The Philosophy of the leading player.

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Jackdaw

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Sep 12, 2006, 5:22:09 PM9/12/06
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I am stuck before starting to write my adventure. I want to design something
away from the "You pick up the whatever." or do this do that. I am trying,
albeit unsuccessfully to design a leading character that develops over the
story, or at least has SOME character. Are there any IF games that allow the
puppet / player some autonomy? I know I can "do" a you get/pick up / ask
about, but would like to be able to steer a character rather than BE the
character. IYSWIM. If not its back to twisty tunnels and get, drop.
Any suggestions or pointers to games that might be of use as a pointer
gratefully received.

--
Jackdaw collector of junk, trivia and bright twinkly things.

Visit my gallery at www.jackdaw-crafts.co.uk

Jan Thorsby

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Sep 12, 2006, 6:57:35 PM9/12/06
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"Jackdaw" <dicon-...@jackdaw-crafts.co.uk> skrev i melding
news:ee78e5$1qd$1...@news7.svr.pol.co.uk...

>I am stuck before starting to write my adventure. I want to design
>something away from the "You pick up the whatever." or do this do that. I
>am trying, albeit unsuccessfully to design a leading character that
>develops over the story, or at least has SOME character. Are there any IF
>games that allow the puppet / player some autonomy? I know I can "do" a you
>get/pick up / ask about, but would like to be able to steer a character
>rather than BE the character. IYSWIM. If not its back to twisty tunnels and
>get, drop.
> Any suggestions or pointers to games that might be of use as a pointer
> gratefully received.

Well you could have the PC refuse to do several things at first and want to
them again later. Like if it is a story of someone who goes from being a
coward to being brave, at first he refuses to fight the monsters, but when
he see all the damage the monster does he will fight the monsters. A game in
which the PC often doesn't do what the player tells him to is Rameses.

Or you could have the main character be an NPC. Photopia does this and
Little girl in the big world. Photopia also has multiple PCs. Photopia is
rather on rails though. A game whit an NPC as a main character, which might
choose to do different things based on what the PC/PCs do could be
interesting.

The opening scenes of the Beetmonger's Journal are seen from the point of
view of an NPC. Perhaps doing something like that might help you get some
more distance between the player and player character. The effect is not so
noticeable I think, in the Beetmonger's Journal, because the NPC and the PC
is too similar, to friendly with each other and have the same goal. I think
it would be more interesting if the NPC and the PC was enemies, or the game
was from the viewpoint of multiple NPCs with different opinions about the
PC.

If you want character change in the game, but also want the possibility of
the player choosing the ending, you could have each ending reflect a
different personality change. Like the game starts with a good but cowardly
main character. In one ending he becomes a hero and fights monsters, in
another he becomes evil and joins the monsters.


Michael Martin

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Sep 12, 2006, 7:25:24 PM9/12/06
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Jackdaw wrote:
>I know I can "do" a you get/pick up / ask
> about, but would like to be able to steer a character rather than BE the
> character. IYSWIM. If not its back to twisty tunnels and get, drop.

Have a system that lets you do first-person library messages, and make
the PC "rebellious" as a way of characterization -- that is, if the
player demands that the PC do something he wouldn't, he will refuse --
in first person -- because that's just the kind of person the PC is.
If you want the character to develop, make the refusal reasons change
or shift the kind of allowable actions as the game progresses.

There's a long-standing tradition of rebellious or inhibited PCs (Muse:
an Autumn Romance springs to mind, as does Rameses, as do pretty much
all of the "golden age" LucasArts graphic adventures), so it's not like
this would be particularly alien, either.

--Michael

Jim Aikin

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Sep 12, 2006, 11:26:34 PM9/12/06
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>I am stuck before starting to write my adventure. I want to design
>something away from the "You pick up the whatever." or do this do that.

A noble impulse, and to be encouraged.

> I am trying, albeit unsuccessfully to design a leading character that
> develops over the story, or at least has SOME character. Are there any IF
> games that allow the puppet / player some autonomy?

Well, by definition there can't be any REAL autonomy, because you, the
programmer, have no choice but to specify every single thing that can happen
in the course of the game. There are ways, I suppose, to encourage the
player to FEEL autonomous, but I wouldn't want to theorize too much about
that, because I don't have enough experience.

> Any suggestions or pointers to games that might be of use as a pointer
> gratefully received.

You might want to pick up a copy of Emily Short's Galatea and play it. The
conversation branches in a way that makes it feel very spontaneous.

--JA


JDC

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Sep 13, 2006, 2:13:47 AM9/13/06
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Jim Aikin wrote:
> Well, by definition there can't be any REAL autonomy, because you, the
> programmer, have no choice but to specify every single thing that can happen
> in the course of the game. There are ways, I suppose, to encourage the
> player to FEEL autonomous, but I wouldn't want to theorize too much about
> that, because I don't have enough experience.

This is true, but there does turn out to be some autonomy in the
_order_ that things are done, and this can actually produce player
experiences (and even solutions to some puzzles) which were not
necessarily forseen by the author. One notable case of this is
discussed in the article:
"Tales from the Code Front: Parlez-Vous Nalian?" by Lucian P. Smith at:
http://www.xyzzynews.com/xyzzy.16d.html

(This contains spoilers for "The Edifice", so one might want to play
that before reading.)

-JDC

JDC

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Sep 13, 2006, 2:21:04 AM9/13/06
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Hmm, I just reread this, and it didn't go into quite as much analysis
of the player experience as I remembered; I must have been thinking of
another discussion. A search for "language puzzle" and "the edifice"
might find something better.

-JDC

Jackdaw

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Sep 13, 2006, 2:57:03 AM9/13/06
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"Jan Thorsby" <no_spam@spam> wrote in message
news:45073c3b$1...@news.broadpark.no...
Some good ideas there , thanks.

Emily Short

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Sep 13, 2006, 5:42:12 AM9/13/06
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Jan Thorsby wrote:
> "Jackdaw" <dicon-...@jackdaw-crafts.co.uk> skrev i melding
> news:ee78e5$1qd$1...@news7.svr.pol.co.uk...
> >I am stuck before starting to write my adventure. I want to design
> >something away from the "You pick up the whatever." or do this do that. I
> >am trying, albeit unsuccessfully to design a leading character that
> >develops over the story, or at least has SOME character.

A number of Robb Sherwin's games use first person narration with other
techniques to create a strongly characterized PC. (I'd recommend
Fallacy of Dawn, if you're picking just one to look at.)

Finally, the recent game The Baron allows the player to steer the PC,
in the sense that you're invited to provide not only actions but also
motivations, and at several points the player is allowed to make more
abstract or long-term decisions than you usually get in object-focused
IF. There's been some discussion of this game on rec.games.int-fiction:

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.games.int-fiction/browse_frm/thread/d549ca0e4caf2b88/5bd10e6794cb3581?lnk=gst&q=baron&rnum=2#5bd10e6794cb3581

And also on the new IF forum, where it was just game of the month:

http://www.intfiction.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=22

>> Are there any IF
> >games that allow the puppet / player some autonomy?

This seems like a slightly different question from whether the PC is
strongly characterized, but see LASH, Failsafe, Spider & Web for some
interesting treatments of the player's relationship to the player
character.

> >I know I can "do" a you
> >get/pick up / ask about, but would like to be able to steer a character
> >rather than BE the character. IYSWIM. If not its back to twisty tunnels and
> >get, drop.
> > Any suggestions or pointers to games that might be of use as a pointer
> > gratefully received.

...


> If you want character change in the game, but also want the possibility of
> the player choosing the ending, you could have each ending reflect a
> different personality change. Like the game starts with a good but cowardly
> main character. In one ending he becomes a hero and fights monsters, in
> another he becomes evil and joins the monsters.

Or you can have some points during the game where the player makes
important decisions that affect the way the character is drawn from
then on. Perhaps Tapestry would be an interesting one to look at for
this.

skelly

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Sep 13, 2006, 8:08:11 AM9/13/06
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> Any suggestions or pointers to games that might be of use as a pointer
> gratefully received.

In addition to the other excellent suggestion various people have made,
try "Slouching towards Bedlam", "Vespers" and "Worlds Apart"

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