Does ANYONE Like Mazes in IF?

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Michael C. Martin

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Aug 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/17/96
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One thing I've noticed is that EVERYONE seems to hate the use of mazes
in interactive fiction. I have yet to see anyone post who actually
enjoys them. Does ANYONE think mazes in IF games are a good idea, and
if not, why did everyone keep throwing mazes into the older games
(havn't seen much of this in recent IF)!

Mike

Robert A. DeLisle

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Aug 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/17/96
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Michael C. Martin (mma...@seanet.com) wrote:
: One thing I've noticed is that EVERYONE seems to hate the use of mazes

Yes. I enjoy finding my way through a maze and finding all the dead ends.
I also enjoy exploring. The author can forget puzzles if he/she puts in
lots of clever responses to 'examine'. The author can even hide clues
in the responses which can open like a Russian doll.
I am not fond of puzzles like the 'babel fish'. It took a lot of
replays to get that one done.
Almost every game has some kind of maze. Recently they have been non-
mazes--a room that says it is a maze, but is just a joke.
OK. So I solve the maze and then give the path to the maze-haters and
we are both happy.
Save me from "hop, skip, praise Allah, hop, skip, praise Allah, etc"


J. I. Drasner

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Aug 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/17/96
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In article <4v5el3$d...@crl5.crl.com>, r...@crl.com (Robert A. DeLisle) wrote:

>OK. So I solve the maze and then give the path to the maze-haters and
>we are both happy.

As a dedicated maze-loather, I like this solution the best. (And
appreciate the mazeophiles who will do this for the rest of us!) I enjoy
the innovative use of description in many mazes, but when I play a game, I
want to be using my brain, and to me mazes are a cheap way to take up a
bunch of time in a game without really having to write a puzzle.

Joey

****************************************************
American Gothic fanatic or just a tourist in Trinity?
Read The Trinity Guardian: http://www.best.com/~owls
****************************************************
Guildenstern: He's -- melancholy.
Player: Melancholy?
Rosencrantz: Mad.
Alice: But I don't want to go among mad people.
Cheshire Cat: Oh, you can't help that, we're all mad here.
(From "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern in Wonderland")
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Johanna "Joey" Drasner: ow...@best.com (San Francisco)
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Torbj|rn Andersson

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Aug 18, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/18/96
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mma...@seanet.com (Michael C. Marton) wrote:

> One thing I've noticed is that EVERYONE seems to hate the use of mazes
> in interactive fiction. I have yet to see anyone post who actually
> enjoys them. Does ANYONE think mazes in IF games are a good idea, and

It depends a lot on the maze. Unless you plan to do something
clever with it, and unless there is some understandable reason
for it to be there, I wouldn't put one in a game (as if I'd
ever get one written :-).

However, some people have managed to do quite clever things
with mazes, such as the translucent rooms in Enchanter, the
glass maze in Sorcerer, or, to include something a bit more
recent, the garden maze in Curses. These mazes, I didn't mind
at all.

Of course, I've seen clever mazes that were quite tedious to
solve, such as the catacombs in Leather Goddesses of Phobos,
or the mazes in Deep Space Drifter. I guess the moral is to
keep the maze small, regardless of how clever it may be.

> if not, why did everyone keep throwing mazes into the older games

> (haven't seen much of this in recent IF)!

I'm speculating here ... feel free to add your own theories.

Tradition, perhaps. After all, Mazes have been part of the
genre since the very beginning.

A maze (by any name) can be a cheap way of extending a game's
geography without wasting memory (an important issue on older
computers). Or creativity for that matter; any fool can make
a maze. Also, if memory serves me, the number of rooms used
to be a selling point back in the bad maybe-not-so-old days.

As you point out, mazes are less frequent in newer games
(though to be fair, there are quite a few older games that
are completely maze-free). Computers have become better --
it's possible to make a game cover a large area without
making every room identical. Since the days of Adventure
and Zork, the games have become a lot more plot-oriented;
everything in a game is expected to be there for a reason,
regardless of whether or not there is a use for it. Lots of
reasons, really.

Also, I suspect that a sizable part of the people who play
this sort of games today are the same as those who used to
play the maze-laden games of, say, 10 or 15 years ago, i.e.
the audience might be a bit more mature these days. Young
computer users of today are probably more likely to play
games such as Doom, and what is Doom if not a maze? :-)

Enough rambling from me for today ...

_
Torbjorn

Mikko Vuorinen

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Aug 18, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/18/96
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"Michael C. Martin" <mma...@seanet.com> writes:

>One thing I've noticed is that EVERYONE seems to hate the use of mazes
>in interactive fiction. I have yet to see anyone post who actually
>enjoys them. Does ANYONE think mazes in IF games are a good idea, and

>if not, why did everyone keep throwing mazes into the older games

>(havn't seen much of this in recent IF)!

Only if the maze can be solved by using some cryptic clue. If the maze
needs to be mapped by dropping objects it's not worth putting it in the
game. But mazes like in Monkey Island II are quite nice.

--
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6 (_) ( ((( * IRC: Dilbon * - William Shakespeare
`____c 8__/((( ********************************

bout...@blade2.wcc.govt.nz

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Aug 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/19/96
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In article <321604...@seanet.com>, "Michael C. Martin" <mma...@seanet.com> writes:
>One thing I've noticed is that EVERYONE seems to hate the use of mazes
>in interactive fiction. I have yet to see anyone post who actually
>enjoys them. Does ANYONE think mazes in IF games are a good idea,

Nope: turn off city. I hate having to write things down when I play - breaks
continuity.

and
>if not, why did everyone keep throwing mazes into the older games
>(havn't seen much of this in recent IF)!
>

>Mike


At a wild guess, because it's something you can do pretty easily for a cheap
puzzle. There's the historical aspect, of course - if it worked once for
Crowther and Woods, it can damn well work again.

-Giles

Judson Cohan

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Aug 19, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/19/96
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bout...@blade2.wcc.govt.nz wrote:

: There's the historical aspect, of course - if it worked once for


: Crowther and Woods, it can damn well work again.

Actually, it worked twice for Crowther & Woods. :)
--

"While all other sciences have advanced, government is at a stand;
little better practiced now than three or four thousand years ago."

-- John Adams, 2nd President of the United States

Julian Arnold

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Aug 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/21/96
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In article <4vfivt$s...@catapult.gatech.edu>, Jon A. Preston
<URL:mailto:gt5...@acmey.gatech.edu> wrote:
>
> A friend of mine and I wrote a game that was nothing more that a 5x5x5
> (yep, 3D maze). He was really good at solving these things, and so I made
> a chalenge - I would write this thing as see if he could find his way out.
>
> Programming took only 5 hours or so (text) and as he looked at the paper
> layout of the maze which I was computing, he had a VERY difficult time
> going through it.
>
> The game was cool in that it randomly selected room descriptions and
> randomly selected "You are now leaving" kind of responses when you typed
> in a command.
>
> The first version didn't have objects to drop or monsters to encounter, so
> we named it "Insanity". We never did any more iterations b/c it seemed
> that a game of this type doesn't go over well. I'd be interested in
> re-writing it, but would anyone play?

To me, a game such as you describe would be a novelty, a one-trick
puzzler with a limited lifespan. I would probably play it, but probably
not complete it, and wouldn't spend too much effort trying to figure it
out if I became too stuck. The same way I do crosswords.

Hm, maybe that's all a bit obvious. I'd be more interested in seeing
the source than in playing the game I guess.

Jools
--


Jon A. Preston

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Aug 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/21/96
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Space and time are definitly reasons mazes are in games, but the maze
itself can be a game:

A friend of mine and I wrote a game that was nothing more that a 5x5x5
(yep, 3D maze). He was really good at solving these things, and so I made
a chalenge - I would write this thing as see if he could find his way out.

Programming took only 5 hours or so (text) and as he looked at the paper
layout of the maze which I was computing, he had a VERY difficult time
going through it.

The game was cool in that it randomly selected room descriptions and
randomly selected "You are now leaving" kind of responses when you typed
in a command.

The first version didn't have objects to drop or monsters to encounter, so
we named it "Insanity". We never did any more iterations b/c it seemed
that a game of this type doesn't go over well. I'd be interested in
re-writing it, but would anyone play?

jP

--
----------------- Jon A. Preston (gt5...@acme.gatech.edu) -----------------
"If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit." - John 15:5

Adam Atkinson

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Aug 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/21/96
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The "drop items to distinguish between rooms" maze of course gets old pretty
fast, but I don't mind mazes whose solution is different. "Carry an item which
tells you which room you're in / which way to go" has been done a bit too often
as well.

still, something like the totally dark object-destroying maze in Hamil or the
snake maze in Acheton is fine. once each, perhaps.

Adam Atkinson - gh...@mistral.co.uk / etl...@etlxdmx.ericsson.se
Man is a giddy thing, and this is my conclusion.

Graeme Cree

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Aug 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/22/96
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It's not that mazes are bad, it's just that they are not original.
Imagine if EVERY game had the Babel Fish puzzle in it. When the mazes
appeared in Colossal Cave, they were genuinely original puzzles. The first
players had to think awhile before they could figure out how they could p
possibly map a region where all the areas looked alike. Finally, they figured
out that you could drop objects to make the areas look different. And when
they got to the vending machine maze, if they were very sharp-eyed, they
might have noticed that the room descriptions were SLIGHTLY different, and
that they didn't need to drop objects at all.
But using mazes in games after that was just like doing the SAME puzzle
over and over again. There is nothing to figure out after the first time;
everybody knows HOW to map a maze, all that remains is the tedium of doing it.
I only like a maze if it presents a NEW challenge, and doesn't simply
rip off Crowther and Woods idea. One such example is the Badger Maze in
Arthur: The Quest for Excalibur. This is a maze, just like the Crowther
and Woods maze, but it does present a new challenge: As a badger you can't
carry things to drop behind you, and the room descriptions are identical.
How can you possibly map the maze then? The answer to this DOES require
new thinking on the player's part, and thus qualifies as a legitimate maze
to me.
But usually, mazes are just included to make the game seem longer. The
problem is that the game may be longer, but the story isn't. The story just
grinds to a halt while you do the mapping.
For example, take Zork III. It's Royal Puzzle isn't a maze, but it is
similar in that it stops the story while you go off on a long tedius abstract
puzzle. At least it IS original, but it adds nothing to the story. And if
you remove the Royal Puzzle from Zork III, there's not that much left.

Zophonias O. Jonsson

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Aug 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/22/96
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In article <492.6807T...@mistral.co.uk>, gh...@mistral.co.uk (Adam
Atkinson) wrote:

> The "drop items to distinguish between rooms" maze of course gets old pretty
> fast, but I don't mind mazes whose solution is different.

A good ol' example of how mazes can be hard without being boring (I mean,
you need to think...) is DeepSpaceDrifter. Solving both mazes was a great
satisfaction.
BTW, I hate mazes when you have twisting directions...in such a case,
dropping objects is the only way out and that IS boring stuff.
Giovanni.

J. I. Drasner

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Aug 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/22/96
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In article <492.6807T...@mistral.co.uk>, gh...@mistral.co.uk (Adam
Atkinson) wrote:

>The "drop items to distinguish between rooms" maze of course gets old pretty

>fast, but I don't mind mazes whose solution is different. "Carry an item which
>tells you which room you're in / which way to go" has been done a bit too often
>as well.

I rather liked the maze in (I know, I know) MYST, which was perfectly
mappable but also had a subtle but not impossible way to tell which
direction you needed to head in.

Joey

****************************************************
American Gothic fanatic or just a tourist in Trinity?

Read The Trinity Guardian: http://www.best.com/~owls/AG/

Giovanni Maga

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Aug 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/22/96
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In article <zjons-22089...@130.60.120.10>, zj...@vetbio.unizh.ch
(Zophonias O. Jonsson) wrote:

> A good ol' example of how mazes can be hard without being boring (I mean,
> you need to think...) is DeepSpaceDrifter. Solving both mazes was a great
> satisfaction.
> BTW, I hate mazes when you have twisting directions...in such a case,
> dropping objects is the only way out and that IS boring stuff.
> Giovanni.

Mistake. I was using a friend of mine e-mail address: mine is
ma...@vetbio.unizh.ch (Giovanni Maga), sorry!

Neil K. Guy

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Aug 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/22/96
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Graeme Cree (7263...@CompuServe.COM) wrote:
: It's not that mazes are bad, it's just that they are not original.

Hm. I don't know about that. I personally feel that mazes are
mind-numbingly tedious...

- Neil K. Guy (founder of Sensible People Against Mazes)

--
Neil K. Guy * n...@vcn.bc.ca * n...@tela.bc.ca
49N 16' 123W 7' * Vancouver, BC, Canada

Matthew Daly

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Aug 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/22/96
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In article <4vhdmo$k...@milo.vcn.bc.ca> n...@vcn.bc.ca (Neil K. Guy) writes:
>Graeme Cree (7263...@CompuServe.COM) wrote:
>: It's not that mazes are bad, it's just that they are not original.
>
> Hm. I don't know about that. I personally feel that mazes are
>mind-numbingly tedious...

It can be. I think that "maze" probably requires some definition.
Is it just a bunch of locations with essentially the same description
and no clear sense of where a given exit will lead? Or is it a
broader concept, like the skyscraper in Zork 0 with 2000 locations
but a clear notion of where everything goes? Does a maze exist
only to be traversed (getting an object or two), or does it stay a
maze if more complex puzzles have to be solved (like the demon in
Enchanter)?

We still haven't hit on my least favorite maze, though, from
Hollywood Hijinx. Bleah!

> - Neil K. Guy (founder of Sensible People Against Mazes)

You're a SPAMmer? You know that you'll have to be reported to your
ISP.... :-)

-Matthew

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

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

Lyle Murphy

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Aug 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/22/96
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No. I don't like mazes.

Lyle


Mark J Musante

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Aug 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/22/96
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Jon A. Preston (gt5...@acmey.gatech.edu) wrote:
> A friend of mine and I wrote a game that was nothing more that a 5x5x5
> (yep, 3D maze). He was really good at solving these things, and so I made
> a chalenge - I would write this thing as see if he could find his way out.

Have you played "Sorcerer"? It has a 3D maze (albeit only 3x3x3), but it had a
clever twist too.

- Mark

bout...@blade.wcc.govt.nz

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Aug 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/23/96
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In article <jscDwE...@netcom.com>, j...@netcom.com (Judson Cohan) writes:
>bout...@blade2.wcc.govt.nz wrote:
>
>: There's the historical aspect, of course - if it worked once for
>: Crowther and Woods, it can damn well work again.
>
> Actually, it worked twice for Crowther & Woods. :)
>--
>
Actually, I found the maze of twisty little passages all different a far more
satisfactory experience than the maze with passages all alike. I thought it
integrated better with the fantasy elements, and the room descriptions had me
savouring the rich text for days.

Passages all alike, on the other hand, made me think the authors has lost their
way a little, and were trying to relive past successes, turning into a parody
of themselves in the process.

So, IMHO, it only worked once.

-Giles
"Smile - you're on candid usenet"

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