[CD] various comments

3 views
Skip to first unread message

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Aug 18, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/18/96
to

Name: Uh, too late. There was discussion, and the discussion died down. I
picked the suggestion I liked best, which conveniently got the most
positive comments in the discussion. "Great Underground Adventures" it
is.

(I expect to use this mode of decision a lot on this project. If you have
thoughts on something, post them.)

Audio: Ok, we could fit a reasonable amount of audio. I think this is in
the province of the document team (Neil, Neil, and Eileen). If they come
up with stuff that could be rendered in audio (as well as text files), we
can go for it.

Including lots of games but only focussing on 15-30: I would feel strange
about giving money to some authors but not others.

(BTW, the current plan is to give a share of the profits to each game
author and each person who worked directly on the CD. One share per
person, max. Nothing for authors of interpreters, interpreter ports, etc.
Sorry. It's the games that are the point of this thing -- note that we
have a working list of games that I'm pursuing, but not interpreter
versions. Besides, the expected profits are well below $100 per share,
for a run of 250 discs. Money is not going to be a large thing here.)

Hints: I wish that no game had hints. I am not in the majority on this
subject. We will be including hints. :-)

ftp.gmd.de has a lot of hint files on these games, but probably doesn't
have all of them. Some are hints, some are walkthoughs. We could just dump
them on. Or we could try to make them consistent, which essentially means
rewriting all of them. (Or we could change our minds and not include
hints.) Thoughts?

If we include them as is, we would certainly need a note like "Caution:
These hint files were contributed by many people. We make no guarantee of
quality, accuracy, or freshness."

--Z


--

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

Nulldogma

unread,
Aug 18, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/18/96
to

> Hints: I wish that no game had hints. I am not in the majority on this
> subject. We will be including hints. :-)
>
> ftp.gmd.de has a lot of hint files on these games, but probably doesn't
> have all of them. Some are hints, some are walkthoughs. We could just
dump
> them on. Or we could try to make them consistent, which essentially
means
> rewriting all of them. (Or we could change our minds and not include
> hints.) Thoughts?

Grrr. I *really* don't want Russ Bryan's walkthrough for LNY to be on the
disc. I really do feel there's a difference between in-game hints (which
are only available with the registered LNY, anyway, but that's not even
the point) and walkthroughs, which I hate with a vengeance. Also, unless
he's fixed them, there are some factual errors in Russ' walkthrough.

I didn't fight him on uploading it the GMD, mostly because I didn't feel
it was my place. However, I refused to give him any help or special
authorization to do so -- I e-mailed him after the fact about the errors,
but that was it.

I guess my preference would be only to include hints provided by the
authors themselves -- at least we know that was their intention. I'm not
sure how many games that applies to, though.

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

Nulldogma

unread,
Aug 18, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/18/96
to

Sorry about the previous post, which was meant to be a private e-mail to
Andrew. (Stupid AOL...) I'd like to make clear that I didn't mean it as a
criticism of Russ Bryan's walkthrough for LNY in particular (which is
actually quite well done, as these things go), but of walkthroughs in
general, which I have no use for either as a player or an author.

And my preference for the CD, as I said, would be to include
author-supplied hints, if any, but not third-party stuff.

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Aug 18, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/18/96
to

Nulldogma (null...@aol.com) wrote:
> Sorry about the previous post, which was meant to be a private e-mail to
> Andrew. (Stupid AOL...) I'd like to make clear that I didn't mean it as a
> criticism of Russ Bryan's walkthrough for LNY in particular (which is
> actually quite well done, as these things go), but of walkthroughs in
> general, which I have no use for either as a player or an author.
>
> And my preference for the CD, as I said, would be to include
> author-supplied hints, if any, but not third-party stuff.

Or author-authorized hints. (What a terrible word.) I didn't contribute
to the _So Far_ walkthough on GMD, much less Lucian Smith's invisiclues
web page, but I'm willing to include the walkthough on the CD.

I must admit, however, that I logged on today solely to look for a
walkthrough. (For _L-Zone_, a CD-ROM game. I didn't find one. Any know
how to get through the welded door?)

Colm McCarthy

unread,
Aug 18, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/18/96
to

erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) wrote:

>ftp.gmd.de has a lot of hint files on these games, but probably doesn't
>have all of them. Some are hints, some are walkthoughs. We could just dump
>them on. Or we could try to make them consistent, which essentially means
>rewriting all of them. (Or we could change our minds and not include
>hints.) Thoughts?

>If we include them as is, we would certainly need a note like "Caution:

>These hint files were contributed by many people. We make no guarantee of
>quality, accuracy, or freshness."

I wouldn't be too happy if the Shelby walkthrough on ftp.gmd.de was
included. If need be, you can include the registered hints and maps
for the game....if need be.

>--

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

======= Text adventure games =======
== They're not just for beautiful ==
========= people anymore ===========


Dan Shiovitz

unread,
Aug 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/19/96
to

In article <erkyrathD...@netcom.com>,
Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:

>Colm McCarthy (illu...@execpc.com) wrote:
>> erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) wrote:
>
>> >ftp.gmd.de has a lot of hint files on these games, but probably doesn't
[..]

>> I wouldn't be too happy if the Shelby walkthrough on ftp.gmd.de was
>> included. If need be, you can include the registered hints and maps
>> for the game....if need be.
[..]
>This clearly requires more thought. People, speak unto me from the
>player's perspective. If we have no hints or walkthroughs (except the
>built-in hints in some games), will players hate us? More to the point,
>will reviewers and magazines hate us?

Well, *I* would be unhappy to buy a CD of some fairly difficult games if
I had nowhere to go for hints (read: no internet access) for them. I
suspect that game-reviewers would rather have hints than no hints because
they (presumably) only have a limited time to check out each game. If
the authors can be prevailed upon to provide hints, I think that would be
the best choice. If not, but they're willing to allow the hints from gmd
or to allow someone to write up hints, that would be next best.
I don't think anyone is going to suggest including a set of hints against
the authors' wishes, so the third alternative is no hints for the game.
(In which case it might be a good idea to make a file called "Shelby
hints" or whatever, and inside put "Hints for this game are available by
registering with the author, by sending $10 to 123 Main Street...")
(And it would be nice if there was time to get someone to proofread the
hints that are going to be included).
>--Z
--
dan shiovitz scy...@u.washington.edu sh...@cs.washington.edu
slightly lost author/programmer in a world of more creative or more sensible
people ... remember to speak up for freedom because no one else will do it
for you: use it or lose it ... carpe diem -- be proactive.
my web site: http://weber.u.washington.edu/~scythe/home.html some ok stuff.


Stephen Granade

unread,
Aug 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/19/96
to

In article <4v9303$i...@nntp4.u.washington.edu> scy...@u.washington.edu
(Dan Shiovitz) writes:
> In article <erkyrathD...@netcom.com>,
> Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
> >This clearly requires more thought. People, speak unto me from the
> >player's perspective. If we have no hints or walkthroughs (except the
> >built-in hints in some games), will players hate us? More to the point,
> >will reviewers and magazines hate us?
>
> Well, *I* would be unhappy to buy a CD of some fairly difficult games
> if I had nowhere to go for hints (read: no internet access) for them. I
> suspect that game-reviewers would rather have hints than no hints
> because they (presumably) only have a limited time to check out each
> game. If the authors can be prevailed upon to provide hints, I think
> that would be the best choice. If not, but they're willing to allow the
> hints from gmd or to allow someone to write up hints, that would be next
> best.

I second this. It was one thing to buy an Infocom game knowing I could
get Invisiclues later if I became completely stuck. It is another thing
to buy several adventure games knowing you can't get any help if you're
stymied.

> I don't think anyone is going to suggest including a set of hints
> against the authors' wishes, so the third alternative is no hints for
> the game.
> (In which case it might be a good idea to make a file called "Shelby
> hints" or whatever, and inside put "Hints for this game are available by
> registering with the author, by sending $10 to 123 Main Street...")

I don't think this is a good idea. Put yourself in the potential buyer's
place. He/she plunks money down for this product, runs home, and
discovers that some games come with hints while others require that he/she
pay more for hints.

Stephen

--
Stephen Granade | "It takes character to withstand the
sgra...@phy.duke.edu | rigors of indolence."
Duke University, Physics Dept | -- from _The Madness of King George_

Colm McCarthy

unread,
Aug 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/19/96
to

sgra...@dopey.phy.duke.edu (Stephen Granade) wrote:

>> I don't think anyone is going to suggest including a set of hints
>> against the authors' wishes, so the third alternative is no hints for
>> the game.
>> (In which case it might be a good idea to make a file called "Shelby
>> hints" or whatever, and inside put "Hints for this game are available by
>> registering with the author, by sending $10 to 123 Main Street...")

>I don't think this is a good idea. Put yourself in the potential buyer's
>place. He/she plunks money down for this product, runs home, and
>discovers that some games come with hints while others require that he/she
>pay more for hints.

As I said in an earlier thread, I have no problem with including the
Shelby hints and maps on the CD, for exactly the reason stated above.
Or I could develop adaptive hints for the game. I'm fine with that
(though someone'd need to give me an AHS that I could work from
quickly - Neil?). I just don't want that walkthrough on there, that's
all.

Jacob Solomon Weinstein

unread,
Aug 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/19/96
to

Hey, folks--
First, sorry about any confusion regarding my e-mail address. In the past
year, I graduated school, got a real job, and went on to grad school, so
that there are several e-mail addresses floating around. My current one is
jwei...@usc.edu; any variation on that that you see (eg
jwei...@skat.usc.edu, jwei...@girtab.usc.edu) ought to work equally
well.

>Hints: I wish that no game had hints. I am not in the majority on this
>subject. We will be including hints. :-)

It might be a good idea to contact authors and ask if they're aware of a
good hint file for their game, and if there are any
modifications/corrections that ought to be made to it.

Also, in the case of Lost New York (and any other games that use hints as
an incentive for registration), the author might want to consider
including hints for the early part of the game--enough to help a player
get hooked on the thing.

One question that I've seen asked but not Offically ANnwered by the Grand
High Poo-Bah is how much guidance we'll be giving new players on which
games they ought to start with. I mention this because it's of particular
relevance with Modernism--I've gotten e-mail from people asking for help
with it, and I'd hate for somebody to, ah, misunderstand its unique
nature, become frustrated, chuck the CD, etc. Yet one also doesn't want to
give away the point up front; perhaps this is just what the hint file
could be used for.

-Jacob

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Aug 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/19/96
to

Jacob Solomon Weinstein (jwei...@alcor.usc.edu) wrote:
> >Hints: I wish that no game had hints. I am not in the majority on this
> >subject. We will be including hints. :-)

> It might be a good idea to contact authors and ask if they're aware of a
> good hint file for their game, and if there are any
> modifications/corrections that ought to be made to it.

Right.

> Also, in the case of Lost New York (and any other games that use hints as
> an incentive for registration), the author might want to consider
> including hints for the early part of the game--enough to help a player
> get hooked on the thing.

Also right.

Leaving things up to the author may be best.

To answer someone else's question, putting an interactive hint system on
the CD is probably more trouble than it's worth (unless the runtime
is TADS or Inform.) I want to minimize things that can go wrong. Text
files are safe.

> One question that I've seen asked but not Offically ANnwered by the Grand
> High Poo-Bah is how much guidance we'll be giving new players on which
> games they ought to start with. I mention this because it's of particular
> relevance with Modernism--I've gotten e-mail from people asking for help
> with it, and I'd hate for somebody to, ah, misunderstand its unique
> nature, become frustrated, chuck the CD, etc.

We want to give them a *lot* of guidance. It may be the README files, the
paper booklet, the directory structure, or some combination of these. But
there will be some pointer to the games you should start with, the games
you can hit your stride on, and the ones that are for experienced players
only.

> Yet one also doesn't want to
> give away the point up front; perhaps this is just what the hint file
> could be used for.

You will note that as the "difficulty" rating of Modernism, I put "zen".
(Same for Freefall.) My point was pretty much what you said. If the
manual puts Modernism and Freefall in a separate difficulty class, people
will get the idea.

--Z

Jacob Solomon Weinstein

unread,
Aug 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/19/96
to

erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) writes:

>Ooookaaay... thus far, I heave heard from three game authors, including
>me (I talk to myself a lot), all saying "Ugg, I wish you wouldn't include
>the hints from GMD, and maybe none at all."

>This clearly requires more thought. People, speak unto me from the
>player's perspective. If we have no hints or walkthroughs (except the
>built-in hints in some games), will players hate us? More to the point,
>will reviewers and magazines hate us?

Yes and yes, respectively. I admit that I'm of two minds on this. As an
author, I resent the use of walk-thrus to deprive people of the dual
pleasures of playing my game through while relying entirely on their own
creativity and of registering to get the damn hint packet. As a player, I
resent stupid authors who come up with puzzles I can't solve and then
whine about it when I avail myself of a few lousy hints.

Which, by my count, make me a hypocrite three times over.

What I'm saying is that all of us authors are also players, and I think we
ought to realize that, as annoying as it is to have players use hints,
it's
probably better to have them play through with hints/walkthroughs than not
play through at all.

This is particularly true on a compilation whose central point is to bring
in new players.

-Jacob


Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Aug 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/19/96
to

Colm McCarthy (illu...@execpc.com) wrote:
> erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) wrote:

> >ftp.gmd.de has a lot of hint files on these games, but probably doesn't

> >have all of them. Some are hints, some are walkthoughs. We could just dump
> >them on. Or we could try to make them consistent, which essentially means
> >rewriting all of them. (Or we could change our minds and not include
> >hints.) Thoughts?

> >If we include them as is, we would certainly need a note like "Caution:
> >These hint files were contributed by many people. We make no guarantee of
> >quality, accuracy, or freshness."

> I wouldn't be too happy if the Shelby walkthrough on ftp.gmd.de was


> included. If need be, you can include the registered hints and maps
> for the game....if need be.

Ooookaaay... thus far, I heave heard from three game authors, including

me (I talk to myself a lot), all saying "Ugg, I wish you wouldn't include
the hints from GMD, and maybe none at all."

This clearly requires more thought. People, speak unto me from the
player's perspective. If we have no hints or walkthroughs (except the
built-in hints in some games), will players hate us? More to the point,
will reviewers and magazines hate us?

--Z

Roger Giner-Sorolla

unread,
Aug 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/19/96
to

On Mon, 19 Aug 1996, Andrew Plotkin wrote:

> Ooookaaay... thus far, I heave heard from three game authors, including
> me (I talk to myself a lot), all saying "Ugg, I wish you wouldn't include
> the hints from GMD, and maybe none at all."
>
> This clearly requires more thought. People, speak unto me from the
> player's perspective. If we have no hints or walkthroughs (except the
> built-in hints in some games), will players hate us? More to the point,
> will reviewers and magazines hate us?

As far as I know, no graphic adventure/story game comes packaged with its
own solution. Why should text games be any different?

Roger Giner-Sorolla New York University, New York, NY
gi...@xp.psych.nyu.edu Dept. of Psychology (Social/Personality)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The only crime I'm guilty of
Was playing rock 'n' roll -- The Stranglers

Dan Dalton

unread,
Aug 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/20/96
to

Jacob Solomon Weinstein wrote:

>
> erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) writes:
>
> >Ooookaaay... thus far, I heave heard from three game authors, including
> >me (I talk to myself a lot), all saying "Ugg, I wish you wouldn't include
> >the hints from GMD, and maybe none at all."
>
> >This clearly requires more thought. People, speak unto me from the
> >player's perspective. If we have no hints or walkthroughs (except the
> >built-in hints in some games), will players hate us? More to the point,
> >will reviewers and magazines hate us?
>
> Yes and yes, respectively. I admit that I'm of two minds on this. As an
> author, I resent the use of walk-thrus to deprive people of the dual
> pleasures of playing my game through while relying entirely on their own
> creativity and of registering to get the damn hint packet. As a player, I
> resent stupid authors who come up with puzzles I can't solve and then
> whine about it when I avail myself of a few lousy hints.
>
> Which, by my count, make me a hypocrite three times over.
>
> What I'm saying is that all of us authors are also players, and I think we
> ought to realize that, as annoying as it is to have players use hints,
> it's
> probably better to have them play through with hints/walkthroughs than not
> play through at all.
>
> This is particularly true on a compilation whose central point is to bring
> in new players.
>
> -Jacob


If you don't want to read the hints then don't, but I think that choosing
to read the hints or walkthrus should be a moral decision left up to the
players (it is also a nice feeling to know they are there if you need
them). The hint are there to aid not to hinder they don't cry out "READ
ME FIRST!!!!" If having to put your games on the CD means jeopardising
your money-off-hints business then don't put your games on the CD, That
too is a decision left to the programmers. If the CD does well then you're
loses will be repayed if not..like I said it's a decision left to the
programmers.

Dan Dalton
<rim...@shadetree.com>

Julian Arnold

unread,
Aug 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/20/96
to

In article <erkyrathD...@netcom.com>, Andrew Plotkin
<URL:mailto:erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
>
> Ooookaaay... thus far, I heave heard from three game authors, including
> me (I talk to myself a lot), all saying "Ugg, I wish you wouldn't include
> the hints from GMD, and maybe none at all."
>
> This clearly requires more thought. People, speak unto me from the
> player's perspective. If we have no hints or walkthroughs (except the
> built-in hints in some games), will players hate us? More to the point,
> will reviewers and magazines hate us?

I think you should definitely include hints. Hints, not walkthroughs.
Invisiclues/UHS-style hints. Versions of games with online hint
systems.

A proper built-in hint system does wonders to polish a game.
Walkthroughs (those that I've seen from gmd anyway) look bad, often
don't work too well, and aren't actually much use to help a player
become unstuck (for one thing it is often very difficult to locate your
current position in a list of commands without restarting the entire
game from the beginning and plodding through the list until you reach
the right point).

Jools
--


John Baker

unread,
Aug 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/20/96
to

In <Pine.SUN.3.91.960819...@xp.psych.nyu.edu> Roger

Giner-Sorolla <gi...@xp.psych.nyu.edu> writes:
>As far as I know, no graphic adventure/story game comes packaged with
>its own solution....

That is correct. They often come with hint-line 900 numbers and
side-marketed "strategy" books though (at least the few that I've
played have). What is more reasonable? To ask a player to shell out
extra bucks for 900-calls or glossy hint books, expect them to get
hooked up with news (or at the very least email), package solutions
with the games, or leave them h&d? The first option is obviously
beyond our budget.
--
John Baker - http://www.netcom.com/~baker-j
**I boycott all businesses that send me unsolicited email advertisments**
"Honey, I never drive faster than I can see, and besides,
it's all in the reflexes." - Jack Burton

Colm McCarthy

unread,
Aug 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/20/96
to

bak...@ix.netcom.com(John Baker ) wrote:

>In <Pine.SUN.3.91.960819...@xp.psych.nyu.edu> Roger
>Giner-Sorolla <gi...@xp.psych.nyu.edu> writes:
>>As far as I know, no graphic adventure/story game comes packaged with
>>its own solution....

>That is correct. They often come with hint-line 900 numbers and
>side-marketed "strategy" books though (at least the few that I've
>played have). What is more reasonable? To ask a player to shell out
>extra bucks for 900-calls or glossy hint books, expect them to get
>hooked up with news (or at the very least email), package solutions
>with the games, or leave them h&d? The first option is obviously
>beyond our budget.
>--

Well, I'm in a bit of a dilemma here. I've started coding online
adaptive hints for "Shelby's Addendum" (which will only be on the CD
ROM version BTW), and I agree that players should not have to fork out
an extra $10 for hints if they've already bought the CD.

I figure I'm getting paid for this anyway, so I don't care if people
are going to register Shelby or not when they buy the CD, so I'll just
put a "registered" version, sans maps, on there.

Or do we just go with the latest version of the game and forget the
hints? Or include scans of the printed registered materials?

I personally like the idea of "full" game versions for the CD. I'm
curious as to what the other shareware authors have to say on this
subject.

BTW, how long do I have to get this hints system up and running,
Andrew?

Dan Dalton

unread,
Aug 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/20/96
to

Andrew Plotkin wrote:
>
> Colm McCarthy (illu...@execpc.com) wrote:
> > erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) wrote:
>
> > >ftp.gmd.de has a lot of hint files on these games, but probably doesn't
> > >have all of them. Some are hints, some are walkthoughs. We could just dump
> > >them on. Or we could try to make them consistent, which essentially means
> > >rewriting all of them. (Or we could change our minds and not include
> > >hints.) Thoughts?
>
> > >If we include them as is, we would certainly need a note like "Caution:
> > >These hint files were contributed by many people. We make no guarantee of
> > >quality, accuracy, or freshness."
>
> > I wouldn't be too happy if the Shelby walkthrough on ftp.gmd.de was
> > included. If need be, you can include the registered hints and maps
> > for the game....if need be.
>
> Ooookaaay... thus far, I heave heard from three game authors, including
> me (I talk to myself a lot), all saying "Ugg, I wish you wouldn't include
> the hints from GMD, and maybe none at all."
>
> This clearly requires more thought. People, speak unto me from the
> player's perspective. If we have no hints or walkthroughs (except the
> built-in hints in some games), will players hate us? More to the point,
> will reviewers and magazines hate us?
>
> --Z
>
> --
>
> "And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
> borogoves..."

do reviewers and mags hate infocom for doing the very thing you say not to do
when you get stuck you get stuck...hints and walkthrus are not availible
for these games anywhere, and if general people get stuck in an area they
know they may never find any clues (and I've never played on with a good
help or clue system..because what the auther deems as simple may be tough
for other people) or help then they grow bored with the game put it down
and may never touch it again (I had a game like that once with a stupid
help system that said things like "it's right under your nose" and no clues
I bought it in 1988 and got stuck about four hours later stopped playing it
but never stopped mentally working at it. now about a week ago I got the walkthru
and finally know what to do....but the game was so old that the disk fell apart
when I put it in my drive and I can't find a copy now(the company that made it
shut down a few years ago...its not infocom)...oh well guess some things you
never finish.) and they may not by the next one (if another CD is put in the
works) because the remember how cheesy the first one was.

Dan Dalton
<rim...@shadetree.com

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Aug 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/21/96
to

Roger Giner-Sorolla (gi...@xp.psych.nyu.edu) wrote:
> As far as I know, no graphic adventure/story game comes packaged with its
> own solution. Why should text games be any different?

Zork Nemesis came with on-line hints. (And an option to disable them,
which I used.)

More to the point, graphical games tend to try to *sell* you the hints,
as a separate book, for as much as they can extort.

Daniel Oberski

unread,
Aug 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/21/96
to

Ummm... something definitely went wrong here.. I didn't exactly mean
"between thle" and then later "e two". Sorry. Paste "e two" to "puzz-"
after "between th" before "le", and everything is OK again. (more or
less)

my apologies to everyone who though he was decoding some kind ok
Klingon,

Daniel Oberski
da...@dds.nl

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Aug 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/21/96
to

Colm McCarthy (illu...@execpc.com) wrote:
> Well, I'm in a bit of a dilemma here. I've started coding online
> adaptive hints for "Shelby's Addendum" (which will only be on the CD
> ROM version BTW), and I agree that players should not have to fork out
> an extra $10 for hints if they've already bought the CD.

> I figure I'm getting paid for this anyway, so I don't care if people
> are going to register Shelby or not when they buy the CD, so I'll just
> put a "registered" version, sans maps, on there.

> Or do we just go with the latest version of the game and forget the
> hints? Or include scans of the printed registered materials?

> I personally like the idea of "full" game versions for the CD. I'm
> curious as to what the other shareware authors have to say on this
> subject.

> BTW, how long do I have to get this hints system up and running,
> Andrew?

I'd really like to have all the game files ready a month from now. This is
why the suggestion of adaptive hints makes me itch. If we use game files
as they are on GMD, I can have them gathered in a week; the only delay is
author permissions. If we start putting in adaptive hint systems, we could
be here until Christmas and we wouldn't have them all done.

If we have adaptive hints, or even incremental hints (Invisiclues-style),
for just some of the games, it's going to look kind of shoddy.

Lucian Paul Smith

unread,
Aug 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/21/96
to

Andrew Plotkin (erky...@netcom.com) wrote:

: Ooookaaay... thus far, I heave heard from three game authors, including

: me (I talk to myself a lot), all saying "Ugg, I wish you wouldn't include
: the hints from GMD, and maybe none at all."

: This clearly requires more thought. People, speak unto me from the
: player's perspective. If we have no hints or walkthroughs (except the
: built-in hints in some games), will players hate us? More to the point,
: will reviewers and magazines hate us?

: --Z

As a player, I like to be able to get hints for a game. I do not like
walkthroughs. If I had the choice between no hints and walkthroughs, I
would probably pick 'no hints' because having the walkthrough there would
just be more tempation, and if I ever succumbed, I would probably be too
spoiled for my own good.

If gradual hints (like invisiclues) were available, that would be great.
The big problem with this is format, and existence. Existance, because
they need to be written in the first place, and format, because it takes
additional effort to put it into a readable format that doesn't give too
much away in and of itself. I've tried reading the invisiclues for
Infocom's old games from gmd, but all too often I can see too much of the
screen at once. That's why, when I wrote my clues for 'So Far', I put
them in html. This created a _ton_ of files, but it was worth it, in my
view. On a CD, this isn't possible. Maybe Adobe Acrobat could be warped
to do something of the sort, but this would, again, take more effort.

I take it that AHS is the sort of on-line hint system that some games
come with, particularly registered versions. UHS is another format,
created by Jason Strautman (JStra...@aol.com) which reads encrypted
hint files and reveals them in much the same way. A Curses help file
of this type exists, although I don't know of others. I'm also not
exactly sure how much difficulty it is to convert text to his format
(although I'm looking into it).

Be that as it may, if 'So Far' is on the CD, I would be perfectly willing
to donate my hints for it. I would also be willing to work on hints for
other games that I've finished; unfortunately, that's not a very big
list. I would be willing to work on hints for some games I'm halfway
through, but I'm not sure how helpful that would be.

To sum up: Here's my ratings on the various possibilities (0-10, 10 high):

Walkthroughs: 0
No hints: 2
Only cryptic hints (Christminster): 6
Complete hints w/in game (BorderZone): 8
All-text 'invisiclues' (Trinity.inv): 3
On-line 'invisiclues' (sofar.html): 10 ;-) (possibly in UHS or Adobe
Acrobat format????)

-Lucian "Lucian" Smith

Daniel Oberski

unread,
Aug 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/21/96
to

Dan Dalton wrote:
> If you don't want to read the hints then don't, but I think that choosing
> to read the hints or walkthrus should be a moral decision left up to the
> players (it is also a nice feeling to know they are there if you need
> them). The hint are there to aid not to hinder. They don't cry out "READ
> ME FIRST!!!!"

I agree upon this, exept for "hints AND walkthrus". I think there is
a big difference between thle, or even the rest of the game, since you
sometimes read things you don't want to read (because you don't know
what it's about before you read it :e two. A walkthru is a total,
complete definite spoiler for a puzz-) ). A hint is, for me, just what I
need; something pointing me in the right direction. For example, I want
a hint about how to enter the house in Zork 1. I'd appreciate it much
more is someone said: "maybe you should explore the surroundings of the
house more" than someone saying "behind the house is a slightly ajar
window. Open it. enter the house. take the bottle and the sack but don't
eat the lunch or drink the water yet, because you'll be needing them for
the cyclops in the maze later". Writing this, I vaguely recall something
like this in the r.a/g.i-f FAQ...
Anyway, the kind of hints I, as a player, would like to see on such a CD
are somewhere between the "nudges in the right direction" from
Christminster and the last clue from an invisiclues hint in Planetfall.

Daniel Oberski
da...@dds.nl

-----------------------------------------------
"This space intentionally left blank"
-----------------------------------------------

Andrew D. Pontious

unread,
Aug 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/21/96
to

> Colm McCarthy (illu...@execpc.com) wrote:
> > Well, I'm in a bit of a dilemma here. I've started coding online
> > adaptive hints for "Shelby's Addendum" (which will only be on the CD
> > ROM version BTW)

> > I personally like the idea of "full" game versions for the CD. I'm


> > curious as to what the other shareware authors have to say on this
> > subject.
>
> > BTW, how long do I have to get this hints system up and running,
> > Andrew?
>
> I'd really like to have all the game files ready a month from now. This is
> why the suggestion of adaptive hints makes me itch. If we use game files
> as they are on GMD, I can have them gathered in a week; the only delay is
> author permissions. If we start putting in adaptive hint systems, we could
> be here until Christmas and we wouldn't have them all done.
>
> If we have adaptive hints, or even incremental hints (Invisiclues-style),
> for just some of the games, it's going to look kind of shoddy.


IMHO you should have adaptive hints *or* Invisiclues for all games. I
would side with the players that you should have the option of the
hints. I agree that walkthroughs should be out.

I *really* like adaptive hints. I know how the Dave Allen AH system
works for TADS and would be happy to help any author implement them for
his/her game with programming tips and/proofreading, etc.

It would probably be a lot easier, though, just to include an
Invisiclues-type text file with the games that don't already have
adaptive hints. Andrew's got enough going on without waiting for authors
to reprogram and debug new versions, which will *inevitably* have new
errors, just by human nature. It'd be a *little* less sharp to have some
Invisiclues and some adaptive hints, but you have to work with what you
have. Again, I'd be happy to help proofread game author's
hastily-scrawled Invisiclues, if they want the help. I proofread in real
life and would love to be able to contribute to this thing. This goes
for any new text that anyone's going to include in it.

So many people have been offering comments and ideas, I think what I
originally feared might sow divisions in the IF community for the
possible intrusion of selfish self-interest (i.e. money to be gained, me
over you, etc.) has brought the whole crew closer together. (As much as
there is a "crew.") I don't get maudlin like this much, y'know.

Nulldogma

unread,
Aug 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/22/96
to

> I *really* like adaptive hints. I know how the Dave Allen AH system
> works for TADS and would be happy to help any author implement them for
> his/her game with programming tips and/proofreading, etc.
>

I absolutely adore the Dave Allen ahHint system, but it's a lot of work.
You not only have to write all the hints, but also seed flags throughout
the code turning them on and off at appropriate times. And they seem
especially knotty to debug.

> It would probably be a lot easier, though, just to include an
> Invisiclues-type text file with the games that don't already have
> adaptive hints. Andrew's got enough going on without waiting for authors

> to reprogram and debug new versions, which will *inevitably* have new
> errors, just by human nature. It'd be a *little* less sharp to have some

> Invisiclues and some adaptive hints, but you have to work with what you
> have. Again, I'd be happy to help proofread game author's
> hastily-scrawled Invisiclues, if they want the help. I proofread in real

> life and would love to be able to contribute to this thing. This goes
> for any new text that anyone's going to include in it.

That makes more sense, probably.

>
> So many people have been offering comments and ideas, I think what I
> originally feared might sow divisions in the IF community for the
> possible intrusion of selfish self-interest (i.e. money to be gained, me

> over you, etc.) has brought the whole crew closer together. (As much as
> there is a "crew.") I don't get maudlin like this much, y'know.

If you say, "I love you, man," I'm leaving. :)

Nulldogma

unread,
Aug 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/22/96
to

The International Brotherhood of Nitpickers, Bah-Poohers, and Shareware
I-F Authors (i.e., me, Colm McCarthy, and C.E. Forman, the only ones
affected by this unless I've overlooked someone) have reached a decision
on whether or not registered versions (with hints, maps, manuals,
whatever) of Lost New York, Shelby, and Path to Fortune will be included
on the I-F CD:

Not.

There are various reasons for this, but mostly it comes down to the fact
that it's too much trouble for too little return. The tiny handful of
people who buy the CD and want to pay extra for the extra stuff can do so;
everyone else can happily play along without it, just as most people now
do with the free versions at GMD.

Thank you for your time.

Neil

(The above was an unpaid political message from the Independent Committee
to Support the International Brotherhood of Nitpickers, Bah-Poohers, and
Shareware I-F Authors While Evading Campaign Financing Laws. Oops, We
Shouldn't Have Said That, Should We?)

Joe Mason

unread,
Aug 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/22/96
to

"Re: [CD] including hints", declared Andrew Plotkin from the Vogon ship:

AP>Ooookaaay... thus far, I heave heard from three game authors,
AP>including me (I talk to myself a lot), all saying "Ugg, I wish you
AP>wouldn't include the hints from GMD, and maybe none at all."

I think we should contact each author and find out if they want hints or
not. If not, we'll include a note on the CD saying that the author
wants it that way; if they do, we'll write up a *good* hint file,
preferably in Invisiclues format. Some authors may wish to write the
hints themselves, otherwise we'll let them look at the finished hint
file before we put it on, to make sure they approve.

AP>This clearly requires more thought. People, speak unto me from the
AP>player's perspective. If we have no hints or walkthroughs (except the
AP>built-in hints in some games), will players hate us? More to the
AP>point, will reviewers and magazines hate us?

I think *some* will, and I don't see how we'd lose by putting them on.
I do think they should be professional looking and done in a consistent
format - I'm leaning towards Invisiclues.

I also think, if we use the Inivisiclues format, we should type them up
as .z or .gam files, so that we could use the game interpreters as hint
readers. That way, players only have to learn one app and we can still
give them a professional looking menuing system for their hints.

Joe

-- Coming soon: "In the End", a work of Interactive Fiction --
-- More about the 1996 IF Contest at rec.arts.int-fiction --
-- October 1 at ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/competition96 --

ş CMPQwk 1.42 9550 şROM BIOS Error: Press <F13> to continue...

JlB1925

unread,
Aug 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/23/96
to

> Which, by my count, make me a hypocrite three times over.
Three? Sounds like this sentnce has three erors.
---
Liam Burke
"The Super-Clean Pill: No one knows exactly what this is, but after
taking it bubbles come out of the Troubleshooter's mouth and his hair
smells food-vat fresh."
-Paranoia Rule Supplement Dealing with MBDs

Ross Raszewski

unread,
Aug 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/23/96
to Roger Giner-Sorolla

Roger Giner-Sorolla wrote:
>
> On Mon, 19 Aug 1996, Andrew Plotkin wrote:
>
> > Ooookaaay... thus far, I heave heard from three game authors, including
> > me (I talk to myself a lot), all saying "Ugg, I wish you wouldn't include

> > the hints from GMD, and maybe none at all."
> >
> > This clearly requires more thought. People, speak unto me from the
> > player's perspective. If we have no hints or walkthroughs (except the
> > built-in hints in some games), will players hate us? More to the point,

> > will reviewers and magazines hate us?
>
> As far as I know, no graphic adventure/story game comes packaged with its
> own solution. Why should text games be any different?

Because almost every single graphic game sells a hint book seperately for
mucho dinero. That or has a 1-900 number for hints.

Michael C. Martin

unread,
Aug 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/25/96
to

Jacob Solomon Weinstein wrote:
>
> erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) writes:
>
> What I'm saying is that all of us authors are also players, and I think we
> ought to realize that, as annoying as it is to have players use hints,
> it's
> probably better to have them play through with hints/walkthroughs than not
> play through at all.

Absolutely. And there is NOTHING that will turn someone off to IF
faster than to get into a game and come across puzzles they absolutely
can not solve and for which there are no hints available. That person
will not only never finish that game, he or she will likely throw the
whole CD into the closet with a frustrated "feh!"

We need to keep in mind we are producing the CD for the customer, not
the authors of the games (so far as actually playing the games goes, I
mean). If the customers want hints, and I am inclined to think that the
majority do, then we should include hints.

> This is particularly true on a compilation whose central point is to bring
> in new players.
>
> -Jacob

The hints are a necessity ESPECIALLY for new IF players. IF takes a
little getting used to. Even seasoned players need occasional hints,
and if you don't have internet access, hints arn't available on most of
these games to the average buyer. Hell, if someone had never gave me a
hint on the "free bird" puzzle in COLOSSAL CAVE oh so many years ago, I
may have never continued playing it or bought further IF games like ZORK
(I may not have even bought my first computer! COLOSSAL CAVE had an
awful lot to do with that)!

Mike

Colm McCarthy

unread,
Aug 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/26/96
to

I agree with the above. The problem is that I cannot produce and
satisfactorily test an online hints system for "Shelby's Addendum" in
the time that's been allotted (what is it? Three weeks to deadline
now?).

Perhaps the hint book can be included as a text file at the last
minute, but for now I think it's rather certain that the shareware
games on the CD will remain just that.

Gerry Kevin Wilson

unread,
Aug 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/26/96
to

Well, let's see.

I think it's pretty apparent that most folks agree that there need to be
hints on the CD for the games. However, we are undecided on how to
include them.

Under Inform, the obvious way to go is to emulate the solid gold versions
of the Infocom games and use an online invisiclues system. This could be
done by anyone with any experience doing it and an author-approved
hintbook in front of them. It wouldn't need much testing either, save to
check for typos.

Under TADS, the obvious system is the one David Baggett used in _Legend
Lives!_. It's an invisiclues system that takes into account the lack of
screen control under TADS. His system only asks about stuff you've seen,
but that isn't really too necessary. Again, without the context
sensitivity of Legend, it isn't hard to test.

Now, I understand that folks will be all huffy over having all hints
available at all points. But really, isn't it more important to just have
the hints in the first place? If we all keep arguing, it won't get done,
and the Project will suffer, and that's silly.

So get some volunteers will to help code up hints in Inform and TADS,
figure out exactly which hints will be used, and let them go to work.
Have them code it as an includeable file so it can just be slapped into
the games with minimum effort.

And of course, here is my last ditch suggestion.

Write the hints as a text file. However, encode the hints (not the hint
titles) by swapping letters. i.e.:

WHAT DO I DO WITH THE MAGIC FOOZLE?
tis opewr si caitavetd yb aeitgn ti. (Its power is activated by eating
it.)

This code is easily decodeable with only a little effort, and yet you
cannot understand the hints at a glance. The main problem here is that it
takes more effort with this system than with an online system. More
editing, more perusal by authors, etc. Typos in this system are easy to
make.

Above all, pick a method now and get started on it. We're holding up the
show, and we'll be wanting at the least a pre-Christmas release.
--
<~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|~~~~~~~>
< Join in the 1996 Interactive Fiction Competition. | ~~\ >
< The Deadline is September 30, 1996. Enter, judge, betatest or ?? | /~\ | >
<_______________________...@uclink.berkeley.edu_|_\__/__>

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Aug 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/26/96
to

Gerry Kevin Wilson (whiz...@uclink.berkeley.edu) wrote:
> So get some volunteers will to help code up hints in Inform and TADS,
> figure out exactly which hints will be used, and let them go to work.
> Have them code it as an includeable file so it can just be slapped into
> the games with minimum effort.
>
> Above all, pick a method now and get started on it. We're holding up the
> show, and we'll be wanting at the least a pre-Christmas release.

Actually, I think the hard part is *writing* the hints. I'd like all the
hint and game files ready in a month. I don't think a small group can do a
thorough job on all the games.

My idea at this point is to have not hints, but sort of small vague "try
this" guides. Neil dM knows what I'm talking about better than I do,
because it was his idea, but I look forward to seeing it. :)

This would not give away the solutions to every puzzle in every game.
People would still get stuck. However, with lots of games, they wouldn't
get stuck in every game.

This sounds like a weird half-assed measure, but the advantages:

* Reviewers would not be able to say we refused to give hints.
* We're not giving blatant spoilers.
* They can be in plain text files without giving blatant spoilers.
(Although it may be better to have separate TADS/Inform game files.
I'm not going to ask all the authors to recompile the things directly
into their games.)
* It doesn't destroy the registration carrot for those shareware games
that offer hints for registrees.
* We can do them in time, ie, quickly. (I have a volunteer.)

Mark J Tilford

unread,
Aug 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/26/96
to

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


On 26 Aug 1996, Gerry Kevin Wilson wrote:

<snip>


> And of course, here is my last ditch suggestion.
>
> Write the hints as a text file. However, encode the hints (not the hint
> titles) by swapping letters. i.e.:
>
> WHAT DO I DO WITH THE MAGIC FOOZLE?
> tis opewr si caitavetd yb aeitgn ti. (Its power is activated by eating
> it.)
>
> This code is easily decodeable with only a little effort, and yet you
> cannot understand the hints at a glance. The main problem here is that it
> takes more effort with this system than with an online system. More
> editing, more perusal by authors, etc. Typos in this system are easy to
> make.
>

If anybody ends up using this method, couldn't people just write oridinary
text and use a simple program to do the letter flipping? This would
greatly simplify searching for typos.


Nulldogma

unread,
Aug 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/26/96
to

> My idea at this point is to have not hints, but sort of small vague "try
> this" guides. Neil dM knows what I'm talking about better than I do,
> because it was his idea, but I look forward to seeing it. :)

Okay, here's a sample, for Lost New York, off the top of my head:


ON LIBERTY ISLAND
Have You Tried...


Talking to the old man?


Examining the gumball machine?


Looking everywhere in the museum?


Listening to the park ranger?


[etc.]

I'd envision maybe 30-40 of these, tops, for the whole game. I've gotten
enough feedback by now (and seen enough posts on r.g.i-f) to see where
people often need a nudge.

It'd probably be easiest for authors to do these themselves, but in the
case of time restraints or (ahem) ideological objections, they should be
simple enough for anyone who knows the game well to do.

Neil

Joe Mason

unread,
Aug 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/26/96
to

"Re: [CD] including hints", declared Lucian Paul from the Vogon ship:

LP>On-line 'invisiclues' (sofar.html): 10 ;-) (possibly in UHS or Adobe
LP> Acrobat format????)

I think the obvious format choice for these is to put them in Z-Machine
format or TADS .gam format (to correspond with the game that the hints
or for) and put a text file explaining this. Then you could implement
each as a menu.

Joe

-- Coming soon: "In the End", a work of Interactive Fiction --
-- More about the 1996 IF Contest at rec.arts.int-fiction --
-- October 1 at ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/competition96 --

ş CMPQwk 1.42 9550 şThe truth is more important than the facts.

Matthew Daly

unread,
Aug 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/27/96
to

erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) writes:
>This sounds like a weird half-assed measure, but the advantages:
>
>* Reviewers would not be able to say we refused to give hints.
>* We're not giving blatant spoilers.
>* They can be in plain text files without giving blatant spoilers.
> (Although it may be better to have separate TADS/Inform game files.
> I'm not going to ask all the authors to recompile the things directly
> into their games.)
>* It doesn't destroy the registration carrot for those shareware games
> that offer hints for registrees.
>* We can do them in time, ie, quickly. (I have a volunteer.)

Don't forget that there is a mitigating factor, which is that you
can push rec.games.int-fiction as being a newsgroup you can go to
for hints, or any of the various places on Compuserve/AOL/etc for
I-F help. Indeed, getting hints/walkthroughs posted to those
places and/or putting knowledgable people around there to answer
questions would increase word-of-mouth sales for the CD project.

I agree that having on-line hints is a good thing, but this sounds
like an acceptable stopgap measure. I think it will pay off for
you in more positive reviews and more appreciative novice
customers.

-Matthew
--
Matthew Daly I don't buy everything I read ... I haven't
da...@ppd.kodak.com even read everything I've bought.

My opinions are not necessarily those of my employer, of course.

Lucian Paul Smith

unread,
Aug 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/27/96
to

Mark J Tilford (mjti...@artsci.wustl.edu) wrote:

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


'Jot', an X-windows editor on my SGI here, has a command, 'Transpose'
which reverses highlighted text. It would be a fairly simple matter to
use this to encode invisiclue-like files.

I could at least use this to encode my 'So Far' hints, although at one
point Andrew indicated putting on the walkthrough instead. Andrew?

-Lucian "Lucian" Smith

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Aug 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/27/96
to

Matthew Daly (da...@PPD.Kodak.COM) wrote:
> erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) writes:
> >This sounds like a weird half-assed measure, but the advantages:
> >
> >* Reviewers would not be able to say we refused to give hints.
> >* We're not giving blatant spoilers.
> >* They can be in plain text files without giving blatant spoilers.
> > (Although it may be better to have separate TADS/Inform game files.
> > I'm not going to ask all the authors to recompile the things directly
> > into their games.)
> >* It doesn't destroy the registration carrot for those shareware games
> > that offer hints for registrees.
> >* We can do them in time, ie, quickly. (I have a volunteer.)

> Don't forget that there is a mitigating factor, which is that you
> can push rec.games.int-fiction as being a newsgroup you can go to
> for hints, or any of the various places on Compuserve/AOL/etc for
> I-F help. Indeed, getting hints/walkthroughs posted to those
> places and/or putting knowledgable people around there to answer
> questions would increase word-of-mouth sales for the CD project.

Getting access to Usenet will *destroy* word-of-mouth sales for any
particular customer. "You can get hints for these games, for free, on the
Net! Well, actually you can get the games themselves for free too."

I'm not putting customers in that position. If they come across mention of
this thing on the Net, they should know that these games are freely
downloadable. We can point out that the CD is much more convenient, has
nifty articles, doesn't take an hour of download time, that we've selected
the best games for them, etc, etc. But we will at least *mention* the
existence of GMD.DE.

The primary audience is people without Net access, or whose Net skills
are too rudimentary to be able to download a game and interpreter and
get them running.

Phil Goetz

unread,
Aug 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/27/96
to

In article <321B46...@dds.nl>, Daniel Oberski <da...@dds.nl> wrote:
>Dan Dalton wrote:
>> If you don't want to read the hints then don't, but I think that choosing
>> to read the hints or walkthrus should be a moral decision left up to the
>> players (it is also a nice feeling to know they are there if you need
>> them). The hint are there to aid not to hinder. They don't cry out "READ
>> ME FIRST!!!!"
>
>I agree upon this, exept for "hints AND walkthrus". I think there is
>a big difference between thle, or even the rest of the game, since you
>sometimes read things you don't want to read (because you don't know
>what it's about before you read it :e two. A walkthru is a total,
>complete definite spoiler for a puzz-) ).

I think you're overlooking Dan Dalton's point: Let the reader
do what he wants. If he wants a walkthru, that should be his decision.
Not yours.

The files could be separated into hint files and walkthrus
(which I believe they already are on GMD), with a note somewhere
explaining the difference.

Phil Go...@cs.buffalo.edu

Christopher E. Forman

unread,
Aug 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/28/96
to

Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
: Actually, I think the hard part is *writing* the hints. I'd like all the

: hint and game files ready in a month. I don't think a small group can do a
: thorough job on all the games.

Well, PTF already has a hint system, so that's one down.

I simply don't want to include the hints and maps because (and this is no
doubt the most childish reason imaginable, but bear with me)... because I
am extremely frustrated by the lack of registrations I've been getting.
If no one will register to get the hints, why would they register to NOT
get them? (I know, hints aren't the only reason to register.)

--
C.E. Forman cef...@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu
Classic I-F FS/FT in Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe! (Mail me for current stock.)
Read XYZZYnews at http://www.interport.net/~eileen/design/xyzzynews.html
Vote I-F in 1996! Visit http://www.xs4all.nl/~jojo/pcgames.html for info!
"Circle of Armageddon", Vol. 2 of "The Windhall Chronicles" arrives Feb 1997!


Michael C. Martin

unread,
Aug 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/28/96
to

Andrew Plotkin wrote:
>
> My idea at this point is to have not hints, but sort of small vague "try
> this" guides. Neil dM knows what I'm talking about better than I do,
> because it was his idea, but I look forward to seeing it. :)
>
> This would not give away the solutions to every puzzle in every game.
> People would still get stuck. However, with lots of games, they wouldn't
> get stuck in every game.

This would be a good compromise, but care needs to be exercised to
ensure that the hints are not SO vague as to be useless. Using the
classic "Invisiclues" style of gradually giving progressively better
hints would be best, and would also tie the CD in even further with the
classic Infocom games which helped make IF so popular in the early 80's.

Mike

Colm McCarthy

unread,
Aug 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/28/96
to

cef...@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu (Christopher E. Forman) wrote:

>Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
>: Actually, I think the hard part is *writing* the hints. I'd like all the
>: hint and game files ready in a month. I don't think a small group can do a
>: thorough job on all the games.

>Well, PTF already has a hint system, so that's one down.

>I simply don't want to include the hints and maps because (and this is no
>doubt the most childish reason imaginable, but bear with me)... because I
>am extremely frustrated by the lack of registrations I've been getting.
>If no one will register to get the hints, why would they register to NOT
>get them? (I know, hints aren't the only reason to register.)

This is one of the reasons I have chosen not to include a version of
Shelby with hints, aside from the fact that it's impossible for me to
create an AHS in the time allotted.

I thought it had already been decided that we weren't including hints,
as unpopular as that decision might be. I believe we're offering
discounted registrations to buyers of the CD, but correct me if I'm
wrong.

Nulldogma

unread,
Aug 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/28/96
to

> I thought it had already been decided that we weren't including hints,
> as unpopular as that decision might be.

We (you, me, Chris -- the Shareware Three) did decide that. The floor is
currently considering a request from Andrew that we (i.e., all the
authors) instead provide some limited hint files, along the lines of the
sample I posted earlier.

> I believe we're offering
> discounted registrations to buyers of the CD, but correct me if I'm
> wrong.

Well, I am. Or I want to. How I'll know who's a CD owner or not, I have no
idea. (Do CDs come with proof-of-purchase labels?)

John Holder

unread,
Aug 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/29/96
to

Gerry Kevin Wilson (whiz...@uclink.berkeley.edu) wrote:
: WHAT DO I DO WITH THE MAGIC FOOZLE?
: tis opewr si caitavetd yb aeitgn ti. (Its power is activated by eating
: it.)

: This code is easily decodeable with only a little effort, and yet you
: cannot understand the hints at a glance. The main problem here is that it

I would prefer ROT13. Just tell the player to use this chart:
ABCDEFGHIJKLM
NOPQRSTUVWXYZ

and substitue any letter on the top row with the one below it,
and vice-versa. So the above example becomes:

WHAT DO I DO WITH THE MAGIC FOOZLE?

Vgf cbjre vf npgvingrq ol rngvat vg.

--
John Holder (jho...@frii.com) http://www.frii.com/~jholder/
UNIX Specialist, Paranet Inc., Denver, Colorado, USA, Earth
Death is just God's way of dropping carrier detect...

Matthew Daly

unread,
Aug 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/29/96
to

erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) writes:
>
>Getting access to Usenet will *destroy* word-of-mouth sales for any
>particular customer. "You can get hints for these games, for free, on the
>Net! Well, actually you can get the games themselves for free too."
>
>I'm not putting customers in that position. If they come across mention of
>this thing on the Net, they should know that these games are freely
>downloadable. We can point out that the CD is much more convenient, has
>nifty articles, doesn't take an hour of download time, that we've selected
>the best games for them, etc, etc. But we will at least *mention* the
>existence of GMD.DE.
>
>The primary audience is people without Net access, or whose Net skills
>are too rudimentary to be able to download a game and interpreter and
>get them running.

I agree with you completely. And I don't mind telling you that I am one
of these people. I know Usenet, and I know my way around Compuserve,
but I get lost on the WWW, and get hives just thinking about ftp and
the like.

In fact, I just sat and marvelled at the existence of these games while
reading this newsgroup from a distance until I whined and some kind
soul at Kodak read the message and gave me a couple disks with a number
of .Z5 games and an interpreter. (THANKS!!!! <g>)

Since then, I've built up my courage to visit GMD.DE (or one of the
mirrors, I guess) but then I was faced with the other thing that you
mentioned. There are hundreds of games there and many of them are
no doubt of a fairly substandard quality. I don't know the good from
the bad -- the only real standard I have for judging is by the traffic
in games.i-f, but that doesn't say too much about the quality. So,
to coin a phrase, water water everywhere but not a drop for drinking.

In a nutshell, even though I know everything I should know, I think
there is a good chance that I'll be buying a copy of the disk anyway.

Ross Raszewski

unread,
Aug 30, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/30/96
to John Holder

John Holder wrote:
>
> Gerry Kevin Wilson (whiz...@uclink.berkeley.edu) wrote:
> : WHAT DO I DO WITH THE MAGIC FOOZLE?
> : tis opewr si caitavetd yb aeitgn ti. (Its power is activated by eating
> : it.)
>
> : This code is easily decodeable with only a little effort, and yet you
> : cannot understand the hints at a glance. The main problem here is that it
>
> I would prefer ROT13. Just tell the player to use this chart:
> ABCDEFGHIJKLM
> NOPQRSTUVWXYZ
>
> and substitue any letter on the top row with the one below it,
> and vice-versa. So the above example becomes:
>
> WHAT DO I DO WITH THE MAGIC FOOZLE?
> Vgf cbjre vf npgvingrq ol rngvat vg.
>

But why bother encoding them at all? It's not the job of the wirter to
keep the players from spoiling the game for themselves by reading the
hints. After all, rthey're _looking_ for you to take the challenge out
of it!

Carl D. Cravens

unread,
Sep 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/2/96
to

On Fri, 23 Aug 1996 17:32:47 -0700, Ross Raszewski <rras...@skipjack.bluecrab.org> wrote:
>> As far as I know, no graphic adventure/story game comes packaged with its
>> own solution. Why should text games be any different?
>
>Because almost every single graphic game sells a hint book seperately for
>mucho dinero. That or has a 1-900 number for hints.

(Welcome me back, as if anybody missed me.)

For what it's worth, Activision's latest release of the Infocom games in
"The X Collection" sets have a card for a 1-900 number (95 cents a
minute) and the InvisiClues collections... $11 for all the clue books
for the individual collection.

(I finally got around to finishing Trinity in the past couple days,
having gotten The Adventure Collection for Christmas and letting it sit
for months. I'm not sure I would have *ever* figured out how to get the
key if I hadn't looked at the copy of the clue book on GMD.)

--
Carl (rave...@southwind.net)
Squirt guns don't squirt people, kids do.

Carl D. Cravens

unread,
Sep 7, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/7/96
to

On Fri, 30 Aug 1996 15:25:51 -0700, Ross Raszewski <rras...@skipjack.bluecrab.org> wrote:
>> WHAT DO I DO WITH THE MAGIC FOOZLE?
>> Vgf cbjre vf npgvingrq ol rngvat vg.
>
>But why bother encoding them at all? It's not the job of the wirter to
>keep the players from spoiling the game for themselves by reading the
>hints. After all, rthey're _looking_ for you to take the challenge out
>of it!

Because the reader doesn't want to accidentally read hints he's not
looking for. When you finally resort to looking at a hint file, it's
hard to avoid looking at other clues while you're there. Not because of
temptation, but because it's too easy to see "The foozle is activated by
eating it." when it comes two lines above what you're wanting to read.

I wouldn't advocate making it difficult or tedious for the player to
'translate' clues, but I think designing some method of preventing
'accidental discovery'. Preferably a hint engine, kinda like UHS maybe,
that only displays what the player wants. If the hints are in a
plaintext file, separating hints with white space (so you can't have
more than one set on the screen at a time) and ROT13 encoding them would
make it 'safer' to resort to the hint file without spoiling things you
didn't want hints for.

Infocom's InvisiClues were pretty nifty, actually... they solved this
problem quite well. ROT13 is simply an ascii version of invisible ink.
:)

--
Carl (rave...@southwind.net)
You can tell the character of a man by the friends he keeps.
-Dr. Ed Cole

Mark J Tilford

unread,
Sep 7, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/7/96
to

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

Why not use the infoclue utility to create hint files for Inform?


On Sat, 7 Sep 1996, Carl D. Cravens wrote:
> On Fri, 30 Aug 1996 15:25:51 -0700, Ross Raszewski <rras...@skipjack.bluecrab.org> wrote:

<snip>

bout...@razor.wcc.govt.nz

unread,
Sep 9, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/9/96
to

In article <32276A...@skipjack.bluecrab.org>, Ross Raszewski <rras...@skipjack.bluecrab.org> writes:

>John Holder wrote:
>> I would prefer ROT13. Just tell the player to use this chart:
>> ABCDEFGHIJKLM
>> NOPQRSTUVWXYZ
>>
>> and substitue any letter on the top row with the one below it,
>> and vice-versa. So the above example becomes:
>>
>> WHAT DO I DO WITH THE MAGIC FOOZLE?
>> Vgf cbjre vf npgvingrq ol rngvat vg.
>>
>
>But why bother encoding them at all? It's not the job of the wirter to
>keep the players from spoiling the game for themselves by reading the
>hints. After all, rthey're _looking_ for you to take the challenge out
>of it!

They're generally looking for the solution to one puzzle - this system would
stop them spoiling later puzzles by inadvertently catching a glimpse of plain
english clues.

-Giles

Carl D. Cravens

unread,
Sep 9, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/9/96
to

On Sat, 7 Sep 1996 21:29:07 -0500, Mark J Tilford <mjti...@artsci.wustl.edu> wrote:

>Why not use the infoclue utility to create hint files for Inform?

Because not all games are written in Inform. And we're talking about
games that other people have written and the CD organizers may not have
sourcecode to recompile, or permission to modify, recompile and
distribute.

--
Carl (rave...@southwind.net)
New Mail not found. Start whine-pout sequence? (Y/N)

Carl Muckenhoupt

unread,
Sep 9, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/9/96
to

rave...@southwind.net (Carl D. Cravens) writes:

>>But why bother encoding them at all? It's not the job of the wirter to
>>keep the players from spoiling the game for themselves by reading the
>>hints. After all, rthey're _looking_ for you to take the challenge out
>>of it!

>Because the reader doesn't want to accidentally read hints he's not


>looking for. When you finally resort to looking at a hint file, it's
>hard to avoid looking at other clues while you're there. Not because of
>temptation, but because it's too easy to see "The foozle is activated by
>eating it." when it comes two lines above what you're wanting to read.

>I wouldn't advocate making it difficult or tedious for the player to


>'translate' clues, but I think designing some method of preventing
>'accidental discovery'. Preferably a hint engine, kinda like UHS maybe,
>that only displays what the player wants. If the hints are in a
>plaintext file, separating hints with white space (so you can't have
>more than one set on the screen at a time) and ROT13 encoding them would
>make it 'safer' to resort to the hint file without spoiling things you
>didn't want hints for.

>Infocom's InvisiClues were pretty nifty, actually... they solved this
>problem quite well. ROT13 is simply an ascii version of invisible ink.
>:)

Hmm. This makes me think.
In Invisiclues, there was still the problem that you could see all the
*questions*. They dealt with it by mixing in fake questions, but this
solution is less than ideal (if somewhat amusing). In-game hint systems
can solve the problem by only giving you hints for the puzzles you've
encountered (either through one of the "adaptive hints" libraries, or,
in older games, by giving each room a "help" message.) In an external
hint file, this is not an option. So how can one deliver the help that
the user needs, and *only* that help?

Simple: A search engine. Let the user specify some significant keyword
(e.g., "foozle") and pull up the relevant hint thread. If the keyword is
used in many hints, let the user view them all or narrow the search.
It probably wouldn't be hard to write a UHS front end that behaves like
this, given permission.

--
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!

Magnus Olsson

unread,
Sep 9, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/9/96
to

In article <32276A...@skipjack.bluecrab.org>,

Ross Raszewski <rras...@skipjack.bluecrab.org> wrote:
>John Holder wrote:
>>
>> Gerry Kevin Wilson (whiz...@uclink.berkeley.edu) wrote:
>> : WHAT DO I DO WITH THE MAGIC FOOZLE?
>> : tis opewr si caitavetd yb aeitgn ti. (Its power is activated by eating
>> : it.)

(...)

>> I would prefer ROT13. Just tell the player to use this chart:
>> ABCDEFGHIJKLM
>> NOPQRSTUVWXYZ
>>
>> and substitue any letter on the top row with the one below it,
>> and vice-versa. So the above example becomes:

(...)

>But why bother encoding them at all? It's not the job of the wirter to
>keep the players from spoiling the game for themselves by reading the
>hints. After all, rthey're _looking_ for you to take the challenge out
>of it!

Well, players generally don't want all of the challenge taken out of
the entire game at once, which can easily happen if you get a long
list of unencrypted hints - it's easy to read too far.

Encrypting the hints (or printing them in invisible ink which needs a
special pen to be read) pretty much eliminates the risk of anybody
reading one hint too many out of accident. Of course, it's still no
defence against weakness of character.

IMHO, Whizzard's proposed encryption scheme is good enough to prevent
unintentional reading, while simple enough not to make it too much of
a pain to read the hints. ROT13 is a bit too complicated for me -
since I have to refer to the code key all the time, it simply takes
too long to decrypt the hints. But I suppose that with enough training
I'd be able to read ROT13 straight off the screen :-)


Finally: I think Ross is looking down his nose a bit at people who
need hints. Sure, use of hints takes away the challenge, but it does
happen that one gets totally stuck at some puzzle - perhaps because of
some parser problem, perhaps because one is just missing some small
detail somewhere. After a while, that puzzle will turn into a show
stopper; the challenge of solving it will be replaced by irritation
and the enjoyment of the game is ruined. In such cases I can't blame
*anyone* for wanting a hint...

--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se)

Torbj|rn Andersson

unread,
Sep 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/10/96
to

b...@max.tiac.net (Carl Muckenhoupt) wrote:

> In Invisiclues, there was still the problem that you could see all the

> *questions*. They dealt with it by mixing in fake question, but this


> solution is less than ideal (if somewhat amusing).

[I'm not saying that this is an ideal way of doing things, but it
reminded me of ...]

I think Magnetic Scrolls had a pretty amusing way of dealing with
hints in "Corruption". For each set of hints, there were several
questions; one real and the rest were fake ones. And often, the
first few hints would fit each of the questions.

So a typical, albeit not very helpful, set of hints/questions might
look like:

Why can't I park my car on the street outside?
What is insider dealing?

-> It's illegal.
-> Ask a lawyer if you don't believe me.

The fact that you had to type in a string of seemingly random
characters to decrypt the hint made them less tempting to look at,
too, but that was of course less than amusing ... :-)

_
Torbjorn

Mark J Tilford

unread,
Sep 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/10/96
to

On Mon, 9 Sep 1996, Carl D. Cravens wrote:

> On Sat, 7 Sep 1996 21:29:07 -0500, Mark J Tilford <mjti...@artsci.wustl.edu> wrote:
>
> >Why not use the infoclue utility to create hint files for Inform?
>
> Because not all games are written in Inform. And we're talking about
> games that other people have written and the CD organizers may not have
> sourcecode to recompile, or permission to modify, recompile and
> distribute.

I wasn't suggesting modifying the original games; instead, create a
separate file with just hints.

> --
> Carl (rave...@southwind.net)
> New Mail not found. Start whine-pout sequence? (Y/N)
>
>

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


David Kinder

unread,
Sep 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/11/96
to

Torbj|rn Andersson (d91...@csd.uu.se) wrote:
: Why can't I park my car on the street outside?

: What is insider dealing?
:
: -> It's illegal.
: -> Ask a lawyer if you don't believe me.

: The fact that you had to type in a string of seemingly random
: characters to decrypt the hint made them less tempting to look at,
: too, but that was of course less than amusing ... :-)

Even less amusing was the fact that on a C64 the strings sometimes
didn't fit into the input buffer. How I laughed at that one...

David

George Caswell

unread,
Sep 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/12/96
to

On 9 Sep 1996, Carl Muckenhoupt wrote:

> rave...@southwind.net (Carl D. Cravens) writes:
>
> hint file, this is not an option. So how can one deliver the help that
> the user needs, and *only* that help?
>

How about letting the user ask the question? It should be possible to
expand a parser to include a few question formats, at least...

....T...I...M...B...U...K...T...U... ____________________________________
.________________ _/>_ _______......[George Caswell, CS '99. 4 more info ]
<___ ___________// __/<___ /......[ http://www.wpi.edu/~timbuktu ]
...//.<>._____..<_ >./ ____/.......[ Member LnL+SOMA, sometimes artist, ]
..//./>./ /.__/ /./ <___________.[writer, builder. Sysadmin of adamant]
.//.</.</</</.<_ _/.<_____________/.[____________________________________]
</.............</...................


Steffen Einsle

unread,
Sep 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/15/96
to

how about encrypting the hints in a separate file,
publishing a list of codes, and expand the parser,
so that it reads the encrypted file, print out the
decrypted hint?
code could be about 8 chars each ... and be used
as a reference index for the hint file ...
(I did this for the infocom collection,
the complete hint file is about 800 Kb,
and frotz was easy to modify.)

c.u.