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### Colm McCarthy

Apr 24, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/24/95
to
I'm midway through writing my first adventure game (I'm reluctant to use
the I-F term!) in ten years, and I have a question.

In this game, in the interest of player enjoyment, I have done away with
the dark "I can't see anything!" locations, the whiney "I'm Hungry"
messages and those blasted mazes.

I've also made it impossible for the player to die, except at the very
beginning where the player WILL die unless he/she/it fulfills a certain
task. (REALLY annoying, I know, but necessary to plot development).

My question is this:

What is considered a fair number of moves before instant death?

Any help would be much appreciated.

C.A. McCarthy

### Gareth Rees

Apr 24, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/24/95
to
Colm McCarthy <mlk...@students.wisc.edu> wrote:
> What is considered a fair number of moves before instant death?

It all depends on the circumstances. What you describe is a "time
limit" puzzle, in which a puzzle is made more difficult by the
requirement that the player solve it within a certain number of turns or
else die (or render the game unsolvable).

The amount of time that is "fair" obviously depends upon how difficult
the puzzle is, but just as importantly, it depends on how easy it is for
the player to become distracted. If the player is trapped in a single
location (say, a prison cell which is slowly filling up with water),
then a fairly brief time limit is fair (as it's obvious what to do: save
the game, and try to get out of the cell). But if there are lots of
open-ended things to attempt - for example, if the player must deliver a
letter to someone before nightfall, and there are lots of puzzles that
are presented along the way that the author intends the player to leave
alone for now and to come back to after the letter's been delivered -
then you had better leave a very long time limit.

With time limit puzzles it's a good idea to have explicit reminders of
how limited the time is. In the case of the prison cell the rising
waters are such a reminder, but in the case of the letter you'll have to
be more clever ("Wishbringer" has the player's boss appear at intervals
and demand that the letter be delivered lest the player be sacked).

--
Gareth Rees

### Dan Shiovitz

Apr 25, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/25/95
to
In article <3nf5g9\$11...@news.doit.wisc.edu>,

Colm McCarthy <mlk...@students.wisc.edu> wrote:
>I'm midway through writing my first adventure game (I'm reluctant to use
>the I-F term!) in ten years, and I have a question.
>
>In this game, in the interest of player enjoyment, I have done away with
>the dark "I can't see anything!" locations, the whiney "I'm Hungry"
>messages and those blasted mazes.
Thank goodness! Enough of these cliches! The time has come for i-f in
general to move onto better things! Well, I never thought darkness was so
bad as long as I could walk through it into another room, but mazes and
hunger/thirst/sleepiness are unnecessary pains (But Save Princeton, though I
didn't care for it in general, had a really cool maze :)

>I've also made it impossible for the player to die, except at the very
>beginning where the player WILL die unless he/she/it fulfills a certain
>task. (REALLY annoying, I know, but necessary to plot development).

Ok, acceptable in this context. I'm not above killing the player if I give
lots of warning first.

>My question is this:

>
>What is considered a fair number of moves before instant death?

It depends on the situation. Assuming the thing comes at the very very start
of the game, and it's not immediately obvious, well, then, let's see. Give
the player about three moves to look around, check his/her inventory, look at
score, etc. Give the player a couple moves to look at objects in the room.
Give the player a couple moves to figure out how to prevent the death. Give
the player a move or two to hit the button or whatever. That sums to hmm..
say 5-8 moves before death? (This assumes it's something pretty simple, like
finding a button and pushing it to stop the elevator from crashing or somesuch.
More complex things need more time.)

>Any help would be much appreciated.
>
>C.A. McCarthy

+-------------------------------------------------------+-------------+
|The Grim Reaper ** scy...@u.washington.edu | Aude Sapere |
| ** sh...@cs.washington.edu +-------------+
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|_Music of the|
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|Here there be dragons. | Nov '95 |
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Apr 27, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/27/95
to
In article <3nf5g9\$11...@news.doit.wisc.edu>, Colm McCarthy <mlk...@students.wisc.edu> writes:

>What is considered a fair number of moves before instant death?

>C.A. McCarthy
>

I'm sure you could write screeds and screeds on such subjects, but for my
money, it should be twice as long as it would take you to do whatever is
necessary to prevent it. That way you can at least take inventory,
examine the situation you're in a bit and still survive.

Gem
(staring at his inventory in hopes that it might give him a hint - enchanter
(paraphrased))