Game prologues and introductions

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Michael S. Phillips

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Dec 5, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/5/95
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Alright, I've been working on a medium-length game for a little while
now, and things are starting to fall into place ("When it's done").

Anyways, I was wondering if people had strong opinions on whether it is
worth the effort to 'lead the player' through the introduction. Since
the game begins in an isolated area with a hunt/find and a simple puzzle
in order to progress to the remainder of the game, it would make sense
to (for instance):


THE START
You are standing in the front hall of your family's home. There is a
table in one corner.

A canteen is on the table.

[Since your goal is to reach the Great City through the Untamed Wilds,
having a water supply along would be a good idea. Maybe you should pick
up the canteen.]

What are you doing?
>


Such an option would, of course, be easily disabled (and no, I wouldn't
make the verb 'idiot mode off').

Do y'all think it's worth the effort to fiddle with it?

Mike Phillips, mi...@lawlib.wm.edu

Christopher E. Forman

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Dec 5, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/5/95
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Michael S. Phillips (mi...@lawlib.wm.edu) wrote:
: Anyways, I was wondering if people had strong opinions on whether it is

: worth the effort to 'lead the player' through the introduction. Since
: the game begins in an isolated area with a hunt/find and a simple puzzle
: in order to progress to the remainder of the game, it would make sense
: to (for instance):

I suppose it depends on what type of players you want for your target
audience. If you're planning to get this game to people who've never
seen an I-F piece before, it'd be a great idea. If you're targeting more
experienced players, it'd probably be more trouble than it's worth, as
pretty much everyone here knows the basics of text-adventuring.

--
C.E. Forman cef...@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu
Read the I-F e-zine XYZZYnews, at ftp.gmd.de:/if-archive/magazines/xyzzynews,
or on the Web at http://www.interport.net/~eileen!
* Interactive Fiction * Beavis and Butt-Head * The X-Files * MST3K * C/C++ *

Julian Arnold

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Dec 6, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/6/95
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Michael S. Phillips (mi...@lawlib.wm.edu) wrote:
> Anyways, I was wondering if people had strong opinions on whether it is
> worth the effort to 'lead the player' through the introduction. Since
> the game begins in an isolated area with a hunt/find and a simple puzzle
> in order to progress to the remainder of the game, it would make sense
> to (for instance):

I like this idea. It seems a logical interactive extension of the "sample
transcript of play" from Jigsaw et al. As you say though, it should be
toggleable so more experienced players don't have to suffer it, but anything
which makes IF more accessible to newbies, without detracting too much from
the actual gameplay, must be a good thing.
--
Jools Arnold jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk


Gareth Rees

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Dec 6, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/6/95
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Michael S. Phillips <mi...@lawlib.wm.edu> wrote:
> Anyway, I was wondering if people had strong opinions on whether it is

> worth the effort to 'lead the player' through the introduction.

I can think of three reasons why you might want to do this. The first is
that your game is intended to be an introductory game for people who
have never played IF, and you think that a good proportion of your
players will need detailed instructions to get started. Something like
Infocom's "Moonmist", in other words. If so, go ahead. But be aware
that most people who play adventures got started on games that didn't
give them any breaks, and survived fine.

The second possible reason is that the first puzzle is very difficult,
and you suspect that a reasonable proportion of your players will need
some hints in order to solve it and get on with the rest of the game. I
reluctantly came to this conclusion with respect to "Christminster", and
release 3 has a fairly detailed adaptive help system for the first
puzzle. If this is the case, don't turn the help on by default; make
the player actively request it.

The third reason is that you want to force the player to make a set of
particular actions in order to set the scene for the rest of the game
(think of the beginning of "Theatre"). I think this is a bad idea all
round; if you're not prepared to give the player the freedom to do what
they want, put the scene-setting material in the introductory text where
it belongs.

--
Gareth Rees

Matthew McDonald

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Dec 7, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/7/95
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jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk (Julian Arnold) writes:

>Michael S. Phillips (mi...@lawlib.wm.edu) wrote:

>> Anyways, I was wondering if people had strong opinions on whether it is

>> worth the effort to 'lead the player' through the introduction.

[...]


>I like this idea. It seems a logical interactive extension of the "sample
>transcript of play" from Jigsaw et al.

[...]


> anything
>which makes IF more accessible to newbies, without detracting too much from
>the actual gameplay, must be a good thing.

The first adventure game I played was a version of Colossal cave that
gave you a hint when you hadn't made progress in a while. This
basically meant that you couldn't ever get stuck, provided you kept
playing for long enough.

I liked this more than the hint systems I've seen since then. It
didn't feel like cheating because I was given the hint without asking
for it - it was part of the game, and you couldn't read all the hints
at once, even if you had no will-power.

--
Matthew McDonald ma...@cs.uwa.edu.au
Nim's longest recorded utterance was the sixteen-sign declarative
pronouncement, "Give orange me give eat orange me eat orange give me
eat orange give me you."

Brian Lane

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Dec 8, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/8/95
to
Michael S. Phillips (mi...@lawlib.wm.edu) wrote:
: Alright, I've been working on a medium-length game for a little while
: now, and things are starting to fall into place ("When it's done").

Mine will be finished as soon as I start writing it :>

: Anyways, I was wondering if people had strong opinions on whether it is
: worth the effort to 'lead the player' through the introduction. Since

: the game begins in an isolated area with a hunt/find and a simple puzzle
: in order to progress to the remainder of the game, it would make sense
: to (for instance):

Personal response: Akk! Ick! Phooey! Lead ME throught a game. Never in
your life! (Ok, I have used Invisiclues once or twice, but I was young
then...)

For someone who has never played IF, or for younger players this would be
great. If you do it, I would make it optional, and add a question at startup
that would allow the player to select their level of help.

Brian
--
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