Shrinking PCs

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David Fisher

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Sep 12, 2005, 11:53:57 PM9/12/05
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I am trying to figure out how to deal with a PC who can be either normal
sized or tiny (ant sized).

A few problems come up:

* The map changes. All of a sudden that table and chair in the middle of the
room becomes an object which can be climbed; scenery like curtains and
carpet (and gaps between the floorboards, if you're an ant) become obstacles
or pathways that can be travelled along.

* When the PC is normal sized, they might want to change things around in
the room for when they are ant sized. The ant-scale map changes if the table
is moved. Placing a stick over a puddle could form a bridge which can be
crossed, etc. Figuring out what syntax to use to let the player rearrange
the objects in the room at this level of detail is tricky.

Am I biting off more than I can chew here ?

(Inform,TADS 2 or TADS 3 are all OK if you need me to specify a language).

David Fisher


Kevin Venzke

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Sep 13, 2005, 1:09:10 AM9/13/05
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Hi,

"David Fisher" <da...@hsa.com.au> wrote in message
news:P7sVe.461$96.1...@nasal.pacific.net.au...


>I am trying to figure out how to deal with a PC who can be either normal sized
>or tiny (ant sized).
>
> A few problems come up:
>
> * The map changes. All of a sudden that table and chair in the middle of the
> room becomes an object which can be climbed; scenery like curtains and carpet
> (and gaps between the floorboards, if you're an ant) become obstacles or
> pathways that can be travelled along.

I don't think this is a major problem if you figure out how to map the ant
map to the human map in the first place. Presumably an ant has to traverse
multiple rooms which are for a human a single room.

If not, it should be easy to say that a curtain can be climbed when you are
an ant, but it can be opened when you are a human.

> * When the PC is normal sized, they might want to change things around in the
> room for when they are ant sized. The ant-scale map changes if the table is
> moved. Placing a stick over a puddle could form a bridge which can be crossed,
> etc. Figuring out what syntax to use to let the player rearrange the objects
> in the room at this level of detail is tricky.

You should do whatever you can to avoid requiring the player to arrange
objects within a room. Do it for your own sake! Players won't like to
learn they have to arrange things in one room if such isn't supported for
other rooms in the game.

Kevin Venzke


Emiliano Padilha

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Sep 13, 2005, 7:58:47 AM9/13/05
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David Fisher wrote:
>
>I am trying to figure out how to deal with a PC who can be either normal sized
>or tiny (ant sized).

That's very interesting: it opens up all sorts of puzzle possibilities.

>A few problems come up:
>
>* The map changes. All of a sudden that table and chair in the middle of the
>room becomes an object which can be climbed; scenery like curtains and carpet
>(and gaps between the floorboards, if you're an ant) become obstacles or
>pathways that can be travelled along.


Kevin Venzke wrote:
>
> I don't think this is a major problem if you figure out how to map the ant
> map to the human map in the first place. Presumably an ant has to traverse
> multiple rooms which are for a human a single room.

Hm, I think it's possible to maintain the same room. What you could do
is to have multiple room descriptions for the same place, conditional to
the PC's situation (and your sub-location as an ant?): "The room you
were in about a minute ago has disappeared: you can only distinguish its
vague features in the horizon like huge mountains and a walled sky. You
simply lost sight of the familiar table, chairs, sofa: you can see four
huge wooden columns of what you surmise is a chair: one near you and the
others very far away in the distance." (of course, you'd have to have
MORE descriptions...)

You could respond to the Go action with messages like "You walk for what
seems a long time and are still nowhere near the door! But you are near
the sofa." (and change the sub-location to "near the sofa", which would
mean you could climb it, or whatever).

Add a property like "antlocation" (for the PC and any movable objects).
You'd have to customize the room description and the objects'
descriptions such as "You can see a pencil (on the puddle),..." (ie. you
could make the puddle a supporter). For relations like "near" or "to the
right of" you'd have to add another property and then use them both in
the description "You can see a matchbox (to the side of the musicbox)"
(in case you'd have to drag something near the musicbox to climb or open
it).


> If not, it should be easy to say that a curtain can be climbed when you are
> an ant, but it can be opened when you are a human.

Yes, you could allow all possible actions when ant- and normal-sized,
and filter them in check's/before's responding along the lines "You're
too small for opening it" or "The curtain won't resist your weight,
you're too big" (or mimmick normal "You can't do that" responses when
you normalsized).

>
>>* When the PC is normal sized, they might want to change things around in the
>>room for when they are ant sized. The ant-scale map changes if the table is
>>moved. Placing a stick over a puddle could form a bridge which can be crossed,
>>etc. Figuring out what syntax to use to let the player rearrange the objects
>>in the room at this level of detail is tricky.
>
> You should do whatever you can to avoid requiring the player to arrange
> objects within a room. Do it for your own sake! Players won't like to
> learn they have to arrange things in one room if such isn't supported for
> other rooms in the game.

Well, you could discover that you have to put things in specific places
when you're an ant and, if ever coming back to human-size, you'd have to
put them in the appropriate places to reach somewhere as an ant.
Having the above properties, you'd want to change actions PutIn, PutOn,
Move, Push/Drag, Pull?, to allow putting things in specific
"antlocations". It's considerable work, and you'd want to contain the
possibilities (only in one room? In any rooms?), but it's not impossible.

>
> Kevin Venzke
>
>

Emiliano.

Michael L Phillips

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Sep 13, 2005, 10:05:11 AM9/13/05
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Emiliano Padilha wrote:

> David Fisher wrote:
> >
> > I am trying to figure out how to deal with a PC who can be either
> > normal sized or tiny (ant sized).
>
> That's very interesting: it opens up all sorts of puzzle
> possibilities.


Isn't there something like this back in good old Zork II? I seem to
remember an "Alice in Wonderland" sequence.

Not that this helps you with the implementation much...I'm just
reminiscing. :)

Mike.

Damian Dollahite

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Sep 13, 2005, 12:08:07 PM9/13/05
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Michael L Phillips wrote:
> Isn't there something like this back in good old Zork II? I seem to
> remember an "Alice in Wonderland" sequence.
>

Yes, but it wasn't nearly this ambitious.

--
Ryukage

Damian Dollahite

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Sep 13, 2005, 12:15:10 PM9/13/05
to
David Fisher wrote:
> I am trying to figure out how to deal with a PC who can be either normal
> sized or tiny (ant sized).
>
> A few problems come up:
>
> * The map changes. All of a sudden that table and chair in the middle of the
> room becomes an object which can be climbed; scenery like curtains and
> carpet (and gaps between the floorboards, if you're an ant) become obstacles
> or pathways that can be travelled along.
>
> * When the PC is normal sized, they might want to change things around in
> the room for when they are ant sized. The ant-scale map changes if the table
> is moved. Placing a stick over a puddle could form a bridge which can be
> crossed, etc. Figuring out what syntax to use to let the player rearrange
> the objects in the room at this level of detail is tricky.
>
> Am I biting off more than I can chew here ?
>

That's really something you'll have to decide for yourself.

> (Inform,TADS 2 or TADS 3 are all OK if you need me to specify a language).

I'd recommend TADS 3, its powerful world model will save you some
headaches. As matter of fact, take a look at the ConSpace/ECC extension
Eric Eve and Steve Breslin are working to update right now. It should
come in handy, as it allows using multiple logical rooms to model a
single physical room, and provides a model for arranging objects in
specific relationships to each other.

--
Ryukage

Default User

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Sep 13, 2005, 1:48:48 PM9/13/05
to
Michael L Phillips wrote:


Yeah, the top of the Well Room.

Brian

Andrew Plotkin

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Sep 13, 2005, 2:19:17 PM9/13/05
to

It wasn't very consistent, either. The room description *didn't*
change -- or maybe it only changed a little. What I remember is that
it did not do a very good job of conveying how different everything
looked.

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
I'm still thinking about what to put in this space.

Kevin Forchione

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Sep 13, 2005, 4:14:31 PM9/13/05
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"David Fisher" <da...@hsa.com.au> wrote in message
news:P7sVe.461$96.1...@nasal.pacific.net.au...
>I am trying to figure out how to deal with a PC who can be either normal
>sized or tiny (ant sized).
>
> A few problems come up:
>
> * The map changes. All of a sudden that table and chair in the middle of
> the room becomes an object which can be climbed; scenery like curtains and
> carpet (and gaps between the floorboards, if you're an ant) become
> obstacles or pathways that can be travelled along.

Not to mention that from an ant's perspective certain things would not be
visible or accessible anymore. Other things would suddenly become visible
and accessible to the ant which were not obvious or accessible to the
"normal" sized PC.

You *could* move the PC to a simulated "giant-sized room" game area, in
which every object in the room is also modelled in parallel to its normal
counterpart. If your room object relationships remain static this would be
fairly easy, but it might be a bit dull.

You might be able to generate the new objects / rooms dynamically or through
delegation or through superclass substitution (in TADS 3). The difficulty
here is in determing the new "superclass" for each object and a way to
translate object relationships between objects of different classes. For
instance, a spoon lying on the edge of a saucer might become a bridge. A pea
left on the saucer might become a chair object. Spilled milk on the floor
might become a lake.

> * When the PC is normal sized, they might want to change things around in
> the room for when they are ant sized.

Or perhaps simply moving things around in normal size changes things around
in the room when they are ant sized and vice versa.

>The ant-scale map changes if the table is moved. Placing a stick over a
>puddle could form a bridge which can be crossed, etc. Figuring out what
>syntax to use to let the player rearrange the objects in the room at this
>level of detail is tricky.

Yep. In the world of the ant an object can have many components which are
more easily overlooked and assumed in the world of a normal sized PC.

> Am I biting off more than I can chew here ?

Probably, but you can always start small. Have your character fall into a
sink or something small and limited to begin with, and see what it does for
you.

--Kevin


Quintin Stone

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Sep 13, 2005, 5:18:59 PM9/13/05
to
On Tue, 13 Sep 2005, David Fisher wrote:

> I am trying to figure out how to deal with a PC who can be either normal
> sized or tiny (ant sized).
>
> A few problems come up:
>
> * The map changes. All of a sudden that table and chair in the middle of
> the room becomes an object which can be climbed; scenery like curtains
> and carpet (and gaps between the floorboards, if you're an ant) become
> obstacles or pathways that can be travelled along.
>
> * When the PC is normal sized, they might want to change things around
> in the room for when they are ant sized. The ant-scale map changes if
> the table is moved. Placing a stick over a puddle could form a bridge
> which can be crossed, etc. Figuring out what syntax to use to let the
> player rearrange the objects in the room at this level of detail is
> tricky.
>
> Am I biting off more than I can chew here ?

Maybe, but this same idea had occurred to me and it's in my long list of
possible ideas for games. I was envisioning a trial-and-error puzzle
experience, in the vein of All Things Devours. It's good to see someone
actually working the idea.

==--- --=--=-- ---==
Quintin Stone "You speak of necessary evil? One of those necessities
st...@rps.net is that if innocents must suffer, the guilty must suffer
www.rps.net more." - Mackenzie Calhoun, "Once Burned" by Peter David

dgen...@hotmail.com

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Sep 13, 2005, 5:23:05 PM9/13/05
to
There is also a shrinking puzzle very early in the game Erden, by Laura
Knauth. I haven't solved the puzzle, so I can't speak to the depth of
the simulation. Like the puzzle in zork II, a player is only allowed
to cast the shrinking spell in a certain location, so only one location
needed to be simulated as a microenvironment. It sounds like David
Fisher might be planning a much grander simulation.

Dave

Default User

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Sep 13, 2005, 5:29:26 PM9/13/05
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Andrew Plotkin wrote:

> Here, Damian Dollahite <ryukage@.com> wrote:
> > Michael L Phillips wrote:
> > > Isn't there something like this back in good old Zork II? I seem
> > > to remember an "Alice in Wonderland" sequence.
> >
> > Yes, but it wasn't nearly this ambitious.
>

> It wasn't very consistent, either. The room description didn't


> change -- or maybe it only changed a little. What I remember is that
> it did not do a very good job of conveying how different everything
> looked.


Oh, it changed when it became the Posts Room.

Tea Room
This is a small room containing a large oblong table, no doubt set for
afternoon tea. It is clear from the objects on the table that the users
were indeed mad. In the eastern corner of the room is a small hole (no
more than four inches high). There are passageways leading away to the
west and the northwest.
There is a large oblong table here.
Sitting on the large oblong table is:
A cake frosted with green letters
A cake frosted with red letters
A cake frosted with orange letters
A cake frosted with blue letters


Posts Room
This is an enormous room, in the center of which are four wooden posts
delineating a rectangular area, above which is what appears to be a
wooden roof. In fact, all objects in this room appear to be abnormally
large. To the east is a passageway. There are large gaping chasms to
the west and northwest.

Brian

Andrew Plotkin

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Sep 13, 2005, 6:21:05 PM9/13/05
to

Ah. My memory is weak -- sorry. I think I was recalling that the
object names and descriptions were doled out as usual. Maybe with
"(enormous)" tacked on, but no more variation than that.

Default User

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Sep 13, 2005, 6:43:36 PM9/13/05
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Andrew Plotkin wrote:

> Here, Default User <defaul...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> > Oh, it changed when it became the Posts Room.

[room descriptions snipped]

> Ah. My memory is weak -- sorry. I think I was recalling that the
> object names and descriptions were doled out as usual. Maybe with
> "(enormous)" tacked on, but no more variation than that.


I was pretty sure it was different, so it became a "how quickly can I
get up there and check" deal.

Brian

samwyse

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Sep 13, 2005, 8:07:45 PM9/13/05
to
David Fisher wrote:
> I am trying to figure out how to deal with a PC who can be either normal
> sized or tiny (ant sized).
>
> A few problems come up:
>
> * The map changes. All of a sudden that table and chair in the middle of the
> room becomes an object which can be climbed; scenery like curtains and
> carpet (and gaps between the floorboards, if you're an ant) become obstacles
> or pathways that can be travelled along.
>
> * When the PC is normal sized, they might want to change things around in
> the room for when they are ant sized. The ant-scale map changes if the table
> is moved. Placing a stick over a puddle could form a bridge which can be
> crossed, etc. Figuring out what syntax to use to let the player rearrange
> the objects in the room at this level of detail is tricky.

I would have two maps, one for when you are normal, the other for when
you are tiny. Give your objects (and the player object) an alternate
location field. When you grow and shrink, you move all direct children
of the room to their alternate locations. Have some fixed objects that
are associated with certain alternate locations, and implement a Put
Near that tracks the associated locations.

! for when you're small
Room NearTable;
Room NearChair;
! for when you're large
Room LivingRoom;
Immovable -> Table with alt_loc NearTable;
Immovable -> Chair with alt_loc NearChair;
! something to play with
Portable MatchStick with alt_loc 0;

Saying PUT MATCHSTICK NEAR TABLE moves it to the living room, and sets
its alternate location to NearTable.

Saying STAND NEAR CHAIR sets the player's alternate location to
NearChair, so when you activate the shrink ray, that's where you find
yourself.

David Fisher

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Sep 14, 2005, 12:52:17 AM9/14/05
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"Damian Dollahite" <ryukage@.com> wrote in message
news:4326f...@x-privat.org...

> David Fisher wrote:
>> I am trying to figure out how to deal with a PC who can be either
>> normal sized or tiny (ant sized).
[snip myself. Ouch !]

> I'd recommend TADS 3, its powerful world model will save you some
> headaches. As matter of fact, take a look at the ConSpace/ECC extension
> Eric Eve and Steve Breslin are working to update right now. It should come
> in handy, as it allows using multiple logical rooms to model a single
> physical room, and provides a model for arranging objects in specific
> relationships to each other.

Hmm, looks very good (thanks Eric Eve) ...

The announcement on the TADS 3 mailing list (from exactly a year ago) is at:

http://lists.v-space.org/archive/tads3/200409/msg00065.html

if anyone else is interested.

Still getting around to learning TADS 3 properly (and hanging out for a
manual),

David Fisher


David Fisher

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Sep 14, 2005, 1:42:50 AM9/14/05
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I wrote in message news:d6OVe.483$96.1...@nasal.pacific.net.au...

> Still getting around to learning TADS 3 properly (and hanging out
> for a manual),

On second thoughts the current documentation looks pretty good - looks like
its time for a read up ...

David Fisher


RootShell

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Sep 18, 2005, 1:08:21 PM9/18/05
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samwyse wrote:

> I would have two maps, one for when you are normal, the other for when
> you are tiny. Give your objects (and the player object) an alternate
> location field. When you grow and shrink, you move all direct children
> of the room to their alternate locations. Have some fixed objects that
> are associated with certain alternate locations, and implement a Put
> Near that tracks the associated locations.

Being still a non-game author I think this would be the best route to take!

That way you can have all the movable objects 'controlled' in the 'tiny
world' map, since it seems to me that almost every puzzle will be normal
-> tiny directed, meaning changing something in normal mode will affect
only the tiny mode and not the other way around.

Just my two cents anyway.


--
RootShell, Lisbon, Portugal, Europe, Earth ;)
To protect against spam, the address in the "From:" header is not valid.
In any case, you should reply to the group so that everyone can benefit.
If you must send me a private email, use -> RootShell AT netcabo DOT pt

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