INFINITY OR LIMTED HOLDING

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Ashley Price

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Sep 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/24/00
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Hi All

I am currently writing an adventure and I wanted your opinions on a quite
important point in IFs. Do you prefer the player's holding ability to be
infinite (this includes putting items in extra "containers" as in
Anchorhead, "you put the keys in your pocket, and take the torch", for
example) and therefore the player could pretty much carry every carriable
(is that a word?) object in the game?

Or do you prefer it to be limited to a certain number of items or determined
by the object's size. For instance, if the player is carrying a large item
that, realistically, would need two hands they cannot carry anything else at
that time?

Your thoughts would be gratefully appreciated.

Ashley

Karl Ove Hufthammer

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Sep 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/24/00
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ashle...@btinternet.com (Ashley Price) wrote in message
<8qkgch$29e$1...@neptunium.btinternet.com>:

>Hi All
>
>I am currently writing an adventure and I wanted your opinions on a
>quite important point in IFs. Do you prefer the player's holding
>ability to be infinite (this includes putting items in extra
>"containers" as in Anchorhead, "you put the keys in your pocket, and
>take the torch", for example) and therefore the player could pretty
>much carry every carriable (is that a word?) object in the game?

Yes, yes and yes. IMO, one of the most irritating things in IF is
having to drop things to pick up new ones.

But, it also isn't a very good idea to have too many things to carry
around. You should try to limit the number of things you need to carry
to a minimum, for example by discarding "used items". When an item is
used (for the only purpose you need it, e.g. a key unlocking a door),
the game should automatically throw it away (the door will stay
unlocked throughout the rest of the game).

--
Karl Ove Hufthammer

Ashley Price

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Sep 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/24/00
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Hi Karl

Firstly, whoops! I meant "Limited" in the subject line, of course.

"Karl Ove Hufthammer" <huf...@bigfoot.com> wrote in message
news:Cakz5.448$Vk6....@news.world-online.no...


> ashle...@btinternet.com (Ashley Price) wrote in message
> <8qkgch$29e$1...@neptunium.btinternet.com>:
>

> But, it also isn't a very good idea to have too many things to carry
> around. You should try to limit the number of things you need to carry
> to a minimum, for example by discarding "used items". When an item is
> used (for the only purpose you need it, e.g. a key unlocking a door),
> the game should automatically throw it away (the door will stay
> unlocked throughout the rest of the game).

I understand what you are saying here but one could fall into the trap of
giving too much away by this system. If you have an object that is needed
more than once in the game, by the fact that it hasn't disappeared the
player will know straight away that they need it again - therefore removing
some of the puzzle solving element.

For instance, at the very beginning of a game you get given a note about
what you have to do to win the game (e.g. "find the woozle crystal") . The
player would read the note and possibly discard it thinking it had no
further use. However, it turns out that note plays an integral part of in
the game, say, for example, by setting alight to it so you can burn
something else (this is not a clue to my game by the way). With the system
you suggest if the note doesn't disappear once the player has read it they
are going to know straight away that it is needed again.

Ashley

Darius Katz

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Sep 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/24/00
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In article <8qkgch$29e$1...@neptunium.btinternet.com>,
ashle...@btinternet.com says...

> Hi All
>
> I am currently writing an adventure and I wanted your opinions on a quite
> important point in IFs. Do you prefer the player's holding ability to be
> infinite (this includes putting items in extra "containers" as in
> Anchorhead, "you put the keys in your pocket, and take the torch", for
> example) and therefore the player could pretty much carry every carriable
> (is that a word?) object in the game?
>

I'd vote for "unlimited inventory". It is very annoying having to drop
items around in order to be able to get new items. And not knowing what
items are important and must be carried along and what items can be
discarded is a bummer too.

Curses had a handy knapsack implemented where objects were automatically
put in the knapsack when the player picked up new items.

> Or do you prefer it to be limited to a certain number of items or determined
> by the object's size. For instance, if the player is carrying a large item
> that, realistically, would need two hands they cannot carry anything else at
> that time?
>

This could be done if a certain puzzle in the game needs it. I.e. in
order to carry a heavy boulder all the other stuff must be dropped.

> Your thoughts would be gratefully appreciated.
>
> Ashley
>

-- Darius

Karl Ove Hufthammer

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Sep 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/24/00
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ashle...@btinternet.com (Ashley Price) wrote in message
<8qkmk9$k34$1...@neptunium.btinternet.com>:

>"Karl Ove Hufthammer" <huf...@bigfoot.com> wrote in message
>news:Cakz5.448$Vk6....@news.world-online.no...
>> ashle...@btinternet.com (Ashley Price) wrote in message
>> <8qkgch$29e$1...@neptunium.btinternet.com>:
>>
>> But, it also isn't a very good idea to have too many things to
>> carry around. You should try to limit the number of things you
>> need to carry to a minimum, for example by discarding "used
>> items". When an item is used (for the only purpose you need it,
>> e.g. a key unlocking a door), the game should automatically throw
>> it away (the door will stay unlocked throughout the rest of the
>> game).
>
>I understand what you are saying here but one could fall into the
>trap of giving too much away by this system. If you have an object
>that is needed more than once in the game, by the fact that it
>hasn't disappeared the player will know straight away that they need
>it again - therefore removing some of the puzzle solving element.

Yes. Though in a really *good* puzzle, this shouldn't matter much! :)
And you shouldn't try to make a puzzle harder by increasing the number
of items the player can cary ...
Also, when a puzzle has several solutions, it only needs to be a
*possibility* that you'll need the item later.

It's very annoying trying to solve a difficult puzzle and having a ton
of items; you'll probably end up trying every possible combination of
items and puzzle till you solve it (or you discover you'll need another
item).

Yes, you can end up falling in the trap of giving away to much
information, but you *can* also avoid this trap ... Many games have.
And you don't need to throw away *all* items the user won't need
anymore ("You throw away all your money, not thinking you'll be needing
it anymore."). Throw away what seems most natural ... :/

Personally, I prefer games with as few (carriable) items as possible.

>For instance, at the very beginning of a game you get given a note
>about what you have to do to win the game (e.g. "find the woozle
>crystal") . The player would read the note and possibly discard it
>thinking it had no further use. However, it turns out that note
>plays an integral part of in the game, say, for example, by setting
>alight to it so you can burn something else (this is not a clue to
>my game by the way). With the system you suggest if the note doesn't
>disappear once the player has read it they are going to know
>straight away that it is needed again.

Well, it's worse if the player thinks it has no further use (as most
will), and drops it (most likely with a limited inventory system). This
puts the game into an inwinnable state if the room isn't available at
all times[1], or makes the puzzle very difficult to solve (in the end
of the game, the player has to figure out that he needs an seemingly
useless item he dropped in the *beginning* of the game).

[1] Rooms should in my opinion often (though not always) work the same
way. When you're finished with a room or section of the game, you
should be cut off from entering it again. This should of course only be
done when it feels natural (e.g. when you travel from one
village/planet/etc. to another, there's no reason to be able to return
if there isn't anything important there).

--
Karl Ove Hufthammer

KayCee

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Sep 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/24/00
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"Darius Katz" <d_k...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:MPG.143805e45...@nntpserver.swip.net...

> In article <8qkgch$29e$1...@neptunium.btinternet.com>,
> ashle...@btinternet.com says...
> > Hi All
> >
> > I am currently writing an adventure and I wanted your opinions on a
quite
> > important point in IFs. Do you prefer the player's holding ability to be
> > infinite (this includes putting items in extra "containers" as in
> > Anchorhead, "you put the keys in your pocket, and take the torch", for
> > example) and therefore the player could pretty much carry every
carriable
> > (is that a word?) object in the game?
> >
>
> I'd vote for "unlimited inventory". It is very annoying having to drop
> items around in order to be able to get new items. And not knowing what
> items are important and must be carried along and what items can be
> discarded is a bummer too.
>
I favour a "realistically limited" inventory. I don't like games where
objects, once used, go "poof", thereby telling the player they've served
their purpose. Occasional objects which are consumed on use - keys that
break off in locks, etc. - are fine, as they match reality. But while
unlimited inventories are amusing ("You are holding: a glove; a handwritten
note; an envelope; a typed note; a lantern; a diamond; a diamond; a diamond;
a diamond; a dog [barking]; an accordion player [playing the accordion]; a
refrigerator...") they break mimesis when they exceed the pc's likely
ability to carry. For the same reason, I only approve wildly accommodating
container objects if they suit the mood of the game: a reality-based,
non-magical, non-humourous game should not provide a TARDIS box.
...KayCee


Jon Ingold

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Sep 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/24/00
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> I understand what you are saying here but one could fall into the trap
of
> giving too much away by this system.

The only answer: Design, design, design. You have to work the thing
properly, so that objects are destroyed realistically - for instance, in
the burning example you gave below - but not destroyable in such a way
as to trap people off; well, at least, not too often. The best way to do
it is to make sure people *can't* get too many objects at once; have
some "removing object" puzzles before a bout of "adding object" puzzles.

I don't know any games that do this particulary well - Curses final
inventory runs to several pages, as I remember - but it's worth a try.

Jon

Darius Katz

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Sep 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/24/00
to
In article <39ce2...@news.cadvision.com>, kcol...@cadvision.com
says...

>
> I favour a "realistically limited" inventory. I don't like games where
> objects, once used, go "poof", thereby telling the player they've served
> their purpose. Occasional objects which are consumed on use - keys that
> break off in locks, etc. - are fine, as they match reality. But while
> unlimited inventories are amusing ("You are holding: a glove; a handwritten
> note; an envelope; a typed note; a lantern; a diamond; a diamond; a diamond;
> a diamond; a dog [barking]; an accordion player [playing the accordion]; a
> refrigerator...") they break mimesis when they exceed the pc's likely
> ability to carry. For the same reason, I only approve wildly accommodating
> container objects if they suit the mood of the game: a reality-based,
> non-magical, non-humourous game should not provide a TARDIS box.
> ...KayCee
>

Of course, a realistic inventory is to be desired but how do you decide
on what items to carry on and what items to leave behind?

Maybe you gather all objects in a room in the centre of the game so that
they can be reached quickly if they are needed again?

-- Darius

Carl Muckenhoupt

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Sep 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/24/00
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I'd say it depends on the game. In a heavily story-based game,
limiting the inventory can only serve as a distraction. It's more
appropriate in a game heavily based on logistics, like, say, "Colossal
Cave" or "A Change in the Weather". If you have to optimize your
route to deal with time limits or limited light sources, or if there
are tight passages that you can only take one item through or other
situations where you have to decide what to leave behind, then a
limited inventory becomes another facet of the difficulties that are
already present.


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Stalkers

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Sep 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/24/00
to Ashley Price
Having to go back to search stuff is horrible.
While we are at Anchorhead - you can put
MOST items in your coat, but not all -
that is probably the best solution (although
personally I would prefer infinity holding
capacity - period).

Ashley Price schrieb:

> Hi All
>
> I am currently writing an adventure and I wanted your opinions on a quite
> important point in IFs. Do you prefer the player's holding ability to be
> infinite (this includes putting items in extra "containers" as in
> Anchorhead, "you put the keys in your pocket, and take the torch", for
> example) and therefore the player could pretty much carry every carriable
> (is that a word?) object in the game?
>

> Or do you prefer it to be limited to a certain number of items or determined
> by the object's size. For instance, if the player is carrying a large item
> that, realistically, would need two hands they cannot carry anything else at
> that time?
>

Jake Wildstrom

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Sep 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/24/00
to
In article <8qkgch$29e$1...@neptunium.btinternet.com>,

Ashley Price <ashle...@btinternet.com> wrote:
>I am currently writing an adventure and I wanted your opinions on a quite
>important point in IFs. Do you prefer the player's holding ability to be
>infinite (this includes putting items in extra "containers" as in
>Anchorhead, "you put the keys in your pocket, and take the torch", for
>example) and therefore the player could pretty much carry every carriable
>(is that a word?) object in the game?


Well, at present, I'm for "infinite" because of a longstanding convention
among IF gamers and creators that you should pick up any object not nailed
down. Not that I agree with this convention, but simply that it's too prevalent
to do anything else. I disagree simply on the grounds that real people don't
act anything like that. When I go downstairs for a midnight snack, I do not
find myself holding my wallet, towel, a deck of cards, and an assortment of
silverware. And those are only a few of the movable objects between my bed and
kitchen! But unfortunately, writers write games that expect such behavior, and
players are used to it, so we need to either cater to it or break away from it
completely in some way that's sane, i.e. a weight/size/encumberance system.
This is tricky, especially with containers, but incentivizing people to act
like normal humans instead of kleptomaniacs is, in my mind, a good thing.

+--First Church of Briantology--Order of the Holy Quaternion--+
| A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into |
| theorems. -Paul Erdos |
+-------------------------------------------------------------+
| Jake Wildstrom |
+-------------------------------------------------------------+

Karl Ove Hufthammer

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Sep 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/24/00
to
d_k...@hotmail.com (Darius Katz) wrote in message
<MPG.14385aa56...@nntpserver.swip.net>:

>Maybe you gather all objects in a room in the centre of the game so
>that they can be reached quickly if they are needed again?

Yes, but then you basically have an unlimited inventory, only much more
inconvenient ... :(

--
Karl Ove Hufthammer

Ashley Price

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Sep 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/25/00
to
Hi Karl

> >I understand what you are saying here but one could fall into the

> >trap of giving too much away by this system. If you have an object
> >that is needed more than once in the game, by the fact that it
> >hasn't disappeared the player will know straight away that they need
> >it again - therefore removing some of the puzzle solving element.
>
> Yes. Though in a really *good* puzzle, this shouldn't matter much! :)

I am not sure what you mean by this. A puzzle (unless completely self
contained) needs an object. If the object is needed more than once in the
game (and by using your "discard once no longer needed" system) the player
is going to know that the item is needed as it is still there. It has not
disappeared.

> And you shouldn't try to make a puzzle harder by increasing the number
> of items the player can cary ...

But surely the opposite is true, the more objects a person has in their
inventory the greater their chance of solving the puzzle (should it require
a carriable item to solve it)?

> Also, when a puzzle has several solutions, it only needs to be a
> *possibility* that you'll need the item later.

Puzzles, mostly, only have one solution. However, two separate puzzles might
need the same object (even if in combination with another object). For
instance, you may unlock a door with a hair pin for one problem, then tie
the pin to a broom stick to get the key off the hook high on the wall to
solve another problem.

> It's very annoying trying to solve a difficult puzzle and having a ton
> of items; you'll probably end up trying every possible combination of
> items and puzzle till you solve it (or you discover you'll need another
> item).

But that is the whole point of most puzzles, trial and error. Finding out
what works and what doesn't.

> Yes, you can end up falling in the trap of giving away to much
> information, but you *can* also avoid this trap ... Many games have.
> And you don't need to throw away *all* items the user won't need
> anymore ("You throw away all your money, not thinking you'll be needing
> it anymore."). Throw away what seems most natural ... :/

But here you appear to contradict your own preference for discarding objects
once they have served their purpose. Surely, you can't have both working at
the same time otherwise it becomes more confusing than helpful.

> Personally, I prefer games with as few (carriable) items as possible.

Am I right in thinking that you are saying that you prefer games where all
the objects have an absolute need to be there? What about scenery,
furniture, landscape etc. surely a game without these would be pretty
boring?

> >For instance, at the very beginning of a game you get given a note
> >about what you have to do to win the game (e.g. "find the woozle
> >crystal") . The player would read the note and possibly discard it
> >thinking it had no further use. However, it turns out that note
> >plays an integral part of in the game, say, for example, by setting
> >alight to it so you can burn something else (this is not a clue to
> >my game by the way). With the system you suggest if the note doesn't
> >disappear once the player has read it they are going to know
> >straight away that it is needed again.
>
> Well, it's worse if the player thinks it has no further use (as most
> will), and drops it (most likely with a limited inventory system). This
> puts the game into an inwinnable state if the room isn't available at
> all times[1], or makes the puzzle very difficult to solve (in the end
> of the game, the player has to figure out that he needs an seemingly
> useless item he dropped in the *beginning* of the game).
>
> [1] Rooms should in my opinion often (though not always) work the same
> way. When you're finished with a room or section of the game, you
> should be cut off from entering it again. This should of course only be
> done when it feels natural (e.g. when you travel from one
> village/planet/etc. to another, there's no reason to be able to return
> if there isn't anything important there).

If we follow this surely we are really "walking" the player through the game
instead of trying to get them to solve it themselves, I think it gives too
much away. And after all there is very few instances where we could make the
"can't go back to where you were" scenario actually believable. You got to
the planet on your spaceship, why can't you go back to the old one. You rode
your horse from one village to the next, why not ride back?

Ashley

Billy Harris

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Sep 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/25/00
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Billy's rules for object handling which I just made up:

Information objects [letters, scraps of paper, books, etc] can have
many uses or just be there for the clues/passwords/background
information.

Major quest items, that you had to solve at least one puzzle for, can
have just one obvious use or may have more than one use.

All other objects should have more than one use and preferably at least
3 distinct uses. For example, a vaccum cleaner may have something
hidden in its bag; you can clean a room so an athsmatic can safely
enter, and you can suck up an unreachable object in a mouse hole.

A garage door opener, other than the obvious use, can also hold a
battery, which can also fit in a remote control, be used in a makeshift
machine, and later needs to go back in the garage door opener which is
used to interfere with an enemy transmission.

The player can carry an infinite number of items so he/she can gloat
over how rich they are and think fondly of the places they've seen and
the things they've done.

If for whatever reason you think that the player has too much junk,
then it is OK to remove many of the items as long as (1) there is a
some-what plausible reason to do so [shipwreck, canibals in the desert
had to be bribed, character falls down a pit] (2) this happens at a
transition between scenes [new island, new town, bottom of the cave]
and (3) the player can keep the most memorable and/or amusing [1/2
eaten bana, feather of QuetzelCuatle]

----

Seriously, it is quite annoying to go through the whole game carrying
only 7 items just because one section of the cave [why are all these
limited-inventory games set in caves??] could be trivially solved if
only you could have carried an 8th item. If you MUST put in a
limited-item puzzle, put it behind "a narrow passage" or a "rickety
bridge" or even an "old elevator with an unraveling cable" so that I
and my items can enjoy the rest of the game in peace.

As far as realism goes, until you put in a quick, easy, and reliable
method to say "Go to hardware store, buy bolt-cutters, come back here,
and cut the fence" then playablility must be more important than
realism.

Karl Ove Hufthammer

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Sep 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/25/00
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ashle...@btinternet.com (Ashley Price) wrote in message
<8qo150$4kh$1...@neptunium.btinternet.com>:

>>> I understand what you are saying here but one could fall into the
>>> trap of giving too much away by this system. If you have an
>>> object that is needed more than once in the game, by the fact
>>> that it hasn't disappeared the player will know straight away
>>> that they need it again - therefore removing some of the puzzle
>>> solving element.
>>
>> Yes. Though in a really *good* puzzle, this shouldn't matter much!
>> :)
>
> I am not sure what you mean by this. A puzzle (unless completely
> self contained) needs an object. If the object is needed more than
> once in the game (and by using your "discard once no longer needed"
> system) the player is going to know that the item is needed as it
> is still there. It has not disappeared.

Yes, and I really don't see this as a big problem. It's *bad* puzzle
if you're depending on the user having many items to make the puzzle
difficult. In a good puzzle, the use of an item (or no item) should
be at least somewhat logicial (though perhaps difficult).

But I have a modification to my "discard once no longer needed"
system. You shouldn't *always* do this. One example is a wallet,
which you would never discard. I think this should be a bit
realistic. When you've unlocked a door you'll no longer need the key
(you leave the key in the lock -- in real life too). If you need a
long ladder to reach a high window, you carry the ladder to the
window and leave it there; you don't keep carrying a ladder for the
rest of your life. A rope has many uses, and should *not* be
discarded (though it could if it's "used up" (e.g., you use it to
lift a heavy object, and the rope gets destroyed (silly example)). In
a detective game, items you need to show to several people should not
be discarded, items you only need to show to one person should be
("George says 'Give me that!', and grabs the photos.").

To sum up: You should try to limited the player's inventory, but
avoid situation where discarding items feel artificial.

>> And you shouldn't try to make a puzzle harder by increasing the
>> number of items the player can cary ...
>
>But surely the opposite is true, the more objects a person has in
>their inventory the greater their chance of solving the puzzle
>(should it require a carriable item to solve it)?

No. *If* the player needs to use something in he inventory, and that
something isn't immediately obvious, he needs to try more objects
before accidently finding the correct one.

>> Also, when a puzzle has several solutions, it only needs to be a
>> *possibility* that you'll need the item later.
>
>Puzzles, mostly, only have one solution.

Yes, and IMO, this is often for the best.

>> It's very annoying trying to solve a difficult puzzle and having a
>> ton of items; you'll probably end up trying every possible
>> combination of items and puzzle till you solve it (or you discover
>> you'll need another item).
>
>But that is the whole point of most puzzles, trial and error.
>Finding out what works and what doesn't.

Yes and no. The whole point of (at least *good*) puzzles is not to
try every possible combination of verb and inventory objects. This is
as much fun as trying to *guess* the correct combination to a safe.

>> Yes, you can end up falling in the trap of giving away to much
>> information, but you *can* also avoid this trap ... Many games
>> have. And you don't need to throw away *all* items the user won't
>> need anymore ("You throw away all your money, not thinking you'll
>> be needing it anymore."). Throw away what seems most natural ...
>> :/
>
> But here you appear to contradict your own preference for
> discarding objects once they have served their purpose. Surely, you
> can't have both working at the same time otherwise it becomes more
> confusing than helpful.

See my answer above.

>> Personally, I prefer games with as few (carriable) items as
>> possible.
>
>Am I right in thinking that you are saying that you prefer games
>where all the objects have an absolute need to be there?

Well, that too (I'm only speaking of carriable objects here). I also
prefer simplicity to realism. One example: A wallet doesn't need too
contain a separate driver's license or a certain number of
coins/bills. Although the payment system in Dangerous Curves was
clever, it was IMHO unnecessary. Just having a wallet with "some
money" (an infinte amount) would be better. You don't really *need* a
'wallet' object at all, that is, it can be hidden from the inventory.
Just say 'Buy ticket', and the PC would buy a ticket (it's natural
that people have some money with them, and you don't *need* to
display the wallet in your inventory, just like you don't need to
display all your clothes in your inventory).

> What about
> scenery, furniture, landscape etc. surely a game without these
> would be pretty boring?

Yup, and I'm all fore scenery. Lots of it. But don't give the
impression that it's possible to pick up when it's not (a ladder
should be carriable -- a chair should not, even though it's
*physcially* possible).

>> [1] Rooms should in my opinion often (though not always) work the
>> same way. When you're finished with a room or section of the game,
>> you should be cut off from entering it again. This should of
>> course only be done when it feels natural (e.g. when you travel
>> from one village/planet/etc. to another, there's no reason to be
>> able to return if there isn't anything important there).
>
>If we follow this surely we are really "walking" the player through
>the game instead of trying to get them to solve it themselves,

I disagree. It's all about design really. It's not impossible to do
this, and several games have successfully pulled it off (sorry, can't
name anyone right now).

> I think it gives too much away. And after all there is very few
> instances where we could make the "can't go back to where you were"
> scenario actually believable. You got to the planet on your
> spaceship, why can't you go back to the old one. You rode your
> horse from one village to the next, why not ride back?

The spaceship crashed? Well, not the ideal solution. This is more
about *motivation* -- motivation of the PC. The PC doesn't have
*motivation* to go back; he's on a journey towards a goal (place or
situation). You've finally gotten hold of enough money to buy a
spaceship and travel to planet L, where the beautiful princess is
being held captured. Why should you return back?

This of course, all depends on the game, and on the design of the
game. In a game like Dangerous Curves, you really need to have access
to all the buildings at all times.

--
Karl Ove Hufthammer

R. Alan Monroe

unread,
Sep 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/25/00
to
In article <4tpz5.460$Vk6....@news.world-online.no>, huf...@bigfoot.com (Karl Ove Hufthammer) wrote:
>Personally, I prefer games with as few (carriable) items as possible.

Oh, so you liked Myst, then :^)
*duck*

Have fun
Alan

Arcum Dagsson

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Sep 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/25/00
to
In article <BE1820F6EBDB69B1.508296A5...@lp.airnews.net>,
Billy Harris <wha...@mail.airmail.net> wrote:

> Billy's rules for object handling which I just made up:
>
> Information objects [letters, scraps of paper, books, etc] can have
> many uses or just be there for the clues/passwords/background
> information.
>
> Major quest items, that you had to solve at least one puzzle for, can
> have just one obvious use or may have more than one use.
>

Agreed.


> All other objects should have more than one use and preferably at least
> 3 distinct uses. For example, a vaccum cleaner may have something
> hidden in its bag; you can clean a room so an athsmatic can safely
> enter, and you can suck up an unreachable object in a mouse hole.
>

Except for red herrings, yes. Red herrings may have no use, or several whimsical
uses, but no real use.

> A garage door opener, other than the obvious use, can also hold a
> battery, which can also fit in a remote control, be used in a makeshift
> machine, and later needs to go back in the garage door opener which is
> used to interfere with an enemy transmission.
>

Yep. The player needs to have to really think about things occassionally...

> The player can carry an infinite number of items so he/she can gloat
> over how rich they are and think fondly of the places they've seen and
> the things they've done.
>

<snip>
I'd disagree with you here, though it may be more of a playing preference. I
still recall the end of Monkey Island II, with a ton of strange stuff in my
inventory, most of which was only used once, and having to scroll though all
that to find the one relevant item.

Games with an infinite inventory tend towards something like this:

In A Disused Hut

You are in a disused bramble hut. You see a threadbare mattress here, and a door
to the west which is in process of falling apart.

>INV

You have one zorkmid, the nosehair trimmer of Frozboz (containing wolverine
hair), a ladder, the crown of Quendar, a portable radio, a horseshoe magnet, a
piece of chewed bubble gum, a broken xylophone, a hawaiian t-shirt (worn), a
guitar, a stuffed giraffe head, a glass eye, a dirty fork, a ketchup bottle
(containing blood), a celtic cross (worn), a leather jacket (worn), a whip,
twelve live weasels (sedated), an accordian, a book of polka sheet music, a
mattress tag that says "do not remove under penalty of law", and two pounds of
flax.

>TAKE MATTRESS

Taken.

It can be fun to look through the list, but when you are looking for a specific
item, it pales, and baffles the imagination to some extent.

The other extreme would be an extremely limited inventory.

At Forest's Edge

You are at the edge of an overgrown forest. You see a wallet lying in the dirt.
You may visit a pond to the north, delve deeper into the forest to the east, or
you may head back to the campground, to the west.

>INV

You have a scribbled note, a rusty key, Garmat's guide to wildlife, a quarter,
and a ham sandwhich.

>PICK UP WALLET.

You are holding too many things already.

This sort of limited inventory is a pain to deal with, and isn't any more
realistic then an unlimited inventory. I prefer a compromise, more along
Anchorhead's style, where you can only hold a few items, but have containers,
which will hold only things that could fit in that type of container, and can
only hold so many items...

At The Cotton Candy Booth
You are at a carnival, in front of a cotton candy display. To the northwest, the
hall of mirrors beakons, while the entrance lies to the south.

Someone appears to have dropped a roll of tickets here.

>INV

You are carrying:
a toothbrush
a tube of toothpaste
a pair of shorts (worn)
containing:
some loose change
a wallet
containing:
an id
a buisiness card
a keyring
containing:
a black key
a skeleton key
the key to your aunt Guenivere's house
a mini flashlight
some mint-flavored floss
a t-shirt (worn)
a backpack (worn)
containing:
a sandwich
a 10-foot rope
three juggling balls
a sleeping cat
a yo-yo
a worn paperback
a screwdriver
a magic wand

>PICK UP TICKETS

(putting the toothpaste in your backpack to make room)

Taken.

This sort of system allows for limited inventory puzzles, but also allows you a
fairly large inventory the majority of times. Having verbs that show the places
you've been, the objects you've had, and their present location, as Anchorhead
does, allows you to still remember the hurdles you've overcome, without drowning
in items.

Also, situations where you left something behind which is now essential, and
can't get it should be avoided in game design, and heavily clued if they do
occur. Also, consider having alternate solutions to the puzzle, not giving as
good of an ending if neccessary...

--
--Arcum Dagsson
"You say there's a horse in your bathroom, and all you can do is stand
there naming Beatles songs?"

Darius Katz

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Sep 25, 2000, 7:02:44 PM9/25/00
to
In article
<BE1820F6EBDB69B1.508296A5...@lp.airnews.net>,
wha...@mail.airmail.net says...

[a BIG snip]

> ...playablility must be more important than realism.
>

Well spoken. This sums it up pretty well.

-- Darius

Ross Cunniff

unread,
Sep 29, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/29/00
to
Arcum Dagsson (Arcum_...@hushmail.c.o.m) wrote:

> >INV

I see where you're going with this, and in general I like it, but
it seems a bit excessive. Wouldn't it be better to do something like:

> inv


You are carrying:
a toothbrush
a tube of toothpaste
a pair of shorts (worn)

There seems to be stuff in your pockets


a t-shirt (worn)
a backpack (worn)

The backpack is heavy - there must be something in it

> check pockets
Your pockets contain:


some loose change
a wallet

a keyring

> examine wallet
(you put the toothbrush in your pocket)
(you remove your wallet from your pocket)
Your wallet contains:
an id
a business card

and so on. This, of course, would require quite a lot of coding,
and would have its own set of irritations (for example, I doubt that
anybody wants to specify "take toothbrush with right hand," etc.
to that level of detail, so this example has to make assumptions
about which object you would prefer to exchange with a new object
you're picking up - that assumption is likely to be wrong about half
the time).
--

Ross Cunniff
Hewlett-Packard Technical Computing Division
cun...@fc.hp.com

Jason Compton

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Sep 29, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/29/00
to
Ross Cunniff <cun...@fc.hp.com> wrote:

: and so on. This, of course, would require quite a lot of coding,


: and would have its own set of irritations (for example, I doubt that
: anybody wants to specify "take toothbrush with right hand," etc.

I believe Empire of the Overmind actually required you to "hold" an object
before you could manipulate it.

--
Jason Compton jcom...@xnet.com

Vincent Lynch

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Sep 29, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/29/00
to
Ross Cunniff <cun...@fc.hp.com> wrote:
> Arcum Dagsson (Arcum_...@hushmail.c.o.m) wrote:
>
>> >INV
>
>> You are carrying:

<snip>

> I see where you're going with this, and in general I like it, but
> it seems a bit excessive. Wouldn't it be better to do something like:
>
>> inv

> You are carrying:
> a toothbrush
> a tube of toothpaste
> a pair of shorts (worn)

> There seems to be stuff in your pockets

> a t-shirt (worn)
> a backpack (worn)

> The backpack is heavy - there must be something in it
>
>> check pockets
> Your pockets contain:

> some loose change
> a wallet

> a keyring
>
>> examine wallet
> (you put the toothbrush in your pocket)
> (you remove your wallet from your pocket)
> Your wallet contains:
> an id
> a business card
>

> and so on. This, of course, would require quite a lot of coding,
> and would have its own set of irritations (for example, I doubt that
> anybody wants to specify "take toothbrush with right hand," etc.

> to that level of detail, so this example has to make assumptions
> about which object you would prefer to exchange with a new object
> you're picking up - that assumption is likely to be wrong about half
> the time).

I don't tend to like this. If I come across a puzzle that I might need an
object to solve, I want to be able to type 'inventory' and see a list of
everything I'm carrying; I don't want to have to manually look in all the
containers as well. Generally, I don't care much whether a particular
object is in my hands or in my backpack.

-Vincent

Karl Ove Hufthammer

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Sep 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/30/00
to
cun...@fc.hp.com (Ross Cunniff) wrote in message
<8r2c3b$qfq$1...@fcnews.fc.hp.com>:

[...]


>> containing:
>> a sandwich
>> a 10-foot rope
>> three juggling balls
>> a sleeping cat
>> a yo-yo
>> a worn paperback
>> a screwdriver
>> a magic wand
>

>I see where you're going with this, and in general I like it, but
>it seems a bit excessive. Wouldn't it be better to do something like:

In my opinion, the container shouldn't be displayed at all? Why not?
Because it's of no interest to the player (nor to anybody else). The
'inventory' should display everything the person is carrying -- exactly
*where* he's carrying it (pockets, in his head, in his coat, in his
wallet &c.) is unimportant. One point:

Just carrying 'some money' could look/sound strange. 'A wallet with
some money' (some=an "infinite" amount) is OK, and does IMO sound
better.

--
Karl Ove Hufthammer -- looking forward to the competition ... :)

Karl Ove Hufthammer

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Sep 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/30/00
to
jcom...@typhoon.xnet.com (Jason Compton) wrote in message
<8r2mfn$lud$1...@flood.xnet.com>:

>Ross Cunniff <cun...@fc.hp.com> wrote:
>
>: and so on. This, of course, would require quite a lot of coding,


>: and would have its own set of irritations (for example, I doubt
>: that anybody wants to specify "take toothbrush with right hand,"
>: etc.
>

>I believe Empire of the Overmind actually required you to "hold" an
>object before you could manipulate it.

This is annoying. The same is having to open a key ring to get access
to the keys. (Just 'Unlock door' or even 'Open door' should work.)

--
Karl Ove Hufthammer

Ashley Price

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Sep 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/30/00
to
Hi all

> Ross Cunniff <cun...@fc.hp.com> wrote:
>
> : and so on. This, of course, would require quite a lot of coding,
> : and would have its own set of irritations (for example, I doubt that
> : anybody wants to specify "take toothbrush with right hand," etc.
>
> I believe Empire of the Overmind actually required you to "hold" an object
> before you could manipulate it.
>

Yes, games written in Hugo do this as well (at least my game is and I have
not specifically programmed it to do so). So if something is in your
rucksack (for instance) you need to get it out before you can manipulate it.
I think I prefer this way (and not simply because it's Hugo's default).

Ashley


Ashley Price

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Sep 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/30/00
to
Hi all

>"Vincent Lynch"


>Ross Cunniff <cun...@fc.hp.com> wrote:
> > Arcum Dagsson (Arcum_...@hushmail.c.o.m) wrote:
> >
> >> >INV
> >
> >> You are carrying:
>
> <snip>
>

> > I see where you're going with this, and in general I like it, but
> > it seems a bit excessive. Wouldn't it be better to do something like:
> >

> >> inv


> > You are carrying:
> > a toothbrush
> > a tube of toothpaste
> > a pair of shorts (worn)

> > There seems to be stuff in your pockets

> > a t-shirt (worn)
> > a backpack (worn)

> > The backpack is heavy - there must be something in it
> >
> >> check pockets
> > Your pockets contain:

> > some loose change
> > a wallet

> > a keyring
> >
> >> examine wallet
> > (you put the toothbrush in your pocket)
> > (you remove your wallet from your pocket)
> > Your wallet contains:
> > an id
> > a business card
> >

> > and so on. This, of course, would require quite a lot of coding,
> > and would have its own set of irritations (for example, I doubt that
> > anybody wants to specify "take toothbrush with right hand," etc.

> > to that level of detail, so this example has to make assumptions
> > about which object you would prefer to exchange with a new object
> > you're picking up - that assumption is likely to be wrong about half
> > the time).
>
> I don't tend to like this. If I come across a puzzle that I might need an
> object to solve, I want to be able to type 'inventory' and see a list of
> everything I'm carrying; I don't want to have to manually look in all the
> containers as well. Generally, I don't care much whether a particular
> object is in my hands or in my backpack.
>

I agree here, after all if the computer is programmed to move things from
one full container to one with space, as in:

"TAKE TORCH"

"The computer moves the keyring from your pocket to your rucksack. The
computer moves the book you are holding to your pocket. You take the torch."

"TAKE MATCHES"

"The computer moves the book from your pocket to your rucksack. The computer
moves the torch you are holding to your pocket. You take the matches."

"PUT MATCHES IN RUCKSACK"

"The computer moves the keyring from your rucksack to your pocket. You put
the matches in the rucksack."

"GET WALLET"

"You take the wallet."

Now, you can see how confusing it can get after just four commands. Your
keyring has moved from your pocket to your rucksack, then back to your
pocket. The book that was in your pocket is now in the rucksack. The torch
is now also in your pocket.

How are you going to be able to remember where everything is even after a
few turns? So you will have to keep searching all your containers.

Ashley

Mona

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Sep 30, 2000, 8:52:06 PM9/30/00
to
Karl Ove Hufthammer wrote:

> 'A wallet with
> some money' (some=an "infinite" amount) is OK, and does IMO sound
> better.

Can't argue with that, really.

-mona


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

Arcum Dagsson

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Oct 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/1/00
to
In article <8r55ab$th$1...@uranium.btinternet.com>, "Ashley Price"
<ashle...@btinternet.com> wrote:

> Hi all
>
> >"Vincent Lynch"
> >Ross Cunniff <cun...@fc.hp.com> wrote:
> > > Arcum Dagsson (Arcum_...@hushmail.c.o.m) wrote:
> > >
> > >> >INV
> > >
> > >> You are carrying:
> >
> > <snip>
> >
> > > I see where you're going with this, and in general I like it, but
> > > it seems a bit excessive. Wouldn't it be better to do something like:
> > >
> > >> inv

> > > You are carrying:
> > > a toothbrush
> > > a tube of toothpaste
> > > a pair of shorts (worn)

> > > There seems to be stuff in your pockets

> > > a t-shirt (worn)
> > > a backpack (worn)

> > > The backpack is heavy - there must be something in it
> > >
> > >> check pockets
> > > Your pockets contain:

> > > some loose change
> > > a wallet

Why move everything to your pocket initially? I'd think it would be more natural
to just toss things in your backpack unless they don't fit, in which case you
stick it elsewhere...

As far as listing containers or not, I'd say that that ought to be a game
option...

Arcum Dagsson

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Oct 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/1/00
to
In article <8r2c3b$qfq$1...@fcnews.fc.hp.com>, cun...@fc.hp.com (Ross Cunniff)
wrote:

> I see where you're going with this, and in general I like it, but
> it seems a bit excessive. Wouldn't it be better to do something like:
>
> > inv

> You are carrying:
> a toothbrush
> a tube of toothpaste
> a pair of shorts (worn)

> There seems to be stuff in your pockets

> a t-shirt (worn)
> a backpack (worn)

> The backpack is heavy - there must be something in it
>
> > check pockets
> Your pockets contain:

> some loose change
> a wallet

> a keyring
>
> > examine wallet
> (you put the toothbrush in your pocket)
> (you remove your wallet from your pocket)
> Your wallet contains:
> an id
> a business card
>
> and so on. This, of course, would require quite a lot of coding,
> and would have its own set of irritations (for example, I doubt that
> anybody wants to specify "take toothbrush with right hand," etc.
> to that level of detail, so this example has to make assumptions
> about which object you would prefer to exchange with a new object
> you're picking up - that assumption is likely to be wrong about half
> the time).

I'd probably say to keep track of which item you'd been holding the longest, and
swap that one out, but I can see how that could occassionally be a pain...

Ashley Price

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Oct 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/3/00
to
Hi all

> Why move everything to your pocket initially? I'd think it would be more
natural
> to just toss things in your backpack unless they don't fit, in which case
you
> stick it elsewhere...

But isn't quicker to put it in your pocket than keep taking your backpack
off your back? Unless you are not wearing it, in which case it's a bit
pointless it being a backpack.

And this still does not solve the problem of the movement of the objects
whether from "hand to pocket to backpack" or from "hand to backpack to
pocket".

Ashley

Ian Stanley

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Oct 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/10/00
to

"Ashley Price" <ashle...@btinternet.com> wrote:
__________
>Hi All


>
>I am currently writing an adventure and I wanted your opinions on a quite
>important point in IFs. Do you prefer the player's holding ability to be
>infinite (this includes putting items in extra "containers" as in
>Anchorhead, "you put the keys in your pocket, and take the torch", for
>example) and therefore the player could pretty much carry every carriable
>(is that a word?) object in the game?
>

>Or do you prefer it to be limited to a certain number of items or determined
>by the object's size. For instance, if the player is carrying a large item
>that, realistically, would need two hands they cannot carry anything else at
>that time?
>

This again is a subjective judgement.

Most people would call a monitor a large item . Though in a recent job where i did pc support it was not unusual for me to be wearing

> inv
You are carrying:
backpack
15" monitor
desktop pc and keyboard
in your pocket there is a mouse
in your bag - na i'll leave that to your imagination

Ashley Price

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Oct 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/10/00
to
> Most people would call a monitor a large item . Though in a recent job
where i did pc support it was not unusual for me to be wearing
>
> > inv
> You are carrying:
> backpack
> 15" monitor
> desktop pc and keyboard
> in your pocket there is a mouse
> in your bag - na i'll leave that to your imagination

So you had a hand free then! :)

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