3rd Person IF??

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WriterDL

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Feb 27, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/27/00
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I'm pretty new to this ng (Been floating around on and off for quite a while)
and I'm starting work on my first work of IF. After a bunch of back-and-forth
deliberation, I picked TADS as my development environment (Came close to just
writing my own, but I got over the urge to be a masochist ;-).

Before my big 'break in to IF' I wrote Fantasy, and I don't have much
experience doing first person work. But I could learn.. my real question is
whether or not 3rd person IF has been done in the past, sort of closer to an
interactive novel than a choose-your-own-adventure sort of thing. I think it
could (if done right) be a very effective means of telling a story, as long as
it kept the 'Interactive' Element.

Are there any articles/papers/editorials/other games which implement this sort
of thing (or discuss it's implementation). I'm sure it will be a bit
challenging to implement, but I have a long background of programming in a
number of languages, so I'm not too much of a beginner (though I'll be the
first to admit that I'm no TADS expert (or even a TADS Adept.. more of an
Initiate...).

Ideas? References? Opinions?

-Dan

Kevin Lighton

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Feb 27, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/27/00
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WriterDL <writ...@aol.com> wrote:

> Before my big 'break in to IF' I wrote Fantasy, and I don't have much
> experience doing first person work. But I could learn.. my real question is
> whether or not 3rd person IF has been done in the past, sort of closer to an
> interactive novel than a choose-your-own-adventure sort of thing. I think it
> could (if done right) be a very effective means of telling a story, as long
> as it kept the 'Interactive' Element.

AFAIK, the main experiment with third person IF is chaos.gam (I forget exactly
what the game's full title is) from last year's IF competition, and that had
problems with a floating voice (third to second to (once or twice) first and
back).
In practice, most IF and CYOA is written in second person rather than first
or third.

> Ideas? References? Opinions?

The major thing to look out for is that you'll need to change default messages
to third person or you'll get viewpoint shifts in the text.

Ja, mata
--
Kevin Lighton lig...@bestweb.net or shin...@operamail.com
http://members.tripod.com/~shinma_kl/main.html
"Townsfolk can get downright touchy over the occasional earth-elemental in
the scullery. Can't imagine why..." Quenten _Winds of Fate_

Joe Mason

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Feb 27, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/27/00
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WriterDL <writ...@aol.com> wrote:
>Before my big 'break in to IF' I wrote Fantasy, and I don't have much
>experience doing first person work. But I could learn.. my real question is
>whether or not 3rd person IF has been done in the past, sort of closer to an
>interactive novel than a choose-your-own-adventure sort of thing. I think it
>could (if done right) be a very effective means of telling a story, as long as
>it kept the 'Interactive' Element.

Check out "Muse: An Autumn Romance" from the 1998 competition. The
competition release is in

ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/competition98/inform/muse

but there may be an updated version in

ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/zcode

Joe

GraceWorks

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Feb 27, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/27/00
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In article <20000226220654...@ng-fk1.aol.com>,

writ...@aol.com (WriterDL) wrote:
> I'm pretty new to this ng (Been floating around on and off for quite a
while)
> and I'm starting work on my first work of IF. After a bunch of
back-and-forth
> deliberation, I picked TADS as my development environment (Came close
to just
> writing my own, but I got over the urge to be a masochist ;-).
>
> Before my big 'break in to IF' I wrote Fantasy, and I don't have much
> experience doing first person work. But I could learn.. my real
question is
> whether or not 3rd person IF has been done in the past, sort of closer
to an
> interactive novel than a choose-your-own-adventure sort of thing. I
think it
> could (if done right) be a very effective means of telling a story, as
long as
> it kept the 'Interactive' Element.
> -Dan
>

Hi Dan,
I want to encourage you to go for it! Since it isn't mainstream, it
can be unique, if done well. Your writing background will be a huge
asset to your work.
FYI, I am hoping to have a competition entry set in third person as
well. I almost laughed as I read you post as I'm a newbie that chose
TADS too (and have bravely bit off the challenge of "third person" as my
tester keeps telling me).

Tim


--
---------------------------------------------
Tim Emmerich grace...@my-deja.com
GraceWorks http://www.bigfoot.com/~GraceWorks
---------------------------------------------


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

Nick Montfort

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Feb 28, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/28/00
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writ...@aol.com (WriterDL) wrote:

> I'm starting work on my first work of IF. [...] I picked TADS as my
development environment [...]

> my real question is whether or not 3rd person IF has been done in the
> past, sort of closer to an interactive novel than a
> choose-your-own-adventure sort of thing.

My "Winchester's Nightmare: A Novel Machine" is such a work. It's in
Inform, not TADS. In the IF Archive: <winchest.z8>.

-Nick M.

TenthStone

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Feb 28, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/28/00
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On 27 Feb 2000 03:06:54 GMT, writ...@aol.com (WriterDL) wrote:
> Ideas? References? Opinions?

Others have mentioned Chaos and Muse, so I'll leave off there.

The trouble with person and IF is that commands are given in
second person, as is natural.

First-person IF has been done reasonably effectively before.
The mind adapts fairly quickly to the idea that it's bossing around
some person in the story, and so while the personal connection
suffers somewhat the storyline actually gains from having an
individual voice of the character as opposed to the player.

>Steal some cookies.
I could never disobey my mother.

establishes (weakly) a character trait, while

>Steal some cookies.
You can't bring yourself to disobey your mother.

can be very jarring, since the game is trying to tell you who
you are. It comes down to whether you're role-playing or
watching a story. In a lot of ways, a first-person narrative
allows a more restrictive course of action, since the main
character can have his/her own identity more sharply defined.


Third-person IF has the identity problems of second-person
IF, but amplified. At least in second person the player could
be wandering through the halls muttering 'go north' to himself.

You see, there are two identities to be sorted out.
There's the player. Who is this person giving instructions?
There's the moderator. Who's talking to me, telling me this stuff?

In first-person IF, the character is talking to me. Muse was in
past tense as well, so it was obvious: the character was telling a
story. Exactly who am I to be giving commands is not decided.
First-person works well at telling a story.

In second-person IF, it's the other way around. The player is
the character. The identity question left is who the moderator is.
If I'm me, who are you? By not giving the text a distinct flavor,
or by suiting that flavor to the personality of the character, the
issue can be dodged some. The power of the second person is
that it involves the player in the life of the character -- and that
can be uncomfortable, intentionally so at times.

Third person is the persona of existential angst. The player is
the man in the machine, pushing his little toy man around without
ever getting so much as a "hey" or a "stop pushing me, you big thug."
The player speaks to the moderator, who in turn relates the actions of
the character. Because this leaves a free variable, the moderator,
you can do some wierd perspective shifts -- although I don't know
whether this would work on any large scale. I'd be inclined to call
it gimmicky.

I don't know how well this would work, but the moderator could be
a second character in the plot itself. Hmm.

>Take the gun out of the holster.
I watched as Dylan laid down his cards. Pair of nines, ace high.
The guys shifted in their seats. I looked at Mike, the last to lay
down. I could tell he didn't have the stuff to beat me. Not a full
house.

>Play hand.
Mike shot a glance around the room, and showed his hand.
Straight flush in clubs, led by that damn queen again.

>Give the pot to Blake.
Mike smiled tauntingly and offered me the pot. A hundred thousand
dollars, just sitting there. What else could I do? I took it,
mumbled thanks, and shoved it into my pockets.

>Stand.
It was then that Mike moved to stand up. It flashed before my eyes.
Metal. Hard black. Setup. It was all a setup, al this time, that
cheating bastard!

It was too late now. I glared at him and began to plan my escape.

----------------
The Imperturbable TenthStone
tenth...@hotmail.com mcc...@gsgis.k12.va.us

Andrew Plotkin

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Feb 28, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/28/00
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TenthStone <tenth...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> >Steal some cookies.
> I could never disobey my mother.
>
> establishes (weakly) a character trait, while
>
> >Steal some cookies.
> You can't bring yourself to disobey your mother.
>
> can be very jarring, since the game is trying to tell you who
> you are.

For what it's worth, I find the first example jarring (in an IF context),
and the second example not at all so.

--Z

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

Kevin Forchione

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Feb 28, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/28/00
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"TenthStone" <tenth...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:38b9dd23...@news.erols.com...

I like it. Reminds me of Duckman...

--Kevin

Brian Uri!

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Feb 28, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/28/00
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On 28 Feb 2000 05:51:34 GMT, Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com>
wrote:

>TenthStone <tenth...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>> >Steal some cookies.
>> I could never disobey my mother.
>>
>> establishes (weakly) a character trait, while
>>
>> >Steal some cookies.
>> You can't bring yourself to disobey your mother.
>>
>> can be very jarring, since the game is trying to tell you who
>> you are.
>
>For what it's worth, I find the first example jarring (in an IF context),
>and the second example not at all so.

I agree... I get more immersed in IF through the second method. I'd
rather be the well-developed main character in the game and know that
there will be assumptions about "who I am", than the ominpotent player
that directs the parser, who is the main character.

As for third person, it doesn't work for me at all, except in static
fiction and graphical adventures where I can see some representation
of the character.

Cheers,
BU

Brian Uri!

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Feb 28, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/28/00
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On Mon, 28 Feb 2000 13:26:44 GMT, bu...@SPAM.vt.edu (Brian Uri!) wrote:
>On 28 Feb 2000 05:51:34 GMT, Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com>
>wrote:
>>TenthStone <tenth...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>>> >Steal some cookies.
>>> You can't bring yourself to disobey your mother.
>>>
>>> can be very jarring, since the game is trying to tell you who
>>> you are.
>>
>>For what it's worth, I find the first example jarring (in an IF context),
>>and the second example not at all so.

The one time I WOULD find this jarring is when you're playing a
generic everyman PC.

Cheers,
BU

Aris Katsaris

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Feb 28, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/28/00
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Joe Mason <jcm...@uwaterloo.ca> wrote in message
news:o93u4.84729$45.46...@news2.rdc1.on.home.com...

> WriterDL <writ...@aol.com> wrote:
> >Before my big 'break in to IF' I wrote Fantasy, and I don't have much
> >experience doing first person work. But I could learn.. my real

question is
> >whether or not 3rd person IF has been done in the past, sort of closer to
an
> >interactive novel than a choose-your-own-adventure sort of thing. I
think it
> >could (if done right) be a very effective means of telling a story, as
long as
> >it kept the 'Interactive' Element.
>
> Check out "Muse: An Autumn Romance" from the 1998 competition.

Muse is first, not third person.

Aris Katsaris

Soleck

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Feb 28, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/28/00
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If I recall correctly, the old Infocom game "Suspended" had a first-person
perspective that was really well implemented (IMHO, anyway). I thought the
whole concept of the player being able to interact with the outside world only
by using a group of robots as his eyes and ears was genius.

I'm still not sure about third-person ( though I liked tenthstone's example of
moderator as character). I think that it could work really well in an IF game,
but you have to be careful with it or it WILL be gimmicky.

(I'm also a newbie, but I chose Inform instead of TADS, and I'm planning to
write my first game from a first person perspective)

Soleck


TenthStone

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Feb 29, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/29/00
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On 28 Feb 2000 05:51:34 GMT, Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com>
wrote:

>TenthStone <tenth...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> >Steal some cookies.

>> I could never disobey my mother.
>>
>> establishes (weakly) a character trait, while
>>

>> >Steal some cookies.
>> You can't bring yourself to disobey your mother.
>>
>> can be very jarring, since the game is trying to tell you who
>> you are.

The 'can' should be emphasized here... someone who was role-playing
as the character, of course, would have no trouble at all.

>For what it's worth, I find the first example jarring (in an IF context),
>and the second example not at all so.

Hmm. Since I get some of that myself, I wonder how much is
conditioning, and how much is a basic reaction. I suppose a longer
example would be a more appropriate test for first-person.

Muse always was very distant, though.

Andrew Plotkin

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Feb 29, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/29/00
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TenthStone <tenth...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> On 28 Feb 2000 05:51:34 GMT, Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com>
> wrote:
>
>>For what it's worth, I find the first example jarring (in an IF context),
>>and the second example not at all so.
>
> Hmm. Since I get some of that myself, I wonder how much is
> conditioning, and how much is a basic reaction.

Huh? It's all conditioning. Being able to read English is conditioning.

Or "learning", as we like to call it these days.

Kevin Forchione

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Feb 29, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/29/00
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"Andrew Plotkin" <erky...@eblong.com> wrote in message
news:89gn1n$1vv$1...@nntp6.atl.mindspring.net...

> Huh? It's all conditioning. Being able to read English is conditioning.
>
> Or "learning", as we like to call it these days.
>
> --Z

Quite right! Conventions, conventions... Who can live without them!

--Kevin

Miseri

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Mar 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/1/00
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In article <38b9dd23...@news.erols.com>,
tenth...@hotmail.com (TenthStone) wrote:

<snip>


> Third person is the persona of existential angst. The player is
> the man in the machine, pushing his little toy man around without
> ever getting so much as a "hey" or a "stop pushing me, you big thug."
> The player speaks to the moderator, who in turn relates the actions of
> the character. Because this leaves a free variable, the moderator,
> you can do some wierd perspective shifts -- although I don't know
> whether this would work on any large scale. I'd be inclined to call
> it gimmicky.
>
> I don't know how well this would work, but the moderator could be
> a second character in the plot itself. Hmm.
>
> >Take the gun out of the holster.
> I watched as Dylan laid down his cards. Pair of nines, ace high.
> The guys shifted in their seats. I looked at Mike, the last to lay
> down. I could tell he didn't have the stuff to beat me. Not a full
> house.
>

<snip>

Something like this was done in Sherlock Holmes: His Last Bow. The
narrator in the story was Watson, but the person carrying out the
player's commands was Holmes. An exchange could be something like:

>Take pickle.
I watched as Holmes picked up the pickle.

>Give pickle to Watson.
"Well really, Holmes, what would I do with that?"

I think that one of the reasons this worked was that we've come to
expect Sherlock Holmes stories to be seen through the eyes of Watson.
The other thing that makes this more acceptable is, in my opinion, the
fact that the narrator is the PC's sidekick, and can be thought of as
being one with the character being played.

Then again, it might not work for you.

Miseri

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Mar 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/1/00
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Fred M. Sloniker

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Mar 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/2/00
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On 28 Feb 2000 23:31:02 GMT, sol...@aol.com (Soleck) wrote:

>If I recall correctly, the old Infocom game "Suspended" had a
>first-person perspective that was really well implemented (IMHO,
>anyway).

I don't know if I'd call 'Suspended' a first-person perspective game.
It's a tough call, though. The protagonist is referred to as 'you',
but he takes no actions on his own; he delegates tasks, and his
subordinates report to him, aka you, via the first person.

>I thought the whole concept of the player being able to interact with
>the outside world only by using a group of robots as his eyes and
>ears was genius.

I liked it also, in concept anyway. The interface had some problems,
though, IMNSHO, and the game itself was pure puzzle. Are there any
other IF games that do something like this? (In the non-IF field, I
can think of some examples, most recently 'Rainbow Six'.)


Jon Ingold

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Mar 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/2/00
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Soleck wrote in message <20000228183102...@ng-de1.aol.com>...

>If I recall correctly, the old Infocom game "Suspended" had a first-person
>perspective that was really well implemented (IMHO, anyway). I thought the

>whole concept of the player being able to interact with the outside world
only
>by using a group of robots as his eyes and ears was genius.


I found it really, really unplayable, due to the amazing level of
complication. It probably just takes a while to get into though, and it's a
good idea.

Jon

Soleck

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Mar 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/2/00
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>I don't know if I'd call 'Suspended' a first-person perspective game.
>It's a tough call, though. The protagonist is referred to as 'you',
>but he takes no actions on his own;

Yeah...I agree...it's borderline. All of the descriptions came from the
robots, and I THINK I remember they talked in first person ("I see a blue
computer chip")
I could be remembering wrong though.

The game was extremely difficult (unfairly so, IMHO). I worked on it off and on
for years and NEVER really solved it. Then again, I found it facinating enough
to keep coming back to year after year, which
has got to say something for it.

Haven't seen any other I-F games that even come close to the same concept, but
I'd like to. I'd write one myself, but I'm a greeeeen newbie, still way too
damp behind the ears to even think about what a nightmare it would be to
design.

~S

Nick Montfort

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Mar 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/2/00
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sol...@aol.com (Soleck) wrote, regarding Suspended:

> Haven't seen any other I-F games that even come close to the same
> concept, but I'd like to. I'd write one myself, but I'm a greeeeen
> newbie, still way too damp behind the ears to even think about what
> a nightmare it would be to design.

It does seem daunting.

But I don't think it would really be nightmarish -- not as bad as I
first thought, anyway. The six robots are always in scope to the player,
and nothing else is. The player can only command robots -- not take any
other action. The robot most recently addressed is assumed to be the
recipient of the command. Except for reporting different things when
they 'look,' the robots are much like commandable characters in other
games. They have different abilities, of course, but that's the case
with other characters.

-Nick M.

J Walrus

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Mar 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/2/00
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Soleck <sol...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20000302121512...@ng-xe1.aol.com...

> >I don't know if I'd call 'Suspended' a first-person perspective game.
> >It's a tough call, though. The protagonist is referred to as 'you',
> >but he takes no actions on his own;
>
> Yeah...I agree...it's borderline. All of the descriptions came from
the
> robots, and I THINK I remember they talked in first person ("I see a
blue
> computer chip")
> I could be remembering wrong though.
>
> The game was extremely difficult (unfairly so, IMHO). I worked on it
off and on
> for years and NEVER really solved it. Then again, I found it
facinating enough
> to keep coming back to year after year, which
> has got to say something for it.
>
> Haven't seen any other I-F games that even come close to the same
concept, but
> I'd like to. I'd write one myself, but I'm a greeeeen newbie, still
way too
> damp behind the ears to even think about what a nightmare it would be
to
> design.

It does seems that, as you say, the design would be the hardest element.
The actual interface shouldn't be too hard to implement (ok, I wouldn't
try it, but I'm pretty greeeeen too) but designing it so that the
multiple characters were actually an important element of the game
rather than just a curiosity would be quite a challenging task. Infocom
did it well, but didn't Suspended seem a lot shorter, once you knew what
you were doing, than a lot of their other games? I wonder if this was to
do with the multiple characters.

(Of course, it could have been size limitations, since you need six
different descriptions for everything in the game. As yet, I don't have
much of a feel for how much game you can fit into a (128k?) .dat z-code
file, but does anyone else think this could have been the reason?)


Jw

arthur_...@my-deja.com

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Mar 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/10/00
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I don't know about TADS but I once did something like that with
inform... don't suppose you'd be interested... nah, forget it.
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