How to handle alcohol consumption in IF?

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Nicholas Daley

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Feb 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/17/98
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At present I'm working (slowly) on a game which includes a bar. So I
was wondering how should I handle the effects of drinking alcohol.
I had two ideas on this:
1-Have some sort of counter indicating the amount of alcohol in the
player's system, and a daemon reporting the effects of the alcohol,
ranging from clumsiness to falling asleep for several turns.

or 2-The game is in a scifi setting, so I may be able to provide a
reason for the alcohol having no effect on the player. This could also
be the solution to a puzzle (eg Having to drink someone under the table
to get something off them).

Of course I could remove all alcohol from the game completely, but it's
supposed to be in the cyberpunk genre, and cyberpunk generally has
crime, alcohol, drugs, etc all indicative of the decay of society.

Anyway to the point, does anyone else have any thoughts on which would
be best, or any other ideas on how I could manage it?
--
Nicholas Daley
<mailto:link_...@geocities.com>

"Retail:The art of making money by convincing others that
they need or want things which they don't."
- Me

Lelah Conrad

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Feb 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/17/98
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On Tue, 17 Feb 1998 14:31:32 +1300, Nicholas Daley <-@-.-> wrote:

This could also
>be the solution to a puzzle (eg Having to drink someone under the table
>to get something off them).

Want some rye? 'COURSE ya do!

(cf Return to Zork, if you're not familiar with that puzzle. I loved
drinking Boos under the table...)

Laurel Halbany

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Feb 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/17/98
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On Tue, 17 Feb 1998 14:31:32 +1300, Nicholas Daley <-@-.-> wrote:

>At present I'm working (slowly) on a game which includes a bar. So I
>was wondering how should I handle the effects of drinking alcohol.
>I had two ideas on this:

The daemon would be fine for 'incremental' drugs like alcohol; for
something with very serious effects that are long lasting (say, LSD)
you might change the player. Say, in Inform, move the player into a
"stoned player object" with totally different rules.


Kenneth Fair

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Feb 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/17/98
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In article <34e900f7...@news.efn.org>, lco...@lane.k12.or.us (Lelah
Conrad) wrote:

> Want some rye? 'COURSE ya do!
>
>(cf Return to Zork, if you're not familiar with that puzzle. I loved
>drinking Boos under the table...)

Heh. Ever' now and then, I'll say "Want some rye?" to one of my roommates.

"Dayumn few!"

--
KEN FAIR - U. Chicago Law | <http://student-www.uchicago.edu/users/kjfair>
Of Counsel, U. of Ediacara | Power Mac! | CABAL(tm) | I'm w/in McQ - R U?
"Any smoothly functioning technology will be
indistinguishable from a rigged demo." Isaac Asimov

IF

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Feb 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/17/98
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Nicholas Daley wrote:

> At present I'm working (slowly) on a game which includes a bar. So I
> was wondering how should I handle the effects of drinking alcohol.

Just as a note, the game I'm working on also has a bar, but is
structured quite linearly (choose-your-own-adventure style) so it's much
easier to deal with. The difficulty I think arrises in writing accurate
descriptions of being drunk, with varying levels of drunkeness, and without
falling into cliche:

>LOOK
You fall down.

>STAND UP
You're too drunk

>VOMIT
Sure.

Etc. Anyone know where I could find some more effective descriptions? Any
books spring immediatly to mind?

Ian Finley
the "Still under drinking age" newbie


Bill

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Feb 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/17/98
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You two are the first who have mentioned that they like that puzzle.
Thanks!

Bill Volk
(I worked on that game, but not that puzzle ... I'm resposible for the
dreaded bra-box and slide puzzle)...

Kenneth Fair wrote in message ...

Gunther Schmidl

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Feb 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/18/98
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Hey, I liked the whole game. It was pretty good, and the puzzles were quite
logical (except that the witch didn't show up a second time when you flew to
her home instead of going there with the boat)

[Putting on heavy flame-resistant suit and hiding behind a mile-thick teflon
coating]

I even liked LGOP2. Well, it had its moments. Especially when playing as the
alien.

--
+------------------------+----------------------------------------------+
+ Gunther Schmidl + "I couldn't help it. I can resist everything +
+ Ferd.-Markl-Str. 39/16 + except temptation" -- Oscar Wilde +
+ A-4040 LINZ +----------------------------------------------+
+ Tel: 0732 25 28 57 + http://gschmidl.home.ml.org - new & improved +
+------------------------+---+------------------------------------------+
+ sothoth (at) usa (dot) net + please remove the "xxx." before replying +
+----------------------------+------------------------------------------+


Bill schrieb in Nachricht <6cdc5s$9dv$1...@ha2.rdc1.sdca.home.com>...

Lelah Conrad

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Feb 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/18/98
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On Tue, 17 Feb 1998 17:05:59 -0800, "Bill" <bv...@inetworld.net>
wrote:

. I'm resposible for the

>dreaded bra-box ...
>

Whoa, you actually take responsibility for that bra-box puzzle? :)

Lelah

Bill

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Feb 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/18/98
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... it's sole purpose was to slow down the game reviewers who had panned the
previous game ... in large part due to the speed in which they solved the
puzzles. Yes, it's silly and dumb .... but it is tricky.

Bill
(who did the game engine and much of the user interface on RTZ).

Lelah Conrad wrote in message <34ea7f9d...@news.efn.org>...

Joe Mason

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Feb 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/18/98
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In article <34E98DFB...@ix.netcom.com>,

IF <mord...@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
>
>Etc. Anyone know where I could find some more effective descriptions? Any
>books spring immediatly to mind?
>
>Ian Finley
>the "Still under drinking age" newbie

<KNOCK-KNOCK> What are you boys doing in there?

Uh... Research, Mom!! I wanna make my next game realistic!

Joe


Joe Mason

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Feb 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/18/98
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In article <34E8E874.1F525FAC@-.->, Nicholas Daley <dal...@ihug.co.nz> wrote:
>
>or 2-The game is in a scifi setting, so I may be able to provide a
>reason for the alcohol having no effect on the player. This could also

>be the solution to a puzzle (eg Having to drink someone under the table
>to get something off them).

Personally, I wimped out in _In The End_ and just pretended it was water.
Somebody pounced on that in a review. I'll do it better next time! :-)

If its in a cyberpunk setting (as you mentioned but I snipped - oops!) you
could give the player a Toxin Filter and give the player strange messages
like "You'll feel an odd buzzing behind your ears as your toxin filter kicks
in and purges the alcohol from your system." Perhaps it could break down
occasionally and "The world swims for a moment." It would let you code
occasional reactions to alcohol, adding atmosphere, without having to
implement game mechanics for the player walking around drunk for a long time.

(For a really mean trick, make it a bargain basement Toxin Filter. Warn the
player that it stores up all the alcohol that's been drunk, and if it
overloads before there's a chance to purge it, it'll release it all into the
bloodstream at once. That oughta be fun.)

Joe

Matthew T. Russotto

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Feb 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/18/98
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In article <6cfe55$l3a$1...@ha2.rdc1.sdca.home.com>,

Bill <bv...@inetworld.net> wrote:
}... it's sole purpose was to slow down the game reviewers who had panned the
}previous game ... in large part due to the speed in which they solved the
}puzzles. Yes, it's silly and dumb .... but it is tricky.
}
}Bill
}(who did the game engine and much of the user interface on RTZ).

<Phony British Accent Mode:on>
Oh....My....God...Magnum
<Phony British Accent Mode:off>

This means that the bra-box puzzle was created for... a KUNKEL!

--
Matthew T. Russotto russ...@pond.com
"Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in pursuit
of justice is no virtue."

Russell "Coconut Daemon" Bailey

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Feb 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/19/98
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> (who did the game engine and much of the user interface on RTZ).

Really. I rather liked that interface. One of the better GUI-IF approaches
I've seen. The other one I really like is the Legend game engine used in
Shannara, Deathgate, Companions of Xanth, etc...

Curiousity: Those of you on this group who aren't opposed to GUI-IF: what type
of interaction implementation do you favor?

Russell


Alan Conroy

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Feb 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/20/98
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I've never played any of the above games, but I've given some thought
to graphics and IF. A couple of definitions before the following: GUI
does not mean Windows or graphics. You can have graphics without the
UI and windowing without graphics. When I say GUI, I mean something
in which buttons, drop-down menus, cursors, and/or mouse/joystick are
integral to the UI.

The GUI should provide control over the *presentation* of the game,
but should not be integral to the playing of the game. For instance,
the GUI allows you to quit the program, change window size, turn
graphics on and off, etc. If some common options (save and restore,
for instance) were part of the GUI, I wouldn't have a problem with
them so long as the GUI is not required for their use. In fact, I'd
probably use them (especially if they had a browse ability). However,
many people find GUIs offensive for some reason and you shouldn't
force them to use it to accomplish playing the game. Second, not
requiring a GUI means that a non-GUI interpreter can still run the
game on a non-GUI architecture.

If graphics are used in the presentation of the game (not just for the
UI), that should be optional. I should be able to turn them on or
off.

The previous rule implies the following, but this also should apply to
GUIs which do not allow graphics to be optional: graphics should not
be required to play the game - even if you can't turn them off. There
should still be text and the text UI should be all that is required.
In fact, most GUI actions should directly translate into textual
commands (at least conceptually). So if you click on an object with
the "eye" icon, it should translate to "Examine object". But I should
not be forced to use the GUI to examine something. A game which
forced me into such a limited interaction with my environment would
not be played for long (at least by me).

If graphics are used, it should not be an excuse to make the game into
a real-time eye-hand coordination arcade-style experience. When I am
in a room, I should be able to pan around, look up and down, etc
without being bothered, even if a hungry dragon were in the room with
me. This is because human vision shows much more to us than what the
typical 3D graphics screen does. Looking around is how you get
peripheral vision in that case. Once I move or do some other action,
then a turn happens ("Yum" says the dragon).

So why use graphics at all? I believe there are two good reasons to
do so: 1) a picture is worth a thousand words. The layout of a room
or of a complex object may be difficult to describe, or interact with,
unless you resort to a lot of verbage. Since excess verbage is
undesirable, the result of this has been that most IF games have very
simplistic room shapes (usually no shape is given - they are
shapeless). More on this later. 2) It should add to the experience,
making it more memorable.

Regarding point 1: IF is fairly deterministic by nature - you must
defeat the evil NPC to reach your goal, for instance. In order to
provide the illusion of a non-deterministic experience, it is
important to allow the player options in HOW the challenges are
overcome. Sometimes, this means that the game allows two or more ways
around a challenge. However, the same effect can be given if the
means by which the NPC is defeated is entirely (loose usage warning!)
up to the player. In this case, the very shape of the room itself
could be used to advantage: "Good NPC, you hide around this corner in
the room, I'll hide on the west side of this pillar and when the bad
guy walks in, we'll catch him in a crossfire". Note that this implies
a layout kind of graphic rather than a first-person view. With this
sort of graphic interface, I can exactly place things in relation to
other things - something rather difficult with today's IF technology.
NOTE: To those who take issue with the last statement, I did not say
it was "impossible", just difficult. Also note that the above is a
simplistic example for illustration purposes - much more difficult
placement problems can be described with a little more effort. So,
using a room layout could provide a level of strategy that is
impossible without it. Does this contradict the earlier statement
about not requiring graphics to play the game? Not at all. The
graphics simply allow more options in solving the problem. Such
precise placement of persons or objects should not be required to
solve a challenge unless, of course, the textual interface allows the
same degree of freedom.

Regarding point 2: It can be argued that graphics take away from the
experience rather than adding to it. The imagination, stoked by a
good textual description, is much more vivid than any 3D true-color
graphics. However, I don't suggest using graphics in place of good
text or on behalf of those with no imagination (although it does solve
those two "problems"). Rather, I suggest graphics for their ability
to enhance the experience. For instance, if I climb the stairs, it is
nice to see them flow past me as I smoothly ascend them - it adds to
the sense of realism by providing a degree of "immersion" The same
could be said about sounds: "Hey, the crickets are still chirping even
though the textual mention of it scrolled off the screen several
minutes ago". In this example, how do you textually remind the player
of the crickets? Do you say "You still hear crickets chirping" at the
end of each turn? That would lead someone to believe that there is
something vitally important about the crickets, even though they are
simply there for ambience. So, usually a single reference to them in
a prosaic passage is all that is done. I, it is all that is
necessary. But isn't the experience enhanced somewhat by the
continual background sound of crickets? And if someone disagrees,
they should be able to turn the sound off too.

As far as music goes, since we're on the topic of sound, all I will
say is there had better be a way to turn it off! Also, graphics,
sound, and music should be independantly enabled so that any one or
two of them can be heard/seen without requiring the other(s).

In summary, graphics should be used to enhance the text, not replace
it. Point-and-click should be optional - you should have a decent
parser. Turns should progress only when an action (other than looking
around) is commenced by the player - no real-time!

- Alan Conroy

The views expressed in this post are mine and not necessarily those of my spouse, employer, government, or God.
But then again...

Iain Merrick

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Feb 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/20/98
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Russell "Coconut Daemon" Bailey wrote:

> > (who did the game engine and much of the user interface on RTZ).
>
> Really. I rather liked that interface. One of the better GUI-IF approaches
> I've seen. The other one I really like is the Legend game engine used in
> Shannara, Deathgate, Companions of Xanth, etc...
>
> Curiousity: Those of you on this group who aren't opposed to GUI-IF: what type
> of interaction implementation do you favor?
>

> Russell

I think that 'Myst' and 'Riven' have better interfaces than any similar
game I've played (this doesn't include any of the ones you mention,
though).

Perhaps this is merely the 'mac user effect', but I loved the fact that
you used _just the mouse_ and nothing else: no keypresses, no status bar
or 'action buttons' cluttering up the screen, no multiple/modified
clicks to perform different actions. No muss, no fuss.

To me, it almost felt like I was actually using my hands to manipulate
the various levers, buttons etc - though Myst was better in this respect
because it ran faster on my sluggish mac clone. :)

The weakness of Myst, of course, was that you could only hold one object
at a time, but the puzzles were designed such that this didn't really
matter (except that if you wanted to see _everything_ you had to go
traipsing around every level _twice_...)

Riven fixed this problem very nicely - when you move the cursor to the
bottom of the screen, clickable icons representing the objects in your
possession appear. Even so, there are less than half-a-dozen objects to
pick up in the whole game!

I guess there's a tentative analogy with textual IF, where the keyboard
rather than the mouse is the sole means of interaction; this
(potentially) makes it easier to model interaction with NPCs. I'm
eagerly awaiting Starship Titanic, which promises to merge these two
paradigms in a novel way - Douglas Adams is even more of a mac-freak
than I am. :)

Geesh, that turned out longer than I anticipated. Better stop there.

Iain Merrick

PS - Well, just one more paragraph. I've seen a couple of references to
a review of Riven which states that it 'breaks every law of gameplay and
user-interface design' (presumably in the bad sense). Has anyone seen
the original? How did the critic justify this statement?

Iain Merrick

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Feb 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/20/98
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Iain Merrick wrote:
>
> Russell "Coconut Daemon" Bailey wrote:
>
> > > (who did the game engine and much of the user interface on RTZ).
> >
> > Really. I rather liked that interface. One of the better GUI-IF approaches
> > I've seen. The other one I really like is the Legend game engine used in
> > Shannara, Deathgate, Companions of Xanth, etc...
> >
> > Curiousity: Those of you on this group who aren't opposed to GUI-IF: what type
> > of interaction implementation do you favor?
> >
> > Russell
>
> I think that 'Myst' and 'Riven' have better interfaces than any similar
> game I've played (this doesn't include any of the ones you mention,
> though).

[...]

Whoops, I misread the previous post: that doesn't really address your
question.

Um, put it this way. I _hope_ Starship Titanic has a good implementation
of interaction. :)

Bill

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Feb 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/20/98
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Iain Merrick wrote in message <34ED6A...@cs.york.ac.uk>...

>I think that 'Myst' and 'Riven' have better interfaces than any similar
>game I've played (this doesn't include any of the ones you mention,
>though).

and...

>The weakness of Myst, of course, was that you could only hold one object
>at a time, but the puzzles were designed such that this didn't really
>matter (except that if you wanted to see _everything_ you had to go
>traipsing around every level _twice_...)

Our goal with RTZ was to allow for complex object on object puzzles. What
we believed is that the adventure gamers wanted the traditional puzzle
structure of a text adventure, even if the market wanted a graphical game.
So we actually implimented a reverse parser that constructed sentences in
real time ... as you moved thru the animated representations of the actions
on the pop up (diamond shaped) menu. Stuff like "Light the straw with the
match" actions...

In many ways RTZ was the right game at the right time. Did really well
(over 1Million units).

The advantage of text games is the invisability of verbs. You DON'T know
all the possibilities. That makes the game possibilities far richer.

Bill

Gunther Schmidl

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Feb 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/20/98
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>In many ways RTZ was the right game at the right time. Did really well
>(over 1Million units).
>
>The advantage of text games is the invisability of verbs. You DON'T know
>all the possibilities. That makes the game possibilities far richer.

It definitely had the most flexible, interesting GUI-based parser I've seen.
However, you could render the game impossible to win very quickly (throw
away stone in first picture - bingo!)

Bill

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Feb 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/20/98
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All I can say is .... Opssss.... but I thought the rock was retreviable at
some later local???

But seriously, I'd still like to take the RTA GUI work a bit farther...
Activision went the way of Myst in Zork, Nemisis ... but have come back to
more of a puzzle 'bent in Grand Inquistor...

I've been in the educational software biz since '94 ... educational
adventures actually....

Bill

Gunther Schmidl wrote in message
<34ee0...@alijku02.edvz.uni-linz.ac.at>...

Russell "Coconut Daemon" Bailey

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Feb 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/20/98
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> I've been in the educational software biz since '94 ... educational
> adventures actually....

Now there's a field that has benefited a lot from GUI and multimedia.

Russell


Kenneth Fair

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Feb 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/21/98
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In article <EoL8z...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca>,
jcm...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca (Joe Mason) wrote:

No problem. If anyone needs research on the effects of various alcohol
drinks, I volunteer to perform the research and report my findings.

*hic*


--
KEN FAIR - U. Chicago Law | <http://student-www.uchicago.edu/users/kjfair>
Of Counsel, U. of Ediacara | Power Mac! | CABAL(tm) | I'm w/in McQ - R U?

"UN-altered REPRODUCTION and DISSEMINATION of this IMPORTANT Information
is ENCOURAGED, ESPECIALLY to COMPUTER BULLETIN BOARDS." - Bob McElwaine

Bill

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Feb 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/23/98
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Russell "Coconut Daemon" Bailey wrote in message
<34EE3ADE...@erols.com>...


>> I've been in the educational software biz since '94 ... educational
>> adventures actually....
>
>Now there's a field that has benefited a lot from GUI and multimedia.


Hopefully we've advanced the state of the art a bit. Bascially we found
that if you want a wide audiance of children to run thru educational
activities ... wrapping them up in the context of an adventure (i.e. a story
where they play a role in resolving a conflict/crises) helps.

For example a lunar base is about to get hit by an asteroid. That sort of
thing.

Bill

Ethan DIcks

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Feb 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/23/98
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In article <6cl2rg$6am$1...@ha2.rdc1.sdca.home.com>,

Bill <bv...@inetworld.net> wrote:
>Gunther Schmidl wrote in message
>>However, you could render the game impossible to win very quickly (throw
>>away stone in first picture - bingo!)
>All I can say is .... Opssss.... but I thought the rock was retreviable at
>some later locale???

Yes.
Spoiler Space

It's down the hill, somewhere near the lighthouse.

While the idea of games entering an impossible to win state being desirable or
not is a matter for some debate, I did like the fact that if you did something
that screwed your chances of winning, you were told (stealing, killing, etc.)

-ethan


--
Ethan Dicks http://www.infinet.com/~erd/
(dicks) at (math) . (ohio-state) . (edu) sellto: postmaster@[127.0.0.1]

harvestbot fodder: pres...@whitehouse.gov fcc...@fcc.gov root@[127.0.0.1]

Mark J. Tilford

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Feb 24, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/24/98
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On 23 Feb 1998 17:53:29 GMT, Ethan DIcks <di...@math.ohio-state.NO.SPAM.edu> wrote:
>While the idea of games entering an impossible to win state being desirable or
>not is a matter for some debate, I did like the fact that if you did something
>that screwed your chances of winning, you were told (stealing, killing, etc.)
>
>-ethan
>

Well, what if you, say, gave the coin to the ferryman instead of showing it to him?

--
-----------------------
Mark Jeffrey Tilford
til...@cco.caltech.edu

Bill

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Feb 24, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/24/98
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Would he take it?

Bill
Mark J. Tilford wrote in message ...

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