[TADS3] renaming objects during play. Possible?

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Choices IF

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Feb 9, 2003, 11:06:00 PM2/9/03
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I can see two uses for renaming objects during play. It would be nice
to have Actors named things like 'young woman' or 'old man' initially,
and after you asked them their name, that the vocabulary and the name
be changed to adapt to the new knowledge.

Another use would be for blank video tapes that could be named after a
recording with something pertinent to their contents.

So, is this easy, difficult, or impossible in TADS3?

Choices.

Dan Shiovitz

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Feb 10, 2003, 1:30:13 AM2/10/03
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In article <71c7b5d7.03020...@posting.google.com>,

There are two parts here, changing the name and changing the
vocab. The name is the most straightforward, since you can make it a
method just like in TADS 2:

Bob: Actor 'old man/bob'
introduced = nil
name
{
if (introduced)
return 'Bob';
else
return 'old man';
}
;

The vocab can be handled one of two ways: either you always have the
vocab available, or you can only make it available once their name is
known. The first is probably better, except in special cases, since
somebody replaying will probably be annoyed if they can't call the guy
Bob just because they haven't been formally introduced. But if you
want the vocabulary to dynamically change, either you can add it when
it becomes necessary, or you can have it all available from the
beginning and screen out some words.

The first method is similar to TADS2:

Bob: Actor 'old man' // note initially 'bob' is not in his vocab list
introduced = nil
getIntroduced()
{
introduced = true;
G_dict.addWord(self, 'bob', &noun);
}
;

The other method is something like parse_name in Inform, but it can
only be used to exclude a match based on the vocab words:

Bob: Actor 'old man/bob' // note initially 'bob' *is* in his vocab list
introduced = nil

matchName(origTokens, adjustedTokens)
{
// But now check every word, and reject this match if they use 'bob':
for (local i = 1; i <= origTokens.length(); i++)
if (getTokVal(origTokens[i]) == 'bob' && !introduced)
return nil;
return self;
}
;

>Choices.
--
Dan Shiovitz :: d...@cs.wisc.edu :: http://www.drizzle.com/~dans
"He settled down to dictate a letter to the Consolidated Nailfile and
Eyebrow Tweezer Corporation of Scranton, Pa., which would make them
realize that life is stern and earnest and Nailfile and Eyebrow Tweezer
Corporations are not put in this world for pleasure alone." -PGW


Kevin Forchione

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Feb 10, 2003, 2:43:38 AM2/10/03
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"Dan Shiovitz" <d...@cs.wisc.edu> wrote in message
news:b27gtl$2pv$1...@drizzle.com...

> The vocab can be handled one of two ways: either you always have the
> vocab available, or you can only make it available once their name is
> known. The first is probably better, except in special cases, since
> somebody replaying will probably be annoyed if they can't call the guy
> Bob just because they haven't been formally introduced.

I would think this *would* break mimesis, since the player has information
that is outside of the context of the story at that point in time. The
*player* might be thinking, "Oh yeah, this is Bob." But the PC certainly
can't.

This is one of the more obvious times when the psychology of game-play
appears to override the psychology of a story's internal-consistency and the
story is unmasked as the game it truly is. I suppose a purist would have to
say to the *player*, but *we* don't know that yet - get back into
character...

--Kevin


Choices IF

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Feb 10, 2003, 8:32:09 AM2/10/03
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"Kevin Forchione" <ke...@lysseus.com> wrote in message news:<KKI1a.8$Wc...@newssvr19.news.prodigy.com>...

Well, in the case of a character you know about but don't recognize,
create a Topic with his or her name in it. Then you can speak about
the character without knowing who they may be. If you suspect who they
are, that's when the nameTopic comes in handy ;) (or himselfTopic, or
herselfTopic, as the case may be).

Nikos Chantziaras

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Feb 10, 2003, 4:20:48 PM2/10/03
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Kevin Forchione wrote:
> "Dan Shiovitz" <d...@cs.wisc.edu> wrote in message
> news:b27gtl$2pv$1...@drizzle.com...
>
> > The vocab can be handled one of two ways: either you always have the
> > vocab available, or you can only make it available once their name is
> > known. The first is probably better, except in special cases, since
> > somebody replaying will probably be annoyed if they can't call the guy
> > Bob just because they haven't been formally introduced.
>
> I would think this *would* break mimesis, since the player has information
> that is outside of the context of the story at that point in time. The
> *player* might be thinking, "Oh yeah, this is Bob." But the PC certainly
> can't.

>take book
You see no book here.

>x table
There's a book on the table.

>take book
Taken.

>grrr!
That's not a verb I re^C
[aborted]


-- Niko
http://members.lycos.co.uk/realnc/


Kevin Forchione

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Feb 10, 2003, 9:57:09 PM2/10/03
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"Nikos Chantziaras" <for....@manager.de> wrote in message
news:b294u4$1ahk71$1...@ID-151409.news.dfncis.de...

> >take book
> You see no book here.
>
> >x table
> There's a book on the table.
>
> >take book
> Taken.
>
> >grrr!
> That's not a verb I re^C
> [aborted]

Yet another example of how the psychology of the game overrules the
psychology of the story.

--Kevin


Mark 'Kamikaze' Hughes

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Feb 11, 2003, 3:26:27 AM2/11/03
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Mon, 10 Feb 2003 23:20:48 +0200, Nikos Chantziaras <for....@manager.de>:

> >take book
> You see no book here.
> >x table
> There's a book on the table.
> >take book
> Taken.
> >grrr!
> That's not a verb I re^C
> [aborted]

>l example
You see nothing wrong with the example.

--
<a href="http://kuoi.asui.uidaho.edu/~kamikaze/"> Mark Hughes </a>
"We remain convinced that this is the best defensive posture to adopt in
order to minimize casualties when the Great Old Ones return from beyond
the stars to eat our brains." -Charlie Stross, _The Concrete Jungle_

L. Ross Raszewski

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Feb 11, 2003, 3:56:25 AM2/11/03
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On 11 Feb 2003 08:26:27 GMT, Mark 'Kamikaze' Hughes

<kami...@kuoi.asui.uidaho.edu> wrote:
>Mon, 10 Feb 2003 23:20:48 +0200, Nikos Chantziaras <for....@manager.de>:
>> >take book
>> You see no book here.
>> >x table
>> There's a book on the table.
>> >take book
>> Taken.
>> >grrr!
>> That's not a verb I re^C
>> [aborted]
>
> >l example
> You see nothing wrong with the example.

The game is lying.

And 'l example' isn't gramatically correct.

Quintin Stone

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Feb 11, 2003, 9:16:20 AM2/11/03
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On 11 Feb 2003, Mark 'Kamikaze' Hughes wrote:

> Mon, 10 Feb 2003 23:20:48 +0200, Nikos Chantziaras <for....@manager.de>:
> > >take book
> > You see no book here.
> > >x table
> > There's a book on the table.
> > >take book
> > Taken.
> > >grrr!
> > That's not a verb I re^C
> > [aborted]
>
> >l example
> You see nothing wrong with the example.

It's a strange example and would definitely annoy me if I encountered it
in a game. The book is sitting on the table, in plain sight. Most IF
languages by default would announce the book's presence upon the player
entering the room. This is because it's not hidden from normal view.
It's not concealed behind or under something. It's not small enough to
easily overlook. In other words, a book on a table is no different from a
book in the middle of the floor in terms of visibility. Who here would
play a game where you have to "x floor" everytime you wanted to see what
movable objects there are in a room?

/====================================================================\
|| Quintin Stone O- > "You speak of necessary evil? One ||
|| Weapons Master & Coder < of those necessities is that if ||
|| Rebel Programmers Society > innocents must suffer, the guilty must ||
|| st...@rps.net < suffer more." -- Mackenzie Calhoun ||
|| http://www.rps.net/ > "Once Burned" by Peter David ||
\====================================================================/

Ally

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Feb 11, 2003, 2:36:33 PM2/11/03
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Quintin Stone <st...@rps.net> wrote:

> Who here would play a game where you have to "x floor"
> everytime you wanted to see what movable objects there are in a room?

I'm writing one. This only applies to very small objects, however, and only
in the dark, which I hope will make this a 'mimetic' feature. (Didn't have
much to with the topic, did it?)

I'm also avoiding the vocabulary update thing. Forcing players to make the
PC re-learn the same things over and over might just infuriate them, no?
Doesn't the simple act of replaying already constitute a breach of mimesis
in a way, unless the entire game is set up to monitor the 'reasonability'
of player commands?

Guess I'm getting silly now. Were it a game with but a few initially
unidentified objects, I'd consider adding vocabulary as the PC learns about
it.

Hm. Would a "mimesis switch" break mimesis?

~Ally

Nikos Chantziaras

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Feb 11, 2003, 4:42:14 PM2/11/03
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Kevin Forchione wrote

But I *know* the book is there. When the game denies it, I feel like
someone's lying to me. When the game tells me that the PC doesn't know
about this yet, then mimesis gets beaten up and breaks. But most
importantly, I found it very annoying when I'm replaying the game.


-- Niko
http://members.lycos.co.uk/realnc/


Mark 'Kamikaze' Hughes

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Feb 11, 2003, 4:55:59 PM2/11/03
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Tue, 11 Feb 2003 09:16:20 -0500, Quintin Stone <st...@rps.net>:

> On 11 Feb 2003, Mark 'Kamikaze' Hughes wrote:
>> Mon, 10 Feb 2003 23:20:48 +0200, Nikos Chantziaras <for....@manager.de>:
>> > >take book
>> > You see no book here.
>> > >x table
>> > There's a book on the table.
>> > >take book
>> > Taken.
>> > >grrr!
>> > That's not a verb I re^C
>> > [aborted]
>> >l example
>> You see nothing wrong with the example.
> It's a strange example and would definitely annoy me if I encountered it
> in a game. The book is sitting on the table, in plain sight. Most IF
> languages by default would announce the book's presence upon the player
> entering the room. This is because it's not hidden from normal view.
> It's not concealed behind or under something. It's not small enough to
> easily overlook. In other words, a book on a table is no different from a
> book in the middle of the floor in terms of visibility. Who here would
> play a game where you have to "x floor" everytime you wanted to see what
> movable objects there are in a room?

Actually, I assumed that you don't have a description mentioning the
book. Maybe the table is described as being "cluttered". You're
clearly using out-of-character knowledge to get ahead. Manipulating a
book that hasn't been described yet is a minor thing, but it's not good
in-game behavior.

Quintin Stone

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Feb 11, 2003, 5:02:29 PM2/11/03
to
On 11 Feb 2003, Mark 'Kamikaze' Hughes wrote:

> >> > >x table
> >> > There's a book on the table.
>

> Actually, I assumed that you don't have a description mentioning the
> book. Maybe the table is described as being "cluttered". You're
> clearly using out-of-character knowledge to get ahead. Manipulating a
> book that hasn't been described yet is a minor thing, but it's not good
> in-game behavior.

Doesn't look too cluttered, which was my point.

Nikos Chantziaras

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Feb 11, 2003, 5:22:17 PM2/11/03
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Mark 'Kamikaze' Hughes wrote:
> [...] Manipulating a book that hasn't been described yet

> is a minor thing, but it's not good in-game behavior.

I don't see any good reason to prevent the PC from interacting with unknown
objects. After all, if she knows that the object exists, there must be a
reason for this. If she doesn't know, then there's nothing to prevent.


-- Niko
http://members.lycos.co.uk/realnc/


Mark 'Kamikaze' Hughes

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Feb 11, 2003, 7:44:34 PM2/11/03
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Wed, 12 Feb 2003 00:22:17 +0200, Nikos Chantziaras <for....@manager.de>:

> Mark 'Kamikaze' Hughes wrote:
>> [...] Manipulating a book that hasn't been described yet
>> is a minor thing, but it's not good in-game behavior.
> I don't see any good reason to prevent the PC from interacting with unknown
> objects. After all, if she knows that the object exists, there must be a
> reason for this. If she doesn't know, then there's nothing to prevent.

Are you kidding? If you know the book exists because you saved and
restored, that's out-of-character knowledge. If you know the book
exists because you read a cheat file, that's also out-of-character
knowledge. It's cheating. In an RPG, you'd be smacked upside the head
for that kind of behavior.

This leads, as always, to one of the worst text adventure design
tricks ever: magic words and "guess-the-verb" games. In this case it's
guess-the-noun; you're hoping there's an object there, and advancing the
game not by playing in the environment, not by solving puzzles, not by
role-playing your character, but by flailing around randomly until
something happens.

The solution's pretty simple, of course. If you don't want the book
to be reachable until it's been mentioned, only put it there the first
time the table's look routine is run.

I don't throw the word "mimesis" around much, because it's usually
applied much too broadly, but this is exactly the kind of "sin against
mimesis" that completely sucks the life out of a game.

Kevin Forchione

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Feb 11, 2003, 8:03:20 PM2/11/03
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"Nikos Chantziaras" <for....@manager.de> wrote in message
news:b2bsqb$1apa32$1...@ID-151409.news.dfncis.de...

> Mark 'Kamikaze' Hughes wrote:
> > [...] Manipulating a book that hasn't been described yet
> > is a minor thing, but it's not good in-game behavior.
>
> I don't see any good reason to prevent the PC from interacting with
unknown
> objects. After all, if she knows that the object exists, there must be a
> reason for this. If she doesn't know, then there's nothing to prevent.

My issue has been with *actor* knowledge versus *player* knowledge.
Obviously a player playing through a game several times will have knowledge
that the PC doesn't possess (Is it possible that the PC would have knowledge
that the player doesn't possess? I suppose it is possible). Now, in the
course of replaying through a section of a game is it realistic, given the
current fashion in game play, to permit the player access to knowledge that
the PC should not have at that point in time?

Suppose, for instance, that in order to reach point 'C' in the internal
consistency of the story world, the PC at 'A' had to go through 'B'. Is it
realistic to permit the player, in replaying the game, to short-circuit this
sequence and go from 'A' to 'C'?

Whether A, B, and C are locations, pieces of a puzzle, or knowledge makes no
difference. In a book we can easily skip whole pages and even chapters to
get to the juicy bits we want to relive. But in the process the characters
aren't made to perform internally-inconsistent actions. Instead we mentally
fill in the gaps, and because the book is static we don't break mimesis.

Now, if I were playing a game with children, and because the game was so
well-worn, simply made the leap from A to C, I'm sure that I would be met
with a great outcry of 'foul!' The children, knowing the story so well,
would in fact insist that I played by the rules.

But what rules are *we* playing by when we replay a game? Are they the rules
of our own knowledge, or the rules of the story?

--Kevin


Gadget

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Feb 12, 2003, 3:43:35 AM2/12/03
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On Wed, 12 Feb 2003 01:03:20 GMT, "Kevin Forchione"
<ke...@lysseus.com> wrote:

>"Nikos Chantziaras" <for....@manager.de> wrote in message
>news:b2bsqb$1apa32$1...@ID-151409.news.dfncis.de...
>> Mark 'Kamikaze' Hughes wrote:
>> > [...] Manipulating a book that hasn't been described yet
>> > is a minor thing, but it's not good in-game behavior.
>>
>> I don't see any good reason to prevent the PC from interacting with
>unknown
>> objects. After all, if she knows that the object exists, there must be a
>> reason for this. If she doesn't know, then there's nothing to prevent.
>
>My issue has been with *actor* knowledge versus *player* knowledge.
>Obviously a player playing through a game several times will have knowledge
>that the PC doesn't possess (Is it possible that the PC would have knowledge
>that the player doesn't possess? I suppose it is possible).

Play 'Insight' for an example of a game where the PC knows a whole lot
more then the player...

>Now, in the
>course of replaying through a section of a game is it realistic, given the
>current fashion in game play, to permit the player access to knowledge that
>the PC should not have at that point in time?
>
>Suppose, for instance, that in order to reach point 'C' in the internal
>consistency of the story world, the PC at 'A' had to go through 'B'. Is it
>realistic to permit the player, in replaying the game, to short-circuit this
>sequence and go from 'A' to 'C'?
>
>Whether A, B, and C are locations, pieces of a puzzle, or knowledge makes no
>difference. In a book we can easily skip whole pages and even chapters to
>get to the juicy bits we want to relive. But in the process the characters
>aren't made to perform internally-inconsistent actions. Instead we mentally
>fill in the gaps, and because the book is static we don't break mimesis.
>
>Now, if I were playing a game with children, and because the game was so
>well-worn, simply made the leap from A to C, I'm sure that I would be met
>with a great outcry of 'foul!' The children, knowing the story so well,
>would in fact insist that I played by the rules.
>
>But what rules are *we* playing by when we replay a game? Are they the rules
>of our own knowledge, or the rules of the story?
>
>--Kevin
>

I think realism in IF is very much overrated.When realism conflicts
with gameplay( or rather: fun) then realism should lose. The book
example is annoying. It reminds me of the Brian Howarth game
'Gremlins' which I played in the eighties, where you had to
repeatedly search a drawer, only to find one new object at a time. I
did not know that at the time and after the first search assumed the
drawer would be empty. This prevented me from finishing the game until
I found a walkthrough on the 'net only this year. I was genuinely
angry when I read the solution. I felt cheated.

Back to PC knowledge: There will always be a mix between PC and Player
knowledge. Even if you use 'undo' only once in a game, it exists. This
is okay because it is a *game* . It should not be a real-life sim.
Playing gives someone the chance to experience things in a safe way
which otherwise would be impossible or too dangerous and have *fun*
with that. As long as that goal is met, the designer can use any means
necessary.
-------------
It's a bird...
It's a plane...
No, it's... Gadget?
-------------------
To send mail remove SPAMBLOCK from adress.

HC

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Feb 12, 2003, 4:56:50 AM2/12/03
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"Kevin Forchione" <ke...@lysseus.com> wrote in message
news:s3h2a.433$Ho5.23...@newssvr15.news.prodigy.com...

<unrelated part of message snipped>

> (Is it possible that the PC would have knowledge
> that the player doesn't possess? I suppose it is possible).

I've seen it. It usually annoys the hell out of me, with the possible
exception of _Spider and Web_.

HC


Quintin Stone

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Feb 12, 2003, 9:29:18 AM2/12/03
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On 12 Feb 2003, Mark 'Kamikaze' Hughes wrote:

> Are you kidding? If you know the book exists because you saved and
> restored, that's out-of-character knowledge. If you know the book
> exists because you read a cheat file, that's also out-of-character
> knowledge. It's cheating. In an RPG, you'd be smacked upside the head
> for that kind of behavior.
>
> This leads, as always, to one of the worst text adventure design
> tricks ever: magic words and "guess-the-verb" games. In this case it's
> guess-the-noun; you're hoping there's an object there, and advancing the
> game not by playing in the environment, not by solving puzzles, not by
> role-playing your character, but by flailing around randomly until
> something happens.

Excuse me? You're going to have to explain how knowing out-of-character
knowledge (arguable "cheating") and exploiting that information is in any
way related to "flailing around randomly". If I have prior knowledge, how
can that be considered random?

> The solution's pretty simple, of course. If you don't want the book
> to be reachable until it's been mentioned, only put it there the first
> time the table's look routine is run.

I think we can all agree that the example given was not meant to be
completely serious. Still, in your arguments I think you are making
certain assumptions that aren't evident in what was given. In this case,
the description of the table provides no information other than there is a
book on it. No desc of the table, no text about clutter or other possibly
obfuscating material. The book is in plain view. If we assume that the
book did not show up in the room description,

this is bad game design.

That is, unless there are extenuating circumstances, which were clearly
not mentioned in the bare-boned example provided. But keep in mind that
the example was given explicitly because it was trying to demonstrate bad
design. (And of course, if the book WAS mentioned in the room desc, the
game in question is even worse!)

I'll be the first to agree that a hidden object should be revealed before
it can be manipulated. I've got a game that's near finished that uses
this several times. There are items that are not in plain sight and you
need to search, look under, or look behind other objects in order to have
them revealed. I think in the book example, though, you are fighting the
wrong fight. As given, it's a lousy design. Which was the point from the
very beginning.

Quintin Stone

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Feb 12, 2003, 10:06:43 AM2/12/03
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On Wed, 12 Feb 2003, Kevin Forchione wrote:

> (Is it possible that the PC would have knowledge that the player doesn't
> possess? I suppose it is possible).

Definitely possible. Not common, but there's no reason it can't happen:

] > PUSH BUTTON
]
] Your finger inches towards the button, then you yank it back violently,
] remembering that this particular button floods the chamber with deadly
] radiation. That would surely ruin your day.

Probably not the best of examples, but I think you understand my point.

> Suppose, for instance, that in order to reach point 'C' in the internal
> consistency of the story world, the PC at 'A' had to go through 'B'. Is
> it realistic to permit the player, in replaying the game, to
> short-circuit this sequence and go from 'A' to 'C'?

But can't we generalize completely and say that 'A' is the beginning of
the game, 'C' is the end of the game (winning), and that 'B' is everything
in between? Obviously if you look at it that way, it's pretty silly to
even think of letting someone circumvent 'B' to get to 'C'. I mean, if
you want to do that, why are you even playing the game?

This why I don't buy into the idea of circumventing a puzzle, and I think
that "knowledge" puzzles are often unfairly criticized. Let's say we have
two very minor but similar puzzles: in puzzle A, the discombobulator is
hidden inside an unlocked box; in puzzle B, the discombobulator is hidden
under a recliner. In both cases, the item is hidden from view. No one
would complain in puzzle A that they can't "GET DISCOMBOBULATOR" without
opening the box first. Why complain in B that you can't get it without
looking under the chair? It's a step in the puzzle, it's a part of the
game. The only real difference is the particular atmosphere, appearance,
and design style that the author wanted for the game. Say puzzle C has a
door that needs a key, and puzzle D has a door that needs a password.
Why complain that the game doesn't let you circumvent D when no one in
their right mind would bitch about having to do C every single time they
play?

Jeffrey F Pack

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Feb 12, 2003, 8:33:45 PM2/12/03
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Quintin Stone <st...@rps.net> writes:

> I think we can all agree that the example given was not meant to be
> completely serious. Still, in your arguments I think you are making
> certain assumptions that aren't evident in what was given. In this case,
> the description of the table provides no information other than there is a
> book on it. No desc of the table, no text about clutter or other possibly
> obfuscating material. The book is in plain view. If we assume that the
> book did not show up in the room description,
>
> this is bad game design.

I think the example conflated a few forms of bad design:

1. Lying to the player without good reason, by saying that there was
no book/no book could be seen when that clearly wasn't the case.
This is simply annoying to the player who knows it's false, and
misleading to other players.

2. "Hiding" an object in an open container that must be specifically
examined (this may just be a personal preference). If something
is in plain sight, EXAMINE should turn it up even if it wasn't
specifically what was examined. (A similar peeve: X WINDOW
telling me the size and shape of the window, and the 69,105 spots
on the glass, but not the axe-murderer on the other side; I must
LOOK THROUGH WINDOW for that.)

3. Requiring the player to go through unnecessary steps in order to
"unlock" the action the player wants to take. This is especially
bad when the player isn't using explicitly non-mimetic knowledge
(the Batman puzzle of Screen comes to mind here).

If I use out-of-game knowledge, and it breaks mimesis, it's my own
damn fault, and I don't hold the author responsible unless there's no
reasonable way to discover the knowledge in-game. But if I'm going
back through, and there's not a good reason to keep me from using
knowledge previously acquired (e.g., it would bypass several
locations, a few puzzles and much of the plot), then I just feel like
the parser is acting like a bratty 12-year-old by refusing to let me
take the intermediate steps for granted.

> That is, unless there are extenuating circumstances, which were clearly
> not mentioned in the bare-boned example provided. But keep in mind that
> the example was given explicitly because it was trying to demonstrate bad
> design. (And of course, if the book WAS mentioned in the room desc, the
> game in question is even worse!)

Yep, seen a few like this, where the author didn't realize that it was
possible to deduce the required information without setting whatever flag
was set up to catch it.

> I'll be the first to agree that a hidden object should be revealed before
> it can be manipulated. I've got a game that's near finished that uses
> this several times. There are items that are not in plain sight and you
> need to search, look under, or look behind other objects in order to have
> them revealed. I think in the book example, though, you are fighting the
> wrong fight. As given, it's a lousy design. Which was the point from the
> very beginning.

SEARCH/LOOK UNDER/LOOK BEHIND is a bit dicey with me. If the whole
purpose is to make objects harder to find (i.e., everything is under a
bed or behind a desk), then it's just annoying and players will
robotically start typing those commands with respect to every object
in the game, and that defeats the purpose. If it's part of a larger
puzzle, or an object that makes sense to be hidden thus, I'll be more
likely to accept it while playing.

Jeff

Nikos Chantziaras

unread,
Feb 14, 2003, 2:54:48 PM2/14/03
to
Kevin Forchione wrote:
>
> "Nikos Chantziaras" <for....@manager.de> wrote in message
> news:b2bsqb$1apa32$1...@ID-151409.news.dfncis.de...
> >
> > Mark 'Kamikaze' Hughes wrote:
> > >
> > > [...] Manipulating a book that hasn't been described yet is a
> > > minor thing, but it's not good in-game behavior.
> >
> > I don't see any good reason to prevent the PC from interacting with
> > unknown objects. After all, if she knows that the object exists,
> > there must be a reason for this. If she doesn't know, then there's
> > nothing to prevent.
>
> My issue has been with *actor* knowledge versus *player* knowledge.

I understood that. My point is that the game should "target" the player,
because the player "targets" the actor. In other words, the game should
treat my input as commands *I* wish the actor to perform, not as commands
the actor wishes to perform (the reason I don't like parsers that lack
personality). When my input makes use of information not yet available to
the actor, the game should simply accept it, since the information is
correct; it doesn't matter that the actor doesn't know about it. This
reminds me of the "falling tree" problem. The actor didn't hear the fall,
but I did. When I instruct the actor to examine the fallen tree, the last
thing I expect the game to say to me is "but the tree didn't fall", since it
*did* fall and it lies right before the actor's eyes. In a way, the actor
*knows* that the tree did fall because I just told her about it, but she
will not admit it.

> Obviously a player playing through a game several times will have
> knowledge that the PC doesn't possess (Is it possible that the PC
> would have knowledge that the player doesn't possess? I suppose it
> is possible).

That's true, I guess. Or else there wouldn't be any need for "who am
I"-like commands or settings (finding your own diary, for example).

> Now, in the course of replaying through a section of a game is it
> realistic, given the current fashion in game play, to permit the
> player access to knowledge that the PC should not have at that
> point in time?

If this knowledge refers to things that already happened, then yes; the
player might be extremely good at guessing (from the game's point of view,
there's no difference between guessing and replaying; not allowing the
player to guess is a bad thing).

> Suppose, for instance, that in order to reach point 'C' in the
> internal consistency of the story world, the PC at 'A' had to go
> through 'B'. Is it realistic to permit the player, in replaying the
> game, to short-circuit this sequence and go from 'A' to 'C'?

It's very diffucult for me to imagine such a situation. If you first have
to enter state 'B' in order to advance to state 'C', how is it possible to
circumvent 'B' and directly enter 'C'?

No, wait. I just thought about password-locked doors. So, to find out the
right password, you have to enter state 'B', and in this state you heavily
alter the game's universe. If the game assumes that you did go through 'B'
when you arrive at 'C', then this is Bad Game Design (TM). Why? Because I
simply might have *guessed* the password. I think a game should be prepared
for the possibility that Gastone might sit in front of the monitor. :-)
Some games (actually a lot of them) solve this by not allowing the player to
enter a password at all; they simply respond with something like "you have
no idea what the password could be". At least that's better than entering
the right password but get a "nothing happens" response. Grrr!

> Whether A, B, and C are locations, pieces of a puzzle, or knowledge
> makes no difference. In a book we can easily skip whole pages and even
> chapters to get to the juicy bits we want to relive. But in the process
> the characters aren't made to perform internally-inconsistent actions.
> Instead we mentally fill in the gaps, and because the book is static we
> don't break mimesis.

That's an entirely different issue; you're talking about time. Yes, a game
should not let you make use of information that refers to the future. But
I'm talking about information that refers to things that have already
happened. The book on the table is there, no matter if I examine the table
first or not. But entering "TAKE BOOK" because I know that an NPC will put
it there on the next turn, well, that would be simply stupid. No game can
know that in advance. So the "You see no book here" response is
appropriate; the game simply tells me the truth.

Another example of what I mean:

>search bed
You find nothing of interest.

>ask skywalker about bed
"I use to hide my sword in it."
[Now some things happen that assume you don't carry a sword
and Skywalker leaves.]

>search bed
You find a laser sword.

>grrr!
That's not a ver^C
[aborted]

Now I'm not even allowed to search things because I might discover something
I'm not supposed to find yet? I don't *care* if asking Skywalker about the
bed results in something that alters the game. I know the sword is there,
and the game should treat me as a person with more luck than brains.

> Now, if I were playing a game with children, and because the game was
> so well-worn, simply made the leap from A to C, I'm sure that I would
> be met with a great outcry of 'foul!' The children, knowing the story
> so well, would in fact insist that I played by the rules.
>
> But what rules are *we* playing by when we replay a game? Are they the
> rules of our own knowledge, or the rules of the story?

Sounds interesting. If only I could understand what it's supposed to
mean... :-) Examples of what you mean with "breaking the rules" would be
nice.

-- Niko
http://members.lycos.co.uk/realnc/


Nikos Chantziaras

unread,
Feb 14, 2003, 2:59:22 PM2/14/03
to
(I just noticed that this thread also goes to alt.games.xtrek. Is this
wanted?)

Quintin Stone wrote:
>
> On Wed, 12 Feb 2003, Kevin Forchione wrote:
>
> > Suppose, for instance, that in order to reach point 'C' in the
> > internal consistency of the story world, the PC at 'A' had to go
> > through 'B'. Is it realistic to permit the player, in replaying
> > the game, to short-circuit this sequence and go from 'A' to 'C'?
>

> [...]


> Let's say we have two very minor but similar puzzles: in puzzle A,
> the discombobulator is hidden inside an unlocked box; in puzzle B,
> the discombobulator is hidden under a recliner. In both cases, the
> item is hidden from view. No one would complain in puzzle A that
> they can't "GET DISCOMBOBULATOR" without opening the box first.
> Why complain in B that you can't get it without looking under the
> chair?

The issue here is that in some games you don't find anything under the
recliner, unless the PC knows about it (when someone tells her that the
discombobulator is hidden there, for example). *That* is what I call
annoying. It's like as if the PC sees the discombobulator but doesn't tell
you about it because it would break the story. Again: Grrr!!!

As you can see, this is an entirely different issue. We're talking about
things that should be phisicaly possible, but the game won't allow because
you're not supposed to know anything about them. Having to look under the
recliner first is the right behavior. But finding nothing although the
discombobulator is there, that's *not* the right behavior.

Or at least that's what I *think* this discussion was/is about.


-- Niko
http://members.lycos.co.uk/realnc/


Ben Caplan

unread,
Feb 14, 2003, 3:19:11 PM2/14/03
to
Nikos Chantziaras at for....@manager.de pontificated:

> Kevin Forchione wrote:
>>
>> "Nikos Chantziaras" <for....@manager.de> wrote in message
>> news:b2bsqb$1apa32$1...@ID-151409.news.dfncis.de...
>>>
>>> Mark 'Kamikaze' Hughes wrote:
>>>>
>>>> [...] Manipulating a book that hasn't been described yet is a
>>>> minor thing, but it's not good in-game behavior.
>>>
>>> I don't see any good reason to prevent the PC from interacting with
>>> unknown objects. After all, if she knows that the object exists,
>>> there must be a reason for this. If she doesn't know, then there's
>>> nothing to prevent.
>>
>> My issue has been with *actor* knowledge versus *player* knowledge.
>
> I understood that. My point is that the game should "target" the player,
> because the player "targets" the actor. In other words, the game should
> treat my input as commands *I* wish the actor to perform, not as commands
> the actor wishes to perform (the reason I don't like parsers that lack
> personality). When my input makes use of information not yet available to
> the actor, the game should simply accept it, since the information is
> correct; it doesn't matter that the actor doesn't know about it. This
> reminds me of the "falling tree" problem. The actor didn't hear the fall,
> but I did. When I instruct the actor to examine the fallen tree, the last
> thing I expect the game to say to me is "but the tree didn't fall", since it
> *did* fall and it lies right before the actor's eyes. In a way, the actor
> *knows* that the tree did fall because I just told her about it, but she
> will not admit it.
>

This is clearly a flagrant violation of mimesis, but your point is still
valid. Maybe there should be FREEDOM and MIMESIS modes, similar to TERSE and
VERBOSE, which allow the player to choose according to his/her personal
preference.

>> Obviously a player playing through a game several times will have
>> knowledge that the PC doesn't possess (Is it possible that the PC
>> would have knowledge that the player doesn't possess? I suppose it
>> is possible).
>
> That's true, I guess. Or else there wouldn't be any need for "who am
> I"-like commands or settings (finding your own diary, for example).
>

Again, it's really a matter of taste - no right or wrong answer.

>> Now, in the course of replaying through a section of a game is it
>> realistic, given the current fashion in game play, to permit the
>> player access to knowledge that the PC should not have at that
>> point in time?
>
> If this knowledge refers to things that already happened, then yes; the
> player might be extremely good at guessing (from the game's point of view,
> there's no difference between guessing and replaying; not allowing the
> player to guess is a bad thing).
>

Is it so bad? See your comment below about guessing passwords.

>> Suppose, for instance, that in order to reach point 'C' in the
>> internal consistency of the story world, the PC at 'A' had to go
>> through 'B'. Is it realistic to permit the player, in replaying the
>> game, to short-circuit this sequence and go from 'A' to 'C'?
>
> It's very diffucult for me to imagine such a situation. If you first have
> to enter state 'B' in order to advance to state 'C', how is it possible to
> circumvent 'B' and directly enter 'C'?
>
> No, wait. I just thought about password-locked doors. So, to find out the
> right password, you have to enter state 'B', and in this state you heavily
> alter the game's universe. If the game assumes that you did go through 'B'
> when you arrive at 'C', then this is Bad Game Design (TM). Why? Because I
> simply might have *guessed* the password. I think a game should be prepared
> for the possibility that Gastone might sit in front of the monitor. :-)
> Some games (actually a lot of them) solve this by not allowing the player to
> enter a password at all; they simply respond with something like "you have
> no idea what the password could be". At least that's better than entering
> the right password but get a "nothing happens" response. Grrr!
>

If the password is so ugly that no one could possibly guess, you might not
have this problem. Of course, some people *are* stupid enough to try, so it
would have to be something like "dhfodklfnmriogjvlksamdviarwmgm dvlfsjdgom
lkvamiaomkldflkgjvneriuvnmarlkwnvuarnvklarmnvoiuranmvioras;dfi;oawjej89r47uq
tk[qg[vm5i=]1pokwf9kvolj589q'5vmmq30k5gpvmj;q'tk;5mioqtejg093glguhjql;jn89ra
nbv9008p4u03".
It's probably not worth it.

>> Whether A, B, and C are locations, pieces of a puzzle, or knowledge
>> makes no difference. In a book we can easily skip whole pages and even
>> chapters to get to the juicy bits we want to relive. But in the process
>> the characters aren't made to perform internally-inconsistent actions.
>> Instead we mentally fill in the gaps, and because the book is static we
>> don't break mimesis.
>
> That's an entirely different issue; you're talking about time. Yes, a game
> should not let you make use of information that refers to the future. But
> I'm talking about information that refers to things that have already
> happened. The book on the table is there, no matter if I examine the table
> first or not. But entering "TAKE BOOK" because I know that an NPC will put
> it there on the next turn, well, that would be simply stupid. No game can
> know that in advance. So the "You see no book here" response is
> appropriate; the game simply tells me the truth.

If I remember correctly, this started with something on a table that only
appeared after the player had examined the table. Shouldn't the contents of
the table appear in the room description? It's not as if the table obscures
its contents from view.

>
> Another example of what I mean:
>
>> search bed
> You find nothing of interest.
>
>> ask skywalker about bed
> "I use to hide my sword in it."
> [Now some things happen that assume you don't carry a sword
> and Skywalker leaves.]
>
>> search bed
> You find a laser sword.
>
>> grrr!
> That's not a ver^C
> [aborted]
>
> Now I'm not even allowed to search things because I might discover something
> I'm not supposed to find yet? I don't *care* if asking Skywalker about the
> bed results in something that alters the game. I know the sword is there,
> and the game should treat me as a person with more luck than brains.
>

I like the "Why on earth would you want to search someone else's bed?!"
workaround.

>> Now, if I were playing a game with children, and because the game was
>> so well-worn, simply made the leap from A to C, I'm sure that I would
>> be met with a great outcry of 'foul!' The children, knowing the story
>> so well, would in fact insist that I played by the rules.
>>
>> But what rules are *we* playing by when we replay a game? Are they the
>> rules of our own knowledge, or the rules of the story?
>
> Sounds interesting. If only I could understand what it's supposed to
> mean... :-) Examples of what you mean with "breaking the rules" would be
> nice.

Taking the sword before Luke tells you about it. "Guessing" the password.

Here's an interesting thought: most modern parsers worth their salt allow
you to enter multiple commands at one prompt (n. e. open window. w. w. move
rug. open trapdoor. d.) But even in this simple example, at the time that
you're writing the command, the PC doesn't know about the trapdoor. Is
_that_ breaking mimesis?

One last thing: how is 'mimesis' pronounced?


----------------------------------------------------------------

Ben Caplan -- philosopher, linguist, and thaumaturge


Gadget

unread,
Feb 14, 2003, 3:32:10 PM2/14/03
to
On Fri, 14 Feb 2003 14:19:11 -0600, Ben Caplan <b...@hayscaplan.org>
wrote:

>This is clearly a flagrant violation of mimesis, but your point is still
>valid. Maybe there should be FREEDOM and MIMESIS modes, similar to TERSE and
>VERBOSE, which allow the player to choose according to his/her personal
>preference.
>

You are in a magnificent cave, about to embark on a dangerous yet
exciting adventure that will bring you many riches. You can go north
and south.
>FREEDOM

[ This game now in FREEDOM mode]

You are not in a cave. You sit behind a computer and read about a
cave. You are not an adventurer. You are some dude who plays a game.
The adventure is neither dangerous nor potentially profitable. You
cannot go north and south. you can, however TYPE north or south and
the appropriate text will be displayed. By the way, if you download a
walkthrough it will be a lot easier.

>MIMESIS!!! MIMESIS!!! MIMESIS!!!
I only understood you as far as you were typing some stuff that this
program did not understand.

Ben Caplan

unread,
Feb 14, 2003, 3:38:45 PM2/14/03
to
Gadget at gad...@SPAMBLOCKhaha.demon.nl pontificated:

> On Fri, 14 Feb 2003 14:19:11 -0600, Ben Caplan <b...@hayscaplan.org>
> wrote:
>
>> This is clearly a flagrant violation of mimesis, but your point is still
>> valid. Maybe there should be FREEDOM and MIMESIS modes, similar to TERSE and
>> VERBOSE, which allow the player to choose according to his/her personal
>> preference.
>>
>
> You are in a magnificent cave, about to embark on a dangerous yet
> exciting adventure that will bring you many riches. You can go north
> and south.
>> FREEDOM
>
> [ This game now in FREEDOM mode]
>
> You are not in a cave. You sit behind a computer and read about a
> cave. You are not an adventurer. You are some dude who plays a game.
> The adventure is neither dangerous nor potentially profitable. You
> cannot go north and south. you can, however TYPE north or south and
> the appropriate text will be displayed. By the way, if you download a
> walkthrough it will be a lot easier.
>
>> MIMESIS!!! MIMESIS!!! MIMESIS!!!
> I only understood you as far as you were typing some stuff that this
> program did not understand.
>

Unfortunately, some people might continue to play in FREEDOM mode.

Jeffrey F Pack

unread,
Feb 14, 2003, 3:40:59 PM2/14/03
to
"Nikos Chantziaras" <for....@manager.de> writes:

> Another example of what I mean:
>
> >search bed
> You find nothing of interest.
>
> >ask skywalker about bed
> "I use to hide my sword in it."
> [Now some things happen that assume you don't carry a sword
> and Skywalker leaves.]
>
> >search bed
> You find a laser sword.
>
> >grrr!
> That's not a ver^C
> [aborted]
>
> Now I'm not even allowed to search things because I might discover something
> I'm not supposed to find yet? I don't *care* if asking Skywalker about the
> bed results in something that alters the game. I know the sword is there,
> and the game should treat me as a person with more luck than brains.

This strikes me as an example of a more general set of problems I'd
call "strange causality," where one action causes a change in the game
state that couldn't possibly be related to the action. In this case,
it's the mention of an object actually creating the object in a place
where the player could already have looked.

Photograph had a similar problem where taking an action in a flashback
drastically changed a location that was already accessible to the
player, and console RPGs are notoriously bad for this sort of thing
(e.g., killing the boss monster in a dungeon causing the bridge to the
next town to be repaired).

Now most games do this to some extent, because modeling an entire game
world is too unwieldy. I think it's only really a problem when the
player catches it, which generally means changing something the
player's already had the opportunity to explore for no apparent
reason. Then, it breaks mimesis because it encourages the player to
think of the game world in terms of triggers and responses rather than
objects and locations--more like a programmer than a participant.

Jeff

Matthew Russotto

unread,
Feb 14, 2003, 4:00:58 PM2/14/03
to
In article <BA72AFF5.A90%b...@hayscaplan.org>,

A real MIMESIS mode wouldn't understand the "FREEDOM" command anyway.
--
Matthew T. Russotto mrus...@speakeasy.net
"Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in pursuit
of justice is no virtue." But extreme restriction of liberty in pursuit of
a modicum of security is a very expensive vice.

Kevin Forchione

unread,
Feb 14, 2003, 10:06:09 PM2/14/03
to
"Nikos Chantziaras" <for....@manager.de> wrote in message
news:b2jhfm$1d5p2a$1...@ID-151409.news.dfncis.de...

> Another example of what I mean:
>
> >search bed
> You find nothing of interest.
>
> >ask skywalker about bed
> "I use to hide my sword in it."
> [Now some things happen that assume you don't carry a sword
> and Skywalker leaves.]
>
> >search bed
> You find a laser sword.
>
> >grrr!
> That's not a ver^C
> [aborted]

I completely agree with you. This is bad design.

> Now I'm not even allowed to search things because I might discover
something
> I'm not supposed to find yet? I don't *care* if asking Skywalker about
the
> bed results in something that alters the game. I know the sword is there,
> and the game should treat me as a person with more luck than brains.
>
> > Now, if I were playing a game with children, and because the game was
> > so well-worn, simply made the leap from A to C, I'm sure that I would
> > be met with a great outcry of 'foul!' The children, knowing the story
> > so well, would in fact insist that I played by the rules.
> >
> > But what rules are *we* playing by when we replay a game? Are they the
> > rules of our own knowledge, or the rules of the story?
>
> Sounds interesting. If only I could understand what it's supposed to
> mean... :-) Examples of what you mean with "breaking the rules" would be
> nice.

It's not necessarily a game, but an example of this kind of peculiar
behavior arises when a child has her parent read from a particular book. Any
attempts to skip pages, or even change the way things go is apt to be met
with scorn. A child will know when she's being cheated by a parent who may
be too tired or bored to "stay in character".

--Kevin


Kevin Forchione

unread,
Feb 14, 2003, 10:07:17 PM2/14/03
to
"Nikos Chantziaras" <for....@manager.de> wrote in message
news:b2jho7$1de8bp$1...@ID-151409.news.dfncis.de...

> Or at least that's what I *think* this discussion was/is about.

Actually I think I've been talking at cross-purposes with the rest of the
thread. Originally this thread posited the question about renaming objects
during play, and I've been working from that model.

I totally agree with you regarding the presence of objects in a room and how
they should react to queries. An object that is present within the
containment model should not play games with the player as to whether or not
it is present. If its container isn't specifically hiding it, then it should
be possible to probe for it through a random approach. <<take book>> is
perfectly valid even when the book isn't present in the containment
hierarchy.

What I was arguing about was, in some ways, simpler: whether it was
appropriate to be able to refer to a character as "Bob" before he's been
identified in the game as such, simply because we are restarting the game.
In this case I can envision several possibilities that grow organically from
the character:

You see a stranger here.
>hello, Bob.

* "Do I know you, buddy?"
* "Yeah, that's me."
*"You don't see any Bob here"

I must admit, I prefer the possibilities of the first two, rather than the
last example.

--Kevin

Cypher

unread,
Feb 15, 2003, 1:39:15 AM2/15/03
to

> (I just noticed that this thread also goes to alt.games.xtrek. Is this
> wanted?)

Well, I imagine Choices IF wanted it that way, brainiac.

> Quintin Stone wrote:
> >
> > On Wed, 12 Feb 2003, Kevin Forchione wrote:
> >
> > > Suppose, for instance, that in order to reach point 'C' in the
> > > internal consistency of the story world, the PC at 'A' had to go
> > > through 'B'. Is it realistic to permit the player, in replaying
> > > the game, to short-circuit this sequence and go from 'A' to 'C'?
> >
> > [...]
> > Let's say we have two very minor but similar puzzles: in puzzle A,
> > the discombobulator is hidden inside an unlocked box; in puzzle B,
> > the discombobulator is hidden under a recliner. In both cases, the
> > item is hidden from view. No one would complain in puzzle A that
> > they can't "GET DISCOMBOBULATOR" without opening the box first.
> > Why complain in B that you can't get it without looking under the
> > chair?
>
> The issue here is that in some games you don't find anything under the
> recliner, unless the PC knows about it (when someone tells her that the
> discombobulator is hidden there, for example). *That* is what I call
> annoying. It's like as if the PC sees the discombobulator but doesn't
tell
> you about it because it would break the story. Again: Grrr!!!

Isn't the story the flippin' POINT of playing the game? Or are games like
Photopia big gaming failures?

> As you can see, this is an entirely different issue. We're talking about
> things that should be phisicaly possible, but the game won't allow because
> you're not supposed to know anything about them. Having to look under the
> recliner first is the right behavior. But finding nothing although the
> discombobulator is there, that's *not* the right behavior.

Actually the, ah, 'discombobulator' is hidden inside a compartment within
the left most slat, which is only revealed after turning the front, right
hand leg, seventeen degrees counterclockwise. Of course this information is
kept in the strictest confidence between the NPC and the PC, as it's a lot
easier (and just as effective) to type SEARCH CHAIR after this info is
assumed by such dialog as "The disbomcobulabator s'in the chaih, ya crazy
joik" which conveys as much information.

> Or at least that's what I *think* this discussion was/is about.

-I- think that this discussion was about the theoretical possibility of the
TADS3 engine to rename objects while in gameplay. Maybe I'm wrong.


Jeffrey F Pack

unread,
Feb 15, 2003, 4:14:52 AM2/15/03
to
"Kevin Forchione" <ke...@lysseus.com> writes:

> What I was arguing about was, in some ways, simpler: whether it was
> appropriate to be able to refer to a character as "Bob" before he's been
> identified in the game as such, simply because we are restarting the game.
> In this case I can envision several possibilities that grow organically from
> the character:
>
> You see a stranger here.
> >hello, Bob.
>
> * "Do I know you, buddy?"
> * "Yeah, that's me."
> *"You don't see any Bob here"
>
> I must admit, I prefer the possibilities of the first two, rather than the
> last example.

There's also the case of Trinity, where referring to characters by
name (Oppenheimer, Charon, etc.) elicits a brief comment from the
game. (Of course, guessing Trinity's names required outside knowledge
rather than knowledge from other playthroughs of the game.) I don't
remember if it changes later descriptions, though.

Jeff

Rikard Peterson

unread,
Feb 15, 2003, 10:07:24 AM2/15/03
to
Kevin Forchione wrote in
news:B8i3a.516$jK.62...@newssvr14.news.prodigy.com:

> "Nikos Chantziaras" <for....@manager.de> wrote in message
> news:b2jhfm$1d5p2a$1...@ID-151409.news.dfncis.de...
>>

>> Sounds interesting. If only I could understand what it's
>> supposed to mean... :-) Examples of what you mean with "breaking
>> the rules" would be nice.
>
> It's not necessarily a game, but an example of this kind of
> peculiar behavior arises when a child has her parent read from a
> particular book. Any attempts to skip pages, or even change the
> way things go is apt to be met with scorn. A child will know when
> she's being cheated by a parent who may be too tired or bored to
> "stay in character".

Except that you got it backwards. The parser is the parent and the
player is the child. What if the child who has heard the book
seventy-eleven times already want the parent to skip the discussion
with St George, so that she can hear about the dragon? I don't think
anything is gained by preventing the leap. It'll only annoy those who
want to do it (those who play by the rules will never notice either
way) and it's additional work for the author that would be better
spent elsewhere.

Rikard

Sophie Fruehling

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Feb 15, 2003, 10:45:02 AM2/15/03
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On 14 Feb 2003 15:40:59 -0500, Jeffrey F Pack
<jf...@konichiwa.cc.columbia.edu> wrote:

>This strikes me as an example of a more general set of problems I'd
>call "strange causality," where one action causes a change in the game
>state that couldn't possibly be related to the action.

I also think it's not a good idea to hook some plot-triggering event
to an 'examine' action, except if you give some clue that is unsubtle
enough that the player just *has* to examine your object. (See, I went
through _Janitor_ for two hours, and it never occurred to me to
have a look at the mop (which I was carrying around all the time, and
I even talked to it), so I missed all the clever stuff for quite a
while.)

This was a serious problem in two games in last year's comp, _Eric's
Gift_ and _Ramon and Jonathan_, where I was stuck for about a hundred
turns, because I didn't examine the event-triggering object. (In
_Eric's Gift_, it would probably not have been a problem, if the
apartment had been somewhat more deeply implemented, and if I hadn't
been completely on the wrong track, because, as it were, I was trying
to come up with some topic to talk about to advance the plot.)

If it is not clear, what I am talking about here is not something like

>x desk
Hey, there is a secret compartment!

and I'm stuck, because I don't look, but

>x desk
It's an ordinary desk with a drawer.

>open drawer
It seems to be locked.

>unlock drawer
You don't have anything to unlock it with.

>pull drawer
It doesn't budge.

...

[Two hours later]

>x drawer
It's an ordinary drawer.

All of a sudden, a genie materializes and hands you the keys to
the desk drawer.

-- Sophie

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