Will IF gamers not support this style?

2 views
Skip to first unread message

Sean Don.

unread,
Nov 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/30/00
to
 
I'm just accomplishing Inform, and I plan on producing
various styles of "story IF" games (e.g. Photopia,
Glowgrass, Mercy) --where generally, obvious puzzles
propel a story.
    One variant would be a "story IF" that is very much
like an RPG --Final Fantasy / Square Soft style--; but,
with OUT the combat! and with a slightly more
sophisticated interface.
    I've read in a few places how RPGs as text
adventures do not gain much appraisal!

What RPG characteristics exactly --asking for various
opinions-- do IF gamers not want in a text adventure
--other then combat?

Right now I'm thinking about having multiple characters
in a campaign follow a main character around.
    Does this lead into trouble?
 

Thanks In Advance.
I'll appreciate any response ;-)
--Sean
 

J.D. Berry

unread,
Nov 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/30/00
to
In article <3A26AC01...@loop.com>,
"Sean Don." <sea...@loop.com> wrote:

> One variant would be a "story IF" that is very much
> like an RPG --Final Fantasy / Square Soft style--; but,
> with OUT the combat! and with a slightly more
> sophisticated interface.
> I've read in a few places how RPGs as text
> adventures do not gain much appraisal!
>

A search at Baf's shows only 9 games under the category RPG. And of
those, I don't see one made since 1993. Not much to appraise!

Why? I think Interactive Fiction authors have left RPGs to the
graphics people and have focused their efforts on more novel (and
fitting) uses for the text medium. The RPG genre doesn't have a lot of
working room story-wise, but it can always improve its look and feel
with smoother animations, more faithful audio and higher resolutions.

Aside:
I was in a computer store recently (and you know you're old when you're
asked if you need help--"no, really, I'm not here for my son. I play
these games myself!") and my eyes became tired from rolling them so
much while reading the jackets of the games. "Oh, in this one, I
assemble a team of talent to defeat the enemy. Excellent."


> What RPG characteristics exactly --asking for various
> opinions-- do IF gamers not want in a text adventure
> --other then combat?
>

Baf's definition of RPG in terms of IF (and one I'd agree with) is that
it somewhat imitates the mechanics of playing Dungeons and Dragons.
That doesn't HAVE TO mean combat, I suppose, but I'd sure expect it.

If you stop imitating those mecahnics, you stop becoming (what we're
defining as) RPG in IF. (If you took the bones out, it wouldn't be
crunchy ;-))

> Right now I'm thinking about having multiple characters in a campaign
> follow a main character around. Does this lead into trouble?
>

How will the player keep track, in a way that isn't graphical, of
them? Will I see

The fighter is here.
The mage is here.
The monk is here.

every turn?


Not that you or someone COULDN'T do an RPG as IF. It just seems like
such a struggle for most likely modest results. If you cut the
problems associated with that struggle, you're no longer doing RPG. If
you include a lot of add-ons, you're getting away from IF.

So with novel implementation and evocative writing you could have a
story involving a fighter, a mage and a monk. They could even have a
few attributes and skill sets. But they would have to be integrated
and not seem like part of a character sheet.

Define your goals and write what makes you happy. :-)

> Thanks In Advance.
> I'll appreciate any response ;-)

Really? ;-)

Good luck, Sean. And not the sarcastic luck where you doubt the other
one's ability. The good kind. ;-)

Jim


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

Jasper McChesney

unread,
Nov 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/30/00
to
Well, presonally, I love MUDS. Especially in theory. So, even without
the multi-player aspect of MUDing, I'd would certainly appreciate a well
crafted "rpg" text game.

Combat is not a problem for me, per se, but it cannot be AD&D's
hack and slash. Also, while stats might be okay for a beer & pretzels
hack & slash, any "rpg IF" that invovles a lot of well developed story
shouldn't have them - they're artificial and only useful in very simple
games. If you have them, make them complex and internal. I would also
not like to see combat in which "You attack the gnoll. You hit!"
occurs.
I want descriptions -- that's why it's called IF after all. I also
would ideally like some real interactivity, but I realize that's
difficult to implement. The big thing is that combat shouldn't have
numbers: it should not feel, in any way, separate from the overall
gaming experience. If implemented in this way, I can't see anyone
objecting to combat from a simple gameplay perspective (not personal
preference).

The other thing which might be difficult is travel. Typically, rpgs
involve a lot of travelling -- they are epic and span entire continents,
or at least regions of them. Without coding thousands of locations or
using an algorithmic on-the-spot location generator, and I can only see
travel being implemented via descriptions -- but then it might be
taken too lightly. Seeing "You travel for weeks and arrive in Ardania"
is not satisfying.

I think one of the primary objections many IFers (correct me if I'm
wrong
here) is that, by there very nature, rpgs focus on things other than
detail.
They encompass grand stories and travel over a long period of time.
Individual puzzles are not typically the meat & potatoes of rpgs.

Robb Sherwin

unread,
Nov 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/30/00
to

>>"Sean Don." <sea...@loop.com> wrote:
>>Right now I'm thinking about having multiple characters in a
>>campaign follow a main character around. Does this lead into
>>trouble?
> J.D. Berry <jdb...@my-deja.com> wrote:>
> How will the player keep track, in a way that isn't graphical, of
> them? Will I see>
> The fighter is here.
> The mage is here.
> The monk is here.
> every turn?

That *is* pretty annoying. In some of the Level 9 games they "solved"
that problem by having a paragraph describe the characters in a given
room with that paragraph giving them "actions" even if they weren't
really doing anything. So you'd see something like:

ROOM
You're in a room. It's very generic.

Odin wipes down his sword with oil. Kris does some stretching. The
Green Knight hums a little tune.

What now?>


... that kind of thing. When I dealt with that myself, I took the "The
fighter is here" sentences out of room descriptions in 'A Crimson
Spring' and enabled the player to type LOOK AT VILLAINS if he/she
wanted their names again. If I had to do it all over again, though,
what I would attempt would be to either have a seperate window exist on
the screen that listed the valid characters in the room, or let the
player hit F1 and so long as F1 was pressed a display box in the upper-
right hand corner would list the NPCs present. Something like that.
Doing it that way isn't ideal -- I don't like having my eyes go to
different parts of the screen for textual information in an IF game --
but I think it's better than getting the same "short name" descriptions
printed each turn (which becomes tedious to read).


> So with novel implementation and evocative writing you could have a
> story involving a fighter, a mage and a monk. They could even have a
> few attributes and skill sets. But they would have to be integrated
> and not seem like part of a character sheet.

True. A game like "The Bard's Tale" and the first "Wizardry" had some
text (or "story") in them, but with the small screen space given for
text descriptions and the column modes they were in (at least in the PC
versions) they couldn't go into a lot of detail. A modern IF game set
up similar to one of those (with the restriction that the party always
travels together and your characters all engage monsters at the same
time) with the gobs of space Inform, TADS and Hugo allows you to write
stories and descriptions would actually be pretty cool and rather
managable to implement.


Robb


--
Robb Sherwin, Fort Collins CO
Reviews From Trotting Krips: http://ifiction.tsx.org
Knight Orc Home Page: www.geocities.com/~knightorc

Carl Muckenhoupt

unread,
Nov 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/30/00
to
On Thu, 30 Nov 2000 21:57:14 GMT, J.D. Berry <jdb...@my-deja.com>
wrote:

>A search at Baf's shows only 9 games under the category RPG. And of
>those, I don't see one made since 1993. Not much to appraise!

It should be noted that the years listed are the year of *initial*
release. Westfront PC is still being updated.

>Baf's definition of RPG in terms of IF (and one I'd agree with) is that
>it somewhat imitates the mechanics of playing Dungeons and Dragons.
>That doesn't HAVE TO mean combat, I suppose, but I'd sure expect it.
>
>If you stop imitating those mecahnics, you stop becoming (what we're
>defining as) RPG in IF. (If you took the bones out, it wouldn't be
>crunchy ;-))

I've seen lengthy arguments on other newsgroups about what exactly
constitutes an RPG. Zelda 64 bears little resemblance to Wizardry.
System Shock was thought of as an RPG by its designers and would
probably be hailed as such if it were written today, but people
refused to acknowledge it as such when it was released because of the
lack of numerical stats or any kind of "experience" system.

I'd say that the only thing that's an aspect of all computer games
that are considered RPG's is that characters grow in ability over the
course of play, That's not a sufficient definition, though, since it
includes things like Mega Man X.

-----= Posted via Newsfeeds.Com, Uncensored Usenet News =-----
http://www.newsfeeds.com - The #1 Newsgroup Service in the World!
-----== Over 80,000 Newsgroups - 16 Different Servers! =-----

Sean Don.

unread,
Nov 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/30/00
to

Robb Sherwin wrote:

... that kind of thing. When I dealt with that myself, I took the "The
fighter is here" sentences out of room descriptions in 'A Crimson
Spring' and enabled the player to type LOOK AT VILLAINS if he/she
wanted their names again. If I had to do it all over again, though,
what I would attempt would be to either have a seperate window exist on
the screen that listed the valid characters in the room, or let the
player hit F1 and so long as F1 was pressed a display box in the upper-
right hand corner would list the NPCs present. Something like that.
Doing it that way isn't ideal -- I don't like having my eyes go to
different parts of the screen for textual information in an IF game --


I wonder... should I work towards using the "LOOK AT VILLAINS"
method; or should I go for the "separate window" or "F1 Key"
method? to display the party members.

Which method would most players prefer?
 

Thanks!
--sean
 

Sean Don.

unread,
Nov 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/30/00
to
 

Jasper McChesney wrote:

...The big thing is that combat shouldn't have

numbers: it should not feel, in any way, separate from the overall
gaming experience.  If implemented in this way, I can't see anyone
objecting to combat from a simple gameplay perspective (not personal
preference).

The other thing which might be difficult is travel.  Typically, rpgs
involve a lot of travelling -- they are epic and span entire continents,
or at least regions of them.  Without coding thousands of locations or
using an algorithmic on-the-spot location generator, and I can only see
travel being implemented via descriptions -- but then it might be
taken too lightly.  Seeing "You travel for weeks and arrive in Ardania"
is not satisfying.


I appreciate all comments :)  But this one in particular really
clicks w/ me.
    Because, obviously, I failed to explain exactly what it
was I wanted from a --final fantasy style-- RPG.  And traveling
over large areas might have been one of my wants.

 

I think one of the primary objections many IFers (correct me if I'm
wrong
here) is that, by there very nature, rpgs focus on things other than
detail.
They encompass grand stories and travel over a long period of time.
Individual puzzles are not typically the meat & potatoes of rpgs.


"Photopia" was a game w/ very smooth gameplay; sort of  like w/
FF RPGs.  And in it, the player travels to various new places
quite often.
    I had been planing to make a RPG like IF where the combat is
replaced with "obvious" puzzles.  And the purpose of the
"RPG style", smoother gameplay, is merely for the preference of
not spending time stuck on just one area or puzzle of the game.
    Thus!  reminding me of *details* for the sake of the primary
IF gamer is very important to me.  I'll keep it in mind.
 

Thanks! :)
--Sean
 

pblock

unread,
Dec 1, 2000, 12:10:43 AM12/1/00
to
> Why? I think Interactive Fiction authors have left RPGs to the
> graphics people and have focused their efforts on more novel (and
> fitting) uses for the text medium. The RPG genre doesn't have a lot of
> working room story-wise, but it can always improve its look and feel
> with smoother animations, more faithful audio and higher resolutions.

Oy vey! As someone who enjoys RPGs , which is different from CRPGs but
that's another matter. It saddens me that you have such a closed view of
what "RPG" can be.

RPGs, by any definition can be very story intensive. In fact, several
table-top RPGs use dramatics to resolve actions instead of silly numbered
stats.

> > What RPG characteristics exactly --asking for various
> > opinions-- do IF gamers not want in a text adventure
> > --other then combat?
> >
>

> Baf's definition of RPG in terms of IF (and one I'd agree with) is that
> it somewhat imitates the mechanics of playing Dungeons and Dragons.
> That doesn't HAVE TO mean combat, I suppose, but I'd sure expect it.
>
> If you stop imitating those mecahnics, you stop becoming (what we're
> defining as) RPG in IF. (If you took the bones out, it wouldn't be
> crunchy ;-))

True, D&D and the "dungeon crawl" style of gaming that D&D is usually used
for and associated with kind of requires combat.

But I think that when Baf said "Dungeons & Dragons" they (he/she/I have no
idea who Baf is, sorry) meant any table table-top paper & dice RPG, which
the hobby is known as collectively. "That Dee-un-dee stuff"

That said, you could base your game on WEG's Star Wars game, or FBI's
Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes or WW's Vampire: the Masquerade.

Anyway, a real RPG is a game in which you play a role. By this definition,
most IF _is_ RPG. note: dungeons, dragons, fantasy setting and combat isn't
necessary.

Most RPG's can be divided into two parts, the mechanics and the setting.

The setting is the world in which the game takes place. Like the Star Wars
Universe or Middle Earth and so on. People to meet, places to go, that sort
of thing, and possibly adventure threads to pick up.

The mechanics can be broken up into two parts: (someone else came up with
this, I forget who, but I'm not going to take credit for it.)

1) Hitting somebody. That is, combat. How do you tell if you hit someone?
How much damage do you do? What does damage mean? and so on.

2)Picking a lock. Or, any other action that isn't combat. Climb a wall.
Walk a tightrope, fix dinner.

Now, there are a couple misconceptions about RPGs that need to be dispelled:

1) numbers. You don't need to know the numbers. In fact, they're sort of
intrusive. You wind up taking weapons that do the most damage, not the one
you want/would fit with your character. In a computer game, the numbers
can, and should be hidden IMO

2) level advances. In table-top RPGs, there's a swing away from level
advancement, which raises all abilities at a plateau toward skills, which
may be acquired/increased individually. In fact, advancement itself is
unnecessary, but it's most players would resist such a game. But how much
more proficient did your favorite character in film or literature become?

3) random monsters. Nothing NOTHING slows down most games, table top or
computer than a meaningless random encounter. Sure they have they're place,
but when you run into blue slimes for the 934th time, it gets tedius.

> > Right now I'm thinking about having multiple characters in a campaign
> > follow a main character around. Does this lead into trouble?
> >

I have for my Apple II, and my Apple II emulator a nifty game called Star
Wars. You were a rebel on the Death Star, running around trying to save the
Princess and the Wookie, damage the tractor beam, and maybe kill some
troopers, kill Darth Vader and blow up the place while you make your
getaway.

It was all text with fairly decent sound f/x for A2.
When you found the Princess and Wookie, they joined your team and could
fight with you. How this game handled it was with a portion of the screen
set up for a status screen at the top that would tell you what room you were
in, what was in it, and how many shields and blasters you had (the only
objects you could pick up).

It was limited, but workable. I could see a more in-depth story using a
similar engine.


Neil Cerutti

unread,
Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
to
Sean Don posted:

>I wonder... should I work towards using the "LOOK AT VILLAINS"
>method; or should I go for the "separate window" or "F1 Key"
>method? to display the party members. Which method would most
>players prefer?

If there are going to be important and fluctuating stats, I would
like them in a separate and dedicated screen area for quick
reference.

--
Neil Cerutti <cer...@together.net>
Linux on board. It is now safe to turn on your computer.

J.D. Berry

unread,
Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
to
In article <t2ec6id...@corp.supernews.com>,
"pblock" <eev...@dreamscape.com> wrote:

I wrote:
> > Why? I think Interactive Fiction authors have left RPGs to the
> > graphics people and have focused their efforts on more novel (and
> > fitting) uses for the text medium. The RPG genre doesn't have a
lot of
> > working room story-wise, but it can always improve its look and feel
> > with smoother animations, more faithful audio and higher
resolutions.
>
> Oy vey! As someone who enjoys RPGs , which is different from CRPGs
but
> that's another matter. It saddens me that you have such a closed
view of
> what "RPG" can be.
>

Don't be sad. ;-)

My view of RPG is closed only as it pertains to "text adventures",
which is the question at hand. We're talking about putting a game into
a text adventure (interactive fiction, whatever) format. RPG has a
different meaning here.

Yes, I'm aware of the many possibilities for role playing. I would say
that the things you mention are being done in much IF today. There is
a system of rules that happens behind the scenes (the NPCs moving
around and interacting, items to be used, player death, etc...).

> RPGs, by any definition can be very story intensive. In fact, several
> table-top RPGs use dramatics to resolve actions instead of silly
> numbered stats.
>

Of course they can be. I'm not arguing the state or definition of role
playing games outside IF.

In IF, role playing is IMPLIED. Thus when I hear HERE, I think "you
hit the monster."

Do you see the difference? Outside of the IF world, role playing takes
on many and various possibilities. Here, because role playing is
inherent, you'll mainly see the the term used to describe that certain
sterotyped game we all know and love.

Maybe RPG should be eliminated completely from the IF vocabulary. If
we mean an old-style D&D game, we should just say old-style D&D.

(Maybe we could call them all Bruce just to keep things clear. ;-))

> > If you stop imitating those mecahnics, you stop becoming (what we're
> > defining as) RPG in IF. (If you took the bones out, it wouldn't be
> > crunchy ;-))
>
> True, D&D and the "dungeon crawl" style of gaming that D&D is usually
used
> for and associated with kind of requires combat.
>

And that's all I'm saying. I'm definitely not equating Non-IF RPGs to
a munchkin D&D campaign. But I am saying RPG here has meant close to
that.

> But I think that when Baf said "Dungeons & Dragons" they (he/she/I
have no
> idea who Baf is, sorry) meant any table table-top paper & dice RPG,
which
> the hobby is known as collectively. "That Dee-un-dee stuff"
>

Check his guide at http://www.wurb.com/if/ Check his post in this
thread (Carl.)

I'll bet if you play the games under that category you'll say "hey,
that WAS that Dee-un-dee stuff."

Check for YOUR favorite "RPG" under most of the other categories.
Vampire, etc...

>
> It was limited, but workable. I could see a more in-depth story
using a
> similar engine.
>

And the more you go the way of story in IF, the less you get away from
the definition HERE of RPG.

I think you'll often find a degree of crossover in the overall gaming
community. Gamers usually are familiar with many types. I play AH
board games, Nethack, IF, computer games of all types, etc... all in my
two minutes of free time at home. Most of us at least KNOW of the RPGs
out there. Give a little credit. ;-)

Remember the medium.

Roll to hit and make a saving throw versus semantics,

Jim

J.D. Berry

unread,
Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
to
In article <908cpl$6ve$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,
I <jdb...@my-deja.com> stumbled with:

>
> And the more you go the way of story in IF, the less you get away from
> the definition HERE of RPG.
>

I meant the more story intenstive, the MORE you get away from the old-
style D&D computer games.

Or whatever makes more sense to you, the reader...

Knight37

unread,
Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
to
Quoting J.D. Berry <jdb...@my-deja.com> from Thu, 30 Nov 2000 21:57:14
GMT:

> The RPG genre doesn't have a lot of working room story-wise, but it
> can always improve its look and feel with smoother animations,
> more faithful audio and higher resolutions.

ACK!!!

Anyone who has experienced Wizardry and then Planescape Torment can see the
evolution of the RPG in both effects AND story.

In my opinion, the text medium could still be a viable form for the art of
role-playing via computer. What would differentiate a text RPG from other
IF? Well, I think for it to be an RPG the character(s) would have to evolve
over the course of the game, gaining new abilities, etc. It would probably
offer different paths through the story depending on the character's
evolution, and meaningful choices about how the player could evolve the
character.

I'd definitely play it.

--

Knight37

"I have an open mind.
Just not so open that the wind blows through."
-- Gerry Quinn, on csipg.rpg

Sean Don.

unread,
Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
to
 

Knight37 wrote:

...In my opinion, the text medium could still be a viable form for the art of

role-playing via computer. What would differentiate a text RPG from other
IF? Well, I think for it to be an RPG the character(s) would have to evolve
over the course of the game, gaining new abilities, etc. It would probably
offer different paths through the story depending on the character's
evolution, and meaningful choices about how the player could evolve the
character.

I'd definitely play it.


I want to make an RPG-IF for just this reason.  "Story IFs"
are my absolute favorite kind of game.  In second place comes
the Final Fantasy series... but, the one thing about those
games are the endless drudgery of combat --at least its
drudgery in my opinion.

Furthermore, the problem w/ Glowgrass and Photopia --two of
my favorites-- is that, once a puzzle is solved, or once the
game is beaten, there's really no need to ever play it again.
    Photopia only had a smudge of replay value.  But, the
main point here, is that "story IFs" could use the complex
story branches that character attributes and abilities could
offer.

Jasper also made this note about attributes: "If you have them,
make them complex and internal."  Certainly we don't want
Final Fantasy style MENUs in an IF where we're supposed to be
"one w/ the game."  So, yes, attributes, in an IF should be
keep "behind the scenes."  They should be for the sake of
story branches, and not tech-ee stuff.

A final note, is that Glowgrass should have been as long as
FF-7!  But, as Jasper has noted, long journeys do not satisfy
IF gamers who love detail and puzzles.  Details must remain
a factor.

Thanks
--Sean
 

Sean Don.

unread,
Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
to

"J.D. Berry" wrote:

In article <908cpl$6ve$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,
  I <jdb...@my-deja.com> stumbled with:

>
> And the more you go the way of story in IF, the less you get away from
> the definition HERE of RPG.
>

I meant the more story intenstive, the MORE you get away from the old-
style D&D computer games.

Or whatever makes more sense to you, the reader...


On the FAQ to rec.games.frp.advocacy they've a 3 fold model.
(An FAQ I can't seem to find again right now.)

The first fold are for Dramatist players, people who like a
lot of story in their Fantasy Role Playing games.

The second, Simulationist, which is what some people might
think of as "old style D&D".  Lots of realism, more focus
on a players resources and dice, and less focus on story or
puzzles.

The final, Gamest, for those that like puzzles or some
kind of competition in an RPG.

Then of course there are those that are somewhere in between
two of these folds.

I think the point of this model is that *any* RPG can
be played by a group of people w/ one of the above
preferences.  The only thing that changes are the groups
"house rules."
    Some RPG systems work better for a certain fold
then others though.
 

Thanks for your comments.
--Sean
 

J.D. Berry

unread,
Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
to
In article <Xns8FFD61F74knig...@209.155.56.81>,

knig...@gamespotmail.com wrote:
> Quoting J.D. Berry <jdb...@my-deja.com> from Thu, 30 Nov 2000
21:57:14
> GMT:
>
> > The RPG genre doesn't have a lot of working room story-wise, but it
> > can always improve its look and feel with smoother animations,
> > more faithful audio and higher resolutions.
>
> ACK!!!
>
> Anyone who has experienced Wizardry and then Planescape Torment can
> see the evolution of the RPG in both effects AND story.
>

I have played both Wizardry and Planescape Torment. Which do you think
advanced more since Wizardry to Planescape in PC RPG? The amnesiac
finds himself plot or the 8 bazillion vs. 8 bit graphics, multimedia
animations vs. a cursor moving a stick figure, and subwoofer vs.
tweaker speaker?

With exponentially more memory, the computer RPG can pack in lots more
subquests--but they're still often of the "deliver X to Y" variety.

Before anyone else complains, I LIKE some of these games too! My
primary theory--IF is not the medium best suited to them. Planescape
was fun. Can you imagine how it would read, though?

> In my opinion, the text medium could still be a viable form for the
art of
> role-playing via computer. What would differentiate a text RPG from
other
> IF? Well, I think for it to be an RPG the character(s) would have to
evolve
> over the course of the game, gaining new abilities, etc. It would
probably
> offer different paths through the story depending on the character's
> evolution, and meaningful choices about how the player could evolve
the
> character.
>

> I'd definitely play it.

I'd definitely give it a try, too. I'm just skeptical that someone
could (or will) do it well and still stay "in bounds" of all text. I'm
sure many authors here could do the genre justice, but would they want
to expend their creative efforts "against the grain"?

Just my opinion, obviously.

Joe Mason

unread,
Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
to
In article <3A27FC73...@loop.com>, Sean Don. wrote:
>Content-Type: text/html; charset=us-ascii
>Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

Sean,

Can you please not post in HTML? Thanks.

Joe

Joe Mason

unread,
Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
to
In article <9092fk$qni$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, J.D. Berry wrote:
>Before anyone else complains, I LIKE some of these games too! My
>primary theory--IF is not the medium best suited to them. Planescape
>was fun. Can you imagine how it would read, though?

Er, amazingly?

Joe

J.D. Berry

unread,
Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
to
In article <slrn92g4ar....@xenocide.slack>,

Er, no.

Sean Don.

unread,
Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
to

Joe Mason wrote:

Thanks,
My apologies to everyone --for posting in HTML.

Thanks Again,
--Sean

Damien Neil

unread,
Dec 1, 2000, 10:37:36 PM12/1/00
to
On Fri, 01 Dec 2000 20:42:30 GMT,
J.D. Berry <jdb...@my-deja.com> wrote:
>I have played both Wizardry and Planescape Torment. Which do you think
>advanced more since Wizardry to Planescape in PC RPG? The amnesiac
>finds himself plot or the 8 bazillion vs. 8 bit graphics, multimedia
>animations vs. a cursor moving a stick figure, and subwoofer vs.
>tweaker speaker?

Hmm. Wizardry: Crude graphics, no plot. Planescape: Quite good graphics,
extraordinary writing. Planescape: Torment ranks among the best works
of IF ever produced.

I'd say the plot, myself.


>With exponentially more memory, the computer RPG can pack in lots more
>subquests--but they're still often of the "deliver X to Y" variety.

Memory has little to do with number of subquests.

The FedEx quest ("deliver X to Y") is a common pitfall of CRPGs in much
the same way as the lock-and-key puzzle is the bane of adventure games.
Planescape did a fairly good job of minimizing FedEx quests in favor of
more interesting ones.


>Before anyone else complains, I LIKE some of these games too! My
>primary theory--IF is not the medium best suited to them. Planescape
>was fun. Can you imagine how it would read, though?

It read quite well, I thought.

The amount of text in Planescape rivals that of many text adventures.
The quality of text quite handily defeated all but the very best
text adventures.


>> [text-based RPGs]

>I'd definitely give it a try, too. I'm just skeptical that someone
>could (or will) do it well and still stay "in bounds" of all text. I'm
>sure many authors here could do the genre justice, but would they want
>to expend their creative efforts "against the grain"?

Consider Beyond Zork. Stats, monsters, combat, as well as traditional
adventure elements.

Or, in a more traditional CRPG vein, consider combat-oriented MUDs.

- Damien

Paul E. Bell

unread,
Dec 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/2/00
to
Well, having read the replies to this point, I would like to make my own
comments about the RPG part of I-F.

First off, I have to agree that, in most IF, it is inherent to the game,
that the player takes on the role of a character in the game. And, when
thinking of text games, when RPG is mentioned, I immediately think of
NetHack or Rogue.

Also, I have surely gotten bored with games that have so much arbitrary
fighting in them, especially when it goes on and on (I got a game called
Shattered Light, because it had an editor, and allowed you to make your
own worlds, but, unfortunately, you cannot change the main quest, or the
outcome, and, it take interminable ammounts of fighting, just to advance
a level, and, you have to advance a level, to even have the oportunity
to use a better weapon).

Now, having said that, I would also not that, I like to read books. I
have read some interesting ones, of late, and, some of them would seem
to lend themselves to some, well, let's call it, RPI (Role Playing
I-F). Yes, some journeys are long and arduous, and, while I would not
wish to drag them out (how many days have we gone through the same
woods, looking at the same kind of trees, etc....), nor minimise them
("After... arive at Sheldon Knoll); I believe that, a long journey could
be taken in several stages ("You come to a clearing ...", "You have been
travelling for 2 weeks, and, having come upon another trail, you stop to
consider what to do next....", etc.). This way, though the journey is
long, you stop along the way, several times, enjoy the scenery, perhaps
take a side trip to check out the ruins of a burned-out cabin, or stop
by a stream to fish.

I like the idea of gaining access to new locations, according to your
abilities. I like the idea of helping people with problems they might
have. I like the idea that, if there is fighting, it's limited to
certain areas (you have to sneak through Fritterville, since Raymond was
here, and advertised to everyone that you were an enemy spy, sent to
determine how best to destroy them; or, Hattersham has been overrun with
wild dogs, you must dispatch them in order to remove the town's
suspicions. Then, if you have a gun, it should be a simple matter of
shooting them a couple times, at most, to dispatch them. Even then, if
you have never shot a gun before, your accuracy should go up, with
practice, not limited to having 3000 kill points.

One thing that might help, where RPI is concerned, is the idea that,
helping NPCs can be more than just finding somethign for them, and
taking it to them. Perhaps you remove an obstacle over here, convince
some other one not to attack, heal the chief, repair the computer with
your soldering iron, etc.... In other words, there are lots of
different things you can do to advance youself, and the game.

Another thing I think would help, and, I may attempt to do this in a
sample game some time, would be, if you can figgure out how to go
foreward, in whatever direction you are facing, using the arrow keys,
turn left and right, also using the arrow keys, with different
descriptions for the direction you are facing. It might also be nice
if, when looking East, you drop an item, it's visible when looking East,
but not when looking west. Or, if there is an enterable container, say
the TARDIS, and, if you didn't drop your item on the side by the door,
it would not be visible from inside, with the door open.

Well, I hope this all made sense, I'm half asleep as I write it.

PKodon/Helios
--
Paul E. Bell | Email and AIM: wd0...@millcomm.com | ifMUD: Helios
IRC: PKodon, DrWho4, and Helios | webpage: members.nbci.com/wd0gcp/
Member: W.A.R.N., Skywarn, ARES, Phoenix Developer Consortium, ...
_____ Pen Name/Arts & Crafts signature:
| | _ \ _ _ |/ _ _(
| | (_X (_/`/\ (_) (_` |\(_) (_) (_|_) (/`
)

Gunther Schmidl

unread,
Dec 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/2/00
to
> > Er, amazingly?
> >
>
> Er, no.

Er, yes.

-- g.

Gadget

unread,
Dec 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/2/00
to
On Thu, 30 Nov 2000 21:57:14 GMT, J.D. Berry <jdb...@my-deja.com>
made the world a better place by saying:


>
>How will the player keep track, in a way that isn't graphical, of
>them? Will I see
>
>The fighter is here.
>The mage is here.
>The monk is here.
>
>every turn?

You are in a room.
Your group is here.
> Examine group
You see Thorin the dwarf, Conan the Warrior, Merlin the Wizzard, who
are following you faithfully.

--
"So... you've compiled your own Kernel... Your skills are now complete..."
-----------------
It's a bird
It's a plane
No it's... Gadget?

Village Magazine: http://www.villagemagazine.nl
To send E-mail: remove SPAMBLOCK from adress.

pblock

unread,
Dec 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/2/00
to
>On the FAQ to rec.games.frp.advocacy they've a 3 fold model.
>(An FAQ I can't seem to find again right now.)
>The first fold are for Dramatist players, people who like a
>lot of story in their Fantasy Role Playing games.
>The second, Simulationist, which is what some people might
>think of as "old style D&D". Lots of realism, more focus
>on a players resources and dice, and less focus on story or
>puzzles.
>The final, Gamest, for those that like puzzles or some
>kind of competition in an RPG.
>Then of course there are those that are somewhere in between
>two of these folds.
>I think the point of this model is that *any* RPG can
>be played by a group of people w/ one of the above
>preferences. The only thing that changes are the groups
>"house rules."

Aw, crap, the three-fold model. I hate that thing.

This was, more-or-less cooked up by a guy named Ron Edwards, and he said he
got it from other people, but he seems to think he understands it better.
Which is fine, since I don't.

But from talking to Ron, it seems that the three-fold is better applied to
the games themselves than to people. People tend to dislike being
pideon-holed like this, and truth be told, even though most people may
prefer one style over another, that can (and probably do on a regular basis)
play and enjoy games in the other styles.

This is probably why Ron applies the three-fold to the games themselves
rather than gamers. A gamist player may get tired of it and become a
dramatist. A gamist game will remain so forever. (Yeah a new edition may
switch it, but the old edition stays the same...let's not split hairs ;-)

And here, I'll have to stop talking about the three-fold system because
that's about as much as I understand about it and can say w/o talking right
out of my arse....
Except that the RPG describe in this thread HERE, as in in IF is mostly the
gamist elements taken mostly from D&D, a decidely gamist game.

pblock

unread,
Dec 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/2/00
to

"Gunther Schmidl" <gsch...@gschmidl.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message
news:90aiti$j83$1...@newsg4.svr.pol.co.uk...

> > > Er, amazingly?
> > >
> >
> > Er, no.
>
> Er, yes.
>

Er, depends on who writes it.

With our luck, we'd get Danielle Steel. Feh!

pblock

unread,
Dec 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/2/00
to

"J.D. Berry" <jdb...@my-deja.com> wrote in message
news:908cpl$6ve$1...@nnrp1.deja.com...

> Don't be sad. ;-)

I am sad. Saddened that members of a group so close to table-top RPGs still
have the same idea about RPGs as my grandmother.

> My view of RPG is closed only as it pertains to "text adventures",
> which is the question at hand. We're talking about putting a game into
> a text adventure (interactive fiction, whatever) format. RPG has a
> different meaning here.
>

That's nice. It's time for a change. Join the revolution. There will be
punch and pie.


> Maybe RPG should be eliminated completely from the IF vocabulary. If
> we mean an old-style D&D game, we should just say old-style D&D.

Well, changed if not eliminated, with term, perhaps "dungeon *" (* =
whatever. crawl, bashing, adventure, etc) for the nethack stuff people
thing about when RPG is said now.

Or maybe it's better to not use the term RPG after all. That term is so
loaded w/ medieval fantasy dungeon adventuring, thanks to D&D and final
Fantasy and all those other games, most people just won't get it when it's a
cops n robbers RPG. "WHere're the elves?"

> (Maybe we could call them all Bruce just to keep things clear. ;-))

Oh, that will work.

> Check for YOUR favorite "RPG" under most of the other categories.
> Vampire, etc...

Actually, I hate Vampire. It was just an example, and a fairly popular RPG
from what I've been told. Although nobody can give me a reason. ;-)


> I think you'll often find a degree of crossover in the overall gaming
> community. Gamers usually are familiar with many types. I play AH
> board games, Nethack, IF, computer games of all types, etc... all in my
> two minutes of free time at home. Most of us at least KNOW of the RPGs
> out there. Give a little credit. ;-)

I know, but not everybody does.

In an earlier post (on RCI-F, I think) I mentioned John Wick and got no
response, so I was unsure how deep the crossover goes here ;-)


I recently got an idea for an IF game that makes me really, really want to
differentiate RPG for the whole of "Interactive Fiction"

I'm not sure if there's been a game like this, and I have my doubts about
being able to impliment it, but let me see if I can explain it.

In most books, there are more than one characters. Quite often these
characters are in different places, doing different things, which may or may
not have anything to do with each other.

Instead of having the player control a single character in the game (whether
in the first or third person) the player would be given an opportunity to
control several characters throughout the game.

Let's see if I can think of an example.

In South Park, they had that Meteor shower which allowed them to separate
the boys and have three episodes each focusing on what one or the other was
doing at that night. You could see it turned into IF with the player
controling Cartman, then Stan, then Kyle in their various scenes just doing
what they do.

This would let the play deal with the PC as a character, rather than role
they themselves take. But not only that, it will allow the player to become
familiar with a cast of characters, and control each one in turn. It'd also
feel more like a novel since in most IF you're stuck with the same character
and can only see what that character sees. By shifting the focus, the
player can experience the larger story.

Has there been a game like this?

Anyway, I'd really like to differentiate possibilities like this from
role-playing games, since you woun't be taking a role, necessarily, except
perhaps the role of the director.

"Hit your mark, fat boy."

"I'm not fat! I'm big boned! You guys! Seriously!"

I'd also like to separate RPG from the dungeo sinerio stuff, what table top
RPGers like to sometimes call ROLL playing, since it most involves lots of
dice rolling..

Adam Biltcliffe

unread,
Dec 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/2/00
to
pblock <eev...@dreamscape.com> wrote:

> This would let the play deal with the PC as a character, rather than
role
> they themselves take. But not only that, it will allow the player to
become
> familiar with a cast of characters, and control each one in turn.
It'd also
> feel more like a novel since in most IF you're stuck with the same
character
> and can only see what that character sees. By shifting the focus, the
> player can experience the larger story.
>
> Has there been a game like this?

It's not exactly the same thing, but have you played Photopia?


jw

Joe Mason

unread,
Dec 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/2/00
to

Well, I'm assuming the people who wrote the text for the original game...
(Actually, apparently there's a Planescape novel which is somewhat similar in
plot, but I'm not sure exactly how similar or what the relationship is.)

Joe

Peter Ciccolo

unread,
Dec 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/2/00
to

pblock wrote:

<snip>

> In most books, there are more than one characters. Quite often these

> characters are in different places, doing different things, which may or may
> not have anything to do with each other.
>
> Instead of having the player control a single character in the game (whether
> in the first or third person) the player would be given an opportunity to
> control several characters throughout the game.
>

<snip>

> Has there been a game like this?
>

Yes. Infocom released Journey, which is still available in some of their
collections.
It was a strongly "classical" role-playing type game (stats, mana, fantasy,
etc.),
where the party split up at several points.

They also released Quarterstaff, which is supposed to be another CRPG, but
having not played it I can't comment.

Peter

Peter Ciccolo

unread,
Dec 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/2/00
to

"J.D. Berry" wrote:

<snip>

>
> Before anyone else complains, I LIKE some of these games too! My
> primary theory--IF is not the medium best suited to them. Planescape
> was fun. Can you imagine how it would read, though?

I'm not sure you have to imagine. I've heard reports of someone
actually compiling a Torment "novel"- basically a complete transcript of
the text seen when playing through Torment. Then again, my memory is
bad enough and my imagination good enough that I could be pulling this
out of nowhere. Sorry.

Peter


Matthew T. Russotto

unread,
Dec 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/2/00
to
In article <3A2957D4...@attglobal.net>,

Peter Ciccolo <pci...@attglobal.net> wrote:
}
}
}Yes. Infocom released Journey, which is still available in some of their
}collections.
}It was a strongly "classical" role-playing type game (stats, mana, fantasy,
}etc.),
}where the party split up at several points.

No stats. No mana. Little combat. Journey was pretty much IF.
--
Matthew T. Russotto russ...@pond.com
"Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in pursuit
of justice is no virtue."

Jasper McChesney

unread,
Dec 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/2/00
to
An important distinction I think needs to be made is that between
table-top role-play *adventuring* and any other RPing. AD&D is an
adventure RPG, as are most to one degree or another. Adventure RPGs
are where *adventurers* (strangely enough) wander around, slay things,
and help people (or, occasionally, hurt them). They are about epic
quests and the like, and they always involve larger-than-life characters
who are superhuman (by the mechanics of the system if not some real
game-world thing). Adventuring games tend to focus on combat, and on
stats and such, but this is secondary to the design behind them.

This is not to say that adventure RPGs don't have "real" role-playing
in them, but rather that it is a certain sort of RPing. Most table-top
RPGs are heavily adventure oriented, but even the "worst" of these can
have a lot of real role-playing going on (including AD&D) -- it's just
not necessarily the central premise as described by the rules.

Computer RPGs are typically adaptations of these adventure RPGs. But,
they can't ever hope to capture the less adventure-oriented aspect of
them. Likewise, table-top games that are not at all adventure RPGs
cannot be ported to traditional CRPGs very well at all. With an
emphasis on interaction, a solo-play game has to go beyond what we
normally think of as a CRPG: stats and wandering unknown lands don't
work with "Luois XIV's Court" very well. To do *that*, you need
something with a bigger (computer) adventure-game feel. IF is capable
of just this, but can still retain some of the table-top RPG influence
and not turn these games entirely into computer adventures (I hope my
double usage of "adventure" isn't too confusing here).

One game that beautifully merged the two genres (AD&D type RPG and
IF type adventure game) was the Hero Quest series. You slew monsters,
solved quests, and raised your skills, but you also talked to people
(a little anyway) and solved puzzles ala any computer adventure games.
And, to top it all off, it was driven by a text-based parser! If
we jsut replaced the graphics with text, I think we wouldn't have a
bad "IF RPG" on our hands.

PS. With all this slinging about of terms like "RPG" and "Advneture;"
Isn't it odd that computer "Adventure" games are really more frequently
puzzle games and "Role Playing Games" are really more about the
adventuring (or action I suppose)?

pblock

unread,
Dec 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/2/00
to

"Kaia Vintr" <ka...@xoe.com> wrote in message
news:q9gW5.19764$J32.5...@news20.bellglobal.com...

> I have no idea what you mean by "a group so close to table-top RPGs". In
> terms of social degrees of separation, I did once have a roommate who
played
> RPGs with her friends. During one particularly intense gaming session I
had
> the flu and was forced to listen to them while drifting in and out of
> delirious sleep. They played the same two or three CD's over and over for
> fifteen hours straight while one of them narrated a long and complicated
> story full of fantasy genre cliches. Occasionally he would tell one of
the
> players to roll some dice or something but it was never clear what effect
> this had on the story. Perhaps this experience has affected my attitude
> towards table-top RPGs. I fail to see how CRPGs are related to
interactive
> fiction, except perhaps the old treasure-collecting dungeon games which,
for
> me, have only historical significance.

Hmm, the idea of participating in "virtual" adventures, as opposed to
actually traveling the world and trying to get yourself kill is what links
IF, RPGs and CRPGs. The idea of playing a role, whether it's a fictitious
character, or yourself.

You description of table-top RPG is an all-too common exerience most
non-gamers have had w/ RPGs. It strengthens my belief that if you want to
see what RPGs are all about, you need to play, not watch. They really don't
work as a spectator sport.

Also, don't forget that the actually game played may not be very good, but
that doesn't mean that you won't enjoy RPGs in at all. It's like deciding
you hate all movies because you thought Titanic was bad. There are
different games and different players. Somewhere out there is a game you'd
like.

>I
> think the point was that in IF you use your own intelligence and knowledge
> to solve the puzzles but in RPGs you depend on the "intelligence points"
and
> acquired skills of your PC (or various PCs). But that's not strictly
true.
> In IF the awareness and knowledge possessed by the fictional character
will
> be reflected in the descriptions you read, often giving you clues to the
> solutions. There may also be things that a particular PC is too stupid
(or
> weak or clumsy or uncharismatic) to accomplish even if it might be
possible
> for you, the player, to do them in real life. And in RPGs, regardless of
> the PC's "stats", you are still using your own strategies and tactics. So
I
> think the real distinguishing feature is the extensive use of numerical
> calculations (rather than purely logical ones) and dice throws (or the
CRPG
> equivalent) to determine game play.

Well, it sort of works like that, I guess. Basically, the idea of character
stats/skills/abilities was concocted to allow for some form of ability to
make rulings when the player attempts certain actions. The use of
intelligence and knowledge skills lets the character know how to do
something that the player may not have the first idea about. The problem is
that many RPGs still require rolls which really shouldn't be necessary.

If your character has a Strength stat that would let her lift 100 lbs, you
should simple be able to lift an object <= 100 lbs, but many game have you
make a "strength roll" Randomness really has no place in such situations, I
think.

For further example, this happen in to a friend of mine:

GM: OK, the character has been stabbed with a poisoned knife, but you've
magically stopped the flow of blood in the limb so the poison is stuck in
your leg.

Player1: Help, you guys! I feel woozy!

My friend: It's OK. I have the medical skill. I'll remove the poison.

GM: OK, what do you do?

My friend: I remove the poison, like I said.

GM: but how do you do it?

My friend: I don't know. I didn't go to medical school, my character did.
He should know how to remove poison.

GM: (sighs) OK, because of that, I'll give you a chance, roll the dice.

(dice rolled, number read)

GM: No, you don't know what to do.

My friend: I have a medical degree from the best college in the world and I
don't know how to remove poison from a leg?

GM: No.

My friend: That's stupid!

Sorry about the lengthy example, but this is the sort of flaws in logic that
most people dislike about RPGs, especially those that require a lot of dice
rolls.

Now, as I said before, the purpose of stats (let's call stats, skills &
abilities collectively "stats" for sanity's sake) is to resolve actions,
especially action where there's a chance of failure.The problem is is that
RPGs in general are fairly new, only 25 years, and how best to utilize such
tools aren't as widely know/used/agreed upon.

In fact, in the first edition of D&D, there were stats like Strength,
Dexterity, etc. but they weren't used for anything in the basic set. I can
only assume they figured such things were important, but they had no idea
how to use them.

> Possibly the biggest thing that would stop me from playing RPG-like
> interactive fiction is my dislike of randomness. Whenever something
> happens, even if it is just the appearance of a short piece of text on the
> screen, I want it to be for a *reason*. I instinctively or unconsciously
> try to find patterns in a game's behaviour and when this fails I feel
> frustrated and confused. I think it is an aspect of the simulation vs.
> storytelling issue: randomness can aid the former but is usually a
> distraction from the latter. For me, the use of calculations, such as
> multiplying "strength" by "agility" to see if the PC can dismantle a trap,
> is almost as bad---I find them completely arbitrary and unintuitive.

According to the previously mentioned three-fold thing, the randomness is
more for the gamist that the simulationist, although all three can use
randomness.

Randomness can be good, if used right. If a combat situation is set up,
randomness is almost necessary. Also other situations can use randomness,
but good example elude me at the moment.

One thing I do dislike is random combats. My wife recently played Legend of
Legaia for the Playstation, and there were way too many random battles. It
got to the point that she had to run away, not because she was going to
loose, but because it got tedious. However, she probably did herself a
diservice, since she probably needed the experience points to raise her
levels. Many of these sort of games are probably designed with the player
taking a decent portion of game time just getting into random fight to build
levels, but I digress.

However, I can see using RPG stats and mechanics can give some consistency
to IF and change the game's focus from guess-the-verb or even find-the key
to a style of play that's, well, different. I hesitate to call it better.
Like all things, better is indeed eye of the beholder. Besides, the sort of
people who may apprecite such a game probably it too busy playing Final
Fantasy IX to bother with an old-school text adventure, and those in the IF
community probably wouldn't like it.

(well, maybe)

Also, unlike table top RPGs, the numbers need not be present at all in IF or
CRPGs. It really bothers me that they are, since they can be completely
invisible and behind the scenes.

Also, for table-top RPGs need to be fairly simple and intuitive in mechanics
so that they can be easy-to-use (not that all table top RPGs actually ARE
simple, including some of the more popular games, but I digress again)
Using a computer, the mechanics can be so complex that any attempt to uses
them on the kitchen table will prove futile.

Whether really complex mechanics would really add anything is up to debate,
but it'd be possible and run smother than trying it table top-style.

I'd also like to restate my position that I really do believe that character
advancement is unecessary in such games, even though it is a feature that is
readily identifiable in the genre. In table table top games I've played,
I've found advancement a bit more of a bother than an enhancement of the
game. My current character has several unspent skill points since I really
don't want to take the time to figure out what skills I'd want. bah!

I think more people would enjoy a game in which character advancement didn't
take you from zero-to-god from the end to the begining of the game.

In fact, a game that uses RPG stats and such could be made into a series
where you can carry-over character (stats & equipment) to later games in the
series.

This is sort of like FBI's Tunnels & Trolls series of solo adventures,
except T&T had a level system so some games were suited for lower-level
characters while others were written for higher-level character. A feature
that can be side-stepped w/o character advancement, since all character
would be, more-or-less equal.

Or that's my theory, anyway.

Kaia Vintr

unread,
Dec 2, 2000, 7:07:50 PM12/2/00
to
pblock wrote in message ...
>I am sad. Saddened that members of a group so close to table-top RPGs

still
>have the same idea about RPGs as my grandmother.

I have no idea what you mean by "a group so close to table-top RPGs". In


terms of social degrees of separation, I did once have a roommate who played
RPGs with her friends. During one particularly intense gaming session I had
the flu and was forced to listen to them while drifting in and out of
delirious sleep. They played the same two or three CD's over and over for
fifteen hours straight while one of them narrated a long and complicated
story full of fantasy genre cliches. Occasionally he would tell one of the
players to roll some dice or something but it was never clear what effect
this had on the story. Perhaps this experience has affected my attitude
towards table-top RPGs. I fail to see how CRPGs are related to interactive
fiction, except perhaps the old treasure-collecting dungeon games which, for
me, have only historical significance.

>Actually, I hate Vampire. It was just an example, and a fairly popular RPG


>from what I've been told. Although nobody can give me a reason. ;-)

Perhaps some insight may be gleaned from:
http://www.brunching.com/features/feature-vampirefaqk.html

>Instead of having the player control a single character in the game
(whether
>in the first or third person) the player would be given an opportunity to
>control several characters throughout the game.

There must be plenty of examples of this in existing IF. From comp00:
"Being Andrew Plotkin". From Infocom favourites: "The Hitchhiker's Guide to
the Galaxy". Someone already mentioned Photopia. If you really mean
controlling multiple characters at once, then one of these three games does
have an instance of that but I won't say which in case it's a spoiler.

>Or maybe it's better to not use the term RPG after all. That term is so
>loaded w/ medieval fantasy dungeon adventuring, thanks to D&D and final
>Fantasy and all those other games, most people just won't get it when it's
a
>cops n robbers RPG. "WHere're the elves?"

When I was eleven I read a book that said "adventure games" (i.e. "IF") are
games in which you play yourself and "fantasy games" (i.e. "RPGs") are games
in which you play other people. (I accepted this definition because being
"young and naive" I thought the author was in a position to make such a
generalisation, but even then I suspected it wasn't entirely accurate.) I


think the point was that in IF you use your own intelligence and knowledge
to solve the puzzles but in RPGs you depend on the "intelligence points" and
acquired skills of your PC (or various PCs). But that's not strictly true.
In IF the awareness and knowledge possessed by the fictional character will
be reflected in the descriptions you read, often giving you clues to the
solutions. There may also be things that a particular PC is too stupid (or
weak or clumsy or uncharismatic) to accomplish even if it might be possible
for you, the player, to do them in real life. And in RPGs, regardless of
the PC's "stats", you are still using your own strategies and tactics. So I
think the real distinguishing feature is the extensive use of numerical
calculations (rather than purely logical ones) and dice throws (or the CRPG

equivalent) to determine game play. This means that the RPG label wouldn't
apply to my former roommate and her friends (the dice throws were
infrequent) so maybe they were actually playing a kind of interactive
fiction.

Possibly the biggest thing that would stop me from playing RPG-like
interactive fiction is my dislike of randomness. Whenever something
happens, even if it is just the appearance of a short piece of text on the
screen, I want it to be for a *reason*. I instinctively or unconsciously
try to find patterns in a game's behaviour and when this fails I feel
frustrated and confused. I think it is an aspect of the simulation vs.
storytelling issue: randomness can aid the former but is usually a
distraction from the latter. For me, the use of calculations, such as
multiplying "strength" by "agility" to see if the PC can dismantle a trap,
is almost as bad---I find them completely arbitrary and unintuitive.


-K

Adam J. Thornton

unread,
Dec 2, 2000, 8:57:48 PM12/2/00
to
In article <908cpl$6ve$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,

J.D. Berry <jdb...@my-deja.com> wrote:
>Maybe RPG should be eliminated completely from the IF vocabulary. If
>we mean an old-style D&D game, we should just say old-style D&D.
>
>(Maybe we could call them all Bruce just to keep things clear. ;-))

Don't make me kick your ass.


Adam
--
ad...@princeton.edu
"My eyes say their prayers to her / Sailors ring her bell / Like a moth
mistakes a light bulb / For the moon and goes to hell." -- Tom Waits

sea...@loop.com

unread,
Dec 2, 2000, 11:29:11 PM12/2/00
to
In article <t2i53tl...@corp.supernews.com>,
"pblock" <eev...@dreamscape.com> wrote:

>
> Aw, crap, the three-fold model. I hate that thing.
>
> This was, more-or-less cooked up by a guy named Ron Edwards, and he
said he
> got it from other people, but he seems to think he understands it
better.
> Which is fine, since I don't.
>
> But from talking to Ron, it seems that the three-fold is better
applied to
> the games themselves than to people. People tend to dislike being
> pideon-holed like this, and truth be told, even though most people may
> prefer one style over another, that can (and probably do on a regular
basis)
> play and enjoy games in the other styles.
>


This is an interesting opinion --at least within my
range of
experience.
Still... I thought maybe it was necessary to
separate "RPG" from just particular preferences (whether
constant, or temporary) such as story, simulation, or
puzzle emphasis.
In other words, separate "the game rules," and the
game's "3 fold style", from how the rules are actually
used --or maybe interpreted-- by the group of players.
BUT...

> This is probably why Ron applies the three-fold to the games
themselves
> rather than gamers. A gamist player may get tired of it and become a
> dramatist. A gamist game will remain so forever. (Yeah a new edition
may
> switch it, but the old edition stays the same...let's not split hairs
;-)
>
> And here, I'll have to stop talking about the three-fold system
because
> that's about as much as I understand about it and can say w/o talking
right
> out of my arse....
> Except that the RPG describe in this thread HERE, as in in IF is
mostly the
> gamist elements taken mostly from D&D, a decidely gamist game.
>

... perhaps D&D is indeed, mostly *decided* to be a
less-story emphasized system.

Thanks!
--Sean

sea...@loop.com

unread,
Dec 2, 2000, 11:43:54 PM12/2/00
to
In article <q9gW5.19764$J32.5...@news20.bellglobal.com>,
"Kaia Vintr" <ka...@xoe.com> wrote:

> ...Possibly the biggest thing that would stop me from playing RPG-like


> interactive fiction is my dislike of randomness. Whenever something
> happens, even if it is just the appearance of a short piece of text on
the
> screen, I want it to be for a *reason*. I instinctively or
unconsciously
> try to find patterns in a game's behaviour and when this fails I feel
> frustrated and confused. I think it is an aspect of the simulation
vs.
> storytelling issue: randomness can aid the former but is usually a
> distraction from the latter.


Yes, I too tend to enjoy the "coherence" of complex stories...


> For me, the use of calculations, such as
> multiplying "strength" by "agility" to see if the PC can dismantle a
trap,
> is almost as bad---I find them completely arbitrary and unintuitive.

Perhaps my interpretation of such an issue, is that although
there are different preferences amongst players --maybe
constant, maybe temporary preferences--, one "goal" might
conflict w/ another.
In other words, if an RPG-IF were to be a variant of
the "story IF" sub-genres, it might do better focusing
more fully on story coherence then crossing w/ "table-top
style" simulation.
I can't help but think of Final Fantasy though
--not "table-top style"--, where the plot does not depend
so much on "randomness," but usually just on who is in the
party at a particular time.
Might you consider this to be too "unpredictable" as
well? The story being shifted based on who's in the party
that is.

Thanks
--sean

pblock

unread,
Dec 3, 2000, 12:15:16 AM12/3/00
to

<sea...@loop.com> wrote in message news:90ci6l$ahr$1...@nnrp1.deja.com...

> This is an interesting opinion --at least within my
> range of
> experience.
> Still... I thought maybe it was necessary to
> separate "RPG" from just particular preferences (whether
> constant, or temporary) such as story, simulation, or
> puzzle emphasis.
> In other words, separate "the game rules," and the
> game's "3 fold style", from how the rules are actually
> used --or maybe interpreted-- by the group of players.
> BUT...

Well, Ron has used this three fold system to write reviews and he uses it as
a more-or-less subjective way to decide if a game has done what it set out
to do. If a game is advertised as being story-intensive/dramatist, but the
rules are actually very gamist, he gives it a poor review.

Any game can be interpreted by players differently, and house rules can
completely rewrite it into a different style.

as I said:
> > This is probably why Ron applies the three-fold to the games
> themselves
> > rather than gamers.

> ... perhaps D&D is indeed, mostly *decided* to be a
> less-story emphasized system.

Well, it's decided to be gamist because the rules encourage mostly
gamist-style games. The currnet edition has @ 300pp. and they're all rules,
mostly gamist considerations, like class restictions, spell list, movement
rates, etc. Story-driven games are mentioned, but not described very well,
and story considerations aren't encouraged by the rules.

Any game is what you make of it, but all games have a particular style
that's inherent in the design.

Jeez, now how do we apply this all to IF?


Neil Cerutti

unread,
Dec 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/4/00
to
Matthew T. Russotto posted:

>In article <3A2957D4...@attglobal.net>,
>Peter Ciccolo <pci...@attglobal.net> wrote:
>}
>}
>}Yes. Infocom released Journey, which is still available in some of their
>}collections.
>}It was a strongly "classical" role-playing type game (stats, mana, fantasy,
>}etc.),
>}where the party split up at several points.
>
>No stats. No mana. Little combat. Journey was pretty much IF.

It was also written and displayed in "Novel Mode", but didn't use
a parser.

--
Neil Cerutti <cer...@together.net>
"This fog is as thick as peanut butter!"
-- Yukon Cornelius

Peter Ciccolo

unread,
Dec 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/5/00
to

"Matthew T. Russotto" wrote:

> In article <3A2957D4...@attglobal.net>,
> Peter Ciccolo <pci...@attglobal.net> wrote:
> }
> }
> }Yes. Infocom released Journey, which is still available in some of their
> }collections.
> }It was a strongly "classical" role-playing type game (stats, mana, fantasy,
> }etc.),
> }where the party split up at several points.
>
> No stats. No mana. Little combat. Journey was pretty much IF.

Hmm. It annoys me that I wrote the above, considering that I actually
played Journey. True, it had no stats. I don't know where I got that from.
It did however have a spell system where each spell consumed a certain
amount of four or five substances, each corresponding to an element.
You collects these substances, which I'm pretty sure (not that that means
anything, as the above indicates) were called mana. The combat was infrequent,
but it dod require a little stratedy.


Matthew T. Russotto

unread,
Dec 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/6/00
to
In article <3A2D95F4...@attglobal.net>,

Peter Ciccolo <pci...@attglobal.net> wrote:
}
}Hmm. It annoys me that I wrote the above, considering that I actually
}played Journey. True, it had no stats. I don't know where I got that from.
}It did however have a spell system where each spell consumed a certain
}amount of four or five substances, each corresponding to an element.
}You collects these substances, which I'm pretty sure (not that that means
}anything, as the above indicates) were called mana.

Essences, I think.

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages