IF player proposal

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raif...@yahoo.com

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Jan 10, 2005, 2:00:28 PM1/10/05
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One of the larger questions before the general RAIF community is one
it's mass appeal to the general public. I believe the broad appeal can
be there. The quality of games written today is quite strong. But the
perception outside of RAIF is not. As Madison avenue will tell you,
it's all about marketing.

This perception of RAIF is one of computer hackers, C programmers and
techie geeks. An in-bred community of players and writers sharing and
playing each others games. If you haven't realized, the IF archives
site isn't exactly the most user-friendly place for a novice user to
begin their journey into the world of IF. The learning curve is too
confusing to an average non-technical player who wants nothing more
than to one-click a gamelink, and install and begin play.

But there is no reason why modern IF couldn't be more than a niche in
today's gaming market. RAIF produce quality stories that have
entertainment value and gaming challenges that could very easily be
enjoyed by the mainstream public. If mass appeal is truly a goal of
RAIF, then accomplishing this intention of appealing to the a larger
audience will only happen if the IF "marketing" is changed in a major
way. And it is up to the powers of the RAIF community work together to
make it happen.

For IF to be an appealing alternative, it must be attractive to a
player who has no technical or internet savvy, nor the desire to learn
such. If I buy a game in the store, I receive a CD. I put it in my CD
player and the installation is automatic and the game is loaded. Or
also I can click on yahoo.com or pogo.com or any gaming website and
with nothing more than a few clicks of a mouse of well-labeled menu
options and I am playing a game. And I know mostly likely, it will be
a game technically sound and decently satisfying - meaning I don't
expect to play "garbage".

In order to put IF in the same gaming arena, we should agree on the
following assumptions:

A "player" does not care about the IF language it was authored in.
(yes really! they shouldn't... *horrors*) Do you care if a graphical
game is programmed in C+ or VB?

A "player" should not have to be technically savvy. (most people
aren't... I know that's a shocker.)

A "player" should expect a decent game without having to search for
one. (bad books aren't published, bad movies are shelved...)

A "player" should be no more than a few clicks away from play. (I want
to play Luminous Horizons... hmmmm do I download tads, inform, glux,
adrift, alan...?)

95% of the world runs on Windows - (my apologies to the RAIF crowd) IF
should prioritize it's appeal primarily to the most common platform in
the world, and everything else is secondary...

So imagine if you will, taking the major IF languages - Inform, TADS,
TADS3, Hugo, Alan and Adrift and having ONE player i.e. a windows
executable - ifplayer.exe This ifplayer would run all IF works
generated by those languages which is 90% of all IF games and
practically 100% of all decent IF games. A novice end user would not
be burdened with finding and downloading the different players for each
language.

The ifplayer.exe client would install with an icon on a player's pc
after being downloaded like any other game a player would purchase.
The application would emulate each language "player". It would
connect to an IF library webserver that would be a subset of the RAIF
archives. No web surfing and searching or installation of each
language. No searching on the IF archives or having to wade through
all the games listed in the Baf site. The ifplayer client would easily
provide for a search of games based on genre, release date, ratings,
etc... from the if library server. Then one user click and the game
would be downloaded and run. The ifplayer could also show all
downloaded and saved games a player has on his computer. New games
that are released could also be prominently displayed in a tab on the
ifplayer. So would all the entries from any of the Comps. And only IF
games of a certain rating, voted on by the RAIF community at large,
would be allowed in this new IF library. And should any IF language
change or have a new version upgrade - the ifplayer would, just like
any other software, automatically update itself. Wouldn't this be a
truly radical, yet simple design?

Imagine gaming magazines providing a sample disk with the ifplayer on
it, Or prominent websites providing a simple link to download it.
Imagine the appeal of IF when a novice user who has never heard of IF,
has nothing more to do than a few mouse clicks and can begin his or her
adeventure.

And then perhaps, in the bottom right hand corner of the ifplayer
screen, one could find a 'make a PayPal donation' button. I
don't think it unreasonable to envision the potential of players making
small contributions to the IF community - if they have received many
enjoyable hours of entertainment. Then this fund could be put in a
yearly pool and distributed to every author that has had a game
uploaded into the IF library. Perhaps, a 5-star rating could give an
author a 3 share, a 4-star rating yield a 2 share, and a 3-star game
give an author 1 share in the distribution of the donations.
Individual IF games might never again be commercial, but the IF
community united together, could provide some compensation to authors
time and effort for top quality games.

And the end result of this could be attracting more authors and
producing more games and yielding even more players and so become a
win-win situation for all. It's up to you, the RAIF community, to
decide what you want to be. A small niche in the gaming market or a
larger broader-based gaming alternative. I would hope the proposal
outlined here would seem like an attractive goal.

MockTurtle

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Jan 10, 2005, 2:51:33 PM1/10/05
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>bad books aren't published, bad movies are shelved...

That's news to me. What planet is this you come from? A discerning
person is going to have to search for quality in any given media.
Undiscerning people - those who would sit through any rubbish just for
the escapist value aren't going to be interested in the effort required
to play IF.

danie...@hotmail.com

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Jan 10, 2005, 3:33:54 PM1/10/05
to
Go ahead and write it, then. There's source code available everywhere
to interpret these binaries, so all you'd have to do is string it
together and write some front-end code. Of course, not everyone is
concerned about market share; many notice that the more popular
something gets the more pressure there is to make it suck. I would
really be skeptical that a project like this would become a breakout
sensation, but it might simplify the learning curve for beginners a
little.

Michael Roy

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Jan 10, 2005, 3:49:19 PM1/10/05
to
raif...@yahoo.com wrote:

> also I can click on yahoo.com or pogo.com or any gaming website and
> with nothing more than a few clicks of a mouse of well-labeled menu
> options and I am playing a game. And I know mostly likely, it will be
> a game technically sound and decently satisfying - meaning I don't
> expect to play "garbage".

If I were to download a free non-IF game off of the internet, I'd expect
it to not only garbage but probably virus-laden too.

> In order to put IF in the same gaming arena, we should agree on the
> following assumptions:
>
> A "player" does not care about the IF language it was authored in.
> (yes really! they shouldn't... *horrors*) Do you care if a graphical
> game is programmed in C+ or VB?

This doesn't hold up. IF is interpreted, so I certainly do care about
the language. Using your analogy, the difference between a VB game and
a Z80 would certainly be something a player would care about. And if a
game was marketed as being in C+, I'd probably skip it altogether.

> A "player" should expect a decent game without having to search for
> one. (bad books aren't published, bad movies are shelved...)

I could point to whole genres that don't have a single good book in
them. But in any case, publication on the web is a whole lot easier.
Plus, there's no metric for what's good.

> A "player" should be no more than a few clicks away from play. (I want
> to play Luminous Horizons... hmmmm do I download tads, inform, glux,
> adrift, alan...?)

Agreed.

> 95% of the world runs on Windows - (my apologies to the RAIF crowd) IF
> should prioritize it's appeal primarily to the most common platform in
> the world, and everything else is secondary...

Since most of IF games are platform independent, this really shouldn't
be an issue. And if, as you say, the "RAIF crowd" is not primarily on
Windows, it'd be unlikely to prioritize its appeal (wait...what does
that even mean?) to a system that it doesn't use primarily. And your
95% guess is too high.

> So imagine if you will, taking the major IF languages - Inform, TADS,
> TADS3, Hugo, Alan and Adrift and having ONE player i.e. a windows
> executable - ifplayer.exe This ifplayer would run all IF works
> generated by those languages which is 90% of all IF games and
> practically 100% of all decent IF games. A novice end user would not
> be burdened with finding and downloading the different players for each
> language.

Sounds bulky. Why not just put all of the current interpreters in one
install program? Also, something about licensing.

> The ifplayer.exe client would install with an icon on a player's pc
> after being downloaded like any other game a player would purchase.
> The application would emulate each language "player". It would
> connect to an IF library webserver that would be a subset of the RAIF
> archives.

Why a subset? (What RAIF archives?)

> So would all the entries from any of the Comps.

Wait... weren't you going to censor the bad ones a minute ago?

> And only IF
> games of a certain rating, voted on by the RAIF community at large,
> would be allowed in this new IF library.

That's rather haphazard when you consider the number of games compared
to the number willing to vote on all of them. Why not just have all the
games and allow your mass public user base to vote on them?

> And should any IF language
> change or have a new version upgrade - the ifplayer would, just like
> any other software, automatically update itself. Wouldn't this be a
> truly radical, yet simple design?

If you're putting every IF interpreter in one player, it'd be updating
itself pretty frequently. Assuming that there was someone to rewrite
the program every time one of the languages was updated. In any case, I
don't think it'd be radical or simple.

> Imagine gaming magazines providing a sample disk with the ifplayer on
> it, Or prominent websites providing a simple link to download it.
> Imagine the appeal of IF when a novice user who has never heard of IF,
> has nothing more to do than a few mouse clicks and can begin his or her
> adeventure.

No objection to that.

> And then perhaps, in the bottom right hand corner of the ifplayer
> screen, one could find a 'make a PayPal donation' button. I
> don't think it unreasonable to envision the potential of players making
> small contributions to the IF community - if they have received many
> enjoyable hours of entertainment. Then this fund could be put in a
> yearly pool and distributed to every author that has had a game
> uploaded into the IF library. Perhaps, a 5-star rating could give an
> author a 3 share, a 4-star rating yield a 2 share, and a 3-star game
> give an author 1 share in the distribution of the donations.
> Individual IF games might never again be commercial, but the IF
> community united together, could provide some compensation to authors
> time and effort for top quality games.

You'd have to either severely limit the games available or expect a lot
of donations for that to provide noticeable compensation.

> And the end result of this could be attracting more authors and
> producing more games and yielding even more players and so become a
> win-win situation for all. It's up to you, the RAIF community, to
> decide what you want to be. A small niche in the gaming market or a
> larger broader-based gaming alternative. I would hope the proposal
> outlined here would seem like an attractive goal.

If you made the proposal, why is it up to everyone else to do it? ;-)

Michael

Stephen Bond

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Jan 10, 2005, 3:49:38 PM1/10/05
to
raif...@yahoo.com wrote:
> One of the larger questions before the general RAIF community is one
> it's mass appeal to the general public. I believe the broad appeal can
> be there. The quality of games written today is quite strong. But the
> perception outside of RAIF is not. As Madison avenue will tell you,
> it's all about marketing.
>
> This perception of RAIF is one of computer hackers, C programmers and
> techie geeks. An in-bred community of players and writers sharing and
> playing each others games. If you haven't realized,

Lose the condescension, please. You're not likely to turn anyone
around to your point of view with that kind of attitude.

> A "player" does not care about the IF language it was authored in.
> (yes really! they shouldn't... *horrors*) Do you care if a graphical
> game is programmed in C+ or VB?
>
> A "player" should not have to be technically savvy. (most people
> aren't... I know that's a shocker.)

This might come as a shock to you, but you're not the first person
to come up with the idea of an all-in-one IF executable. You might
want to search the archives for "Adventure Blaster" or "Zinc". Though
I'm not sure if they were ever fully completed, since I'm happy just
using interpreters, myself. If you'd like a one-click IF solution,
maybe you should write one?

Needless to say, writing such a program and marketing it are two
entirely different problems.

Stephen.

Jeff Nyman

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Jan 10, 2005, 4:15:16 PM1/10/05
to
raif...@yahoo.com wrote:

> This perception of RAIF is one of computer hackers, C programmers and
> techie geeks.

Whose perception? I definitely did not have that perception after
lurking for quite some time.

> An in-bred community of players and writers sharing and
> playing each others games.

Well, then those who play games like Everquest or any other
community-based gaming experience might also be "in-bred". Yes, any
community can become composed of a core group (even a core large group)
that tends to account for the brunt of the work or thought in that
community. IF or RAIF is hardly the only one like that. One could make
the same argument for users of SCI Studio or AGI Dev or AGAST or
various other gaming communities centered around tools.

> If you haven't realized, the IF archives
> site isn't exactly the most user-friendly place for a novice user to
> begin their journey into the world of IF. The learning curve is too
> confusing to an average non-technical player who wants nothing more
> than to one-click a gamelink, and install and begin play.

I suppose there is logic to this, to a certain extent. That said, I
would like a definition of what the "average" is for a non-technical
player. I am sure there are many players of these games that might
consider themselves "non-technical" and yet are capable of going to
IFArchive and navigating around. Admittedly, for those who do want a
"one-click gamelink", as you say, then, yes, IFArchive might be too
difficult; that said, any Web site might prove too difficult if the
criterion is only that of a "one-click gamelink".

You also are implicitly assuing that there are many "non-technical
players" who want nothing more than a "one-click gamelink" and thus are
missing out and not marketed to. For all I know, you are right and
there are many of these players. However, until I see evidence of that,
that statement is an assumption whose validity I am uncertain of.
Personally, I have never been a fan of "dumbing" things down. I think
too many things (at least in America) are assumed to be "too difficult"
and so we give up teaching people how to use computers or Web sites or
tools in place of giving them simplified GUIs. That said, this is a
personal bias on my part.

> For IF to be an appealing alternative, it must be attractive to a
> player who has no technical or internet savvy, nor the desire to
learn
> such.

IF is an "appealing alternative" to me, and I did not require it to be
one in which I needed no "technical or internet savvy." Many games
today have on-line registrations. When patches come out, you generally
have to download them. So, by that logic, many games are catering to
"internet savvy" users. Look at "Half-Life 2" with its Steam setup, as
just one example. And, of course, there is this huge market in on-line
games that certainly suggests a deal of "internet savvy" and even
technical ability on the part of the player. Many games now require a
player to install or update DirectX or OpenGL or they require updated
drivers. Now, you can argue that all of this should not be the case; be
that as it may, it *is* the case. And thus gamers, in my experience,
are often not entirely unsavvy when it comes to playing their games.

I am not negating your argument except to say that many forms of game
(not just IF) presuppose a certain amount of ability on the part of the
user and I have seen this trend increasing, not decreasing.

> A "player" does not care about the IF language it was authored in.
> (yes really! they shouldn't... *horrors*) Do you care if a graphical
> game is programmed in C+ or VB?

I could agree that your general player is not going to care about the
language a game was written in necessarily. I know I do not (for the
most part). I will play any IF work that catches my attention. That
said, some players may care because they know one language tends to
allow better crafted games. Granted, that is also very dependent upon
the author of the game. But there are some languages that are simply
not as powerful as the others or offer interfaces that someone may not
like. Speaking for myself, I generally play games written in Hugo,
TADS, or Inform simply because I know the languages are powerful and
thus if the author was good, I have a good chance of having a good
experience. I might be more reluctant with a game written solely in
BASIC or ALAN because even if the author is good, I have found that
those languages are limiting -- at least in terms of what I like.

This is perhaps similar to how some game players might prefer, say, 3D
shooters written with the Havok engine because they know it offers
better world-model physics. And if one argues "Yes, but most players do
not think about those things", read PC Gamer or visit some of the game
playing newsgroups. And, yes, some players might end up caring about a
game written in something like Visual Basic only because the overhead
of the language often means it is generally much slower. You are not
going to see something like Doom 3 written in Visual Basic -- and for
very good reason. Granted, your first-time player or "non-technically
savvy" player might not know it was written in Visual Basic; but they
will know they do not like the game (because of the slowness) and if
they find out later that another game was written in that language,
they may shy away from it.

However, I think the general point is well taken: a good game is a good
game. If I like a given game, I really do not care what language it was
written in.

> A "player" should not have to be technically savvy. (most people
> aren't... I know that's a shocker.)

Define "technically savvy". It is an easy term to throw off. But what
does it actually mean in this case? Should the player be expected to
understand how to go to a Web site? How to click a hyperlink? How to
install a piece of software? To some people using *any* software
indicates someone is "tech savvy". To a "power user", however, that
defintion is a bit different. So I think you have to define your terms
a little better before you can get any sort of widespread agreement.
(This is the idea behind operationally defining your terms so that you
are at least talking about the same thing among a group of people.)

> A "player" should expect a decent game without having to search for
> one. (bad books aren't published, bad movies are shelved...)

"Bad books" and "bad movies" are in the eye of the beholder. A book
called "Project Phoenix" is widely considered to be one of the worst
published. The movie "Battlefield Earth" is widely considered to be one
of the worst filmed. "Bad" movies and books get out there all the time.
And, again, since it is in the eye of the beholder, it is a bit odd to
say that "bad books aren't published" or "bad movies are shelved".
People *always* have to search for something that they feel is a good
experience. IF is no different in that regard.

> A "player" should be no more than a few clicks away from play. (I
want
> to play Luminous Horizons... hmmmm do I download tads, inform, glux,
> adrift, alan...?)

I could agree that ways to play IF games could be more helpful for some
people. I know that when I put up some links on my Web site to
interpreters and games, I did get a few e-mails from people asking what
they actually had to do. That said, once I better explained what they
needed, no one had any problems. And, yes, these were people that had
never played IF before. I think a few simple instructions and some
correct hyperlinks are often plenty to get even a "non-technically
savvy" player off and running. Perhaps I am wrong; it would be good to
hear from players that feel differently.


I do not want to go into too much detail about your specific ideas
regarding the hypothetical ifplayer. Just a few points, maybe for
clarification:

> The ifplayer.exe client would install with an icon on a player's pc
> after being downloaded like any other game a player would purchase.
> The application would emulate each language "player".

So do you mean that the tool would emulate all interpreters for a given
language? How do you choose? For example, do you emulate WinFrotz or
Windows Frotz? With Hugo and TADS this is probably a bit easier because
you basically have one interpreter per platform. You then have to
account for interpreters potentially changing, requiring an update to
the ifplayer (possibly). Further, different interpreters for authoring
systems support different things. For example, the TADS interpreter
will look very different (generally) from the Inform interpreter.
Trying to force all to a common look might negate some of the features
and abilities of a given language in terms of how the IF work appears.
If you allow each to have a different look, then perhaps that is more
confusing to your "non-technically savvy" user.

That said, this makes me think of the application Zinc. It is written
in Java and plays both TADS and Inform games. So, in that sense, the
ability to do this kind of thing is already there. That said, those
built-in interpreters are not always (from what I have seen) as good as
the interpreters that are built for a specific system. And, to my above
point, I generally do not like playing TADS games in Zinc but I do like
playing them in a standard TADS interpreter.

Also keep in mind that many games do require ancillary files. The
installation that you mention in your post often installs those
ancillary files. So in this case it is not necessary to make the
interpreters part of the ifplayer. The ability could simply be in place
to allow the ifplayer to point to interpreters and then choose which
one to use based on the game format it is asked to play. I think it
would be a big challenge to incorporate the interpreter logic for
various IF systems in one tool.

> It would
> connect to an IF library webserver that would be a subset of the RAIF
> archives. No web surfing and searching or installation of each
> language. No searching on the IF archives or having to wade through
> all the games listed in the Baf site. The ifplayer client would
easily
> provide for a search of games based on genre, release date, ratings,
> etc... from the if library server.

That is not a bad idea. I could easily see a program of some sort that
utilizes some common format for games to provide information. Here the
TADS meta data is a good example of how helpful standard information
provided as part of a game can be. A hypothetical tool could read these
"gameinfo" portions of a game file and then present that to the player.
Given that not all systems have this ability, some effort would be
required to invent a sort of cataloguing scheme. I can tell you that
this was done with Atari 2600 emulators which use what is called a
"Stella list" to get information on ROM simulations. Various front-end
GUIs have been made that then read these files and the player does not
have to worry about whether it was a T64 or D64 ROM image.

> And the end result of this could be attracting more authors and
> producing more games and yielding even more players and so become a
> win-win situation for all. It's up to you, the RAIF community, to
> decide what you want to be. A small niche in the gaming market or a
> larger broader-based gaming alternative. I would hope the proposal
> outlined here would seem like an attractive goal.

Well, you are assuming that the end result of this would be as you say.
You cannot categorically say what the end result will *actually* be.
That said, I am not necessarily downplaying your idea. I just like to
make sure that people frame their statements correctly.

- Jeff

Zhou Fang

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Jan 10, 2005, 4:57:18 PM1/10/05
to
> A "player" should be no more than a few clicks away from play. (I want
> to play Luminous Horizons... hmmmm do I download tads, inform, glux,
> adrift, alan...?)
>

The easiest solution I can see is to encourage packaging of games into
self-contained executables. A single interpreter has negligible benefit
- IF webpages tend to include several interpreters on a single page, and
I really don't think it takes that much of an effort to click on two
links instead of one.


> 95% of the world runs on Windows - (my apologies to the RAIF crowd) IF
> should prioritize it's appeal primarily to the most common platform in
> the world, and everything else is secondary...
>

Windows is crap to develop for, and with today's cross-platform
languages, if it runs on windows, it probably runs on everything else
already. This isn't a factor.


> The ifplayer.exe client would install with an icon on a player's pc
> after being downloaded like any other game a player would purchase.
> The application would emulate each language "player". It would
> connect to an IF library webserver that would be a subset of the RAIF
> archives. No web surfing and searching or installation of each
> language. No searching on the IF archives or having to wade through
> all the games listed in the Baf site. The ifplayer client would easily
> provide for a search of games based on genre, release date, ratings,
> etc... from the if library server. Then one user click and the game
> would be downloaded and run. The ifplayer could also show all
> downloaded and saved games a player has on his computer. New games
> that are released could also be prominently displayed in a tab on the
> ifplayer. So would all the entries from any of the Comps. And only IF
> games of a certain rating, voted on by the RAIF community at large,
> would be allowed in this new IF library. And should any IF language
> change or have a new version upgrade - the ifplayer would, just like
> any other software, automatically update itself. Wouldn't this be a
> truly radical, yet simple design?

And it is very dangerous. Part of the best things about the IF community
is its diversity. Newcomers can triumph amongst the old guard. There is
a big risk of this just being a hype engine. A single game gets a little
more attention, which leads to more ratings, and pretty soon, a few,
overhyped and generic games will mean no others will be noticed at all.

Richard Bos

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Jan 10, 2005, 5:20:45 PM1/10/05
to
raif...@yahoo.com wrote:

[ Note impromptu mail address. Suspicious, what? ]

> But there is no reason why modern IF couldn't be more than a niche in
> today's gaming market.

Yes, there is. 90% of any country's population is either functionally
illiterate, or actually so. Of the remaining 10%, 90% is technically too
incompetent to load both a game file _and_ a saved game in one session.
I'd welcome you to the 1% club, but I'd rather you stopped trolling.

Richard

Magnus Olsson

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Jan 10, 2005, 5:20:52 PM1/10/05
to
In article <1105386693.7...@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,

MockTurtle <mockf...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>bad books aren't published, bad movies are shelved...
>
>That's news to me. What planet is this you come from? A discerning
>person is going to have to search for quality in any given media.

There's bad and bad. Bad books get published, yes, but some of the ones
that don't get published are infinitely worse.

--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se)
PGP Public Key available at http://www.df.lth.se/~mol

John Elliott

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Jan 10, 2005, 5:22:45 PM1/10/05
to
Stephen Bond <ste...@nospamkuleuven.ac.be> wrote:
: This might come as a shock to you, but you're not the first person

: to come up with the idea of an all-in-one IF executable. You might
: want to search the archives for "Adventure Blaster" or "Zinc".

Or "Multiaventures" (though that was for the Mac).

--
John Elliott

Andrew Plotkin

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Jan 10, 2005, 5:56:43 PM1/10/05
to
Here, raif...@yahoo.com wrote:
> [see proposal upthread]

> Wouldn't this be a truly radical, yet simple design?

A bunch of people have already commented on this, but I will add:

Big, sweeping, universal proposals about IF have (historically)
guttered out very quickly. Small incremental proposals are the ones
that actually get done.

Yes, the Archive is big and hard to search. That's why Carl built
Baf's Guide. That now serves a valuable indexing function. The
IFScoreboard site is another example -- created by one person, as a
separate project which did one thing well.

If the people who set up the Archive originally had said "It must have
reviews, and searchability, and indexing! For all games! And it should
only include the good ones!" then it probably would never have gotten
started. And if it had, it would have been in Gopher. :)

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
I'm still thinking about what to put in this space.

pfn...@yahoo.com

unread,
Jan 10, 2005, 7:36:48 PM1/10/05
to
Re: IF player proposal

Hi, this is my first post.

My background: I used to play some IF, but not much, back then when
they were called text adventures, in the Commodore 64. My recent
exposure to IF came from a Slashdot news regarding the latest IF comp
(ifcomp.org). I downloaded all games there and I played, say, about
half in varying degrees (a little, some, or all-the-way).

My reply here deviates a somewhat from the focus regarding an IF
player.

What is the core issue that the proposal wants to address? The
exposition of IF to a wider public.

To appeal to a wider public, the first thing to do is to understand why
isn't IF having a wider appeal already. To do this, I suggest putting
up a poll. Below I list some apparent facts, but may instead be
unproven assumptions simply because... the external world has not been
polled at length (that I know of... my apologies if that is not the
case).

Apparent facts -- possible unproven assumptions
1. Easier installation would attract more players.
2. People just don't like IF.
3. Entertainment nowadays requires graphics to generate appeal.
etc.

Now, the ones above might be true -- but they need to be proven. You
may be surprised at what you find.

Let's take my case, for example. I haven't been playing more IF
because:

1. I used to read a lot but now I'm in stage where I want to read less.
Hence, I'm more attracted to brief prose rather than deep/verbose
prose.

2. English is not my native language, so I prefer to avoid reading text
with fancy words that are not oftentimes used (which is why I avoid
"deep" literature in general, anyway).

3. Lack of short and accessible reviews (read: that I know where to
find) that point me to games that match my taste.

Now, those were my reasons, but they would definitely vary amongst
various people.

So, here's my suggestion:

1. Do a brainstorm amongst the active members of the community,
preferably IF authors, to compose a poll with the best options.

2. Put a poll in a friendly web page. Here, use an attractive font,
color, background; but keep it simple -- you're polling "outsiders",
and so, you want to keep their attention.

3. Find those sites where you could submit news that would generate
healthy traffic into your poll. Here are a few suggestions: sites that
do fantasy book reviews, sites that do unconventional gaming, sites
that are puzzle oriented, sites that post computer news of all sorts,
sites that post curiousities as it may expose IF as a "new" curiosity
to a wider audience.

Well, my two cents.

Cheers,
thecurious

Walter S.

unread,
Jan 10, 2005, 8:52:56 PM1/10/05
to
Richard Bos

>[ Note impromptu mail address. Suspicious, what? ]

Freemasons, no doubt about it.

>> But there is no reason why modern IF couldn't be more than a niche
in
>> today's gaming market.

>Yes, there is. 90% of any country's population is either functionally
>illiterate, or actually so. Of the remaining 10%, 90% is technically
too
>incompetent to load both a game file _and_ a saved game in one
session.
>I'd welcome you to the 1% club, but I'd rather you stopped trolling.

Yet despite being one of the Chosen Few (literate *and* able to
operate an interpreter!), you apparently lack the intellectual acumen
to pick up that ethos is necessary for any successful rhetorics. No
matter what other merits your ideas may have, very few are going to
accept them if you couch them in language that implies that all who
disagree are either stupid or trolls. By being so abrasive, you're
crafting a persona that makes people *want* to side against you, and
thus setting your ideas up for rejection.

And anyway, trolls are not the problem; they're just the background
noise. Interactive fiction *is* a tiny obscure niche, not only in
today's gaming market, but, more importantly, in today's literature.
The fault is not to be found with the general public, who are
supposedly too stupid to appreciate IF, but with the authors who are
too inept and arrogant to successfully popularise the medium.

Michael Roy

unread,
Jan 10, 2005, 11:13:41 PM1/10/05
to
Walter S. wrote:

> The fault is not to be found with the general public, who are
> supposedly too stupid to appreciate IF, but with the authors who are
> too inept and arrogant to successfully popularise the medium.

It's hard enough to get authors of conventional fiction to do, say, a
book signing. Why should IF authors be expected to give up a lot of
time promoting something that they're giving away for free? I've seen
some really good works come from the posters here and I think that
authors have done enough in creating them without being required to
undertake the noble goal of popularizing the medium.

There are legitimate reasons beside stupidity for why someone may not
appreciate IF. For one thing, reading a lot of text on a computer is
harder than reading it print. For another, second-person text is harder
to read until you get used to it. And not all people care for the
mixture of puzzle book and novel where most IF lies.

Some of these are modifiable design issues, but who would want to modify
their ideas for the sake of popularity? I've heard it suggested that
NetHack would be more popular if it were made into a first-person
shooter, but it sure wouldn't be NetHack. IF is what it is because it's
what the people who want IF want. And none of these issues stems from
authors being inept or arrogant.

Michael

Fred the Wonder Worm

unread,
Jan 11, 2005, 12:46:26 AM1/11/05
to

In article <1105403808.1...@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,

<pfn...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> What is the core issue that the proposal wants to address? The
> exposition of IF to a wider public.
>
> To appeal to a wider public, the first thing to do is to understand
> why isn't IF having a wider appeal already. [...]

>
> Apparent facts -- possible unproven assumptions
> 1. Easier installation would attract more players.
> 2. People just don't like IF.
> 3. Entertainment nowadays requires graphics to generate appeal.
> etc.

The latter two points are irrelevant, however. The aim is *not* to
produce something with a wider appeal than IF, but to get more of
those people who would enjoy IF to play it (and then keep playing
it). There are, as I see it, three parts to this:

1) Advertising: make more people aware of IF, and interested in
trying it, and you'll get more people who enjoy it.

2) Ease-of-use: make the process of going from "curious enough to
play some IF" to "playing some IF" easy, so that people are more
likely to make it from one to the other.

3) Quality: make the initial experiences with IF positive ones;
people will judge the genre as a whole by their initial sample,
and the more enjoyable it is, the more likely they are to
persist.

The original proposal did not address point 1 much, and I don't
intend to either. It's the sort of thing that works better after
the other two have been addressed.

Point 2 is the one which seems to have generated the most response.
Although the original suggestion needs work, I think the goal is
desirable. The one-click approach is, I feel, an achievable one.
(I have some notion that one could get quite far with plugins, for
instance, which is an interface people are already probably familiar
with. This requires work on the part of the web pages serving the
games, but in an automatable way.)

Point 3 was also touched on. A reasonable start would be to provide
a pool of suggested beginner games, a pool of "good" games, genre
categorisation, and ratings. Most of this information already
exists in various places -- it's a matter of getting the information
to the prosepective player.

[ Aside: with respect to possible PayPal or similar donations, I
think most schemes are vulnerable to rorting. The safest (from
this point of view) approach would be to present the player
with a list of games they have downloaded and/or played and ask
whether they wish to exclude (the authors of) any games from
payment -- the money is then split evenly amongst the remaining
games. I don't know enough about PayPal to determine how
difficult the implementation of this would be, however. ]

Cheers,
Geoff.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Geoff Bailey (Fred the Wonder Worm) | Programmer by trade --
ft...@maths.usyd.edu.au | Gameplayer by vocation.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

jrw

unread,
Jan 11, 2005, 1:04:00 AM1/11/05
to
raif...@yahoo.com wrote:

> But there is no reason why modern IF couldn't be more than a niche

> in today's gaming market. [...]


>
> If mass appeal is truly a goal of RAIF, then accomplishing this
> intention of appealing to the a larger audience will only happen
> if the IF "marketing" is changed in a major way.


Seriously, why is this a perceived goal? What would be the point?
Money? Less embarrassment at having to explain your hobby to
people who have never heard of it?

I'm playing stupid a little bit here, but I'd be very interested
to hear someone articulate the reasons why IF should become a
mass market game medium.


--
J. Robinson Wheeler Games - http://raddial.com/if/
JRW Digital Media Movie - http://thekroneexperiment.com
j...@jrwdigitalmedia.com Comic - http://adamcadre.ac/comics.html

Joshua Houk

unread,
Jan 11, 2005, 1:57:51 AM1/11/05
to
raif...@yahoo.com wrote:

> If you haven't realized, the IF archives
> site isn't exactly the most user-friendly place for a novice user to
> begin their journey into the world of IF.

Yes, I have realized that. So did Baf, which is why we have Baf's Guide
to the IF Archive.

If you don't know about Baf's site, then you just might be the wrong
person to write a detailed proposal about what the IF community should
or shouldn't do. I assumed as much and ignored the rest of your post.

Joshua Houk
jlh...@comcast.net

Felix

unread,
Jan 11, 2005, 4:40:47 AM1/11/05
to
jrw wrote:
> I'm playing stupid a little bit here, but I'd be very interested
> to hear someone articulate the reasons why IF should become a
> mass market game medium.
>
I'll give you one, and don't ask me to explain:
because IF deserves that.

Actually achieving such a goal is a difficult
- and different - problem.

Don't take things lightly,
Felix

Quintin Stone

unread,
Jan 11, 2005, 9:45:57 AM1/11/05
to
On Mon, 10 Jan 2005, Walter S. wrote:

> And anyway, trolls are not the problem; they're just the background
> noise.

And yet you still insist on playing the roll. You honestly have nothing
better to do? How sad.

==--- --=--=-- ---==
Quintin Stone "You speak of necessary evil? One of those necessities
st...@rps.net is that if innocents must suffer, the guilty must suffer
www.rps.net more." - Mackenzie Calhoun, "Once Burned" by Peter David

Michael Vondung

unread,
Jan 11, 2005, 1:32:59 PM1/11/05
to
On 11 Jan 2005 01:40:47 -0800, Felix wrote:

> I'll give you one, and don't ask me to explain:
> because IF deserves that.

"Deserves" implies that popularity would necessarily be a Good Thing. I
have been lurking here for a few years, and from past discussions of this
type (there have been numerous of them) I gathered that this isn't a
universal goal, or belief, shared by all active members of this community.

The average quality of "normal" (graphical) computer games certainly did
not improve with the increased popularity of this particular entertainment
medium.

M.

Poster

unread,
Jan 11, 2005, 6:40:02 PM1/11/05
to
Felix wrote:
> jrw wrote:
>
>>I'm playing stupid a little bit here, but I'd be very interested
>>to hear someone articulate the reasons why IF should become a
>>mass market game medium.
>>

1> Recognition for the authors.
2> Financial profit for the authors.
3> New blood. Yes, many of us found IF (or rediscovered it) on our own,
but popularity can make more people aware of something that just didn't
think about it before. This in turn brings more players and more authors.
4> More feedback for authors, and hence a better quality of game.
5> A bigger, more vibrant community.

Now I'm not going to say that this all results from a "mass market" in
the way that cars and garden tools are advertised. But we certainly
could elevate the status of IF via advertising, commercial deals, and so
forth. That may not be "mass market" but "sinewy independent scene" like
independent music, or something. Still I think that would be better than
remaining as we are.

-- Poster


"I seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the
propertied class, and the sole control of those who produce wealth.
Communism is the goal." -- Roger Baldwin, founder of the ACLU.

Message has been deleted

Stephen Bond

unread,
Jan 12, 2005, 7:16:31 AM1/12/05
to
jrw wrote:

> Poster wrote:
>>"I seek the social ownership of property, the abolition
>>of the propertied class, and the sole control of those
>>who produce wealth.
>>
>>Communism is the goal." -- Roger Baldwin, founder of the ACLU.
>

> Art is the goal.

From his comments about Bush in another thread, I suspect
"Poster's" sig is meant in an ACLU-bashing sense.

Stephen.

pfn...@yahoo.com

unread,
Jan 12, 2005, 2:20:30 PM1/12/05
to
You know, I just browsed through the FAQ (as recently posted), and I'm
really amazed at the quality of information and web sites out there.
For one, iFAQ was very nicely laid out, and the author's FAQ is very
cool too.

I'd like to actually author my own IF game, even if it was small. Hmm.
I'll think about it.

Cheers,
thecurious

Jess Knoch

unread,
Jan 12, 2005, 3:05:58 PM1/12/05
to

Proceed with caution; you may get hooked.

--
Jess, who is half-hooked. I could quit anytime.


Message has been deleted
Message has been deleted

Stephen Bond

unread,
Jan 12, 2005, 7:15:47 PM1/12/05
to
Mike Tulloch wrote:
> And if accurate quotation be bashing, then all the reporters in the
> world would be liars.

Bashing is not the same thing as lying.

Hmm. But this is pretty far off topic, right gents?

Your sig is off-topic. I was merely clarifying that its intentions
were not inconsistent with the rest of your post.

Stephen.

Stacey Capps

unread,
Jan 16, 2005, 10:14:22 AM1/16/05
to
Just for giggles, I went around and tried to get folks at the office to
play IF. My twelve test subjects were all members of the information
technology department at a big law firm.

I used the BBC's graphical version of the Hitchhiker's Guide game:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hitchhikers/game.shtml

It automatically loads in the company approved web browser. It includes
pictures. There is an immediately viewable link about how to play the
game, plus a link to game hints. While the game itself is advanced, the
first bit isn't terrible. It starts in familiar territory. I stood by
to provide help on playing the game and hints on what to do next.

The results were astoundingly poor. Most of those who attempted to play
were too young to have played interactive fiction before. None were
willing to read a how-to file before they began playing. Most refused
to read it even after encountering difficulties. The sentiment I heard
repeatedly was that the game should conform to their typos/grammar/play
style instead of the other way around. A few agreed to try the game
only because they expected a point-and-click interface. They reacted as
if there was a breach of contract.

Some immediately stopped playing, once they realized they had to read
text and input text commands. Others got a few turns in and then
decided it was 'too hard.' A few tried more than once to get through
the beginning of the game, then quit perplexed. Only one escaped Arthur
Dent's home. Then he quit, bored and feeling the rewards were too few.
He was about my age and had the advantage of having seen people play IF
games before.

All these people are literate and intelligent. Most play video games in
their spare time. They are more computer literate than most. And they
all had at least an hour to kill. The average time before quitting was
under five minutes, including the time it took me to convince them to
play and quickly explain how. My star player lasted almost fifteen.

In my opinion, marketing and packaging will not turn IF into a mass
medium for this era, much less a profitable one for authors. No matter
how easy we make it to download and launch the games, playing them will
still require above par literacy and patience.

At best, IF may someday become a brief fad for the sort of people who
buy books with crossword puzzles in them. This is a real market, but a
small one that likes a good bargain and would distribute any monies
among a large pool of potential games. In my opinion, the internet is
still not well enough crosslinked to encourage this phenomenon.

That said, I would support any movement towards helping players easily
launch games, learn how to play them, and distinguish well-ranked ones
from poorly-ranked ones. Based on what I saw, any new work or tool
hoping to draw in new players might also do well to consider including
a rewarding 'tutorial' that guides players on how to play IF.

If no such tutorial exists, I might be willing to help make one.
Stacey Capps

Eric Eve

unread,
Jan 16, 2005, 11:33:17 AM1/16/05
to

"Stacey Capps" <stace...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1105888462.1...@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...

> Just for giggles, I went around and tried to get folks at the
> office to
> play IF. My twelve test subjects were all members of the
> information
> technology department at a big law firm.
>
> I used the BBC's graphical version of the Hitchhiker's Guide game:
> http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hitchhikers/game.shtml
>
> [snip]
>[snip]

That sounds an interesting experiment, but I wonder what the results
show. I don't think it can simply be that the people you ran your
test on were all too young to remember IF in its commercial
heyday -- that would surely apply to many people currently
interested in IF, wouldn't it? And according to your own reckoning,
your experimental subjects were literate, intelligent,
computer-literate, and not averse to computer gaming. My guess would
be (as you indeed imply) that one factor is that IF didn't conform
to these folks' idea of what a computer game should be, this
expectation having been formed by video games. But that can't be a
total explanation, since there are some people who like both IF and
video games (though perhaps they're relatively rare); and, to cite
at least one counter-example, I used to play of video games quite a
bit myself until I discovered the IF scene and found that I got more
enjoyment from IF.

I do note, however, that all your twelve subjects were "members of
the information technology department at a big law firm", so they
were not exactly a random cross-section of the potential gaming
public as a whole. Could it be, for example, that the law firm in
question tends to recruit a certain type and encourage a certain
culture?

I'm not disputing your implication that there may be an awful lot of
people who would react much as your test subjects did, but I wonder
if it helps us identify which sort of people might be potentially
interested in IF. I've noticed, for example, that quite a few
(though by no means a majority) of the people active on the IF scene
are involved in academia in some way (Graham Nelson was an Oxford
mathematician, to name the most obvious example), and I wonder if
that might be significant. That said, I'd not dare to try your
experiment with my academic colleagues: they'd think I'd lost my
senses!

I also get the impression (though I may be mistaken) that a
substantial proportion of the people who are interested in playing
IF (at least of those who appear on r*if) are also interested in
writing it, and I wonder if that may be of some significance in
helping to identify what other people might potentially be
interested in IF. I recall seeing a post on r*if some time ago
suggesting something to the effect that the intellectual pleasure
obtained from puzzle-solving in IF was not unlike that obtained from
solving programming problems, and there may be something in that --
but again not all IF enthusiasts are programmers, and not all
programmers are IF enthusiasts.

Or is IF such an idiosyncratic taste that there's no way of
identifying potential takers?

-- Eric


Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Jan 16, 2005, 11:57:51 AM1/16/05
to
Here, Stacey Capps <stace...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> Based on what I saw, any new work or tool
> hoping to draw in new players might also do well to consider including
> a rewarding 'tutorial' that guides players on how to play IF.

I've written one of those, but I haven't tried it out on the mass
market yet. It doesn't assume that you have any idea what kind of
commands to type, and tries to guide you through the opening scene.
Plus a big built-in help system.

However, it *does* assume that you know that a text game involves
typing and reading text. If the player isn't prepared to do that, I
can't see a way to convince him to. And that doesn't bother me. No
text game I write will ever appeal to 100% of humanity.

(Remember, a billion Chinese-speakers can't even read the text.)

Heroic Muse (heroicmuse@yahoo.com)

unread,
Jan 16, 2005, 12:34:14 PM1/16/05
to
Eric -

I wonder what the co-relation between chess players and IF players
might be. I'm curious because I enjoy IF for many of the same reasons
that I enjoy chess: the intellectual exercise of planning solutions to
puzzles (in the case of chess, how exactly to capture the opponent's
king, including how to deal with pieces interfering with my plan) and
readjusting the plan according to how my opponent (in the case of IF,
the interpreter) responds to my actions.

I suspect that this might be connected to programming as well--chess
skill is mathematical, at least to some degree, as is programming.

The question is, I guess, whether the connection between IF and
enjoyment of literature/language is a confounding factor, so that the
cross-section of people we are looking for are those who enjoy
mathematics AND literature.

Heroic Muse

Eric Eve

unread,
Jan 16, 2005, 2:40:59 PM1/16/05
to
<heroi...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1105896854.1...@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...

> Eric -
>
> I wonder what the co-relation between chess players and IF players
> might be. I'm curious because I enjoy IF for many of the same
> reasons
> that I enjoy chess: the intellectual exercise of planning
> solutions to
> puzzles (in the case of chess, how exactly to capture the
> opponent's
> king, including how to deal with pieces interfering with my plan)
> and
> readjusting the plan according to how my opponent (in the case of
> IF,
> the interpreter) responds to my actions.

I can see why there might be a correlation, though I've no idea if
one exists. If it does, I'm an exception to it, since I'm no chess
player.

-- Eric


Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Jan 16, 2005, 8:38:40 PM1/16/05
to
Here, Eric Eve <eric...@nospamhmc.ox.ac.uk> wrote:

> But that can't be a total explanation, since there are some people
> who like both IF and video games (though perhaps they're relatively
> rare)

Dude, let me tell you how often the running discussion on IFMud is all
about how much better "Prince of Persia: Sands of Time" was than this
"Warrior Within" thing.

Earth_Angel

unread,
Jan 16, 2005, 11:07:52 PM1/16/05
to
It would be interesting to hear what everyone's reasons are for their
IF addiction. Perhaps we could attempt to find interesting
coincidences. It would be revealing if everyone gave a little personal
bio as related to IF.

For example:
Age:
First Exposure to IF:
Programming experience:
Interest in writing?:
Other hobbies outside of IF:
Favorite Genre:
Interest in video games:
Chess Player?:
Field of Occupation:
Reasons why you feel you enjoy IF:
This could be an interesting survey...

Earth_Angel

unread,
Jan 16, 2005, 11:16:55 PM1/16/05
to

Stacey Capps wrote:
> Just for giggles, I went around and tried to get folks at the office
to
> play IF. My twelve test subjects were all members of the information
> technology department at a big law firm.

This has always been very frustrating for me. I find someone I think
would be just perfect for enjoying IF. For example my husband:

Avid reader
Loves science fiction
Plays mud based pc games like Gemstone (lots of reading involved)
Occasionally programs for fun
linear logical thinker (the type of mind for puzzles)

Perfect IF player, right? No, apparently not... Despite my attempts to
peak his interest he does not enjoy it. ...He is however writing am
IF game now, that's got to be unique...
I can't help but wonder what key element am I missing?

Adrian Fänger

unread,
Jan 17, 2005, 1:50:45 AM1/17/05
to
Age:25
First Exposure to IF:3 years ago
Programming experience:yes
Interest in writing?:some
Other hobbies outside of IF:reading,muds,videogames,soccer
Favorite Genre:-none-
Interest in video games: yes
Chess Player?: sometimes
Field of Occupation:It

Reasons why you feel you enjoy IF:
Puzzles and storys

Rikard Peterson

unread,
Jan 17, 2005, 4:50:20 AM1/17/05
to
Earth_Angel wrote in
news:1105934872.1...@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com:

> It would be interesting to hear what everyone's reasons are for
> their IF addiction. Perhaps we could attempt to find interesting
> coincidences. It would be revealing if everyone gave a little
> personal bio as related to IF.

Oooh! A survey!

Age: 26

First Exposure to IF: The Augmented 4th, summer of 2001. I still
haven't completed an Infocom game (Zork GI is Activision, isn't it?)
but I do own the Masterpieces CD.

Programming experience: Some. Have written an accounting program (in
Visual Basic) beacuse I accidentally destroyed my mother's program
out of curiosity. (I wonder what's in *this* file?) Have written a
somewhat simple action game in C. Am currently creating a graphical
adventure game in Sludge.

Interest in writing?: The interest is there. (What do you expect when
you post the poll in raif?) One day I will try to create an IF game.
(If you have a wider-than-most definition of IF, you could say that I
already am, but I'd like to make a text game one day, too.)

Other hobbies outside of IF: Besides what's mentioned in this post
(creating computer games, music, playing games, programming) I
suppose I could mention reading and watching movies. I'd say talking
long walks too, but then it'd start to look like a matchseeking ad.

Favorite Genre: I don't know.

Interest in video games: Yes. Mostly adventure games, but I like
some others, too. Worms Armageddon, Rayman 2 & 3 and Beyond Good and
Evil comes to mind.

Chess Player?: No. I know the rules, and I can beat family members
but I don't stand a chance against a real chess player or a computer
program on the easiest setting.

Field of Occupation: Brass (trumpet, trombone, ...) teacher.

Reasons why you feel you enjoy IF: I'll take the easy way out here,
and quote Adrian's answer: "Puzzles and storys". I think I like all
aspects of it, but I don't really know why. Ask me why I like music
and I couldn't answer that either. I might answer "rythms and
melodies".

Rikard

Joao Mendes

unread,
Jan 17, 2005, 6:32:59 AM1/17/05
to
Ahoy, :)

Alrighty, I'm game.

> Age: 32
> First Exposure to IF: Adventure, but only through hear-say from my father;
The Hobbit for the Speccy was my first actual playing experience
> Programming experience: More than you can shake a stick at
> Interest in writing?: Yes
> Other hobbies outside of IF: RPGs, board games, bridge, everything that
has to do with gaming, pretty much, other than Monopoly, that is
> Favorite Genre: Sci-Fi al the way
> Interest in video games: Hmmyes, like I said, it's a game
> Chess Player?: Used to be; migrated to Go a few years back
> Field of Occupation: Independent business owner, investment company
> Reasons why you feel you enjoy IF: Killer storylines, awesome worlds;
Tapestry remains my favorite game, Worlds Apart and Anchorhead are tied for
second

Cheers,

J.


Heroic Muse (heroicmuse@yahoo.com)

unread,
Jan 17, 2005, 1:07:29 PM1/17/05
to
OK. (I was going to write an introductory post one of these days
anyway)

Age: 26
First Exposure to IF: Watching my brother play Hitchhiker's Guide to
the Galaxy on my dad's Atari 800 before I was old enough to be allowed
to use the computer.

Programming Experience: As a child, I studied BASIC. I wanted to study
assembly language but didn't quite dare.

Interest in writing: Yes! I'm working on a novel and a screenplay in
addition to my first IF game. I've also written literally thousands of
poems. I've wanted to be a writer since I was 7 years old, when I
filled a composition notebook with a story about a parrot and called it
my first novel. When I'm writing something I get lost in it and forget
to attend to the rest of my life.

Other hobbies outside of IF: Chess, basketball, e-mail, reading,
writing, philosophy, psychology (especially child psychology,
self-esteem psychology, and work with sub-personalities)

Favorite Genre: Fantasy. In my non-IF writing I'm more mainstream
though I concentrate on children as protagonists.

Interest in video games: Some. I always seem to be out of date--I have
a Playstation 1 and a Pentium III, so I can't really play modern games.
(Probably comes from growing up with an Atari long after it became
obsolete.)

Chess player: Yes. I am currently studying end game strategy and
practicing on my friends. I intend to enter the American Open next
year.

Field of Occupation: I wish I could say writer but right now I'm an
unemployed administrative assistant looking for work.

Reasons why you feel you enjoy IF: A combination of enjoying solving
puzzles and loving to identify with a character and theme.

Adam Thornton

unread,
Jan 17, 2005, 1:26:26 PM1/17/05
to
Age: 33
First Exposure to IF: Adventure on a PDP-11 with an actual paper
terminal. Age six or so.

Programming experience: Lots. More than 20 years of actual coding;
these days I mostly use Rexx, Perl, Java, and C, but I'm fluent in a
bunch of other languages.

Interest in writing?: Not so much. I write the occasional technical
article for magazines, but haven't sold any fiction (I'm a coauthor on
one published RPG product, but other than that, not really).

Other hobbies outside of IF: Retrocomputing, trap shooting, search dog
training, drinking.

Favorite Genre: SF, if we're talking written fiction. Don't really have
one IF-wise.

Interest in video games: Yeah. Mostly retro and hacking. The games
aren't the neat part: making the consoles behave in
unintended-by-the-manufacturer ways is. I play mostly adventure and RPG
titles, but right now I'm hooked on Katamari Damacy, Paper Mario:
Thousand-Year Door (which is an RPG), and GTA:SA, which might be an RPG
by some definitions. Mostly, though, I do things like run Linux on my
GameCube and write text adventures for the Atari 2600.

Chess Player?: No. I know the rules but I'm terrible.

Field of Occupation: IT consultant.

Reasons why you feel you enjoy IF: Puzzle solving and prose at the same
time! Yay! Writing it helps me realize my childhood dream of being an
Implementor. Thinking about game design and puzzle design is fun, and
IF has a much lower barrier to entry than a graphical game format.

Adam

Mike Snyder

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Jan 17, 2005, 1:55:39 PM1/17/05
to
"Earth_Angel" <correi...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1105934872.1...@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...

Okay, I'll bite.

> Age:

33

> First Exposure to IF:

A game called "The Arconiax Assignment", which was a BASIC game for the CoCo
2 published by Rainbow Magazine. There was a scratch-and-sniff insert sheet
which tied back to the game somehow. I was hooked. I then tried several of
their Rainbow Book of Adventures games. I never played the Infocom games.
Most of what I played was amateur work.

> Programming experience:

In general? I learned to program TI-99/4a BASIC 1985 or 1986 (if I recall
correctly). I then started working with BASIC on Apple IIC, and bought a
Radio Shack CoCo (later a CoCo 3). I studied Computer Science in college,
got a job as a programmer for a mom-and-pop type business for a little
while, moved to Wichita, and started programming as a profession. I work
with C, Visual Foxpro, and Perl, but I've used quite a few PLs over the
years.

> Interest in writing?:

Before I started programming, I was a kid who loved to write. I wanted to be
a writer when I grew up, but it didn't quite work out like that. The first
edition of Market Guide for Young Writers (Kathy Henderson) was dedicated to
me in part, because her daughter was my pen-pal and knowning her mom was a
writer made half my letters questions about getting stories published
(prompting her to write the Market Guide). I don't write much anymore, but I
still read a lot.

> Other hobbies outside of IF:

I read a lot, and I play video games too much. I like movies, but I don't
see as many as I did when I was single. I like to program games (not just
IF) and have had a little success with an online game website.

> Favorite Genre:

Science Fiction

> Interest in video games:

Most definitely. I'm kind of becoming an addict these days, with the three
major consoles, GBA and the new DS, and a few older consoles and handhelds
too. I don't play PC video games often -- not sure why. I guess when I'm on
the computer, I'm too distracted with email and the web and my own games to
play anything.

> Chess Player?:

No. I know the rules, and I *can* play -- just not well.

> Field of Occupation:

I'm a programmer.

> Reasons why you feel you enjoy IF:

I guess it's because I have a fondness for "adventure games" from way back.
I like to read, and it's rewarding to solve puzzles. For me, it hasn't
anything to do with being crossplatform or portable. It's just fun
(usually).

---- Mike.


Michael Coyne

unread,
Jan 17, 2005, 3:35:08 PM1/17/05
to
On Sun, 16 Jan 2005 20:07:52 -0800, Earth_Angel said to the parser:

> Age:
Just turned 32.

> First Exposure to IF:
Apple Adventure on the //e in 1983. Zorks on the //e just a few months
later.

> Programming experience:
Started in basic and 6502 assembler on the Apple at a very tender age. I
remember with fondness the cool disturbances one could create in a
computer classroom by typing "CALL 985" at the DOS prompt on an unenhanced
Apple //e or ][+.
(for those who don't know, the computer would emit a long sound from the
speaker that sounded very much like MOOOOOOO).

Lots of C and lots of different assembly in adult life, mostly on embedded
systems.

> Interest in writing?:
Yes. If only I had time. Working on several different things at the
moment that aren't going anywhere.

> Other hobbies outside of IF:

Voracious reading of anything I can lay my hands on, writing, roleplaying.

> Favorite Genre:
For IF, puzzle-based.
For reading, sci-fi/fantasy.
Currently (re)reading:
Tolkien: Man and Myth
H.P. Lovecraft compendium
Return of the Native


> Interest in video games:
It's good I don't have more time to spend on them, because I would. Into
story-based FPS (Max Payne), RPG (Baldur's Gate) and retro-gaming (Apple
II and MAME classics). Replaying Baldur's Gate mainly so I can forget
that I don't have a new computer.

Married, w/kids, so there's neither time nor money for all the computer
gaming I am capable of : )

> Chess Player?:
Yes, but I've never been as good as I wanted.
Was seriously into Knightmare Chess a few years ago too.

> Field of Occupation:
Senior Systems Engineer, aka hardware developer, with lots of firmware
development.

> Reasons why you feel you enjoy IF:

A large part of it is nostalgia for the games of my youth. The rest is
the heavy, logical-based puzzles, and the strong emphasis on reading.

> This could be an interesting survey...

Yes.

Earth_Angel

unread,
Jan 17, 2005, 4:55:42 PM1/17/05
to

Earth_Angel wrote:

Well I suppose I better answer myself as well, hehe.

> Age: 22 (female, I wonder what the gender ratio is for IF players)

> First Exposure to IF: I remember being 4 or 5, sitting next to my
mother at our Com 64 and having her read the text of Wishbringer to me
like it was some sort of bedtime story. I rediscovered IF with the
lost treasures of Infocom CD when I began college. And then,
re-re-discovered it about a year ago.

> Programming experience: That's a laugh ... ummm, I dated a programmer
once .. . However, I am venturing into TADS one baby step at a time.
So far, so good.

> Interest in writing?: I had aspirations of being a writer as a child.
Funny enough I would always write CYOA (Choose Your Own Adventure)
style stories, which to me, if closely related to IF. I am now
embarking on my first IF game.

> Other hobbies outside of IF: I enjoy reading, but only when a book
really catches my interest. I go in phases with most hobbies. I've
been obsessed with various things, including:
Live Action Role-playing (Vampire the Masquerade),
Magic the Gathering, Painting (although I'm not artistic), Quilting,
MMORPGs (mainly Everquest 1), DDR (dance based arcade game). Hmm. . .
lots more.

> Favorite Genre: Light hearted fantasy/sci-fi. Terry Pratchet, Tom
Holt, Douglas Adams.

> Interest in video games: To a limited extent. The old
side-scrollers are still the best in my opinion. I would usually
rather play on-line games such as Everquest or on-line poker.

> Chess Player?: I enjoy an occasional friendly game.
> Field of Occupation: Grade school Teacher
> Reasons why you feel you enjoy IF: Nostalgia is a big part of it. I
also enjoy mapping out a location and seeing it unfold. That feeling
of discovery is very rewarding.

Vivienne Dunstan

unread,
Jan 17, 2005, 5:13:50 PM1/17/05
to
Ok might as well join in with this one!

Age: 32

First Exposure to IF: Probably a text adventure on an Apple II in the
late 1970s, circa 1980 - maybe Adventure or a clone. It's difficult to
remember the start. Fairly soon afterwards I was playing Infocom games
and also games by British companies like Magnetic Scrolls and others.

Programming experience: 20-years or so of it, at school and university
(computer science graduate) with all kinds of different languages.

Interest in writing?: Well I've a lot of writing to do for my thesis but
apart from that I don't do so much, certainly little fictional writing,
though I used to write more some years ago. I don't find it difficult to
write for IF. Whether the writing is any good is another matter ...

Other hobbies outside of IF: Reading, genealogy and musical instruments.

Favorite Genre: I've a soft spot for traditional fantasy games but
probably prefer detective/mystery games. That covers a lot of games,
even games like Curses or Jigsaw where there's a big puzzle to solve.

Interest in video games: Not much. I played masses of them in the 1980s
on my Commodore 64 and other computers, but not so much since. I'll play
god/simulation games but that's about it. With the rest I get bored.

Chess Player?: Yes but I hardly play now and haven't for years. I always
tended to get really bored with chess. I don't get any particular
pleasure out of analysing the board, possible moves etc.

Field of Occupation: Postgraduate history student.

Reasons why you feel you enjoy IF: A mix: exploring the world that's
created, solving the puzzles, the escapism that's like reading a book
but more interactive. I suppose IF for me is a curious mix of reading
and crossword puzzles! Although I've played IF games for over 20 years I
don't think that nostalgia is a big factor, or I'd still be playing
masses of Commodore 64 video games ... Note I've answered this as a
player. I've written some IF games and have some more designs/WIPs on
the go at the moment, but I mainly play IF, not write it.

Viv

flammableBen

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Jan 17, 2005, 8:02:34 PM1/17/05
to
Read the IF boards quite often but this is the first time I've post,
sorry if it ends up looking a bit sketchy doing it with this google
beta thing. Hope I might have a slightly different view on this survey.

Age:
20

First Exposure to IF:
Bit tricky this one. Grew up from a v. young age with a bbc (model b I
think, not that it makes much difference). Pretty sure I had a few text
adventures (Eldarado Gold???) but being very very young, <8 . Didn't
ever really get anywhere, think I understood the concept, but at that
age bit complex. Only bit of IF experience between then and now (I
think) was a friend who got a copy of Hitch-hikers guide to the Galaxy
for the Atari St . He wasn't interested in it at all (not enough flashy
graphics, still young). But I remember having a brief interest in the
game. Think I got to the bulldozer but no further. Was still young.
Recently my interest in IF got sparked by Slouching Towards Bedlam.
Which although I'd tried playing a few games in a short period before
was the first IF game to really catch my imagination and found myself
playing through trying to get different endings without thinking about
it. So I have very little experience at the classic IF games from the
80's (exeption of Hitch-hikers, which I like but still havn't had the
patience to complete) and to be honest have very little interest
either. From what I've played of old games like Zork I find pretty
dull and uninteresting.

Programming Experience:
Bit of an odd one aswell. I taught myself the basics of basics (sorry)
on bbc when I was very young from a book (think it was the standard
basic guide which came with the bbc (not sure though). This really
didn't get much past the stage of gosubs, if commands and arrays.
[cutting bit's in between] Now I'm older doing a degree in computer
science at Exeter, England. Not doing it that well though, retaking my
second year due to crashing and burning last year. So basically Yes,
but obviously not finding as interesting / much of a challenge as I
once did.

Interest in Writing?:
Yes, probably the thing I find most interesting about the whole IF
thing. I like the idea of being able to create your own text based
worlds in INFORM or TADS without having to really worry to much about
parser etc. Now if only I was a bit more creative....

Other Hobbies:
Football (soccer) playing and watching (STFC you reds), Playing Guitar,
Listening to Music, Drinking vast amounts of alcohol, general student
stuff.

Favorite Genre:
Tricky, in IF or general reading it tends to be anything that makes me
laugh.

Interest in video games:
Goes on and off to be honest. Never really up to date with the newer
stuff. But I guess the last non-IF game to really grab me was Deus Ex
(the first one, got no chance of playing the sequal on my computer).
Most played game over the years is probably various Champ Managers. I
guess favorite game of all time has got to be Chuckie Egg. Which
bizarely was released the year before I was born (1983, I think).

Chess Player?:
Badly. Play against friends occasionaly and win sometimes.

Occupation:
Student.

Enjoy IF:
Dunno, my IF experience is pretty limited. I played a few of this years
comp games and thought blue chairs (that what it's called? can't
remember) was the best. But I didn't play them all. As I said Slouching
towards Bedlam is probably my favorite IF game I've played. So I guess
I prefer games that grab my attention. Not sure that's the answer the
question is looking for. So the other reason I enjoy IF is the way it
gives people the oppertunity to create their own worlds, enviroments
whatever you want to call it.

Hope my point of view is a bit different, as I said this was written in
the google beta thing. Also done on a few glasses of wine so sorry
about typos and sentances that just don't make sence

Jimmy Maher

unread,
Jan 17, 2005, 10:10:02 PM1/17/05
to
> Age:
32
> First Exposure to IF:
Christmas, 1984. Along with my new Commodore 64, I discover a gray box
under the tree. Something called The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy...
> Programming experience:
I work with Perl, PHP, SQL, and Unix shell scripting quite a lot at
work. On a hobbyist basis, I've worked with C/C++, many variants of
BASIC, Pascal (ditto), Modula-2 (remember that?), and good old 6502
assembler.
> Interest in writing?:
Yes. I've written more commentary and reviews than original work of my
own, although I have done some short stories. I'm more interested in
creating interactive media than conventional writing, at this stage
anyway. Unfortunately, I don't have a great deal of time for either
right now.

> Other hobbies outside of IF:
Volkswagens, music, indendendent film, reading, drinking, travel, snow
skiing, swimming.
> Favorite Genre:
I'm interested in just about any, although I do harbor deep prejudices
against Tolkienen fantasy and vampire stories. (Not that something in
those genres couldn't win me over. You're just gonna have to work extra
hard at it.)
> Interest in video games:
Games used to be a big part of my life, and I'm still very interested in
them conceptually. In recent years, however, the game industry has been
busily reinventing itself on the bland and soulless Hollywood model, and
I find myself less engaged all the time. A gem still slips through
occasionally though, and there is always the independent scene.
> Chess Player?:
I know the rules (basically), but can't play worth a damn.
> Field of Occupation:
Unix systems analyst / liberal arts student at university.

> Reasons why you feel you enjoy IF:
All of it. The puzzles, the exploration, the sheer untapped
possibilities of the medium. I get a little shiver everytime I fire up
a new game and read the opening text.

Jimmy

Kevin Venzke

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Jan 17, 2005, 11:27:29 PM1/17/05
to
Hope I'm not too late.

"Earth_Angel" <correi...@yahoo.com> wrote in message

> For example:
> Age:
25, rounding up.

> First Exposure to IF:
Scott Adams games on the TI994A Adventure cartridge. I
watched my dad slowly but surely defeat Pirate Adventure,
and utterly fail to defeat Pyramid of Doom.

I think my uncle let me play Zork I on a PC some time later, and
I didn't recognize it as being the same type of game.

At age 10 or 11 I made my first attempt at IF, in TI Extended
BASIC. It starred my stuffed dog, and each room had its own
parser. Not completed (though Kurusu City was written with
the same programming philosophy).

> Programming experience:
Much, but nothing practical. (Much BASIC, MSQuickC, Java,
Unrealscript, TADS.) Mainly randomized simulations. I wrote
a BBS game once, and something to let me pretend that I have
long filenames under MS-DOS.

> Interest in writing?:
Some.

> Other hobbies outside of IF:

Election methods, foreign languages.

> Favorite Genre:
Books: Non-fiction only. IF: Can't really bear the notion of
"genre" in IF.

> Interest in video games:
Arcade-ish street racing. Beyond that I can't bear to spend time
on it.

> Chess Player?:
No, but I have invented different rules and hoped to become
good with them.

> Field of Occupation:
Next question please.

> Reasons why you feel you enjoy IF:

I always feel terror when playing IF. (This isn't a disagreement
with the question.)

Kevin Venzke


Kevin Venzke

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Jan 17, 2005, 11:44:44 PM1/17/05
to

"Stacey Capps" <stace...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1105888462.1...@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> Just for giggles, I went around and tried to get folks at the office to
> play IF. My twelve test subjects were all members of the information
> technology department at a big law firm.
>
> I used the BBC's graphical version of the Hitchhiker's Guide game:
> http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hitchhikers/game.shtml

Looks kind of nice.

I wonder if you would have had more luck with a different game,
though. HHG's beginning is difficult and not all that interesting.

I'm thinking I would try Sorcerer. There is a lot of stuff to
mess around with right away, and if you're just trying to get
someone to play for 10-15 minutes, you don't have to worry
about the copy protection thing.

Kevin Venzke


MockTurtle

unread,
Jan 18, 2005, 1:21:26 AM1/18/05
to
Might as well chip in here...

Age: 21

First Exposure to IF: Hm. I think it may have been something called
"Never Trust A Blonde" on a compilation cassette of Spectrum games, by
some no doubt totally forgotten company. I don't remember much about
it, other than it had a hard-boiled private eye theme, and I could
never get past around three turns. I would have been about five or six
at the time, in 1988 or 89, although I think the game was several years
older.

Over the next few years, I gradually discovered much better stuff such
as Delta 4's games, and Planetfall on my cousin's Atari ST. Then I lost
interest in all that and moved onto consoles for a few years.

I rediscovered IF on getting a PC around five years ago, and playing
the Spectrum games on emulators, as well as the downloadable Zork 1-3.

Programming experience: Rather good at Sinclair Basic since my youth,
some knowledge of Java, and middling at Inform (no games ever finished,
though. Yet.)

Interest in writing?: Very much so, when I can find inspiration.

Other hobbies outside of IF: Reading, certain computer games,
crosswords, films in general, some philosophy.

Favorite Genre: In IF, anything that's good. Outside of it, I'd
probably lean more towards horror and fantasy - especially subtle
horror, Robert Aickman or Shirley Jackson rather than Stephen King or
Dean Koontz, and various forms of atypical fantasy - but by no means
exclusively.

Interest in video games: Some. I occasionally enjoy the Sims, and I'm
currently addicted to Civilization III, but mostly if I play it's
either Snes rpgs and emulated Spectrum games.

Chess Player?: Not really.

Field of Occupation: University student (Accountancy)

Reasons why you feel you enjoy IF: It varies, really, depending on the
game. In some I like the feeling of being immersed in a story, others I
enjoy the puzzles, others still I like being able to wander around a
world exploring and poking at things I find. Nearly all games have
some combination of all three in varying amounts.

M.D. Dollahite

unread,
Jan 18, 2005, 1:22:58 AM1/18/05
to
Age: 24

First Exposure to IF: Playing Infocom games with my mom when I was a wee lad.
Zork and Starcross.

Programming experience: Lots, but not much to show for it. I once knew BASIC,
but that was long ago. Now I know C++, Java, PHP, Javascript, TADS 3. I was
majoring in CSE until I found that I simply could not handle the calculus. (On
account of my brain seems capable only of storing meanings, not literal text.
Thus I understood the processes and theories of calculus just fine, but
couldn't memorize the formulae necessary to make it work.)

Interest in writing?: I've got three TADS games already in various stages of
coding, and another vapor concept under development.

Other hobbies outside of IF: Fiction (reading & writing), video games, drawing,
anime, collecting fantasy swords.

Favorite Genre: Fantasy. Sci fi close second. Not interested in horror if you
payed me. (Well, maybe if you payed me a *lot.*)

Interest in video games: Console RPGs, graphical adventures (though there don't
seem to be very many good ones). Sometimes tournament fighters, but only to
kill time. Don't like "twitch" games, i.e. anything where quick reflexes are
more important than logical thinking.

Chess Player?: Interested once upon a time. Sucked at it, so stopped. Almost
wishing I hadn't, so I'd have an excuse to buy those spiffy Lord of the Rings
sets.

Field of Occupation: Student, trying to find a non-engineering major that will
get me into video game design.

Reasons why you feel you enjoy IF: I'm one part artist, one part explorer, one
part engineer, and a dreamer all the way. Thus, exploring a fantasy world and
figuring out how strange devices work is a perfect pastime for me.


L. Ross Raszewski

unread,
Jan 18, 2005, 2:50:56 AM1/18/05
to
On 16 Jan 2005 20:07:52 -0800, Earth_Angel <correi...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>

Age: 26
First Exposure to IF: The Hobbit, um... by whoever did that. 20 years
ago or so.
Programming experience: C, C++, java, VB, perl, lisp, scheme, ML,
inform, prolog, basic, matlab, php, sql, javascript, E, and probably
anything else if you give me a week.
Interest in writing?: Um, yes?
Other hobbies outside of IF: Video games, bar trivia, karaoke,
writing
Favorite Genre: Scifi and detective
Interest in video games: Turn-based CRPG, Racing sims, Action-adventure
Chess Player?: Nope.
Field of Occupation: IT/Software engineering/infosec
Reasons why you feel you enjoy IF: Because it's the only genre where
you have a greater chance of finding a hobbyist game that doesn't suck
than you do of getting struck by lightning.

Graham Holden

unread,
Jan 18, 2005, 5:03:46 AM1/18/05
to
On 16 Jan 2005 20:07:52 -0800, "Earth_Angel" <correi...@yahoo.com>
wrote:

>It would be interesting to hear what everyone's reasons are for their


>IF addiction. Perhaps we could attempt to find interesting
>coincidences. It would be revealing if everyone gave a little personal
>bio as related to IF.
>
>For example:
>Age:

40

>First Exposure to IF:

"Adventure" at open-days at Imperial College, London organised by school
(later found Fortran source that drove some pseudo-language implementation
of the same). Main long-term experience started with Scott Adams's games
on a TRS-80 clone and progressed through Sierra's early games.

>Programming experience:

Fortran via 40-column hand-punched cards with 24hr turnaround (the teacher
took the cards to Imperial College in the evening, ran them through the CDC
and brought the printout back next morning).

An early Sinclair programmable calculator (white plastic thing, PP3
battery, red LED display, about the size of a small mobile 'phone).

Z80 assembler (on the above TRS-80 clone). Couldn't afford an assembler,
so it was all hand-assembled to bytes (LDIR == ED-B0 ??) and checked by
disassembling before execution.

BASIC, Pascal, Algol 68, C, C++, various other assembly languages (6502,
8051, 8x86, H8). AWK, shell-scripting, some dabbling with PHP etc.

>Interest in writing?:

Non-IF, no. Would like to get some real IF "under my belt", but have never
got beyond the "this might be a nice basis for a game" stage.

>Other hobbies outside of IF:

Hacking (old meaning, as in computing for its own sake: a bit like Adam,
trying to make a computer/system/program do things it wasn't necessarily
meant to). Crosswords, reading, non-shoot-em-up game playing (mainly on
GBA), coin collecting, photography.

>Favorite Genre:

Reading: Fantasy and to a lesser extent SF. IF: "games" as opposed to
"works of art" (broad generalisation).

>Interest in video games:

Mainly GBA-based; RPGs and similar (Golden Sun, Metroid, Castlevania).
Lost interest in most PC games around the time Sierra started all their FMV
cut-scenes (Early King's Quest, Space Quest etc. good; KQ6-ish onwards -
bad). Generally, "eye-candy" doesn't do it for me beyond the first "wow
that's impressive" stage; I'd rather have a good game than flashy graphics.

>Chess Player?:

Know the rules, but that's about it.

>Field of Occupation:

Software development.

>Reasons why you feel you enjoy IF:

Mostly -- in essence -- as a mind-exercising way to pass time (like a
crossword), as opposed to watching (many) DVDs which are often a mindless
(but enjoyable) way of passing time.

>This could be an interesting survey...

If the posters of this group convey
Their feelings of IF;
Don't get in a tiff,
So the topic won't end up in disarray.


Regards,
Graham Holden (g-holden AT dircon DOT co DOT uk)
--
There are 10 types of people in the world;
those that understand binary and those that don't.

Zhou Fang

unread,
Jan 18, 2005, 7:09:52 AM1/18/05
to
Graham Holden wrote:
> On 16 Jan 2005 20:07:52 -0800, "Earth_Angel" <correi...@yahoo.com>
> wrote:
>
>
>>It would be interesting to hear what everyone's reasons are for their
>>IF addiction. Perhaps we could attempt to find interesting
>>coincidences. It would be revealing if everyone gave a little personal
>>bio as related to IF.
>>
>>For example:
>>Age:
19
>>First Exposure to IF:
Copy of Zork included on a Personal Computer World Magazine cover CD. It
was their 20th anniversary edition, if I remember correctly. Around
about '97? Proper, modern IF, around the time of Comp 1999... Introduced
via the rec.games.roguelike.angband community.
>>Programming experience:
Did plenty of BASIC and Visual Basic programming. Done some HTML. Know C
and C++, though not exactly proficient. Learning Linux shell scripts and
Perl. Know Java. And used TADs to make some half-assed corpse of a game.
>>Interest in writing?:
Sure. Written plenty of short stories, even a crappy novel, hidden
somewhere on my hard disk. Keep a blog. If you mean IF, yeah... I want
to write one. Just can't think of a good idea.

>>Other hobbies outside of IF:
Writing, reading, blogging. Yelling at people.
>>Favorite Genre:
Reading: Scifi, but anything goes, really. I like surrealism.
IF: I like surrealism. Also, games that encourage exploration of a game
world to create intuitive understanding.
>>Interest in video games:
Various SNES RPGs - chronotrigger, and all that. Real time strategy
games, and turn based strategy games. The more complex, the better.
Shoot 'em ups (especially multiplayer), when I just need catharsis. Not
so often puzzle games.
>>Chess Player?:
Yes, and also Go. But don't play very often, and am not very good.
>>Field of Occupation:
Student

>>Reasons why you feel you enjoy IF:
Um... because it's rewarding, I suppose.


I like being vague.

Paul Drallos

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Jan 18, 2005, 8:49:15 AM1/18/05
to

Age: 53

First Exposure to IF: Zork in early 80's on a PDP-11

Programming experience: Extensive computational programming
in FORTRAN. Mostly plasma and fluid dynamic simulations.

Interest in writing?: Very interested, but my limited writing skills
cause me to become quickly disinterested in my own projects.

Other hobbies outside of IF: Sailing, bicycling, unicycling, fencing,
graphic adventures, drawing.

Favorite Genre: Adventure, fantastic worlds, detective

Interest in video games: none, except graphic adventures (like Myst),
which I don't consider to be video games).

Chess Player?: Played a lot when I was young. Rarely today.

Field of Occupation: Physics

Reasons why you feel you enjoy IF: I long for 'real' adventures. IF and
graphic adventures cause me to identify with the avitar and feel like I'm
actually doing all that cool stuff.

Jess Knoch

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Jan 18, 2005, 9:08:57 AM1/18/05
to
Earth_Angel wrote:

> Age:

25

> First Exposure to IF:

First would be Zork and the Leather Goddesses of Phobos when I was very
young. I didn't have any success at all with these. I got back into it in
2002 when I simultaneously picked up an Infocom CD randomly at a book store
(it had HHGTTG on it so I bought it) and stumbled on an IF review site while
googling for a crossword answer.

> Programming experience:

A few classes in college. My dad is a programmer.

> Interest in writing?:

Yes. IF and otherwise; I have a novel that I hate and one game that deserves
revision.

> Other hobbies outside of IF:

Fencing, pen & paper role-playing games (and other table-top games, like
Warhammer and Pirates of the Spanish Main), a few computer things, dog
training.

> Favorite Genre:

Non-if, sci-fi and fantasy. IF, I'm not sure.

> Interest in video games:

Not so much any more. I used to play computer games more, back when Ruins of
Myth Drannor worked in team mode. Now it's the occasional Sims game
interspersed by lots and lots of internet games like Puzzle Pirates.

> Chess Player?:

No, not at all. I know the rules and used to play in grade school, but it's
really not fun at all. As a data point, my husband can beat me every time in
chess but doesn't enjoy IF much.

> Field of Occupation:

Can't say. As a data point, it is not in academia or programming/IT.

> Reasons why you feel you enjoy IF:

Well, the reading is a big plus. The best games are like good books that you
get to actually be in. I do enjoy puzzles, too, but I'm so bad at them that
it's tricky for me to find a good balance. So: puzzles and stories, mainly.

-Jess


Paul Drallos

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Jan 18, 2005, 9:16:07 AM1/18/05
to
One thing I forgot to add for hobbies, which seems to be fairly common here:
Movies. I see lots of movies - mostly for their escapism factor.

Greg Boettcher

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Jan 18, 2005, 9:35:58 AM1/18/05
to
Age: 28

First Exposure to IF: I grew up on crappy amateur IF starting around
1985, stuff that I got for cheap. Survival in New York City is a vivid
memory for me, one of the many freeware games illegally published at
bargain prices by Keypunch Software. (I didn't learn that it was
illegal until years later.) I also ordered a lot of amateur stuff cheap
through shareware distributors like Public Brand Software. Anybody
remember them?

As for Infocom, I bought at least Hitchhiker's, Bureaucracy, and Beyond
Zork. I also bought LTOI 1 and 2 when they came out and played nearly
all of Infocom's games at that time.

I didn't find out about this community or the various IF authoring
systems until last spring, via Home of the Underdogs.

Programming experience: BASIC. Programming stupid little programs was
one of my main hobbies from 3rd grade to 6th grade. I taught myself
most of what there was to know about the language that way. I even
tried to write an adventure game when I was 12 or so, but it was horrid
and unwinnable by anybody except me. Also, its inventory system didn't
work.

Incidentally, around the same time, I learned about GAGS and got a copy
of it, but I wasn't impressed. In the version I saw, there didn't seem
to be any way of implementing nouns without giving them a 1-line
listing in the room description.

Interest in writing?: Yes.

Other hobbies outside of IF: Fiction, poetry.

Favorite Genre: Science fiction or anything good.

Interest in video games: I try to avoid those aspects of mainstream
culture that serve as a sinkhole for my money, so I have no intention
of buying a Playstation or Xbox or whatever people have these days.

Chess Player?: I know how to play, and I've beat people before, but I
barely ever play.

Field of Occupation: None of your business. :)
Reasons why you feel you enjoy IF: Um... I don't know. I just do.

Stephen Bond

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Jan 18, 2005, 10:50:44 AM1/18/05
to
> Age:
26.

> First Exposure to IF:
Fighting Fantasy gamebooks in the second half of the 80s. First
experience with computer IF was Graham Cluley's "Humbug", which
I found on a shareware CD in 1994 or so. Played Lucasarts'
Indy/Atlantis at about the same time. (I count all of the above
as IF.) I found the IF community in 2000.

> Programming experience:
Dabbled in BASIC as a teenager. Then did a CS degree. Realised
about half-way through college that I didn't like programming.
Went on to spend four years as a professional programmer. Now,
I try not to program anymore.

> Interest in writing?:
Yes. Ever since I could write, I've been interested in writing.
I still write a bit here and there, when I feel like it.

> Other hobbies outside of IF:

Eclectic websurfing, eating and sarcasm.

> Favorite Genre:
I don't like genres.

> Interest in video games:
Not interested in new games, or that many old games. Occasionally,
when I really want to vegetate, I fire up Civ II. My synapses
seem to have settled into a Civ-II-playing pattern.

> Chess Player?:
I know the rules, but I'm no good. As an undergrad, I used to play
a bit against my roommate on the N64. Then for convenience he bought
an actual physical chess set, an abstract soapstone set with pieces so
abstract we could never agree what they were, so we never played
again. I haven't played since.

> Field of Occupation:
Student.

> Reasons why you feel you enjoy IF:

Sometimes, interactivity and storytelling combine to produce something
really special. Though not very often, which I why I feel hesitant in
saying "I enjoy IF"; it's more accurate to say I enjoy *good* IF, if
that's not too tautological for you.(I'd have the same problem saying
"I like books" or "I like movies".) I hang around on R*IF because it
feels kind of comfortable and familiar, in spite of everything.
Stephen.

Quintin Stone

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Jan 18, 2005, 11:06:20 AM1/18/05
to
On Sun, 16 Jan 2005, Earth_Angel wrote:

Age: 31 in 3 days

First Exposure to IF: Hard to be sure. I'm pretty sure it was Zork I on
an Atari 800, though it could have been Planetfall.

Programming experience: Logo (aka Turtle) at age 10, BASIC at 11, Pascal
at 15, followed by C/C++, Perl, Java, and others.

Interest in writing?: Yes

Other hobbies outside of IF: PC games, reading, shooting

Favorite Genre: science fiction, horror, fantasy, spy thrillers

Interest in video games: First-person shooters, action games, role-playing
games, strategy games, adventure games. Not into sports games and not
really into driving games (though I love GTA3).

Chess Player?: No. I think I've played twice in the past 8 years, both
times against my wife. I won half of the time.

Field of Occupation: Computer programmer

Reasons why you feel you enjoy IF: Exploration and discovery. I remember
the greatest moments of my early IF years being when I would solve a
puzzle and finally get into a new room to find a stash of new items to
play around with.

==--- --=--=-- ---==
Quintin Stone "You speak of necessary evil? One of those necessities
st...@rps.net is that if innocents must suffer, the guilty must suffer
www.rps.net more." - Mackenzie Calhoun, "Once Burned" by Peter David

carolyn...@yahoo.com

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Jan 18, 2005, 12:31:59 PM1/18/05
to
Age: 24

First Exposure to IF: My father wrote home-grown 64-room textadventures
for me, and we worked through Colossal Caves Adventure together. I
don't know which happened first; I was about 6.

Programming experience: A little bit of this and a little bit of that
(Logo, Basic, Pascal, C, Visual Basic), but I'm never interested in the
act of learning the language -- only what I can DO with it. As a
result, the language I'm most fluent in is proprietary.

Interest in writing: Yes. I have a creative writing undergrad degree.
Other hobbies outside IF: Reading, writing, art, roleplaying (tabletop
and LARP), and American sign language.

Favorite genre: Fantasy/science fiction. I know they're not really the
same genre, but it's too hard to pick between them -- both have
strengths and weaknesses.

Interest in video games: Yup. My equation: heavy plot + some amount
of combat - the requirement to be GOOD at the combat = good, such as
Planescape: Torment, Might and Magic VI, and Final Fantasy VII. I am
also, for reasons I don't understand, a huge fan of Mario III.

Chess player: Yes, though not frequently.

Field of occupation: Parking coordinator.

Reasons why I feel I enjoy IF: The experience of well-written IF is
more immersive and interesting to me than either standard literature or
cinema, and there's a certain delightful "ah-hah!" when a solved puzzle
perfectly blends difficulty and logic.