Randomness in Games

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The Grim Reaper

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Sep 17, 1994, 6:07:05 PM9/17/94
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In article <35fke5...@gecko.cis.ohio-state.edu>,
john t baker <bak...@cis.ohio-state.edu> wrote:
>I'm about a third of the way through the implementation of my first
>interactive fiction game, and I wanted to take a poll of opinions. In
>my game there is an obstacle (a pit), and the chance of the player
>being able to jump it is completely random. There is no other way past
[...]
>As a player, would that frustrate you, or would you kind of view it like
>the troll in Zork I, where it's no big deal that it's random 'cause once
>you get past it once you don't have to deal with it again?

I don't like this sort of thing, myself. It doesn't really add anything
to the game, IMO, since it's just the toss of dice whether you go over or
not. And with save/restore, why bother just making them restore the game?
Unless, of course, the death message is really cool :P
On the other hand, I was assuming the pit means death if you fall into it.
If you can climb the other side or something, then sure, I don't mind
falling in sometimes, as long as it doesn't kill me.
Or, in a different case, if the game has a place where the player has to
fight somebody, I wouldn't mind random messages, as long as the result
isn't random (ie, you hack at him for a couple rounds, and then always manage
to kill him).

>--
>John Baker
>"It ain't an easy life being a self-parody."
> - John Baker

+----------------------------------------------------------+
| One .sig to rule them all, one .sig to find them... |
| One .sig to bring them all and in the darkness bind them |
+----------------------------------------------------------+
| The Grim Reaper (Reaper of Souls, Stealer of .sigs) |
| scy...@u.washington.edu |
+----------------------------------------------------------+

David Michael Tuller

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Sep 17, 1994, 6:03:23 PM9/17/94
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In article <35fke5...@gecko.cis.ohio-state.edu>, bak...@cis.ohio-state.edu (john t baker) writes:
|> I'm about a third of the way through the implementation of my first
|> interactive fiction game, and I wanted to take a poll of opinions. In
|> my game there is an obstacle (a pit), and the chance of the player
|> being able to jump it is completely random. There is no other way past
|> the pit until the character is on the other side, when they will find
|> information that will allow them to successfully navigate the pit
|> 100% of the time in the future for that game.

|>
|> As a player, would that frustrate you, or would you kind of view it like
|> the troll in Zork I, where it's no big deal that it's random 'cause once
|> you get past it once you don't have to deal with it again?

I would prefer that you eliminate the randomness. How is the player supposed
to know that they could make if they tried again? Suppose someone was
trying to get past the pit, but kept falling in. They would (naturally)
assume that there is something else to do before you can make it across and
may not realize that it is random until someone tells them. This would be
unfair to the player unless you hint (subtly) that there is randomness
involved.

David M. Tuller
tul...@rpi.edu

john t baker

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Sep 17, 1994, 6:34:09 PM9/17/94
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Oh... something I forgot to mention. I need the pit as it is necessary
to solve another puzzle in the game. I want it to *look* like an
obstacle, it's real use is as a solution to a puzzle. And examining
the pit will all but bonk the player over the head with the fact that
it's random (50/50) as to whether they get across or not.

John Payson

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Sep 17, 1994, 9:39:48 PM9/17/94
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In article <35fqt1...@gecko.cis.ohio-state.edu>,

john t baker <bak...@cis.ohio-state.edu> wrote:
>Oh... something I forgot to mention. I need the pit as it is necessary
>to solve another puzzle in the game. I want it to *look* like an
>obstacle, it's real use is as a solution to a puzzle. And examining
>the pit will all but bonk the player over the head with the fact that
>it's random (50/50) as to whether they get across or not.

I generally disapprove of randomness in games. In Zork III, for example,
there's a random chance that when you dive under the water you will get
munched by a fish. Can even happen the first time you do it. I fail to
see how this adds *ANYTHING* to the game. Similarly, one is supposed to
wait until one has grown in strength before attacking the thief in Zork I.
With save/restore, however, this is not necessary. IMHO, one should either
have what it takes to solve a puzzle or not. Being able to randomly bluff
one's way though doesn't cut it.

There are a *few* places where I don't mind randomness TOO much; in Sorceror,
for example, if one visits the amusement park before the toll road, there is
a (random) way to get one's Zorkmid back, but it's much easier to just visit
the toll road first as the recovery is much easier via that route. So here
randomness is the penalty one pays for not being too clever, though one still
has to solve a puzzle to get through it.
--
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
supe...@mcs.com | "Je crois que je ne vais jamais voir... | J\_/L
John Payson | Un animal si beau qu'un chat." | ( o o )

john t baker

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Sep 17, 1994, 4:43:49 PM9/17/94
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I'm about a third of the way through the implementation of my first
interactive fiction game, and I wanted to take a poll of opinions. In
my game there is an obstacle (a pit), and the chance of the player
being able to jump it is completely random. There is no other way past
the pit until the character is on the other side, when they will find
information that will allow them to successfully navigate the pit
100% of the time in the future for that game.

As a player, would that frustrate you, or would you kind of view it like
the troll in Zork I, where it's no big deal that it's random 'cause once
you get past it once you don't have to deal with it again?

This is all rather sketchy information, I know, but please mail or post your
opinions, as I'm probably going to go with majority opinion on this.

David Baggett

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Sep 18, 1994, 1:12:28 AM9/18/94
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In article <35fqt1...@gecko.cis.ohio-state.edu>,

john t baker <bak...@cis.ohio-state.edu> wrote:

>And examining the pit will all but bonk the player over the head with the
>fact that it's random (50/50) as to whether they get across or not.

My sense is that players generally despise things that kill them randomly,
much as they despise mazes, which game authors love.

Also, putting randomness in your game will make it a big pain to regression
test with scripts. (If you're using TADS, you do this by specifying a
script name with -i to the tr command and a logging file with -l.)

I worked around this in WorldClass by having a "deterministic mode" (not
really a correct term, but close in spirit) that makes the random numeber
function return fixed values that the solve script can rely on.

Dave Baggett
__
d...@ai.mit.edu MIT AI Lab He who has the highest Kibo # when he dies wins.
ADVENTIONS: We make Kuul text adventures! Email for a catalog of releases.

russell wallace

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Sep 18, 1994, 9:06:13 AM9/18/94
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In <35fpa9$8...@news.u.washington.edu> scy...@u.washington.edu (The Grim Reaper) writes:

>In article <35fke5...@gecko.cis.ohio-state.edu>,
>john t baker <bak...@cis.ohio-state.edu> wrote:
>>I'm about a third of the way through the implementation of my first
>>interactive fiction game, and I wanted to take a poll of opinions. In
>>my game there is an obstacle (a pit), and the chance of the player
>>being able to jump it is completely random. There is no other way past
>[...]
>>As a player, would that frustrate you, or would you kind of view it like
>>the troll in Zork I, where it's no big deal that it's random 'cause once
>>you get past it once you don't have to deal with it again?

>I don't like this sort of thing, myself. It doesn't really add anything
>to the game, IMO, since it's just the toss of dice whether you go over or
>not. And with save/restore, why bother just making them restore the game?
>Unless, of course, the death message is really cool :P
>On the other hand, I was assuming the pit means death if you fall into it.
>If you can climb the other side or something, then sure, I don't mind
>falling in sometimes, as long as it doesn't kill me.

I can't see much point in the random pit puzzle myself (because it has
no element of skill or thought), though at the same time I don't think
it does much harm, all you need do is save-jump-restore until you're
over, shouldn't take more than a minute or two.

>Or, in a different case, if the game has a place where the player has to
>fight somebody, I wouldn't mind random messages, as long as the result
>isn't random (ie, you hack at him for a couple rounds, and then always manage
>to kill him).

Here I don't agree; the better your combat skill, weapons and armor (and
the better the tactics you the player use, where applicable) the better
your chance should be, but the result of a combat should never be
predetermined. Randomness has a place in games, IMO, and combat is that
place.

--
"To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem"
Russell Wallace, Trinity College, Dublin
rwal...@vax1.tcd.ie

mam...@pomona.claremont.edu

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Sep 18, 1994, 12:58:42 PM9/18/94
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On 17 Sep 1994 16:43:49 -0400,
john t baker <bak...@cis.ohio-state.edu> wrote:

>I'm about a third of the way through the implementation of my first
>interactive fiction game, and I wanted to take a poll of opinions. In
>my game there is an obstacle (a pit), and the chance of the player
>being able to jump it is completely random. There is no other way past

>the pit until the character is on the other side, when they will find
>information that will allow them to successfully navigate the pit
>100% of the time in the future for that game.

>As a player, would that frustrate you, or would you kind of view it like


>the troll in Zork I, where it's no big deal that it's random 'cause once
>you get past it once you don't have to deal with it again?

This does not sound like a good idea. If you give good hints that the
chance of death when first crossing the pit is random, then there's no
point in killing to poor sap at all. Save-jump-restore, etc. If you don't
hint it, the player make get very frustrated after dying the first time.
How about just making a simple puzzle to get across the pit the first time?

Matthew

Robert A. DeLisle

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Sep 18, 1994, 6:40:23 PM9/18/94
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I don't play rpg because I think these random fights are stupid.
I play intelligent games which depend on thought rather than action.
Sometimes I do play an action type game, but it is not rpg or 3d.
AAD
Oh, that pit would be frustrating. Make it a puzzle.

john t baker (bak...@cis.ohio-state.edu) wrote:
: I'm about a third of the way through the implementation of my first

Felix Lee

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Sep 18, 1994, 8:39:32 PM9/18/94
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Russell Wallace:

>Randomness has a place in games, IMO, and combat is that
>place.

Well, as long as the game gives me some sort of feedback about my odds
of success, then I don't mind. If it's a blind chance situation, then
you might as well make it deterministic. I'll just save+restore at
that point until I succeed.

One of the most useful objects in "nethack" is a stethoscope, which
tells you exactly how many hitpoints an enemy has. Information like
this actually makes the game more interesting, because it increases
the range of tactical choices. If you can't assess an enemy's
condition, then the choices you make are mostly arbitrary.

These days, most combat-style arcade games will show you precise life
bars for your enemies. They also have a deterministic combat
framework: attacking with X under conditions Y will do exactly Z
amount of damage. There's randomness in enemy behavior, but not in
the mechanics of combat.
--

Eric Smith

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Sep 18, 1994, 8:57:51 PM9/18/94
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In article <35g5p4$r...@Mercury.mcs.com> supe...@MCS.COM (John Payson) writes:
> There are a *few* places where I don't mind randomness TOO much; in Sorceror,
> for example, if one visits the amusement park before the toll road, there is
> a (random) way to get one's Zorkmid back, but it's much easier to just visit
> the toll road first as the recovery is much easier via that route.

Unfortunately the Apple II ZIP interpreter supplied with Sorcerer had a *very*
non-random "random number generator", such that it was actually impossible to
win the slot machine. I didn't realize there was another solution, so I
found and fixed the random number generator. (I had previously disassembled
an earlier version of the interpreter.)

My advice: don't make anything completely dependent on the randomness of a
random number generator. Make sure there's a way to solve the problem even if
the RNG is stuck.

Eric

Greg Ewing

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Sep 19, 1994, 12:43:27 AM9/19/94
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|> the chance of the player
|> being able to jump it is completely random. There is no other way past
|> the pit until the character is on the other side, when they will find
|> information that will allow them to successfully navigate the pit
|> 100% of the time in the future for that game.

I'd suggest that you make the pit inconvenient but non-lethal,
and have the player always fall in the first time. If he only
has to cross it once before finding the information, there's
not much point in making it random, since that would mean he
stood a 50% chance of missing out on the fun of doing it
the hard way.

If the pit must be crossed several times before finding out how
to avoid it, there might be some merit in making it random
to relieve boredom. But only if it has to be crossed enough
times for the player to experience it both ways.

In any case, it should definitely *not* be randomly lethal.
With save/restore, that's just purely annoying.

|> John Baker

Greg Ewing, Computer Science Dept, +--------------------------------------+
University of Canterbury, | A citizen of NewZealandCorp, a |
Christchurch, New Zealand | wholly-owned subsidiary of Japan Inc.|
gr...@cosc.canterbury.ac.nz +--------------------------------------+

Andrew C. Plotkin

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Sep 19, 1994, 12:13:03 PM9/19/94
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Excerpts from netnews.rec.arts.int-fiction: 18-Sep-94 Re: Randomness in
Games mam...@pomona.claremont (1143)

> If you give good hints that the
> chance of death when first crossing the pit is random, then there's no
> point in killing to poor sap at all. Save-jump-restore, etc.

I agree. When I'm restoring and trying and restoring and trying, I'm not
having fun. Furthermore, I'm thinking that the author has wasted an
obstacle -- a place where I might have had fun puzzling -- with this
tedium.

Here's a related question. There is a time-honored adventure game puzzle
called "Pick The Right Object." You have three keys, or four spheres, or
ten numbers on the combination dial, and you have to Pick The Right One
to pass a certain spot. The idea is that this is impossible until you
get a clue from elsewhere in the game, and you only get one try, so you
can't search exhaustively.

How do you handle this as a game-writer? The naive solution, just having
a correct object hard-wired in, is shaky -- the player might get it by
accident, thus skipping this other part of your beautiful plot. Or he
could solve it by save-test-restore-test-restore... again, ruining your
plot *and* violating the premise of adventure gaming (namely, that the
player should pretend he's really in the situation.)

Selecting the right answer at random at the beginning of each game
doesn't solve this problems (although it's better in a couple of other
respects.)

The standard "right way" is to leave the correct answer indeterminate --
*all* the objects are wrong -- until the player finds the clue. But
that's aesthetically icky, because a exhaustive save-test-restore search
will seem to imply that all the objects really are wrong, and then later
when the player finds the clue, it will seem contradictory.

Any ideas?

--Z

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

Paul Francis Gilbert

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Sep 19, 1994, 10:07:20 PM9/19/94
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bak...@cis.ohio-state.edu (john t baker) writes:

Randomness can be just too frustrating in puzzles like this. I agree that it
has its place in combat, but not in puzzles like this. Even if you more less
"bonk" the player on the head that it's random, it destroys the purpose of it
being random in the first place, and additionally the player just might think
it too mean that what the game was actually telling it was that it wasn't sure,
but when he tries to jump and gets killed the first time, he'll assume that
he just can't jump far enough.

An alternate way to do it would be either
i) Form another minipuzzle to complete (say for example finding or making a
pogo-stick :-> )
ii)Keeping the jump as random, but if he falls, have him land jarringly in the
chasm bottem (losing HPs if its that sort of game), and allowing him to
climb up the chasm walls on either side.


--
Paul Gilbert | s940...@yallara.cs.rmit.edu.au
Bach App Sci, Bach Eng | The opinions expressed are my own, all my own, and
Year 1, RMIT Melbourne | as such will contain no references to small furry
Australia | creatures from Alpha Centauri.

Felix Lee

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Sep 19, 1994, 10:00:22 PM9/19/94
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Darin Johnson:
>One thing I learned when porting Dungeon, is how combat works.
>The more points you have, the stronger you are.

yah, I think I figured that out when I set out to kill the thief as
early as possible. It was noticeably harder, but that just meant I
had to retry more often before I succeeded. The combat system didn't
add much to the gameplay.
--

DBlaheta

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Sep 20, 1994, 12:36:07 AM9/20/94
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bak...@cis.ohio-state.edu sez:

>I'm about a third of the way through the implementation of my first
>interactive fiction game, and I wanted to take a poll of opinions. In
>my game there is an obstacle (a pit), and the chance of the player
>being able to jump it is completely random. There is no other way past
>the pit until the character is on the other side, when they will find
>information that will allow them to successfully navigate the pit
>100% of the time in the future for that game.

Why not have a one-way, one-time possibility for getting to the other
side? Thus:

At The Pit

You approach the edge of the pit, looking to cross. You certainly
couldn't jump... well, maybe, but your chances would be at most 50-50 of
crossing. There *has* to be another way across...

etc.

>As a player, would that frustrate you, or would you kind of view it like
>the troll in Zork I, where it's no big deal that it's random 'cause once
>you get past it once you don't have to deal with it again?

Well, it'd prolly bug me if I didn't know what was going on (and maybe if
I did)

>This is all rather sketchy information, I know, but please mail or post
your
>opinions, as I'm probably going to go with majority opinion on this.

Whatever you do, don't make it totally random. That's just stupid. Make
it (like in Sorceror) so that there is a 'right way' of solving the
puzzle, and have the random pit be a backdoor or a "passage" which "opens"
upon solving the puzzle on the other side. Puzzles of this sort abound in
IF.

>--
>John Baker
>"It ain't an easy life being a self-parody."
> - John Baker

Don Blaheta
dbla...@aol.com

Robert Paige Rendell

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Sep 19, 1994, 8:47:34 PM9/19/94
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bak...@cis.ohio-state.edu (john t baker) writes:

>I'm about a third of the way through the implementation of my first
>interactive fiction game, and I wanted to take a poll of opinions. In
>my game there is an obstacle (a pit), and the chance of the player
>being able to jump it is completely random. There is no other way past
>the pit until the character is on the other side, when they will find
>information that will allow them to successfully navigate the pit
>100% of the time in the future for that game.

I gather that the idea is that you don't want the player to blithely
hop back and forth over the pit without finding the info on the far side of
it and solving that particular puzzle. Since randomness, from other posts
in this thread, is verboten, I would suggest making it an automatic success
the first time they jump the pit, and after that, you could make it random
(or even automatic failure). Of course, it's important to let the player
know that the odds have changed after the first jump... perhaps something
like:

> jump pit
You back up a bit, and take a running leap at the four-meter-wide pit. Half
way across, you realise that you're not going to make it, but it's about
two meters too late for second thoughts.

*** SPLAT ***

You hit the far wall, and scrabble for handholds... and your hand grabs a
protruding rock, a short way below the lip of the pit! You hang there for a
second, catching your wind, until the rock lets you know, by wobbling, that
it isn't terribly secure. You scramble up, dislodging the rock just as you
make it over the lip. Seven seconds later, you hear the faint sound of stone
impacting on stone.

--
Robert Rendell \((/
ren...@molly.cs.monash.edu.au ~oo~
What do you know about Tweetle beetles? Well... /))\

Darin Johnson

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Sep 19, 1994, 8:54:03 PM9/19/94
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> Russell Wallace:
> >Randomness has a place in games, IMO, and combat is that
> >place.
>
> Well, as long as the game gives me some sort of feedback about my odds
> of success, then I don't mind. If it's a blind chance situation, then
> you might as well make it deterministic. I'll just save+restore at
> that point until I succeed.

One thing I learned when porting Dungeon, is how combat works.
The more points you have, the stronger you are. Most of the
formulas and all are pretty much worthless though, but it's
fun to see all the messages.
--
Darin Johnson
djoh...@ucsd.edu
Support your right to own gnus.

Brian Brushwood

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Sep 20, 1994, 4:30:25 AM9/20/94
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john t baker (bak...@cis.ohio-state.edu) wrote:
: I'm about a third of the way through the implementation of my first

: interactive fiction game, and I wanted to take a poll of opinions. In
: my game there is an obstacle (a pit), and the chance of the player
: being able to jump it is completely random. There is no other way past
: the pit until the character is on the other side, when they will find
: information that will allow them to successfully navigate the pit
: 100% of the time in the future for that game.

I think its a lame idea....if you want to stop them from coming back the
same way, why dont you have a bridge which collapses after you've been
over it? or a rock fall which blocks the passage? if you want the ppl to
come back AFTER a certain puzzle is done then you could supply them with
the means to get back ie. dynamite to remove a rock fall....a couple of
planks of wood to tie together to make a bridge...a rope to swing across
with.....etc. etc.

From The Eternally Sleeping Dragon
(who occassionally wakes up to flame someone)

Randolph M. Jones

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Sep 20, 1994, 10:54:41 AM9/20/94
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In article <35fqt1...@gecko.cis.ohio-state.edu>,

john t baker <bak...@cis.ohio-state.edu> wrote:
>Oh... something I forgot to mention. I need the pit as it is necessary
>to solve another puzzle in the game. I want it to *look* like an
>obstacle, it's real use is as a solution to a puzzle. And examining
>the pit will all but bonk the player over the head with the fact that
>it's random (50/50) as to whether they get across or not.

I tend not to like randomness in these type of games myself. In this case,
why not make the pit into TWO puzzles, rather than a random obstacle and a
puzzle. The first puzzle would be how to get across the pit (of course,
you'd have to come up with something for this), and that could "hide" the
second puzzle that the pit is used for.

Fred Sloniker

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Sep 20, 1994, 11:43:52 AM9/20/94
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Olly Betts wrote:

>Do you realise how far a stone drops in 7 seconds?

Yes. (:3

(mutters to self) Let's see, assuming negligible air resistance,
x = .5 a t^2 + v0 t + x0, where in this case a=9.80 m/s/s, t=7, v0=x0=0...
(hauls out mutant calculator bought for Physics class) 2.40 10^2 m, or in
Murrican units, 788 feet (about 53 stories).

Hmm.

(looks around curiously)

Any pre-med students care to tell me if the human body can retain physical
*integrity* when it hits stone at 68.6 m/s (about 150 mph)? (:3

>Will eat % for food.

Cute. VDCute. (:3

OBint-fiction: randomness has a place in interactive fiction. "Hitchhiker's"
demonstrates that place (to make sure the player actually gets the information
he's supposed to, instead of retaining it from a past life).

---Fred M. Sloniker, stressed undergrad
L. Lazuli R'kamos, FurryMUCKer
laz...@u.washington.edu

Fred's Fourth Law: It must be art. I don't understand it.

David Baggett

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Sep 20, 1994, 1:37:15 PM9/20/94
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In article <4iTPWDK00...@andrew.cmu.edu>,

Andrew C. Plotkin <ap...@andrew.cmu.edu> wrote:

>The standard "right way" is to leave the correct answer indeterminate --
>*all* the objects are wrong -- until the player finds the clue. But
>that's aesthetically icky, because a exhaustive save-test-restore search
>will seem to imply that all the objects really are wrong, and then later
>when the player finds the clue, it will seem contradictory.

I usually insert some amusing "act of God" that prevents the brute force
solution from working. In other words, even if you guess the right
solution, it won't work until you've "discovered" the piece of information
that verifies the solution. For example:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
You are standing in front of gigantic iron door, next to which is a machine
with a milliion dials. Each dial can be set to a value from 1 to 10.

>open door
You pull on the door with all your might. The door won't budge!

>turn dial 238746 to 3. turn dial 982437 to 6.
Done. "Click."

>open door
You pull on the door with all your might. The door swings open for
a second, but a sudden gust of air blows it shut again. Dang!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Provided you make the "stopper" funny enough, the player will get the idea.
There's no sense trying to hide the fact that for plot reasons you don't
want the player to proceed; you'll only confuse the player with the
necessary extra layers of obscurity.

Finally, I actually think using randomness is OK, if the search space is
large enough. In Legend, for example, you use coordinates for various
things. These are triples, where each element ranges from 1 to 10000. In
this case, the chance that the player will randomly guess the right answer
is so slim that there's little need to add any more security.

Olly Betts

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Sep 20, 1994, 3:04:33 PM9/20/94
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In article <35mvvo$a...@news.u.washington.edu>,

Fred Sloniker <laz...@u.washington.edu> wrote:
>Olly Betts wrote:
>
>>Do you realise how far a stone drops in 7 seconds?
>
>Yes. (:3
>
>(mutters to self) Let's see, assuming negligible air resistance,
>x = .5 a t^2 + v0 t + x0, where in this case a=9.80 m/s/s, t=7, v0=x0=0...
>(hauls out mutant calculator bought for Physics class) 2.40 10^2 m, or in
>Murrican units, 788 feet (about 53 stories).

Air resistance is a major factor here. Stones start whistling if you
drop them anything approaching 100m. Bodies will probably fall slower,
being larger and less dense than stones. It's still a long way though.

>OBint-fiction: randomness has a place in interactive fiction. "Hitchhiker's"
>demonstrates that place (to make sure the player actually gets the information
>he's supposed to, instead of retaining it from a past life).

Indeed. It still feels a bit unsatisfactory to me, though I guess it is
valid from a quantum mechanics viewpoint. Assuming that HH doesn't
allow you to solve the puzzle by randomly guessing the answer, that is
-- ie you must give the correct answer having previously found it out.
If you haven't found it out, any answer is wrong. The puzzle must also
prevent you from exhaustive guessing (which it does if I'm thinking of
the same puzzle in HH).

Olly
--

S.P.Harvey

unread,
Sep 20, 1994, 7:23:13 PM9/20/94
to
Mark B Sachs (sa...@cadetblue.crayola.cse.psu.edu) wrote:

: In this case, randomness works out just fine; I suspect there's an
: every-answer-is-wrong-until-you-get-to-the-right-point-in-the-plot
: aspect to it, too. This does, however, expose what my main beef with
: Hitchhiker's was -- that often you have only one chance to do something
: and a _very_ short time limit in which to figure it out, and if you
: miss your chance you've already lost, although you may not even realize

My biggest HHG gripe was the miserable little dog and sandwich puzzle.
It wasn't the element of randomness, but the
if-you-miss-your-chance-the-game-cannot-be-won element that I so strongly
object to. I haven't played HHG in years, but this still tugs at the
back of my mind. I remember how infuriated I was when I was literally
FORCED to restart the game from square one. Lame.

Scott

--
----------------------| S.P. Harvey |--------------------------
"Most of the world was mad. And the part that wasn't mad was angry.
And the part that wasn't mad or angry was just stupid.
I had no chance. I had no choice." - Charles Bukowski, 'Pulp'
----------------------| sha...@interaccess.com |--------------------------

john t baker

unread,
Sep 20, 1994, 8:36:52 PM9/20/94
to
In article <35nbo1$i...@sunforest.mantis.co.uk> ol...@mantis.co.uk (Olly Betts) writes:
>Air resistance is a major factor here. Stones start whistling if you
>drop them anything approaching 100m. Bodies will probably fall slower,
>being larger and less dense than stones. It's still a long way though.

Bodies reach maximum velocity at about 120mph (as I recently learned on my
first free-fall skydiving adventure where I got to fall for a mile and a
half :}) and they reach that speed rather quickly.

But in any event, thanks for all of your opinions, and I have decided to make
the pit completely non-random due to the overwhelming majority opinion.

I'll let everyone know when It's ready for beta-test.

Mark B Sachs

unread,
Sep 20, 1994, 6:27:10 PM9/20/94
to
In article <35nbo1$i...@sunforest.mantis.co.uk> ol...@mantis.co.uk (Olly Betts) writes:

Yes. The puzzle in question is... well... *spoilers* for Hitchhiker's

The puzzle is when you are getting Marvin to open the ship's hatch
for you. He is willing to meet you exactly once, in a space so narrow
that you can only bring in one object with you; and he wants one of
ten tools, randomly selected each time. If you don't bring the right
tool, you're basically SOL, as Marvin won't come to help you a second
time. There is a plot device elsewhere in the game that allows you
to see into the future and discover exactly which tool Marvin will
ask you for.

In this case, randomness works out just fine; I suspect there's an
every-answer-is-wrong-until-you-get-to-the-right-point-in-the-plot
aspect to it, too. This does, however, expose what my main beef with
Hitchhiker's was -- that often you have only one chance to do something
and a _very_ short time limit in which to figure it out, and if you
miss your chance you've already lost, although you may not even realize

it for hundreds of turns yet. For example, the Babel fish puzzle. You
are allowed, forced in fact, to go to the next part of the game whether
or not you obtain the Fish; but without the Fish, you can't get the
atomic vector plotter. You can muck around forever on the Heart of
Gold without realizing what an awesome mistake you made by not getting
the Babel fish and/or the plotter.

Oh, and it was also prone to killing you at a moment's notice for
trivial reasons -- one would think that entering the wrong password
into the Vogon computer should just give you an ACCESS DENIED, not
cause the computer to explode and kill you. That's some security
system the Vogons have there... Taking a cue from that, I've been
reworking my ALAN game to have less random death. If you step into
a destroyed elevator filled with smoke, you no longer plunge through
the floor and fall 186 stories to a messy end; you instead manage
to save yourself from falling and recoil into the corridor just in
time. It's possible to die in my game, but you'll know exactly
what you're getting into if that happens.

-Mark

Olly Betts

unread,
Sep 20, 1994, 10:25:32 AM9/20/94
to
In article <35lbf6$l...@harbinger.cc.monash.edu.au>,

Robert Paige Rendell <ren...@cs.monash.edu.au> wrote:
>it isn't terribly secure. You scramble up, dislodging the rock just as you
>make it over the lip. Seven seconds later, you hear the faint sound of stone
>impacting on stone.

Do you realise how far a stone drops in 7 seconds? A common technique
for estimating the depth of shafts when exploring previously-unexplored
caves is to drop a rock down and time the drop. Taking air resistance
into account, a 3.5 second drop is over 50m. This is long enough to
make you wonder if the rock hit some mud silently or something and to
reach for another rock. If they drop for much longer without hitting
the walls, they start to whistle. I don't remember the figures off the
top of my head, but 7 seconds will clearly be well over 100m (which is
approx 330 feet). Assuming Earth gravity and atmosphere of course.

John Payson

unread,
Sep 21, 1994, 12:35:22 AM9/21/94
to
In article <35mvvo$a...@news.u.washington.edu>,
Fred Sloniker <laz...@u.washington.edu> wrote:
>OBint-fiction: randomness has a place in interactive fiction. "Hitchhiker's"
>demonstrates that place (to make sure the player actually gets the information
>he's supposed to, instead of retaining it from a past life).

That isn't "really" randomness, IMHO, as the choice of tool has nothing to
do with the rest of the game (save that any tool which has become unavailable
is automatically selected). That is to say, if you've gotten all ten tools
and gotten the [censored] to let you know which was needed, the "randomness"
will in no significant way affect the gameplay and if you've not done those
things, the "randomness" will always make you lose.

BTW, in Wishbringer, there is a nasty dog named "Alexis". To get past the
dog you must say "Alexis, heel." If, however, you have not found the clue
which tells you this:

The hellhound can sense thatn you're just guessing her name and barks more
angrily.

Or somesuch. Anyway, though, I don't really consider arbitrary selection of
combinations, passcodes, etc. to be really "random".

Mathematical Institute, (0865) 2-73525

unread,
Sep 22, 1994, 8:40:52 AM9/22/94
to
In article <35lg4o$6...@goanna.cs.rmit.oz.au>, s940...@yallara.cs.rmit.OZ.AU (Paul Francis Gilbert) writes:
> bak...@cis.ohio-state.edu (john t baker) writes:
>
>>I'm about a third of the way through the implementation of my first
>>interactive fiction game, and I wanted to take a poll of opinions. In
>>my game there is an obstacle (a pit), and the chance of the player
>>being able to jump it is completely random. There is no other way past
>>the pit until the character is on the other side, when they will find
>>information that will allow them to successfully navigate the pit
>>100% of the time in the future for that game.
>
>>As a player, would that frustrate you, or would you kind of view it like
>>the troll in Zork I, where it's no big deal that it's random 'cause once
>>you get past it once you don't have to deal with it again?
>
>>This is all rather sketchy information, I know, but please mail or post your
>>opinions, as I'm probably going to go with majority opinion on this.
>>--

I would feel a little unhappy with this, if it were me. It does suggest
that the hero of our story has only a 50% (or whatever) chance of making
it through, no matter how resourceful or cunning. That's something I
object to on principle.

Besides that, how clear will it be to players who die the first time that
they might survive on subsequent attempts? If I got killed that way I
would simply assume thereafter that there was a better way.

Might I suggest a nicer set-up? Leave the pit and so forth as you
have set it up, but put a difficult clue about how to safely cross it
on the near side. (More difficult than the clue on the far side!)
This is fairer and also quite amusing in that some players will understand
the far side hint first and only then realise how stupid they had been
all along, and so forth.

Graham Nelson
Oxford, UK

Jamieson Norrish

unread,
Sep 23, 1994, 9:32:43 AM9/23/94
to
In article <35lg4o$6...@goanna.cs.rmit.oz.au>

s940...@yallara.cs.rmit.OZ.AU (Paul Francis Gilbert) writes:

ii) Keeping the jump as random, but if he falls, have him land


jarringly in the chasm bottem (losing HPs if its that sort of
game), and allowing him to climb up the chasm walls on either
side.

Some people have said that combat is the only place for randomness as
was described for the original pit puzzle, with the addendum that it
would be nicer if other factors (equipment, for example) had an
influence. I question why combat is so different from other actions.
Assuming "that sort of game" (where the character is quantified in
some way, rather than being a generic entity who can do anything,
provided the puzzle solutions are found), why could there not be a
"jump" skill of some sort?

I know, I know, people will jump (hrm) up and down and say that that
makes the game not so much interactive fiction as, well, a single
player MUD. They will say that it removes the pure medium for solving
puzzles (whilst interacting with a nifty atmospheric "world") and
replaces it with something where the character can suffer due not to
lack of skill on the part of the player, but on the part of the
character. That is what it boils down to, I think.

For me, in multi-player environments, the character is all-important.
This doesn't necessarily hold true in single-player games, but I don't
think that avenue should be rejected out of hand. I can imagine games
(admittedly far less linear than most IF) where different characters
could approach the situations in different ways, depending on both the
player, and the abilities/disabilities of the character. The point
being that no way would be better or worse, or lead to gaining more or
less points, or winning or not winning the game. Just different.

Any thoughts? I freely admit that my background is mainly in
multi-player (and hence multi-character) environments, but I don't
think it's ruled out for single player games. Hehe, look at some
arcade games, with a choice of different "characters" to play, who
have different strengths and weaknesses.

Jamie

Jamieson Norrish

unread,
Sep 23, 1994, 9:34:38 AM9/23/94
to
Immediate apologies if this is the second (or first of two, depending
on timing) copy of this post. Sometimes things go wrong, and other
times things just *look* like they go wrong.

In article <35lg4o$6...@goanna.cs.rmit.oz.au>
s940...@yallara.cs.rmit.OZ.AU (Paul Francis Gilbert) writes:

ii) Keeping the jump as random, but if he falls, have him land


jarringly in the chasm bottem (losing HPs if its that sort of
game), and allowing him to climb up the chasm walls on either
side.

Some people have said that combat is the only place for randomness as

David Brain

unread,
Sep 22, 1994, 6:40:11 PM9/22/94
to
"Andrew C. Plotkin" <ap...@andrew.cmu.edu> wrote, in
<QiU7kt_00...@andrew.cmu.edu>

{lots missing - slight Hitch-Hiker spoiler though...}

> It can easily slip your mind that you
> saw the damn dog at all. Slipped mine, anyhow.
>
There's another nice bit right at the end of HHTTG. Taking the
screwdriver in the bedroom at the beginning (I think), you are told that
a tree falls over in the garden, but there is no causal relationship
between these two events. At the end of the game you are told that there
was. My problem was that it took me around two years (on at least three
different makes of computer...) to get to the end of the wretched game,
so the message was a complete mystery to me until I replayed it again.

David

Fred Sloniker

unread,
Sep 23, 1994, 4:27:22 PM9/23/94
to

Felix Lee <fl...@cse.psu.edu> wrote:

>I don't think the problem is so much "purity" of interactive fiction,
>but rather, the existence of save/restore or undo. Why bother with
>random chance of failure if the player can just make it unhappen?

Why bother with certain failure (i.e., death) if the player can just make
it unhappen?

(Just an irrelevant comment from someone who enjoyed "Monkey Island" more
than most adventure games and int-fiction he's played because he *didn't*
have to save every five minutes just to feel 'safe'...)

---Fred M. Sloniker, stressed undergrad
L. Lazuli R'kamos, FurryMUCKer
laz...@u.washington.edu

"Did you wreck the car?" "No." "Did you raise the dead?" "Yes!" "But the
car's okay?" "Uh-huh." "All right, then."

The Grim Reaper

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Sep 23, 1994, 5:58:13 PM9/23/94
to

In article <JAMIE.94S...@akeake.its.vuw.ac.nz>,

Jamieson Norrish <ja...@akeake.its.vuw.ac.nz> wrote:
>In article <35lg4o$6...@goanna.cs.rmit.oz.au>
>s940...@yallara.cs.rmit.OZ.AU (Paul Francis Gilbert) writes:
>
> ii) Keeping the jump as random, but if he falls, have him land
> jarringly in the chasm bottem (losing HPs if its that sort of
> game), and allowing him to climb up the chasm walls on either
> side.
>
>Some people have said that combat is the only place for randomness as
>was described for the original pit puzzle, with the addendum that it
>would be nicer if other factors (equipment, for example) had an
>influence. I question why combat is so different from other actions.
>Assuming "that sort of game" (where the character is quantified in
>some way, rather than being a generic entity who can do anything,
>provided the puzzle solutions are found), why could there not be a
>"jump" skill of some sort?

Hmm... well, personally, I don't think the *outcome* of combat should be
random (ie, the fight with the assassin in LGOP), so I'm perhaps a little
biased on the skill issue too. I don't like the idea of a jump skill, just
because (like you say later) I don't like failing because of the toss of
a random number generator or something. That's not why I play i-f. I play
i-f to solve puzzles, and to enjoy the game world, and random chance IMO
detracts from that. Now, I don't see anything wrong with having several
characters that have binary skill levels (they can or can't do something...
perhaps one is a broad jumper, one is a warrior, etc), and so different
characters will be forced to take different routes, depending on their skill
areas. But this isn't the same as just being able to take a certain route
because of pure chance.

[...]
>Jamie

+----------------------------------------------------------+
| One .sig to rule them all, one .sig to find them... |
| One .sig to bring them all and in the darkness bind them |
+----------------------------------------------------------+
| The Grim Reaper (Reaper of Souls, Stealer of .sigs) |
| scy...@u.washington.edu |
+----------------------------------------------------------+

Felix Lee

unread,
Sep 23, 1994, 8:11:52 AM9/23/94
to
Jamieson Norrish:

>Assuming "that sort of game" (where the character is quantified in
>some way, rather than being a generic entity who can do anything,
>provided the puzzle solutions are found), why could there not be a
>"jump" skill of some sort?

I don't think the problem is so much "purity" of interactive fiction,


but rather, the existence of save/restore or undo. Why bother with
random chance of failure if the player can just make it unhappen?

Well, games like Doom have save/restore, but there's not really much
chance involved there either. It's mainly playing skill, and I can't
find anything analogous in the IF genre. ("Arrggh. I just got killed
by another typo. I'm going to get past this typing problem even if it
takes me all night.")
--

Colin Campbell

unread,
Sep 20, 1994, 10:41:20 PM9/20/94
to
David bibbled on 17 Sep 94 to All...

|>> like the troll in Zork I, where it's no big deal that it's random
|>> 'cause once you get past it once you don't have to deal with it again?
>

> I would prefer that you eliminate the randomness. How is the player
> supposed to know that they could make if they tried again? Suppose
> someone was trying to get past the pit, but kept falling in. They would
> (naturally) assume that there is something else to do before you can
> make it across and may not realize that it is random until someone
> tells them. This would be unfair to the player unless you hint (subtly)
> that there is randomness involved.

Such as with fruit machines etc? :) I actually like a bit of randomness in my
games - but obviously not too much. I suppose random events are linked to real
life where you can't be certain as to the outcomes of events.

I suspect that it's up to the author to write the description in such a way as
to inform (excuse the pun) the player that trying again would be good. Anyway,
even if the player succumbs to the random even he/she should still be able to
progress, albeit along a different route.


Col

Gabber system: C...@Bibble.Mettav.exnet.com

* Origin: ~~ Col's Burblings... ~~ (100:101/12.4)

Colin Campbell

unread,
Sep 20, 1994, 10:44:46 PM9/20/94
to
john bibbled on 17 Sep 94 to All...

> I'm about a third of the way through the implementation of my first
> interactive fiction game, and I wanted to take a poll of opinions.
> In my game there is an obstacle (a pit), and the chance of the player
> being able to jump it is completely random. There is no other way
> past the pit until the character is on the other side, when they will
> find information that will allow them to successfully navigate the
> pit 100% of the time in the future for that game.

Perhaps if you also put some real life randomness into the puzzle then us
players will forgive you... :) i.e. work out the weight of the objects you are
carrying and reduce the chance of failing to jump the pit accordingly.. ?

> As a player, would that frustrate you, or would you kind of view it

> like the troll in Zork I, where it's no big deal that it's random
> 'cause once you get past it once you don't have to deal with it again?

It wouldn't bother me too much...

Felix Lee

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Sep 24, 1994, 12:24:11 AM9/24/94
to
Fred Sloniker:

>Why bother with certain failure (i.e., death) if the player can just make
>it unhappen?

Atmosphere? If the game has any dead-ends at all, then you might as
well make some of them final.

Actually, dead-ends that aren't final are more frustating. It's
usually not much fun to expend effort in trying to get past a point
that doesn't really have a way through.

Maybe it would be better if a game had no dead-ends at all, but this
is hard to do. "Curses" goes pretty far to keep your options open,
but there are a few essential things that you can't backtrack to if
you miss them, without using save/restore.
--

David Baggett

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Sep 24, 1994, 12:45:11 AM9/24/94
to
In article <35vdna$k...@news.u.washington.edu>,
Fred Sloniker <laz...@u.washington.edu> wrote:

>Why bother with certain failure (i.e., death) if the player can just make
>it unhappen?

Death in IF is underrated. There's no better way to make the player
nervous (even at a subconcious level) than by killing him off here and
there.

It is tempting to think that any sane player keeps the game world
completely separate from his "real" feelings, but I don't think this is
actually the case.

**** Rylvania Spoiler ****

I actually felt a real twinge of guilt for munching the goat in Horror of
Rylvania, because the goat, unlike most other characters, was completely
innocent.

People have expressed similar feelings about other parts of the game. This
is not just "Oh gee, I thought that was cool" -- this is "Wow, this makes
me feel terrible for what *I* have done." (Of course, it wasn't *me*,
because it wasn't the real world. But on the other hand, *I* certainly
gave the command.)

**************************

I think this is a very exciting aspect of IF -- that the author can make
you really feel what it's like to *be* in a given situation, not just to
empathize with someone else being in the situation.

We need to stop thinking of IF in terms of _The Hobbit_ and start thinking
of it in terms of _The Jungle_ or _1984_ or _Schindler's List_. There are
technical problems with dealing with such topics in a fully satisfying way,
but there's no reason one couldn't write a passable, serious
non-puzzle-oriented IF work roughly along these lines.

Imagine a work where your only "puzzle" is to keep your family from
starving and to not work yourself to death in the sweatshop. Such a "game"
might have no "win" outcome. (Or perhaps one in a million games you find a
winning lottery ticket and escape the ghetto...)

To write something like this, an IF author must be willing to let go of the
idea that the work has to be "fun" in the same way the _Sonic the Hedgehog_
and _Lemmings_ are fun. Most books are not fun in this way; yet reading is
clearly a more fundamentally rewarding activity to many people.

Paul Burriesci

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Sep 24, 1994, 6:00:41 AM9/24/94
to
scy...@u.washington.edu (The Grim Reaper) writes:

>Hmm... well, personally, I don't think the *outcome* of combat should be
>random (ie, the fight with the assassin in LGOP), so I'm perhaps a little
>biased on the skill issue too.

Another excellent example of non-random combat is the
amoeba in Planetfall. Granted, it does warrant a couple
of saves and restores, but it definately shows how
combat can be handled in a non-random way and yet
remain a challenge.


--
Paul Burriesci | Wheel's on fire, rolling down the road.
pbur...@adobe.com | Best notify my next of kin, this wheel shall explode.

Damien P. Neil

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Sep 24, 1994, 2:20:32 AM9/24/94
to
In article <360asn...@life.ai.mit.edu>,
David Baggett <d...@ai.mit.edu> wrote:

>To write something like this, an IF author must be willing to let go of the
>idea that the work has to be "fun" in the same way the _Sonic the Hedgehog_
>and _Lemmings_ are fun. Most books are not fun in this way; yet reading is
>clearly a more fundamentally rewarding activity to many people.

Bravo! Bravo!

Beautifully said!

The best example of this style of IF that I know of is _A Mind Forever
Voyaging_. Puzzles are minimal. The focus is on immersing oneself within
a world, and watching it decay slowly before one's eyes. I know of no game
that more closely approaches `interactive literature'.

What I want to see (or write, although I doubt my ability) is a game with
a world at least as rich as AMFV's, but one that allows the player to
interact with it.

- Damien

The Grim Reaper

unread,
Sep 24, 1994, 3:07:00 PM9/24/94
to
In article <360gfg$q...@usenet.ins.cwru.edu>,

Damien P. Neil <dam...@b63519.student.cwru.edu> wrote:
>In article <360asn...@life.ai.mit.edu>,
>David Baggett <d...@ai.mit.edu> wrote:
>
>>To write something like this, an IF author must be willing to let go of the
>>idea that the work has to be "fun" in the same way the _Sonic the Hedgehog_
>>and _Lemmings_ are fun. Most books are not fun in this way; yet reading is
>>clearly a more fundamentally rewarding activity to many people.
>
>The best example of this style of IF that I know of is _A Mind Forever
[...]
> - Damien

Another really good example of this sort of game (game? perhaps we need
a different word) is Shades of Gray, available on the if-archive as soggy.zip
It's definitely worth checking out, despite an ending that I had some
problems with...

Bob Newell

unread,
Sep 25, 1994, 12:27:31 AM9/25/94
to
>We need to stop thinking of IF in terms of _The Hobbit_ and start thinking
>of it in terms of _The Jungle_ or _1984_ or _Schindler's List_. There are
>technical problems with dealing with such topics in a fully satisfying way,
>but there's no reason one couldn't write a passable, serious
>non-puzzle-oriented IF work roughly along these lines.

I have thought this for a long time, and have made a number of runs at it,
but not completing anything. It's very difficult not to get caught up in
the game aspect; or better stated, it's hard to make it meaningfully
interactive outside of a game context, and still hold the player's interest.

A "Schindler's List" in interactive form could be written, and "played", but
it would not be fun, any more than the film itself could be called
"entertainment."

The world awaits the first "serious" work of interactive fiction. It's long
overdue.

Bob Newell

Matthew Amster

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Sep 25, 1994, 1:59:35 AM9/25/94
to
On 25 Sep 1994 04:27:31 GMT,
Bob Newell <bne...@delphi.com> wrote:

>The world awaits the first "serious" work of interactive fiction. It's long
>overdue.

I wonder whether Trinity could not be called "serious." It seemed to make
a more powerful statement about nuclear war than many novels. It was a
very exciting game, but also depressing.

Matthew

Gerry Kevin Wilson

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Sep 25, 1994, 6:02:04 AM9/25/94
to
In article <92025....@pluto.pomona.claremont.edu>,
Matthew Amster <mam...@pomona.claremont.edu> wrote:

>I wonder whether Trinity could not be called "serious." It seemed to make
>a more powerful statement about nuclear war than many novels. It was a
>very exciting game, but also depressing.

Easily 'serious', if you understand its theme, the inevitability of the
cold war and death, Shades of Grey is also serious, as Reaper pointed
out, as is Mind Forever Voyaging. Those are the main 3 known to me. As
for future serious stuff, I consider Avalon suitably grim in the proper
sections. I try to make a statement about War in general, and the
Vietnam war in particular. I've tried to avoid being judgemental, but
we'll see how well that works out. Any good drama will often be
intertwined with humor. In fact, the adept weaving of the two is often
what makes an oscar winner. Just look at Forrest Gump. In fact, the
only difference between 'serious' and 'silly' IF is merely that the point
the author is making is either more prevalent or heavy-handed. Of
course, there will always be those games that seem to contain no moral.
In those, you just have to look harder. There's always a theme or point
to any game.

--
<~~~~T~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~LOST~IN~THE~FOG~~~~~~NO~RELEASE~DATE~~~~~~~~~~~|~~~~~~~>
< R I A lonely shipwreck survivor is swallowed by a mysterious | ~~\ >
< E G fog bank in the Bermuda Triangle, and meets his destiny... | /~\ | >
<_V____SOFTWARE___MEET_Y...@uclink.berkeley.edu__|_\__/__>

Mike Threepoint

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Sep 25, 1994, 10:35:40 AM9/25/94
to
The Harvey wrote:
=> My biggest HHG gripe was the miserable little dog and sandwich puzzle.
=> It wasn't the element of randomness, but the
=> if-you-miss-your-chance-the-game-cannot-be-won element that I so strongly
=> object to. I haven't played HHG in years, but this still tugs at the
=> back of my mind. I remember how infuriated I was when I was literally
=> FORCED to restart the game from square one. Lame.

If Arthur didn't feed the dog, Ford can do have done it later.

The Plotkin writes!
> To some extent this sort of thing is necessary for really interesting
> branching plotlines. Do you spend your gold coin on the amusement park
> or the toll booth? (Sorcerer.) You can play for a while either way, but
> if you make the wrong choice, you'll have to back up and start over.

Not necessarily, but recovering takes patience. The slot machine has
a 3/64 chance of paying off 1 zorkmid. It also has 1/64 chance of
burying you with the jackpot, but with the gaspar spell, you can
survive that.

There are many other valid examples of unrecoverable mistakes where
you later realize you must go back and start over, but these two are
not among them.

Felix Lee

unread,
Sep 25, 1994, 1:46:13 PM9/25/94
to
Dave Baggett:

>To write something like this, an IF author must be willing to let go of the
>idea that the work has to be "fun" in the same way the _Sonic the Hedgehog_
>and _Lemmings_ are fun.

I don't think "fun" is really the issue. To make an IF game that's a
serious work of fiction, whether fun or not, you need to move away
from the view that the game is a series of mechanical puzzles.
Mechanics can be the least interesting aspect of an IF game.
--

smeg...@castlebbs.com

unread,
Sep 27, 1994, 12:58:46 AM9/27/94
to

IS>a different word) is Shades of Gray, available on the if-archive as soggy.zi
IS>It's definitely worth checking out, despite an ending that I had some
IS>problems with...


YES. Shades Of Gray was very well written, and even though I didn't
figure out what the early portions of it were all about until after I
finished it and went through the hint file, the game had much more
literary splendor than I was prepared for. (Confidentially, scythe,
what portion of the ending irked you? Email so's not to spoil it for
the others... I kept myself up until 6 AM one weekend finishing it. 8)

-K.C.
---

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Jason Compton

unread,
Sep 28, 1994, 11:07:31 AM9/28/94
to
"Matthew Amster" <mam...@pluto.pomona.claremont.edu> writes:

How about A Mind Forever Voyaging?

Jason Compton jcom...@cup.portal.com and @bbs.xnet.com
Editor-In-Chief Amiga Report Magazine and Coverdisk
Contributing Writer Amiga Game Zone Magazine
The time to rise has been engaged. -REM, _Finest Worksong_

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