[SPAG] Narcolepsy review

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Emily Short

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Jan 8, 2006, 9:36:25 PM1/8/06
to
I realize this is a little unusual, but I found Jose Manuel
Garcia-Patos's Narcolepsy review in SPAG thought-provoking, and wanted
to comment on a few points from it. I've quoted from the review as
though it had been a usenet post, snipping some bits, so if you would
like to see the original, please refer back to

http://sparkynet.com/spag/backissues/SPAG43

-----
From: Jose Manuel Garcia-Patos <josemanuelinform SP@G
josemanual-gp.jazztel.es>
...
We need a paradigm, something that clearly defines what IF is and is
not, and I think this should be the book. The real book. Remember
some of the surrealists' works, remember Finnegans Wake. (I'm not
talking about Literature here, but about aesthetics, about typography,
about Fine Arts applied to the communication of the written word.
Why can't I as an author place the elements of a game precisely
on the screen and expect that every player could see what I intended
them to see and just the way I wanted to independently of the device
and platform the game is run on?
------

Wellll. This is a complicated problem, but it is one that some of the
more recent virtual machines have tried to address in various ways. But
you are running up against a fundamental problem: when you publish a
book, you can be sure that the pages on every copy of the book will
have the same size and aspect ratio, and the typesetting is designed to
reflect this. When you write an IF game, you cannot be sure that it
will be played on a color machine, or a machine with a screen of a
given size, or with a given kind of graphical processor: the end user
might be playing on the studio-sized screen of the latest Mac, or he
might be playing on a PDA with no keyboard and no colors, and very
limited options as to fonts and column size.

------
Is it possible to write games in Greek, or
even just words in exotic alphabets?
------

Increasingly, yes -- this is partly a language issue and partly an
interpreter issue. But see Mingsheng, for instance, and the screenshots
of what that looks like running under Cugel.
(http://ghostscript.com/~tor/software/cugel/screenshot.jpg -- it's a
little hard to make out here, but there are definitely Asian characters
displayed there, which to my mind are a pretty good test of interpreter
flexibility.)

-----
How easy it is to translate a game?)
-----

The problem of translation is such a fundamental one that I'm not sure
any merely technical advances will entirely solve it. The best
translations I have seen require a human relatively fluent in the
source language and extremely fluent in the target language, and also
graced with a pretty good sense of tonality and aesthetics.

-----
Have we got that far yet? No. And we still should add the features
that come with interactivity and computing. (Can you easily change
the way the parser works so it can accept, for example, input in a
programming language or even in an invented one?)
-----

Yes: see The Gostak for the most obvious example. I haven't played
Lists and Lists or Inform School, but I believe they may answer the
point about programming languages. Is this easy? I would guess it
isn't, but it is not as hard as it might be. And I cannot imagine what
sort of tool would make parsing both easy *and* infinitely flexible.

-----
I, for one, would like to see ideas.
Something I could take home, like I did with Photopia.
-----

I agree that the content of Narcolepsy didn't leave a very deep
impression, but I disagree about why. The central ideas of Photopia are
not particularly novel; what set the game apart was that it used the
formal features of IF to make the reader/player engage with those ideas
in a different way than one engages with the ideas of static fiction.
One accepts -- or struggles against -- the parameters that the author
has defined for the world, and the experience is much different from
reading a book where some external protagonist struggles against
impossible circumstances.

In Narcolepsy, I felt there was almost nothing I could do
*intentionally* as a player; most of the branches and changes happened
as chance results of my actions, or because I happened to have stumbled
into the correct location to trigger another plot event. I suppose that
this does in a sense work with the rest of the game's content, which is
so surreal as to suggest that life is not only beyond our control but
also arbitrary and meaningless. But, like you, I did not care very much
about the PC, so these effects together left me more or less
indifferent to everything except reading the amusing text that occurred
from time to time.

In my opinion, the most artistically successful IF of recent years has
been that which addresses questions of freedom, constraint, or moral
choice. It is not always even necessary that the choice be a
challenging one. I had an assortment of small implementation gripes
about Slouching Towards Bedlam, and I also agree with the assessment
voiced by someone-or-other (possibly Adam Cadre, in fact) that the
moral decision at the end of the game is not very difficult. Despite
all this, I found the piece extremely powerful because it gave me the
experience, myself, of deciding to do a terrible thing in order to
prevent something else even more terrible.

I don't think this is to say that IF can only be effective when it
deals with these sorts of topics, or that we have tapped out the range
of what's to be said. But I think that concerns of this type are at the
center of IF-as-art, at the moment. Tools for more sophisticated layout
strike me as much less critical to the development of that art than the
tools to write more flexible scenarios and more complex plot
structures.

thego...@gmail.com

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Jan 9, 2006, 1:01:32 PM1/9/06
to
Emily said:

I don't think this is to say that IF can only be effective when it
deals with these sorts of topics, or that we have tapped out the range
of what's to be said. But I think that concerns of this type are at the

center of IF-as-art, at the moment. Tools for more sophisticated layout

strike me as much less critical to the development of that art than the

tools to write more flexible scenarios and more complex plot
structures.

*************************************************************

I agree. But then I view IF as primarily a means to tell stories, and
that its strength over normal prose lies directly in its ability to
allow the player choice: choice in how to approach problems, choice in
how to interact with the game's inhabitants, choice in how the story
plays out and ends.

My favorite text adventure game ever, and it is most likely destined to
remain so, is a commercial game made by Telarium in the early to mid
eighties called "Nine Princes in Amber". It was based on an existing
work of fiction of course, by Roger Zelazny, and the setting and
characters were colorful and interesting. The reason I loved it so
much however, and the reason it has endured in my memory, was that it
gave the purest freedom of choice I've ever seen in a game. There were
major characters I didn't know existed after weeks of playing. I
didn't truly win, though I had reached the end of the game many times,
for several months. I could think about the game on the way to school,
imagine ways in which my choices might change it in significant ways,
and then go home and find I was right. Not always. But plenty enough
to reward the effort. This was the game that hooked me on IF. Infocom
games, by comparison, were often more frustrating than fun. I liked
many things about them and played most of them. But I would almost
always quit before I reached the end. And I never had the sense that
anything I did in the games was anything other than the correct thing
to do to "solve" it, or the wrong thing that wouldn't get me anywhere.

Implementing free choice is difficult. No doubt time consuming too.
But I think it should be a goal, at least for more ambitious authors.
I think that it is where IF can be greatest, and do something that no
other storytelling medium can.

José Manuel García-Patos

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Jan 9, 2006, 5:45:17 PM1/9/06
to

> Wellll. This is a complicated problem, but it is one that some of the
> more recent virtual machines have tried to address in various ways. But
> you are running up against a fundamental problem: when you publish a
> book, you can be sure that the pages on every copy of the book will
> have the same size and aspect ratio, and the typesetting is designed to
> reflect this.

When I wrote that (for an article published in Spanish in SPAC regarding
the future of IF systems, article from which I shamelessly borrowed entire
paragraphs on this review) I was thinking of an equivalent of TeX for
adventure games. TeX is a language created exclusively for typesetting
books, just like Inform is a language created exclusively for writing IF.
They have several more similarities, but I won't go through them in detail
here. The only thing I'd like to point out is that any TeX program
produces exactly the same result on any machine (not only on the printed
page. but on the dvi file). TeX was created in the 70s, so I don't think
this is an unrealistic goal. In TeX you don't only write a beautiful book:
you design it too, and it's easy to do so. That is (everybody knows)
possible in IF, but it's not really easy, and that is due to the lack of
this paradigm I talk so much about. If we could think of the screen as a
page in a book, the layout of the game's resources (text, graphics,
whatever) would be much easier for programmers and non-programmers alike.
I see your point about PDAs, but let me give you an example of your
counterexample: think about IF games on mobile phones. They will probably
not be read as we read them on our 17'' or 19'' monitors, most likely they
will be heard with the aid of headphones and played on buses with those
little keypads. Does that change significantly the idea the author had for
the game? No. The text is the same and the layout too, only smaller. The
only thing he could do would be picking the right voice (or voices) to
tell the story, but that, for now, is science fiction. (By the way, I've
always thought there is money to be made with IF for cells for someone who
dares to invest in good interfaces.) And with respect to the lack of
colour in PDAs, I don't think it will be a problem in two or three years.

Now let's get concrete. Look at your screen and imagine it is a page in a
book. Can you lay out text in columns (sure you can, but how?)? Can you
write verse (yes, it's been done)? Can you change the font and all its
attributes? Can you put some piece of text or a picture exactly in the
place where you want it (easily)? Now you said: screens are all different.
Yes. But they all have width and lenght. An x coordinate and a y
coordinate. You can say: I want this text in the (5,4) position of
whatever screen the player is looking at. Obviously those measures are
relative to the actual size of the screen, so the layout gets preserved.
What happens with PDAs and mobile phones? Well, what's wrong with zooming
in and out? I seem to recall some apps have this lens thing, you click
with the mouse and the text around that place gets zoomed in. Can't you do
that in PDAs? Don't forget being able to hear the story instead of reading
it. We have to take advantage of technological advances, not get behind
them or simply ignore them.

And that's why I talked about a paradigm. We need to define what IF is
because only then we could say: This is what we can do, and any system
that doesn't let me do it is not useful. Otherwise we will be stuck. At
this very moment, this inequation holds true, unlogical as it may seem:
Literature plus Technology is less than Literature and less than
Technology. We need to change our chip. The day we do that, we'll see that
the boundaries of today were artificial. They're not the limits of our
art, but the limits of our tools. Think about it this way: there are many
brands of pencils, some better than others, but they all let you write and
write easily. That you write a masterpiece with them or not is just a
matter of talent and/or luck, but you have the tool to make it.

> Increasingly, yes -- this is partly a language issue and partly an
> interpreter issue. But see Mingsheng, for instance, and the screenshots
> of what that looks like running under Cugel.
> (http://ghostscript.com/~tor/software/cugel/screenshot.jpg -- it's a
> little hard to make out here, but there are definitely Asian characters
> displayed there, which to my mind are a pretty good test of interpreter
> flexibility.)

There were two points in what I said about exotic languages and alphabets.
One: What's been done is still not enough, and Two: I'd like to make games
in several different languages with several different alphabets. Think of
The Name of the Rose (puzzles in Latin), or quotations in Greek or in
Chinese. I maintain what I said above: If it can be done in a book, it
must be done in IF. That needs not only an interpreter, but a parser able
to deal with those situations. I don't know if there is a Unicode IF
system (TADS, maybe?). That would be a good start.

I can't see the picture really well, but I take your word.

> The problem of translation is such a fundamental one that I'm not sure
> any merely technical advances will entirely solve it. The best
> translations I have seen require a human relatively fluent in the
> source language and extremely fluent in the target language, and also
> graced with a pretty good sense of tonality and aesthetics.

I was not talking about that. I was speaking of linguistic differences
between languages. My problem was: how could I make the translation of
code as easy as possible, given that most languages have differences in
the structure of their phrases? I wanted to come up with a system that
could get translations done without touching the code, but only the text.
Obviously I haven't found the perfect solution yet, but I did think of
something that might have some interest. I asked myself (as I always do
when I try to solve this kind of problems): What do all languages have in
common? They all have words, and they all have different kinds of them
(verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc. --I know that not all languages have the
same kinds of words, but we aim for generality, for primitives--).

What I propposed in my SPAC article was a system based on two languages:
one was not a real programming language, but more of a markup one. It is
used to define grammars. A language for the creation of parsers, so to
speak. You define what you want your program to accept. So let's say, as a
very simple example, that you want your game only to understand verb plus
object phrases, like GET LAMP or EAT CHIMP (I made that up). We have
defined a verb to be a primitive kind of word, but the parser doesn't know
what an object might be. So we tell it that it must be a noun, or if we're
feeling magnanimous, a noun plus an adjective. Nouns and adjectives are
primitives too, so in the end everything must be defined that way, in
terms of primitives.

Then we have the other programming language, the real one in which we
write the game. Here we put the real verbs and the real nouns and the
real adjectives to be parsed, and, obviously, we program their behaviour
when they meet. The previous grammar is included just like another
header file. How does this help translation? Let's see it with examples:
The phrase CALL ME in English is translated to LLÁMAME in Spanish, to
APELLEZ MOI, in French, and to RUFEN MICH AN, in German. (I honestly hope
not to have made any mistakes with those translations.) We have several
singularities here. In French and Spanish, verbs can traditionally be
written in infinitive and imperative, unlike English. The structure of the
phrase is different too: in German the object is in between two instances
of the verb and it has cases and declinations, so we must have told the
parser that the object must be in accusative, I think it is; and in
Spanish the object is part of the verb (I'm always referring to this
concrete example). So my point was: if we can easily write grammars for
REAL OR INVENTED languages, we won't need to change the code essentially,
when we translate the whole game. We just could tell the parser: we're
playing in German, keep in mind how verbs are written, or we're playing in
French, admit both infinitive and imperative forms, etc. The only
difference is the grammar that you #include.

We also might be able to change the parser within a game and thus write
orders in pseudo-LISP for some parts and get back to a human language for
another.

I must say, though, that this idea is still in a pretty inmature form, and
that I actually wrote the article so I could get feedback from the Spanish
community, from which I didn't get (except for one person) a single useful
response. So I still don't know if it is a good idea or a stupidity.

There was this great game called En otras palabras (In Other Words, or
maybe it was With Other... I can't remember right now), in which the
player was supposed to interact with the environment with invented words.
The descriptions were of known things: sun, plants, player's own feet,
etc. But the words were invented, so you felt like you were in another
world, a wonderful world, by the way, even though you were talking about
very mundane things. This was an interesting path to explore, but we need
better and more modern parsers to make of that game something more than a
curious experiment (made by a fourteen year-old girl, by the way).

> Yes: see The Gostak for the most obvious example. I haven't played
> Lists and Lists or Inform School, but I believe they may answer the
> point about programming languages. Is this easy? I would guess it
> isn't, but it is not as hard as it might be. And I cannot imagine what
> sort of tool would make parsing both easy *and* infinitely flexible.

I might have already answered to that above or I may have not. You decide.
Nevertheless, you must think not only in terms of possibility, but also in
those of usability. Having to swim through a pile of assembly code to do
some tiny thing that should be simple is not an option except for
masochists. I always repeat the same thing, like a mantra: it's a matter
of freedom. Making something harder than it could be goes against authors'
freedom.

> In my opinion, the most artistically successful IF of recent years has
> been that which addresses questions of freedom, constraint, or moral
> choice. It is not always even necessary that the choice be a challenging
> one.

It is necessary indeed. Think about this situation: suppose we spend an
evening discussing about this guy who's going to be executed tomorrow.
That will not be very interesting, we have our points of view and that's
all. Now suppose you're the one who pushes the button, or the governor who
has to make the call. Now that's challenging, and far more interesting.
It's not a point of view anymore, but a matter of life and death. That's
storytelling and that's what IF is all about.

In that respect, Narcolepsy succeeds in one of its endings. I mostly agree
with the other things you said about Photopia and Narcolepsy.

> Tools for more sophisticated layout strike me as much less critical to
> the development of that art than the tools to write more flexible
> scenarios and more complex plot structures.

It's not only a matter of layout as you have read. It's the eternal
struggle between potentiality and act. I can make scenarios and create
plot structures with the current tools, but there are lots of other things
that I can't do and they're part of IF too (sorry for the louzy inner
rhyme). To me layout is as much a part of storytelling as plot structure
or scenarios: What if I want to use an imitation of a UNIX man page in a
game, how do I do it if I can't control layout? Imagine the player to be
in a chatroom: the biggest part of the window for live chat between NPCs,
and a little one for you to introduce text that then gets mixed between
NPCs comments and jokes. Layout is essential, because I need to make
things believable and alive, and I can't achieve that with menus. It's the
tools which have limits, not the art nor the imagination.

All The Best.
José Manuel García-Patos
Madrid

Emily Short

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Jan 10, 2006, 1:11:04 AM1/10/06
to

José Manuel García-Patos wrote:
> Now let's get concrete. Look at your screen and imagine it is a page in a
> book. Can you lay out text in columns (sure you can, but how?)? Can you
> write verse (yes, it's been done)? Can you change the font and all its
> attributes? Can you put some piece of text or a picture exactly in the
> place where you want it (easily)? Now you said: screens are all different.
> Yes. But they all have width and lenght. An x coordinate and a y
> coordinate. You can say: I want this text in the (5,4) position of
> whatever screen the player is looking at. Obviously those measures are
> relative to the actual size of the screen, so the layout gets preserved.
> What happens with PDAs and mobile phones? Well, what's wrong with zooming
> in and out?

Erm. Zooming my way around a screen in order to play IF on a mobile
phone sounds even more awkward and frustrating than reading the text in
small chunks. But then I don't really want to play IF on my phone in
the first place -- I like a keyboard for these things -- so possibly I
am not the target audience.

> And that's why I talked about a paradigm. We need to define what IF is
> because only then we could say: This is what we can do, and any system
> that doesn't let me do it is not useful.

My impression is that we effectively have defined IF (at least, as we
use the term in this community) as a program that accepts and parses
textual commands and then returns a textual reply; and in which these
commands (usually) refer to the state of some abstract world model.
This simple definition leaves a lot of room for variety of presentation
and implementation, of course, but I'm not sure it's possible to define
the *outer* limits of the medium. Textual layout is only one aspect
among many; there are all sorts of other features one might add -- in
display, in modeling, in parsing.

> There were two points in what I said about exotic languages and alphabets.
> One: What's been done is still not enough, and Two: I'd like to make games
> in several different languages with several different alphabets. Think of
> The Name of the Rose (puzzles in Latin), or quotations in Greek or in
> Chinese.

Mingsheng does exactly that (the Chinese quotations with English text),
as I recall. But as you like.

> I maintain what I said above: If it can be done in a book, it
> must be done in IF.

I think the insistence on the book as a model of IF is useful in some
ways and misleading in others. There are all sorts of things IF can do
that a book *can't*, so why should the reverse not also be true? You
say you want page layout. Very well; do you also want to be able to
flip forward and back to any point, as you can with a book? You don't
mention it, if so -- perhaps this is because it would be silly as an IF
feature?

I'm not arguing merely to be contentious; I think there are things that
we could learn from static fiction, and from the form of a book, but I
also think it foolish to try to make IF entirely in the image of some
other medium.

> That needs not only an interpreter, but a parser able
> to deal with those situations. I don't know if there is a Unicode IF
> system (TADS, maybe?).

Yes, input in foreign languages is a technical challenge, but one that
people are indeed working on at the moment. So I agree with you, but
also don't see this as a great unexplored problem.

> I asked myself (as I always do
> when I try to solve this kind of problems): What do all languages have in
> common? They all have words, and they all have different kinds of them
> (verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc. --I know that not all languages have the
> same kinds of words, but we aim for generality, for primitives--).

<snip>

Woof. You're biting off a lot, but since as you say this is still a
young idea, I will leave it alone for now...

> Nevertheless, you must think not only in terms of possibility, but also in
> those of usability. Having to swim through a pile of assembly code to do
> some tiny thing that should be simple is not an option except for
> masochists.

One can do major parser reworking without resorting to assembly code, I
assure you.

> > In my opinion, the most artistically successful IF of recent years has
> > been that which addresses questions of freedom, constraint, or moral
> > choice. It is not always even necessary that the choice be a challenging
> > one.
>
> It is necessary indeed. Think about this situation: suppose we spend an
> evening discussing about this guy who's going to be executed tomorrow.
> That will not be very interesting, we have our points of view and that's
> all. Now suppose you're the one who pushes the button, or the governor who
> has to make the call. Now that's challenging, and far more interesting.
> It's not a point of view anymore, but a matter of life and death. That's
> storytelling and that's what IF is all about.

Well, yes -- I think we agree about this, and I was just not precise
enough in my phrasing. I think a choice in IF can be powerful even if
it is clear to me in moral or intellectual terms *which* answer I would
choose, precisely because I am forced to carry it out myself, and bear
some sense of responsibility for the outcome.

> rhyme). To me layout is as much a part of storytelling as plot structure
> or scenarios: What if I want to use an imitation of a UNIX man page in a
> game, how do I do it if I can't control layout? Imagine the player to be
> in a chatroom: the biggest part of the window for live chat between NPCs,
> and a little one for you to introduce text that then gets mixed between
> NPCs comments and jokes. Layout is essential, because I need to make
> things believable and alive, and I can't achieve that with menus. It's the
> tools which have limits, not the art nor the imagination.

Then again: tools do not change on their own, but in response to the
demands of the users; someone first has to imagine that something
interesting can be done with a different tool. You're saying that
layout is an area in which IF tools could be richer and offer more
interesting results, and I admit that that may be true. On the other
hand, I don't think that that is the only area of possible improvement,
or the most important one; and I do not think either that we will be
able to imagine our way to the ideal complete IF tool, purely by
abstract reasoning. Most advances in artistic technology come
incrementally, because people have imagined something they cannot yet
do, and then come up with the tools to make that possibility real.

Alexandre Owen Muniz

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Jan 10, 2006, 3:53:17 AM1/10/06
to
Emily Short wrote:
> José Manuel García-Patos wrote:

>>There were two points in what I said about exotic languages and alphabets.
>>One: What's been done is still not enough, and Two: I'd like to make games
>>in several different languages with several different alphabets. Think of
>>The Name of the Rose (puzzles in Latin), or quotations in Greek or in
>>Chinese.
>
>
> Mingsheng does exactly that (the Chinese quotations with English text),
> as I recall. But as you like.

Erm, but what works for Mingsheng isn't really good enough for the
general case. ZSCII lets you fill it out with the unicode characters of
your choice, but it's still an 8-bit encoding, so although it's good
enough to let you use chinese characters decoratively, it's not enough
to let you display substantial passages of Chinese text. UTF-8 is really
the way to go.

Owen

Samwyse

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Jan 10, 2006, 7:29:26 AM1/10/06
to
Alexandre Owen Muniz wrote:
>
> Erm, but what works for Mingsheng isn't really good enough for the
> general case. ZSCII lets you fill it out with the unicode characters of
> your choice, but it's still an 8-bit encoding, so although it's good
> enough to let you use chinese characters decoratively, it's not enough
> to let you display substantial passages of Chinese text. UTF-8 is really
> the way to go.

Erm, interpreters that implement version 1.0 of the Z-machine standard
allow you to bypass ZSCII entirely and print arbitrary Unicode
characters. This is the reason for the occasional complaint that Zcode
handles Unicode better than Glulx.

Roger Firth supplies this routine:

[ Unicode c exist;
if (HDR_TERPSTANDARD->0 < 1) { @print_char '?'; return; }
@check_unicode c -> exist;
if (exist & $0001) @print_unicode c;
else @print_char '?';
];

which can be used in either of these ways:

Unicode($03C0);
print (Unicode) $03C0;

I'll admit that the display of substantial passages of Chinese text
won't be easy, but that's a long way from being impossible. You also
can't use Unicode for input, but that's a seperate can of worms.

(Search http://www.firthworks.com/roger/informfaq/aa20.html for the word
'Unicode'; it's near the bottom.)

Andrew Plotkin

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Jan 10, 2006, 12:12:53 PM1/10/06
to
Here, Samwyse <sam...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Alexandre Owen Muniz wrote:
> >
> > Erm, but what works for Mingsheng isn't really good enough for the
> > general case. ZSCII lets you fill it out with the unicode characters of
> > your choice, but it's still an 8-bit encoding, so although it's good
> > enough to let you use chinese characters decoratively, it's not enough
> > to let you display substantial passages of Chinese text. UTF-8 is really
> > the way to go.
>
> Erm, interpreters that implement version 1.0 of the Z-machine standard
> allow you to bypass ZSCII entirely and print arbitrary Unicode
> characters. This is the reason for the occasional complaint that Zcode
> handles Unicode better than Glulx.

If the Blorb update demonstrates that Glulx is still being supported
on all platforms, the next update will be the Unicode API.

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
"Bush has kept America safe from terrorism since 9/11." Too bad his job was to
keep America safe *on* 9/11.

José Manuel García-Patos

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Jan 10, 2006, 12:55:30 PM1/10/06
to

> Erm. Zooming my way around a screen in order to play IF on a mobile
> phone sounds even more awkward and frustrating than reading the text in
> small chunks.

You probably missed what I said of IF not being read but actually listened
to when played on small devices. What you quoted was just a solution to
the problem of layout. Don't PDF files work that way on PDAs? (I can't be
sure as I know nothing about them. I don't even have a mobile phone.)

> I think the insistence on the book as a model of IF is useful in some
> ways and misleading in others. There are all sorts of things IF can do
> that a book *can't*, so why should the reverse not also be true?

It is not true, but it doesn't really matter. Of all the things I
mentioned in my articles and in my previous post, none of them is
impossible to do with a computer, so how can that be impossible in IF?
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, etc.

But that gives me a good opportunity to show why I spoke about a paradigm.
I want some features in my games, but I don't want to reduce IF to what I
want or need for my games. Maybe other people need different things. There
lies the importance of a paradigm, so that nobody makes a new IF system
that in the ends turns out to be Inform plus my needs, which is, in my
opinion, what has been happening until now. (I might be wrong.)

> You say you want page layout. Very well; do you also want to be able to
> flip forward and back to any point, as you can with a book? You don't
> mention it, if so -- perhaps this is because it would be silly as an IF
> feature?

Is there not a REDO option in some games or something like that? Who
prevents you from REDOing n STEPS back? About fliping forward, there's
always the Z command. Book and Volume implemented a WAIT n HOURS command.
As IF is interactive, and you play choosing what the next steps will be,
that's the equivalent.

Nothing is silly if it's needed and helpful for storytelling. Possibly
Intolerance was considered a silly movie by some people for its non-linear
structure. Nothing is silly. Everything is useful, Emily.

> I'm not arguing merely to be contentious; I think there are things that
> we could learn from static fiction, and from the form of a book, but I
> also think it foolish to try to make IF entirely in the image of some
> other medium.

As the philosopher Ortega y Gasset once said: It's not that, it's not
that. Look at Photoshop or The Gimp. Do you think that they are made in
the image of painting? But they base their interface in the painting
paradigm. They talk about canvas, and brushes and pens. It's the same
thing I intend to do with IF. Looking at books and comparing them to IF
can be helpful, we can get examples on how to do things. That is not the
same as limiting ourselves (actually it is exactly the oposite). As I said
in the other post, we must take advantage of technology, not ignore nor
reject it.

> Yes, input in foreign languages is a technical challenge, but one that
> people are indeed working on at the moment. So I agree with you, but
> also don't see this as a great unexplored problem.

You don't, but I do. You should try to understand that for some people
it is a big deal.

> Well, yes -- I think we agree about this, and I was just not precise
> enough in my phrasing. I think a choice in IF can be powerful even if it
> is clear to me in moral or intellectual terms *which* answer I would
> choose, precisely because I am forced to carry it out myself, and bear
> some sense of responsibility for the outcome.

If it is clear to you, it's not powerful enough. Twisted characters are
always the best precisely for that. The best villains are the ones
you feel sympathy for. That, again, is storytelling. A clear choice is
inhuman by definition.

> Then again: tools do not change on their own, but in response to the
> demands of the users; someone first has to imagine that something
> interesting can be done with a different tool. You're saying that layout
> is an area in which IF tools could be richer and offer more interesting
> results, and I admit that that may be true. On the other hand, I don't
> think that that is the only area of possible improvement, or the most
> important one; and I do not think either that we will be able to imagine
> our way to the ideal complete IF tool, purely by abstract reasoning.
> Most advances in artistic technology come incrementally, because people
> have imagined something they cannot yet do, and then come up with the
> tools to make that possibility real.

Either you don't read me or I don't make myself clear. Layout is not the
only thing I want in future systems. It doesn't even matter what I want
or need, but what the paradigm is. New systems should be designed trying
to solve the question of What is IF?, so that they find ways to implement
every possible need IF authors may have in an easy and usable way.

Think about a story. You start with an idea or with a particular scene or
a line of dialogue or whatever. But if you want it to get it done, if you
want it to be a good story, you will need to have a full abstract concept
of the whole of it. You don't know the exact words, but you know how
everything should work. That's when you begin to write. So, yes, at least
in my case, it needs a lot of abstract reasoning, because otherwise the
story will be incoherent: strong at some points, weak at others, boring at
most of them. And it's not that, it's not that.

Emily Short

unread,
Jan 10, 2006, 4:35:38 PM1/10/06
to

José Manuel García-Patos wrote:
> > Erm. Zooming my way around a screen in order to play IF on a mobile
> > phone sounds even more awkward and frustrating than reading the text in
> > small chunks.
>
> You probably missed what I said of IF not being read but actually listened
> to when played on small devices. What you quoted was just a solution to
> the problem of layout. Don't PDF files work that way on PDAs? (I can't be
> sure as I know nothing about them. I don't even have a mobile phone.)

I can't be sure either; I don't have a PDA.

My point is this: you said that you needed the text to be laid out the
same way on all devices; I pointed out a reason that that might be
difficult; the solution you offered was either to zoom in on the layout
or else to have the text read aloud on the smaller screens. The former
solution sounds exceptionally cumbersome; the latter solution suggests
that you *don't* see the textual layout as critical to your work,
otherwise you would not be willing to replace it with something so
completely different.

> > You say you want page layout. Very well; do you also want to be able to
> > flip forward and back to any point, as you can with a book? You don't
> > mention it, if so -- perhaps this is because it would be silly as an IF
> > feature?
>
> Is there not a REDO option in some games or something like that? Who
> prevents you from REDOing n STEPS back? About fliping forward, there's
> always the Z command.

Nothing, but I would say that those aren't really equivalent to turning
pages, and that in fact IF has no exact page-turning equivalent,
because it doesn't make sense to have one. We can't hop forward to a
later point in the plot after the point at which we have ceased to
enter commands. It is impossible to sneak a peak at the end, the way it
is with a murder mystery. The paradigm fails because the two are not
enough alike.

> > Yes, input in foreign languages is a technical challenge, but one that
> > people are indeed working on at the moment. So I agree with you, but
> > also don't see this as a great unexplored problem.
>
> You don't, but I do. You should try to understand that for some people
> it is a big deal.

I know it's a big deal; I am saying people are working on it.

> > Well, yes -- I think we agree about this, and I was just not precise
> > enough in my phrasing. I think a choice in IF can be powerful even if it
> > is clear to me in moral or intellectual terms *which* answer I would
> > choose, precisely because I am forced to carry it out myself, and bear
> > some sense of responsibility for the outcome.
>
> If it is clear to you, it's not powerful enough. Twisted characters are
> always the best precisely for that. The best villains are the ones
> you feel sympathy for. That, again, is storytelling. A clear choice is
> inhuman by definition.

I think it works to have a plot situation in which, intellectually, I
know that a given choice will cause the least harm, but where that
choice is emotionally difficult because it involves costs. This choice
is "clear in moral or intellectual terms" -- that is, I know what I
must do -- but still powerful as storytelling because to carry it out
is painful.

> It doesn't even matter what I want
> or need, but what the paradigm is. New systems should be designed trying
> to solve the question of What is IF?

Right. This seems to be the core of our disagreement: I do not think it
is possible to reason abstractly to a final answer to this question
that will incorporate all the possible things that anyone might ever
wish to do with the form. One can try to take into account what people
have said they want to do, in the past; one can try to be imaginative
about what would open new doors in the future. But there is no simple
answer to that question, and no paradigm based on a single existing
medium that will describe all the functions needed in an IF language.

José Manuel García-Patos

unread,
Jan 10, 2006, 6:14:51 PM1/10/06
to

> My point is this: you said that you needed the text to be laid out the
> same way on all devices; I pointed out a reason that that might be
> difficult; the solution you offered was either to zoom in on the layout
> or else to have the text read aloud on the smaller screens. The former
> solution sounds exceptionally cumbersome; the latter solution suggests
> that you *don't* see the textual layout as critical to your work,
> otherwise you would not be willing to replace it with something so
> completely different.

If someone plays IF on a PDA, it's obvious that layout is not important
for him. But the example of PDF files or e-books is still a good one, I
think. Does layout of e-books get changed on PDAs? It's not the author's
fault that someone decides to play his games or read his papers on a not
very convenient device. Both of the solutions I gave seem logical to me.
If the player cares about the layout he has the right to see it as it was
intended to be seen zooming out. If he just wants to read the text he can
zoom in or use the lens thing (and lose the layout), but that is his
option. The player should be free to play as he wishes to.

> Nothing, but I would say that those aren't really equivalent to turning
> pages, and that in fact IF has no exact page-turning equivalent,
> because it doesn't make sense to have one. We can't hop forward to a
> later point in the plot after the point at which we have ceased to
> enter commands. It is impossible to sneak a peak at the end, the way it
> is with a murder mystery. The paradigm fails because the two are not
> enough alike.

I think you're confusing things. Is a comic the same as a novel? You can
sneak a peak at the end of both, right? But then a webcomic would not be
the same as a comic book, because you can't always do that. I am thinking
of text-based means of communication, and you're talking of physical
devices. It's obvious that an interpreter is not the same as a book, but
the book can still be useful for designing IF interpreters and parsers.
You gotta go to the essence, not to the accident.

> I think it works to have a plot situation in which, intellectually, I
> know that a given choice will cause the least harm, but where that
> choice is emotionally difficult because it involves costs. This choice
> is "clear in moral or intellectual terms" -- that is, I know what I
> must do -- but still powerful as storytelling because to carry it out
> is painful.

You still don't get it. You're talking of a young husband, seduced by an
older, more experienced, sexy and intelligent woman, that in the end stays
with his wife without having sucumbed to temptation. That's Hollywood, not
storytelling. I believe you studied Greek tragedies. That's storytelling.

> Right. This seems to be the core of our disagreement: I do not think it
> is possible to reason abstractly to a final answer to this question that
> will incorporate all the possible things that anyone might ever wish to
> do with the form. One can try to take into account what people have said
> they want to do, in the past; one can try to be imaginative about what
> would open new doors in the future. But there is no simple answer to
> that question, and no paradigm based on a single existing medium that
> will describe all the functions needed in an IF language.

No, I don't think that's the core of disagreement, but I'll try to make
you think about it one last time: When you build a house, what's the first
step? To draw a plan. That's the paradigm: the plan of the house. The plan
does not tell you how to decorate your house nor how to paint it, nor what
trees to plant in the garden, it does not even tell you that you should
have a garden. It just tells you how to build the house, where are the
limits of your property, where to put the pillars, etc. The paradigm is
just a plan. And, yes, in this case abstract reasoning is required,
because we want to build the best possible house, one that maximizes the
use of the resources of our property.

Here I am, rejecting natural evolution in favour of intelligent design. I
suck.

Emily Short

unread,
Jan 10, 2006, 7:00:43 PM1/10/06
to

José Manuel García-Patos wrote:
> If he just wants to read the text he can
> zoom in or use the lens thing (and lose the layout), but that is his
> option. The player should be free to play as he wishes to.

What you originally said was

----


Why can't I as an author place the elements
of a game precisely on the screen and expect that every player could
see what I
intended them to see and just the way I wanted to independently of the
device
and platform the game is run on?
----

So it seems you have changed your mind, perhaps.

> I am thinking
> of text-based means of communication, and you're talking of physical
> devices.

Because you said:

-----
Look at books. Real books from your shelves. Do you think we have
reached the
limits of them as a form of expression? And they've been here for more
than
five hundred years (in their printed form)...

We need a paradigm, something that clearly defines what IF is and is
not, and I
think this should be the book. The real book. Remember some of the
surrealists'
works, remember Finnegans Wake. (I'm not talking about Literature here,
but
about aesthetics, about typography, about Fine Arts applied to the
communication of the written word.

-----

So far as I could see, your support of the book-paradigm involved
adopting the accidental qualities of books for IF. I don't deny that
some interesting effects might be achieved thereby, but I answered that
I thought this less important than some other improvements in the
tools, exactly because typographical concerns do not touch on the
essential aspect of the medium: the mechanisms of choice and action.

> > I think it works to have a plot situation in which, intellectually, I
> > know that a given choice will cause the least harm, but where that
> > choice is emotionally difficult because it involves costs. This choice
> > is "clear in moral or intellectual terms" -- that is, I know what I
> > must do -- but still powerful as storytelling because to carry it out
> > is painful.
>
> You still don't get it. You're talking of a young husband, seduced by an
> older, more experienced, sexy and intelligent woman, that in the end stays
> with his wife without having sucumbed to temptation. That's Hollywood, not
> storytelling. I believe you studied Greek tragedies. That's storytelling.

I saying it is possible for an interesting conflict to arise from the
opposition of reason (or duty) and desire, rather than the opposition
of one reasoned choice and another. The opposition of two apparently
equal options is, of course, another valid source of story; so is a
situation in which no solution is possible.

I would be interested to learn that all Greek tragedy can be assigned
to any one of these forms, though. Aeschylus' Orestes, perhaps, faces a
conflict of duties and loyalties from which no reasoned escape is
possible, but that of, say, Euripides' "Orestes" seems much more to be
justifying his acts from his own desires and fears. Or perhaps you are
saying that the conflict of reason and emotion is only interesting if
the baser desires win and disaster ensues? That the right choice gives
rise to inherently vapid stories? How would you read Philoctetes, then?
Prometheus Bound?

> The paradigm is
> just a plan. And, yes, in this case abstract reasoning is required,
> because we want to build the best possible house, one that maximizes the
> use of the resources of our property.

I am not saying "we do not have to reason abstractly"; I am saying that
it is not possible by abstract reasoning to arrive at some complete and
final definition of the medium -- to design, in a single leap of
thought, not only this house, but all conceivable houses.

I'm also saying that adopting the paradigm of another medium will not
resolve this problem for us, because IF is not functionally equivalent
to any other form.

Urbatain

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 5:40:01 AM1/11/06
to
I must say that translate a game in the same code is not easy but is
not impossible.

Here is a bit of code of Dracula second part, that is a bilingual code
controled by a Constant named VO

#ifdef VO; !! ---- EN INGLÉS ----
LocalidadExterior locNieve "I am standing on a snow covered road."
with nombre 'snow',
descripcion "Next to me is a fine coach, pulled by two magnificent
black horses.
This is to take me to the castle...";
#ifnot; !! ---- EN CASTELLANO ----
LocalidadExterior locNieve "Estoy en una carretera cubierta de nieve."
with nombre 'nieve',
descripcion "A mi lado hay un excelente carruaje, tirado por dos
magníficos caballos negros. Está aquí para llevarme al castillo...";
#endif;

The ideal thing, to not duplicate pure code lines is that inform
compiler allows the following:
LocalidadExterior locNieve #ifdef VO; "I am standing on a snow covered
road."
#ifnot; "Estoy en una carretera cubierta de nieve."
with nombre #ifdef VO; 'snow',
#ifnot; 'nieve'
descripcion #ifdef VO; "Next to me is a fine coach, pulled by two
magnificent black horses. This is to take me to the castle...";
;

But unfortunatly, it's not the truth, I must to duplicate all the code
in that way in my real code of dracula part two.

And here in spain we have informate is a complete traduction of the
inform library, and we have a plugin for suport english, but
unfortunatly we have not a similar plugin to use spanish in inform 6...
so its easy to translate without large code in informate, form spanish
to english, but viceversa we must translate a game completely from a
library to another.

For other hand Depresiv is making a full code translation from spanish
to english, from informATE! to inform6, as the same Nick Monfort does
with Shattered Memory to Dead Reckoning, so a inform programmer has
little difficult to translate the code from a system to other... we are
programmers at the end.

We have games in german, italian, french... they are in inform??? I
think yes, so inform makes a great work in allow people to traslate or
make bilingual works.

So, don't use the language flag problem in your crusade, my good
partner Jose Manuel.

See you.

Urbatain.

José Manuel García-Patos

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 1:00:02 PM1/11/06
to

> Why can't I as an author place the elements
> of a game precisely on the screen and expect that every player could
> see what I
> intended them to see and just the way I wanted to independently of the
> device
> and platform the game is run on?
> ----
>
> So it seems you have changed your mind, perhaps.

So? What do you think my mind change was? I provided a solution that
helped PDA users do both things: retain the layout if they wanted to see
it as it was originally created, and read the text in the most comfortable
form available for their particular device. I can't see the contradiction.
Again go to to the PDF/e-book example.

> Look at books. Real books from your shelves. Do you think we have
> reached the
> limits of them as a form of expression? And they've been here for more
> than
> five hundred years (in their printed form)...
>
> We need a paradigm, something that clearly defines what IF is and is
> not, and I
> think this should be the book. The real book. Remember some of the
> surrealists'
> works, remember Finnegans Wake. (I'm not talking about Literature here,
> but
> about aesthetics, about typography, about Fine Arts applied to the
> communication of the written word.
> -----
>
> So far as I could see, your support of the book-paradigm involved
> adopting the accidental qualities of books for IF. I don't deny that
> some interesting effects might be achieved thereby, but I answered that
> I thought this less important than some other improvements in the tools,
> exactly because typographical concerns do not touch on the essential
> aspect of the medium: the mechanisms of choice and action.

Do you think typography and layout are accidental qualities of the book?
Try to read a mathematical book made with MS Word and think again.

The only essential aspect of the medium (IF) is text. Things like Rameses
have proved that you can make IF without letting the player play. But
please don't go saying now that I defend IF as a non-interactive medium. I
hate Rameses.

> Or perhaps you are saying that the conflict of reason and emotion is
> only interesting if the baser desires win and disaster ensues? That the
> right choice gives rise to inherently vapid stories? How would you read
> Philoctetes, then? Prometheus Bound?

No. The point is that there is no right choice nor a wrong choice. There
is Saint Paul. He was a really cruel man (always according to the Bible),
but then he fell off a horse and the rest is history. Would have he been a
saint if he just had been your average guy before the horse accident? Who
knows? In scientifical terms, we could say that all actions are vectors,
and we are the result of the sum of our vectors. Have we been right, have
we been wrong? Who knows? Disasters happen too to people who don't deserve
it, and the same sun rises for the good and the bad (that's from the Bible
too).

About the house parable, I'll explain it to you: the house is IF. What you
do with IF is up to you: how you decorate it, the trees you plant in the
garden, the pool you may or may not have, etc. But to know what you can
and can't do with it, you must know the plan. You don't want to exceed the
limits of the property or take down certain walls that sustain the whole
structure. And at the same time, you'd like to make the best possible use
of it. I hope it is clear now. Think of Mathematics. Think of the Greeks.
Do you think they made those great discoveries in Geometry by trial and
error? That's not the mathematical way. Guess what they used? That's
right: abstract reasoning. If it was good enough for Euclid, it's good
enough for me.

Emily Short

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 2:05:10 PM1/11/06
to

José Manuel García-Patos wrote:
> > Why can't I as an author place the elements
> > of a game precisely on the screen and expect that every player could
> > see what I
> > intended them to see and just the way I wanted to independently of the
> > device
> > and platform the game is run on?
> > ----
> >
> > So it seems you have changed your mind, perhaps.
>
> So? What do you think my mind change was? I provided a solution that
> helped PDA users do both things: retain the layout if they wanted to see
> it as it was originally created, and read the text in the most comfortable
> form available for their particular device. I can't see the contradiction.

Hm. All right. It seems to me at the very least a weakening of your
original argument, but perhaps I read it to be more forceful than you
intended.

> The only essential aspect of the medium (IF) is text. Things like Rameses
> have proved that you can make IF without letting the player play. But
> please don't go saying now that I defend IF as a non-interactive medium. I
> hate Rameses.

That's as may be, but if you think Rameses would have been the same
work in the absence of a prompt and player input, you don't understand
it at all. Reading the text as a story would have been a different
experience, because there would not have been the illusion that
progress might be possible. The player's attempts at interaction remain
important, even if they have no effect.

> > Or perhaps you are saying that the conflict of reason and emotion is
> > only interesting if the baser desires win and disaster ensues? That the
> > right choice gives rise to inherently vapid stories? How would you read
> > Philoctetes, then? Prometheus Bound?
>
> No. The point is that there is no right choice nor a wrong choice.

This is not a point that can be demonstrated by reference to Greek
tragedy. There are *some* tragedies in which every option is unsavory
(the Oresteia, say), or each option is right according to one measure
but wrong according to another ("Antigone", perhaps). There are also
others in which a just choice exists, whether or not the hero selects
it. The conversions of Neoptolemus, in "Philoctetes", and of the
Chorus, in "Prometheus Bound", involve a decision to reject the easier
but less honorable path.

I realize you probably didn't mean to go into these sorts of details,
but I find it difficult to argue usefully by asserting things about a
group of texts without recourse to examples.

> There
> is Saint Paul. He was a really cruel man (always according to the Bible),
> but then he fell off a horse and the rest is history. Would have he been a
> saint if he just had been your average guy before the horse accident? Who
> knows?

Mm. However you decide, I don't think you will find Biblical support
for the larger notion that "there is no right choice nor a wrong
choice".

Leaving aside the theological issue, though: I'm not saying that all
choices in stories ought to be ones of clear-cut morality. Only that it
is possible to write interesting stories about such choices, if the
focus of the conflict is something other than the question, "what is
the right thing to do?"


> About the house parable, I'll explain it to you: the house is IF.

I understand your analogies and parables; I simply don't accept their
validity.

We've reached the point of diminishing returns in this particular
argument, but geometric proof again strikes me as a bad analogy for the
development of a technical or artistic medium. (Nor for that matter did
Euclid discover the whole of geometry.) I do agree that it's worth
theorizing abstractly about ways to improve the medium, but I don't
believe it is possible to come up with a complete answer that way.

José Manuel García-Patos

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 3:59:22 PM1/11/06
to

> Hm. All right. It seems to me at the very least a weakening of your
> original argument, but perhaps I read it to be more forceful than you
> intended.

A weakening? You didn't read it to be more forceful than I intended, you
just didn't read it. You can make a poster from a 12x18 photograph and put
it in a wall in your room. Appart from the size, what's the difference? I
can read a book using a lens to better see the letters. What's the
difference? I honestly can't understand your obsession with trying to
demolish my argument.

> That's as may be, but if you think Rameses would have been the same
> work in the absence of a prompt and player input, you don't understand
> it at all. Reading the text as a story would have been a different
> experience, because there would not have been the illusion that
> progress might be possible. The player's attempts at interaction remain
> important, even if they have no effect.

If by important you mean annoying, yes, I guess I can give you that one.
But Rameses is not IF.

> I realize you probably didn't mean to go into these sorts of details,
> but I find it difficult to argue usefully by asserting things about a
> group of texts without recourse to examples.

Don't worry, if I'm good at something, that's examples. Achiles' mother
tried to keep his son from going to war and die there. She raised him like
he was a girl (which to some people would explain his grief for the death
of the other guy) and bathe him in this lake that I can't remember the
name of and whose waters gave inmortality. Now we get to this point where
(I know this scene from a Rubens' painting in the Prado Museum) some
people discover where he is hidden and prepare this trap to send him to
war: they put some objects on a plate (I'm making this all up, I must
admit it) and let the women in the house (because ancient Greeks couldn't
tell a woman from a transvestite) choose their favorite. One of the
objects is a sword, and poor Achiles chooses the sword and gets sent to
the army and to the Troy war, where he finally dies. Did he make any bad
choices? Or any good ones? Are we just prisoners of Fate?

> Leaving aside the theological issue, though: I'm not saying that all
> choices in stories ought to be ones of clear-cut morality. Only that it
> is possible to write interesting stories about such choices, if the
> focus of the conflict is something other than the question, "what is the
> right thing to do?"

If the focus of the story is not that question, then the story is not
about that choice. Have you seen When Harry Met Sally? Both characters
have a scene where they discuss about Casablanca's ending. Was that
the right thing to do for Rick? And for Ilsa? Re-read my Narcolepsy
review. Good works promote discussion and that is because they pose
questions that the audience must think about and try to answer. If I
think that choices are clear in some story, will I care about it when it
ends? But I find it difficult to argue usefully by asserting things about
storytelling without recourse to examples.

Jacek Pudlo

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 5:02:47 PM1/11/06
to
"José Manuel García-Patos"

>> Hm. All right. It seems to me at the very least a weakening of your
>> original argument, but perhaps I read it to be more forceful than you
>> intended.
>
> A weakening? You didn't read it to be more forceful than I intended, you
> just didn't read it. You can make a poster from a 12x18 photograph and put
> it in a wall in your room. Appart from the size, what's the difference? I
> can read a book using a lens to better see the letters. What's the
> difference? I honestly can't understand your obsession with trying to
> demolish my argument.

Welcome to the club.

>> That's as may be, but if you think Rameses would have been the same
>> work in the absence of a prompt and player input, you don't understand
>> it at all. Reading the text as a story would have been a different
>> experience, because there would not have been the illusion that
>> progress might be possible. The player's attempts at interaction remain
>> important, even if they have no effect.
>
> If by important you mean annoying, yes, I guess I can give you that one.

Words have different meanings and consequences depending on who utters them.
If you or I were to say "retap retson", nothing much would happen. But when
Emily does, Pepsi turns into Coke, men into swine and postings disappear
from Google's archive. When you think about it, classicism is the perfect
front for witchcraft. All that arcane lore and word-fiddling, so harmless
and innocuous on the surface...

> But Rameses is not IF.
>
>> I realize you probably didn't mean to go into these sorts of details,

I just loooove the condescension. It's virtually dripping off every word,
and yet it's so subtle most people don't get it.

[...]


José Manuel García-Patos

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 5:19:24 PM1/11/06
to

Didn't your parents ever tell you that when adults are talking you must
not interrupt?

Tony Kotansky

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 5:59:24 PM1/11/06
to
José Manuel García-Patos declared:

> I honestly can't understand your obsession with trying to
> demolish my argument.

It's what people do when they're having a discussion.

> If by important you mean annoying, yes, I guess I can give you that one.
> But Rameses is not IF.

Stop pontificating and respond with real arguments for a change.
Picture Rameses as a short story. See the difference?

> Don't worry, if I'm good at something, that's examples.

If by "good" you mean "pointless and long-winded", then yes.

[snip]

kroc...@sociologist.com

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Jan 11, 2006, 9:10:15 PM1/11/06
to
José Manuel García-Patos:

> Didn't your parents ever tell you that when adults are talking you must
> not interrupt?


Usenet is not the ideal venue for a tête-à-tête. If you feel
uncomfortable about other people commenting on your confused ramblings,
perhaps you should take it to email.

José Manuel García-Patos

unread,
Jan 12, 2006, 3:59:27 PM1/12/06
to

> Stop pontificating and respond with real arguments for a change.
> Picture Rameses as a short story. See the difference?

Of course I do. It would have been great, because Stephen is a great
writer, but making a game that you cannot play is annoying. I felt like
the author was constantly saying to me: This is my ball and I won't let
you play with it, but you can watch me if you like. Well, no, I don't.

Rameses' premise is one of those that look better on your mind than in the
interpreter. That's why I don't like it. Are you happy now?

José Manuel García-Patos

unread,
Jan 12, 2006, 4:13:46 PM1/12/06
to

> Usenet is not the ideal venue for a tête-à-tête. If you feel
> uncomfortable about other people commenting on your confused ramblings,
> perhaps you should take it to email.

You probably didn't notice that he(?) was insulting Emily, not me. I guess
you're one of those that are always waiting for an excuse to jump in the
insult wagon, even if you don't know what the conversation is about. Do
Usenet a favour and come back when you grow up (and know how to read).

Jörg Langer

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Jan 12, 2006, 6:15:14 PM1/12/06
to
Tony Kotansky schrieb:

To any newbie in this NG:

Note that "Tony Kotansky" is the same troll as "José Manuel
García-Patos" and "kroc...@sociologist.com". He's arguing with
himself to start flamewars. Also note how all the IP addresses
originate from Madrid.

Take him seriously at your own peril.

Jörg Langer

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Jan 12, 2006, 6:23:22 PM1/12/06
to

Jörg Langer schrieb:

And "Jacek Pudlo", of course. Though he seems to be using a different
IP.

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