Why (certain) people don't like IF

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Julian Fleetwood

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Apr 16, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/16/98
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It strikes me that one of the reasons why many people dislike IF and prefer
graphic adventures is because of the added difficulty of IF.

For example:

1. Mazes. Although they are still difficult in graphic adventures at least
the visual aspect makes it easier to remember if you've been in a certain
room.

2. Object management. Most straight puzzle games (ie. not Quest For Glory)
completely ignore common sense and allow you to carry as much as you like.

3. Typing. For a child it is much more difficult to type in a sentence than
click a mouse.

4. Complexity or abstract nature of puzzles. Ok, so many puzzles in graphic
games are illogical and can't be solved without a walkthrough (Discworld
comes to mind) but at least the graphic aspect makes certain puzzles easier
(eg. this object looks simular to that one, I'll try using it with it).

5. Time to complete. You have to spend a great deal more time completing an
IF game that graphic game. The shear time it takes to read a screen of text
and the added problem of having to travel through loads of rooms to get
objects and find puzzles adds up.

To me, all of the above arguments can all be used in _support_ of IF's
superiority over graphic adventures but only because I know it is superior.
To someone new to the genre they can be put off for life.

I've probably rambled on for long enough.


Julian Fleetwood
--
Keen supporter of the 'Train Spotting as an Olympic sport' campaign
Home Page: http://www.tip.net.au/~mfleetwo/
Interactive Fiction Dimension: http://www.tip.net.au/~mfleetwo/if.html
Comic Book Store Guy Page: http://www.tip.net.au/~mfleetwo/comic.html

Ola Sverre Bauge

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Apr 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/19/98
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Julian Fleetwood wrote...

>It strikes me that one of the reasons why many people dislike IF and
>prefer graphic adventures is because of the added difficulty of IF.
>
>For example:
>
>1. Mazes. Although they are still difficult in graphic adventures at
>least the visual aspect makes it easier to remember if you've been
>in a certain room.

...And you can tell if you entered the room from the direction you came
from or not, which is not the case in a maze of twisty passages all
alike. Hmm, come to think of it, I never thought of this. It is
grossly unfair, after all.

>2. Object management. Most straight puzzle games (ie. not Quest For
>Glory) completely ignore common sense and allow you to carry as
>much as you like.

I'm always annoyed when I have to juggle stuff between my inventory and
the floor, and then I have to go back to get stuff I might need and need
to leave some other stuff somewhere else... it is a violation of common
sense, but then again, you can go on forever without eating or drinking
or going to the bathroom; hunger/thirst daemons are after all
(thankfully) not much used. And you never get tired from all that
trudging around, and so on...

>3. Typing. For a child it is much more difficult to type in a sentence
>than click a mouse.

...and it's also more difficult for a child to read text. I don't know
how keen I would have been on text adventures at age 10, with
practically no knowledge of English. Graphic adventures were definitely
needed to warm me up first.

>4. Complexity or abstract nature of puzzles. Ok, so many puzzles in
>graphic games are illogical and can't be solved without a
>walkthrough (Discworld comes to mind) but at least the graphic
>aspect makes certain puzzles easier (eg. this object looks simular
>to that one, I'll try using it with it).

...or maybe more precisely, the looks of an object you would not
normally associate with another might cause you to do so, for instance
substituting an ice cream cone for a goat's horn makes a lot more sense
in graphic adventures than in text ones.

>5. Time to complete. You have to spend a great deal more time
>completing an IF game that graphic game. The shear time it
>takes to read a screen of text and the added problem of having
>to travel through loads of rooms to get objects and find puzzles
>adds up.

This, however, definitely needn't be the case: It takes a lot more time
to watch a graphic adventure hero trudge his way through three locations
(especially if they scroll) than it takes to type 'w.n.w'. Graphic
adventures in general just have gotten easier lately, though that
doesen't have to be the case.

>To me, all of the above arguments can all be used in _support_ of IF's
>superiority over graphic adventures but only because I know it is
>superior.

Oh please, not this argument again; text adventures do have many
advantages over graphic adventures, but I do however think that graphic
adventures do some things better than text adventures. In fact, your
points are prime arguments for it: 1, 2 and 4 are all points in graphic
adventures' favor in my book, and not just things that put (certain)
people off IF.

None of this is strictly speaking true of *all* graphic adventures.
Adressing your points, (1) Don't most of us agree that mazes are bad
things in text and graphic adventures alike? (2) Who really cares if
you can pick up the mass of an average flea market plus a St. Bernard
without discomfort? (3) OK, so typing does allow for greater diversity
of input, but point-and-click at least alleviates guess-the-verb
problems (hoo boy am I going to get it for this).

(5) Graphic adventures can be just as hard as text ones. It's just that
developers making their games too hard may find their audience
evaporating, whereas much of the audience of modern IF are so passionate
that they endure and indeed cherish hard puzzles. (4) And text
adventures *certainly* can have illogical puzzles.

I'm not trying to troll, I find valuable assets in both text and graphic
adventures, and I think the two have much to learn from each other; but
saying one is better than the other really gets me ranting. I'd be just
as mad if someone said "graphic adventures are better than text ones
because..."

Ola Sverre Bauge
o...@bu.telia.no
http://w1.2327.telia.com/~u232700165

John G.

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Apr 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/21/98
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On Sun, 19 Apr 1998 22:43:17 +0200, "Ola Sverre Bauge"
<o...@bu.telia.no> wrote:

...snip...

>I'm not trying to troll, I find valuable assets in both text and graphic
>adventures, and I think the two have much to learn from each other; but
>saying one is better than the other really gets me ranting. I'd be just
>as mad if someone said "graphic adventures are better than text ones
>because..."

<cough> Graphic adventures are b... oh, never mind. <g>

Anyway, one thing that bothers me about this perpetual conflict over
text and graphics is that so few people ever bother to point out that
the argument is over the *interface*, not the adventure. It is
conceivable that a particular adventure may be equally well
represented by both a graphics and a text version. Which leads me to
wonder, are there scenarios which are better represented in one medium
than the other? Well, yes. Some real-time scenarios are MUCH better
with a graphics interface than without one. Then again, some scenarios
may be much more intriguing given a text interface because you are
allowed -- and dare I say, even _encouraged_ -- to use your
imagination rather than having the imagery limited to concrete
graphics. <shrug>

I, for one, am no candidate for authoring a graphic adventure because
I can't draw. Period. If the text-interface didn't exist, I would have
no hope of ever being able to create an adventure game. Given that I
prefer to work alone, text adventures are the perfect solution. But,
if I _could_ draw... well, who can say. <g>

C'ya,
RudeJohn
"I'm rude. It's a job."

Stephen Granade

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Apr 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/21/98
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On Tue, 21 Apr 1998, John G. wrote:

> Anyway, one thing that bothers me about this perpetual conflict over
> text and graphics is that so few people ever bother to point out that
> the argument is over the *interface*, not the adventure.

The interface has a large impact on the adventure, especially when you're
comparing a text and a graphic interface. They use completely different
techniques, and thus change how the story is told. While a particular
adventure may be well-represented either graphically or textually, the
resulting two adventures will be, for all intents and purposes, different
adventures.

Stephen

--
Stephen Granade | Interested in adventure games?
sgra...@phy.duke.edu | Check out
Duke University, Physics Dept | http://interactfiction.miningco.com


Lucian Paul Smith

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Apr 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/21/98
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Stephen Granade (sgra...@bohr.phy.duke.edu) wrote:

: On Tue, 21 Apr 1998, John G. wrote:

: > Anyway, one thing that bothers me about this perpetual conflict over
: > text and graphics is that so few people ever bother to point out that
: > the argument is over the *interface*, not the adventure.

: The interface has a large impact on the adventure, especially when you're
: comparing a text and a graphic interface. They use completely different
: techniques, and thus change how the story is told. While a particular
: adventure may be well-represented either graphically or textually, the
: resulting two adventures will be, for all intents and purposes, different
: adventures.

For certain values of the word 'different'.

I think it is well possible to translate the same sotry into a different
medium. Although it's been done badly from books to films and back again,
it's also been done well (c.f. 'The Princess Bride', IMO, at least).

Heck, 'Romeo And Juliet' was translated into 'West Side Story'--the
underlying story, though, is the same.

Some translations from one medium to another will fail. "Foom", though a
joke, failed to capture the essense of Doom. However, this does not mean
that there could not be such a beast. I wouldn't want to code it, and
you'd be struggling against a lot of limitations, but I believe, in an
ideal, abstract sense, that it could be done.

More to the point, this means that 'Zork: The Grand Inquisitor' can have
the same 'feel' as the original text adventures, although the medium has
completely changed.

Another example of a story that's been translated into various different
media: Hitchhiker's Guide. Now, what, a radio show, TV series, book
series, LP records, text adventure game, comic book, and soon to be a
movie. All of which have significant differences from each other, but all
of which have the same feel and same basic story. Some are better
translations than others, of course, but in an ideal sense, one could
imagine the perfect translation of the story each individual media.

-Lucian

Edan Harel

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Apr 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/21/98
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Stephen Granade <sgra...@bohr.phy.duke.edu> writes:

>On Tue, 21 Apr 1998, John G. wrote:

>> Anyway, one thing that bothers me about this perpetual conflict over
>> text and graphics is that so few people ever bother to point out that
>> the argument is over the *interface*, not the adventure.

>The interface has a large impact on the adventure, especially when you're
>comparing a text and a graphic interface. They use completely different
>techniques, and thus change how the story is told. While a particular
>adventure may be well-represented either graphically or textually, the
>resulting two adventures will be, for all intents and purposes, different
>adventures.

And, indeed, there are some adventures that couldn't be done (or done well)
in the other form. Can anyone here invision a good graphical version of
Nord & Burt, or a good textual version of Myst that followed the same
storylines(!)? For example, look at sierra's VGA re-releases of old
games. While these new versions still resembled their earlier versions,
they have some radical differences (for example, SQ 1 became more of a
B-movie parody, etc), and even some of the puzzles had to be changed
cause it was a different interface. And the change in those two interfaces
were relativly minor to a text adventure/graphic adventure.

Edan Harel
--
Edan Harel edh...@remus.rutgers.edu McCormick 6201
Research Assistant edh...@eden.rutgers.edu Math and Comp Sci Major
USACS Member Office: Core 423 Math Club Secretary

Andrew Plotkin

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Apr 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/21/98
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Lucian Paul Smith (lps...@rice.edu) wrote:

> : The interface has a large impact on the adventure, especially when you're


> : comparing a text and a graphic interface. They use completely different
> : techniques, and thus change how the story is told. While a particular
> : adventure may be well-represented either graphically or textually, the
> : resulting two adventures will be, for all intents and purposes, different
> : adventures.

> I think it is well possible to translate the same sotry into a different


> medium. Although it's been done badly from books to films and back again,
> it's also been done well (c.f. 'The Princess Bride', IMO, at least).

Yes. But it is a *translation* -- a new work, containing the same story;
derived from the original work, but with its own batch of creative
decisions.

I wouldn't consider text and graphical versions of a game to be really the
same game. So, to the original point, I can't agree that it's just a
Small Matter of Interface.

--Z

--

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

Stephen Granade

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Apr 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/21/98
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On 21 Apr 1998, Lucian Paul Smith wrote:

> I think it is well possible to translate the same sotry into a different
> medium. Although it's been done badly from books to films and back again,
> it's also been done well (c.f. 'The Princess Bride', IMO, at least).
>

> Heck, 'Romeo And Juliet' was translated into 'West Side Story'--the
> underlying story, though, is the same.

The underlying story, yes. The end result, no. For me, such translations
result in an entirely different final product. To steal your example,
reading 'The Princess Bride' and watching the movie felt completely
different to me.

Stephen

P.S. To drag someone else into this argument, I present Marshall McLuhan:
"The medium is the message."

Trevor Barrie

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Apr 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/21/98
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In article <6hikk2$i3$1...@remus.rutgers.edu>,
Edan Harel <edh...@remus.rutgers.edu> wrote:

>And, indeed, there are some adventures that couldn't be done (or done well)
>in the other form. Can anyone here invision a good graphical version of
>Nord & Burt, or a good textual version of Myst that followed the same
>storylines(!)?

Heck, some of us can't even envision a good graphical version of Myst.:)

Edan Harel

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Apr 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/21/98
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tba...@ibm.net (Trevor Barrie) writes:

touche.

John G.

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Apr 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/22/98
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On Tue, 21 Apr 1998 11:21:29 -0400, Stephen Granade
<sgra...@bohr.phy.duke.edu> wrote:

>On Tue, 21 Apr 1998, John G. wrote:
>
>> Anyway, one thing that bothers me about this perpetual conflict over
>> text and graphics is that so few people ever bother to point out that
>> the argument is over the *interface*, not the adventure.
>

>The interface has a large impact on the adventure, especially when you're
>comparing a text and a graphic interface. They use completely different
>techniques, and thus change how the story is told. While a particular
>adventure may be well-represented either graphically or textually, the
>resulting two adventures will be, for all intents and purposes, different
>adventures.

I believe that you may have taken my original post out of context by
deleting my remaining remarks. This is certainly not an uncommon event
on Usenet, eh? <g> Anyway, I can't agree with your evaluation. The
idea that a text and graphic version cannot be exact mirrors of one
another is simply wrong. Then again, for this to be possible, the
original "adventure" may need to be so simplistic as to make it
unappealing. <shrug> It would be pretty hard to carry on a
conversation with an intelligent npc using graphics, eh? *heh*
Although, I suppose you could use some sort of sign-language
point-and-click interface, eh? Hm. Is sign-language as a graphical
device an acceptable substitute for textual input? I wonder.

And what about a hybrid interface which combines text and graphics? Is
there any reason that a hybrid could not combine the features of both
mediums?

C'ya,
John G.


Lelah Conrad

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Apr 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/22/98
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On Tue, 21 Apr 1998 15:56:01 -0400, Stephen Granade
<sgra...@bohr.phy.duke.edu> wrote:


>The underlying story, yes. The end result, no. For me, such translations
>result in an entirely different final product.

>Stephen


>
>P.S. To drag someone else into this argument, I present Marshall McLuhan:
>"The medium is the message."


I agree. In fact, as I posted on a different thread above, I think
the brain processes info differently if it is graphical as opposed to
textual. I wonder what our heavily iconographic future will be like?
Different, I'm sure.
Me, I'm going to continue to exercise the part of the brain
that enjoys "needlepoint IF" -- such an archaic pasttime! :)

Lelah

John G.

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Apr 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/22/98
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On Tue, 21 Apr 1998 17:45:44 GMT, erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin)
wrote:

>Lucian Paul Smith (lps...@rice.edu) wrote:
>

>> : The interface has a large impact on the adventure, especially when you're


>> : comparing a text and a graphic interface. They use completely different
>> : techniques, and thus change how the story is told. While a particular
>> : adventure may be well-represented either graphically or textually, the
>> : resulting two adventures will be, for all intents and purposes, different
>> : adventures.
>

>> I think it is well possible to translate the same sotry into a different
>> medium. Although it's been done badly from books to films and back again,
>> it's also been done well (c.f. 'The Princess Bride', IMO, at least).
>

>Yes. But it is a *translation* -- a new work, containing the same story;
>derived from the original work, but with its own batch of creative
>decisions.
>
>I wouldn't consider text and graphical versions of a game to be really the
>same game. So, to the original point, I can't agree that it's just a
>Small Matter of Interface.
>
>--Z

Consider a simple text adventure which involves nothing more than
moving from room to room within an old house, acquiring objects needed
to escape. How would the text and graphic versions differ? Other than
for color commentary inserted by the text author, the different
versions could _conceivably_ be mirror images of one another.

My original intent was not to say that text and graphic adventures can
_always_ mirror one another, but rather that there are times when one
may be just as useful to the player as the other. Whether you see a
graphic of a hand-woven rug or whether you read a wonderfully crafted
description of that same hand-woven rug, you still "see" the rug.
Naturally, you might miss the fact that the rug smells slightly
charred or that it feels damp, but there are still commonalities
between the graphic and textual description. If the rug's odor or
moisture content aren't germane to the story, the picture may be a
perfectly acceptable substitute for the description.

IMHO, there are times when it _is_ a Small Matter of Interface. Then
again, adventures which don't fit into that category are probably much
more interesting than those that do. <g>

C'ya,
John G.

Bradd W. Szonye

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Apr 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/22/98
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Lelah Conrad wrote:
>
> I agree. In fact, as I posted on a different thread above, I think
> the brain processes info differently if it is graphical as opposed to
> textual. I wonder what our heavily iconographic future will be like?
> Different, I'm sure.

If it is indeed iconographic. See:

http://www.acm.org/cacm/AUG96/antimac.htm

This isn't anti-Macintosh propaganda; it's an interesting (and I don't
think too technical) article about the strengths and weaknesses of
current graphical interfaces. It explores what you come up with if you
deliberately design an interface that violates all the principles of GUI
design--albeit in a still-useful way. Many of the results are a bit out
of reach, but some of them are already practical.

I have some other interesting related links (and links about IF tools)
on my links page, at my website (address below).
--
Bradd W. Szonye
bra...@concentric.net
http://www.concentric.net/~Bradds

My reply address is correct as-is. The courtesy of providing a correct
reply address is more important to me than time spent deleting spam.

John G.

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Apr 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/22/98
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On 21 Apr 1998 13:22:10 -0400, edh...@remus.rutgers.edu (Edan Harel)
wrote:

>Stephen Granade <sgra...@bohr.phy.duke.edu> writes:
>
>>On Tue, 21 Apr 1998, John G. wrote:
>
>>> Anyway, one thing that bothers me about this perpetual conflict over
>>> text and graphics is that so few people ever bother to point out that
>>> the argument is over the *interface*, not the adventure.
>

You just gotta love the way you can be taken out of context by having
your original post snipped and clipped. <sigh>

C'ya,
John G.

Andrew Plotkin

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Apr 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/22/98
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John G. (rude...@ptd.net) wrote:

> My original intent was not to say that text and graphic adventures can
> _always_ mirror one another, but rather that there are times when one
> may be just as useful to the player as the other.

Mmm, ok. But what conclusion do you draw from this? In writing games,
both graphical (if stylized) and textual, I've found that these cases are
a tiny minority.

> IMHO, there are times when it _is_ a Small Matter of Interface. Then
> again, adventures which don't fit into that category are probably much
> more interesting than those that do. <g>

That too.

> You just gotta love the way you can be taken out of context

I don't.

Stephen Granade

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Apr 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/22/98
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On Wed, 22 Apr 1998, John G. wrote:

> On Tue, 21 Apr 1998 11:21:29 -0400, Stephen Granade
> <sgra...@bohr.phy.duke.edu> wrote:
>
> >On Tue, 21 Apr 1998, John G. wrote:
> >
> >> Anyway, one thing that bothers me about this perpetual conflict over
> >> text and graphics is that so few people ever bother to point out that
> >> the argument is over the *interface*, not the adventure.
> >

> >The interface has a large impact on the adventure, especially when you're
> >comparing a text and a graphic interface. They use completely different
> >techniques, and thus change how the story is told. While a particular
> >adventure may be well-represented either graphically or textually, the
> >resulting two adventures will be, for all intents and purposes, different
> >adventures.
>

> I believe that you may have taken my original post out of context by
> deleting my remaining remarks. This is certainly not an uncommon event
> on Usenet, eh? <g>

I don't see what I've taken out of context. You said that text and
graphic adventures can mirror each other (not that they _must_, as you
have claimed I stated); I disagreed, saying that they can't.

The rest of your paragraph was:

> It is
> conceivable that a particular adventure may be equally well
> represented by both a graphics and a text version. Which leads me to
> wonder, are there scenarios which are better represented in one medium
> than the other? Well, yes. Some real-time scenarios are MUCH better
> with a graphics interface than without one. Then again, some scenarios
> may be much more intriguing given a text interface because you are
> allowed -- and dare I say, even _encouraged_ -- to use your
> imagination rather than having the imagery limited to concrete
> graphics. <shrug>

I see nothing in this paragraph which changes your statement that the
question of graphics vs. text is one of interface rather than content. In
fact, in your reply to me, you go on to say

> Anyway, I can't agree with your evaluation. The
> idea that a text and graphic version cannot be exact mirrors of one
> another is simply wrong.

We've gone from your opinion being "conceivable" to being "right."
I still disagree, and disagree quite strongly. In another reply you said,

> Consider a simple text adventure which involves nothing more than
> moving from room to room within an old house, acquiring objects needed
> to escape. How would the text and graphic versions differ? Other than
> for color commentary inserted by the text author, the different
> versions could _conceivably_ be mirror images of one another.

Sight contains more information than text, as Andrew Plotkin pointed out
in a different thread. What time of day is it? What's the lighting like?
Do the lights reflect off the walls, or do the walls absorb the light?
These details can certainly be included in a text description, but to
include them all would be to make the description bloated beyond belief.

For me, it's really a question of selection. When I look at a picture, I
can notice details or ignore them as I wish. When I read a passage of
text, I can't miss details unless I skim, in which case I'm never quite
sure of what I've missed and what I haven't.

> And what about a hybrid interface which combines text and graphics? Is
> there any reason that a hybrid could not combine the features of both
> mediums?

Certainly it can. I'm not claiming that graphics are better than text, or
vice versa, or that they cannot be combined. I'm claiming that the choice
of interface is inextricably bound up in how the story is told, and thus
the content of the story.

On further thought, I suppose you could come up with a contrived example
in which the text and graphic versions were the same, perhaps by having
everything happen in featureless white rooms. At that point, though, you
have reduced the information being conveyed in both text and graphics to
the point that the result would be well-nigh unplayable.

Stephen

Ian Stewart

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Apr 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/22/98
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> [snip]

> And what about a hybrid interface which combines text and graphics? Is
> there any reason that a hybrid could not combine the features of both
> mediums?
>

That is exactly what a hybrid is, a mixture for better or worse of more than
1element.

There were a few cool text w/graphics games, I liked the spellcasting series,
the
interface was quite comfortable for me, also the Gateway interface was nice.

In fact, I would love to get my hands on some tools to build similar games.
Or even to purchase those old games, they were a blast. If anyone knows
where/if spellcasting 101 and the rest of that series and or the gateway games

can be purchased or downloaded I would greatly appreciate some info.

Ian


Jim Montanus

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Apr 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/22/98
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> There were a few cool text w/graphics games, I liked the spellcasting series,
> the
> interface was quite comfortable for me, also the Gateway interface was nice.
>
> In fact, I would love to get my hands on some tools to build similar games.
> Or even to purchase those old games, they were a blast. If anyone knows
> where/if spellcasting 101 and the rest of that series and or the gateway games
>
> can be purchased or downloaded I would greatly appreciate some info.

You should contact Mindscape at (800) 234-3088, and ask for The Lost
Adventures of Legend. It includes:

Spellcasting 101
Spellcasting 201
Spellcasting 301
Timequest
Federik Pohl's Gateway
Gateway II: Homeworld
Eric the Unready
Companions of Xanth

Jim Montanus
Legend Entertainment

Michael Straight

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Apr 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/22/98
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On Sun, 19 Apr 1998, Ola Sverre Bauge wrote:

> Julian Fleetwood wrote...


> >1. Mazes. Although they are still difficult in graphic adventures at
> >least the visual aspect makes it easier to remember if you've been
> >in a certain room.
>
> ...And you can tell if you entered the room from the direction you came
> from or not, which is not the case in a maze of twisty passages all
> alike. Hmm, come to think of it, I never thought of this. It is
> grossly unfair, after all.

I think this illustrates how the traditional "twisty passages all alike"
mazes are always a mimesis buster for me.

The reason you couldn't do a graphical adventure version of this is
because it doesn't make any sense. Can anyone really imagine a maze
where, if you were paying attention, you consistently couldn't tell which
of a room's exits you had just entered? (Assuming no spinning or other
method of disorienting is going on.)

SMTIRCAHIAGEHLT


Michael Straight

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Apr 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/22/98
to

On Tue, 21 Apr 1998, Stephen Granade wrote:

> On 21 Apr 1998, Lucian Paul Smith wrote:
> > Heck, 'Romeo And Juliet' was translated into 'West Side Story'--the
> > underlying story, though, is the same.
>

> The underlying story, yes. The end result, no. For me, such translations

> result in an entirely different final product. To steal your example,
> reading 'The Princess Bride' and watching the movie felt completely
> different to me.

Interesting example, because I can't think of a movie based on a book that
is more faithful to the book than 'The Princess Bride.'

SMTIRCAHIAGEHLT


Lucian Paul Smith

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Apr 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/22/98
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Stephen Granade (sgra...@bohr.phy.duke.edu) wrote:

: Sight contains more information than text, as Andrew Plotkin pointed out


: in a different thread. What time of day is it? What's the lighting like?
: Do the lights reflect off the walls, or do the walls absorb the light?
: These details can certainly be included in a text description, but to
: include them all would be to make the description bloated beyond belief.

I don't think this is really the issue here. I wasn't talking about
whether the information content could be replicated, but whether the same
or a similar effect in the player could be evoked. At least, that's what
*I'd* like to talk about ;-)

: For me, it's really a question of selection. When I look at a picture, I


: can notice details or ignore them as I wish. When I read a passage of
: text, I can't miss details unless I skim, in which case I'm never quite
: sure of what I've missed and what I haven't.

Eh. Is this really the issue? The details you overlook in a picture tend
to be the details that aren't enumerated in the text version, except you
don't get to make the choice yourself. But you can always fill in the
details from your own experiences in the text version.

Consider: I show you a picture of an ambulance, lights flashing. Then I
play you a recording of an amulance siren. Then I show you the phrase
"The ambulance raced by." All very different stimuli, right? But what is
evoked? Probably very similar things, on the most basal level.

: > And what about a hybrid interface which combines text and graphics? Is


: > there any reason that a hybrid could not combine the features of both
: > mediums?

: Certainly it can. I'm not claiming that graphics are better than text, or


: vice versa, or that they cannot be combined. I'm claiming that the choice
: of interface is inextricably bound up in how the story is told, and thus
: the content of the story.

But my claim is that I can choose various different means to evoke the
same response in you, my audience. The content may well be somewhat
different, but the end result could be the same.

To use a silly math analogy: I can take the absolute value of a number,
or I can square the number then take the square root. Both very different
processes, but both effect the same result.

: On further thought, I suppose you could come up with a contrived example


: in which the text and graphic versions were the same, perhaps by having
: everything happen in featureless white rooms. At that point, though, you
: have reduced the information being conveyed in both text and graphics to
: the point that the result would be well-nigh unplayable.

Pppft. This is silly. The point is not that printing "There is nothing
here" and showing a white screen have the same informational content, but
that describing a gothic castle in a storm and showing the selfsame castle
both evoke Lovecraftian thoughts.


Can I use the word 'evoke' any more times in this post? Didn't think so.

-Lucian

L. Ross Raszewski

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Apr 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/22/98
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In article <353e841d...@news.ptd.net>#1/1,

rude...@ptd.net wrote:
> unappealing. <shrug> It would be pretty hard to carry on a
> conversation with an intelligent npc using graphics, eh? *heh*

Hate to take you out of context, but I think this line keeps most of its
meaning without the surrounding details.

ANyhow, while I think this is a mostly valid statement, I think that the
implications are all wrong. It may well b e pretty hard to carry on a
conversation with an NPC using graphics, but then again, it's pretty hard
using text, too. And we toss about the phrase"Graphic adventure" a lot here,
and define it differently depending on what kind of argument we're trying to
shoot down. No graphic Adventure is purely graphical. Games without sound
use texual representation of the sounds. It would be far easier to model NPC
interaction using a voice interface than with anything else, I would imagine,
and one could "use" graphics in an npc interaction without EXCLUSIVELY using
graphics (Which, in context, you make some oblique reference to yourself, but
I thought I'd expound here)

THe main reason that I was propmpted to post on this is one possible
implication of your argument: that old NPC conversation debate. Personally, I
think that pure-text is poorly suited to NPC interaction, and the ask/tell
paradigm is one of the worst possible systems. It's the text equivalent of
hunt-the-pixel-blindfolded-without-being-exactly-sure-your-hand-is-on-the-mous
e (I have a touchpoint, and frequently, when tired, wonder why it isn't
working only to discover I've had my finger on a coaster instead.)

Besuides, Text is just graphics we've assigned specific meanings to...

-----== Posted via Deja News, The Leader in Internet Discussion ==-----
http://www.dejanews.com/ Now offering spam-free web-based newsreading

weird...@prodigy.net

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Apr 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/22/98
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In article <353e841d...@news.ptd.net>,
rude...@ptd.net wrote:

*parts above and below here got snipped*


> <shrug> It would be pretty hard to carry on a
> conversation with an intelligent npc using graphics, eh? *heh*

> Although, I suppose you could use some sort of sign-language
> point-and-click interface, eh? Hm. Is sign-language as a graphical
> device an acceptable substitute for textual input? I wonder.

I wouldn't call "Ask A about B" or "Show B to A" to be intelligent
conversation (isn't this one of the things that was *wrong* with Return to
Zork?). I think that Lucasarts games have the best conversations. The choices
given to you are generally either ones you'd naturally make in that situation
or else just good old fun. Also, the conversations often help develop the
plot (for example, learning the goal of the first part of Monkey Island 1
right from the pirates rather than just reading about it in the
instructions).

Weird Beard
weird...@prodigy.net.

D. A D A M S
4 + 1 + 4 + 1 + 13 + 19 = 42


> C'ya,
> John G.

John G.

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Apr 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/22/98
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On 22 Apr 1998 16:22:09 GMT, lps...@rice.edu (Lucian Paul Smith)
wrote:

...snip...

>But my claim is that I can choose various different means to evoke the
>same response in you, my audience. The content may well be somewhat
>different, but the end result could be the same.

Well said. The point of contention seems to be that dissimilar media
invoke dissimilar experiences. There is something about that idea
which makes me uncomfortable. Is the human mind so small that it
cannot encompass different views of the same thing? If I examine an
object in the dark, identifying it as a chair, and then examine it in
the light, again identifying it as a chair, have I not still
determined the object's "chairness"?

Perhaps my own confusion is caused by looking for the similarity in
different experiences, rather than being concerned with the obvious
dissimilarity. <shrug> Maybe the only reasonable answer to all of this
is, "Make up your own mind." I don't know.

C'ya,
John G.
"I'm confused. It's a job."

Alan Shutko

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Apr 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/22/98
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>>>>> "M" == Michael Straight <stra...@email.unc.edu> writes:

M> The reason you couldn't do a graphical adventure version of this is
M> because it doesn't make any sense. Can anyone really imagine a maze
M> where, if you were paying attention, you consistently couldn't tell which
M> of a room's exits you had just entered? (Assuming no spinning or other
M> method of disorienting is going on.)

I've played games in which leaving through the entrance you came in
wouldn't necessarily take you where you came from. Monkey Island I,
iirc.

In any case, since you don't often know your north-south-east-west
headings in a graphical adventure, how would you know that you exited
east but entered north?

--
Alan Shutko <a...@acm.org> - By consent of the corrupted
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a cash advance.

David Monaghan

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Apr 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/22/98
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On 21 Apr 1998 13:22:10 -0400, edh...@remus.rutgers.edu (Edan Harel)
wrote:

>And, indeed, there are some adventures that couldn't be done (or done well)
>in the other form. Can anyone here invision a good graphical version of
>Nord & Burt, or a good textual version of Myst that followed the same

>storylines(!)? For example, look at sierra's VGA re-releases of old
>games. While these new versions still resembled their earlier versions,
>they have some radical differences (for example, SQ 1 became more of a
>B-movie parody, etc), and even some of the puzzles had to be changed
>cause it was a different interface. And the change in those two interfaces
>were relativly minor to a text adventure/graphic adventure.

I've played text adventures and Zork Nemesis & Grand Inquisitor but
nothing in between so if I'm factually incorrect please forgive me. A
major difference between text and graphics adventures - in my
experience - is the usage of objects. The flexibilities of a parser
allow multiple different interactions between objects with a good
example occurring in Infocom's Hollywood Hijinx. If you're playing the
game, or might do so in the future, ignore the next paragraph (ROT13
encoded).

Sbe gur zbfg qvssvphyg chmmyr (VZUB) va guvf tnzr lbh unir gb qevc jnk
sebz n pnaqyr bagb n zngpu gb jngrecebbs vg. Gurer ner ng yrnfg gjb
cbffvoyr vagrenpgvbaf bs yvtugrq pnaqyr naq zngpu - qevc jnk bagb
zngpu naq yvtug zngpu jvgu pnaqyr naq vg'f qvssvphyg gb frr ubj gurfr
pbhyq or qhcyvpngrq jvgu gur pheerag tencuvpf vagresnprf juvpu frrz gb
unir n fvatyr "hfr jvgu O" pbzznaq.

DaveM

Chris [Steve] Piuma

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Apr 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/22/98
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In article <m3n2dd7...@hubert.wuh.wustl.edu>, Alan Shutko <a...@acm.org>
wrote:

> In any case, since you don't often know your north-south-east-west
> headings in a graphical adventure, how would you know that you exited
> east but entered north?

Well, but you'd know that you came out of _that_ corridor, and not the
corridor over there, right? It wouldn't matter whether it was east or
south-by-southwest; especially in a maze, where presumably you'd be paying
attention to such things, you'd know which exit was the one you just
stepped through.

--
Chris [Steve] Piuma, etc. Nothing is at: http://www.brainlink.com/~cafard
[Editor of _flim_, Keeper of the R.E.M. Lyric Annotations FAQ, MST3K #43136]
BTW, if any of the authors are reading, I enjoyed the TextFire games quite
a lot indeed. Bravo all around. I laughed until I stopped.

weird...@prodigy.net

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Apr 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/22/98
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In article <353cbb17...@news.ptd.net>,
rude...@ptd.net wrote:
>
> On Sun, 19 Apr 1998 22:43:17 +0200, "Ola Sverre Bauge"
> <o...@bu.telia.no> wrote:
>
> ...snip...
>
> >I'm not trying to troll, I find valuable assets in both text and graphic
> >adventures, and I think the two have much to learn from each other; but
> >saying one is better than the other really gets me ranting. I'd be just
> >as mad if someone said "graphic adventures are better than text ones
> >because..."
>
> <cough> Graphic adventures are b... oh, never mind. <g>

>
> Anyway, one thing that bothers me about this perpetual conflict over
> text and graphics is that so few people ever bother to point out that
> the argument is over the *interface*, not the adventure. It is

> conceivable that a particular adventure may be equally well
> represented by both a graphics and a text version. Which leads me to
> wonder, are there scenarios which are better represented in one medium
> than the other? Well, yes. Some real-time scenarios are MUCH better
> with a graphics interface than without one. Then again, some scenarios
> may be much more intriguing given a text interface because you are
> allowed -- and dare I say, even _encouraged_ -- to use your
> imagination rather than having the imagery limited to concrete
> graphics. <shrug>
>

I'm tired of people implying that having graphics means that imagination
isn't required. I'll give some examples from Grand Inquisitor, since many
people here are at least somewhat farmiliar with it.

a. Flood Control Dam #3. Uses the graphics in a sneaky way by putting an
*incorect* answer right in front of us, and making us use our imaginations to
figure out the *real* answer.

b. Infinite Hallway. Maybe not as hard once you find the sign, but a text
description of the room would have waved it under our noses

c. Card Game. Very imaginative solution in my opinion. Reminded me of the car
lot in "The Muppet Movie" This would have been doable as text, but its easier
to imagine the answer when you can *see* that the cards look like dice.

d. Personally the thimg my aunt gave me that I didn't know what it was,
didn't inspire my imagination as actually seeing the permasuck and *still*
not knowing what it was.

Weird Beard
weird...@prodigy.net

Elvis Presley died at the age of 42

Lelah Conrad

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Apr 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/23/98
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On 22 Apr 1998 16:22:09 GMT, lps...@rice.edu (Lucian Paul Smith)
wrote:

>Consider: I show you a picture of an ambulance, lights flashing. Then I
>play you a recording of an amulance siren. Then I show you the phrase
>"The ambulance raced by." All very different stimuli, right? But what is
>evoked? Probably very similar things, on the most basal level.

I don't think so, because language and words allow for much more
ambiguity than pictures. I am not sure what image the word ambulance
evokes (heh-- there's your word, Lucian!) in the other
English-speaking readers of this newsgroup, but it is probably
somewhat different depending on what part of the world they hail from.
And believe it or not, an ambulance in Teresina, Piaui (Brasil) was a
teeny tiny vehicle with, of all things, a large boat on the roof due
to the river that flowed through the town!

So, though a certain functionality may be contained in the word
ambulance, the mind images will be different. This is not the case
when a person is _shown_ an ambulance. In that case they see a
particular concrete example of an ambulance -- the one that the
graphic portrays.


>But my claim is that I can choose various different means to evoke the
>same response in you, my audience. The content may well be somewhat
>different, but the end result could be the same.


Probably only a result related to functionality, and even then, there
is greater possibility for cross-cultural ambibuity or
misunderstanding with words. Now that I think of it,
(slight spoiler below)

your language puzzle in Edifice was an example of cross-cultural
negotiation on the meaning of words -- and the guy had to draw a
picture to get to the concrete example he was seeking!

Lelah

John G.

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Apr 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/23/98
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On Wed, 22 Apr 1998 10:21:18 -0400, Ian Stewart <iste...@tiac.net>
wrote:

>> [snip]


>> And what about a hybrid interface which combines text and graphics? Is
>> there any reason that a hybrid could not combine the features of both
>> mediums?
>>
>

>That is exactly what a hybrid is, a mixture for better or worse of more than
>1element.

I was wondering when someone would point out that I was answering my
own question. <g> Funny thing is, I had meant to write "... the best
features ..." but that obviously isn't what my tired little fingers
produced. Oh well.

C'ya,
John G.
"I'm tired. It's a job."

John G.

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Apr 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/23/98
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On Wed, 22 Apr 1998 12:17:21 -0600, L. Ross Raszewski
<rras...@hotmail.com> wrote:

..snip..

>And we toss about the phrase"Graphic adventure" a lot here,
>and define it differently depending on what kind of argument we're trying to
>shoot down.

..snip..

L. Ross, you are one honest man. I salute you. <g>

C'ya,
John G.


John G.

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Apr 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/23/98
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On Wed, 22 Apr 1998 06:00:54 GMT, erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin)
wrote:

>John G. (rude...@ptd.net) wrote:


>
>> My original intent was not to say that text and graphic adventures can
>> _always_ mirror one another, but rather that there are times when one
>> may be just as useful to the player as the other.
>
>Mmm, ok. But what conclusion do you draw from this? In writing games,
>both graphical (if stylized) and textual, I've found that these cases are
>a tiny minority.

...snip...

Well, it's not unheard of for practical experience to yield results
which conflict with academic opinion. Just goes to show, don't it.

As far as conclusions go, I'm still working on that one. Please don't
confuse my preference for polemic with expressing an opinion, or even
worse, a conclusion. One of my favorite educational strategies is
confrontation and argument. I learn more by being proven wrong than by
being proven right. (There's a joke in there somewhere just dying to
get out, eh?)

Having stumbled upon rgif and raif (affectionately pronounced "riff
raff") several months ago, I find myself drawn to the question of
implementation. Accordingly, I've spent the last few months gathering
the temerity to create a homepage devoted to programming simple --
stress "simple" -- IF in C and Basic. May the universe have mercy on
us all. It will be a while before there's anything worth announcing,
and even then... <g>

C'ya,
John G.
"I'm rude. It's a job."

Gunther Schmidl

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Apr 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/23/98
to

>Sbe gur zbfg qvssvphyg chmmyr (VZUB) va guvf tnzr lbh unir gb qevc jnk
>sebz n pnaqyr bagb n zngpu gb jngrecebbs vg. Gurer ner ng yrnfg gjb
>cbffvoyr vagrenpgvbaf bs yvtugrq pnaqyr naq zngpu - qevc jnk bagb
>zngpu naq yvtug zngpu jvgu pnaqyr naq vg'f qvssvphyg gb frr ubj gurfr
>pbhyq or qhcyvpngrq jvgu gur pheerag tencuvpf vagresnprf juvpu frrz gb
>unir n fvatyr "hfr jvgu O" pbzznaq.

I get it you haven't played Return to Zork, which did allow just that by one
of the most ingenious interfactes I've seen to date.

--
+------------------------+----------------------------------------------+
+ Gunther Schmidl + "I want a Blorb compatible interpreter. Now. +
+ Ferd.-Markl-Str. 39/16 + Please. Come on. Do it. Now." -- myself +
+ A-4040 LINZ +----------------------------------------------+
+ Tel: 0732 25 28 57 + http://gschmidl.home.ml.org - new & improved +
+------------------------+---+------------------------------------------+
+ sothoth (at) usa (dot) net + please remove the "xxx." before replying +
+----------------------------+------------------------------------------+

weird...@prodigy.net

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Apr 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/23/98
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In article <m3n2dd7...@hubert.wuh.wustl.edu>,
Alan Shutko <a...@acm.org> wrote:
>
> >>>>> "M" == Michael Straight <stra...@email.unc.edu> writes:
>
> M> The reason you couldn't do a graphical adventure version of this is
> M> because it doesn't make any sense. Can anyone really imagine a maze
> M> where, if you were paying attention, you consistently couldn't tell which
> M> of a room's exits you had just entered? (Assuming no spinning or other
> M> method of disorienting is going on.)
>
> I've played games in which leaving through the entrance you came in
> wouldn't necessarily take you where you came from. Monkey Island I,
> iirc.

But you can see this happening, you can go back the same way, and the game
won't let you use the maze until you have a map.

>
> In any case, since you don't often know your north-south-east-west
> headings in a graphical adventure, how would you know that you exited
> east but entered north?

If going *back* takes you someplace else, or if this *is* no way back.

Weird Beard
weird...@prodigy.net

Napoleon graduated 42nd in his class at Brienne military school.

Stephen Granade

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Apr 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/23/98
to

On 22 Apr 1998, Lucian Paul Smith wrote:

> Stephen Granade (sgra...@bohr.phy.duke.edu) wrote:
>
> : Sight contains more information than text, as Andrew Plotkin pointed out
> : in a different thread. What time of day is it? What's the lighting like?
> : Do the lights reflect off the walls, or do the walls absorb the light?
> : These details can certainly be included in a text description, but to
> : include them all would be to make the description bloated beyond belief.
>
> I don't think this is really the issue here. I wasn't talking about
> whether the information content could be replicated, but whether the same
> or a similar effect in the player could be evoked. At least, that's what
> *I'd* like to talk about ;-)

My original point was that the entire experience cannot be replicated in
different media due to many factors, of which the differing amounts of
information was one. But I'll happily talk about what you want to talk
about. :)

> : For me, it's really a question of selection. When I look at a picture, I
> : can notice details or ignore them as I wish. When I read a passage of
> : text, I can't miss details unless I skim, in which case I'm never quite
> : sure of what I've missed and what I haven't.
>
> Eh. Is this really the issue? The details you overlook in a picture tend
> to be the details that aren't enumerated in the text version, except you
> don't get to make the choice yourself. But you can always fill in the
> details from your own experiences in the text version.

This is exactly my point: *you* have to fill in the details in the text
version, whereas in the picture version someone else has set the details.
The chance of them overlapping significantly is small, which is why people
complain about how their favorite book characters look when the movie is
released.

> Consider: I show you a picture of an ambulance, lights flashing. Then I
> play you a recording of an amulance siren. Then I show you the phrase
> "The ambulance raced by." All very different stimuli, right? But what is
> evoked? Probably very similar things, on the most basal level.

I disagree, especially if there's not more background information. At the
very least, I'll be more detached from some of the stimuli than others--a
still picture of an ambulance won't get my heart racing like the sound of
one.

> : Certainly it can. I'm not claiming that graphics are better than text, or
> : vice versa, or that they cannot be combined. I'm claiming that the choice
> : of interface is inextricably bound up in how the story is told, and thus
> : the content of the story.
>

> But my claim is that I can choose various different means to evoke the
> same response in you, my audience. The content may well be somewhat
> different, but the end result could be the same.
>

> To use a silly math analogy: I can take the absolute value of a number,
> or I can square the number then take the square root. Both very different
> processes, but both effect the same result.

This strikes me as an invalid analogy. The path we take in arriving at a
feeling has a lot to do with the feeling as a whole.

I'm going to put words in your mouth here, so forgive me if I misstate. I
hear you saying that differing presentations can evoke the same feelings
in an audience. If by that you mean that, say, a book and a movie can both
frighten you in very general terms, then I can agree. Ignoring almost all
the details, the basic feeling ("I was scared") is the same. However, as
soon as you start paying attention to even the smallest amount of detail,
the feelings are different, and those differences are due to presentation.

So I can agree with you on a basic level, but beyond that I will agree to
disagree with you.

Lucian Paul Smith

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Apr 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/23/98
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Lelah Conrad (l...@nu-world.com) wrote:
: On 22 Apr 1998 16:22:09 GMT, lps...@rice.edu (Lucian Paul Smith)
: wrote:
:
: >Consider: I show you a picture of an ambulance, lights flashing. Then I

: >play you a recording of an amulance siren. Then I show you the phrase
: >"The ambulance raced by." All very different stimuli, right? But what is
: >evoked? Probably very similar things, on the most basal level.

: I don't think so, because language and words allow for much more


: ambiguity than pictures. I am not sure what image the word ambulance
: evokes (heh-- there's your word, Lucian!)

Okay, I'm apparantly not being very clear. I'm not talking about the
*image* evoked, but the emotional and intellectual response one has to the
different stimuli. For example, all three stimuli might evoke the
emotions of worry and fear (or annoyance at having to pull over and stop
in front of a green light ;-), and might make you think about hospitals,
death, injury, and technicians fighting for life. The specifics will vary
from person to person, of course, but the point is that *any* of the
potential stimuli have the chance to evoke the same response.

This is also not to say that a particular recording of a siren sound and a
particular picture of an ambulance will necessarily evoke the same
responses. What I *am* saying is that if you are translating sight to
text, say, you can analyze the picture, figure out what feelings/thoughts
are likely to be evoked, and then create a description designed to evoke
those same feelings/thoughts. Or visa/versa. The result of such
endeavors capture the 'spirit' of the original, while creating entirely
new stimuli. I've used 'Princess Bride' as an example of a book and a
film which both felt the same to me. Others mentioned (on the MUD the
other day, when this topic came up there) 'Slaughterhouse 5'.
Counter-examples abound, of course--it's easy to do this poorly, or even
to just do it differently ('The Shining' was brought up as an example of a
translation where the feeling was very different--psychologically scary
vs. traditional horror)

Cultural boundaries make this more difficult, of course, as you pointed
out. I suppose the perfect translation of something would evoke the same
unique responses in different individuals. Not that this would be
practically possible, of course.

-Lucian

Lucian Paul Smith

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Apr 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/23/98
to

Stephen Granade (sgra...@bohr.phy.duke.edu) wrote:
: On 22 Apr 1998, Lucian Paul Smith wrote:

: > To use a silly math analogy: I can take the absolute value of a number,


: > or I can square the number then take the square root. Both very different
: > processes, but both effect the same result.

: This strikes me as an invalid analogy. The path we take in arriving at a
: feeling has a lot to do with the feeling as a whole.

Ah, of course. But who's to say you can't find two paths that yield the
same result? There are many different mathematical operations I could
have chosen, most all of which would have yielded wildly differing
results. But I chose the second to match the first deliberately.

: I'm going to put words in your mouth here, so forgive me if I misstate. I


: hear you saying that differing presentations can evoke the same feelings
: in an audience.

Extend that to feelings *and* intellectual response, and you've got it.

: If by that you mean that, say, a book and a movie can both


: frighten you in very general terms, then I can agree. Ignoring almost all
: the details, the basic feeling ("I was scared") is the same.

But it can be more than that--psychological thrillers vs. horror. Feeling
manipulated or not. A whole myriad of other potential responses, each of
which have the potential to be imitated.

: So I can agree with you on a basic level, but beyond that I will agree to
: disagree with you.

It's definitely a matter of degree, and it's a lot of hard work to do it
well. I'm getting the feeling that I'm being the idealist here, while
you're being slightly more realistic ;-)

-Lucian

Ola Sverre Bauge

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Apr 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/23/98
to

[very very light and clearly marked spoilers for Monkey 1 maze parts -
shouldn't hurt anyone, I think]

Alan Shutko wrote in message ...


>"M" == Michael Straight <stra...@email.unc.edu> writes:
>M> The reason you couldn't do a graphical adventure version of this is
>M> because it doesn't make any sense. Can anyone really imagine a maze
>M> where, if you were paying attention, you consistently couldn't tell
which
>M> of a room's exits you had just entered? (Assuming no spinning or
other
>M> method of disorienting is going on.)
>
>I've played games in which leaving through the entrance you came in
>wouldn't necessarily take you where you came from. Monkey Island I,
>iirc.


Yeah, but there it's not unfair. That happens in the maze sequences,
where you're supposed to feel disoriented; it's impossible (I think) to
find your way around them without some means of orientation:

<SPOILERS>
Namely, the treasure map or the storekeeper in the forest on Melee, the
navigator head on Monkey Island.
</SPOILERS>

The point of the mazes in Monkey 1, unlike those in Adventure and most
text adventure mazes after it, is not to navigate them yourself; you
have to figure out how to get others to navigate it, or follow a map.
And I think that's all right, though I probably pulled some hair out
over it back then, but once I figured out that navigating by myself was
impossible, I definitely think I looked elsewhere for answers.

Ola Sverre Bauge
o...@bu.telia.no
http://w1.2327.telia.com/~u232700165

Michael Straight

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Apr 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/23/98
to


On 22 Apr 1998, Alan Shutko wrote:

> >>>>> "M" == Michael Straight <stra...@email.unc.edu> writes:
>
> M> The reason you couldn't do a graphical adventure version of this is
> M> because it doesn't make any sense. Can anyone really imagine a maze
> M> where, if you were paying attention, you consistently couldn't tell which
> M> of a room's exits you had just entered? (Assuming no spinning or other
> M> method of disorienting is going on.)
>
> I've played games in which leaving through the entrance you came in
> wouldn't necessarily take you where you came from. Monkey Island I,
> iirc.
>

> In any case, since you don't often know your north-south-east-west
> headings in a graphical adventure, how would you know that you exited
> east but entered north?

Yeah, but my point is that in real life, you're not stuck with compass
directions as your options. "Go back the way I came" is always an option
too unless the maze is shifting or spinning or something.

SMTIRCAHIAGEHLT

Edan Harel

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Apr 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/23/98
to

"Gunther Schmidl" <sot...@xxx.usa.net> writes:

Spoilers for Hollywood Hijinx

>>Sbe gur zbfg qvssvphyg chmmyr (VZUB) va guvf tnzr lbh unir gb qevc jnk
>>sebz n pnaqyr bagb n zngpu gb jngrecebbs vg. Gurer ner ng yrnfg gjb
>>cbffvoyr vagrenpgvbaf bs yvtugrq pnaqyr naq zngpu - qevc jnk bagb
>>zngpu naq yvtug zngpu jvgu pnaqyr naq vg'f qvssvphyg gb frr ubj gurfr
>>pbhyq or qhcyvpngrq jvgu gur pheerag tencuvpf vagresnprf juvpu frrz gb
>>unir n fvatyr "hfr jvgu O" pbzznaq.

>I get it you haven't played Return to Zork, which did allow just that by one
>of the most ingenious interfactes I've seen to date.

Actually, I've seen RtZ, as well as other games, like Cruise for a Corpse
and Les Manley in: Lost in LA. These games, however, exhibit a weakness
that is shared by some of the Legend games; You can sometimes learn the
solution to a puzzle by looking at the possible interactions of an object.
For these games, when you click on an object, you see a whole list of
things you can do with the object, unlike, say, Lucasart's or Sierra's
games, where you can "use" one object with another. However, with text
adventures, you won't see the possible actions of a certain object, unless
you try out each possible one that you can think of to find out, and if
the games decently done, most of those (normal) actions will be recognized.
And the few unusual ones that are the solutions to puzzles willl have to
be discovered by the player, rather than merely looking at a list of things
and saying, "hey, I wonder what this will do..."

--
Edan Harel edh...@remus.rutgers.edu McCormick 6201
Research Assistant edh...@eden.rutgers.edu Math and Comp Sci Major
USACS Member Office: Core 423 Math Club Secretary

Julian Fleetwood

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Apr 24, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/24/98
to

Edan Harel wrote in message <6hoc8v$s2l$1...@remus.rutgers.edu>...

>"Gunther Schmidl" <sot...@xxx.usa.net> writes:
>
>Spoilers for Hollywood Hijinx
>
>>>Sbe gur zbfg qvssvphyg chmmyr (VZUB) va guvf tnzr lbh unir gb qevc jnk
>>>sebz n pnaqyr bagb n zngpu gb jngrecebbs vg. Gurer ner ng yrnfg gjb
>>>cbffvoyr vagrenpgvbaf bs yvtugrq pnaqyr naq zngpu - qevc jnk bagb
>>>zngpu naq yvtug zngpu jvgu pnaqyr naq vg'f qvssvphyg gb frr ubj gurfr
>>>pbhyq or qhcyvpngrq jvgu gur pheerag tencuvpf vagresnprf juvpu frrz gb
>>>unir n fvatyr "hfr jvgu O" pbzznaq.
>
>>I get it you haven't played Return to Zork, which did allow just that by
one
>>of the most ingenious interfactes I've seen to date.
>
>Actually, I've seen RtZ, as well as other games, like Cruise for a Corpse
>and Les Manley in: Lost in LA. These games, however, exhibit a weakness
>that is shared by some of the Legend games; You can sometimes learn the
>solution to a puzzle by looking at the possible interactions of an object.
>For these games, when you click on an object, you see a whole list of
>things you can do with the object, unlike, say, Lucasart's or Sierra's
>games, where you can "use" one object with another. However, with text
>adventures, you won't see the possible actions of a certain object, unless
>you try out each possible one that you can think of to find out, and if
>the games decently done, most of those (normal) actions will be recognized.
>And the few unusual ones that are the solutions to puzzles willl have to
>be discovered by the player, rather than merely looking at a list of things
>and saying, "hey, I wonder what this will do..."

<Evil laugh> Hooray! My first huge thread!

Any way, I personally think that both IF and Graphic Adventures are good
mediums for games but because in IF all you have is text, you are forced to
concentrate on the elements of games that should be (but are missing) in
decent games (like description, character AI, and clever puzzles).

Julian Fleetwood
--
Keen supporter of the 'Train Spotting as an Olympic sport' campaign
Home Page: http://www.tip.net.au/~mfleetwo/
Interactive Fiction Dimension: http://www.tip.net.au/~mfleetwo/if.html
Comic Book Store Guy Page: http://www.tip.net.au/~mfleetwo/comic.html

Charles Gerlach

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Apr 24, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/24/98
to

I would bet that it would be very easy to construct a Doom or Quake*
level with no obvious landmarks, just a lot of little twisty hallways
with very limited visibility and employing a lot of symmetry so that
there are many spots with exactly the same hallway branching pattern.

I think it would be very easy to get lost in such a structure, and not
be able to find one specific spot w/o help.

* I guess it would have to be Quake, since Doom does automapping for
you.
--
Charles Gerlach doesn't speak for Northwestern. Surprise, surprise.

Brian J Langenberger

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Apr 24, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/24/98
to

Charles Gerlach (cage...@merle.acns.nwu.edu) wrote:

This was actually done in the precursor to Doom..Wolfenstein 3D.
In Episode 6, floor 3 of the Nocturnal Missions, there's a level
that consists almost entirely of interlocking swastikas.
Actually playing it is confusing to the extreme, since landmarks have
to consist mainly of slain nazis.

I doubt we'd see anything so confusing as the old mazes or
"twisty little passages" in a new game. The modern gamer who
spends all the money is too soft for that sort of puzzle
nowadays. Heck, it's virtually impossible to find a
non-winnable game anymore...

Ola Sverre Bauge

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Apr 25, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/25/98
to

Charles Gerlach wrote...

>Michael Straight wrote:
>>Yeah, but my point is that in real life, you're not stuck with
>>compass directions as your options. "Go back the way I
>>came" is always an option too unless the maze is shifting or
>>spinning or something.
>
>I would bet that it would be very easy to construct a Doom or Quake*
>level with no obvious landmarks, just a lot of little twisty hallways
>with very limited visibility and employing a lot of symmetry so that
>there are many spots with exactly the same hallway branching pattern.
>
>I think it would be very easy to get lost in such a structure, and not
>be able to find one specific spot w/o help.

But you could still do a 180 degree turn standing in the doorway you
came from, and get back to the room you were in previously, which would
make mapping by hand without dropping objects possible, even if it would
be a pain in the expansion ports. Not so in Adventure's maze of twisty
passages all alike.

The maze in Adventure is IMO impossible to navigate without dropping
objects - and then you'd better pray you've got enough useless junk to
fill all the rooms, that NPCs don't steal the items while you're not
looking etc.

Heck, the Adventure maze doesen't even list your exits, you have to find
them on your own, and this too makes mapping / navigation impossible
without dropping objects. I think this is true of quite a lot of the
later mazes too, though I'll admit to not being all that knowledgeable
about them.

Minor point blown out of proportion yes, but this *is* rgif...

Ola Sverre Bauge

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Apr 25, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/25/98
to

Brian J Langenberger wrote...

>I doubt we'd see anything so confusing as the old mazes or
>"twisty little passages" in a new game. The modern gamer who
>spends all the money is too soft for that sort of puzzle
>nowadays. Heck, it's virtually impossible to find a
>non-winnable game anymore...

You say that as though it was a bad thing. Or did you mean that it's
impossible to find a game that's a good challenge these days?

JC

unread,
Apr 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/26/98
to

On Fri, 24 Apr 1998 "Julian Fleetwood" <mfle...@pcug.org.au> wrote:
[...]

>Any way, I personally think that both IF and Graphic Adventures are good
>mediums for games but because in IF all you have is text, you are forced to
>concentrate on the elements of games that should be (but are missing) in
>decent games

<G>

> (like description, character AI, and clever puzzles).

Hmmm. I haven't seen much character AI in textual IF. Can you give some
examples? In terms of NPCs, I think graphical games, like the LucasArts
ones, tend to do a lot better than Infocom-like IF ones.

On a more general note, I think this is the wrong way to think about
things. It's like saying that with graphical games you have more to work
with and therefore you tend to be sloppier -- perhaps this may be the case
for some people, but it's what you do with that counts; someone who wants
to make a good graphical game will pay attention to all details, just as
they will a textual game.

';';James';';

John G.

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Apr 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/26/98
to

On Sun, 26 Apr 1998 05:57:00 GMT, jrc...@netspace.net.au (JC) wrote:

...snip...

>On a more general note, I think this is the wrong way to think about
>things.

...snip...

Where's George Orwell when you need a really snappy comeback? <g>

Anyway, sorry for taking your remark totally out of context; it just
looked sort of 1984-ish. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if
someone posted a message to rgif entitled, "The Right Way to Think
About Things!" };o)

C'ya,
John

Mark J. Tilford

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Apr 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/26/98
to

On 22 Apr 1998 16:22:09 GMT, Lucian Paul Smith <lps...@rice.edu> wrote:
>
>To use a silly math analogy: I can take the absolute value of a number,
>or I can square the number then take the square root. Both very different
>processes, but both effect the same result.
>
No - that's true only if the number is real.

If you start with a complex number, say 'i', then sqrt (i^2) = i,
abs (i) = 1.


--
-----------------------
Mark Jeffrey Tilford
til...@cco.caltech.edu

Kathy I. Morgan

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Apr 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/26/98
to

Chris [Steve] Piuma <caf...@brainlink.com> wrote:

> In article <m3n2dd7...@hubert.wuh.wustl.edu>, Alan Shutko <a...@acm.org>
> wrote:

> > In any case, since you don't often know your north-south-east-west
> > headings in a graphical adventure, how would you know that you exited
> > east but entered north?
>

> Well, but you'd know that you came out of _that_ corridor, and not the
> corridor over there, right? It wouldn't matter whether it was east or
> south-by-southwest; especially in a maze, where presumably you'd be paying
> attention to such things, you'd know which exit was the one you just
> stepped through.

Actually, I get confused in graphical mazes because about half of them
always have the room oriented to the north, and about half have the
entrance you've just used directly behind you, regardless of direction.
It takes a bit of stumbling about in the maze to figure out which
situation you have.

kathy

David Glasser

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Apr 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/26/98
to

Mark J. Tilford <til...@ralph.caltech.edu> wrote:

> On 22 Apr 1998 16:22:09 GMT, Lucian Paul Smith <lps...@rice.edu> wrote:
> >
> >To use a silly math analogy: I can take the absolute value of a number,
> >or I can square the number then take the square root. Both very different
> >processes, but both effect the same result.
> >
> No - that's true only if the number is real.
>
> If you start with a complex number, say 'i', then sqrt (i^2) = i,
> abs (i) = 1.

Hmm...I'm not exactly a math major (just a high-school geometry
student), but how do you get that? I know what i is, and so the first
half is clear, but how is the second half the case? Is there some
special clause in the definition of absolute value that I am not aware
of?

--David Glasser
gla...@NOSPAMuscom.com
Check out my new unfinished website at http://onramp.uscom.com/~glasser
It is better than my two-year-old unfinished website at
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/6028/

ct

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Apr 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/27/98
to

In article <1d83zc0.1ycl10e1oi0q60N@[209.186.16.234]>, David Glasser

<gla...@NOSPAMuscom.com> wrote:
> Mark J. Tilford <til...@ralph.caltech.edu> wrote:
>
> > If you start with a complex number, say 'i', then sqrt (i^2) = i,
> > abs (i) = 1.
>
> Hmm...I'm not exactly a math major (just a high-school geometry
> student), but how do you get that? I know what i is, and so the first
> half is clear, but how is the second half the case? Is there some
> special clause in the definition of absolute value that I am not aware
> of?

(Oh, we're so off-topic its scary. But then, so was 'Turkish Delights')

sqrt(i^2) = sqrt(-1) = i

abs(i) = 1

The latter bit comes from the definition of abs, which is effectively the
'length' of the number. So for numbers of the form a+ib, abs(a+ib) =
sqrt(a^2+b^2). [I'm aiming at a non-university maths level audience here,
before anyone shouts at me... :-) ]

HTH.

regards, ct

Allen Garvin

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Apr 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/27/98
to

In article <6hr8rn$l...@epx.cis.umn.edu>,

Brian J Langenberger <lang...@itlabs.umn.edu> wrote:
This was actually done in the precursor to Doom..Wolfenstein 3D.
In Episode 6, floor 3 of the Nocturnal Missions, there's a level that
consists almost entirely of interlocking swastikas. Actually playing
it is confusing to the extreme, since landmarks have to consist
mainly of slain nazis.

Heh, I actually mapped this... by hand... on really tiny green graph paper.
It's also confusing because blocks move when you push them, and I mapped
it in a "pristine" condition with arrows pointing which way secret passages
moved.

I doubt we'd see anything so confusing as the old mazes or "twisty
little passages" in a new game. The modern gamer who spends all
the money is too soft for that sort of puzzle nowadays.

It's annoying. One of my favorite parts of old "RPG" games was mapping
out the entire world on sheets of graph paper... at the end of the game
I'd have stacks of paper and notes. Now the games take care of all that
for you, and I find them boring to play. The last one that I enjoyed was
Wizardry VII.

I used to be really skilled at moving very quickly through those mazes
and remembering the paths I took--a skill that came in very useful with
the old X game "maze".

--
Allen Garvin kisses are a better fate
--------------------------------------------- than wisdom
eare...@faeryland.tamu-commerce.edu
http://faeryland.tamu-commerce.edu/~earendil e e cummings

R. Michael Harman

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Apr 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/27/98
to

> abs(i) = 1
>
> The latter bit comes from the definition of abs, which is effectively
> the 'length' of the number.

Eep. I simply can't stand such vagueness. (No offense, I hope! :)
Even if we're aiming at people who aren't familiar with the idea,
we could tell them why the length metaphor applies.

Everybody's done graphs back in high school right? If you plot
your "a+bi" on a graph with the a on one axis (the real axis) and
the b on the other (guess... that's right! the imaginary axis!), then
the absolute value is the length of the line from the origin to
the point. Hence, sqrt(a^2+b^2). Absolute values are intimately
tied up with fun stuff in vector analysis.

ObGames: And vector analysis is important if you want to deal
with ray-traced graphics, which of course have been hot in game
design for ages. Myst has plenty. :)

----------------------------------------------------------------------
R Michael Harman http://www.ugrad.cs.jhu.edu/~rmharman/
rmha...@jhu.edu "And *that's* about as likely as rhinos sprouting
410-366-5975 wings, though less dangerous." -- Aga Skotowski

Brock Kevin Nambo

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Apr 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/27/98
to

Allen Garvin wrote in message <35448...@news.tamu-commerce.edu>...

>One of my favorite parts of old "RPG" games was mapping
>out the entire world on sheets of graph paper...

One of my friends was banned from using graph paper for this.

Honest.

>>BKNambo
--
Sunflash...@msn.com
darinjoism means you have to come up with a new gubibi to
replace old words when the media gets wind of them
World Domination through Trivia! [ chatquiz | onGames |
MarsMission ]


Mark J. Tilford

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Apr 29, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/29/98
to

On Sun, 26 Apr 1998 21:18:58 -0500, David Glasser <gla...@NOSPAMuscom.com> wrote:
>Mark J. Tilford <til...@ralph.caltech.edu> wrote:
>
>> On 22 Apr 1998 16:22:09 GMT, Lucian Paul Smith <lps...@rice.edu> wrote:
>> >
>> >To use a silly math analogy: I can take the absolute value of a number,
>> >or I can square the number then take the square root. Both very different
>> >processes, but both effect the same result.
>> >
>> No - that's true only if the number is real.
>>
>> If you start with a complex number, say 'i', then sqrt (i^2) = i,
>> abs (i) = 1.
>
>Hmm...I'm not exactly a math major (just a high-school geometry
>student), but how do you get that? I know what i is, and so the first
>half is clear, but how is the second half the case? Is there some
>special clause in the definition of absolute value that I am not aware
>of?

The definition of absolute value as you've used it applies only to real
numbers. However, it is impossible to make a reasonable definition of
positive, negative for complex numbers, so abs(a + bi) := sqrt (a^2 + b^2)


>
>--David Glasser
>gla...@NOSPAMuscom.com
>Check out my new unfinished website at http://onramp.uscom.com/~glasser
>It is better than my two-year-old unfinished website at
>http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/6028/

Jon Petersen

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Apr 30, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/30/98
to

Matt Ackeret wrote:
>
> Hell, even *with* automapping, I've never been able to "get into" Bard's Tale
> II for more than a few hours. I believe it's the first non-beginner dungeon.
> There are spinny spots on the floor that make the game not fun to play (and
> as far as I've read in the docs/heard from other people, there's no way to
> invalidate those spinny spots).... Without automapping (even with the
> direction spell) I can't see someone actually playing it for a long time!

Not that this is on-topic, of course, but I heard there's a magic item
called a spinner ring that will disable the spinners. It might be
apocryphal, since I never found one. The spinners weren't too bad, when
there was only one anyway, because you still had your compass.
(Actually, you did have to realign it by turning, but still.) Bard's
Tale II did bite, though. After a certain point I gave up and chugged
through it with the hint book. Those friggin death snares... grr....

Jon

BKN

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May 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM5/1/98
to

Matt Ackeret wrote in message <6ib2ah$63f$1...@nixon.area.com>...
>I *hate* mapping games, and think it's the worst part of RPG games and
>of text adventures. If they at least gave you the admittedly pretty big
clue
>of "you're in approximately the [center, lower/upper left/right/top/bottom]
>of an X by Y maze", then I think I wouldn't hate it quite as much.
>
>I never really got into Bard's Tale until I got an automapping version
>(an updated Apple IIGS one that Bill Heineman did).. same with Ultima.
(Ultima
>I was the only one redone unfortunately).

>
>Hell, even *with* automapping, I've never been able to "get into" Bard's
Tale
>II for more than a few hours. I believe it's the first non-beginner
dungeon.
>There are spinny spots on the floor that make the game not fun to play (and
>as far as I've read in the docs/heard from other people, there's no way to
>invalidate those spinny spots).... Without automapping (even with the
>direction spell) I can't see someone actually playing it for a long time!


I loved Zork Zero for its map. Now I'm spoiled <g>

>>BKNambo
--
Sunflash...@msn.com
Is there anything I can't do? <G>

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