Graphics in IF

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Alex Freeman

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Feb 25, 2006, 5:55:19 PM2/25/06
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How many people like some kind of graphics in their IF? Do you like the
graphics and text to be in resizable frames?

fel...@yahoo.com

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Feb 26, 2006, 12:54:44 AM2/26/06
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Alex Freeman wrote:
> How many people like some kind of graphics in their IF? Do you like the
> graphics and text to be in resizable frames?

I like graphics in IF as much as I like illustrations in books.
Sometimes they are a really good addition to the text. But in separate
frames? Depending on the size of my interpreter window and that of
your graphics, the game will either waste a lot of screen real estate
or force me to scroll horizontally (or at best vertically, if your
pictures are tall and narrow).

Better make some tests before you get to the real work.

Cheers,
Felix

The Computer Dood

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Feb 27, 2006, 7:29:47 PM2/27/06
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While I respect other peoples ideas, I for one do not like graphics in
IF programs. There are all types of graphic oriented programs, that
require (as I am finding out) high end graphics cards, and fast
processors to run the games correctly. I like the fact that even my
slowest P.C. can run almost EVERY game, from Inform (z-code), TADS,
ADRIFT, and a bunch of others.
Second, The beauty of IF is that it is an intellectual thought. I can
picture a dark cave, with subdued lighting, and finding a lamp, and
with that, seeing the rope that lets me access the next level, etc.
There are things that I could see that could help and IF storyline....a
Map, or some type of signalling device (GPS unit perhaps), that could
be shown, that could help to eliminate a paragraph of text to describe
what they are looking at. That would be cool, but as for pictures to
augment the story, they should be subtle, and not be the primary object
in the story. My $.02.

IFDUDE.

Emily Short

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Feb 27, 2006, 8:23:11 PM2/27/06
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Alex Freeman wrote:
> How many people like some kind of graphics in their IF? Do you like the
> graphics and text to be in resizable frames?

I find I like graphics in IF best when the graphics are scattered
illustrations rather than using up a permanent frame. Bolivia By Night
does really nicely with this, for instance.

Emily Short

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Feb 27, 2006, 8:23:31 PM2/27/06
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Alex Freeman wrote:
> How many people like some kind of graphics in their IF? Do you like the
> graphics and text to be in resizable frames?

I find I like graphics in IF best when the graphics are scattered

Daniel Andersen

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Feb 28, 2006, 2:18:46 AM2/28/06
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Alex Freeman wrote:

> How many people like some kind of graphics in their IF? Do you like the
> graphics and text to be in resizable frames?

I think the best use of graphics I've seen in IF was in an old text
adventure game I played on my Commodore 64 called Seabase Delta. Basically
the first time you entered any location it would flash up a fullscreen
image of the room you've entered. If you wanted to see the image again
after that I'm pretty sure there was a command you could enter to do so.
This lets you get a good idea of how things look etc without being too
intrusive in the long term.

Gary Leighton

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Feb 28, 2006, 4:45:26 AM2/28/06
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Back in the old days of The Hobbit, and the Magnetic Scrolls games
(e.g. The Pawn), Twin Kingdom Valley etc, I enjoyed the graphics. But
at that time they actually had wow-factor - it was kind of leading edge
with each new adventure using better graphics than the last.

The good thing about them was that they were just stills, and either
dissappeared when you hit the Enter key or scrolled off the screen so
they were still basically Text Adventures (I hated the point and click
things that came later).

Playing the Hobbit nowadays using an emulator, I still quite like the
graphics. They act as a kind of reward for reaching a new location.
They can create an interesting atmosphere for the game.

My opinion is that your graphics need to be very good indeed if you use
them at all, and that you should not allocate a permanent window for
displaying them. It might be best if they are only used for the most
interesting locations.

On the other hand, I am very much in favour of graphical maps if they
are done well (I hate mapping).

One issue with stills is that they never reflect the current state of
the room you are in, and this could be misleading to some players.

On the whole I would say that pure text, when done well, is better than
graphics even if the graphics are excellent.

L. Ross Raszewski

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Feb 28, 2006, 5:08:48 AM2/28/06
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Huh. That's interesting to me, especially given your past history of
wanting substantially more precise control of how the screen is laid
out than is normally available.

Personally, I find "scattered illustrations" -- at least, the
implementations I've seen of them -- to come off a little sloppy. Like
"You're playing a text adventure. But here, I've got this neat picture
so I'll just dump it right into the text willy-nilly." When I've
played games like the early HTML-TADS games, I got the deinate feeling
that the authors had these nifty illustrations, but they didn't really
give much thought to how they wanted to present them, so they just
tossed them in wherever.

Or maybe you mean something different.

Emily Short

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Feb 28, 2006, 10:27:31 AM2/28/06
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L. Ross Raszewski wrote:
> On 27 Feb 2006 17:23:31 -0800, Emily Short <ems...@mindspring.com> wrote:
> >
> >Alex Freeman wrote:
> >> How many people like some kind of graphics in their IF? Do you like the
> >> graphics and text to be in resizable frames?
> >
> >I find I like graphics in IF best when the graphics are scattered
> >illustrations rather than using up a permanent frame. Bolivia By Night
> >does really nicely with this, for instance.
> >
>
> Huh. That's interesting to me, especially given your past history of
> wanting substantially more precise control of how the screen is laid
> out than is normally available.

Well. If I'm *going* to do persistent graphics at all, I'd like to do
them right.

But my thinking on this has to some extent been changed by doing City
of Secrets, where the original plan was that there would be
per-location images (provided by someone else). These never
materialized, but in the process of roughing out the game I did realize
just how mammoth an undertaking it would be to provide them: 80ish
locations, several dozen NPCs, and each of the locations able to have
multiple game states that ought to be reflected in the imagery... The
time-cost of putting all that together would have been enormous. With
text if I want to have an earthquake and make half the buildings lose
architectural components, it doesn't cost much.

> Personally, I find "scattered illustrations" -- at least, the
> implementations I've seen of them -- to come off a little sloppy. Like
> "You're playing a text adventure. But here, I've got this neat picture
> so I'll just dump it right into the text willy-nilly."

Hm. I suppose it could come off that way, but at least in Bolivia By
Night they were often associated with chapter breaks, so it was like
turning over the last page of the old chapter and getting a little
front image for the next portion. I thought this was a) fairly classy
and b) a nice reward for completing each stage of the puzzles.

That said, I would like to be able to fine-tune where the illustrations
go on the page when I do put them in -- centered over text, floating
left or right, with text-wrap -- if possible, to make it look tidy and
intentionally laid out. But this gets into implementation issues.

The main thing is that, with relatively few exceptions, I think IF is
likely to be best served if the author doesn't try to pretend that the
graphics are a second interface to the world model -- since it cannot
be clicked like a Myst window, and in all likelihood will not reflect
every detail of game state. The occasional graphic is much better for
this purpose than the persistent window.

There *are* exceptions, of course; 1893 is just not the same without
its rich body of photos.

Samuel Bronson <naesten@gmail.com>

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Mar 8, 2006, 6:46:31 PM3/8/06
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... Says the lady who wrote City of Secrets. In which I am,
incidentally, lost. (Yes, I know you mentioned it already.)

What do people think of Robb Sherwin's Hugo games?

Samuel Bronson

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Mar 8, 2006, 6:58:01 PM3/8/06
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Ack! My name looks horrible! Accursed default value! *fixes quickly*

Bad Google, Bad!

Adam Thornton

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Mar 8, 2006, 9:38:58 PM3/8/06
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In article <1141861591....@z34g2000cwc.googlegroups.com>,

Samuel Bronson <nae...@gmail.com> wrote:
>What do people think of Robb Sherwin's Hugo games?

Love his dialogue. They're getting less buggy. I quite liked the
Magnetic Scrolls look of _Necrotic Drift_.

Adam


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