[General] Follow

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Steve Breslin

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Jun 23, 2004, 8:13:16 PM6/23/04
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The convention has it that you can "FOLLOW X" when 1) X was last seen
in the PC's current location, and 2) x was seen leaving visibility
through a currently viable travel-connector. The command basically
means "travel in the same direction that X left through."

---

What's the best resolution of a command "FOLLOW X" where X is in the
player's current location? (I think that the player in this case is
requesting "follow x if and when x moves.")

The obvious solution would be switching the PC to "follow mode."

(Follow mode would probably best be canceled if the PC moves out of
visual-scope of the NPC being followed).

The convention (as I understand) simply disallows following
currently-present (visible) NPC's. This is somewhat illogical, insofar
as one can follow (and be following) someone currently present. A kid
can start following you even before you leave your chair. And I want
to start following the game's "museum tour guide" well before he's
left the room.

A game can always work around this irregularity (see the opening of
"Return to Ditch Day"), but what's the best default handling for a
player trying to "follow" an NPC currently in the room?

One problem with "follow mode": if the NPC is moving between locations
each turn, with the PC in follow-mode, the PC receives an extra prompt
upon entering each new location. So the PC can take two turns when the
NPC takes only one.

In closing, here's an example of this particular problem, written by
Andreas Sewe:

====

Clearing
Just a clearing in the woods. A path leads south.
A hermit is standing here.
>FOLLOW HERMIT

You're eagerly waiting for the hermit to leave, ready to follow him if
necessary.
The hermit leaves to the south. You follow him.

Forest Path
A small path winding through the woods. You can make out a clearing to
the
north. To the east there is a second clearing barely visible between
the
trees.
There's a piece of cheddar here.
A hermit is standing here.
>EAT CHEESE

It tastes delicious.
The hermit leaves to the east. You follow him.
Second Clearing
[...]
====
So the the PC can execute intermediate commands within "follow mode".
A problem perhaps...

Ideas?

samwyse

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Jun 23, 2004, 10:14:42 PM6/23/04
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On or about 6/23/2004 7:13 PM, Steve Breslin did proclaim:

> What's the best resolution of a command "FOLLOW X" where X is in the
> player's current location? (I think that the player in this case is
> requesting "follow x if and when x moves.")

I'd say, "But so-and-so is already here."

I dislike making the player into a lemming, which is what your idea
does. First, the NPC might go someplace the player doesn't want to go,
but might wind up going anyway if they don't stop following in time.
And then you have to also have a "stop following" command, so that the
player can stop and smell the roses. Too many complications for me.

Rexx Magnus

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Jun 24, 2004, 4:11:47 AM6/24/04
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On Thu, 24 Jun 2004 02:14:42 GMT, samwyse scrawled:

> I'd say, "But so-and-so is already here."
>
> I dislike making the player into a lemming, which is what your idea
> does. First, the NPC might go someplace the player doesn't want to go,
> but might wind up going anyway if they don't stop following in time.
> And then you have to also have a "stop following" command, so that the
> player can stop and smell the roses. Too many complications for me.
>

In the case of his game (a tour guide) you're likely to not want to stop
following them, being dragged along in the throng etc.

--
http://www.rexx.co.uk

To email me, visit the site.

Cedric Knight

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Jun 24, 2004, 7:46:34 AM6/24/04
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Steve Breslin wrote:
> The convention has it that you can "FOLLOW X" when 1) X was last seen
> in the PC's current location, and 2) x was seen leaving visibility
> through a currently viable travel-connector. The command basically
> means "travel in the same direction that X left through."

I'm not sure enough games implement FOLLOW to say it's a convention.
One of my WNIPs was intended to implement 1, 2 and the suggestion below.

> What's the best resolution of a command "FOLLOW X" where X is in the
> player's current location? (I think that the player in this case is
> requesting "follow x if and when x moves.")
>
> The obvious solution would be switching the PC to "follow mode."

Right. That mode is stopped if the player chooses to issue most
movement commands or SIT or STOP, or X has ceased to be or the player's
got lost or reached the destination. If the player hangs back for a
turn (SEARCH BOX?), I'd expect FOLLOW X to catch up with X, and continue
following.

> One problem with "follow mode": if the NPC is moving between locations
> each turn, with the PC in follow-mode, the PC receives an extra prompt
> upon entering each new location. So the PC can take two turns when the
> NPC takes only one.

> So the the PC can execute intermediate commands within "follow mode".
> A problem perhaps...

IMHO not a problem. I want my character to be able to walk and talk at
the same time. I expect the NPC to be able to do the same. Yes, it
adds a bit of complexity, but it also adds realism.

CK

S

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Jun 24, 2004, 9:12:02 AM6/24/04
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"Steve Breslin" <ver...@hotmail.com> wrote...

> What's the best resolution of a command "FOLLOW X" where
> X is in the player's current location? (I think that the player in
> this case is requesting "follow x if and when x moves.")

> The convention (as I understand) simply disallows following
> currently-present (visible) NPC's. This is somewhat illogical [...]

I disagree. You can view 'follow' as a sort of "direction pronoun",
meaning simply "go in the direction that X just went". It depends if you
think of 'follow' as a single action, or a continued activity. In the
single-action interpretation, the response "X is already here" makes sense -
you've assumed the command is a player misunderstanding. (Similar to "get
x --- you already have it").
If you think of 'follow' as a continuous activity, then using a mode
makes sense. However, I don't think that makes it a good "default"
behaviour. In IF, the simple behaviour is generally the default (see
"ask/tell"), to avoid burdening the programmer or the player unnecessarily.
To take Inform as an example: enhanced conversation, menus, and NPC movement
are all available through extensions, which keeps the core library small.
(And it could be even smaller if it weren't for some "legacy" features).

S.

Ross Presser

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Jun 24, 2004, 5:58:58 PM6/24/04
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On 23 Jun 2004 17:13:16 -0700, Steve Breslin wrote:

[snip follow mode discussion]

> Ideas?

I would propose this:

>FOLLOW SEAN

Yeah, following Sean seems like a good idea. He probably knows how to get
there.

>SEAN, GO TO CAVE

"I'll get there eventually."

Sean leaves through the northeast door. (Go northeast to follow him.)

>EAT CHEESE

Yummy cheese.
(You last saw Sean leave through the northeast door. Go northeast to follow
him.)

>READ BOOK

Just another boring Stephen King novel.
(You last saw Sean leave through the northeast door. If you don't go
northeast I'll assume you don't want to follow him anymore.)

>NE

Another Room
[...]

(Well, Sean went this way, but there's no sign of him now, and I can't tell
which way he went from here.)

Daniel Barkalow

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Jul 1, 2004, 1:25:42 PM7/1/04
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On 23 Jun 2004, Steve Breslin wrote:

> One problem with "follow mode": if the NPC is moving between locations
> each turn, with the PC in follow-mode, the PC receives an extra prompt
> upon entering each new location. So the PC can take two turns when the
> NPC takes only one.

Perhaps it makes most sense to make going from place to place still an
action, but have the game simplify it. So you could have:

>FOLLOW GUIDE

You are now following the tour guide.

>LISTEN

The guide explains this room.

The guide leaves to the north (type GO to follow).

>GO
(following the tour guide to the north)

The guide says there's nothing in this hall.

The guide leaves to the east (type GO to follow).

>AGAIN
(following the tour guide to the east)

etc.

So following someone as a continuous mode would not mean that you move
automatically, but that you are watching them so that you'll know when and
where to move. At that point, you still have to actually move by yourself.

-Iabervon
*This .sig unintentionally changed*

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