Gameplay theory: leaving object behind..

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Sam Hulick

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Sep 8, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/8/95
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Let's say you're playing a game, and you explore a place thoroughly (or
so you think). Then a few minutes later, you take a ship to another
country, but then realize that you needed something back in the other
country! Would you RATHER have a game not let you board the ship
without a few things? (i.e. a message prints "You get the odd feeling
you forgot something") Or would you rather be able to leave anyway, and
later find out you forgot an item or two, and restore an older game?

--
--- Sam Hulick ------------- shu...@indiana.edu ---------------------
Systems Consultant | Homepage:
Indiana College Placement | http://copper.ucs.indiana.edu/~shulick/
and Assessment Center | PGP public key available on request

Dan Shiovitz

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Sep 9, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/9/95
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[Followups to *.arts.* only]

In article <1995Sep8.2...@news.cs.indiana.edu>,


Sam Hulick <shu...@guava.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
>
>Let's say you're playing a game, and you explore a place thoroughly (or
>so you think). Then a few minutes later, you take a ship to another
>country, but then realize that you needed something back in the other
>country! Would you RATHER have a game not let you board the ship
>without a few things? (i.e. a message prints "You get the odd feeling
>you forgot something") Or would you rather be able to leave anyway, and
>later find out you forgot an item or two, and restore an older game?

Obviously, the best sort of thing is to just not have any situations like this
at all in a game :P But that's pretty tough to do. If you must have them, I
would rather just be allowed to board the ship. Possibly, it might be a good
idea to suggest a save before the player sets sail, if it's obvious this could
be a one-way trip. In general, I prefer the author to stay out of the game as
much as possible. I wouldn't like getting a "strange feeling I'm forgetting
something" (and that could be *real* frustrating if you can't figure out what
it is), and in general, I don't like messages that say "The game would be
unsolvable if you did that. Better not." Let the player have all the rope
they want, that's my motto :P

>--- Sam Hulick ------------- shu...@indiana.edu ---------------------

--

------------------------------------------------+--------------
The Grim Reaper ** scy...@u.washington.edu |
Dan Shiovitz ** sh...@cs.washington.edu | Aude
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ | Sapere
_Music of the Spheres_ : Coming Nov '95 |
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Gareth Rees

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Sep 9, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/9/95
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"Sam Hulick" <shu...@guava.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
> Would you RATHER have a game not let you board the ship without a few
> things?

Make it an optional setting, like score notification. People who want
to experience the consequences of their own mistakes would turn the
option off, more timid adventurers would turn it on.

--
Gareth Rees

Jason Dyer

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Sep 9, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/9/95
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Sam Hulick (shu...@guava.ucs.indiana.edu) wrote:

: Let's say you're playing a game, and you explore a place thoroughly (or
: so you think). Then a few minutes later, you take a ship to another
: country, but then realize that you needed something back in the other

: country! Would you RATHER have a game not let you board the ship
: without a few things? (i.e. a message prints "You get the odd feeling


: you forgot something") Or would you rather be able to leave anyway, and
: later find out you forgot an item or two, and restore an older game?

Three options:

1. Before leaving, the game asks "Do you want to save your game now?"
2. All the objects in question will have been taken by the time the
player gets to the transport. For example, if they need a spray paint
can in the next country, put it next to an object required to get
to the transport. This won't necessarily assure that the player will have
the objects, but it will make the possession of them much more likely.
3. When leaving, have the game say [The game is now in an unsolvable
state. You may want to undo that last move.] but still allow the player
to go ahead.

--
Jason Dyer - jd...@indirect.com

Christopher E. Forman

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Sep 9, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/9/95
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Gareth Rees (gd...@cl.cam.ac.uk) wrote:
: Make it an optional setting, like score notification. People who want

: to experience the consequences of their own mistakes would turn the
: option off, more timid adventurers would turn it on.

My current project does just this.

There are a couple segments of the game that are quite linear (necessarily
so), and it's possible to get stuck without realizing it. I've included a
"Warning Mode," similar to score notification, that informs players of these
situations.

It's not designed to help with everything -- using a one-use object in the
wrong place doesn't activate it -- since that would give away too much of
what's important. It's up to the player to determine that, since nothing
happened as a result of his/her actions, it's probably time to undo or
restore. I only use Warning Mode to tell players they've screwed up when
there's a chance they can't determine that for themselves.
--
C.E. Forman cef...@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu
Read the I-F e-zine XYZZYnews, at ftp.gmd.de:/if-archive/magazines/xyzzynews!
* Interactive Fiction * Beavis and Butt-Head * The X-Files * MST3K * C/C++ *

Sam Hulick

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Sep 9, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/9/95
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jd...@indirect.com (Jason Dyer) writes:
>Sam Hulick (shu...@guava.ucs.indiana.edu) wrote:
>
>: Let's say you're playing a game, and you explore a place thoroughly (or
>: so you think). Then a few minutes later, you take a ship to another
>: country, but then realize that you needed something back in the other
>: country! Would you RATHER have a game not let you board the ship
>: without a few things? (i.e. a message prints "You get the odd feeling
>: you forgot something") Or would you rather be able to leave anyway, and
>: later find out you forgot an item or two, and restore an older game?
>
>Three options:
>
>1. Before leaving, the game asks "Do you want to save your game now?"

Kind of obvious that they left something behind, then.

>2. All the objects in question will have been taken by the time the
>player gets to the transport. For example, if they need a spray paint
>can in the next country, put it next to an object required to get
>to the transport. This won't necessarily assure that the player will have
>the objects, but it will make the possession of them much more likely.
>3. When leaving, have the game say [The game is now in an unsolvable
>state. You may want to undo that last move.] but still allow the player
>to go ahead.

I was thinking about a wimpy mode.. i.e.

>wimpy on
Game is now in wimpy mode. The game will never reach an unsolveable
state.

So then I would code things like this:

... if player is about to board the ship
{
if (wimpy is on and player doesn't have this & this & that)
"You feel like you've forgotten something. Better go back.";
! ..otherwise, board the ship.
}

This way, the player can decide for themself if they want the game to be
tough & mean, or not let them pass important things up. What do you
think?

--

--- Sam Hulick ------------- shu...@indiana.edu ---------------------

J. I. Drasner

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Sep 9, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/9/95
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In article <1995Sep8.2...@news.cs.indiana.edu>, "Sam Hulick"
<shu...@guava.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:

>Let's say you're playing a game, and you explore a place thoroughly (or
>so you think). Then a few minutes later, you take a ship to another
>country, but then realize that you needed something back in the other
>country! Would you RATHER have a game not let you board the ship
>without a few things? (i.e. a message prints "You get the odd feeling
>you forgot something") Or would you rather be able to leave anyway, and
>later find out you forgot an item or two, and restore an older game?

How about a happy medium? Such as you get a warning, but you can choose to
ignore it if you want, and another try will let you board the ship,
whether or not you have the object.

Personally -- and even though I know it's my fault when it happens,
naturally -- I dislike games where you can get about 1 point away from
finishing and discover that because you threw away some plastic wrapping
in the first ten moves of the game, you're not going to win. (Well, you
know what I mean. Like the dog puzzle in Hitchhiker's Guide.)

****************************************************
All done. Bye bye.
****************************************************
Guildenstern: He's -- melancholy.
Player: Melancholy?
Rosencrantz: Mad.
Alice: But I don't want to go among mad people.
Cheshire Cat: Oh, you can't help that, we're all mad here.
(From "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern in Wonderland")
****************************************************
Johanna "Joey" Drasner: ow...@interport.net (Greenwich Village)
****************************************************

Julian Arnold

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Sep 9, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/9/95
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Dan Shiovitz (scy...@u.washington.edu) wrote:

[Not coming home]

> Obviously, the best sort of thing is to just not have any situations like this
> at all in a game :P But that's pretty tough to do. If you must have them, I
> would rather just be allowed to board the ship. Possibly, it might be a good
> idea to suggest a save before the player sets sail, if it's obvious this could
> be a one-way trip. In general, I prefer the author to stay out of the game as
> much as possible. I wouldn't like getting a "strange feeling I'm forgetting
> something" (and that could be *real* frustrating if you can't figure out what
> it is), and in general, I don't like messages that say "The game would be
> unsolvable if you did that. Better not." Let the player have all the rope
> they want, that's my motto :P

THE LEGEND LIVES! asks you if you want to save before boarding the shuttle.
IMO this is a better method than if it said "You have a nasty feeling ..."
once you had taken off. The `save' method gave me the impression "Oh hell!
Once I get on that shuttle things are going to turn *nasty*.", while the
`message' method (can't think of any examples) would make me think "Bugger!
What haven't I done this time?", as well as making the author sound a bit
smug. I agree with Dan though. For most games the author should remain
invisible for as much as possible.
--
Jools Arnold jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk

Mark Mark

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Sep 9, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/9/95
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>Sam Hulick <shu...@guava.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
>>Let's say you're playing a game, and you explore a place thoroughly (or
>>so you think). Then a few minutes later, you take a ship to another
>>country, but then realize that you needed something back in the other
>>country! Would you RATHER have a game not let you board the ship
>>without a few things? (i.e. a message prints "You get the odd feeling
>>you forgot something") Or would you rather be able to leave anyway, and
>>later find out you forgot an item or two, and restore an older game?

Having the game actively goose you into going back and finding what you
need seems rather intrusive -- though I understand that there ought to
be some way to handle this subtly. Perhaps, if the player is about to
depart an area permanently, a reminder that you'd better have done all
you want to do is appropriate at that time.

>BOARD THE STARSHIP
As you climb into the spacecraft the hatch grinds shut behind you. With
a whir of antigravity engines the ship hurtles skyward, and soon you're flying
off into space! As you watch Earth dwindle against the stars and vanish, you
realize you're unlikely to see home again for a while. Hope you brought
everything you needed with you...

Ideally, the player will "make the catch" at this point. If she's unsure
she actually brought everything she might have needed, she could then UNDO
one move and keep searching, or at least undo then SAVE in case, seven hundred
moves later, she finds out she should have brought along the gum wrapper from
the spaceport.

I'll agree with others that one-way passages like this ought to be avoided
as much as possible, especially if the game has an inventory limit. But
sometimes it's just necessary for the plot -- if you fly from Earth to
Serpiens X-7 you can't then just rush back because you forgot your toothbrush!

--
I've gone to build the Supercollider.
<*> mbs...@psuvm.psu.edu: Mark Sachs, Itinerant Graphicist and Webmaster <*>
Visit the Penn State Harrisburg Home Page! http://www.hbg.psu.edu/

edharel

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Sep 9, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/9/95
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In article <1995Sep8.2...@news.cs.indiana.edu>
"Sam Hulick" <shu...@guava.ucs.indiana.edu> writes:

> Let's say you're playing a game, and you explore a place thoroughly (or
> so you think). Then a few minutes later, you take a ship to another
> country, but then realize that you needed something back in the other
> country! Would you RATHER have a game not let you board the ship
> without a few things? (i.e. a message prints "You get the odd feeling
> you forgot something") Or would you rather be able to leave anyway, and
> later find out you forgot an item or two, and restore an older game?

Well, it really depends on what type of a game it is. And where in the
game. In a game called Demon's Tomb, the prologue consists of you
being an archeologist in a tomb that's on fire, and you have to save
all your stuff. The game itself tells you that he cannot be saved, and
that you have to save as much as you can (I thought I did, until I saw
that I had to go about slowing down the fire annother way). Whether or
not you save everything you can, the game goes on, whether it's
possible to finish the game or not.

However, there are other games (particularily "Enhanced") where it just
gets annoying after a while. My suggestion is to make puzzle's
solvable an additional way, and then have the game just go ahead anyway
(although this really depends on the puzzle. If you haven't gotten the
diamond of blah blah, and it states at the beggining that you have to
find this or that it could help, it would be reasonable to put a "You
have forgotten somthing" message.

Of course, this is all IMHO.

Jason Dyer

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Sep 10, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/10/95
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Sam Hulick (shu...@guava.ucs.indiana.edu) wrote:

: jd...@indirect.com (Jason Dyer) writes:
: >Sam Hulick (shu...@guava.ucs.indiana.edu) wrote:
: >
: >: Let's say you're playing a game, and you explore a place thoroughly (or

: >: so you think). Then a few minutes later, you take a ship to another
: >: country, but then realize that you needed something back in the other
: >: country! Would you RATHER have a game not let you board the ship
: >: without a few things? (i.e. a message prints "You get the odd feeling
: >: you forgot something") Or would you rather be able to leave anyway, and
: >: later find out you forgot an item or two, and restore an older game?
: >
: >Three options:

: >
: >1. Before leaving, the game asks "Do you want to save your game now?"

: Kind of obvious that they left something behind, then.

No, I meant ALWAYS ask this even when you have
everything...like in The Legend Lives!

Of course, if you do one-way things alot (but that really wouldn't be in good
taste anyway) the message might become annoying.

Ronnie B. Kon

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Sep 10, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/10/95
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In article <42rahq$s...@nntp4.u.washington.edu> scy...@u.washington.edu (Dan Shiovitz) writes:

>Sam Hulick <shu...@guava.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
>>
>>Let's say you're playing a game, and you explore a place thoroughly (or
>>so you think). Then a few minutes later, you take a ship to another
>>country, but then realize that you needed something back in the other
>>country

>
>Obviously, the best sort of thing is to just not have any situations like
>this at all in a game

Absolutely. The thing which IMNSHO which made the original Zork such
a great game was that you ended up in the living room with a mountain
of stuff and a bunch of puzzles.

The alternative (all too common) is that you get a series of puzzles
like:

You enter a bank. There is a large combination vault at one
end. There is a sign on the vault, reading "Through me is the
path to the rest of the game."
There is a stethoscope here.
>

Solve it yet?

OK, so maybe the stethoscope is in the sick-bay adjacent to the vault,
but you get the idea. When you only have a handful of objects and one
puzzle, solving it is easy, no matter how clever the puzzle (unless
the solution just makes no sense at all, which does not make for a
good game. Example: moving the mechanical mouse inside of the maze in
curses (if you want the spoiler, get the cheatsheet)).

I think the puzzle I most enjoyed solving in interactive fiction was
in the original Adventure, killing the dragon (or is it the snake?
Not the one you use the bird on). I had been beating my head against
the problem for days. Finally, I actually answered "yes" to that
damned question and was through. If I only had 10 or so objects to
mess with, and a single puzzle to solve, I would have had the solution
in minutes. Much more fun the way it is.

Ronnie
--
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ronnie B. Kon | "You couldn't deny that, even if you used both hands"
ron...@cisco.com |
(408) 526-4592 | -- The Red Queen
----------------------------------------------------------------------------


Sam Hulick

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Sep 10, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/10/95
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I decided against wimpy mode, and letting the player know they forgot
something. Instead, I will go back to my code and rework it so that
they cannot leave without a few important objects. In other words, they
will have to use these objects to leave the country somehow.
As always, thanks for your input :)

JEFFREY MILLER

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Sep 10, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/10/95
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In <1995Sep10.1...@news.cs.indiana.edu> "Sam Hulick"
<shu...@guava.ucs.indiana.edu> writes:
>
>
>Furthermore, I think that an I-F game player should follow this simple
>golden rule about items: If you can carry it, take it with you. IMO,
>only a fool would leave things behind that were 1) not concealed
>somehow, and 2) transportable. For instance, if you find even
something
>as silly as a toothbrush lying around, why pass it up? You may need
it
>in the future.

I agree; however, many games have a limit on the number of items that
may be carried. Unless you have a container that allows a player to
carry an unlimited number of objects, the player would have to
a) use knowlege from a former life in order to know which object to
bring (something I think unacceptable) or
b) use a clue planted somewhere earlier in the game that a certain
object may be necessary later on.
Personally, I've always hated having a limit on what I may carry
because usually I end up dropping something early in the game that I
need later on, resulting in either a long and boring trek to recover it
or restoring an ancient saved game.

Just my $.02.

Jeff Miller
jeff...@ix.netcom.com

Andrew C. Plotkin

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Sep 10, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/10/95
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ow...@interport.net (J. I. Drasner) writes:
> In article <1995Sep8.2...@news.cs.indiana.edu>, "Sam Hulick"

> <shu...@guava.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
>
> >Let's say you're playing a game, and you explore a place thoroughly (or
> >so you think). Then a few minutes later, you take a ship to another
> >country, but then realize that you needed something back in the other
> >country! Would you RATHER have a game not let you board the ship
> >without a few things? (i.e. a message prints "You get the odd feeling
> >you forgot something") Or would you rather be able to leave anyway, and
> >later find out you forgot an item or two, and restore an older game?
>
> How about a happy medium? Such as you get a warning, but you can choose to
> ignore it if you want, and another try will let you board the ship,
> whether or not you have the object.

Decide what kind of game you want to write, and stick to it.

I prefer games where there are no warnings -- no game-intrusive
warnings, that is. It's quite clear to me that if I get on a
commercial starliner, I may not be able to get off before it leaves;
that's how airplanes work, after all. And I don't mind the even harder
kind of game where you can stumble through one-way actions without any
warning, or even where you don't know until much later that you've
done so. By default, in fact, I assume any given game is of that type.

If you put in lots of warnings, chances are I won't enjoy your game
very much. It's just a matter of what kind of thing I like. If you
have a "warnings off" mode, I'll use it and have a better time.

--Z

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

Sam Hulick

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Sep 10, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/10/95
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Furthermore, I think that an I-F game player should follow this simple
golden rule about items: If you can carry it, take it with you. IMO,
only a fool would leave things behind that were 1) not concealed
somehow, and 2) transportable. For instance, if you find even something
as silly as a toothbrush lying around, why pass it up? You may need it
in the future.

--

Trevor Barrie

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Sep 11, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/11/95
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>Furthermore, I think that an I-F game player should follow this simple
>golden rule about items: If you can carry it, take it with you. IMO,
>only a fool would leave things behind that were 1) not concealed
>somehow, and 2) transportable.

Personally, I see the encouragement of this sort of thing as a flaw
in most current I-F. There just aren't that many stories where it
makes sense for the protagonist to run away grabbing everything that
isn't nailed down. As an example, look at King's Quest V: few situations
in a computer game have seemed as (non-deliberately) silly to me as
having this King collecting every smelly fish he came across.

**************************************************************************
Trevor Barrie tba...@peinet.pe.ca "It's a great big universe,
87 Kennedy Drive and we're all really puny;
West Royalty, PEI we're just tiny little specks
C1E 1X7 CANADA (902) 628-6845 about the size of Mickey Rooney."
**************************************************************************

Thomas Nilsson

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Sep 11, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/11/95
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In article <42rahq$s...@nntp4.u.washington.edu> scy...@u.washington.edu (Dan Shiovitz) writes:

be a one-way trip. In general, I prefer the author to stay out of the game as
much as possible. I wouldn't like getting a "strange feeling I'm forgetting
something" (and that could be *real* frustrating if you can't figure out what
it is), and in general, I don't like messages that say "The game would be
unsolvable if you did that. Better not." Let the player have all the rope
they want, that's my motto :P

But these "subconsious" messages can, if they are used consistently,
be used to inplant thoughts and ideas in the player. A 'book'
(non-interactive?) author can always describe the thought process of
the hero, but in the IF genre this is more difficult, especially if
you are going along with the feelings&emotion-algebra proposed by the
Oz project and others.

I can imagine some story lines which require more precise control over
the order of the thoughts and insights the hero experiences. If we
consider the idea of trying to mimic the experience of reading a
(non-interactive) book, this involves laying out a story which evolves
in which where the hero plays an essential role, or at least is the
view point to that story. To create an experience that has the same
high quality I think we must aim for the goal that the actions of the
hero significantly influences the river of events that surrounds him
(or at least makes him/hero believe so). One way to limit the
simulation of the entire universe (and all the parallell multiverses)
we could 'create' ideas, feelings, opinions and emotions in the player
in the same way that authors of non-interactive fiction does.

This does *not* necessary mean that there is only one solution, or
that it must be a 'linear' game. It only means that it for some
purposes it might be necessary to 'manipulate' the player/reader in
order to give him the most.

On the other hand I don't like games that refuses to let you perform
things that you really want to do ("You can't jump of this cliff, you
would die of you did.")

Anyone care to comment, or give suggestions on how to do this?


/Thomas


--
"Little languages go a long way..."
(ThoNi of ThoNi&GorFo Adventure Factories in 1985)
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Thomas Nilsson Phone Int.: (+46) 13 12 11 67
Stenbrötsgatan 57 Phone Nat.: 013 - 12 11 67
S-582 47 LINKÖPING Email: th...@softlab.se
SWEDEN
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Dan Shiovitz

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Sep 11, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/11/95
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In article <THONI.95S...@rabbit.softlab.se>,
Thomas Nilsson <th...@rabbit.softlab.se> wrote:

>In article <42rahq$s...@nntp4.u.washington.edu> scy...@u.washington.edu (Dan Shiovitz) writes:
>>
>>be a one-way trip. In general, I prefer the author to stay out of the game
>>as much as possible. I wouldn't like getting a "strange feeling I'm
>>forgetting something" (and that could be *real* frustrating if you can't
>>figure out what

[..]


>But these "subconsious" messages can, if they are used consistently,
>be used to inplant thoughts and ideas in the player. A 'book'
>(non-interactive?) author can always describe the thought process of
>the hero, but in the IF genre this is more difficult, especially if
>you are going along with the feelings&emotion-algebra proposed by the
>Oz project and others.

Well, yes. A book can always describe the thought process of the hero because
the author always knows the thought process of the hero. The i-f author can't
know what the player is thinking, which is 90% of what the character is
thinking.

>I can imagine some story lines which require more precise control over
>the order of the thoughts and insights the hero experiences. If we
>consider the idea of trying to mimic the experience of reading a
>(non-interactive) book, this involves laying out a story which evolves
>in which where the hero plays an essential role, or at least is the
>view point to that story. To create an experience that has the same
>high quality I think we must aim for the goal that the actions of the
>hero significantly influences the river of events that surrounds him
>(or at least makes him/hero believe so). One way to limit the
>simulation of the entire universe (and all the parallell multiverses)
>we could 'create' ideas, feelings, opinions and emotions in the player
>in the same way that authors of non-interactive fiction does.

I agree, trying to simulate the feel of a good piece of literature would be a
worthy goal (don't jump on me yet, folks, let me explain ...) However, it's
vital we understand the differences between books and pieces of i-f before
we start messing around with the player's thoughts. IMO, the biggest
difference is that in a book, we have predestination. The author always knows
what's going to happen, 100% accurately. No such thing in a game, alas. OTOH,
the game has something the book doesn't, namely the ability to make the player/
reader feel central to the story, and experience the story in a way reading a
book about it can't. Minor digression here: One common tactic for subverting
POW's to the cause of their captors was to ask them to copy out statements of
belief in the cause. Action tends to influence thought, and the act of copying
the statements often leads to them feeling the statements are true. Similarly,
we have a lot of potential in games to make the player feel the effects of
their actions. For example, in one of the various authoring guides there's a
reference to the creator of _Trinity_ mentioning how many people were upset
about killing the lizard. When we actually do the stuff, imo we're much closer
to it than if we just read about "someone else" doing it, even if we're allowed
to see their thoughts. (Forcibly wrenching this back to the topic I started
with..) So, in conclusion, I think the best way to create thoughts/emotions
in the player is not to tell them, but to show them. If they go east in the
cornfield, don't say "The cornfield is endless, and you eventually decide to
stop." Let them walk for a dozen rooms in that direction, and they'll get a
much better impression of an endless cornfield. Similarly, the best way to
have the player think of the NPC as a friend is not to have the game print out
"Gee, Igor is sure a nice guy," but to put the player and NPC in a situation
that naturally leads to friendship (say, have Igor help the player out in
something), and the player will feel it better, all by themselves.

>Anyone care to comment, or give suggestions on how to do this?
>/Thomas

>S-582 47 LINKÖPING Email: th...@softlab.se

Russell L. Bryan

unread,
Sep 11, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/11/95
to
I'm fairly less than anal when it comes to these things, but I do have one
significant pet peeve concerning this subject.

It's all well and good to provide fair warning that you might leave
something behind, but since so many games get in your way with the "You're
carrying too much already" concept that warnings end up being pretty
meaningless. Sure, you can save a game at that point, but you can still
go a significant distance into the game before you realize what it is you
have to go back for.

My suggestion is this: if you have an object which a player needs in
order to solve a puzzle after passing the point of no return, provide a
replacemnt object at the destination. If I missed that thimble on Mars,
then give me an oddly-shaped nutshell on Venus. If I really should have
picked up that graduated cylinder in Australia, then give me a measuring
cup in America (hence adding the new puzzle of metric conversion!).

But "You might want to save now?" I say no. Sounds like a cop-out. Put
that little extra effort into your design and leave frustration to the
puzzles rather than repetition.

-- Russ

Adam J. Thornton

unread,
Sep 12, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/12/95
to
In article <1995Sep10.1...@news.cs.indiana.edu>,

Sam Hulick <shu...@guava.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:
>For instance, if you find even something
>as silly as a toothbrush lying around, why pass it up? You may need it
>in the future.

I think I'd rather let my teeth get dirty than use a toothbrush I found
laying around somewhere.

A game I'm beta testing, _Avarice_, promises eventually to have several
thousand objects. You see, it's set in a mansion. Sure, you _could_ pick
up the porcelain poodle and the astrolabe from the bric-a-brac shelf--as
you could in real life--but why _should_ you?

A game should not require that every object have a use in the game. I'm
all for hideously detailed games that have a great many objects that have
no relevance to the game. Don't let the player get away with "I can pick
it up--it must be useful".

This, oddly, is something that works better in a graphical game like
_Avarice_ than in a text adventure, where the necessity to enumerate each
object would lead to absolutely unwieldy screens of text.

Adam
--
ad...@io.com | ad...@phoenix.princeton.edu | Viva HEGGA! | Save the choad!
"Double integral is also the shape of lovers curled asleep" : Pynchon
64,928 | TEAM OS/2 | "Ich habe einen Bierbauch!" | Linux | Fnord
You can have my PGP passphrase when you pry it from my cold, dead brain.

uid no access

unread,
Sep 12, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/12/95
to
>Let's say you're playing a game, and you explore a place thoroughly (or
>so you think). Then a few minutes later, you take a ship to another
>country, but then realize that you needed something back in the other
>country! Would you RATHER have a game not let you board the ship
>without a few things? (i.e. a message prints "You get the odd feeling
>you forgot something") Or would you rather be able to leave anyway, and
>later find out you forgot an item or two, and restore an older game?

I agree with other posters about suggesting a save first. Furthermore,
I think you should *definitely* be allowed to continue onward in
spite of any warnings, because it might then become obvious later
on what you needed to obtain from back home. When you encounter
the dense jungle you might realize that you should have waited for
Bob's Chainsaw Emporium store to open before jumping on that ship...

-dce
--
David Etherton | Megatek Corporation | "Shop as usual, and avoid panic buying."

Trevor Barrie

unread,
Sep 12, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/12/95
to
In article <4333qe$1...@cnn.Princeton.EDU>, ad...@flagstaff.princeton.edu (Adam J. Thornton) says:

>A game should not require that every object have a use in the game. I'm
>all for hideously detailed games that have a great many objects that have
>no relevance to the game. Don't let the player get away with "I can pick
>it up--it must be useful".
>
>This, oddly, is something that works better in a graphical game like
>_Avarice_ than in a text adventure, where the necessity to enumerate each
>object would lead to absolutely unwieldy screens of text.

Not necessarily - you don't have to list every portable object in
the main room desription, after all. You could easily say something
like "There are some knick-knacks on the dresser.", and give a more
detailed description only if the player examines it.

Greg Ewing

unread,
Sep 12, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/12/95
to

In article <1995Sep8.2...@news.cs.indiana.edu>, "Sam Hulick" <shu...@guava.ucs.indiana.edu> writes:
|>
|> you take a ship to another
|> country, but then realize that you needed something back in the other
|> country! Would you RATHER have a game not let you board the ship
|> without a few things?

Some suggestions that come to mind:

1) Provide a way of getting back.

2) Provide an alternative solution not requiring anything
from home (perhaps a more difficult one).

3) Have a friend back home you can write to and say
"Please send me the left-handed screwdriver!" (Not sure
how to make the syntax for this discoverable, however!)

|> --- Sam Hulick ------------- shu...@indiana.edu ---------------------

Greg

Christopher E. Forman

unread,
Sep 12, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/12/95
to
Russell L. Bryan (daed...@netaxis.com) wrote:
: It's all well and good to provide fair warning that you might leave

: something behind, but since so many games get in your way with the "You're
: carrying too much already" concept that warnings end up being pretty
: meaningless. Sure, you can save a game at that point, but you can still
: go a significant distance into the game before you realize what it is you
: have to go back for.

That's why reasonable containers should be used -- to prevent frustrating
inventory management.

: My suggestion is this: if you have an object which a player needs in


: order to solve a puzzle after passing the point of no return, provide a
: replacemnt object at the destination. If I missed that thimble on Mars,
: then give me an oddly-shaped nutshell on Venus. If I really should have
: picked up that graduated cylinder in Australia, then give me a measuring
: cup in America (hence adding the new puzzle of metric conversion!).

This is a good system in certain circumstances, but...
[WARNING! SPOILER FOR "ENCHANTER" FOLLOWS]

What if you're dealing with a truly unique item, such as the Guncho spell in
Enchanter? You can't very well provide _another_ one right in Krill's tower,
can you?

In my current project, there are a number of unique items, as well as others
that have adequate substitutes. You have to look at each item individually.

: But "You might want to save now?" I say no. Sounds like a cop-out. Put


: that little extra effort into your design and leave frustration to the
: puzzles rather than repetition.

It's only a cop-out if it could be fixed by revising the game, which often
is not the case. For example, in my game, I've got one location that can
only be visited once, since the means of getting there vanishes. This is
necessary for the puzzle to make sense, so I can't just allow another method
of getting in. So I use "warning mode," which allows a player to choose if
he/she wants to be informed of such situations.

Dennis Carlyle

unread,
Sep 12, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/12/95
to

> But these "subconsious" messages can, if they are used consistently,
> be used to inplant thoughts and ideas in the player.

I agree, and that's _one_ method I hope to use in my game to make it
more 'literary' and less puzzle-oriented. It should be possible to
do it subtly and work it into the realism of the game.

Another one is perhaps (?) a
fairly basic departure from standard practise: instead of placing the
"hero" in a situation where everything is entirely new and unfamiliar,
he/she will be returning home after having left as a child thirteen
years ago.
I haven't played many IF games, and am plotting my first, so I don't
speak from much experience, but here's some other ideas I have about
this kind of thing:
The hero can "Think about (object / (location) / actor)" -- thus
trying to access her store of knowledge and memory -- not only about
things and places from the past, but also about subjects she has
trained in / read about. He has certain mental / psychic abilities of
a fairly common nature, and can "meditate on" things to try and
understand, or have some kind of vision about them. This is used in the
game "One Hand Clapping," where using the verb "meditate" may give you
a "vision" as a clue, but I believe in One Hand it depends
totally on where you are -- so you end up meditating at every
location that seems to have any significance at all.
Another idea is to manipulate the hero's attributes, -- such as
'calm' vs 'excited,' 'sleepy / tired / drugged' vs 'refreshed /
alert' -- in response to actions and events, and have these attributes
affect the success level of mental actions (or spells.)
The end result would hopefully be a more realistic feel, at least
to the hero character, and be a step closer to role-playing than
the standard "anonymous solver of puzzles."

> [ ... ] To create an experience that has the same


> high quality I think we must aim for the goal that the actions of the
> hero significantly influences the river of events that surrounds him
> (or at least makes him/hero believe so).

A worthy goal. And I think perhaps the essence of that might be
simply good "writing" -- that is, plot, storytelling, realistic
background. You could perhaps inform the player of distant events
resulting from their actions, as well as letting them see the results
in their immediate world.
What I _wonder about_ is ... how far can a good writer go in
_involving_ the player the way a good book can involve the reader,
without relying on mechanistic puzzle-solving? Something tells me that
IF _needs_ good puzzles, regardless of well the "story" aspect is
developed. But maybe puzzles don't all have to be mechanistic, linear,
and logical.

> One way to limit the
> simulation of the entire universe (and all the parallell multiverses)
> we could 'create' ideas, feelings, opinions and emotions in the player
> in the same way that authors of non-interactive fiction does. }}

I can't quite picture what you mean by 'creating' these in the
player. Any examples come to mind?
On the other hand, I do see the hero of my game as having
spent the past thirteen years training as a Druid, and thus having
the skills and world-view consistent with that background.

> On the other hand I don't like games that refuses to let you perform
> things that you really want to do ("You can't jump of this cliff, you
> would die of you did.")

Let the player jump, then describe the result is
the preferable thing. But it quickly comes up against the "describe
the entire universe" problem, doesn't it?

Dennis Carlyle - dgca...@freenet.vancover.bc.ca
--


J. I. Drasner

unread,
Sep 13, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/13/95
to
(Adam J. Thornton) wrote:

>A game should not require that every object have a use in the game. I'm
>all for hideously detailed games that have a great many objects that have
>no relevance to the game. Don't let the player get away with "I can pick
>it up--it must be useful".
>
>This, oddly, is something that works better in a graphical game like
>_Avarice_ than in a text adventure, where the necessity to enumerate each
>object would lead to absolutely unwieldy screens of text.

Or take, for example, the recently violently vilified game "Myst", which I
happened to enjoy immensely. (I didn't realize, by the way, that there was
a contest between Infocom and Myst going on. I happen to enjoy them both
at different times...but I digress...<g>) Very cool thing about that game
was all the totally "useless" little knickknacks lying around, many of
which had purposes -- meaning, you could play with them, but they had
absolutely nothing to do with solving the game. Provided lots of
atmosphere, and was realistic in the sense that, yes, not everything you
encounter is going to help you solve the game.

Loved Deadline's "plate of red herrings" (I first played this game before
I knew what the phrase "Red herring" meant), especially since those early
games had a tendency to make almost every object necessary for some
reason.

Thomas Nilsson

unread,
Sep 13, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/13/95
to

In article <431t7h$7...@nntp4.u.washington.edu> scy...@u.washington.edu
(Dan Shiovitz) writes:

<snip: inplanting feelings in the hero>


the topic I started with..) So, in conclusion, I think the best way
to create thoughts/emotions in the player is not to tell them, but
to show them. If they go east in the cornfield, don't say "The
cornfield is endless, and you eventually decide to stop." Let them
walk for a dozen rooms in that direction, and they'll get a much
better impression of an endless cornfield. Similarly, the best way
to have the player think of the NPC as a friend is not to have the
game print out "Gee, Igor is sure a nice guy," but to put the
player and NPC in a situation that naturally leads to friendship
(say, have Igor help the player out in something), and the player
will feel it better, all by themselves.


This is a good point, 'forcing' the player to feel the emotions by
making him/her act it out.

However, I wasn't really thinking about explicit descriptions of
emotions, like "You are happy", but more along the lines of

Reading the scribbled hand-writing in the diary suddenly makes
You realize what it was your old Aunt Clara had been talking
about all those years...

This is a way to present facts that the player doesn't have, but the
hero does. To make the player re-live the complete live of the hero up
to the point where the story begins is of course impossible, but I
think that placing the player as a 'new-born' into the world, without
history, memory or feelings is not quite right either. I would like to
be able to place the player in the role of the hero without him having
to discover everything from scratch.

For playing of most of the works of IF today, the history of the hero
is unimportant, the game is mostly a game of discovery and exploration
into a previously completely unknown universe. It hero might not even
have existed before the game begins (an inter-stellar visitor?).

To some limited degree this also applies to the relation between the
hero and other actors in the story. Your example shows how the feeling
of friendship grows (and the relationship evolves), but what about if
the hero already has a very good friend and it is essential to the
story that this relationship is already established? Somehow we need
to make the player realise this and act out his part as a friend to
this person (if he so chooses, we can't make him of course, and this
is the difference between printed books and IF!).

/Thomas

--
"Little languages go a long way..."
(ThoNi of ThoNi&GorFo Adventure Factories in 1985)
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Thomas Nilsson Phone Int.: (+46) 13 12 11 67
Stenbrötsgatan 57 Phone Nat.: 013 - 12 11 67

S-582 47 LINKÖPING Email: th...@softlab.se

SWEDEN
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Andrew Clover

unread,
Sep 13, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/13/95
to
dgca...@opus.freenet.vancouver.bc.ca (Dennis Carlyle) wrote:

> The hero can "Think about (object / (location) / actor)" -- thus trying
> to access her store of knowledge and memory -- not only about things and
> places from the past, but also about subjects she has trained in / read
> about.

The Infocom-style "What is...?" 'verb' seems a good way to implement this,
especially as it can be expanded to work with other NPCs ("Bob, what is the
meaning of life?"), with everyone including the player having a knowledge-
base.

[Christminster spoiler]


In Christminster, for example, you are given the task of finding out
Malcolm's surname, so that you can look him up in the list. I had to talk to
the Master to get this, but my character - Malcolm's sister - would be
rather stupid if she didn't know this already. "Who is Malcolm?" should have
told me as well, I think.

I don't think you should _need_ to ask yourself what things are very
often though.

BCNU, AjC

Erik Hermansen

unread,
Sep 14, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/14/95
to
>Furthermore, I think that an I-F game player should follow this simple
>golden rule about items: If you can carry it, take it with you. IMO,
>only a fool would leave things behind that were 1) not concealed
>somehow, and 2) transportable. For instance, if you find even something

>as silly as a toothbrush lying around, why pass it up? You may need it
>in the future.

Imagine if you lived your life like an adventure game.

Whenever you came to a location you had never been before, you would
examine everything closely. If there were any closed cabinets or desk
drawers, you'd have to open them and look at everything that might be
inside. If you came across a dumpster, you'd hop right in and start
examining everything.

Anything that was not bolted down, you'd grab it. You'd be some bizarre
kleptomaniac. If there was gum on the bottom of a bus seat, you'd want
it. And when you had more objects than you could carry (picture that
scene with Steve Martin from The Jerk) you would deposit them all in some
safe room. (Granted my apartment currently looks like it has been filled
with randomly collected objects.)

Whenever there was a problem that had you stumped, you would wander
around all of the locations you'd already been to and reexamine them.

If there was a locked door, you would just assume that you needed to get
to the other side of it. And you'd try any inane solution. You'd go
back to your apartment and get the jar of acid you stored there, then go
back to the door and pour the acid on the padlock. Somebody would see
you and call the cops. When they arrived you'd be sure to EXAMINE
POLICEMEN. Then you might try to GO NORTH, but the policeman would stop
your progress. Then you might THROW ACID AT POLICEMAN, but the policeman
would sidestep your attack and subdue you.

Then you would go to jail and your actions would mainly be limited to
taking INVENTORY and Z and SLEEP, but you would assume that you could
escape the prison if you had just remembered to bring some object along
with you.

Ban adventure games--they promote an unrealistic worldview.
--
*****************************************************************************
When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.

-----------------------------------------Erik Hermansen (daed...@eskimo.com)

Erik Hermansen

unread,
Sep 14, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/14/95
to
In article <4333qe$1...@cnn.Princeton.EDU>,
Adam J. Thornton <ad...@flagstaff.princeton.edu> wrote:
...

>A game should not require that every object have a use in the game. I'm
>all for hideously detailed games that have a great many objects that have
>no relevance to the game. Don't let the player get away with "I can pick
>it up--it must be useful".
...

Exactly right. I would take it a step further and have more locations
than should actually be visited. Think of how many locations there are
in the real world that have absolutely no visitation value. You have to
think about where you're going in real life to arrive at any place of
interest.

It wouldn't be hard to create a whole skyscraper full of rooms based on
series of random numbers derived from a specific seed number, so that the
player would have a consistent but randomly constructed world to deal with.
It would be a complete waste of time for the player to wander through it,
but it would be there.

Glen Elder

unread,
Sep 15, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/15/95
to
Sam Hulick (shu...@guava.ucs.indiana.edu) wrote:

: I decided against wimpy mode, and letting the player know they forgot
: something. Instead, I will go back to my code and rework it so that


: they cannot leave without a few important objects. In other words, they
: will have to use these objects to leave the country somehow.
: As always, thanks for your input :)

I would either have the object appear again on the far shore, or
have the player overhear, before the ship leaves "They say the King of
(the far shore) will pay $1,000 for a left-handed smoke shifter." On the
far shore, the player will find out that the rumor was false, but at
least she was given a strong hint that she should take the smoke shifter
with her. I would also only put in this hint if they had boarded the
ship without the object. I would hate the vage clue "something is missing."

: --
: --- Sam Hulick ------------- shu...@indiana.edu ---------------------
: Systems Consultant | Homepage:

Carl Muckenhoupt

unread,
Sep 15, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/15/95
to
daed...@eskimo.com (Erik Hermansen) writes:

>In article <4333qe$1...@cnn.Princeton.EDU>,
>Adam J. Thornton <ad...@flagstaff.princeton.edu> wrote:
>...
>>A game should not require that every object have a use in the game. I'm
>>all for hideously detailed games that have a great many objects that have
>>no relevance to the game. Don't let the player get away with "I can pick
>>it up--it must be useful".
>...

>Exactly right. I would take it a step further and have more locations
>than should actually be visited. Think of how many locations there are
>in the real world that have absolutely no visitation value. You have to
>think about where you're going in real life to arrive at any place of
>interest.

I'd take a different approach to the same end: give most rooms *multiple*
uses. That takes care of the "checklist" approach to adventuring, and makes
for a much tighter and cohesive game. I think of Ballyhoo, where you were
constantly revisiting places to solve puzzles you didn't realize existed
on your first visit. Nice structure. As for the "realism" of this: if
you're worried about the geography being too densely packed with
relevance, make each location in the game represent a larger area.

I'm beginning to form a theory here, that locations should correspond to
areas of equal conceptual content, rather than equal size. Say, the
Closet and the Parking Lot are equally interesting - each containing two
or three things to poke at - even though the parking lot covers 100 times
the area. If, on the other hand, the parking lot is bare of detail, why
give it its own "room" at all? Just throw it into the description of a
larger area; make it, in essence, furniture. The content is the same,
it's just organized differently.


--
Carl Muckenhoupt | Is it true that Kibo habitually autogreps all of Usenet
b...@tiac.net | for his name? If so: Hi, Kibo. Like the sig?


Magnus Olsson

unread,
Sep 19, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/19/95
to
In article <DF1Dx...@eskimo.com>, Erik Hermansen <daed...@eskimo.com> wrote:
>In article <43b1n9$9...@nntp4.u.washington.edu>,

>Dan Shiovitz <scy...@u.washington.edu> wrote:
>>>Exactly right. I would take it a step further and have more locations
>>>than should actually be visited. Think of how many locations there are
>>>in the real world that have absolutely no visitation value. You have to
>>>think about where you're going in real life to arrive at any place of
>>>interest.
>>Oh dear. Another case of simulation vs storytelling, methinks. IMO, having
>>the sort of excess rooms you're talking about here would be a big mistake.

(...)
>
>Well, not every game. But at least one like this would be interesting.
>

Have you had a look at the infamous "Detective"? There are lots of
rooms there that seem to have been added just as padding. "This is a
useless room. Go south". :-)


I think you'll have to think about what you're trying to create:

1) A simulation of reality.
Sure, go ahead, add as many useless rooms and objects as you like. However,
I think there are more pressing issues to deal with before you can even
dream of calling an adventure game a realistic simulation.

2) Interactive literature. Every author should think about economy.
The reader doesn't want to bother with pointless complications. The
reader wants a story, a plot, a mood. Every room and every object in
your game should have a purpose in advancing the plot, contributing to
the atmosphere, or whatever. Of course, you may consider adding rooms
for realism, but you shouldn't overdo it. There is such a thing as
"suspension of disbelief". Suppose, for example, that your game is set
in a large hotel. Having just one room in the enitre hotel would
perhaps be a bit too much for the reader to swallow. However, there's
absolutely no reason to implement all 450 rooms. You need to implement
just enough rooms to give the reader the impression that this is a big
hotel. And don't forget that there are more ways of doing this than
the brute-force method of just implementing a lot of empty rooms. Use
your writing to get the message across, and the reader will willingly
suspend his disbelief in a huge hotel where only five rooms or so are
actually implemented.

Of course, you may want to add a lot of empty rooms to create
atmosphere. But then they aren't quite pointless, are they? And surely
there are better ways of creating atmosphere?


3) A game.
From the pure game-play viewpoint, your extra rooms might simply be
considered as red herrings. Put yourself in the player's shoes: do you
actually think it's enjoyable to examine a lot of empty rooms and
useless items that the author put there just to make the whole thing
more realistic? Or would you prefer some action, some actual problems
to solve?


Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se) -- "Pretentious? Moi?"


Susan

unread,
Sep 19, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/19/95
to
"Sam Hulick" <shu...@guava.ucs.indiana.edu> wrote:

>Let's say you're playing a game, and you explore a place thoroughly (or

>so you think). Then a few minutes later, you take a ship to another


>country, but then realize that you needed something back in the other
>country! Would you RATHER have a game not let you board the ship

>without a few things? (i.e. a message prints "You get the odd feeling
>you forgot something") Or would you rather be able to leave anyway, and
>later find out you forgot an item or two, and restore an older game?

I would rather discover in the new country what I missed picking up or
doing in the old country and finding either the same means of
returning to the old country or a new means of returning to the old
country to pick up or do what was forgotten. The adventure should be
fully playable without having to technically resort to re-playing from
an old saved game. And I HATE no win situations then.

Once you have returned to the new country accomplishing all old tasks
correctly the means you used to go back and forth can disappear or be
found broken or left intact.

Actually I think a good game subtly won't let you proceed until you
are ready. Forinstance, the ship captain tells you, "No money, no
passage!" and kicks you off the ship. Finding the money leads you
into the part of the adventure you missed doing in the old country.

* Susan * <Sus...@ix.netcom.com>
* Sometimes The Dragon Wins! *


Mark Clements

unread,
Sep 19, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/19/95
to
> you take a ship to another
> country, but then realize that you needed something back in the other
> country! Would you RATHER have a game not let you board the ship
> without a few things?

I don't know about what I'd prefer - I generally consider myself to
be playing the game, not writing it (or the other way round). I would
simply play it as it lay. If I was warned, I would go back, If not
I wouldn't go back until I was stuck.

Gold Rush had a nice idea, though, where at certain points of
the game you were told you had 'x out of a possible y points' which was
given as a congratulatory message. It also told you if you would be
unable to complete the game from that point.

However, if you included a lot of things that give points but aren't
actually necessary (e.g. witty responses or more complicated solutions)
the player won't know they have missed anything, just that they haven't
got all the points. However this may still prompt them to replay, and
not move on until they have.

In short - It's your game, it's up to you.
--
(Don't eat your fridge)
___ ,';_,-,__
Writing is just backwards reading. /~_ ,',' |O|,:,\,
Reading is just clever seeing. / /,',' /--|_|-;:;|
Seeing is believing. ( )',_) ) ):;)
To write, you must believe... >\,(__ / /:;;|
:...Mark...//~ /:;:;:\

Carl Muckenhoupt

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Sep 20, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/20/95
to
m...@marvin.df.lth.se (Magnus Olsson) writes:

>Have you had a look at the infamous "Detective"? There are lots of
>rooms there that seem to have been added just as padding. "This is a
>useless room. Go south". :-)

Methinks Detective has finally replaced Cardigan as the canonical bad
game. I wonder how much this is due to the MiSTification...

>I think you'll have to think about what you're trying to create:

>1) A simulation of reality.
>Sure, go ahead, add as many useless rooms and objects as you like. However,
>I think there are more pressing issues to deal with before you can even
>dream of calling an adventure game a realistic simulation.

I addressed this slightly before, but: a lack of useless rooms doesn't
necessarily mean a lack of realism. In outdoor scenes especially, the
division of the landscape into "rooms" is quite arbitrary. If one of the
rooms is useless, that's because the author chose to slice off a useless
chunk of geography and make it into a room.

>2) Interactive literature. Every author should think about economy.

[Much deleted. I agree with it, so there's not much point following up
on it, is there?]

>3) A game.
>From the pure game-play viewpoint, your extra rooms might simply be
>considered as red herrings. Put yourself in the player's shoes: do you
>actually think it's enjoyable to examine a lot of empty rooms and
>useless items that the author put there just to make the whole thing
>more realistic? Or would you prefer some action, some actual problems
>to solve?

It depends. In a mystery game, having oodles of extraneous detail is
part of the puzzle aspect of the game. It makes the player hunt for
clues and sift for useful information. If, as in a classical adventure,
you could assume that anything presented in detail is important, you lose
the sense of "detecting". Also, extraneous detail can be put in to good
effect in a comedy. Even if something has no relevance to solving the
game, it's worth including if it raises a chuckle. I cite Stationfall
as an example, even though I know some will argue that the vast quantity
of red herrings detracted from the game.

Erik Hermansen

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Sep 20, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/20/95
to
In article <43mc9m$j...@nic.lth.se>, Magnus Olsson <m...@marvin.df.lth.se> wrote:
>In article <DF1Dx...@eskimo.com>, Erik Hermansen <daed...@eskimo.com> wrote:
>I think you'll have to think about what you're trying to create:

Really it'd be just a gimmick.

These generated places aren't intended to be visited. But they would be
just detailed enough that if the player entered into one it might take
some effort to figure out it was a nowhere place to be. The player would
be forced to pay attention to clues that would guide him to useful locations.

The programmer wouldn't make 400 rooms or anything like that. There
would just be some templates for rooms. The rooms and their contents
would be generated randomly. But since you can use a random number seed,
the locations could be generated consistently.

No, it wouldn't add much to the game at all. It's just a different way
of making a game world seem larger than it actually is and handling the
irrelevant areas of a game.

Walter OGrady

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Sep 21, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/21/95
to
In article <43mc9m$j...@nic.lth.se>, Magnus Olsson <m...@marvin.df.lth.se> wrote:
>
>2) Interactive literature. Every author should think about economy.
>The reader doesn't want to bother with pointless complications. The
>reader wants a story, a plot, a mood. Every room and every object in
>your game should have a purpose in advancing the plot, contributing to
>the atmosphere, or whatever.
[...]

>3) A game.
>From the pure game-play viewpoint, your extra rooms might simply be
>considered as red herrings. Put yourself in the player's shoes: do you
>actually think it's enjoyable to examine a lot of empty rooms and
>useless items that the author put there just to make the whole thing
>more realistic?

Absolutely!

>Or would you prefer some action, some actual problems
>to solve?

Not at all. I get the feeling I'm in the minority of IF-players, but
I much prefer the exploring element of the games I've played to the
puzzles. So much so, in fact, that I often find myself giving up a
game as soon as the first really difficult puzzle comes along, because
it has lost its appeal.

I'm glad IF-writers have taken to putting detailed, well-written
descriptions of the rooms in their games; I tried a "Scott Adams" one
once and I couldn't stand it, all one-word descriptions and nothing
for the imagination to go on.

"Empty" rooms, then, are great, as long as they're not literally
empty. If they're clearly put in for atmosphere and are carefully
described, they'll be interesting without being frustratingly
nonproductive. It's a bit irritating playing a game and knowing that
at every stage, something is expected of you -- I enjoy just wandering
around.

- Carrie O'Grady
<wog...@epas.utoronto.ca>

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