following someone, without getting caught

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Jacob Munkhammar

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Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
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Let's say you want (in an IF-universe, of course) follow a, let's say,
troll hungry for human flesh (the sort your character is made of), to see
where it lives - for later retreaval of the treasures it stores there.

In a universe of discrete locations, has anyone managed to solve this,
practically or theoretically - or has ideas for its sollution?

Normally, following would give this result:

A troll leaves to the east.
>E
You go east.
There is a hungry troll here.
The troll eats you.

/Jacob

LucFrench

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Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
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Sure.

>SNEAK E

Thanks
Luc "Simple" French

Jacob Munkhammar

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Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
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In article <19990105215159...@ng-fq1.aol.com>,
lucf...@aol.com (LucFrench) wrote:


Excuse me for being un-informed :) what more exactly happens when I
"sneak east"?
Does it warn me from going, or does it, in some miraculous way, put me in
the same room/location as the troll without it seeing me? (Until I act?)
Obviously, I need to see where troll goes next.

If "sneak" is a standard verb in any of the existing systems, which?

/Jacob

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Andrew Plotkin

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Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
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Jacob Munkhammar (ja...@stud.ntnu.no) wrote:
> Let's say you want (in an IF-universe, of course) follow a, let's say,
> troll hungry for human flesh (the sort your character is made of), to see
> where it lives - for later retreaval of the treasures it stores there.

> In a universe of discrete locations, has anyone managed to solve this,
> practically or theoretically - or has ideas for its sollution?

> Normally, following would give this result:

> A troll leaves to the east.
> >E
> You go east.
> There is a hungry troll here.
> The troll eats you.

How about:

A troll leaves to the east.
>E

You go east, hugging the wall, as softly as you may.
There is a troll here, facing away from you.

There's no reason this part of the game has to be a puzzle --
guess-the-verb or otherwise. If it's obvious that the player wouldn't want
to attract attention, make sneakiness be the default.

The player can always type "SCREAM" if he wants to. :-)

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

LucFrench

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Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
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>> >SNEAK E
>>
>
>
>Excuse me for being un-informed :) what more exactly happens when I
>"sneak east"?
>Does it warn me from going, or does it, in some miraculous way, put me in
>the same room/location as the troll without it seeing me? (Until I act?)
>Obviously, I need to see where troll goes next.

No, sneak, as in Stealth. I blantently ripped off the idea from Fallout (1/2),
where Sneak is something you DO.

Think of the Thief from D&D.

Thanks
Luc "Dumn Ideas" French
[P&E]

Jacob Munkhammar

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Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
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In article <erkyrathF...@netcom.com>, erky...@netcom.com (Andrew
Plotkin) wrote:


I haven't decided if I agree completely with this. In a way I think that a
simple 'GO' command (like 'E') should be as unreflected as just typing it.
But then I agree that the game should understand the player's intentions -
when they are obvious. (Are they in this case?)
But that is really a digression from the intentions of my question, which
isn't really about the spelling of the verb. ;)


After having sneaked east (ex- or implicitly) to where the troll is, I am
*in the very same location* as the troll. Am I invisible? For how long?

I mean, in a technical way. And in a generally applicable way (think
automatic handling or library routine).

Does the sneaking person have a "very careful" flag set? Which makes the
person invisible for one turn (giving the troll a chance to leave)?

Also, the intelligence you suggest assumes that the game understands that
I follow the troll, not just happen to go the same direction. If for
example I sneak (ex- or implicitly) from an empty room to a room where the
troll turns out to already be, does it see me then?

At the moment, I fail to see how the automatics should work..... But know
there is always a sollution. At least one.....

Doeadeer3

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Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
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In article <jacob-06019...@ti29a96-0089.dialup.online.no>,
ja...@stud.ntnu.no (Jacob Munkhammar) writes:

>At the moment, I fail to see how the automatics should work..... But know
>there is always a sollution. At least one.....
>

Depends on the situation, of course.

You could have something (big rock or something) in each location the player
could get/hide behind.

The way I have done it in a game I am working on is, the player is always one
step behind the NPC. Like this:

The troll heads east.

>e

A troll is here, his back to you, he heads northeast.

>ne

You see the troll's back as it heads northeast.

>ne

etc.

I felt that covered the sneakiness factor, myself.

Doe :-)

Doe doea...@aol.com (formerly known as FemaleDeer)
****************************************************************************
"In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane." Mark Twain

Andrew Plotkin

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Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
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Jacob Munkhammar (ja...@stud.ntnu.no) wrote:

> I haven't decided if I agree completely with this. In a way I think that a
> simple 'GO' command (like 'E') should be as unreflected as just typing it.
> But then I agree that the game should understand the player's intentions -
> when they are obvious. (Are they in this case?)

A shadow hulks down the passage.

That phrase you've heard... "cold sweat". Not just an expression, then. A
troll is *big*, and nothing of clumsy; those heavy knotted limbs move
quick and strong. And silent. And maybe those fragments underfoot are
shards of an elvish sword, or more than one...

> But that is really a digression from the intentions of my question, which
> isn't really about the spelling of the verb. ;)
>
> After having sneaked east (ex- or implicitly) to where the troll is, I am
> *in the very same location* as the troll. Am I invisible? For how long?
>
> I mean, in a technical way. And in a generally applicable way (think
> automatic handling or library routine).

I don't hold with automatic handling of NPCs. :-) I'd probably have
"doesn't see you" flag on the monster; it's true by default, and only
becomes false if you do something stupid (shout, or try to pass it, or
stay still when it turns around and comes up the passage.) (The latter
possibilities require more work, since you effectively have to store
whether the player is hiding west or east, or maybe which way the monster
is facing. Which will be easier depends on the game.)

> Also, the intelligence you suggest assumes that the game understands that
> I follow the troll, not just happen to go the same direction.

Sure. That's what I mean by being generous.

> If for
> example I sneak (ex- or implicitly) from an empty room to a room where the
> troll turns out to already be, does it see me then?

You enter, and immediately dodge behind a rock. Or else you hear (smell)
the troll down the passage, and don't enter at all. (The latter is rather
a nuisance in Inform, but it can be done.)

Damien Neil

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Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
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On Wed, 06 Jan 1999 05:47:57 +0100, Jacob Munkhammar <ja...@stud.ntnu.no> wrote:
>I haven't decided if I agree completely with this. In a way I think that a
>simple 'GO' command (like 'E') should be as unreflected as just typing it.
>But then I agree that the game should understand the player's intentions -
>when they are obvious. (Are they in this case?)

Turn the question around: Is there any real reason for the player to NOT
stealthily follow the troll? Personally, I'm going to be quite a bit
happier with a game which gives my alter-ego some basic survival skills
than with one which happily kills me the first time I make a silly
mistake.

There's also the fact that I can't think of anything better than 'GO'.
If you add a 'SNEAK' verb (and tell the player in advance, please!),
is there going to be a good reason for the player to not always sneak
everywhere? If not, you've just added an extra six characters to
every movement command, leaving the one-letter shortcuts there only
as a 'gotcha, you should have been more careful'.

Perhaps if the player being stealthy or otherwise is important to the
situation, add a command to toggle modes. Provide some feedback as
well, perhaps:

> N
You stealthily creep north.

>After having sneaked east (ex- or implicitly) to where the troll is, I am
>*in the very same location* as the troll. Am I invisible? For how long?

>Does the sneaking person have a "very careful" flag set? Which makes the


>person invisible for one turn (giving the troll a chance to leave)?

This could work. It's going to depend on exactly what you want to do.

>Also, the intelligence you suggest assumes that the game understands that

>I follow the troll, not just happen to go the same direction. If for


>example I sneak (ex- or implicitly) from an empty room to a room where the
>troll turns out to already be, does it see me then?

Again, depends on what you're trying to do. This is a form of physics
design decision.

- Damien

Jacob Munkhammar

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Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
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In article <slrn7977pm...@grace.acm.rpi.edu>, ne...@acm.rpi.edu
(Damien Neil) wrote:

> There's also the fact that I can't think of anything better than 'GO'.
> If you add a 'SNEAK' verb (and tell the player in advance, please!),
> is there going to be a good reason for the player to not always sneak
> everywhere? If not, you've just added an extra six characters to
> every movement command, leaving the one-letter shortcuts there only
> as a 'gotcha, you should have been more careful'.
>

Well, there is a significant difference between just typing a quick 'E' as
ususal and specifying 'SNEAK E', but I wont make an issue of it, as I see
good reasons for both alternatives. A matter of taste or style really.

On the other hand, 'SNEAK' isn't really a logical verb for the act of
*following* someone.
Sneak, you do when you *suspect* to encounter someone or something.

I am also thinking of a verb, 'FOLLOW', that makes you follow the troll
until you say 'STOP' or 'HALT' (or any other synonym the author may have
thought of).
It is then more obvious that following implies being careful. (At least
*could* imply it, and when it doesn't, assuming so doesn't hurt.)

Any thoughts about a 'FOLLOW' verb like that?

okbl...@usa.net

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Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
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In article <jacob-06019...@ti29a96-0089.dialup.online.no>,

ja...@stud.ntnu.no (Jacob Munkhammar) wrote:
>
> In a universe of discrete locations, has anyone managed to solve this,
> practically or theoretically - or has ideas for its sollution?
>

I envision a scenario like this:

Damp grotto.
There is a troll here picking his teeth with a shin bone.
> FOLLOW TROLL
The troll moves east.
You follow the troll.

Catacombs.
The troll tosses the bone aside casually and scratches at the dirt, as if
looking for something.
You are following the troll.
> Z
The troll digs into the dirt a little deeper.
You are following the troll.
> Z
The troll finds a shiny coin buried in the dirt. It bites it and then tosses
the mangled metal to the side.
You are following the troll.
> Z
The troll moves east.
You follow the troll.

Troll's lair.
The troll curls up for a nap on his bed of stones.
You are following the troll.
[etc]

"Follow" becomes a verb that causes the character (PC or NPC) to use a turn to
move in the same direction as the thing being followed. Your specific game can
consider the Troll to be a thing which is followed stealthily and add a
"hidden" attribute to a player who follows the troll unless, say, the player
has The Trollslayer(TM) patented toothpick or whatever. (Even then it could be
advantageous to wait until the troll is asleep to attack. But I digress.)

Doing something other than just "Z" in-between turns would run the risk of
blowing the "hidden" characteristic and alerting the troll to the player's
presence--but this is a separate issue from follow.

You could have a game called, say, "My Life As A Dog" which used the same
mechanism:

The back yard.
Your master exits the house from the back door.
> FOLLOW MASTER
You're following your master.
Your master stands there looking up at the sky.
> PEE ON TREE

You relieve yourself on the giant, majestic oak tree planted by your master's
great, great grandfather. Your master says, "Welp. I guess we'd better move
some food into the shelter."

> DIG UP FLOWERS
You dig up your mistresses petunias. For some reason, your master doesn't seem
to care.
Your master enters the shelter.
You follow your master.

The shelter. The shelves are stocked with cans of dog food. (All cans are
cans of dog food.) Your master scowls and exits the shelter. You follow your
master.

The back yard.
Your master opens the back gate.
> SNIFF CROTCH
You sniff your crotch. Yep, smells okay.
Your master exits the yard and closes the gate.
You try to follow your master, but the gate bars your way.

So, two different situations, both using "follow". The issue of stealth is a
different question, just like the question of whether or not it is *possible*
for the character to follow the NPC everywhere.

"Follow" is a good idea because it allows the player to express his
intention--it even has merit if the following is not automatic, like:

> FOLLOW MASTER
Your master moves south to the back 40.
> RUN IN CIRCLES
You run in circles. (Your master has moved south.)
> CHASE TAIL
You chase your tail. (Your master has moved south.)
> SOUTH
You're in the back 40. (Your master is not here.)
> SNIFF
You smell your master to the east, in the ravine.
(Your master is to the east.)
> EAST

There's a lot of room for improvement in this general area of IF. How many
times has *this* happened to you?

> THROW SPEAR AT TROLL
The troll catches the spear deftly, then thanks you.
> KILL TROLL
Well, that would be pretty foolish, considering he has the spear.

But, if you could say:

> KILL TROLL
OK. You want to kill the troll. But how?
> THROW SPEAR AT TROLL
You launch your spear fiercely at the troll in an attempt to kill it, but the
weapon bounces harmlessly off his head.
> THROW WATER AT TROLL
Forgetting that it's witches (and not trolls) that are killed by water, you
throw your bucket of water on the troll. The troll laughs and says, "Oh! What
a world! What a world!"
> THROW HOLY NUCLEAR HAND GRENADE AT TROLL
Oh, now *that* has possiblities.
[etc.]

[ok]

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Ricardo Dague

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Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
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Jacob Munkhammar wrote:
>
> Let's say you want (in an IF-universe, of course) follow a, let's say,
> troll hungry for human flesh (the sort your character is made of), to see
> where it lives - for later retreaval of the treasures it stores there.
>
> In a universe of discrete locations, has anyone managed to solve this,
> practically or theoretically - or has ideas for its sollution?

You could put in the game a wizard who the PC could disguise
him/herself as:

The wizard is here.

To the east you hear the sound of stamping feet and the
unmistakable smell of a troll.

>I
You carry a fake beard and a twig.

>X WIZARD
A decrepit old guy with a long white beard. He wears a long
robe with astrological signs on it and carries a wand with a
silver star on the end.

>TELL WIZARD ABOUT TOILET
You say, "Umm, I hate to tell you this, but I was just in
the bathroom. When I flushed the toilet, I guess something
clogged it and it started overflowing..."

"ARRGH!" he cries. "If it's not one thing it's another!!
Everyone else in this darned dungeon is lazy, so I've got to
fix it myself! I can't wear my robe while I do that, so I'll
leave it here."

He then hangs the robe on the coat rack and turns and points
his finger at you. "That's MY robe! I expect it to be RIGHT
THERE when I get back! No one's going to touch it! You're
not going to touch it, are you??"

>WIZARD, WHO ME?
The wizard just glares at you and tramps off to the west.

>WEAR ROBE. WEAR BEARD
(first taking the colorful robe)
You put on the colorful robe.
You put on the fake beard.

>E
*Anonymous Room*
There's nothing unusual about this room. Exits are west and
north.

A smelly troll is here amusing itself by stamping its feet.
THUMP! THUMP!

The troll leers at you. "AHA! I think a bit-o-mite dinner in
the form of an old wizard has just walked in!!" It slowly
approaches you with arms (all four) outstretched.

>POINT TWIG AT TROLL
The troll shrinks back. "Don't shoot! Don't shoot! I was
just kidding!"

It looks at you fearfully. "I think I'll be going home now."

The trolls leaves going north.

>GO NORTH
etc...

-- Ricardo

Jonadab the Unsightly One

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Jan 7, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/7/99
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ja...@stud.ntnu.no (Jacob Munkhammar) wrote:

> Normally, following would give this result:
>
> A troll leaves to the east.
> >E
> You go east.
> There is a hungry troll here.
> The troll eats you.

Then why didn't the troll eat you instead of leaving to the
east in the first place?

How about

--------------------

>Hide behind the green filing cabinet

You conceal yourself behind the tall green filing cabinet.

From your hiding place you see a troll enter the room,
gnawing on what looks like a human femur.

> z

The troll leaves to the east.

> look east
(First getting out from behind the filing cabinet)

To the east you can see a troll gnawing on what
appears to be a human femur. He's facing east.

> look east

To the east you can see a troll gnawing on what
appears to be a human femur. He's facing south.

> look east

You see nothing peculiar to the east.

> e

EASTERN DINING HALL

The table is set for a banquet, but the food hasn't been
set out yet.

An ornate chandelier hangs over everything.

> look south

To the south you can see a troll, gnawing on what appears to
be a human femur. He's facing east.

--------------------

Of course, if the troll turns back to face the direction where
you are, you'll have to find a hiding place fast (because
he'll see you and follow you), and you may lose him occasionally
if he moves from location to location immediately, in which
case you'll get closer to where he's going and need to follow
him again some time to get the precise location...


- jonadab

Jonadab the Unsightly One

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Jan 7, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/7/99
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> Normally, following would give this result:
>
> A troll leaves to the east.
> >E
> You go east.
> There is a hungry troll here.
> The troll eats you.

Or, how about this:

------------------------------------------------------

> Follow troll

The troll is standing just to the east, looking
south. He's not moving, so you wait.

> again

The troll turns gradually to the south, gnawing
plaintively on the worn-out femur bone and
rubbing his abdomen, but he isn't going anywhere
yet. You wait.

> g

The troll heads south. You head east to where
he was standing.

BARNYARD (NEAR DUCK POND)
There's a faded red barn to the north, and a
dirt road leads east and west along the north
edge of a duck pond.

> Follow troll

The troll is swimming in the duck pond. He hasn't
gone very far yet, and you wait. He's headed south.

------------------------------------------------------

In other words, if you use the follow verb the game
decides for you when it's time to move on, just
after the troll does, so you're always a step behind
him (and thus able to see where he went, assuming your
game allows the player the luxury of "look [direction]"
to see what's there -- which seems appropriate in this
case).

An implicit "swim" in the above scenerio might cause
splashing that would alert the troll to your presence.

Hey, it's a thought. Add it to the list of solutions
that aren't quite right ;-)

- jonadab

Jonadab the Unsightly One

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Jan 7, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/7/99
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okbl...@usa.net wrote:

> > THROW HOLY NUCLEAR HAND GRENADE AT TROLL
> Oh, now *that* has possiblities.

Would that be the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch?


- jonadab

Derek Haslam

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Jan 7, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/7/99
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In article <jacob-06019...@ti29a96-0254.dialup.online.no>,
Jacob Munkhammar <ja...@stud.ntnu.no> wrote:

> I am also thinking of a verb, 'FOLLOW', that makes you follow the troll
> until you say 'STOP' or 'HALT' (or any other synonym the author may have
> thought of). It is then more obvious that following implies being
> careful. (At least *could* imply it, and when it doesn't, assuming so
> doesn't hurt.)

> Any thoughts about a 'FOLLOW' verb like that?

I have something of the sort in my game "Mirror of Khoronz" (BBC
micro; never published) but it was intended to allow players to
follow one another rather than follow monsters ("Mirror" is a
multi-player game). Once you've typed FOLLOW FRED you are
automatically moved wherever Fred moves until, on your own turn, you
either type LEAVE FRED or simply make an independent move of your own.

Derek Haslam

--
__ __ __ __ __
/ \ | ||__ |__)/ | | |_ Derek Haslam: Acorn Computer Enthusiast
\_\/ |__||__ | \\__ |__| __| que...@argonet.co.uk
\ Mastery of the rules is a pre-requisite for creatively breaking them.

Branko Collin

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Jan 8, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/8/99
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On Wed, 06 Jan 1999 02:24:04 +0100, ja...@stud.ntnu.no (Jacob
Munkhammar) wrote:

[how do you follow a man-eating troll?]

Well, since no-one suggested the crude, ugly and resource wasting
method, I will.

You define every room in such a way it contains everything its
neighbouring rooms got as scenery. Including the troll. Or just the
troll, if you like. Now, you can follow the troll as soon as it is out
of sight.

Suppose there are three rooms, from west to east named A, B and C.

You are in room A.
The troll is in room B, so it is scenery in room A (to be interpreted
by the player as visible _from_ room A).

A <----------> B <----------> C
you troll
troll_scenery

As soon as the troll leaves room B to the east (to room C), the
scenery object 'troll' is moved from room A to room B.

A <----------> B <----------> C
you troll_scenery troll

Now you cannot see the troll any longer, so you can move east too.

A <----------> B <----------> C
you troll
troll_scenery

I have no idea if this works. Good luck. ;-)

--
branko
-- ik maak alles stuk

Jacob Munkhammar

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Jan 9, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/9/99
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In article <3696777e...@news.xs4all.nl>, col...@xs4all.nl (Branko
Collin) wrote:


To make this work (in a somewhat general way), I guess one can define for
each connection whether it provides visibility to the next room.

How would this work in the description of the location?

You are in a low passage leading east and west.
Off to the east you can see a troll.

works well, but

You are in the livingroom. To the east is a bedroom,
and to the south is the kitchen.
Off to the east you can see a troll.

doesn't work as well, when in fact the troll is in the bedroom.....


Anyway, I think your idea is good.


/Jacob

TenthStone

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Jan 9, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/9/99
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Jacob Munkhammar thus inscribed this day of Wed, 06 Jan 1999 19:28:28
+0100:

>In article <slrn7977pm...@grace.acm.rpi.edu>, ne...@acm.rpi.edu
>(Damien Neil) wrote:
>
>> There's also the fact that I can't think of anything better than 'GO'.
>> If you add a 'SNEAK' verb (and tell the player in advance, please!),
>> is there going to be a good reason for the player to not always sneak
>> everywhere? If not, you've just added an extra six characters to
>> every movement command, leaving the one-letter shortcuts there only
>> as a 'gotcha, you should have been more careful'.
>>
>
>Well, there is a significant difference between just typing a quick 'E' as
>ususal and specifying 'SNEAK E', but I wont make an issue of it, as I see
>good reasons for both alternatives. A matter of taste or style really.
>
>On the other hand, 'SNEAK' isn't really a logical verb for the act of
>*following* someone.
>Sneak, you do when you *suspect* to encounter someone or something.

You might need to take the O&F tack: if you're going to have unreasonable
verbs, at least make a list in documentation so that the player knows in
general what's necessary. It's more important to the player to know how
to sneak when it comes to that time than to not know that he/she will need
to sneak sometime in the game.

>I am also thinking of a verb, 'FOLLOW', that makes you follow the troll
>until you say 'STOP' or 'HALT' (or any other synonym the author may have
>thought of).
>It is then more obvious that following implies being careful. (At least
>*could* imply it, and when it doesn't, assuming so doesn't hurt.)
>
>Any thoughts about a 'FOLLOW' verb like that?

Good idea.

-----------

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

Jacob Munkhammar

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Jan 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/11/99
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In article <3697e8d7...@news.erols.com>, mcc...@erols.com
(TenthStone) wrote:

> You might need to take the O&F tack: if you're going to have unreasonable
> verbs, at least make a list in documentation so that the player knows in
> general what's necessary. It's more important to the player to know how
> to sneak when it comes to that time than to not know that he/she will need
> to sneak sometime in the game.
>

Totally agree in that!
All IF designers should think about that, for those
in-IF-not-widely-spread verbs.

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