graphics in text adventures?

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Mark Borok

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Jul 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/28/96
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Here's a topic for discussion:

What, if any, role might graphics play in a text adventure without
detracting from the charm and flexibility of the genre? In other words, is
it possible to incorporate graphics without turning your game into a
"graphic adventure"? Has anyone ever tried to use illustrations in IF the
way they've been used in traditional books (or comic books?)

I find that, while the text-based interface works infinitely better than
point-and-click, none of the games I've run into have been able to create
a real sense of place using text alone. I do not have a clear picture in
my head of any of the locations in "Zork" or even in the more detailed
games, like "Curses". I think this is a limitation of the genre - you
don't want to slow the game down by long expository paragraphs.

Anyway, just thought I'd stir up the waters a bit.

--Mark

Werner Punz - Dipl

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Jul 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/28/96
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ma...@pcix.com (Mark Borok) wrote:
>What, if any, role might graphics play in a text adventure without
>detracting from the charm and flexibility of the genre? In other words, is
>it possible to incorporate graphics without turning your game into a
>"graphic adventure"? Has anyone ever tried to use illustrations in IF the
>way they've been used in traditional books (or comic books?)

Magnetic scrolls did it in the second half of the eighties. They made
graphics adventures which could be played text only.

Werner


Kevin Soucy

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Jul 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/28/96
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On Jul 28, 1996 16:35:00 in article <graphics in text adventures?>,

'ma...@pcix.com (Mark Borok)' wrote:

>What, if any, role might graphics play in a text adventure without
>detracting from the charm and flexibility of the genre? In other words, is

>it possible to incorporate graphics without turning your game into a
>"graphic adventure"? Has anyone ever tried to use illustrations in IF the
>way they've been used in traditional books (or comic books?)

I believe that's what David Malmberg had in mind when he made AGT Master's
Edition. It incorperates a .pcx viewer for still pictures, and even plays
fli animations. The game tells the player that a pictures is avalable,
and the player types VIEW [Object] to see it. When that happens, it blanks
the screen and shows the picture. Then when the player hits a key, it
blanks the screen again, and the player is back in the game. It's also part
of the programming to make certan pictures play after the player enters a
special command. That's great for dramatic sequences. So far, I've seen
one game so far, TOHO ACADEMY, that used graphics in this way. Too bad the
story wasn't better developed.

"AGT Master"

Stee...@Usa.Pipeline.Com

Eli the bearded

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Jul 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/28/96
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Mark Borok <ma...@pcix.com> wrote:
>Here's a topic for discussion:
>
>What, if any, role might graphics play in a text adventure without
>detracting from the charm and flexibility of the genre? In other words, is

I am along way from completeing the game I have started.
That aside, I fully intend to "package" my game with
graphics. Not ones that come up during the course of play,
but gifs or jpegs to be viewed as a seperate and distinct
process.

Andrew Plotkin's "PICKLE" has interested me as a possible
way I might include graphics. To be able to have the game at
runtime decide if it should refer you to the picture that
came with the game or to actually show you the picture might
be nice.

The graphics in my opinion should be used in the same manner
as pictures in a reference book. They should be there to
provide a pictoral representation of that which it is
impractical to accurately describe in words. "Impractical"
is the tough word there. Sunsets are not impractical. The
gearing inside a machanical clock might be. The rashes,
spots, cankers, and pock marks left on the skin by various
diseases probably would be.

Elijah
------
yes, I do think about diseases a lot

Andrew C. Plotkin

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Jul 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/28/96
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ma...@pcix.com (Mark Borok) writes:
> What, if any, role might graphics play in a text adventure without
> detracting from the charm and flexibility of the genre? In other words, is
> it possible to incorporate graphics without turning your game into a
> "graphic adventure"? Has anyone ever tried to use illustrations in IF the
> way they've been used in traditional books (or comic books?)

Has *anyone*? *Everyone* has tried. Many of the results are
interesting.

Portal, Spellcasting 101-301, The Wizard and the Princess, Myst, Loom,
Arthur, Shogun, The Fool's Errand... these all have varying balances
of text and image. Whether you'd call each of these a "graphic
adventure" or not is a matter of definition, and we're not going to
agree on the answers.

> I find that, while the text-based interface works infinitely better than
> point-and-click, none of the games I've run into have been able to create
> a real sense of place using text alone. I do not have a clear picture in
> my head of any of the locations in "Zork" or even in the more detailed
> games, like "Curses". I think this is a limitation of the genre - you
> don't want to slow the game down by long expository paragraphs.

It is not a limitation of the genre (nor a limitation of you, for that
matter.) It is a matter of how you -- or any other player of any other
game -- reacts to that style of game.

I have very clear pictures of just about all the pure-text games I've
played. My guess is that the majority of people on this newsgroup do,
too -- just because they *are* here. (Not all, of course -- you're
here too.)

I do not intend to write any illustrated text games. That's not what
I'm interested in doing.

--Z

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

Nulldogma

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Jul 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/29/96
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> Portal, Spellcasting 101-301, The Wizard and the Princess, Myst, Loom,
> Arthur, Shogun, The Fool's Errand... these all have varying balances
> of text and image. Whether you'd call each of these a "graphic
> adventure" or not is a matter of definition, and we're not going to
> agree on the answers.

My personal feeling is a game crosses the line from text to graphic
adventure when it loses a full parser. Loom is a very clever game with a
lot of text in it, but since I can't type SPIN THREAD AT OWL, I don't
consider it a text adventure.

I wouldn't have any problem with a text adventure that added graphic
stills for items in the game. But I don't particularly desire one, for the
same reason that I don't particularly like books with pictures.

Neil

---------------------------------------------------------
Neil deMause ne...@echonyc.com
http://www.echonyc.com/~wham/neild.html
---------------------------------------------------------

Brad O`Donnell

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Jul 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/29/96
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Mark Borok wrote:

> In other words, is
> it possible to incorporate graphics without turning your game into a
> "graphic adventure"?

No: Someone will always complain. On the other hand, I don't know
anyone who REFUSED to play a game because it had graphics. (Please
note that this makes no reference to the speed or style of the graphics;
Everyone I know has refused to play some game because it had lousy
or slow graphics AND uninteresting gameplay)

> Has anyone ever tried to use illustrations in IF
> the way they've been used in traditional books (or comic books?)

Yep. try "The Multi-Dimensional Thief" graphic version. It's also
quite fun.

>
> I find that, while the text-based interface works infinitely better than
> point-and-click, none of the games I've run into have been able to create
> a real sense of place using text alone. I do not have a clear picture in
> my head of any of the locations in "Zork" or even in the more detailed
> games, like "Curses". I think this is a limitation of the genre - you
> don't want to slow the game down by long expository paragraphs.
>


Infinitely better? I daresay not!

First, I'll badmouth text interfaces :)

I like text interfaces but they're incredibly annoying at times.
Particularly in the realm of "guess the action." The parser, believe it
or not, only enhances the illusion of freedom. I have long since
stopped trying to type things like "gut Barry with knife," an input
generated by the illusion of freedom, because I got sick of the game
telling me "I don't know that verb."
Some games are kind enough to say, somewhere in the docs, exactly
what commands are available, and the game defines everything in terms of
those commands.(i.e.: I want to get water in a bottle, and the game
doesn't like "Put bottle in water" Hmmm... Ah! it says it understands
"fill" Yay! "Fill bottle with water")
It seems reasonable to me that if one of your major game puzzles is
going to be compromised by telling the player the verbs, then that
probably isn't a very good puzzle.

Now I'll badmouth graphic interfaces :)

I like graphics interfaces but they're incredibly annoying at times.
Mainly because options I think of just aren't possible
(when _I_ click the fish on Bob, I mean to slap him with it, not
give it to him! Darn.) But at least in this case, I know it's not
possible. The only real reason interactivity is lost in a graphic
interface is because it isn't programmed in. Also, they handle
things so simply sometimes that you just wanna hit them, or slap
them with a fish.

Now on with the rest:
As to a sense of "place" yes, graphics will help, at least me, anyway.
A small overhead view for each location would be nice.

Long expository paragraphs will not help, cause they tend to clutter
up the screen and are tedious to search for information, which
has to be set up in such a way so the player can get at the specific
piece of information it wants.
To keep this from getting too long, if anyone wants to shoot holes
through the way I would propse that information be presented to the
player, just ask and I'll post it sometime...

> Anyway, just thought I'd stir up the waters a bit.

Thanks. You will make an excellent scapegoat for the arguments and
bad feelings resulting from this thread :)

Brad O'Donnell

Richard G Clegg

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Jul 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/29/96
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Mark Borok (ma...@pcix.com) wrote:
: Here's a topic for discussion:

: What, if any, role might graphics play in a text adventure without
: detracting from the charm and flexibility of the genre? In other words, is


: it possible to incorporate graphics without turning your game into a

: "graphic adventure"? Has anyone ever tried to use illustrations in IF the


: way they've been used in traditional books (or comic books?)

It depends what you mean. A large number of IF games have taken the
approach of "static graphics for each location" which are displayed in
addition to the normal room descriptions. Some of the first IF games
I played did this - those old Level 9 games and S.A.G.A's (Scott Adam's
graphical adventures - which _were_ the text games with pictures added)
all had static graphics on the ZX Spectrum. I don't recall them adding
very much to the game. Also the "Mysterious adventures" series had
them but they were extremely slow to draw so I would turn them off.
They didn't add much to the game since they were so... well... like
spectrum graphics. I believe Magnetic Scrolls also did that sort of
thing (although on computers with graphics that meritted it more).

If you mean, a text-based game where the actions are accompanied
by cartoon like actions then there was Valhalla on the ZX-Spectrum
and Leisure Suit Larry. Where you typed commands and your cartoon
figure would carry them out. Both of these games were (IMHO)
awful tho.

It might be nice to see small illustrations inserted with the text
in the manner of medieval books.


__________
| |
| /-\ | You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with
| | | | a boarded front door. (Which is difficult to draw in ascii).
----------

With this you could have unobtrustive graphics for locations and actions
which could even perhaps be animated and clicked on to enlarge them to
full-screen to look at them better. The standard of computer-art these
days is high enough that these could really enhance a game rather than
just be "features". (And of course the purist could turn them
off).

"Lightly animated" illustrations (essentially a still picture but
with some animation to give a sense of life) like the "gifts" in
the game Afterlife can really add to a game (I spent ages just staring
at the "ugliness engine").

: I find that, while the text-based interface works infinitely better than


: point-and-click, none of the games I've run into have been able to create
: a real sense of place using text alone. I do not have a clear picture in
: my head of any of the locations in "Zork" or even in the more detailed
: games, like "Curses". I think this is a limitation of the genre - you
: don't want to slow the game down by long expository paragraphs.

Funny you should say that, I guess it's part of the "craft of
adventure" to be able to write a description of an item or location
which is simultaneously vivid and concise. Many studies have shown
that people find it much more "difficult" to read from a computer
screen - in other words that it is harder to concentrate and they
find it more of a temptation to skip text and they don't remember text
as well - and this applies to most long-term computer users not just
novices. In other words, a writer of IF can't use the same techniques
as a traditional novelist because the audience just wouldn't have the
patience. (Can you ever recall any adventure where a room description
was more than a page long? On the other hand, consider JRR Tolkein/Tolkien
who could write pages and pages about a particularly tall mountain or
gloomy forest).

I don't have a particularly visual imagination so I tend not to form
pictures in my head while reading - however, some IF does have strong
visual images for me. I can clearly picture the central cylinder
in Starcross, the thief from Zork and I'm absolutely sure I know
what Floyd looks like (tho' I don't recall ever seeing a picture of
him on packaging).

--
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


Charles Gerlach

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Jul 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/29/96
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ma...@pcix.com (Mark Borok) writes:

>Here's a topic for discussion:

>What, if any, role might graphics play in a text adventure without
>detracting from the charm and flexibility of the genre?


I know that a lot of people have differing ideas about this particular game,
but Infocom's _Journey_ had, in my opinion, some good puzzles that were of
necessity visual. Specifically, I'm thinking of the inscription over the
door. It would have been difficult to describe that inscription without
giving it away, whereas if you give the player a picture of it, they have to
decide what's important.

-Charles


Stephen Griffiths

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Jul 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/29/96
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Stee...@usa.pipeline.com(Kevin Soucy) wrote:
>On Jul 28, 1996 16:35:00 in article <graphics in text adventures?>,
>'ma...@pcix.com (Mark Borok)' wrote:
>
>>What, if any, role might graphics play in a text adventure without
>>detracting from the charm and flexibility of the genre? In other words, is
>
>>it possible to incorporate graphics without turning your game into a
>>"graphic adventure"? Has anyone ever tried to use illustrations in IF the
>>way they've been used in traditional books (or comic books?)
>
>I believe that's what David Malmberg had in mind when he made AGT Master's
>Edition. It incorperates a .pcx viewer for still pictures, and even plays
>fli animations. The game tells the player that a pictures is avalable,
>and the player types VIEW [Object] to see it. When that happens, it blanks
>the screen and shows the picture. Then when the player hits a key, it
>blanks the screen again, and the player is back in the game. It's also part
>of the programming to make certan pictures play after the player enters a
>special command. That's great for dramatic sequences. So far, I've seen
>one game so far, TOHO ACADEMY, that used graphics in this way. Too bad the
>story wasn't better developed.

There are a few illustrated text adventures at the IF archive. You could
play a few and see if you find the pictures detract from the text. I had a
look through the master index searching for 'graphic' and 'illus...' and
found quite a few. Mostly they are old and may not be very good. I
haven't played any of them myself.

Recent arrivals I saw were

ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/pc/holly.zip by Michael Zerbo.
There is a text only version too which would be good for comparison. (This
game and others by the same author are available in the games/amiga
directory also.)

ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/pc/non-english/jabato.exe by Manuel
Gonzalez, Paco Zarco, Juan Antonio Darder and Carlos Marques.(In Spanish.)


I've only played one illustrated text adventure myself so I don't have a
well-informed opinion on whether illustrations are a good idea. The only
one I've played is Time1 (also by Michael Zerbo and available at the IF
archive.)

The practical (as opposed to artistic or literary) problems I see are that
incorporating pictures:

..makes the game a lot bigger than it would otherwise be - eg:holly.zip
is 1.1 megabytes while the text-only version is only 127 kilobytes zipped.

..seems to limit the range of systems the game is playable on. Or the
author has to release a version tailored to each individual system.

Admiral Jota

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Jul 30, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/30/96
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rg...@york.ac.uk (Richard G Clegg) writes:
>Mark Borok (ma...@pcix.com) wrote:

[snip]

> If you mean, a text-based game where the actions are accompanied
>by cartoon like actions then there was Valhalla on the ZX-Spectrum
>and Leisure Suit Larry. Where you typed commands and your cartoon
>figure would carry them out. Both of these games were (IMHO)
>awful tho.

[snip]

If you're talking about what I think you're talking about, then this is
actually a fairly decent marriage of text and graphics (I'm sorry that
the examples you wound up with weren't the top ones). These games were
more graphical adventures than text adventures, but they included many of
the best features of both: The output was mainly graphical, and would
satisfy fans of graphical games if done with current technology, and the
input was via a text parser, giving the user almost all the control as a
text adventure. I admit that these games aren't as good as good text
adventures, but the best ones (like Space Quest II and III, and King's
Quest IV) are certainly better than most modern graphical adventures.

So, has anyone seen any demos of the new Liesure Suit Larry game? I hear
it's going to be just like this...

--
/<-= -=-=- -= Admiral Jota =- -=-=- =->\
__/><-=- http://www.tiac.net/users/jota/ =-><\__
\><-= jo...@mv.mv.com -- Finger for PGP =-></
\<-=- -= -=- -= -==- =- -=- =- -=->/

Greg Ewing

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Jul 31, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/31/96
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Mark Borok wrote:
>
> What, if any, role might graphics play in a text adventure without
> detracting from the charm and flexibility of the genre? In other words, is
> it possible to incorporate graphics without turning your game into a
> "graphic adventure"?

Yes, I believe it is both possible and desirable. Being
restricted to pure text makes it very awkward or
impossible to incorporate certain kinds of object,
such as a paper with mysterious runes on it, or
a diagram, which you really have to see. A few
well-placed pictures could open up a whole new
dimension of puzzle possibilities.

I'd also like to be able to make the pop-ups
interactive, so that you can have a real
sliding-piece puzzle or calculator or
something to play with.

Some discipline would be needed to avoid
sliding too far towards a wholly graphical
adventure. I'd be inclined to use graphics
only where really necessary, and only for
small things the player can pick up, study
and play with.

Some day I'm going to implement an IF
framework which has this feature...

> I do not have a clear picture in
> my head of any of the locations in "Zork" or even in the more detailed
> games, like "Curses".

I tend to get clearer pictures of "normal" places
than fantasy places. I have a very vivid picture of
the attic in Curses, for example, because I've seen
places like that in the real world, but only a fuzzy
picture of the more surreal settings.

> I think this is a limitation of the genre - you
> don't want to slow the game down by long expository paragraphs.

I don't mind a reasonable amount of description if
it improves the atmosphere. It doesn't have to be
presented all at once - with sufficient skill it can
be dribbled out as the player wanders and examines,
and build a very detailed picture overall.

Greg

Carl Muckenhoupt

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Jul 31, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/31/96
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Brad O`Donnell <s7...@romulus.sun.csd.unb.ca> writes:

> I like graphics interfaces but they're incredibly annoying at times.
> Mainly because options I think of just aren't possible
> (when _I_ click the fish on Bob, I mean to slap him with it, not
> give it to him! Darn.)

I have seen a few games that are actually *enhanced* by this. Coktel's
"Goblins" series lets you control multiple characters, each with his own
ideas about what particular objects are for. Clicking on a stick will make
one character hit himself on the head with it; another characer will eat
it. Half the fun of the game is the unexpected results of your actions.
As far as gameplay... well, I can't claim that they completely avoid the
guessing-game effect, but the better puzzles, which involve coordinating the
various goblins, demonstrate that good puzzles are at least possible under
such a system. Interestingly, these are also just about the most text-free
adventures I have ever seen.

--
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!

Paul Francis Gilbert

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Jul 31, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/31/96
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b...@max.tiac.net (Carl Muckenhoupt) writes:

The Goblins game series are an excellent example. One thing that I found this
sort of game to raise is the point of timing. A graphic game lends itself to
time based puzzles much better than in text-adventures, in which timed puzzles
are using just annoying. A good case example is comparing the "grab the staff"
puzzle in Discworld. This sort of things becomes harder in a text adventure
without being obvious that something is changing, which gives away half the
puzzle, where the graphic adventure can conceal it with other animations.

I've always thought it would interesting to explore a possible synthesis of
the two mediums. The early Sierra games weren't a bad attempt, but my idea
would be more along the lines of an Ultima Underworld type 3-D world with a
text-adventure based object engine: every object having a position and physical
form which gets mapped into the world. Then the player could control his
character directly, or type commands which the controller.

Remember, a while ago, there was a big discussion about atomic commands within
a text adventure engine system, which was particularly adaptable to such a
combined system. I played around with making a SmallTalk derived language
which combined the objects with atomic commands and a graphical representation,
but shelved it for lack of time.

Anyway, my $0.02 for the day.

--
Paul Gilbert | p...@yallara.cs.rmit.edu.au
Bach App Sci, Bach Eng | The opinions expressed are my own, all my own, and
Year 3, RMIT Melbourne | as such will contain no references to small furry
Australia | creatures from Alpha Centauri.

Christopher E. Forman

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Aug 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/1/96
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Mark Borok <ma...@pcix.com> wrote:
: What, if any, role might graphics play in a text adventure without
: detracting from the charm and flexibility of the genre? In other words, is

: it possible to incorporate graphics without turning your game into a
: "graphic adventure"?

I'd say yes, as long as you keep the parser. ("Interactive fiction" has a
billion definitions, but "text adventure" and "parser adventure" are pretty
much understood to mean a game with text descriptions and input.)

Keep in mind, of course, that graphics are an enhancement to a text game,
and should not be the main point.


Mark J Tilford

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Aug 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/2/96
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Stephen Griffiths (stev...@moc.govt.nz) wrote:
: Stee...@usa.pipeline.com(Kevin Soucy) wrote:

: ..seems to limit the range of systems the game is playable on. Or the

: author has to release a version tailored to each individual system.

What about someone writing some library routines for Inform v6 games to
allow authors to use graphics? This would be portable to any system that
can run Frotz.


--

Mark J. Tilford
mjti...@artsci.wustl.edu


Stefan Jokisch

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Aug 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/2/96
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mjti...@artsci.wustl.edu (Mark J Tilford) writes:

>What about someone writing some library routines for Inform v6 games to
>allow authors to use graphics? This would be portable to any system that
>can run Frotz.

It's not a matter of library routines. You can display pictures
using the @draw_picture opcode. However, I don't recommend this.
The first problem is that Inform currently produces broken V6
files. Then you would need to write an utility that converts a
number of picture files (say, GIF files) to the Infocom format.
Finally, you would have to cope with the V6 format which would
not be an easy undertaking.

If you really want to add pictures to your games, I suggest you
create a new V5 opcode. Something simple that would allow the
interpreter to display an illustration anywhere on the screen,
like in the Magnetic Scrolls games. As a side note: It would be
easy to add illustrations to Infocom's V3 games. A modified
interpreter could check the variable that holds the player's
location and show an appropriate picture. This would definitely
add a new touch to those games, although some people would be
quite upset.

-- Stefan

David Kinder

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Aug 3, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/3/96
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Mark J Tilford (mjti...@artsci.wustl.edu) wrote:

: What about someone writing some library routines for Inform v6 games to


: allow authors to use graphics? This would be portable to any system that
: can run Frotz.

This should be possible. Currently the versions of Frotz which support V6
graphics (DOS & Amiga) both handle MCGA type files, so perhaps these should
be used. What's needed is the reverse of pix2gif from the ZTools package.

Having said this, I've always favoured the Magnetic Scrolls way of doing
graphics. What I'd prefer was if a graphics Inform game came as the normal
data file plus some pictures in a pre-agreed common format (e.g. GIF). It
would then be up to the interpreter to display the picture where-ever the
user wanted it. Ideally, it could be moved about, scaled, or turned off
entirely.

David

Andrew Frederiksen

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Aug 3, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/3/96
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In article <4tvb5s$2...@news.ox.ac.uk>,
David Kinder <kin...@teaching.physics.ox.ac.uk> wrote:

>Having said this, I've always favoured the Magnetic Scrolls way of doing
>graphics. What I'd prefer was if a graphics Inform game came as the normal
>data file plus some pictures in a pre-agreed common format (e.g. GIF). It
>would then be up to the interpreter to display the picture where-ever the
>user wanted it. Ideally, it could be moved about, scaled, or turned off
>entirely.

Hmm. What I'd like to see is graphics (if any) integrated into the flow
of the transcript, like illustrations in a book. With hopefully the
possibility of including alternate descriptions (like the "alt=" in an
HTML <img> tag). And perhaps some sort of mechanism for graphical puzzles
(like the ones in Zork Zero).

However, IMHO, graphics in IF should *always* be optional.


--
-- Andrew Frederiksen, fred...@unixg.ubc.ca aka an...@geop.ubc.ca
-- http://www.geop.ubc.ca/~andyf

Brad Becker

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Aug 7, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/7/96
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> However, IMHO, graphics in IF should *always* be optional.

If all you have is a hammer...

Graphics, text, and sound are just mediums for communication. Whatever will
communicate a given idea or experience most efficiently is what should be
used. How well could you describe Beethoven's Fifth Symphony? Or the melody
to "Mary Had A Little Lamb" for that matter? Not very well. I certainly
wouldn't be able to hear it in my head if I hadn't heard it before.

"Talking about music is like dancing about architecture" - Mark
Mothersbaugh.

Yes, you could describe the Mona Lisa or an M.C.Escher print but you're
only going to give a vague impression of the piece. Every Infocom game used
complex graphics to set moods and convey important information to the
player. If you doubt, behold the packaging, manuals, and maps. Why didn't
they simply provide sheets of paper with plain text descriptions of the
outlay of Rockville Estates or the Zork Zero wizard's parchment? And if you
don't object to Infocom requiring these hard-copy graphics-based items for
IF games, how could you object to them being provided soft-copy, on the
screen? If it's an access issue, i.e. a UNIX terminal can't support sounds,
for instance, than I understand. However, the state of the art never
advances if artists are restricted by the lowest common denominator.

In summary: fonts, images, and sounds can be added to text games to more
effectively communicate ideas and to more fully immerse a player in the
game.


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