A course in IF at U of Mich, Dearborn

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Paul Drallos

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Jan 8, 2003, 5:09:38 PM1/8/03
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A friend just sent me this link for a course description in Computer Game Design which is all about Interactive Fiction and based on Z-code.

Check it out. Does anyone know about this course?

http://www.engin.umd.umich.edu/CIS/course.des/cis487.html

Howard

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Jan 8, 2003, 7:48:41 PM1/8/03
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That looks completely cool!

Howard
http://www.malinche.net

dgr...@cs.csbuak.edu

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Jan 8, 2003, 11:57:20 PM1/8/03
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> http://www.engin.umd.umich.edu/CIS/course.des/cis487.html

A closer look tells me that it's not really a course in IF, but a course
in game design in which IF is one of the fields explored.


--
David Griffith

Paul Drallos

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Jan 9, 2003, 8:18:42 AM1/9/03
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>David Griffith wrote:
>
>A closer look tells me that it's not really a course in IF, but a course
>in game design in which IF is one of the fields explored.
>

You're right. The reason it seemed more IF to me is because I first stumbled onto the site from here:

http://www.engin.umd.umich.edu/CIS/course.des/cis487/z5/index.php

This page lists 42 .z5 games which were written (I think) by the students, including source and playable online java versions. I'm sure this biased my impression of the course which I posted before I read it in detail.

Anyway, this link, showing source code will probably be interesting to many.

Vicko Vitasovic

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Jan 9, 2003, 8:58:07 AM1/9/03
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"Paul Drallos" <pdra...@tir.com> wrote in message
news:o_CcnfwsRrA...@comcast.com...

> http://www.engin.umd.umich.edu/CIS/course.des/cis487/z5/index.php
>
> This page lists 42 .z5 games which were written (I think) by the students,
including source and playable online java versions.

Why not put them in if-archive? Or maybe they are already there?

J. D. Berry

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Jan 9, 2003, 11:02:07 PM1/9/03
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> > A friend just sent me this link for a course description in Computer
> > Game Design which is all about Interactive Fiction and based on Z-code.
>
> > Check it out. Does anyone know about this course?
>
> > http://www.engin.umd.umich.edu/CIS/course.des/cis487.html

Apparently, beta testing is CIS 488.

<rim shot>

Yeah, yeah, they're obviously first-attempt games. (I tried Clue
and Monkeys Stole My Pants :D (try reading the note)).

Slack duly cut.

The IF assignment amuses me:
http://www.engin.umd.umich.edu/CIS/course.des/cis587/if-f02.html

OK, you have millions of other things to do besides taking this
course. While simultaneously learning a new language and the art
of interactive fiction, create a sophisticated, compelling work.
You have a month.

Develop anxiety.

Decide might as well take a look at the games that got A's
to get a feel for what the prof wants.

Breathe a big sigh of relief. Competence and immersion
are apparently relative terms.

Know you'll get by on the curve because no one else will
do any better than you will.

--

Fredrik Ramsberg

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Jan 10, 2003, 9:35:42 AM1/10/03
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"Vicko Vitasovic" <vickovi...@softhome.net> wrote in message news:<avjv6m$75o4$1...@as201.hinet.hr>...

> Why not put them in if-archive? Or maybe they are already there?

I took the liberty of asking professor Bruce R. Maxim, the coordinator
of the course, for permission to add them to the archive. Here's his
reply:

----------------------------------------
From: bruce maxim <bma...@engin.umd.umichnospamplz.edu>
To: Fredrik Ramsberg <fre...@cambriannospamplzlabs.com>
Date: 2003-01-10 15:09
Subject: Re: Interactive fiction projects

I think that as long as you aknowledge the author in the download link,
that it would be OK for you to add them to your archive.

Bruce R. Maxim
Associate Professor
Computer and Information Science
University of Michigan-Dearborn
----------------------------------------

If the quality is somewhat low, I still think it'd be interesting to add them,
either in a folder of their own, or gathered together in a zip-archive.

Fredrik

Vicko Vitasovic

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Jan 10, 2003, 9:42:21 AM1/10/03
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"Fredrik Ramsberg" <f...@mail.com> wrote in message
news:ab01df60.03011...@posting.google.com...

>
> I think that as long as you aknowledge the author in the download link,
> that it would be OK for you to add them to your archive.
>

> If the quality is somewhat low, I still think it'd be interesting to add


them,
> either in a folder of their own, or gathered together in a zip-archive.

I agree. Archive is there for archiving not for judging.

The autors would be mentioned in Index file or Readme.txt.


Kathleen

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Jan 10, 2003, 1:17:34 PM1/10/03
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"J. D. Berry" <jdberryE...@cox.net> wrote in message news:<3BrT9.9868$mg1.1...@news1.east.cox.net>...

> > > A friend just sent me this link for a course description in Computer
> > > Game Design which is all about Interactive Fiction and based on Z-code.
>
> > > Check it out. Does anyone know about this course?
>
> > > http://www.engin.umd.umich.edu/CIS/course.des/cis487.html
>
> The IF assignment amuses me:
> http://www.engin.umd.umich.edu/CIS/course.des/cis587/if-f02.html
>
> OK, you have millions of other things to do besides taking this
> course. While simultaneously learning a new language and the art
> of interactive fiction, create a sophisticated, compelling work.
> You have a month.

:) Sounds like a typical college assignment to me!

Joking aside, his/her description of a well-designed game is rather
nice:

"A well-designed game will exhibit the characteristics listed below.
* Competence - the game should handle the user interactions expected
for a piece of interactive fiction.
* Immersiveness - the degree to which a player loses him or herself
in the game world.
* Completeness - the world should have a reasonable number of room
and objects.
* World Design - non-linear story with several puzzles to solve.
* Prose Quality - the room descriptions should draw the player into
the game.
* Interactivity - the player should have interesting objects and
environments to manipulate.
* Fun - the game should entertain the player and motivate him or her
to play often."

... true, you could create a well designed game that violated some of
the above (Zarf's SUTW, or Galatea, Photopia... come to mind). But
like most rules for beginners - violations should probably be at least
considered carefully.

Kathleen

-- Excuse me while I dance a little jig of despair

Daryl McCullough

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Jan 10, 2003, 2:24:40 PM1/10/03
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mfis...@aol.com (Kathleen) says...

>"A well-designed game will exhibit the characteristics listed below.

> * Competence...
> * Immersiveness...
> * Completeness...
> * World Design...
> * Prose Quality...
> * Interactivity...
> * Fun...

>... true, you could create a well designed game that violated some of
>the above (Zarf's SUTW, or Galatea, Photopia... come to mind). But
>like most rules for beginners - violations should probably be at least
>considered carefully.

In my work in progress, I'm trying the avant garde approach of
violating the "Competence" requirement.

--
Daryl McCullough
Ithaca, NY

Adam Thornton

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Jan 10, 2003, 4:48:03 PM1/10/03
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In article <avn6l...@drn.newsguy.com>,

Commuting Aunt Nancy, Stiffy Detective?

Adam

Jake Wildstrom

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Jan 10, 2003, 8:07:58 PM1/10/03
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The Prophet Daryl McCullough known to the wise as da...@cogentex.com,
opened the Book of Words, and spoke, saying:

>In my work in progress, I'm trying the avant garde approach of
>violating the "Competence" requirement.

Isn't that Comp00ter Game's claim to artistic merit?

+---------------------------------------------------------------------+
| D. Jacob Wildstrom -- Math monkey and freelance thinker |
| Graduate Student, University of California at San Diego |
| Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily |
| endorsed by the University of California or math department thereof.|

Branko Collin

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Jan 12, 2003, 7:51:39 PM1/12/03
to
f...@mail.com (Fredrik Ramsberg), you wrote on 10 Jan 2003 06:35:42
-0800:

>"Vicko Vitasovic" <vickovi...@softhome.net> wrote in message news:<avjv6m$75o4$1...@as201.hinet.hr>...

>> Why not put them in if-archive? Or maybe they are already there?
>
>I took the liberty of asking professor Bruce R. Maxim, the coordinator
>of the course, for permission to add them to the archive.

Who's the copyright holder: the professor or the author?

I know my university claimed copyright on everything its students
created, but there seemed to be some doubts about the enforcability of
that.

--
branko collin
col...@xs4all.nl

Fredrik Ramsberg

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Jan 13, 2003, 3:20:25 AM1/13/03
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Branko Collin <col...@xs4all.nl> wrote in message news:<33342v88d8u4mlvgh...@4ax.com>...

> f...@mail.com (Fredrik Ramsberg), you wrote on 10 Jan 2003 06:35:42
> -0800:
> >"Vicko Vitasovic" <vickovi...@softhome.net> wrote in message news:<avjv6m$75o4$1...@as201.hinet.hr>...
>
> >> Why not put them in if-archive? Or maybe they are already there?
> >
> >I took the liberty of asking professor Bruce R. Maxim, the coordinator
> >of the course, for permission to add them to the archive.
>
> Who's the copyright holder: the professor or the author?

In my original mail to professor Maxim, I did offer to send emails
requesting permission to each stundent if I got their addresses, but he
obviously didn't consider them to be the copyright holders.

> I know my university claimed copyright on everything its students
> created, but there seemed to be some doubts about the enforcability of
> that.

If you work for a company, they can certainly own your work. I can't see
why a university can't own their students' works.

I still hope we can avoid another copyright thread. I really do.

/Fredrik

Paul Drallos

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Jan 13, 2003, 11:22:32 AM1/13/03
to
This thread is probably a good place for me to mention, and possibly get some feedback, regarding a grade-school IF project my wife and I are working on.

I am helping my wife implement an Interactive Fiction unit into her 4th and 5th grade curriculum. Our plan in a nutshell is this:

This year, 4th and 5th graders will be exposed to existing IF peices which are appropriate for kids. In particular, we will use Bear's Night Out, and Wishbringer. The idea here is to get the kids used to what IF is, how to play, and a general sense of what is expected.

Before the kids try to play Bear's Night Out on their own, my wife and I are developing a simplier game that the class can play together on a big screen. It's about a kid who has fallen asleep in the school library and finds him/herself trapped in school and has to find a way out There are not many puzzles required to solve the game so we can probably do it in one or two class periods. However, the game has many fun and interesting diversions (like exploring the Teacher's Lounge) and red-herings to help demonstrate features without causing them too much frustration in keeping the plot moving. After that simple game, then they can work on BNO or Wishbringer, either as teams or individually.

Next year, the 4th graders will be the new 5th graders, and will already be familiar with IF. After a short review, the 5th graders will begin to produce their own small IF work. For this, we will use Jon Ingold's Adventure Book authoring system. ( http://www.ingold.fsnet.co.uk/ ) This produces Inform source, but in a Choose Your Own Adventure type of structure (multiple choice options associated with each screen of text.)

We will take a step-by-step process. First, choosing the basic (I don't know what you call it...structure?) That is, will it be a story, a tour, a puzzle-fest, informational, or (idealy) some combination thereof?

Then they will outline the plot, logic, etc. Map the locations. Develop a logic tree, and then start programming.

Maybe, by the time these kids take the UofM class, they will be ready to produce some really dazzling stuff.

Anyway, we will probably the 1st phase (Introduction to IF)in a couple of weeks. Any comments, suggestions?

Paul

Branko Collin

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Jan 13, 2003, 8:43:15 PM1/13/03
to
Paul Drallos <pdra...@tir.com>, you wrote on Mon, 13 Jan 2003
11:22:32 -0500:

>This thread is probably a good place for me to mention, and possibly get some feedback, regarding a grade-school IF project my wife and I are working on.

Could you please set your line length to circa 65 characters? I cannot
read this.

--
branko collin
col...@xs4all.nl

Branko Collin

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Jan 13, 2003, 8:43:15 PM1/13/03
to
f...@mail.com (Fredrik Ramsberg), you wrote on 13 Jan 2003 00:20:25
-0800:

>Branko Collin <col...@xs4all.nl> wrote in message news:<33342v88d8u4mlvgh...@4ax.com>...
>> f...@mail.com (Fredrik Ramsberg), you wrote on 10 Jan 2003 06:35:42
>> -0800:
>> >"Vicko Vitasovic" <vickovi...@softhome.net> wrote in message news:<avjv6m$75o4$1...@as201.hinet.hr>...
>>
>> >> Why not put them in if-archive? Or maybe they are already there?
>> >
>> >I took the liberty of asking professor Bruce R. Maxim, the coordinator
>> >of the course, for permission to add them to the archive.
>>
>> Who's the copyright holder: the professor or the author?
>
>In my original mail to professor Maxim, I did offer to send emails
>requesting permission to each stundent if I got their addresses, but he
>obviously didn't consider them to be the copyright holders.

Don't act based on assumptions. The games in question are most likely
the first works of amateurs who never expected their work to be
showcased to a larger audience. Or, the other way around, they may be
the incredible creations of geniuses in the bud, who are later going
to make millions of dollars with spin-offs, and would therefore also
not like to see their early work in the public domain, so to speak.

>> I know my university claimed copyright on everything its students
>> created, but there seemed to be some doubts about the enforcability of
>> that.
>
>If you work for a company, they can certainly own your work. I can't see
>why a university can't own their students' works.

Depends on your copyright laws, I guess. In the Netherlands, employers
have automatic copyright on what their employees create. What an
employer is, depends on the type of relation there is between the two.
If there is a 'power relation', i.e. if one party can boss the other
around, then the boss party is an employer. It could be argued either
way that this type of relation exists between a university and its
students.

But I don't know what the law is like in the US in this respect.

>I still hope we can avoid another copyright thread. I really do.

Sorry. :-\

--
branko collin
col...@xs4all.nl

Paul Drallos

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Jan 13, 2003, 9:42:07 PM1/13/03
to
Branko Collin wrote:

>
> Could you please set your line length to circa 65 characters? I cannot
> read this.
>

Sorry...reposted with shorter line length

This thread is probably a good place for me to mention,
and possibly get some feedback, regarding a grade-school
IF project my wife and I are working on.

I am helping my wife implement an Interactive Fiction unit

Gadget

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Jan 14, 2003, 4:42:23 AM1/14/03
to
On Mon, 13 Jan 2003 21:42:07 -0500, Paul Drallos <pdra...@tir.com>
wrote:

<snip fun course idea>

It sounds like fun, but what are the objectives of the course?
Especially for the 4th graders? I can imagine the 5th graders will
learn programming skills and problem solving abilities, but the 4th
graders 'only' learn how to play a very old form of games.

Mind you, I'm not knocking your plan... I was just curious, since I
have been a grade school teacher a short time myself...

-------------
It's a bird...
It's a plane...
No, it's... Gadget?
-------------------
To send mail remove SPAMBLOCK from adress.

Joachim Froholt

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Jan 14, 2003, 7:35:27 AM1/14/03
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Gadget wrote:

> On Mon, 13 Jan 2003 21:42:07 -0500, Paul Drallos <pdra...@tir.com>
> wrote:
>
> <snip fun course idea>
>
> It sounds like fun, but what are the objectives of the course?
> Especially for the 4th graders? I can imagine the 5th graders will
> learn programming skills and problem solving abilities, but the 4th
> graders 'only' learn how to play a very old form of games.
>
> Mind you, I'm not knocking your plan... I was just curious, since I
> have been a grade school teacher a short time myself...

In my experience it's sometimes difficult to get kids interested in
reading. IF would be a very good way to get them interested (simply
because of the same things that make us interested in IF). In order to
get anywhere in a piece of IF they need to not only perform the
mechanical process of reading, but also to understand what exactly it is
that the text says. This would train the pupils to become better
readers. They would also have to communicate with the computer and use
words mentioned in the various descriptions. So it would be a way of
increasing their vocabulary and training their spelling. And playing IF
is all about problem solving, so the 4th graders would also increase
their problem solving abilities by playing games such as A Bear's Night
Out, and Wishbringer. Their cooperative skills would also be trained if
they work in groups to solve the puzzles.

I think this project sounds like a good idea. I hope you will keep us
posted, Paul. Btw, there's a nice little TADS game called Stranded which
you might want to look at, I think it could be suitable for this
project. Anyone know of other games that would work? Winter Wonderland,
perhaps (for the more advanced)?

Joachim


Paul Drallos

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Jan 14, 2003, 8:29:06 AM1/14/03
to
Gadget wrote:
> On Mon, 13 Jan 2003 21:42:07 -0500, Paul Drallos <pdra...@tir.com>
> wrote:
>
> <snip fun course idea>
>
> It sounds like fun, but what are the objectives of the course?
> Especially for the 4th graders? I can imagine the 5th graders will
> learn programming skills and problem solving abilities, but the 4th
> graders 'only' learn how to play a very old form of games.
>
> Mind you, I'm not knocking your plan... I was just curious, since I
> have been a grade school teacher a short time myself...
>

I'm seconding the reply sent by Joachim. IF is a way to reinforce
reading skills, reading for content, logical thinking, problem solving,
syntax, etc., all rolled into one entertaining unit.

There is a website http://if.home.attbi.com/ at which a middle-school
teacher describes his use of IF in the classroom. They don't do
programming at all. But he apparently feels there are many benefits
to using IF as an great resource to help build reading and thinking
skills.

I'm very excited to see how this will work out with the 4th and 5th
grades. Especially, I'm anxious to see what they do next term when
they have to create their own game.

Paul

Gadget

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Jan 14, 2003, 8:59:33 AM1/14/03
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On Tue, 14 Jan 2003 08:29:06 -0500, Paul Drallos <pdra...@tir.com>
wrote:


>


>I'm very excited to see how this will work out with the 4th and 5th
>grades. Especially, I'm anxious to see what they do next term when
>they have to create their own game.
>
>Paul
>

It sounds like a great project... I hope you'll keep us posted. And of
course I'd like to see those games next year...

Kathleen

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Jan 14, 2003, 12:43:18 PM1/14/03
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Gadget <gad...@SPAMBLOCKhaha.demon.nl> wrote in message news:<0jm72vkslqqon6u3j...@4ax.com>...

> On Mon, 13 Jan 2003 21:42:07 -0500, Paul Drallos <pdra...@tir.com>
> wrote:
>
> <snip fun IF course idea>

>
> It sounds like fun, but what are the objectives of the course?
> Especially for the 4th graders? I can imagine the 5th graders will
> learn programming skills and problem solving abilities, but the 4th
> graders 'only' learn how to play a very old form of games.

Seems like it would be it would be a fun way to get kids to read. My
son (in 3rd grade and not the greatest fan of reading), does like
CYOA books because (IMO) he has control over the outcome. I think it
engages him better and seems more like play than work.

I can see the same being true for writing... especially if
you have tool to take much of the drudgery out of the programming bits.
In essense, you are creating a fun way for kids to write a story
(assuming they can type, of course)

I would love to hear how it all turns out!

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