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Phil Goetz

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Nov 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/19/98
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Question: How would you feel about a piece of IF which had several
different possible storylines, some of which were mutually impossible?

For instance, a murder mystery where different people might turn out
to be the murderer. I think Moonmist was like this, but I forget now.
A better example would be a story in which Fergus gives you advice,
and on one branch, Fergus is telling the truth; on another, Fergus is a
traitor and a liar. I've read Choose Your Own Adventures like this.

Janet Murray says that interactive fiction is simulationist: it lets you
explore the workings of a system, variations on a theme. But if you have
mutually exclusive branches -- story branches which reveal contradictory
information -- then you are not exploring different workings-out of one
world. This implies that mutually impossible story branches prevent IF
from doing what IF does best.

Phil go...@zoesis.com

Matt Kimball

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Nov 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/19/98
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Phil Goetz <go...@cse.buffalo.edu> wrote:
> Question: How would you feel about a piece of IF which had several
> different possible storylines, some of which were mutually impossible?

> For instance, a murder mystery where different people might turn out
> to be the murderer. I think Moonmist was like this, but I forget now.
> A better example would be a story in which Fergus gives you advice,
> and on one branch, Fergus is telling the truth; on another, Fergus is a
> traitor and a liar. I've read Choose Your Own Adventures like this.

I learned something surprising when playing Photopia during this
competition. As a player, I don't care about the internal consistency
of the world. I only care about the *illusion* of internal
consistency. Some people probably already realized this, but it was a
new idea for me.

If I can play a murder mystery from start to finish, and murderer
appears consistent with the story, then this is fine. Now when I say I
don't care, I mean that. If the murderer is determined by my actions,
this isn't going to intrinsically add to my enjoyment of the game, but
if it gives the author more freedom to pace the game effectively this
is a big win for me.

So, if changing the world behind your players' backs gives you
something desirable, go for it.

--
Matt Kimball
mkim...@xmission.com

Joe Mason

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Nov 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/19/98
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Phil Goetz <go...@cse.buffalo.edu> wrote (not insribed, ok? wrote):

>Question: How would you feel about a piece of IF which had several
>different possible storylines, some of which were mutually impossible?

I think it could be made to work - in fact, it could be very intriguing.
But I've never seen it work in a way that I like in practice. The
closest I can point to is The Space Under the Window, and I'm not sure
you could characterize the various branches of that so specifically,
because they're so ambiguous.

>For instance, a murder mystery where different people might turn out
>to be the murderer. I think Moonmist was like this, but I forget now.

It wasn't. There were four scenarios - after you picked which you were
going to play (by stating your "favourite colour" at the beginning) the
scenario was internally consistent.

Was Journey consistent across all branches?

>A better example would be a story in which Fergus gives you advice,
>and on one branch, Fergus is telling the truth; on another, Fergus is a
>traitor and a liar. I've read Choose Your Own Adventures like this.

I always hated CYOA's that did that. Of course, in most cases the CYOA's
seemed just thrown together, with no thought at all. It was almost always
arbitrary what would happen if you chose a particular branch. If you went
this way - the whole thing was caused by aliens. If you went that way -
the whole thing was caused by an ancient sect of Druids working with an
international crime syndicate. If you went the other way - the whole
thing is never explained, just some strange stuff happens.

I could see it working if the different paths were a *little* more related
than this.

>Janet Murray says that interactive fiction is simulationist: it lets you
>explore the workings of a system, variations on a theme. But if you have
>mutually exclusive branches -- story branches which reveal contradictory
>information -- then you are not exploring different workings-out of one
>world. This implies that mutually impossible story branches prevent IF
>from doing what IF does best.

Qualify every instance of IF in that paragraph with "traditional", and I
agree. But while mutually impossible story branches do prevent the story
from doing what traditional IF does best, this isn't neccesarily a loss.
This particular story just has something else it does best.

See TSUTW for an example.

Joe
--
I think OO is great... It's no coincidence that "woohoo" contains "oo" twice.
-- GLYPH

Michael Laurino

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Nov 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/19/98
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On 19 Nov 1998 02:48:15 GMT, go...@cse.buffalo.edu (Phil Goetz) wrote:

>Question: How would you feel about a piece of IF which had several
>different possible storylines, some of which were mutually impossible?
>

>For instance, a murder mystery where different people might turn out
>to be the murderer. I think Moonmist was like this, but I forget now.

Yes, Moonmist asks you for your favorite color and assigns you to a
guest bedroom of that color -- and chooses one of four solutions based
on your choice. (If you pick a color other than one of the four
associated with the solutions, it picks one of the four randomly.)

>A better example would be a story in which Fergus gives you advice,
>and on one branch, Fergus is telling the truth; on another, Fergus is a
>traitor and a liar. I've read Choose Your Own Adventures like this.

Are you suggesting that the player would choose whether Fergus is
dependable or the game would do it randomly behind the player's back?
I think it's ok for the game to have random elements as long as the
player is made aware that if he replays the game from the beginning,
some elements may be different (it would be a pretty nasty surprise if
dependable old Fergus stabbed you in the back the second time around).
But it's even better if the player is responsible for the choice
that's made (preferably without knowing that he did it).

Good old "Mystery Mansion" started with the simple statement "This is
mystery number ###", where ### was the random number that was used to
set up the solution and the starting locations of various objects.
You could force the game to set up a specific combination by entering
"MYSTERY 123" (or whatever number you wanted) at the first turn.
Moonmist was more subtle in asking for your favorite color, since, if
you weren't aware that the color would be used to set up the game and
your favorite color was one of the four planned for (red, blue, green,
and I forget -- yellow?), assuming you always answered the question
truthfully (or at least consistently), you would always get the same
game and never be any the wiser unless you compared notes with someone
who chose another color.

I've toyed with the idea of setting the player looking for a small
object, such as a letter, in a room with, say, a rug on the floor and
a painting on the wall. Pulling back the rug would reveal the object;
so would moving the painting: the object would be in whichever
location the player looked first (the opposite of real life) and NOT
in the other location (in case the player looked there as well). The
point being that players who look behind the painting first and find
the object there and nothing under the rug will probably look behind
the painting first every time they play (unless somebody tells them to
try the rug first) because they know that's where the object is, and
the same for players who look under the rug first, so that the
painting/rug choice could be used to set up events later in the game
in a consistant manner for a given player. (I wonder how long it
would take a rug-picker and a painting-picker comparing notes to
figure out what caused them to play different games.)

Simon 'tufty' Stapleton

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Nov 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/19/98
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go...@cse.buffalo.edu (Phil Goetz) writes:

> Question: How would you feel about a piece of IF which had several
> different possible storylines, some of which were mutually impossible?

I'm thinking along these lines for my current WIP. Conversations
that happen early in the game (or early along a particular branch
of the game) are ambiguous enough so that the plot can branch
further down the line depending on what the player does. So, in
one case, it could be that the player is working against the
forces of darkness, in another the player is working for them,
and in another the player *is* the forces of darkness. Of course,
the fact that I now have about 7 plots, and the fact that the player
should be able to conceptually 'travel back in time' and re-evaluate
what's already passed is making this larger and more complex than
I would really like. Oh, yeah, and re-writing the inform library
almost from scratch isn't helping, either. :-)

If you're talking about random storylines (either decided at start
or during gameplay) I'm not sure how you could make it work. Not
to say that it's impossible, but it could be difficult to make it
flow.

The main problem I have had is making ambiguous statements that
seem concrete at first reading but that when you go back to them
with hindsight can be seen as meaning something entirely
different.

Just some random thoughts.

Simon
--
_______ _______
| ----- | Biased output from the demented brain of | ----- |
||MacOS|| Simon Stapleton. ||Linux||
|| 8.5 || || PPC ||
| ----- | sstaple AT liffe DoT com | ----- |
| -+-.| (if you can't figure it out...) | -+-.|
|洵洵洵洱 |洵洵洵洱
------- -------

Magnus Olsson

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Nov 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/19/98
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In article <7304mm$1qv$1...@news.xmission.com>,
Matt Kimball <mkim...@xmission.com> wrote:

>Phil Goetz <go...@cse.buffalo.edu> wrote:
>> Question: How would you feel about a piece of IF which had several
>> different possible storylines, some of which were mutually impossible?
>
>> For instance, a murder mystery where different people might turn out
>> to be the murderer. I think Moonmist was like this, but I forget now.
>> A better example would be a story in which Fergus gives you advice,
>> and on one branch, Fergus is telling the truth; on another, Fergus is a
>> traitor and a liar. I've read Choose Your Own Adventures like this.
>
>I learned something surprising when playing Photopia during this
>competition. As a player, I don't care about the internal consistency
>of the world. I only care about the *illusion* of internal
>consistency. Some people probably already realized this, but it was a
>new idea for me.

This is one of the Basic Truths of game authorship, and being a GM for
a human-to-human RPG: what matters is the *illusion* of consistency you
create.

The same holds for what's supposed to happen behind the scenes: if you
and an NPC are, say, both searching for treasure in Uncle Zebulon's
house, and when you finally find the secret door in the basement the
NPC has already found it and is inside filling his pockets with gold
doubloons, it really doesn't matter if the game has some intricate
code for simulating the NPC's searching for the door, or if it just
teleports him there at the start of the game, does it? (Of course,
it's a whole different game if you're supposed to be able to observe
his searching, and perhaps interfere with it).

This is of course also true for non-interactive writing, but there the
illusion of things going on behind the scenes is much weaker anyway.


But I think Phil is talking about something different: a game where
you can replay it several times, and see different versions of the
same "reality", as it were: what-if scenarios, or the same scenario
with different people. I suppose this would have entirely the opposite
point than what you're describing, Matt: the player would be *supposed
to* play the game several times and see how the different scenarios
would work out. I think this would be fascinating, but hard to
implement well.
--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se, zeb...@pobox.com)
------ http://www.pobox.com/~zebulon ------

Matt Kimball

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Nov 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/19/98
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*** Watch out! Some minor Photopia spoilers in my response below ***

Magnus Olsson <m...@bartlet.df.lth.se> wrote:
> In article <7304mm$1qv$1...@news.xmission.com>,
> Matt Kimball <mkim...@xmission.com> wrote:
> >I learned something surprising when playing Photopia during this
> >competition. As a player, I don't care about the internal consistency
> >of the world. I only care about the *illusion* of internal
> >consistency. Some people probably already realized this, but it was a
> >new idea for me.

> This is one of the Basic Truths of game authorship, and being a GM for
> a human-to-human RPG: what matters is the *illusion* of consistency you
> create.

<Zebulon example snipped>

Yes, perhaps it is just the degree to which author is controlling
things. In the past, I had always imagined the author carefully
constructing the world for the player, and then she sets the world in
motion when the player enters the game. While he is wandering around,
she just stands back and smiles.

But when I realized that the topology in Photopia was changing to
improve the story, it was like I had an epiphany. I realized that it
was acceptable for the author to change many things about the world at
runtime, and it could enhance my playing experience.

In fact, I was a bit disappointed when I learned that Adam did it
because it was a story being told within the game. I thought that he
had done it only to prevent the game from bogging down with the player
wandering all over the map of the Red Planet.

Now these techniques are obvious in retrospect, and perhaps I am a bit
naive for not realizing this earlier, but it opened my mind to a whole
new bag of techniques for the IF author.

> This is of course also true for non-interactive writing, but there the
> illusion of things going on behind the scenes is much weaker anyway.

Yes, with static fiction, there isn't any difference between internal
consistency and the illusion of internal consistency. (At least, I
can't think of any way to make a distinction in the case of static
fiction).

> But I think Phil is talking about something different:

...


> the player would be *supposed to* play the game several times and
> see how the different scenarios would work out. I think this would
> be fascinating, but hard to implement well.

Yes, this is probably what Phil was suggesting. I don't think it
would add anything to the game, for me. It might be an interesting
novelty, but not much more.

--
Matt Kimball
mkim...@xmission.com

Mark J. Tilford

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Nov 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/19/98
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On Thu, 19 Nov 1998 07:12:29 GMT, Michael Laurino <mlau...@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
>
>Yes, Moonmist asks you for your favorite color and assigns you to a
>guest bedroom of that color -- and chooses one of four solutions based
>on your choice. (If you pick a color other than one of the four
>associated with the solutions, it picks one of the four randomly.)
>

I seem to recall that it picked a color according to the first letter of
the color you named, so it will be consistent if you always pick the same
color.

Cutthroats randomly chose a path, I think.

--
-----------------------
Mark Jeffrey Tilford
til...@cco.caltech.edu

Phil Goetz

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Nov 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/19/98
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In article <73169c$hc8$1...@bartlet.df.lth.se>,
Magnus Olsson <m...@bartlet.df.lth.se> wrote:

>But I think Phil is talking about something different: a game where
>you can replay it several times, and see different versions of the
>same "reality", as it were: what-if scenarios, or the same scenario
>with different people. I suppose this would have entirely the opposite

>point than what you're describing, Matt: the player would be *supposed


>to* play the game several times and see how the different scenarios
>would work out. I think this would be fascinating, but hard to
>implement well.

>--
>Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se, zeb...@pobox.com)

Yes, that's what I had in mind. Very postmodern, I'm afraid.
But not unprecedented. Tapestry did it well.

I didn't mean, what if the game has inconsistencies that are
undetectable to the player. Assume you replay the game, and
discover the inconsistencies, so that either story appears consistent,
but they cannot both occur in the same world. Would that bother you?

I think it would be interesting to have divergent tracks that were seen
through different worldviews. For instance, the Morningstar
track and the Clothos track both seem appealing when you're on that track.
But I think it would destroy the game if the divergent tracks were
inconsistent; if they presented you with inconsistent information about
Morningstar or the consequences of his beliefs, in order to make the
current track seem like the right one.

Phil

Phil Goetz

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Nov 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/19/98
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In article <wzemr0a...@no.bloody.where>,

Simon 'tufty' Stapleton <nob...@no.bloody.where> wrote:
>
>The main problem I have had is making ambiguous statements that
>seem concrete at first reading but that when you go back to them
>with hindsight can be seen as meaning something entirely
>different.

(You left no return address, Simon.)

The main problem I have had is not making ambiguous statements that seem
concrete at first but with hindsight can be seen as meaning something
entirely different. But I think you're talking about within a game...

Phil

Ethan d'Arcy

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Nov 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/19/98
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Matt Kimball wrote:

> *** Watch out! Some minor Photopia spoilers in my response below ***
>
> Magnus Olsson <m...@bartlet.df.lth.se> wrote:
> > In article <7304mm$1qv$1...@news.xmission.com>,
> > Matt Kimball <mkim...@xmission.com> wrote:
> > >I learned something surprising when playing Photopia during this
> > >competition. As a player, I don't care about the internal consistency
> > >of the world. I only care about the *illusion* of internal
> > >consistency. Some people probably already realized this, but it was a
> > >new idea for me.
>
> > This is one of the Basic Truths of game authorship, and being a GM for
> > a human-to-human RPG: what matters is the *illusion* of consistency you
> > create.
> <Zebulon example snipped>
>
> Yes, perhaps it is just the degree to which author is controlling
> things. In the past, I had always imagined the author carefully
> constructing the world for the player, and then she sets the world in
> motion when the player enters the game. While he is wandering around,
> she just stands back and smiles.
>
> But when I realized that the topology in Photopia was changing to
> improve the story, it was like I had an epiphany. I realized that it
> was acceptable for the author to change many things about the world at
> runtime, and it could enhance my playing experience.
>

> mkim...@xmission.com

When I played out the Red Planet scene in Photopia, all illusion of an
internally consistant world was broken. The terrain was being altered to
make sure I didn't screw up the story -- and not even behind my back!
I was totally annoyed because it felt like the game was holding my hand
--
I never finished it, btw -- but my point is that you have to be careful
changing things "behind the player's back". If you rearranged major plot
branches, not just terrain, to give the player the best story, they would
start feeling out of control -- like they were reading a Choose Your Own
Adventure. At least I would.

----Ethan


Magnus Olsson

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Nov 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/20/98
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In article <36549380...@umich.edu>, Ethan d'Arcy <e...@umich.edu> wrote:
>
> When I played out the Red Planet scene in Photopia, all illusion of an
>internally consistant world was broken. The terrain was being altered to
>make sure I didn't screw up the story -- and not even behind my back!
> I was totally annoyed because it felt like the game was holding my hand

Aha! It just struck me why Adam pointed out that he did this because it's
a story-within-the-story: Alley is telling Wendy a story about Mars, and
making it up as she goes along. So it's *not* Adam who's "cehating" you,
it's actually Alley who's "cheating" Wend.

--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se, zeb...@pobox.com)

------ http://www.pobox.com/~zebulon ------

Magnus Olsson

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Nov 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/20/98
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In article <slrn758ltl....@ralph.caltech.edu>,

Mark J. Tilford <til...@cco.caltech.edu> wrote:
>On Thu, 19 Nov 1998 07:12:29 GMT, Michael Laurino
><mlau...@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
>>
>>Yes, Moonmist asks you for your favorite color and assigns you to a
>>guest bedroom of that color -- and chooses one of four solutions based
>>on your choice. (If you pick a color other than one of the four
>>associated with the solutions, it picks one of the four randomly.)
>>
>
>I seem to recall that it picked a color according to the first letter of
>the color you named, so it will be consistent if you always pick the same
>color.
>
>Cutthroats randomly chose a path, I think.

In "Losing Your Grip", one puzzle have two solutions, and depending on
which of them you pick, an an entire "fit" of the game is different.
Later on, there's a more conscious choice between alternatives that
also leads you onto different branches of the game, but in that case
it's rather obvious that a choice is being made. In the first case, it
isn't, whoich scared the hell out of me when I was beta-testing the
game - I thought Stephen had replaced my favourite part of the game
with something totally different!

Phil Goetz

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Nov 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/20/98
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In article <36549380...@umich.edu>, Ethan d'Arcy <e...@umich.edu> wrote:
>
>
>Matt Kimball wrote:
>
>> *** Watch out! Some minor Photopia spoilers in my response below ***
>>
>> Magnus Olsson <m...@bartlet.df.lth.se> wrote:
>> > In article <7304mm$1qv$1...@news.xmission.com>,
>> But when I realized that the topology in Photopia was changing to
>> improve the story, it was like I had an epiphany. I realized that it
>> was acceptable for the author to change many things about the world at
>> runtime, and it could enhance my playing experience.
>>
>> mkim...@xmission.com
>
> When I played out the Red Planet scene in Photopia, all illusion of an
>internally consistant world was broken. The terrain was being altered to
>make sure I didn't screw up the story -- and not even behind my back!
> I was totally annoyed because it felt like the game was holding my hand
>--
>I never finished it, btw -- but my point is that you have to be careful
>changing things "behind the player's back". If you rearranged major plot
>branches, not just terrain, to give the player the best story, they would
>start feeling out of control -- like they were reading a Choose Your Own
>Adventure. At least I would.
>
> ----Ethan

How was it not behind your back? You can't notice the wonderfully dynamic
way Photopia lays out the Red Planet unless you save and restore.
Is that what bothered you -- you replayed it, and it played differently?

I guess that's a "no" vote on the "can different branches be inconsistent?"
question from Ethan, then.

Phil

Michael Straight

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Nov 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/20/98
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On Thu, 19 Nov 1998, Ethan d'Arcy wrote:

> When I played out the Red Planet scene in Photopia, all illusion of an
> internally consistant world was broken. The terrain was being altered to
> make sure I didn't screw up the story -- and not even behind my back!
> I was totally annoyed because it felt like the game was holding my hand

How did you know? Was it because of saving/restoring/undoing?

Photopia seems designed to be played straight through without any saving
or undoing. If you play it that way, then the experience *seems* very
interactive. In real life you don't get a chance to go back and find out
what would have happened if you'd stopped the car sooner.

It seems you're faulting Photopia for not doing something it doesn't try
to do. Sure, if the magician will submit to doing the trick again over
and over, you'll see it's not magic and just a trick.

SMTIRCAHIAGEHLT


Damien Neil

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Nov 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/20/98
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On Thu, 19 Nov 1998 07:12:29 GMT, Michael Laurino <mlau...@ix.netcom.com>
wrote:
>Are you suggesting that the player would choose whether Fergus is
>dependable or the game would do it randomly behind the player's back?
>I think it's ok for the game to have random elements as long as the
>player is made aware that if he replays the game from the beginning,
>some elements may be different (it would be a pretty nasty surprise if
>dependable old Fergus stabbed you in the back the second time around).

I don't think I would like this. It reduces the credibility of the
character if they behave in inconsistent ways.

If Fergus is a loyal friend who sacrifices his life to warn me when
the enemy is about to ambush me, I'll probably remember him long after
the game is done. If Fergus is a pile of random numbers who saves me
this time, stays silent the next, and joins the enemy side on my third
time through, I'm not going to have any sense of him at all. On the
times when he is loyal, I'll probably just think, "Well, the old bastard
didn't do me in THIS time."

A story which goes off in different directions on each time through
could well be very interesting. Without some form of internal
consistancy, though, I think the overall appeal will suffer.

- Damien

Irene Callaci

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Nov 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/20/98
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On Fri, 20 Nov 1998 10:52:46 -0500, Michael Straight
<stra...@email.unc.edu> wrote:

>On Thu, 19 Nov 1998, Ethan d'Arcy wrote:
>
>> When I played out the Red Planet scene in Photopia, all illusion of an
>> internally consistant world was broken. The terrain was being altered to
>> make sure I didn't screw up the story -- and not even behind my back!
>> I was totally annoyed because it felt like the game was holding my hand
>
>How did you know? Was it because of saving/restoring/undoing?

I knew it right away, too. I'm not sure how...except that I usually
go north if I don't know which way to go, and then I return and try
another direction (so that I can map it), but in Photopia, all my
GO NORTHs were actually getting me somewhere, which seemed unusual.
Also, if you type HELP, you get this:

The geography on the red planet doesn't always work the
way you might think. When in doubt, retrace your steps
exactly.

This just about confirmed it in my mind, so I restarted, just to
try a different path. Sure enough, the new path worked exactly
like all the GO NORTHs had.

irene

Ethan d'Arcy

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Nov 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/20/98
to

Irene Callaci wrote:

Yeah, that's more or less how I figured it out... I wandered at random,
figuring I was on a grid, until I found the seed pod... then when I tried to walk
back I discovered that I couldn't return when I cut corners, and the terrain was
doing wierd things.
Of course, I never went far past the underwater castle, so I didn't realize
I was literally in a story at the time (don't ask what I thought was going on...),
so I guess that everything was consistent after all.
Still, I hate things being manipulated behind the scenes... like always
catching the bad guy in the nick of time, that kind of thing. I can buy it in a
movie, but it sometimes it makes the situation feel fake in IF or roleplaying (if
I catch someone in the nick of time, there should be a reason beyond "it makes a
good story").

----Ethan


Aris Katsaris

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Nov 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/20/98
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okbl...@usa.net wrote in message <73537g$lio$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>...
>In article <3655d077....@news.csupomona.edu>,
> ical...@csupomona.edu wrote:
>
>**********SPOILERS************
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>>
>One other apparent glitch: I got out of the car right away, so the scene
where
>I was waking up in the hospital didn't make any sense. I guess I must've
been
>the guy who stayed in the car at that point but it wasn't that clear, nor
was
>it clear how I knew how to ask about "the girl".
>


You missed the point. It wasn't the drunken guy who was waking up. It was
Wendy's father, who was driving Alley home.

Aris Katsaris

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Nov 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/20/98
to

Matt Kimball wrote in message <7354jj$f0j$1...@news.xmission.com>...

>okbl...@usa.net wrote:
>> In article <3655d077....@news.csupomona.edu>,
>> ical...@csupomona.edu wrote:
>
>> **********SPOILERS************
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>> >
>> > This just about confirmed it in my mind, so I restarted, just to
>> > try a different path. Sure enough, the new path worked exactly
>> > like all the GO NORTHs had.
>> >
>
>> Am I the only one who thought this was cool?
>
>I already mentioned that I loved it. If this is railroading, give me
>a permanent ticket on the Number Nine, baby.
>
>> (Not to mention "realistic" within the context of a story being told
>> to a child who probably wouldn't want to hear about someone groping
>> around on Mars trying to find stuff.
>
>I noticed that a few people thought it was acceptable only because it
>was a story being told to Alley. Why the double standard? Why
>wouldn't it be acceptable if it were a story being told by Opal/Adam
>to you, the player?

IF is supposed (sometimes) to be a representation of a realistic (or atleast
consistent) world. The geography of the real world doesn't change according
to our choices.

A bedtime story's geography, though, can and *does* change. Thus the IF
story remains realistic. In fact it wouldn't be realistic if it didn't
change.

Aris Katsaris

Geoff Bailey

unread,
Nov 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/21/98
to

Minor Photopia spoilers below still.

In article <36549380...@umich.edu>, Ethan d'Arcy <e...@umich.edu> wrote:
>
> When I played out the Red Planet scene in Photopia, all illusion of an
> internally consistant world was broken. The terrain was being altered to
> make sure I didn't screw up the story -- and not even behind my back!
> I was totally annoyed because it felt like the game was holding my hand

> -- I never finished it, btw -- but my point is that you have to be careful
> changing things "behind the player's back". If you rearranged major plot
> branches, not just terrain, to give the player the best story, they would
> start feeling out of control -- like they were reading a Choose Your Own
> Adventure. At least I would.

But here, at least, it couldn't have been otherwise. The Red Planet (and
similar things occur in the Undersea Castle, and the Crystal Maze as well)
is part of the story that Alley is telling Wendy. She's making it up as she
goes along, not starting out with some fixed map of the place in mind. So
when Wendy enters a new location Alley has to think of something interesting
to put there. Alley _is_ internally consistent, because she thinks of the
same things in the same order.

It only appears inconsistent when treated as the wrong sort of object. The
various locations involved are not locations in the "real" world but
locations in narrative space. And from this point of view the map is fixed,
after all. To preserve the physical topology of the Red Planet would be to
render Alley herself inconsistent.

Cheers,
Geoff.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Geoff Bailey (Fred the Wonder Worm) | Programmer by trade --
ft...@cs.usyd.edu.au | Gameplayer by vocation.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


okbl...@usa.net

unread,
Nov 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/21/98
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In article <733ovn$a00$1...@bartlet.df.lth.se>,

m...@bartlet.df.lth.se (Magnus Olsson) wrote:
>
> Aha! It just struck me why Adam pointed out that he did this because it's
> a story-within-the-story: Alley is telling Wendy a story about Mars, and
> making it up as she goes along. So it's *not* Adam who's "cehating" you,
> it's actually Alley who's "cheating" Wend.
>

****SPOILERS******

Of course. And that happens consistently: with the sudden appearance of wings
and the weather salesman.

I honestly don't know how it could have been clearer that this was a story
being read to a child--with the big words on the page being defined (a la
Rudyard Kipling).

[ok]

-----------== Posted via Deja News, The Discussion Network ==----------
http://www.dejanews.com/ Search, Read, Discuss, or Start Your Own

okbl...@usa.net

unread,
Nov 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/21/98
to

**********SPOILERS************

>
> This just about confirmed it in my mind, so I restarted, just to
> try a different path. Sure enough, the new path worked exactly
> like all the GO NORTHs had.
>

Am I the only one who thought this was cool? (Not to mention "realistic"


within the context of a story being told to a child who probably wouldn't want
to hear about someone groping around on Mars trying to find stuff.

Actually, the only place this fell down for me was that I actually had more or
less departed "standard IF mode" (yes, very quickly) and was typing in:

> SEARCH FOR STUFF

and the parser didn't recognize the "search for" construct (regardless of the
DObj). Then I got kind of miffed when I later tried to use a cardinal and
got back "you're not carrying a compass", since cardinals were called for
here. If you think about it, they didn't need to be used: any command
resembling motion or searching could have worked alongside the scheme
implemented.

All in all, it was a very "trusting" experience for me. I didn't save or
restore and gave Mr. Cadre the benefit of the doubt. I took off my IF hat, in
other words. If it hadn't worked I'd've been cheezed off, tho'.

One other apparent glitch: I got out of the car right away, so the scene where
I was waking up in the hospital didn't make any sense. I guess I must've been
the guy who stayed in the car at that point but it wasn't that clear, nor was
it clear how I knew how to ask about "the girl".

[ok]

Matt Kimball

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Nov 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/21/98
to

> **********SPOILERS************

> >
> > This just about confirmed it in my mind, so I restarted, just to
> > try a different path. Sure enough, the new path worked exactly
> > like all the GO NORTHs had.
> >

> Am I the only one who thought this was cool?

I already mentioned that I loved it. If this is railroading, give me


a permanent ticket on the Number Nine, baby.

> (Not to mention "realistic" within the context of a story being told


> to a child who probably wouldn't want to hear about someone groping
> around on Mars trying to find stuff.

I noticed that a few people thought it was acceptable only because it


was a story being told to Alley. Why the double standard? Why
wouldn't it be acceptable if it were a story being told by Opal/Adam
to you, the player?

--
Matt Kimball
mkim...@xmission.com

HarryH

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Nov 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/21/98
to
In article <7361v0$q31$1...@ns1.otenet.gr>, kats...@otenet.gr says...

>IF is supposed (sometimes) to be a representation of a realistic (or atleast
>consistent) world. The geography of the real world doesn't change according
>to our choices.
>
>A bedtime story's geography, though, can and *does* change. Thus the IF
>story remains realistic. In fact it wouldn't be realistic if it didn't
>change.

It appears there is hope for Rybread Celsius. (hint, hint) ^_^

-------------------------------------------------------
IFC0.1 --C -P++ --A --r -i++


Mark J. Tilford

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Nov 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/21/98
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On Sat, 21 Nov 1998 00:58:32 GMT, okbl...@usa.net <okbl...@usa.net> wrote:
>In article <3655d077....@news.csupomona.edu>,
> ical...@csupomona.edu wrote:
>
>**********SPOILERS************
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>One other apparent glitch: I got out of the car right away, so the scene where
>I was waking up in the hospital didn't make any sense. I guess I must've been
>the guy who stayed in the car at that point but it wasn't that clear, nor was
>it clear how I knew how to ask about "the girl".
>
>[ok]
>
>-----------== Posted via Deja News, The Discussion Network ==----------
>http://www.dejanews.com/ Search, Read, Discuss, or Start Your Own

I think you're playing Mr. Mackaye in that scene.

TenthStone

unread,
Nov 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/22/98
to
Damien Neil thus inscribed this day of 20 Nov 1998 20:34:34 GMT:

The Choose Your Own Adventure books themselves typically were
internally consistent, but you really chose your own adventure -- if
you took the first choice, you might easily have an entirely seperate
plotline from the second. The only variables were (1) how much you
affected the play-out and (2) how much you learned in the process.

-----------

The imperturbable TenthStone
tenth...@hotmail.com mcc...@erols.com mcc...@gsgis.k12.va.us

okbl...@usa.net

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Nov 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/22/98
to
In article <365608D4...@umich.edu>,

Ethan d'Arcy <e...@umich.edu> wrote:
>
> Still, I hate things being manipulated behind the scenes... like always
> catching the bad guy in the nick of time, that kind of thing. I can buy it
in a
> movie, but it sometimes it makes the situation feel fake in IF or roleplaying
(if
> I catch someone in the nick of time, there should be a reason beyond "it
makes a
> good story").
>

Would you rather have a good reason and a bad story? ;-)

okbl...@usa.net

unread,
Nov 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/22/98
to
In article <7361q3$q1n$1...@ns1.otenet.gr>,
"Aris Katsaris" <kats...@otenet.gr> wrote:
>
> >
> >**********SPOILERS************

> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
>
> You missed the point. It wasn't the drunken guy who was waking up. It was
> Wendy's father, who was driving Alley home.
>

I knew I *had* missed the boat somewhere, I just didn't know where.

At that point, though, I don't think I had "met" Wendy's father. *That*
story goes backward from the incident, I believe, but there is an obvious
(incorrect) logical jump: I was in the car with a drunk guy, there was an
accident. At that point, I associated the accident with the first story
which, as it turns out, only incidentally relates to the rest of the story.

okbl...@usa.net

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Nov 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/22/98
to
In article <7354jj$f0j$1...@news.xmission.com>,

Matt Kimball <mkim...@xmission.com> wrote:
>
> I already mentioned that I loved it. If this is railroading, give me
> a permanent ticket on the Number Nine, baby.
>

Heh.

>
> I noticed that a few people thought it was acceptable only because it
> was a story being told to Alley. Why the double standard? Why
> wouldn't it be acceptable if it were a story being told by Opal/Adam
> to you, the player?
>

OK, here's my take on it: None of us here are novices at IF. Steeped as we are
in its conventions, we expect to be frustrated periodically, as we would be in
real life if we wandered around without knowing what we were doing. Or at
least, that's our argument for what passes as verisimilitude in IF.

I mean, if you look at it, half the people who objected, meta-objected (if
you will).<g> They saved the game and played it over because they *weren't*
frustrated. Some others might have been fooled had the author constructed a
more complete map out of their initial directions (which could have been
done).

The interesting question to me is: How exactly would your IF experience been
enhanced had Photopia's author set up a traditional IF map and said "You can't
go that way"?

The complaints are based on broken expectations: partly based on ideas of
reality, partly based on expectations made of IF.

In any event, when the author has clearly placed you inside a story inside a
story (%-P) the objections are moot, because he's saying "We're making it up
as we go along." As for being a children's story, that makes it more
acceptable because children are more interested in having interesting things
happening than they are in modelling some fixed idea of reality. Adults
insist on more consistency, and when the hero suddenly finds the magic weapon
or coincidentally stumbles across the magic key, well, it tends to go against
our inherent belief in bad luck, or something. ;-)

Not exactly well crystallized, but there you go.

Fredrik Appelberg

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Nov 24, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/24/98
to

<okbl...@usa.net> wrote in message 73537g$lio$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com...

>> This just about confirmed it in my mind, so I restarted, just to
>> try a different path. Sure enough, the new path worked exactly
>> like all the GO NORTHs had.
>>
>

>Am I the only one who thought this was cool? (Not to mention "realistic"
>within the context of a story being told to a child who probably wouldn't


want
>to hear about someone groping around on Mars trying to find stuff.

Yeah, I liked it a lot, but I didn't realize I was being manipulated to
begin with (I just thought I was lucky to find the seed pod so quickly... :)
The story unfolded very rapidly (I played the entire game in one evening)
and really moved me (more like a regular novel than an IF game). I really
felt for Alley and for her father. I guess my favourite scene was when the
two of them sat down talking astronomy and quantum mechanics.

--Fredrik

Fredrik Appelberg

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Nov 24, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/24/98
to

TenthStone <mcc...@erols.com> wrote in message
3657a213...@news.erols.com...

>The Choose Your Own Adventure books themselves typically were
>internally consistent, but you really chose your own adventure -- if
>you took the first choice, you might easily have an entirely seperate
>plotline from the second. The only variables were (1) how much you
>affected the play-out and (2) how much you learned in the process.

Yeah, I remember fondly one book that took place during the French
Revolution. In the opening scene the player (a cavalry officer) is given the
choice of ordering his men to open fire on rioting citizens, or joining them
in the cause. If you go with the first choice, you will eventually be forced
to leave Paris and try to escape to England. If you become a revolutionary,
you will end up chasing the group of refugees you would have joined in the
first place... :)

--Fredrik

Phil Goetz

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Dec 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/3/98
to
In article <7300tf$gtn$1...@prometheus.acsu.buffalo.edu>,
Phil Goetz <go...@cse.buffalo.edu> wrote:
>Question: How would you feel about a piece of IF which had several
>different possible storylines, some of which were mutually impossible?
>
>Janet Murray says that interactive fiction is simulationist: it lets you
>explore the workings of a system, variations on a theme. But if you have
>mutually exclusive branches -- story branches which reveal contradictory
>information -- then you are not exploring different workings-out of one
>world. This implies that mutually impossible story branches prevent IF
>from doing what IF does best.

And Janet wrote back:

>Yes, I think it is a mistake to have mutually exclusive realitites. It
>makes the events seem arbitrary and therefore less interesting, harder to
>believe in. You could have different points of view on the same event, or
>different subjective realities, without having any representation of a
>single objective reality, but that would be different.

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