die there?

Give the Chalace, get the key, get trapped in a room where you get killed, or
don't trust the guy and get into the secret room, get the communicator and go
on with the story.

I assume you're talking about after going into the security door in the town
hall thing... the mess load of guys that appear is a winnable situation, but
I found you have to treat it like your not a Terminator clone, hidding behind
things is a good thing to do.

Someone else mentioned Dark Forces, while this is a great 3D "shooter," the
story line is still very rigid, but the game requires more thinking than just
shoot everyone and the old "hunt for the key" thing.

Strife falls into RPG, similar to the Legend of Zelda series (which is as much
arcade game as adventure)... these don't quite qualify as IF, but they do
have a developing story (i.e. - Links Awakening on the Game Boy).

PHIL

Dennis Matheson

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May 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/21/98
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David Given wrote:
>
> In article <6js9vr$jgr$1...@gte1.gte.net>, Philip Bartol <phi...@gte.net> wrote:
> [...]
> >Actually there is one 3D "shooter" that I haven't heard much about (and have
> >only played the demo version, maybe I'll spring for the full version some
> >day). Strife is a 3D, 1st person shooter that has a RPG feel to it, almost a
> >bit of what IF is trying to create.
> >
> >The demo game has multiple endings, a developing story line, puzzles to solve
> >(even if they are, "find the blue switch to raise the red platform to cross
> >the nasty water to get to the green switch to unlock the force field over the
> >door to our objective"). I've wanted to play the full version of Strife, but
> >couldn't.
>
> Played the demo; was quite impressed. I wouldn't say that it has multiple
> endings, as such, so much as if you do the wrong thing you run out of
> plot. After some effort I managed to make my way up the decision tree to
> one point where I was supposed to survive an attack by about 500 really
> nasty bad guys, which, needless to say, I didn't. Is there in fact any
> more to it, or am I supposed to die there?
>
>>snip<<

Another game that fits the category is Realms of the Haunting. It's a
3D shooter with puzzles and FMV cut-scenes that advance the plot. The
puzzles are a little ahead of the "find key/find lock" variety. (Not
much, but somewhat). For example, you get "find the golden cobra
statues to put on the indentations on the platform to open the locked
chamber to get the shield. Then, set the grandfather clock to 6 and
push the button to open the inner chamber. Go in, blocking the
fireballs with the shield and retrieve the gem to give to the demon..."
Well, you get the idea.

Steven Posey

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May 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/21/98
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On Tue, 19 May 1998 16:03:03 GMT, phi...@gte.net (Philip Bartol) wrote:

>Myst makes you feel alone, why, because you are alone. That's not such a bad
>thing... (though if you read the journals they talk of other people, you just
>have to assume that these people have been exploited to the point of death or
>something... it is odd that there is no-one there, and no explination. But
>most places look as though they've been abandoned for a long time.)

Read Myst: The Book Of Atrus, and you'll learn why the island is empty. And no, I won't give it
away here. The best enjoyment in reading, be it IF or just F, is discovering things on your own.

Steven

Andrew Plotkin

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May 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/21/98
to

Steven Posey (steve...@usa.net) wrote:
> On Tue, 19 May 1998 16:03:03 GMT, phi...@gte.net (Philip Bartol) wrote:

> >Myst makes you feel alone, why, because you are alone. That's not such a bad
> >thing... (though if you read the journals they talk of other people, you just
> >have to assume that these people have been exploited to the point of death or
> >something... it is odd that there is no-one there, and no explination. But
> >most places look as though they've been abandoned for a long time.)

> Read Myst: The Book Of Atrus, and you'll learn why the island is

> empty. And no, I won't give it
> away here. The best enjoyment in reading, be it IF or just F, is
> discovering things on your own.

I've never read any of the Myst novels, although I played both games.

I don't think they get to say "You have to read the book to play this."
And, in fact, they *don't* say that. The games do stand on their own.
The point is, I evaluate the games based on the games; I don't feel like
I'm wilfully blinding myself if I ignore the novels.

Steven Posey

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May 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/22/98
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On Thu, 21 May 1998 16:21:12 GMT, erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) wrote:

>I've never read any of the Myst novels, although I played both games.
>
>I don't think they get to say "You have to read the book to play this."
>And, in fact, they *don't* say that. The games do stand on their own.
>The point is, I evaluate the games based on the games; I don't feel like
>I'm wilfully blinding myself if I ignore the novels.
>
>--Z

Your right. The games DO stand on their own. There's absolutely no reason why you should HAVE to
read the books. However, if you do...

When the Miller's started writing Myst, they had actually fleshed out a lot of story that never
appears in the game. The Book of Atrus was their way of telling the story they never got to in the
game. As a novel, it also stands alone. You could read TBOA and never play Myst, and still get a
very fulfilling story. Myst left me wanting more, though, and until Riven came out, the novels
were a perfect way to fill that void. Taken together, they tell a really indepth story.

For those that don't know, the novels take place BEFORE Myst. In fact, the first novel takes place
immediately before Myst, and the second, The Book of D'Ni, happens before the first. They're
written in reverse historical order. I haven't read The Book of T'Ianna yet, so I'm not sure where
it fits in.

While I'll admit that Myst doesn't fall into the same category of IF as the Infocom titles, it's
still fiction, and there is some interaction with it, even if it's just point-n-click. The biggest
reason for not calling it IF, IMHO, is that you don't really get the "story" until you read the
novels, which makes it seem more like a marketing ploy.

Play On!
Steven

Philip Bartol

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May 24, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/24/98
to

In article <35644e59....@news.ioa.com>, steve...@usa.net (Steven Posey) wrote:
>On Tue, 19 May 1998 16:03:03 GMT, phi...@gte.net (Philip Bartol) wrote:
>
>>Myst makes you feel alone, why, because you are alone. That's not such a bad
>>thing... (though if you read the journals they talk of other people, you just
>>have to assume that these people have been exploited to the point of death or
>>something... it is odd that there is no-one there, and no explination. But
>>most places look as though they've been abandoned for a long time.)
>
>Read Myst: The Book Of Atrus, and you'll learn why the island is empty. And
> no, I won't give it
>away here. The best enjoyment in reading, be it IF or just F, is discovering
> things on your own.

I had borrowed the book from someone who had it, I'm going to have to get
my own copy of it as I didn't even get a couple chapters in before they needed
it back...

PHIL

Philip Bartol

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May 24, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/24/98
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In article <erkyrath...@netcom.com>, erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) wrote:

>Steven Posey (steve...@usa.net) wrote:
>> On Tue, 19 May 1998 16:03:03 GMT, phi...@gte.net (Philip Bartol) wrote:
>
>> >Myst makes you feel alone, why, because you are alone. That's not such a bad
>
>> >thing... (though if you read the journals they talk of other people, you
> just
>> >have to assume that these people have been exploited to the point of death
> or
>> >something... it is odd that there is no-one there, and no explination. But
>> >most places look as though they've been abandoned for a long time.)
>
>> Read Myst: The Book Of Atrus, and you'll learn why the island is
>> empty. And no, I won't give it
>> away here. The best enjoyment in reading, be it IF or just F, is
>> discovering things on your own.
>
>I've never read any of the Myst novels, although I played both games.
>
>I don't think they get to say "You have to read the book to play this."
>And, in fact, they *don't* say that. The games do stand on their own.
>The point is, I evaluate the games based on the games; I don't feel like
>I'm wilfully blinding myself if I ignore the novels.

So, would you say that any information in the novels explaining the lack of
people should have been referred to in the game itself?

PHIL

Andrew Plotkin

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May 24, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/24/98
to

Philip Bartol (phi...@gte.net) wrote:
> >I've never read any of the Myst novels, although I played both games.
> >
> >I don't think they get to say "You have to read the book to play this."
> >And, in fact, they *don't* say that. The games do stand on their own.
> >The point is, I evaluate the games based on the games; I don't feel like
> >I'm wilfully blinding myself if I ignore the novels.

> So, would you say that any information in the novels explaining the lack of
> people should have been referred to in the game itself?

No. I accept that the game and the novels are different works, and
something can be a mystery in one and explained in the other. Both are
valid things for the authors to do.

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