Chris Taylor on game-stoppers

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Phil Goetz

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Aug 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/19/98
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There's an interview with the designer of Total Annihilation at

http://www.gamepen.com/rpg/gpg_interview.html

Among other things, he says something I pretty much agree with...

I have a philosophy. Games are, for the most part, made up of
different sections. To get to the end of the game, the victory
art, the screen that says "you are done" - to get to the end of
the experience there are obstacles. One of the thing that
amazes me about games, is that there are these obstacles that
are almost unpassable, if you're not really, really smart, or
don't go out and buy the strategy guide, or you don't work on
it for weeks and weeks - that annoys the hell out of me. I
should be able to go from the beginning to the end, get the
victory, have the game say that I won, I'm great, but that
there are some things along the way that you passed by, that
were on the side from the main road.

It's not a good excuse for game design to say that you can go
out or online and get the cheats. You should be able to sit
down at a game and play it to the end. Invariably, half the
games on my shelf I don't get to the end because I don't have
the patience to call over my MENSA friends and get them to
crack the game for me...how is that fun? Those sorts of things
should be elective, that I can solve as extra bonuses.

Desslock: But gee, Chris, you may be alienating all those "Myst
lovers" by not putting in non-sensical puzzles?

Chris Taylor: I think even those Myst lovers would have
loved Myst more if the puzzles were easier, at least in order to
get to the end of the game. At least you could tell your friend,
"I got to the end, but I couldn't solve X, Y and Z puzzles", and
at least you'd have something to talk about, but you'd have
gotten to the end of your game.

Delekhan: I have a feeling that most gamers who started Myst
didn't get to the end, for the reason you cite.

Chris Taylor: I totally agree. What about Total Annihilation?
I think it a lot of ways it was too hard for a lot of people to
ramp up on, to figure out all the units - it's certainly not the
ultimate example of how to do things, it was a learning
experience for us. But at the same time, we gave people the
option to skip missions, to go on to the next one. A lot of
people didn't realize that option was available until I told them
- it was so alien to people that they didn't look for it.

Desslock: I agree, that kind of linearity is boring, frustrating.
Especially for a RPG.

Chris Taylor: It makes you mad, because if you play half a
game, you haven't seen half of the art and programming that
went into that game. How would you feel if you went to a
movie and half way through there was a line delivered by an
actor that you didn't understand, and some guy comes up to
you when you ask what was said and tells you, "Excuse me
sir, but you'll have to leave. But there's a movie starting next
door and you can start again." I want to see the whole movie.

Kevin Forchione

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Aug 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/19/98
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Phil Goetz wrote in message <6rfhsm$371$1...@prometheus.acsu.buffalo.edu>...
>

> I have a philosophy. Games are, for the most part, made up of
> different sections. To get to the end of the game, the victory
> art, the screen that says "you are done" - to get to the end of
> the experience there are obstacles. One of the thing that
> amazes me about games, is that there are these obstacles that
> are almost unpassable, if you're not really, really smart, or
> don't go out and buy the strategy guide, or you don't work on
> it for weeks and weeks - that annoys the hell out of me. I
> should be able to go from the beginning to the end, get the
> victory, have the game say that I won, I'm great, but that
> there are some things along the way that you passed by, that
> were on the side from the main road.


This is an interesting idea. IF seems to have developed a linear
puzzle-solving model that drives the player along a one-way track where one
puzzle solution leads to the next. It's a little like the nursey rhyme about
"...the cat that swallowed the rat, that lived in the house that Jack
built."

With IF either the story unfolds as you go, or it is a series of
treasure-finding expeditions, but they usually bottle-neck in places,
leaving the player to try everything, which can sometimes feel like an
exercise in combinatorics.

Psychologically the problem is that in IF there is a tendency toward a
"wining is everything" philosophy. Unlike other games (chess, checkers, most
board games, cards) where you may end up losing, yet can still walk away
with a feeling of fulfillment.

Tennis for instance -- where the champions of the game may cry and swear at
lossing , yet loved every exhilerating minute of it. But with IF the author
has to craft his game carefully in order to avoid show-stoppers. Still there
are games that I haven't finished that I still enjoyed very much -- largely
due to the writing.

It is something to ponder.

Kevin

Laurel Halbany

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Aug 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/19/98
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On 19 Aug 1998 21:59:50 GMT, go...@cs.buffalo.edu (Phil Goetz) wrote:


> It's not a good excuse for game design to say that you can go
> out or online and get the cheats. You should be able to sit
> down at a game and play it to the end. Invariably, half the
> games on my shelf I don't get to the end because I don't have
> the patience to call over my MENSA friends and get them to
> crack the game for me...how is that fun? Those sorts of things
> should be elective, that I can solve as extra bonuses.

What does he mean by 'sit down and play it to the end'? Gareth Rees
has said that he can get through Christminster in five minutes
(knowing all the solutions to the puzzles and the right order for
doing things). Does a five-minute game sound like fun? Does it sound
more fun if it takes you half an hour, and then you can go back and do
the 'optional puzzles' that the game explains to you--perhaps adding
another hour of fun? Wow, how exciting.

> Chris Taylor: It makes you mad, because if you play half a
> game, you haven't seen half of the art and programming that
> went into that game. How would you feel if you went to a
> movie and half way through there was a line delivered by an
> actor that you didn't understand, and some guy comes up to
> you when you ask what was said and tells you, "Excuse me
> sir, but you'll have to leave. But there's a movie starting next
> door and you can start again." I want to see the whole movie.

I'd like to know the last time Mr. Taylor saw an interactive movie.
That aside, the analogy is a very poor one--if it weren't, you would
have a remote control allowing you to play that line over and over
again, freeze the movie while you took a break to get some popcorn,
back up and see the ten minutes preceding the line, etc.


John Francis

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Aug 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/19/98
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In article <uKimyN8y9GA.307@upnetnews05>,


Don't forget one of the nice things about Wishbringer; you could use the
stone to solve some of the puzzles. You still got to the end, but you
didn't have to figure out every solution along the way. (I believe it
was reflected in the final summary line giving you your score).

Enchanter had something similar - you could use the KULCAD? (I think)
scroll to deal with any one puzzle. I used this several times so that
I could advance in the game. Then later on (when I figured out the
'right' way to solve the puzzle) I could replay the game from that
point, freeing up the scroll for use at a later point in the game.
Eventually I got to the point where using that scroll to get past a
particular puzzle _was_ the right solution.
--
John Francis jfra...@sgi.com Silicon Graphics, Inc.
(650)933-8295 2011 N. Shoreline Blvd. MS 43U-991
(650)933-4692 (Fax) Mountain View, CA 94043-1389
Hello. My name is Darth Vader. I am your father. Prepare to die.

Joyce Haslam

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Aug 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/20/98
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In article <35db5186...@hermes.rdrop.com>,

Laurel Halbany <myt...@twisty-little-maze.com> wrote:
> On 19 Aug 1998 21:59:50 GMT, go...@cs.buffalo.edu (Phil Goetz) wrote:
> > The designer of Total Annihilation said
> > It's not a good excuse for game design to say that you can go
> > out or online and get the cheats. You should be able to sit
> > down at a game and play it to the end. Invariably, half the
> > games on my shelf I don't get to the end because I don't have
> > the patience to call over my MENSA friends and get them to
> > crack the game for me...how is that fun? Those sorts of things
> > should be elective, that I can solve as extra bonuses.

> What does he mean by 'sit down and play it to the end'? Gareth Rees
> has said that he can get through Christminster in five minutes
> (knowing all the solutions to the puzzles and the right order for
> doing things). Does a five-minute game sound like fun? Does it sound
> more fun if it takes you half an hour, and then you can go back and do
> the 'optional puzzles' that the game explains to you--perhaps adding
> another hour of fun? Wow, how exciting.

I have a walk through for Colossal Cave. Following it is a dead bore,
because it avoids as many of the puzzles as possible in order to get the
maximum score in the fewest moves. It would be much more fun to go into
the cave and get out again and see the final message (if there is one).
I like the "win" message in Marsquake, along the lines of "Now you have
cleared the way to the coffee machine we can rebuild the station". Err
sorry, Marsquake is not int-fiction, but the point is no worse for that.

Joyce.

--

Joyce Haslam
dljh...@argonet.co.uk

Dennis....@delta-air.com

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Aug 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/20/98
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In article <35db5186...@hermes.rdrop.com>,
myt...@twisty-little-maze.com (Laurel Halbany) wrote:
>>snip<<

> What does he mean by 'sit down and play it to the end'? Gareth Rees
> has said that he can get through Christminster in five minutes
> (knowing all the solutions to the puzzles and the right order for
> doing things). Does a five-minute game sound like fun? Does it sound
> more fun if it takes you half an hour, and then you can go back and do
> the 'optional puzzles' that the game explains to you--perhaps adding
> another hour of fun? Wow, how exciting.

Actually, there have been games for which which I have downloaded a
walkthru and simply, well, walked thru the game just to see the end. These
are usually games which didn't hold my interest enough to make me want to
keep playing but were sufficiently interesting to make me want to know how it
came out. Kind of like skipping to the end of a book just to see whodunnit.

--
"You must face the knowledge that the truth is not the truth. Obsolete?
Absolutely!" --- Rush

-----== Posted via Deja News, The Leader in Internet Discussion ==-----
http://www.dejanews.com/rg_mkgrp.xp Create Your Own Free Member Forum

Dennis....@delta-air.com

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Aug 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/20/98
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In article <6rfnh0$72...@fido.engr.sgi.com>,
jfra...@dungeon.engr.sgi.com (John Francis) wrote:
>>snip<<

> Don't forget one of the nice things about Wishbringer; you could use the
> stone to solve some of the puzzles. You still got to the end, but you
> didn't have to figure out every solution along the way. (I believe it
> was reflected in the final summary line giving you your score).
>
> Enchanter had something similar - you could use the KULCAD? (I think)
> scroll to deal with any one puzzle
>>snip<<
The Seventh Guest also had something similar. If you used the book in the
library three times on a puzzle it solved it for you and let you continue. I
had to use it to get past the blob game.

Daryl McCullough

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Aug 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/20/98
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Kevin says...

>With IF either the story unfolds as you go, or it is a series of
>treasure-finding expeditions, but they usually bottle-neck in places,
>leaving the player to try everything, which can sometimes feel like an
>exercise in combinatorics.

Such puzzles annoy me, too. What I like is a puzzle for which solving it
is a moment of revelation; afterwards you feel like you have learned
something valuable about the imaginary world you are exploring. Other
good puzzles are ones for which solving them is a thrill in itself. The
point is that, after its over, the player should be glad to have
encountered the puzzle, instead of irritated that it took so long.
I found some of the magical puzzles in Infocom's "Enchanter" to be
good puzzles in this sense. And certainly the puzzle of the stranger
in the award-winning "Edifice".

>Psychologically the problem is that in IF there is a tendency toward a
>"wining is everything" philosophy. Unlike other games (chess, checkers, most
>board games, cards) where you may end up losing, yet can still walk away
>with a feeling of fulfillment.

Yeah, but it's *real* hard to come up with games like that.

Daryl McCullough
CoGenTex, Inc.
Ithaca, NY

Denis M. Moskowitz

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Aug 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/20/98
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[Dennis Matheson]

> The Seventh Guest also had something similar. If you used the book in the
>library three times on a puzzle it solved it for you and let you continue. I
>had to use it to get past the blob game.

Was that the one based on Attaxx/Spot? I have a funny story about that
game. Some friends of mine with a nice computer were having trouble with
that one, but they found out I had Spot on my computer. Spot was a 7-up
marketing effort that was a reasonably good implementation of that game
as a 2-4 player game, with configurable computer opponents. We wheeled
my PC into their dorm room, ran Spot with the smartest computer opponent
we could, and set up 1st player to be whatever it wasn't in 7th Guest.
Then we just played Stauf's moves as ours in Spot, and Spot's moves as
ours in 7G. It came down to the last move, but Spot won by 1 point
(allowing my friends to continue in the game).
Best moment: at the last move, we simultaneously hear Stauf scream "Nooo!"
or something of the sort, and see an animated Spot spring up from the
middle of the board to stick its tongue out at us.
(Sorry; I'll now post something on-topic.)
ObIF: was that "cheating"?
--
Denis M Moskowitz Jen feroca malbona kuniklo; rigardu liajn
d...@cs.hmc.edu sovagxajn vangharojn, kaj liajn ungojn kaj
This Is Realtime! -><- lian faldan voston.
<a href="http://www.cs.hmc.edu/~dmm/dmm.html">My WWW page</a>

Laurel Halbany

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Aug 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/20/98
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On Thu, 20 Aug 1998 14:01:02 GMT, Dennis....@delta-air.com wrote:


> Actually, there have been games for which which I have downloaded a
>walkthru and simply, well, walked thru the game just to see the end. These
>are usually games which didn't hold my interest enough to make me want to
>keep playing but were sufficiently interesting to make me want to know how it
>came out. Kind of like skipping to the end of a book just to see whodunnit.

That doesn't say much about the book, though, does it?

Darin Johnson

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Aug 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/20/98
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d...@turing.cs.hmc.edu (Denis M. Moskowitz) writes:

> ObIF: was that "cheating"?

I don't know. Did anyone ever "win" normally? Was there a trick to
the game that was supposed to be figured out? All in all, I paid $12
for it, and felt gypped because it was so pointless (an evil toymaker
doesn't leave jump the penny puzzles lying around).

--
Darin Johnson
da...@usa.net.delete_me

Darin Johnson

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Aug 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/20/98
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da...@cogentex.com (Daryl McCullough) writes:

> Such puzzles annoy me, too.

Sometimes things are really combinatorics, but othertimes there's
something else going on. Ie, the Zork archaeology/museum game that I
can't remember the name of - the lights kept going out, and I kept on
for ages trying to figure out a combination of things I could do in
that short period of time. Turns out I was just on the wrong tack.

When I use try the combinatorics approach to solving the puzzle, I
often find the reason I was stuck was partly my fault. Ie, I
misunderstood the description (joint culpability), forgot about an
item I left somewhere, or overlooked an obvious exit from a room.
There have been cases where the solution gave me no clue to how one
was supposed to figure it out, but those were rare.

--
Darin Johnson
da...@usa.net.delete_me

Mary K. Kuhner

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Aug 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/20/98
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In article <tvyd89v...@cn1.connectnet.com>,
Darin Johnson <da...@usa.net.removethis> wrote:

[the microscope puzzle in Seventh Guest]

>I don't know. Did anyone ever "win" normally? Was there a trick to
>the game that was supposed to be figured out? All in all, I paid $12
>for it, and felt gypped because it was so pointless (an evil toymaker
>doesn't leave jump the penny puzzles lying around).

The AI plays to maximize its number of pieces all the time, and I have
never seen anyone outdo it at that strategy. However, you can beat
it by playing so as to lose most, but not quite all, of your
units, forcing it into a position where it cannot make useful moves.
Then you mop up all of its units in a short time at the end of the
game. It's similar to a strategy in Othello/Reversi whereby you force
your opponent to take too many pieces, greatly reducing his range of
legal moves, and then take them all back at the very end.

I was moderately amused by Seventh Guest, but it might as well have
been a puzzle collection for all the impact the storyline had,
particularly since the game takes control of the character away from
you at the key revelations near the end and you just wind up
watching a movie.

Mary Kuhner mkku...@genetics.washington.edu

Phil Goetz

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Aug 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/20/98
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In article <35db5186...@hermes.rdrop.com>,
Laurel Halbany <myt...@twisty-little-maze.com> wrote:
>On 19 Aug 1998 21:59:50 GMT, go...@cs.buffalo.edu (Phil Goetz) wrote:
>
>
>> It's not a good excuse for game design to say that you can go
>> out or online and get the cheats. You should be able to sit
>> down at a game and play it to the end. Invariably, half the
>> games on my shelf I don't get to the end because I don't have
>> the patience to call over my MENSA friends and get them to
>> crack the game for me...how is that fun? Those sorts of things
>> should be elective, that I can solve as extra bonuses.
>
>What does he mean by 'sit down and play it to the end'? Gareth Rees
>has said that he can get through Christminster in five minutes
>(knowing all the solutions to the puzzles and the right order for
>doing things). Does a five-minute game sound like fun? Does it sound
>more fun if it takes you half an hour, and then you can go back and do
>the 'optional puzzles' that the game explains to you--perhaps adding
>another hour of fun? Wow, how exciting.

I think it's quite clear from the original text that he means that an
ordinary human can sit down and finish the game without having to consult
other people to get the solution to obscure puzzles.
How long it takes someone to play a game with the walkthrough is irrelevant.

Phil

Kevin Forchione

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Aug 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/21/98
to
Agreed! Unfortunately it's easier to work out the mechanics of a puzzle than
to design one that is the right balance of intrigue and skill. And sometimes
the difficult ones are precisely so not because of logical complexity, but
due to obscurity.

I'm not fond of the "Take everything, Try everything" approach to games
because in the end you solve the problem due to sheer brute force. Brute
force is for computers, let the player have something a little more elegant.

A simple example: Gareth Reese's "Alice through the Looking Glass" tutorial.

a. The initial objective is stated in the very opening lines, simply and
clearly.
b. The puzzles make sense in the context of the imaginary world being
explored, and in
keeping with the character of the game's protagonist
c. Every step of the puzzle has clues of varying degrees of subtlety.
d. Attention to detail gives it a sophistocated feel.
e. It can be resolved without resorting to saved games, prior knowledge or
mindless
combinatorics

In the end it's an immersion experience, like all good pieces of fiction.
And it's only 1 puzzle! Quite a lot of work went into crafting that effect.

But other things about the piece give it depth. You can play with objects,
examine things from different perspectives. The objects in the room are
fleshed out without detracting from the story or the puzzle. It produces the
effect of not wanting to rush through the game mechanically (like so many of
the cheats would have you do), but of wanting to explore more of the world
*in the performance of your quest*

Granted, it's only one puzzle, but it illustrates my point. If it had been
developed fully and with the same consistency you might find yourself
playing the game again just for enjoyment, looking for nuances.

Now, suppose you didn't solve every puzzle in the game? Suppose that your
ranking presented you, not with the usual "earning you the rank of
adventurer" but with a more complicated history constructed from the puzzles
that you did resolve and the places that you visited, something like:

You step back through the looking-glass, into the ordinary light of day,
sadder, but
wiser for your adventures. Placing a fragment of egg-shell upon the
mantel-piece
you remember fondly the words of your friend about meanings and sayings,
regretful
that you hadn't paid more attention.

The small black kitten leaps into your lap and with a cheshire's grin
begins cleaning
itself, purring happily. You sigh and wonder if indeed it is true, that
you can't go back
again.

Something like that ...

Kevin

Jonadab the Unsightly One

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Aug 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/21/98
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Daryl McCullough says
> Kevin says...

>
> >Psychologically the problem is that in IF there is a tendency toward a
> >"wining is everything" philosophy. Unlike other games (chess, checkers,
most
> >board games, cards) where you may end up losing, yet can still walk away
> >with a feeling of fulfillment.
>
> Yeah, but it's *real* hard to come up with games like that.

I have toyed with the idea of a tragedy IF -- a game with no "You have
won" message, no solution as such.

You could lose along the way or play through to the end and lose then.

If this was never announced in the game or by the author I bet it would
generate a lot of emotions from the players, as well as a storm on
rec.games.int-fiction, most likely.

- Jonadab

Emerick Rogul

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Aug 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/21/98
to
"Jonadab the Unsightly One" writes:

: I have toyed with the idea of a tragedy IF -- a game with no "You have


: won" message, no solution as such.

: You could lose along the way or play through to the end and lose then.

Shades of Infocom's "Infidel." I think a game like this could be
quite successful, although I consider Infidel to be weak in this
regard. There, however, the protagonist was more pathetic, than
tragic.

-Emerick
--
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Emerick Rogul /\/ "i was going to take every drug known to the
eme...@cs.bu.edu /\/ human race and shag anything that moved."
------------------------------------------------- 'ecstasy', irvine welsh

Julian Fleetwood

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Aug 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/21/98
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Denis M. Moskowitz wrote in message <6rhmen$l2q$1...@cinenews.claremont.edu>...

>[Dennis Matheson]
>> The Seventh Guest also had something similar. If you used the book in
the
>>library three times on a puzzle it solved it for you and let you continue.
I
>>had to use it to get past the blob game.
>
>Was that the one based on Attaxx/Spot? I have a funny story about that
>game. Some friends of mine with a nice computer were having trouble with
>that one, but they found out I had Spot on my computer. Spot was a 7-up
>marketing effort that was a reasonably good implementation of that game
>as a 2-4 player game, with configurable computer opponents. We wheeled
>my PC into their dorm room, ran Spot with the smartest computer opponent
>we could, and set up 1st player to be whatever it wasn't in 7th Guest.
>Then we just played Stauf's moves as ours in Spot, and Spot's moves as
>ours in 7G. It came down to the last move, but Spot won by 1 point
>(allowing my friends to continue in the game).
>Best moment: at the last move, we simultaneously hear Stauf scream "Nooo!"
>or something of the sort, and see an animated Spot spring up from the
>middle of the board to stick its tongue out at us.
>(Sorry; I'll now post something on-topic.)
>ObIF: was that "cheating"?

This has got to be the most far fetched method of solving this puzzle. I
love it!

--
Julian Fleetwood (http://surf.to/free4all) | G!>GCS d-- s+:- a16 C+(++) p? L
E-W++ N++
IF: http://www.tip.net.au/~mfleetwo/if/index.htm | o K- w++ O M+ !V PS PE Y+
G e h! PGP-
CBG: http://www.tip.net.au/~mfleetwo/cbg/index.htm | t+ X+++ R(+) tv b+(++)
DI+ D++ r y?


Julian Fleetwood

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Aug 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/21/98
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Darin Johnson wrote in message ...

>da...@cogentex.com (Daryl McCullough) writes:
>
>> Such puzzles annoy me, too.
>
>Sometimes things are really combinatorics, but othertimes there's
>something else going on. Ie, the Zork archaeology/museum game that I
>can't remember the name of - the lights kept going out, and I kept on
>for ages trying to figure out a combination of things I could do in
>that short period of time. Turns out I was just on the wrong tack.

That reminds me of that puzzle in A Change In The Weather. I spent ages
trying to get the branch to the shed before realising the real solution.

>When I use try the combinatorics approach to solving the puzzle, I
>often find the reason I was stuck was partly my fault. Ie, I
>misunderstood the description (joint culpability), forgot about an
>item I left somewhere, or overlooked an obvious exit from a room.
>There have been cases where the solution gave me no clue to how one
>was supposed to figure it out, but those were rare.

That can also be applied to graphic adventures, the number of times I've got
stuck simpily because I missed a 'hot spot'.

Actually, that reminds me of an interesting point. Why is it that in most IF
games there is always at least one necessary object hidden behind a large
piece of furniture? Curses had it, Anchorhead had it, Maiden in the
Moonlight had it, Awakening had it (actually I found the object in Awakening
purely because of prior experience with this) ect...

Steven Odhner

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Aug 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/22/98
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Kevin Forchione <Lys...@email.msn.com> writes:

: With IF either the story unfolds as you go, or it is a series of


: treasure-finding expeditions, but they usually bottle-neck in places,
: leaving the player to try everything, which can sometimes feel like an
: exercise in combinatorics.

That's the current problem with my game. I just can't come up
with any puzzles that make sense and are fun. All I can do is have slight
variations on treasure hunts, and it frustrates me.

One game I liked: Kissing the Budah's Feet. Even though many of
the puzzles were "Oh, I need one of those. Maybe there's one under the
bed? Yea! I win!" It was still logical, fun, and chalanging. Unlike my
game. The cleverest puzzle I have is "The door is locked, and you can't
unlock it without a key, and the key is under the carpet. Tricky, huh?"

Grr.

--------------------------------
Talas the Great(ish)
ta...@primenet.com
"This is off the record, right?"
--------------------------------

Adam J. Thornton

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Aug 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/22/98
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In article <01bdcd4e$004afee0$LocalHost@jonadab>,

Jonadab the Unsightly One <jon...@zerospam.com> wrote:
>I have toyed with the idea of a tragedy IF -- a game with no "You have
>won" message, no solution as such.
>You could lose along the way or play through to the end and lose then.
>If this was never announced in the game or by the author I bet it would
>generate a lot of emotions from the players, as well as a storm on
>rec.games.int-fiction, most likely.

It was called _In The End_.

It did.

Adam
--
ad...@princeton.edu
"There's a border to somewhere waiting, and a tank full of time." - J. Steinman

TenthStone

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Aug 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/22/98
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Steven Odhner <ta...@primenet.com> caused this to appear in our collective minds on 22 Aug 1998 02:20:07 GMT:

>Kevin Forchione <Lys...@email.msn.com> writes:
> One game I liked: Kissing the Budah's Feet. Even though many of
>the puzzles were "Oh, I need one of those. Maybe there's one under the
>bed? Yea! I win!" It was still logical, fun, and chalanging. Unlike my
>game. The cleverest puzzle I have is "The door is locked, and you can't
>unlock it without a key, and the key is under the carpet. Tricky, huh?"

Ooh, good one. (scribble scribble)

That is to say, you're not alone.

-----------

The inperturbable TenthStone
tenth...@hotmail.com mcc...@erols.com mcc...@gsgis.k12.va.us

IF

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Aug 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/22/98
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Jonadab the Unsightly One wrote:

> Daryl McCullough says
> > Kevin says...
> >
> > >Psychologically the problem is that in IF there is a tendency toward a
> > >"wining is everything" philosophy. Unlike other games (chess, checkers,
> most
> > >board games, cards) where you may end up losing, yet can still walk away
> > >with a feeling of fulfillment.
> >
> > Yeah, but it's *real* hard to come up with games like that.
>

> I have toyed with the idea of a tragedy IF -- a game with no "You have
> won" message, no solution as such.
>
> You could lose along the way or play through to the end and lose then.
>
> If this was never announced in the game or by the author I bet it would
> generate a lot of emotions from the players, as well as a storm on
> rec.games.int-fiction, most likely.
>

> - Jonadab

Play Babel. I'm Still getting hate mail over the ending.

Ian


Jonadab the Unsightly One

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Aug 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/22/98
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Steven Odhner <ta...@primenet.com> wrote in article
<6rl9sn$679$1...@nnrp02.primenet.com>...

> Kevin Forchione <Lys...@email.msn.com> writes:
>
> : With IF either the story unfolds as you go, or it is a series of
> : treasure-finding expeditions, but they usually bottle-neck in places,
> : leaving the player to try everything, which can sometimes feel like an
> : exercise in combinatorics.
>
> That's the current problem with my game. I just can't come up
> with any puzzles that make sense and are fun. All I can do is have
slight
> variations on treasure hunts, and it frustrates me.
>
> One game I liked: Kissing the Budah's Feet. Even though many of
> the puzzles were "Oh, I need one of those. Maybe there's one under the
> bed? Yea! I win!" It was still logical, fun, and chalanging. Unlike my
> game. The cleverest puzzle I have is "The door is locked, and you can't
> unlock it without a key, and the key is under the carpet. Tricky, huh?"
>
> Grr.

Well, several lately have advocated puzzle-less IF, and
you could try your hand at that. The response might be
better than you think.

Or, you could take a step back and look at the plot of your
game, get a couple of nights' sleep, discuss pure
mathematics (or whatever) with your friends, and come
back and see if you can work out any puzzles that flow
from the plot of the storyline -- or add to it.


HarryH

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Aug 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/22/98
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In article <01bdcd4e$004afee0$LocalHost@jonadab>, jon...@zerospam.com
says...

>I have toyed with the idea of a tragedy IF -- a game with no "You have
>won" message, no solution as such.

Dear losers,

No matter what you do. No matter how hard you try. You just can't win!
Cheat if you want. Use dirty tricks if you like. You just can't win!
The game's real mean. It won't let you win. You just can't win!

Sincerely,

Game Author

-------------------------------------------------------
Of course I'll work on weekends without pay!
- successful applicant


Joe Mason

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Aug 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/22/98
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In article <6rld1u$k7k$3...@cnn.Princeton.EDU>,

Adam J. Thornton <ad...@princeton.edu> wrote:
>In article <01bdcd4e$004afee0$LocalHost@jonadab>,
>Jonadab the Unsightly One <jon...@zerospam.com> wrote:
>>I have toyed with the idea of a tragedy IF -- a game with no "You have
>>won" message, no solution as such.
>>You could lose along the way or play through to the end and lose then.
>>If this was never announced in the game or by the author I bet it would
>>generate a lot of emotions from the players, as well as a storm on
>>rec.games.int-fiction, most likely.
>
>It was called _In The End_.
>
>It did.

True, but I wouldn't consider it a tragedy, as in King Lear or Hamlet. Look at
Lear: if he had been killed in the storm, say, would it have been satisfying?
No. The point of a tragic IF would be to win through to the most dramatically
fulfilling ending, instead of just falling by the wayside.

In that sense, Infidel is much closer to a tragedy then ITE, where the point
was that you could basically cash out any time. In fact, I think the PC there
was a "tragic protagonist" in the sense that it was his own faults that spelled
his doom.

Joe

Joe Mason

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Aug 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/22/98
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In article <XjCD1.381$Kt4.1...@news1.atlantic.net>,
HarryH <har...@iu.net.idiotic.com.skip.idiotic.com> wrote:
>In article <01bdcd4e$004afee0$LocalHost@jonadab>, jon...@zerospam.com
>says...

>>I have toyed with the idea of a tragedy IF -- a game with no "You have
>>won" message, no solution as such.
>
>Dear losers,
>
>No matter what you do. No matter how hard you try. You just can't win!
>Cheat if you want. Use dirty tricks if you like. You just can't win!
>The game's real mean. It won't let you win. You just can't win!
>
>Sincerely,
>
>Game Author

Hey! You're plagiarizing my Author's Notes!

Joe

Jonadab the Unsightly One

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Aug 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/23/98
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jcm...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca (Joe Mason) wrote:

And yes, when I said "trajedy" I was thinking of Shakespear
as a specific non-IF example (although there are plenty of
other authors who have written trajic works, too.)

I was thinking perhaps a game based on Frankenstein (Shelley's,
not the lame horror flicks) or somesuch, where every major
character (including the player, presumably) dies if the
plot is played through to the end.

Or, if you prefer something more, um, adult, you could
base a work on "Patriotism", but I wouldn't personally
want to play that.


-- jonadab (reply to bright net account to avoid confirmations)


Matt Ackeret

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Aug 25, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/25/98
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In article <01bdcd4e$004afee0$LocalHost@jonadab>,
Jonadab the Unsightly One <jon...@zerospam.com> wrote:
>I have toyed with the idea of a tragedy IF -- a game with no "You have
>won" message, no solution as such.

There's an interesting/long interview with Harlan Ellison about the game
version of "I Have No Mouth, But I Must Scream" (as well as tons of other
topics) at http://www.mgmua.com/interactive/nomouth/harlanview.html

He mentions the lack of being able to win.

(Dang, did I get this link from this group?? I don't remember..)
--
mat...@area.com

Adam J. Thornton

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Aug 25, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/25/98
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In article <6rv2fq$jhh$1...@vax.area.com>, Matt Ackeret <mat...@area.com> wrote:
>There's an interesting/long interview with Harlan Ellison about the game
>version of "I Have No Mouth, But I Must Scream" (as well as tons of other
>topics) at http://www.mgmua.com/interactive/nomouth/harlanview.html
>He mentions the lack of being able to win.

Weirdly, it's as if the interview was a reasonably competent interview
transcribed by an illiterate.

Honestly, does no one proofread anymore? Is _modus operandi_ really *that*
obscure a term? I'd think if you had enough of a linguistic clue to be
interviewing *Harlan Ellison* you'd damn well know the difference between
"to" and "too".

Maybe I'm just old and crotchety, but the mouth-breathing incompetence of
the transcriber ruins the interview for me, because rather than
concentrating on what Harlan--who's a pretty whiny little creep anyway--is
saying, I want to STRANGLE whomever tossed these pages onto a Web site
without the first thought of editing them.

J. Robinson Wheeler

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Aug 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM8/26/98
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Adam J. Thornton wrote:

> Weirdly, it's as if the interview was a reasonably competent interview
> transcribed by an illiterate.
>
> Honestly, does no one proofread anymore? Is _modus operandi_ really *that*
> obscure a term?

"Motto sope rande." I love it! I was reading it looking for a misspelled
version of modus operandi (having read your post), but I almost didn't
recognize it (or believe my eyes) when I came across it.

"It would be my delight if this game set a trend and all ... games
like this in which ethical considerations and using your brain and
unraveling puzzles became the motto sope rande."

I almost want to make that my .sig...


--
J. Robinson Wheeler
whe...@jump.net http://www.jump.net/~wheeler/jrw/home.html

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