Things not allowed to do in a game

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David Fisher

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Mar 8, 2005, 9:34:29 PM3/8/05
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What kinds of (reasonable) actions have people tried to perform in an IF
game but were not allowed to do ?

For example:

> inventory

:You have a key.

> look

:You are in a small room with a fireplace, a cat sitting on a mat and an
overstuffed armchair.

> Put key under mat

:I don't see any such thing.

> Put key under armchair

:That wouldn't achieve very much.


David Fisher


Michael Roy

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Mar 8, 2005, 10:05:52 PM3/8/05
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David Fisher wrote:
> What kinds of (reasonable) actions have people tried to perform in an IF
> game but were not allowed to do ?

That really depends on the definition of "reasonable," doesn't it?

99% of reasonable actions won't even parse (QUOTE SHAKESPEARE, CONDUCT
THE ORCHESTRA, MARRY MY COUSIN). Most people would feel at least 2 out
of 3 there are reasonable, but I defy anyone to point to a game that
allows all three.

Jon Ripley

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Mar 8, 2005, 10:26:58 PM3/8/05
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Michael Roy wrote:
> David Fisher wrote:
>> What kinds of (reasonable) actions have people tried to perform in
>> an IF game but were not allowed to do ?
>
> That really depends on the definition of "reasonable," doesn't it?

Any similarites to actual games, living or dead are pure coincdence.

You are in your post offce. You can go south.
You can see a silver slice
You can see a can of beer

take beer
Eh? Command not understood
get can of beer
Sorry but that's impossible right now
south
Sorry but that's impossible right now
S
Eh? Command not understood
(s)
(Ok.)

...back to previous room

examine slice
You don't see that here
examine beer
It is a can of beer
open beer
Sorry but that's impossible right now
drink beer
You don't see that here
drink drink
(Very refreshing.)

Jon Ripley
--
http://jonripley.com/


Jan Thorsby

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Mar 9, 2005, 5:14:19 AM3/9/05
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"David Fisher" <da...@hsa.com.au> skrev i melding
news:XltXd.784$Le2....@nasal.pacific.net.au...

> What kinds of (reasonable) actions have people tried to perform in an IF
> game but were not allowed to do ?

Holding an object close to or against another object.
Holding an object up in the air.
Threaten NPC with object.
Tipping a bookshelf forward so that the thing on top of it would fall down.


JohnD...@gmail.com

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Mar 9, 2005, 10:38:34 AM3/9/05
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David, are you asking about unimplemented commands, or disallowed
commands?

By my way of thinking, they're very different. Limiting the actions
available to the player is an important part of guiding them through
the story. If I see...

> PUT KEY UNDER MAT
You carefully conceal the key from view.

...I would think that concealing the key might play an important part
in the game. To me, this is an unwelcome detour from the game's true
path, where the key is just there to unlock the door. Preventing the
player from hiding the key (or at least, discouraging it) is just
guiding them in the right direction.

But unimplemented commands -- "I don't know how to x the y" -- are
intrusive and break mimesis.

One of the commands I stumble against now and then is "put x near y" or
"hold x near y". E.g., "put torch near icicle", "hold geiger counter
near glowing rock".

PS: Michael, just for spite, I will have to implement those three
commands in my next work of IF. =)

Greg Boettcher

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Mar 9, 2005, 10:49:31 AM3/9/05
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JohnD...@gmail.com wrote:
> David, are you asking about unimplemented commands, or disallowed
> commands?
>
> [snip]

>
> PS: Michael, just for spite, I will have to implement those three
> commands in my next work of IF. =)

For a greater challenge, try implementing them AND allowing them. :)

Greg

JohnD...@gmail.com

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Mar 9, 2005, 11:36:58 AM3/9/05
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Doh! There goes my loophole...

> QUOTE SHAKESPEARE
In fine thespian form, you utter: "In that thou art like to be my
kinsman, live unbruised and love my cousin!"

You notice your cousin Daphne nodding in agreement. She seems quite
receptive to the concept of marriage.

> CONDUCT ORCHESTRA
Seizing the baton from the incompetent conductor, you strike up the
band in a rousing rendition of Elvis Presley's "Kissin' Cousins".

Your cousin Daphne seems quite taken with you.

> MARRY COUSIN
Defying conventional wisdom on the perils of inbreeding, you ask your
cousin's hand in marriage. Sadly, marriage between first cousins is
prohibited in your state, so you are forced to flee to asylum in
Mozambique. Your forbidden love prospers among the wild lemurs.

You have scored 78 out of a possible 100 points.

RESTART, RESTORE, QUIT, or UNDO? >

Zhou Fang

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Mar 9, 2005, 2:23:57 PM3/9/05
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David Fisher wrote:
> What kinds of (reasonable) actions have people tried to perform in an IF
> game but were not allowed to do ?
>

Climbing walls/fences/bookshelves
Hitting people or trying to steal their stuff
Greeting people
Hiding from people
Using crowbars etc on doors and containers
Calling for help/the police
Remembering things

drifter...@hotmail.com

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Mar 9, 2005, 4:54:47 PM3/9/05
to

David Fisher

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Mar 9, 2005, 6:05:27 PM3/9/05
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I asked:

>> What kinds of (reasonable) actions have people tried to perform in an IF
>> game but were not allowed to do ?

Jan replied:

> Holding an object close to or against another object.
> Holding an object up in the air.

Just out of curiosity, what were you trying to make happen when you tried
these actions (or were they just for fun) ?

Thanks,

David Fisher


David Fisher

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Mar 9, 2005, 6:10:07 PM3/9/05
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I asked:

>> What kinds of (reasonable) actions have people tried to perform in an IF
>> game but were not allowed to do ?

Zhou replied:

> Climbing walls/fences/bookshelves
> Hitting people or trying to steal their stuff
> Greeting people
> Hiding from people
> Using crowbars etc on doors and containers
> Calling for help/the police

These all seem reasonable to me ... unusual that you found a "crowbar"
object which could not be used to open things ...

> Remembering things

This one is very interesting to me. How would "remembering" work in a game ?
Are you thinking of remembering something that has happened in previously in
the game (ie. a reminder of what someone said), or remembering something
that the main character knows but you don't know (to get information about
something) ?

Thanks,

David Fisher


Doppler

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Mar 9, 2005, 6:21:51 PM3/9/05
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Have you played Emily Short's _Savoir Faire_? It introduces the PC's
backstory through the command REMEMBER x, where x is an object that
seems to have significance to the PC.

That immediately sprung to mind when I saw Zhou's post...

John Campbell

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Mar 9, 2005, 6:37:57 PM3/9/05
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David Fisher wrote:

>>Remembering things
>
>
> This one is very interesting to me. How would "remembering" work in a game ?
> Are you thinking of remembering something that has happened in previously in
> the game (ie. a reminder of what someone said), or remembering something
> that the main character knows but you don't know (to get information about
> something) ?

I don't know that it makes any less sense than > THINK, which is
included as one of the standard verbs in the Inform library.

--
John Campbell
jcam...@lynn.ci-n.com

David Fisher

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Mar 9, 2005, 6:47:37 PM3/9/05
to
I asked:

> What kinds of (reasonable) actions have people tried to perform in an
> IF game but were not allowed to do ?

John replied:

> David, are you asking about unimplemented commands, or disallowed
> commands?

Mostly about disallowed commands - not so much being understood by the
parser, as being able to do something that seems perfectly reasonable in the
game context.

> By my way of thinking, they're very different. Limiting the actions
> available to the player is an important part of guiding them through
> the story. If I see...
>
>> PUT KEY UNDER MAT
> You carefully conceal the key from view.
>
> ...I would think that concealing the key might play an important part
> in the game. To me, this is an unwelcome detour from the game's true
> path, where the key is just there to unlock the door. Preventing the
> player from hiding the key (or at least, discouraging it) is just
> guiding them in the right direction.

Ian Haberkorn referred to this as "red herring disorientation" in the
"Boundlessness & IF" thread in rec.arts.int-fiction (March 3rd 2005, 3:26
AM).

Maybe some the game could say something like:

* "You carefully conceal the key from view, though why you might want to is
anyone's guess."
* "For no apparent reason, you carefully conceal the key from view."
* "The key is now under the mat, safe from all would-be key stealers ..."
(too subtle ?)

I think it is better to allow players to perform meaningless actions if they
want to, rather than just stopping them from doing them.

> But unimplemented commands -- "I don't know how to x the y" -- are
> intrusive and break mimesis.

I agree; the parser should at least understand what you are saying ...

> One of the commands I stumble against now and then is "put x near y" or
> "hold x near y". E.g., "put torch near icicle", "hold geiger counter
> near glowing rock".

Out of interest, were you still able to find a way to perform the action you
wanted to do ? ("melt icicle with torch", "use geiger counter on rock",
etc).

David Fisher


Steve Evans

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Mar 10, 2005, 12:24:01 AM3/10/05
to

I used a "Consider / Think About / Remember" verb in my one and only
game, Photograph. It made sense as a device in that the game/story was
about a character who was essentially trapped in his memories and
unable to move forward in his life because of them.

It's not an easy thing to do and to do properly, especially if you
chose to do it the way I did, and allow the player to "consider" not
only objects in the game but people and things that aren't present, or
even abstract concepts, such as "Consider life". I had mixed success
in achieving what I set-out to do with this aspect of the game.

On the more general subject of "allowed" responses, I think it's
important to make some effort to respond meaningfully to things that
players (including those unused to IF) are *likely* to type at the
cursor given the context of the situation and game.

My game was tightly scripted (read as "on rails") and this made it
relatively easy (and arguably important) to go for implementation
depth.

So I went through the transcripts of my beta-testers sessions looking
at the things they tried and where they were getting stuck and then
attempted to put in something sensible for almost all of them. I was
working on the assumption that if a tester tried something then
someone else would also try the same thing when playing the game and
would be just that little more pissed with the game if it didn't
respond appropriately.

As a somewhat extreme example, at one point in the game the PC needs
to take a bath:. Due to the different approaches testers took to this
mini-puzzle, I ended up implementing:

> Run bath
> Take bath
> Enter bath/tub
> Turn on tap(s)/faucet(s)
> Sit in bath/tub
> Lie in bath/tub
> Fill bath/tub
> Run water
> Wash
> Bath
> Bathe

...and probably a few other variations.

At another point the PC meets a rival NPC and one of my testers had as
their first response:

>NPC, F&*% off

That response (and some variations on the theme) seemed perfectly
reasonable to me. As a result, the game allows you to tell the NPC
where to go and give the PC some degree of satisfaction in the
encounter (not to mention a broken nose). A similar but slightly less
satisfying result is obtained by the more obvious action of "hitting"
the NPC.

Obviously, there must be limits on how far you can and should go with
this sort of thing, and I know there are things I spent time
implementing that probably no one will ever see or try.

If I write another game I'd like it to be far more open and I'll
therefore be forced to adopt a much less pedantic approach to the
issue depth of implementation.

--Steve

JohnnyMrNinja

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Mar 10, 2005, 5:22:58 AM3/10/05
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Senses other than sight seem to be largely ignored. You may not always
need SMELL/LISTEN/FEEL/TASTE descriptions when examining an object or
room, but it stands to reason that if you did go to the trouble of
"TASTE HORSE", the response "You taste nothing unexpected" is
(hopefully) not appropriate. The average player would have very
unspecific expectations for horse-taste, and would probably find
something of note in the experience.

David Fisher

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Mar 10, 2005, 2:27:32 AM3/10/05
to

Thanks for the pointer ... I have posted a reply there to some of the
comments they made.

David Fisher


Jan Thorsby

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Mar 10, 2005, 5:15:41 AM3/10/05
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"David Fisher" <da...@hsa.com.au> skrev i melding
news:XnLXd.934$Le2....@nasal.pacific.net.au...

>I asked:
>
>>> What kinds of (reasonable) actions have people tried to perform in an IF
>>> game but were not allowed to do ?
>
> Jan replied:
>
>> Holding an object close to or against another object.
>> Holding an object up in the air.

I was trying to solve puzzles. Would be spoiling to say which ones. In one
case my action should have worked, but the real solution was more complex.
In the other case I really was to supposed to hold an object up in the air,
but I had to type something other to do this, something really hard to
guess; I had to look at a walkthrough.


David Thornley

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Mar 10, 2005, 10:18:53 AM3/10/05
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In article <jsLXd.935$Le2....@nasal.pacific.net.au>,

David Fisher <da...@hsa.com.au> wrote:
>I asked:
>
>>> What kinds of (reasonable) actions have people tried to perform in an IF
>>> game but were not allowed to do ?
>
>Zhou replied:

>> ...>


>> Using crowbars etc on doors and containers
>

>These all seem reasonable to me ... unusual that you found a "crowbar"
>object which could not be used to open things ...
>

A crowbar is usually in a game to open something, but it's easy to
just implement opening that one thing and forget other situations
when a crowbar could be expected to do something. For example,
if there's a crowbar, a crate, a locked car trunk, and a locked
door, the author might have the crowbar open a crate and do nothing
about the door or trunk.

One thing that annoyed me once and broke mimesis:

In the beginning of the game "Above and Beyond" (if I'm thinking of
the right game title) there is an office building you're supposed
to be working in, and have forgotten your ID. The thing I would
normally do in that case is follow somebody else in, perhaps with
a motion towards one of my pockets as if I were reaching for
a card.

This should not have worked in that game, but I would have felt
a lot better if it had given a non-default response to "follow
co-worker" or similar commands.

--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
da...@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-

samwyse

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Mar 10, 2005, 8:36:41 PM3/10/05
to
On or about 3/10/2005 4:22 AM, JohnnyMrNinja did proclaim:

Dreamhold seems to have done some work with enabling all of the senses
and I've thought about a game in which the PC is blind.

Most libraries are a bit ad hoc in sensory input (and everything else,
for that matter), although TADS3 seems to be better organized than most.
For example, there really needs to be distinct scope ceilings for each
sense. Imagine a PC locked in an opaque, porous box, able to smell but
not see the world, and later in a transparent, air-tight box, where the
opposite is true. If I ruled the world, I'm implement each sense as an
object, with properties devoted to things like determining that sense's
scope. Adding new senses (a bat's sonar, for instance) would be easier
in such a scheme.

Richard Bos

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Mar 12, 2005, 6:56:20 PM3/12/05
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"David Fisher" <da...@hsa.com.au> wrote:

> I asked:
>

> > By my way of thinking, they're very different. Limiting the actions
> > available to the player is an important part of guiding them through
> > the story. If I see...
> >
> >> PUT KEY UNDER MAT
> > You carefully conceal the key from view.
> >
> > ...I would think that concealing the key might play an important part
> > in the game. To me, this is an unwelcome detour from the game's true
> > path, where the key is just there to unlock the door. Preventing the
> > player from hiding the key (or at least, discouraging it) is just
> > guiding them in the right direction.
>
> Ian Haberkorn referred to this as "red herring disorientation" in the
> "Boundlessness & IF" thread in rec.arts.int-fiction (March 3rd 2005, 3:26
> AM).
>
> Maybe some the game could say something like:
>
> * "You carefully conceal the key from view, though why you might want to is
> anyone's guess."
> * "For no apparent reason, you carefully conceal the key from view."
> * "The key is now under the mat, safe from all would-be key stealers ..."
> (too subtle ?)
>
> I think it is better to allow players to perform meaningless actions if they
> want to, rather than just stopping them from doing them.

Even so, you're now going to have players trying to HIDE everything
UNDER everything else, in the supposition that since the command works,
it's going to be useful, or at least give a hint to another puzzle,
somewhere in the game. And what if I also want to HIDE KEY IN PLANT POT?
HIDE WILL BEHIND PAINTING? HIDE ENVELOPE IN PLAIN VIEW? CHEAT DUPIN?
Somewhere, you have to stop adding commands, because you haven't got
infinite memory. You might as well stop where you run out of commands
that actually do something.

Richard

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