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Choo Hung Boey

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Jun 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/21/96
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Some comments from a passer-by:

[quote]
These games are rooted in a very clear tradition: simulation of Dungeons &
Dragons on computers. Not telling stories, but simulating (key word!)
interesting places and fantastic treasures. I would say the most evolved
of these are the Ultimas and Nethack. You really must play these games to
understand the intentions of the authors who work in this genre!
.
.
.

ant to tell stories, and we want
the reader to play a key role. We are unwilling to give up the power to
plot that we inherit from static fiction, not because we can't see the
virtue in simulationist approaches, but because we have specific artistic
reasons for *keeping a certain amount of authorial control*.

If you think this is a bankrupt approach, well that's OK. Not everyone
likes Jazz, either. But criticize works in the appropriate context,
or expect to evoke either puzzlement or ire from the artists.
[end of quote]

IF would appeal to a much larger audience if it actually delivers its promised
interactivity.The parser system creates an illusion of freedom which doesn't
exist.Despite the seemingly open interface, the player is ultimately
restricted to a few choices...however,the blinking cursor invites me to type
whatever comes to mind, and the game should be able to respond intelligently
to whatever I say or do, for goodness sake! The icon based systems used in
graphical adventures are less hypocritical, leave less room for amibiguity,
and ultimately result in less fustration. The player knows exactly what he can
or cannot do...the game designer can map out intelligent responses to all
possible player actions... objects in the game which serve merely as eye candy
can be accepted by the player as such.

As an outsider reading this newsgroup, it seems that most of the people here
would be happier writing static fiction(i.e. books), rather than interactive
fiction.Games like Ultima simulate, and eventually tell a better story, for
the player,than most text adventures do. As more writers take up a stand like
yours( we want totell _our_ story, we don't care if you don't like it!), it's
no surprise that the air around here becomes increasingly rarefied.

Arthur Chance

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Jun 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/21/96
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In article <4qeeb9$b...@lantana.singnet.com.sg> zh...@singnet.com.sg

(Choo Hung Boey) writes:
> IF would appeal to a much larger audience if it actually delivers its promised
> interactivity.The parser system creates an illusion of freedom which doesn't
> exist.Despite the seemingly open interface, the player is ultimately
> restricted to a few choices...however,the blinking cursor invites me to type
> whatever comes to mind, and the game should be able to respond intelligently
> to whatever I say or do, for goodness sake!

Any IF game which can respond intelligently to "Philosophically
speaking, why do I like playing this game more than mowing the lawn?"
or "Tell me game, should I sell all my shares in biscuit manufacturers
and invest in Pacific Rim electronics companies?" or "What are the
standard political theory justifications for taxation of citizens'
income?" is not a game. More like an AI-complete system which probably
should be granted citizen's rights.

> The icon based systems used in
> graphical adventures are less hypocritical, leave less room for amibiguity,
> and ultimately result in less fustration. The player knows exactly what he can
> or cannot do...the game designer can map out intelligent responses to all
> possible player actions... objects in the game which serve merely as eye candy
> can be accepted by the player as such.

Textual input can be far more efficient at specifying complex actions
than iconic manipulation. ("Take all the books except the green one"
rather than click on red book, click on orange book, click on yellow
book, ..., click on purple book.) As parsers improve so more and more
complex actions become feasible. This cannot be said about iconic
interfaces without a lot of trouble on the user's part.

> As an outsider reading this newsgroup, it seems that most of the people here
> would be happier writing static fiction(i.e. books), rather than interactive
> fiction.Games like Ultima simulate, and eventually tell a better story, for
> the player,than most text adventures do. As more writers take up a stand like
> yours( we want totell _our_ story, we don't care if you don't like it!), it's
> no surprise that the air around here becomes increasingly rarefied.

Well I mainly lurk in this group rather than post as I'm an occasional
player (reader?) of IF games rather than an author. However, I'm
really happy that the authors and would-be authors round here do have
literary aspirations. Personally I prefer text games to ones with
flashy graphics and iconic interfaces, books to movies, and radio
plays to television plays; in all cases because they have much better
pictures. (If you've never come across this joke, it means the
pictures in my head of what's going on are the desired effect, and
externally imposed visualisations usually jar badly.) That's not to
say I object to the other things, there are definitely movies that I
really love as movies, but my personal orientation is towards the
textual and literary. As such the nice folk of this group supply me
with the sort of thing I like. Other folk supply the needs of those
whose taste differs from mine, such as you. Where's the problem in
that? We probably have differing tastes in food as well, but would you
really tell the chefs in the restaurants where I eat they shouldn't be
cooking the food they do?

On a more practical note, I usually run the games on an HP palmtop
computer which slips in my pocket and runs for weeks on two AA
batteries. This means I can play a text game while standing in line,
lying in the bath or sitting halfway up a mountain with no power
available to me for a week. As it's an XT class, monochrome CGA
resolution machine, I couldn't do that if I wanted fancy graphics
based games.

--
"For they know they will sooner gain their end by appealing to men's pockets,
in which they have generally something of their own, than to their heads,
which contain for the most part little but borrowed or stolen property"
-- Samuel Butler, "Erewhon" (On political reformers)

Kevin Soucy

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Jun 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/22/96
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I have to agree with Arthur on his points. And I have one thing to add.
The joy....the beauty of text adventures, is that you don't have to get
hired by Sierra or Lucasarts (My two favorite Graphical Adventure Makers)
in order to write, program, and package a game! And ANYONE with a decent
amout of imagination and perseverence can do it! I don't know about you,
but I don't think I'd be able to single-handedly design an icon based game
by myself without some miraculous software that draws all of the artwork
for you! Leave the graphical games to the pros. Text Adventures are here
to stay!

Stee...@Usa.Pipeline.Com


Magnus Olsson

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Jun 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/22/96
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In article <4qeeb9$b...@lantana.singnet.com.sg>,

Choo Hung Boey <zh...@singnet.com.sg> wrote:
>IF would appeal to a much larger audience if it actually delivers its promised
>interactivity.The parser system creates an illusion of freedom which doesn't
>exist.Despite the seemingly open interface, the player is ultimately
>restricted to a few choices...however,the blinking cursor invites me to type
>whatever comes to mind, and the game should be able to respond intelligently
>to whatever I say or do, for goodness sake!

Well, yes, just as DOS should understand eveyrthing you type at the
C> prompt. "Computer, please correct all the bugs in my program and run
it" *should* be acceptable as a command, right? :-)

Seriously speaking, while I can understand your problem with text
games (it *is* very frustrating when you type something that *should*
work only to have it rejected by the parser), I don't think that's the
main reason why people prefer graphical games. I think it's more because
people prefer direct manipulation to having to enter typed commands (no matter
how powerful the parser), and they prefer flashy graphics to having
to read pages and pages of "boring" text.

>As an outsider reading this newsgroup, it seems that most of the people here
>would be happier writing static fiction(i.e. books), rather than interactive
>fiction.

Yeah, right. Like, we would be much happier writing static fiction, only
we're to stupid to realize that, so we keep writing adventure games
instead.

I'll tell you a secret: IF is *much* harder to write than static fiction.
We write IF rather than static fiction because we're happier doing that.
No disrespect intended, but we honestly don't need any outsiders telling
us that we'd be happier doing something else.

>As more writers take up a stand like
>yours( we want totell _our_ story, we don't care if you don't like it!), it's
>no surprise that the air around here becomes increasingly rarefied.

Rarified? The atmosphere around here is usually quite down-to-earth,
with discussions of programming, how to get Inform to work on all
various operating systems, and so on.

But if by "rarified" you mean that we only want to talk about text
adventures, well, this group actually happens to be a group for that
kind of discussion.

And I'll tell you another secret:

Writers (be it of IF or static fiction or whatever) care very much
about whether the audience likes their works or not. But I (along with
many other people here) am not doing this to please you in particular,
or to get as large an audience as possible, or whatever. I'm doing
this as a hobby, because I like doing it. If you prefer Ultima or
graphical game, fine, then play those games. I'm not going to start
writing things to please you, or Espen, or anybody else.

If I had been into this for the money, things would probably have been
different, but as it is, there's simply no money to be made from IF
(unless you're a big company with the resources to create multimedia
games that take up 7 CD's). I'm doing it because I like doing what I
do. If you don't like the results, then I'm genuinely sorry, but you
can't please everyone.

--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se)
Speaking as a private citizen & taxpayer - no more, no less.

Steven Howard

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Jun 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/22/96
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In <4qeeb9$b...@lantana.singnet.com.sg>, zh...@singnet.com.sg (Choo Hung Boey) writes:
> Some comments from a passer-by:
>
>
>IF would appeal to a much larger audience if it actually delivers its promised
>interactivity.The parser system creates an illusion of freedom which doesn't
>exist.Despite the seemingly open interface, the player is ultimately
>restricted to a few choices...however,the blinking cursor invites me to type
>whatever comes to mind, and the game should be able to respond intelligently
>to whatever I say or do, for goodness sake!

That's impossible. You're asking for a computer program that contains
as much information as your brain. On the other hand, most games produce
fairly intelligent responses (depending on the game, of course) to input that
lies within their problem space. That is to say, if you enter a sentence the
game can parse, using nouns and verbs which are defined to the program,
you'll (usually) get a meaningful response.

> The icon based systems used in
>graphical adventures are less hypocritical, leave less room for amibiguity,
>and ultimately result in less fustration. The player knows exactly what he can
>or cannot do...the game designer can map out intelligent responses to all
>possible player actions...

But they don't. Most graphic adventure games just beep at you or give some
canned "You can't do that" message in response to input that varies from the
one right answer. Many games (the ultimately disappointing Gabriel Knight 2,
for example) don't even provide different icons. Click on a location to travel
there. Click on an object to do the "interesting thing" associated with that
object (pick it up, open a drawer, turn a switch, etc.). Drag one object to
another to "use" them together, etc.

>objects in the game which serve merely as eye candy
>can be accepted by the player as such.

Maybe. I find that an apparently useful item which is, so to speak, merely
painted on the wall is as frustrating as the infamous "imaginary knife" from
"Detective." Often, it's hard to distinguish between objects you can't pick
up because they're just scenery, objects you can't pick up because it's
not time for you to pick them up yet, and object you can't pick up because
you're not clicking on the exact screen location.

> Games like Ultima simulate, and eventually tell a better story, for
>the player,than most text adventures do.

If you consider "A group of people with no personalites wandered around
for a while and killed a bunch of monsters until they found the McGuffin."
to be an aesthetically satisfying story. (Which someone must; witness
the continued success of slavish Tolkien imitations.)

========
Steven Howard
bl...@ibm.net

What's a nice word for "euphemism"?

Andrew C. Plotkin

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Jun 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/22/96
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zh...@singnet.com.sg (Choo Hung Boey) writes:
> As an outsider reading this newsgroup, it seems that most of the people here
> would be happier writing static fiction(i.e. books), rather than interactive
> fiction.

Gosh, I must be a dope then. I'll just shamble back to my den and
delete all my Inform files.

> Games like Ultima simulate, and eventually tell a better story, for
> the player,than most text adventures do.

After six months, I can finally say: Play _So Far_ and then repeat
that!

Or _A Change in the Weather_, for that matter.

--Z

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

Robert P. Simpson

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Jun 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/22/96
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Choo Hung Boey (zh...@singnet.com.sg) wrote:
: IF would appeal to a much larger audience if it actually delivers its

: promised interactivity.The parser system creates an illusion of freedom
: which doesn't exist.Despite the seemingly open interface, the player
: is ultimately restricted to a few choices...however,the blinking cursor
: invites me to type whatever comes to mind, and the game should be able
: to respond intelligently to whatever I say or do, for goodness sake! The

: icon based systems used in graphical adventures are less hypocritical,
: leave less room for amibiguity, and ultimately result in less fustration.
: The player knows exactly what he can or cannot do...the game designer
: can map out intelligent responses to all possible player actions...
: objects in the game which serve merely as eye candy can be accepted by
: the player as such.

Infocom games came with a manual containing a "how-to" for talking to the
game as well as a list of commonly used verbs. There was no illusion of
(total) freedom; they warned us. Using a catchall phrase like "You don't
need to refer to that." or "I don't know the word <x>." was not an
exceptionally well thought out response, but hardly ambiguous in most
cases--it pegged the troublesome part of speech, at least.

Trevor Barrie

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Jun 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/24/96
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zh...@singnet.com.sg (Choo Hung Boey) wrote:

>IF would appeal to a much larger audience if it actually delivers its promised
>interactivity.

It does so to a greater extent than any other style of computer game
with which I'm familiar.

>The parser system creates an illusion of freedom which doesn't
>exist.Despite the seemingly open interface, the player is ultimately
>restricted to a few choices...however,the blinking cursor invites me to type
>whatever comes to mind, and the game should be able to respond intelligently
>to whatever I say or do, for goodness sake!

They almost always do, assuming you're being reasonable in your input.


>The icon based systems used in
>graphical adventures are less hypocritical, leave less room for amibiguity,
>and ultimately result in less fustration. The player knows exactly what he can
>or cannot do...

The player may know what he or she can do, but you have no idea what
the character can do. Sure, you can click the hand or "use" on a
certain object, but you have no idea what it is you're actually trying
to do until you see the response (and sometimes not even then, if it's
a generic "nothing happens" response).

>the game designer can map out intelligent responses to all
>possible player actions...

Oh? So why don't they? Every graphical adventure I've played is _at
least_ as plagued by canned "You can't do that" responses as text
adventures.

The graphical interface actually _inhibits_ the designer's ability to
map out intelligent responses to all possible actions. Which is
easier, to write three lines of text saying what happens when you try
something, or to draw thirty or so frames of animation showing what
happens?

>objects in the game which serve merely as eye candy
>can be accepted by the player as such.

How is this easier in graphical games differ than in text? The only
difference I see is that the text authour can adjust the level of
abstraction in the room description so as to not even mention those
objects that he or she doesn't want to code. In a graphical game,
realism dictates that everything which should logically be in the
location is visible, thereby frsutrating the player when he or she
finds out that it doesn't really exist.

>Games like Ultima simulate, and eventually tell a better story, for
>the player,than most text adventures do.

Ultima 4 and 5 are comparable to good text adventures in this regard,
but then they're the cream of the crop of the so-called "Computer
RPGs". I haven't come across any other that come close.

As an aside, I find it interesting how many people have said things
like "I like text adventures better than graphic adventures the same
way I prefer books to movies." I'm just the opposite; I strongly
prefer the visual media of comics, movies and the ilk for purposes of
story-telling. (I do read a lot, but it's almost entirely
non-fiction.) My reasons for playing text games are entirely
technological; the day somebody comes up with a graphical adventure
interface that even comes close to being as _playable_ as a
state-of-the-art text parser, I'll embrace it with open arms.


Trevor Barrie

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Jun 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/24/96
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bl...@ibm.net (Steven Howard) wrote:

>> Games like Ultima simulate, and eventually tell a better story, for
>>the player,than most text adventures do.

>If you consider "A group of people with no personalites wandered around


>for a while and killed a bunch of monsters until they found the McGuffin."
>to be an aesthetically satisfying story.

Wild guess here: you've never played Ultima IV or V?


Stephen Griffiths

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Jun 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/24/96
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zh...@singnet.com.sg (Choo Hung Boey) wrote:
>IF would appeal to a much larger audience if it actually delivers its promised
>interactivity.The parser system creates an illusion of freedom which doesn't

>exist.Despite the seemingly open interface, the player is ultimately
>restricted to a few choices...however,the blinking cursor invites me to type
>whatever comes to mind, and the game should be able to respond intelligently
>to whatever I say or do, for goodness sake!

That's fair enough - in a way. That 'way' being that the game should give
a readable response to player input that is outside the range of possible
player inputs that the game writer has had the stamina to program. This
way the player's _illusion_ of freedom may be sustained but its quite
unreasonable to expect any game, text or graphical, to actually provide a
plot branch for everything the player inputs.

It is very challenging to come up with a readable response to cover every
player input. Ultimately, I think, the writer has to rely on the goodwill
of the player, the assumption has to be that the player also wants the
illusion of freedom to be maintained. A player who is trying to test the
limits of the game will always find something to input that produces an
'I don't understand that' response from the game.

>The icon based systems used in
>graphical adventures are less hypocritical, leave less room for amibiguity,
>and ultimately result in less fustration. The player knows exactly what he can

>or cannot do...the game designer can map out intelligent responses to all
>possible player actions

I guess it is correct that if a text IF game had a menu of possible
responses it would be less hypocritical. It also, I think, would be less
fun to play than the blinking-cursor-interface games we have now.
Firstly, because the player would lose that _illusion_ of freedom I
mentioned before. Secondly, because the player would lose the feeling
that they are actually writing the story as they engage in a conversation
with their computer.

It would be interesting to try a menu-interface text IF game. Perhaps
someone would like to write one as an experiment.

>As an outsider reading this newsgroup, it seems that most of the people here
>would be happier writing static fiction(i.e. books), rather than interactive
>fiction.

I don't think this is so. The attraction, for me, of writing interactive
fiction is that it combines two interests of mine - creative writing and
computer programming. I do write static fiction and non-IF computer
programs as well but combining the two hobbies is great fun!


Greg Ewing

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Jun 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/25/96
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Choo Hung Boey wrote:
>
> As an outsider reading this newsgroup, it seems that most of the people here
> would be happier writing static fiction(i.e. books), rather than interactive
> fiction.

This is quite untrue! The citizens of this group are people
who enjoy the Infocom style of game for what it is. The text
adventure genre is unique, and it's the unique qualities
of it that we enjoy and want to explore. If you
don't enjoy that style of game yourself, there's no way you
can really understand what we're talking about, any more
than a person can explain exactly why they enjoy a particular
style of music to someone who doesn't share that enjoyment.

We talk about plots and stories and characters, but these
are terms borrowed from another field and attached to concepts
which don't have any exact counterpart in other art forms.
If you take them as having exactly the same meaning as
they do in their original field, you will miss the point.

Greg

Kevin Soucy

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Jun 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/25/96
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>>The icon based systems used in
>>graphical adventures are less hypocritical, leave less room for
amibiguity,
>>and ultimately result in less fustration. The player knows exactly what
he can
>>or cannot do...the game designer can map out intelligent responses to all

>>possible player actions

>I guess it is correct that if a text IF game had a menu of possible
>responses it would be less hypocritical. It also, I think, would be >less

>fun to play than the blinking-cursor-interface games we have now.
>Firstly, because the player would lose that _illusion_ of freedom I
>mentioned before. Secondly, because the player would lose the feeling
>that they are actually writing the story as they engage in a conversation

>with their computer.

>It would be interesting to try a menu-interface text IF game. Perhaps
>someone would like to write one as an experiment.

It already exists as part of the AGT Master's edition, but it's optional
and the
author has to fill out the menu themselves. Most authors I've seen don't
use it...myself included, but because it's an option and the .VOC file is
required
for compiling, I do this:

GCRUSADE.VOC

1 Don't
1 Even
1 Bother!

That way, even if the player selects to use menu driven input, it'll just
say "Don't Even Bother!".
Another thing I'd like to say while I'm plugging AGT Master's edition is
that all of the standard AGT messages (ie: Creatures die in a cloud of
orange smoke, Prompt is What Now?) are now coustomizable.

Stee...@Usa.Pipeline.Com

Magnus Olsson

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Jun 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/25/96
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In article <4qmv5a$k...@st-james.comp.vuw.ac.nz>,

Stephen Griffiths <stev...@moc.govt.nz> wrote:
>It would be interesting to try a menu-interface text IF game. Perhaps
>someone would like to write one as an experiment.

Well, there are such critters. Infocom's "Journey" is entirely
menu-driven, only requiring you to type something at one or two
places. Some Legend games, such as "Gateway" (which is available for
free from http:www.legendent.com/gameinfo) can be played either as
traditional text adventures or by selecting verbs and nouns from
menues.

ada...@in.net

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Jun 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/25/96
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In article <4qmv5a$k...@st-james.comp.vuw.ac.nz>,
Stephen Griffiths <stev...@moc.govt.nz> wrote:
>It would be interesting to try a menu-interface text IF game. Perhaps
>someone would like to write one as an experiment.

Rexx-Adventure is a design system for just that; version one
is only capable of handling direct objects, but version two (currently
in beta) supports indirect objects and containers. However, the problem
with a menu interface is portability; Rexx-Adventure is written in
VX-REXX, and AFAIK will only run in OS/2. The author is writing a version
in normal REXX for use on all systems for which there is a REXX
interpreter; I believe this will cover most systems (even Macs! <G>).
Unfortunately, REXX isn't capable of having all those spiffy,
individual, resizable windows for game text, objects, and verbs that
VX-REXX can do. It seems the text mode system will be forced, instead, to
display a numbered list instead of a menu. It would be great if someone
could write an interpreter in a portable/interpreted language with a
windowed interface -- anyone interested? Anyone know which languages would
be suitable for the project?

The Rexx-Adventure page is at:
http://www.io.com/~desantom/rad.html
Mike Desanto (the author) can be reached at:
desa...@io.com

Adam Ploshay
ada...@in.net
"When you're killed, you've lost an important part of your life."
-- Brooke Shields

John Wood

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Jun 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/25/96
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Stephen Griffiths <stev...@moc.govt.nz> writes:
> >As an outsider reading this newsgroup, it seems that most of the people here
> >would be happier writing static fiction(i.e. books), rather than interactive
> >fiction.
>
> I don't think this is so. The attraction, for me, of writing interactive
> fiction is that it combines two interests of mine - creative writing and
> computer programming. I do write static fiction and non-IF computer
> programs as well but combining the two hobbies is great fun!

Hey, are you sure you're not talking about me? That's exactly how I feel.
In fact, from my early experiments with IF it looks like I'm going to be
writing it at the same pace I write static fiction and (hobby) programs -
verrry slooowly.

Actually, there's one other reason I'm trying to write IF - to produce the
kind of game I'd like to play. Having written (non-IF) games commercially,
I've decided that from now on I'm only going to work on material I'd enjoy.

John


Carl Muckenhoupt

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Jun 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/25/96
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Stephen Griffiths <stev...@moc.govt.nz> writes:

>It would be interesting to try a menu-interface text IF game. Perhaps
>someone would like to write one as an experiment.

Try any of Legend's earlier games, from Spellcasting 101 to, er, I think
Gateway 2 was the last of them that used that interface. You could type
in commands or select words from a series of menus. Generally speaking,
I found myself typing most of the time - it's simply faster than finding
the word you want - but switching to the menus for conversations, because
the menu only listed those topics that both characters knew about,
eliminating the iterated "ask x about y" "X doesn't know anything about
y" cycle.

Okay, someone will object that these games have graphics. The graphics are
inessential. You can play these games in all-text mode.

--
Carl Muckenhoupt | Text Adventures are not dead!
b...@tiac.net | Read rec.[arts|games].int-fiction to see
http://www.tiac.net/users/baf | what you're missing!

Stephen Griffiths

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Jun 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/25/96
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m...@marvin.df.lth.se (Magnus Olsson) wrote:
>In article <4qmv5a$k...@st-james.comp.vuw.ac.nz>,
>Stephen Griffiths <stev...@moc.govt.nz> wrote:
>>It would be interesting to try a menu-interface text IF game. Perhaps
>>someone would like to write one as an experiment.
>
>Well, there are such critters. Infocom's "Journey" is entirely
>menu-driven, only requiring you to type something at one or two
>places. Some Legend games, such as "Gateway" (which is available for
>free from http:www.legendent.com/gameinfo) can be played either as
>traditional text adventures or by selecting verbs and nouns from
>menues.

I searched through the index at the IF archive for the word _menu_

I found the following games that supposedly have a menu-driven interface.
I haven't downloaded them yet to see what they're like - I'm trying to cut
back my Internet bill this month!

Castle Ralf (1987, MS_DOS Executable)
ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/pc/c-ralf.zip 196Kb

The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes (MS-DOS Executable)
ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/pc/holmes.zip 208Kb

Anyone know of others?


Greg Ewing

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Jun 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/26/96
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ada...@in.net wrote:
>
> It would be great if someone
> could write an interpreter in a portable/interpreted language with a
> windowed interface -- anyone interested? Anyone know which languages would
> be suitable for the project?

Unfortunately, yes: Tcl/tk. (Unfortunate because it's
a horrible language and it's the only thing I know of
that comes close to meeting those requirements.)

Greg

Bruce Stephens

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Jun 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/26/96
to

So write most of it as a C extension to Tcl/Tk. Should still be
pretty portable, if you're careful, and you don't need much Tcl.

In fact, I think it would make a good platform for a portable Z code
interpreter, and I started one a while back (based on JZIP), but now
I've moved I don't have it anymore.
--
Bruce Stephens | email: B.Ste...@math.ruu.nl
Utrecht University | telephone: +31 30 2534630
Department of Mathematics | telefax: +31 30 2518394
P.O. Box 80010, 3508 TA Utrecht |
The Netherlands |

Adam J. Thornton

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Jun 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/26/96
to
In article <4qprqc$6...@st-james.comp.vuw.ac.nz>,

Many of the Applesoft Basic games I wrote in Jr. High School were menu
driven, but that hardly counts. Although it did include some of the
following classics: Awesome Adventure (I and II), Gumshoe, Space Adventure
(the title might have been slightly more clever), and the
epic-but-never-completed The Grand Tour.

Adam
--
ad...@phoenix.princeton.edu | Viva HEGGA! | Save the choad! | 64,928 | Fnord
"Double integral is also the shape of lovers curled asleep":Pynchon | Linux
Thanks for letting me rearrange the chemicals in your head. | Team OS/2
You can have my PGP passphrase when you pry it from my cold, dead brain.

Trevor Barrie

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Jun 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/29/96
to
"Russell L. Bryan" <russ...@earthlink.net> wrote:

>> >If you consider "A group of people with no personalites wandered around
>> >for a while and killed a bunch of monsters until they found the McGuffin."
>> >to be an aesthetically satisfying story.

>> Wild guess here: you've never played Ultima IV or V?

>I'll field this one. I've played them both. I would love for you to demonstrate
>how a search for "virtues" reveals character.

Not sure where revealing character came into this, but... the fact
that the character has decided to embark on a quest for wisdom and
virtue tells you a lot about them. (It's not as if the games force you
too, after all... You could just kill for plunder and get rich, for
one thing; Ultima 5 gave you the option of selling out Lord British's
former council and joining Blackthorn's tyranny.)

>Character development is choosing whether or not to kill a certain monster? Or
>choosing NOT to be the last person to run away?

Sure. You might argue that it's a fairly primitive form of character
development, but what computer game offers better?

>We're talking character here -- you know, the dictionary definition? We're talking
>about people on this newsgroup who have admitted to crying when Floyd died. What
>emotions struck you while playing Ultima (besides frustration)?

Humility, anger, compassion, indecision... Blackthorn is one of the
only villains in a computer game who actually got to me in any sense,
which led to the only time I've ever felt "put me in my place" by a
computer game, that being my conversation with the old shepherd in New
Magincia.

>I hate pithy one-liners.

So do I, but I don't recall any in the games in question.

>Why is everyone suddenly making a point of pissing in our pool, anyway?

Eh? What do you mean?


Russell L. Bryan

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Jun 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/29/96
to
Trevor Barrie wrote:
>
> "Russell L. Bryan" <russ...@earthlink.net> wrote:

[A lot of weird things about Ultima and character that had nothing to do
with the thread]

> >Why is everyone suddenly making a point of pissing in our pool, anyway?

> Eh? What do you mean?


I really don't know what I meant. I just looked over the message and I have no idea what
I was talking about. My apologies for wasting the time and space.

-- Russ

Damien Neil

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Jul 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/1/96
to

On Wed, 26 Jun 1996 12:52:03 +1200, Greg Ewing <gr...@cosc.canterbury.ac.nz> wrote:
>ada...@in.net wrote:
>> It would be great if someone
>> could write an interpreter in a portable/interpreted language with a
>> windowed interface -- anyone interested? Anyone know which languages would
>> be suitable for the project?
>
>Unfortunately, yes: Tcl/tk. (Unfortunate because it's
>a horrible language and it's the only thing I know of
>that comes close to meeting those requirements.)

Umm. Yes and no. Tcl would be utterly unsuited for writing an interpreter
in. On the other hand, Tcl/Tk would be perfectly suited for writing the
interface to an interpreter in.

The nice thing about Tcl, though, is that it is very easy to mix Tcl
and C code. It should be very possible to write the heart of the
interpreter in C and the interface in Tcl/Tk. Portability would be
a bit less than straight Tcl, but certainly no worse than that of
any other C-based interpreter.

An interesting thought. I think I'll throw it on my hill of
possible projects [1].

Tcl isn't all that horrible a language, by the way. You just
have to be careful not to use it for things it is unsuited for.
And get used to the way it thinks. Once you get the feel for
its datatype [2] and the quoting rule [3] everything hangs together
rather nicely.

- Damien

[1] It used to be a pile. That was a while ago. I'm working on
converting it to a mountain.

[2] Tcl has only one datatype: string. Everything is a string.
Everything. Integers, floating point numbers, even code. This
is a. slow, and b. useful when you get the hang of it.

[3] Tcl's rule of quoting: if you have to think for more than half
a second about how to quote something, your program structure
is wrong. Fix it.
--
The earth is flat.
All opinions expressed in the above are mine, not necessarily JPL's.


Magnus Olsson

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Jul 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/1/96
to

In article <4qs0re$q...@cnn.princeton.edu>,

Adam J. Thornton <ad...@tucson.princeton.edu> wrote:
>Many of the Applesoft Basic games I wrote in Jr. High School were menu
>driven, but that hardly counts. Although it did include some of the
>following classics: Awesome Adventure (I and II), Gumshoe, Space Adventure
>(the title might have been slightly more clever), and the
>epic-but-never-completed The Grand Tour.

So, when will we see Inform ports of these classics? :-)

Bruce Stephens

unread,
Jul 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/2/96
to

>>>>> "Damien" == Damien Neil <ne...@godzilla.jpl.nasa.gov> writes:

> On Wed, 26 Jun 1996 12:52:03 +1200, Greg Ewing
> <gr...@cosc.canterbury.ac.nz> wrote:

>> Unfortunately, yes: Tcl/tk. (Unfortunate because it's a horrible
>> language and it's the only thing I know of that comes close to
>> meeting those requirements.)

> Umm. Yes and no. Tcl would be utterly unsuited for writing an
> interpreter in. On the other hand, Tcl/Tk would be perfectly suited
> for writing the interface to an interpreter in.

Yep, that was my thought. I envisage being able to construct a really
nice X interface, with a resizable window for the text, perhaps a neat
graphical interface to previous positions (i.e., multi-level undo,
perhaps even a tree), and possibly some kind of scrollable window
showing what would have saved to the transcript (so you can look back
nice and easily).

> [3] Tcl's rule of quoting: if you have to think for more than half a
> second about how to quote something, your program structure is
> wrong. Fix it.

[3.5] You don't want to use double quotes, you want to use [list ...]

Matthew Amster-Burton

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Jul 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/2/96
to

m...@marvin.df.lth.se (Magnus Olsson) wrote:

>In article <4qs0re$q...@cnn.princeton.edu>,
>Adam J. Thornton <ad...@tucson.princeton.edu> wrote:
>>Many of the Applesoft Basic games I wrote in Jr. High School were menu
>>driven, but that hardly counts. Although it did include some of the
>>following classics: Awesome Adventure (I and II), Gumshoe, Space Adventure
>>(the title might have been slightly more clever), and the
>>epic-but-never-completed The Grand Tour.

>So, when will we see Inform ports of these classics? :-)

Hey, in junior high, my friend and I tried to write a game called
Search for the Golden Pickle in Atari ST Basic. No Inform port
forthcoming.

Matthew

Charles Gerlach

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Jul 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/2/96
to

mam...@u.washington.edu (Matthew Amster-Burton) writes:

>m...@marvin.df.lth.se (Magnus Olsson) wrote:

All right, now you've done it. *My* Jr. High text adventure was lamer than
all of yours combined. It was about 1000 lines of, uh, code**, and
*very* linear. At every step you had one of two choices: the wrong one
would (of course) kill you, and the correct one would lead to the next
choice. I must say that I came up with some very creative ways to die.

The game was mercifully destroyed the summer after I wrote it.

-Charles

** Clearly from context, code = a long string of if-then's.

athol-brose

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Jul 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/2/96
to

In article <4rbfgd$f...@nntp4.u.washington.edu>,

Matthew Amster-Burton <mam...@u.washington.edu> wrote:
>Hey, in junior high, my friend and I tried to write a game called
>Search for the Golden Pickle in Atari ST Basic. No Inform port
>forthcoming.

Hey, in junior high, my friend and I wrote an, er, 6-point version of
Colossal Cave. In, er, Atari ST Pilot. Yes, Pilot. No TADS port
forthcoming.

--
r. n. dominick -- cinn...@one.net -- http://w3.one.net/~cinnamon/
<*> Remember the time I saw a seagull fly out of your lips?
if keys are all that stand between, can i throw in the ring?

Matthew Amster-Burton

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Jul 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/2/96
to

cage...@merle.acns.nwu.edu (Charles Gerlach) wrote:

>>Hey, in junior high, my friend and I tried to write a game called
>>Search for the Golden Pickle in Atari ST Basic. No Inform port
>>forthcoming.

>All right, now you've done it. *My* Jr. High text adventure was lamer than


>all of yours combined. It was about 1000 lines of, uh, code**, and
>*very* linear. At every step you had one of two choices: the wrong one
>would (of course) kill you, and the correct one would lead to the next
>choice. I must say that I came up with some very creative ways to die.

>** Clearly from context, code = a long string of if-then's.

Hey, hey, hey there, I didn't mean to imply there was any actual
*parsing* going on in Golden Pickle. We figured the way the folks at
Infocom did it was something like this.

...
70 INPUT ">", A$
80 IF A$="N" OR A$="GO NORTH" THEN 200
90 IF A$="KILL WILDEBEEST" THEN 300
...

Look familiar?

Matthew

Andrew Lewis Tepper

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Jul 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/2/96
to

Excerpts from netnews.rec.arts.int-fiction: 2-Jul-96 Re: if...if by
athol...@shell.one.ne
> Hey, in junior high, my friend and I wrote an, er, 6-point version of
> Colossal Cave. In, er, Atari ST Pilot. Yes, Pilot. No TADS port
> forthcoming.
>
Oh yeah, well, I wrote an adventure writing language. I thought it was
very powerful because it contained six different kinds of GOTOs. (It
made assembly look elegant...)

Andy

ada...@in.net

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Jul 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/2/96
to

Ah, I see we've entered the realm of Jr. High games of less-than-stellar
quality! I feel I must contribute mine, for 'tis surely the lamest of all!
Written far too late at night, it was called "The Bathing Room of Doom," and
_the_ puzzle to solve was passing a lethal commode without being vaporized.

This experience taught me that when I stay up much later than usual, _every_
idea, usually thought of by myself or one of my friends, becomes a stroke of
utter brilliance. Factor some "Jolt Cola" into the situation, and you get
an extremely dangerous group of brain-stormers.

Actually, the writing was quite good, considering the cirumstances. :)

Adam Ploshay - ada...@in.net
http://www.in.net/~adamplo/
"When you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life."
-- Brooke Shields

John Wood

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Jul 3, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/3/96
to

In article: <4rc8kc$e...@su3.in.net> ada...@in.net writes:
> Ah, I see we've entered the realm of Jr. High games of less-than-stellar
> quality! I feel I must contribute mine, for 'tis surely the lamest of all!

Now there's a challenge!

A friend and I wrote a text "adventure" with graphics, called "Quest For
Enlightenment" - it was intended to be pointless, for some reason that
escapes me now. It printed up random starfield patterns, and you could either
go to a different "location" by typing n, e, s, or w, or you could claim to
have found enlightenment. If you did, you got some snide comment depending
on how long you took to get there (including a "You must have cheated" type
message if you were too quick...)

John

Peter Wright

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Jul 4, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/4/96
to

step...@math.ruu.nl (Bruce Stephens) writes:

>>>>>> "Greg" == Greg Ewing <gr...@cosc.canterbury.ac.nz> writes:

>> ada...@in.net wrote:
>>> It would be great if someone could write an interpreter in a
>>> portable/interpreted language with a windowed interface -- anyone
>>> interested? Anyone know which languages would be suitable for the
>>> project?

>> Unfortunately, yes: Tcl/tk. (Unfortunate because it's a horrible


>> language and it's the only thing I know of that comes close to
>> meeting those requirements.)

>So write most of it as a C extension to Tcl/Tk. Should still be


>pretty portable, if you're careful, and you don't need much Tcl.

There is also Perl/Tk. Although I think Perl might not be as
portable as Tcl, so you might not be able to run it everywhere
you can run Tcl/Tk.

>Bruce Stephens | email: B.Ste...@math.ruu.nl


Pete.


Richard G Clegg

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Jul 4, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/4/96
to

John Wood (jo...@elvw.demon.co.uk) wrote:

Wow - it wasn't the same "Quest For Enlightenment" that was published
in "Sinclair Programming" (old UK magazine that used to publish basic source
code for programs on Sinclair machines) was it? (Sounds pretty similar but
I don't remember that version having graphics and it had the mystic
directions `hither' `thither' `back' and `forth' and the `i have found
enlightenment' command to win). I was pretty amused by the game and a
friend of mine has written a WWW version (http://djm...@www.york.ac.uk).

And while we're doing "My first text adventure" I got a five room
multiple choice style adventure with some animated graphics into a 1K ZX81.
(Admittedly the graphics consisted of an `O' throwing a `-' at a grey
square which would alternate with aimilar grey square - and this was
the big player's death sequence). I used to read with envy about computers
large enough to play `Zork'.

--
Richard G. Clegg There ain't no getting round getting round
Dept. of Mathematics (Network Control group) Uni. of York.
email: ric...@manor.york.ac.uk Eschew Obfustication
www: http://manor.york.ac.uk/top.html


John Wood

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Jul 4, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/4/96
to

rg...@york.ac.uk (Richard G Clegg) writes:
> Wow - it wasn't the same "Quest For Enlightenment" that was published
> in "Sinclair Programming" (old UK magazine that used to publish basic source
> code for programs on Sinclair machines) was it? (Sounds pretty similar but
> I don't remember that version having graphics and it had the mystic
> directions `hither' `thither' `back' and `forth' and the `i have found
> enlightenment' command to win). I was pretty amused by the game and a
> friend of mine has written a WWW version (http://djm...@www.york.ac.uk).

Er, to be honest I can't remember - I thought we invented it, but the idea
may have been suggested by the one in the mag. Sounds pretty similar.
Maybe my friend saw it and I didn't - or maybe my memory's failing.

Excuse me, time for my lie down...

John


Adam J. Thornton

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Jul 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/8/96
to

In article <4r925l$1...@news.lth.se>,

Magnus Olsson <m...@marvin.df.lth.se> wrote:
>In article <4qs0re$q...@cnn.princeton.edu>,
>Adam J. Thornton <ad...@tucson.princeton.edu> wrote:
>>Many of the Applesoft Basic games I wrote in Jr. High School were menu
>>driven, but that hardly counts. Although it did include some of the
>>following classics: Awesome Adventure (I and II), Gumshoe, Space Adventure
>>(the title might have been slightly more clever), and the
>>epic-but-never-completed The Grand Tour.
>So, when will we see Inform ports of these classics? :-)

Sometime after _Avalon_ is released.

Adam J. Thornton

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Jul 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/8/96
to

In article <cagerlac.836323985@merle>,

Charles Gerlach <cage...@merle.acns.nwu.edu> wrote:
>All right, now you've done it. *My* Jr. High text adventure was lamer than
>all of yours combined. It was about 1000 lines of, uh, code**, and
>*very* linear. At every step you had one of two choices: the wrong one
>would (of course) kill you, and the correct one would lead to the next
>choice. I must say that I came up with some very creative ways to die.
>The game was mercifully destroyed the summer after I wrote it.

Well, our all time favorite death routine was created by one Bobby Spruill.
It went a little something like this.

1096 PRINT "YOU EAT THE APPLE! IT IS POISONED!"
1100 GOSUB 45000
1110 GOTO 63000 : REM DEATH CODE
[...]
45000 PRINT "YOU ARE ";
45005 FLASH
45010 FOR ZG = 1 TO 500
45020 PRINT "DEAD ";
45030 NEXT
45040 RETURN

Industrial Strength

unread,
Jul 9, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/9/96
to

Matthew Amster-Burton (mam...@u.washington.edu) enlightened us with:

> Hey, hey, hey there, I didn't mean to imply there was any actual
> *parsing* going on in Golden Pickle. We figured the way the folks at
> Infocom did it was something like this.

> ...
> 70 INPUT ">", A$
> 80 IF A$="N" OR A$="GO NORTH" THEN 200
> 90 IF A$="KILL WILDEBEEST" THEN 300
> ...

> Look familiar?

Eerily. My stellar C-64 trick was a routine I copied from COMPUTE magazine
that, at random points in time, would cause the 1541 floppy drive to
spin. It was supposed to simulate disk access in Infocom games.

I did eventually learn how to write a game using multiple files, but I
never did give up that whole-phrase parsing. Not even by "Wishbunny IV" in
6th grade.

:Liza

--
ge...@echonyc.com http://fovea.retina.net/~gecko/
"Where are the nude shots???" - web comment

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