What Would You Like to See in an IF/Game?

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QP Bauer

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Mar 7, 2004, 3:37:42 PM3/7/04
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I wanted to know if anyone would care to share what type of game they
would love to see created. Is there a genre, or specific elements
within a genre, that you would like to see implemented as a game? I
ask this because oftentimes in the design process I find myself
remaking what has already come before. For instance, it would be
pretty challenging to put together a Lovecraft game without it being
compared to Anchorhead, and the medieval magic setting, ala Dungeons
and Dragons, has surely been exhausted. I really have little interest
in crafting something that has already been done well. If there are
types of interactive fiction "games" that you would like to see
developed, please share and include details.

Andrew Plotkin

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Mar 7, 2004, 11:09:14 PM3/7/04
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Here, QP Bauer <kaliesk...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> I really have little interest
> in crafting something that has already been done well.

Everything has been done really well. Do what you care about. It will
show through.

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
* Make your vote count. Get your vote counted.

Jacek Lenkiewicz

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Mar 8, 2004, 7:54:38 AM3/8/04
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I must admit that your dilemma seems a bit strange to me. Personaly, I
find little sense in asking the receivers of art (any kind of it,
including Interactive Fiction) what kind of work would they like to
admire. I think that the whole process of creating art is about
expressing yourself and sharing your ideas with other people, instead
of trying to guess what will suit their expectations; or adjusting
your visions to average man's taste. The fact that all genres have
been already pretty well exploited does not mean that nothing new and
original can not be created in each of them. It's like with
literature: no matter that milions of poems about love have been
written during last 2500 years (starting from the Bible), thousands of
poets have still a lot to say about it, and not so rarely what thay
have to say proves to be interesting and new. Of course, it's a pretty
demanding task to create something that won't be just another copy of
old schemes, but hey, who said that making art is easy?

Another question is what types of text games do players like, e.i. the
one's with complicated puzzles or rather with a lot of NPCs to
interact with, and so on. A lot can be said about this topic (and I
believe a LOT have been said already), but I think that's not a
subject of this thread and my posting is already growing pretty
longish. What my point is: if you feel like writng a Lovecraftian IF
or a AD&D one, just do it, and we will all be happy to see and judge
the result, even - what I can promise only for myself - without
comparing it with Ancorhead or anything else.

Having said all this, still I would hate to leave you without an
answer to your original question. As far as I am concerned (being a
person pretty much keen on history) there is quite a lot left to be
done in the genre of historical IF, that is - games focusing on a
specific period of the timeline, depicting interesting people, events,
or simply ways of life in some place in a specific era. There are no
bad or uninteresting subjects - from early Chinese empires to
political affairs of Central American city-states before the Spanish
conquest, or everyday life in twentieth-century Europe under the
German occupation, everything can be used as a base of a fascinating
text game (fascinating to a fan of history, of course). So, if you
happen someday to write a piece of good historical IF, you can be sure
to have at least one fan, that being me.

Best regards,

Jacek Lenkiewicz

Jan Thorsby

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Mar 8, 2004, 8:04:08 AM3/8/04
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"QP Bauer" <kaliesk...@yahoo.com> skrev i melding
news:3283486a.04030...@posting.google.com...

> I wanted to know if anyone would care to share what type of game they
> would love to see created.

I've said some of this stuff before, but since you asked:

The hero has been accidentally handcuffed to this woman who he keeps arguing
with as government agents are trying to kill them, and they have to hang off
a tall building, and jump from car to car on a freeway while being shot at,
and steel a police car and drive it, with lots of cars in pursuit, through a
mall and then drive it full speed up one of them bridges that is opening up
and just barely make the jump to the other side as all the bad guys cars
fall in the water. As far as I know there are no IF games like that. There
are in fact very little action games or even action sequences in IF.

There are all sorts of reasons why an action game would be difficult to do,
but I think the most important one is that players (at least me) tend to not
be particularly concerned if the player character dies. They just want to
explore the whole game and win eventually. So if in a game I get attacked
by, say, a furious giant sloth (There where giants sloths. And they were
huge.) I would probably think something like: "Gee, wonder if I can fight
it. Hmmmm, apparently not. Undo. So, maybe I can talk with it. Nope, dead
again. Undo. Maybe I can give it some food then. Nah. Undo. Ah well, better
run away then.". And it would sort of ruin the flow and excitement of an
action game if the player keeps dieing all the time. So what I think people
should do, if they make a game like this, is they should stick some message
in at the start of the game saying that the point of the game is not to win
it eventually, but to try to win it at the first attempt. (Or at least in as
few attempts as possible). So if I meat the sloth, my fist thought would be
something like "Aaaaaaaaargh! Run!".

Other stuff that might help in an action game or a game where the goal is to
win on the first attempt:

1. Give the impression that the player is in much greater danger than he
actually is.

2. Don't have any difficult puzzles in an action sequence; cause then the
player is going to get killed a lot.

3. Try to implement as many solutions to the problems as possible; so,
ideally, if the player does something smart he should not be killed.

4. The player never has to do something stupid to win the game. Like explore
a burning building instead of running out.

There are many comedy IF games, but not all that many with comedy plots. It
tends to be more like a fantasy plot or a science fiction plot or
an-excuse-to-put-in-a-bunch-of-puzzles plot with jokes added. By comedy plot
I mean something like "Gourmet" or "Dinner with Andre". So I would like to
see a game that is kind of like those games. I mean, the story should be
about something else entirely, but it should just be basically funny.

I think I would like to see a game that is set in the real world present
time, and where there is a community of magical creatures, like magicians
and monsters, living among us, in secret. With lots of different types of
creatures. And maybe different sub-cultures. And secret wars. And stuff. I
don't know if there are any games like that. I guess some of the horror
games sort of fit my description without being quite what I have in mind.

Finally I would like to see a game (actually lots and lots of games) without
"examine" and "search", cause I think those commands very often make games
slow, boring and needlessly difficult.


Paul Drallos

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Mar 8, 2004, 8:44:19 AM3/8/04
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Jacek Lenkiewicz wrote:

> Having said all this, still I would hate to leave you without an
> answer to your original question. As far as I am concerned (being a
> person pretty much keen on history) there is quite a lot left to be
> done in the genre of historical IF, that is - games focusing on a
> specific period of the timeline, depicting interesting people, events,
> or simply ways of life in some place in a specific era. There are no
> bad or uninteresting subjects - from early Chinese empires to
> political affairs of Central American city-states before the Spanish
> conquest, or everyday life in twentieth-century Europe under the
> German occupation, everything can be used as a base of a fascinating
> text game (fascinating to a fan of history, of course). So, if you
> happen someday to write a piece of good historical IF, you can be sure
> to have at least one fan, that being me.
>

I just wanted to add something to Jacek's comments about historical fiction. It is also quite fun to do historical fiction based not on actual history, but on the events and settings in some other well know work of fiction. For instance, other events that were going on behind the scenes in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, or Back to the Future, or Rebbeca of Sunnybrook Farm. A new slant on some old fiction, but entirely consistent with the original story. I consider that historical fiction of a fictional world and can be quite entertaining.

Paul

Joao Mendes

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Mar 8, 2004, 8:36:33 AM3/8/04
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Hey, :)

"QP Bauer" <kaliesk...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:3283486a.04030...@posting.google.com...


> I wanted to know if anyone would care to share what type of game they
> would love to see created. Is there a genre, or specific elements
> within a genre, that you would like to see implemented as a game?

I pretty much love everything with a good story in it. Especially if the
puzzles are particularly easy, or even non-existant.

Cheers,

J.


David Thornley

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Mar 8, 2004, 9:42:34 AM3/8/04
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In article <3283486a.04030...@posting.google.com>,
QP Bauer <kaliesk...@yahoo.com> wrote:

>remaking what has already come before. For instance, it would be
>pretty challenging to put together a Lovecraft game without it being
>compared to Anchorhead, and the medieval magic setting, ala Dungeons
>and Dragons, has surely been exhausted.

You're not going to write anything that isn't going to be compared
to something, provided it deserves attention at all, and nothing
has been exhausted.

The only way to exhaust settings is for them to degenerate into formulas.
Once they've become formulas, and exhausted at that, there's still no
problem with an author coming along and doing something new in that
setting, as long as the author has some sort of fresh view. Maybe a
different viewpoint, maybe thinking about what the setting would really
be like.

I really have little interest
>in crafting something that has already been done well.

Most things have, on a reasonable level of granularity. That doesn't
stop people from writing new and interesting things.


--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
da...@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-

Knight37

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Mar 8, 2004, 12:29:56 PM3/8/04
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kaliesk...@yahoo.com (QP Bauer) wrote in
news:3283486a.04030...@posting.google.com:

I would love to see more Lovecraft games personally. Or any type of
horror for that matter. I also like science fiction genre a lot.

Knight37

Carl D Cravens

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Mar 8, 2004, 1:29:59 PM3/8/04
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On Mon, 8 Mar 2004, Jan Thorsby wrote:

> fall in the water. As far as I know there are no IF games like that. There
> are in fact very little action games or even action sequences in IF.

I think this is harder to pull off in IF because action (and tension) rely
on pacing... and the pacing is difficult to control because the player has
so much control.

I've been away from IF for a few years, but getting back into it, I
recently played Shade. For a moment, I was really immersed in it and it
started to spook me... and then I hit a series of ineffective actions that
completely dropped me out of the mood of the story and into pure
puzzle-solving mode. The flow of the action was broken and the mood lost.

> And it would sort of ruin the flow and excitement of an action game if
> the player keeps dieing all the time.

Exactly. The die-undo cycle creates a pacing problem (and maybe other
things, but I think pacing is the key issue).

Because the player has so much control over the pacing, you either have to
take away some of that control, or, as you suggest, try to convince the
player to conduct his pacing in the manner you desire.

The problem I see with the latter is, if you just _ask_ the player to pick
up the pace, he's likely to keep playing the way he always has. If you
take away 'undo', he'll save the game before trying something risky. And
no matter how much punishment or reward you given for playing in a
contradictory manner, save/restore can always circumvent it. (Hrm.
Unless you punish the player for saving the game in the first place.
Which is annoying when you want to save because you have to go to work and
not backing up the current state so you can experiment with the game.)

> 1. Give the impression that the player is in much greater danger than he
> actually is.
>
> 2. Don't have any difficult puzzles in an action sequence; cause then
> the player is going to get killed a lot.
>
> 3. Try to implement as many solutions to the problems as possible; so,
> ideally, if the player does something smart he should not be killed.

This sounds like "make the game really easy so the player can't screw up."
I don't think that this is your intention, but I think that's what such a
game would be like. I think the whole problem is the idea of "puzzle"
doesn't fit well into "action." "Puzzle" tends to imply, "slow down and
think" which is exactly what you _don't_ want to happen.

I think it would be difficult to make chasing the villain across six lanes
of motor traffic on foot _exciting_ in IF and still leave the player any
control.

> 4. The player never has to do something stupid to win the game. Like
> explore a burning building instead of running out.

Is this the same as making the solutions obvious? Seems to me that
running into a burning building would make for a great action scene, so I
don't know that "stupid" actions are all that clearly "stupid."

--
Carl D Cravens (ra...@phoenyx.net)
REALITY.SYS Corrupted: Re-boot universe? (Y/N/Q)

Adam Cadre

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Mar 8, 2004, 1:51:22 PM3/8/04
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Jacek Lenkiewicz wrote:
> milions of poems about love have been written during last 2500
> years (starting from the Bible)

Er, love poetry most emphatically did *not* start with the Bible.
There was enough of it in ancient Greece alone that they had a
whole muse devoted exclusively to it, and the Greeks were relative
latecomers to the genre.

-----
Adam Cadre, Holyoke, MA
http://adamcadre.ac

Mike Roberts

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Mar 8, 2004, 3:15:02 PM3/8/04
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"Carl D Cravens" <ra...@phoenyx.net> wrote:
> I think this is harder to pull off [an action-movie type of plot] in IF

> because action (and tension) rely on pacing... and the pacing is
> difficult to control because the player has so much control.
>
> The die-undo cycle creates a pacing problem (and maybe other
> things, but I think pacing is the key issue).

I think you're right that pacing is a key part of what's lost in the
save-die-restore pattern (not to mention the
wandering-around-wondering-what-to-do-next pattern).

> I've been away from IF for a few years, but getting back into it [...]

Then you might have missed, and you might be interested in, a lengthy raif
thread a while back on the general topic of dramatic tension in IF - look
for "Failure, death, and dramatic tension" on groups.google.com.

--Mike
mjr underscore at hotmail dot com

Mike Roberts

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Mar 8, 2004, 3:22:11 PM3/8/04
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"QP Bauer" <kaliesk...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> I ask this because oftentimes in the design process I find myself
> remaking what has already come before. For instance, it would be
> pretty challenging to put together a Lovecraft game without it being
> compared to Anchorhead, and the medieval magic setting, ala
> Dungeons and Dragons, has surely been exhausted.

If you find yourself drawn to what you see as a hackneyed setting like this,
one brainstorming technique you might try is to take one of these genre
settings and combine it with a plot that's usually associated with another
genre setting - do a Lovecraftian swashbuckler, say, or a D&D murder
mystery.

PaulCsouls

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Mar 8, 2004, 3:42:24 PM3/8/04
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On 7 Mar 2004 12:37:42 -0800, kaliesk...@yahoo.com (QP Bauer)
wrote:

While not specifically an answer to your question, what I would like
to see in IF games are:

1. Links to "feelies" in the game like PDF files, picture files for
stuff like journals, photographs, newspaper clippings ...
2. They should be done in serial style. Like everyone is waiting for
the next Zork. IF games would have an easier time developing a
following if the individual games were kept short but the settings and
characters were kept alive in multiple games. The War and Peace of IF
games is not the way to go. The episode of a television or comic book
series is.

Paul

QP Bauer

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Mar 8, 2004, 11:08:05 PM3/8/04
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PaulCsouls <paulc...@worldnet.att.net> wrote in message news:<4clp40dpei3tfiodv...@4ax.com>...

> On 7 Mar 2004 12:37:42 -0800, kaliesk...@yahoo.com (QP Bauer)
> wrote:
>
> 1. Links to "feelies" in the game like PDF files, picture files for
> stuff like journals, photographs, newspaper clippings ...

This approach would have some interesting possibilties; when you say
links to feelies outside the immediate medium of the game, I think off
the top of my head of the way Blair Witch Project made use of the web
for marketing purposes. The site had the tertiary effect of creating a
broader and more lifelike atmosphere for the contents of the movie.
I'm sure feelies could probably be explored further...

> 2. They should be done in serial style. Like everyone is waiting for
> the next Zork. IF games would have an easier time developing a
> following if the individual games were kept short but the settings and
> characters were kept alive in multiple games. The War and Peace of IF
> games is not the way to go. The episode of a television or comic book
> series is.

I find this to be a really fascinating idea, since, as far as I know,
it isn't being done as yet. Another offshoot of this could be a shared
world concept, where the IF writers develop, or are presented with, a
detailed world, and each writer creates an adventure/game that
intersects somehow with the other interactive stories contributing to
the world. Characters and settings that one writer creates could be
employed in another writer's game, adding and enriching the shared
world (like the Thieve's World concept). Also, the technique used
Kurosawa's Rashomon, where different characters live through a similar
incident with completely different shades of experience, could be
interesting as well. If these ideas have already been presented, I
apologize, since I am new to the forum.

Richard Bos

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Mar 9, 2004, 4:27:06 AM3/9/04
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Adam Cadre <see-website...@adamcadre.ac> wrote:

> Jacek Lenkiewicz wrote:
> > milions of poems about love have been written during last 2500
> > years (starting from the Bible)
>
> Er, love poetry most emphatically did *not* start with the Bible.
> There was enough of it in ancient Greece alone that they had a
> whole muse devoted exclusively to it, and the Greeks were relative
> latecomers to the genre.

True, but wasn't the core of the Song of Songs written before most
surviving Greek poetry?

Richard

Adam Cadre

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Mar 9, 2004, 5:18:19 AM3/9/04
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Richard Bos wrote:
> True, but wasn't the core of the Song of Songs written before most
> surviving Greek poetry?

Sure - in fact, I believe that's another inaccuracy in the initial
post, as my understanding is that the Song of Songs was written in
the tenth century BCE or thenabouts, placing it outside the 2500-year
window specified in that post. But the point is, it wasn't the first
love poem. Great civilizations had been established in Egypt,
Mesopotamia, India, and China long before the tenth century BCE;
all these civilizations had writing, and poetry, and love poetry.
You can pull examples up in your favorite search engine if you
like. (Some of it is, er, unrefined.)

Obviously this is a tangent. I wasn't trying to be pedantic; I just
found the off-hand assertion that love poetry began with the Bible to
be alarmingly ethnocentric. The Judeo-Christian tradition is just
one of many on this planet, and from the perspective of some of the
others, it's one of the new kids on the block.

Daphne Brinkerhoff

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Mar 9, 2004, 10:12:51 AM3/9/04
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kaliesk...@yahoo.com (QP Bauer) wrote in message news:<3283486a.04030...@posting.google.com>...

> PaulCsouls <paulc...@worldnet.att.net> wrote in message news:<4clp40dpei3tfiodv...@4ax.com>...
> > 2. They should be done in serial style. Like everyone is waiting for
> > the next Zork. IF games would have an easier time developing a
> > following if the individual games were kept short but the settings and
> > characters were kept alive in multiple games. The War and Peace of IF
> > games is not the way to go. The episode of a television or comic book
> > series is.
>
> I find this to be a really fascinating idea, since, as far as I know,
> it isn't being done as yet.

Just in case anyone isn't aware: Paul O'Brian is doing this with
_Earth & Sky_ and _Another Earth, Another Sky_ (and whatever #3 ends
up being called: _A Different Earth From the First Two, Ditto Sky_
wouldn't sound all that exciting :).

Also Neil deMause's Frenetic Five trilogy. (_FF vs. Sturm und Drang_,
_FF vs. Mr. Redundancy_, _FF. vs the Seven Deadly Dwarves_.)

Both are superhero games and hence not far from PaulCSouls' "comic
book" analogy. (Can we skip the "comic books and superheroes *don't*
go together like a horse and carriage, they're called 'graphic
novels', and are often about a zillion non-superhero things, and they
always were" rants? Especially since the Earth and Sky games with
their sound effects are comic-book-esque? Thank you.)

Jon Ingold's game _The Mulldoon Murders_ is a sequel to _The Mulldoon
Legacy_, but they aren't short. _Murders_ is shorter than _Legacy_.
_Legacy_ is one of the hugest games on the archive.

Also Robert Camisa wrote _Beat the Devil_ and used the same main
character in _Happy Ever After_ (the first paragraph of _HEA_ tells
what happened to the love interest from _BtD_). I only know this
because I played _Happy Ever After_ last night.

[Unfortunately, I can't recommend it--the author *never* uploaded the
recompiled file to the archive, so the .z5 that is there is supposedly
still buggy. And, I recompiled the .inf file to get a new .z5, but
even then there were still serious bugs (I did manage to win, after
lots of cheating by reading the source code). I have to think he was
only interested in the comp audience, and that makes me sad.
(Authors: if you leave buggy games that you *know* are buggy on the
archive, especially (but not exclusively) when you have a better
version at home, you make Daphne sad. I'm sure none of us want
that.)]

Okay, so, as usual, Baf's Guide is ahead of me:

http://baf.wurb.com/if/series

lists other games which are related to one another.

--
Daphne

James Marshall

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Mar 9, 2004, 11:29:46 AM3/9/04
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In article <Pine.LNX.4.58.04...@lists.wirebird.com> Carl D Cravens <ra...@phoenyx.net> writes:
>On Mon, 8 Mar 2004, Jan Thorsby wrote:

>The problem I see with the latter is, if you just _ask_ the player to pick
>up the pace, he's likely to keep playing the way he always has. If you
>take away 'undo', he'll save the game before trying something risky. And
>no matter how much punishment or reward you given for playing in a
>contradictory manner, save/restore can always circumvent it.

Well, you could always disable save/restore. As I recall, Failsafe did
that, at least partially in an attempt to set and keep the mood going.
An emergency situation arises -- you can't just save, restore, or undo,
you've got to push ahead! Luckily that game was short enough that not
having save/restore wasn't a huge problem. Disabling it in a longer
game, one that would almost have to be done in multiple sittings, would
be a bad idea though.

>(Hrm. Unless you punish the player for saving the game in the first place.
>Which is annoying when you want to save because you have to go to work and
>not backing up the current state so you can experiment with the game.)

Right. That's the problem. You can save to experiment or save because
you have to go do something else. Trying to stop the first without
stopping the second has to be extremely difficult, if not impossible.

>> 1. Give the impression that the player is in much greater danger than he
>> actually is.

To try to force a real impression of danger that must be solved quickly?

>> 2. Don't have any difficult puzzles in an action sequence; cause then
>> the player is going to get killed a lot.

Yeah, dying isn't fun. If you want an action sequence to stay/feel like
that, then you do need to try to leave out anything that's going to make
you really stop and think. Action games typically don't have a lot of
puzzle solving thinking required, you go around shooting, running, jumping,
etc.

>> 3. Try to implement as many solutions to the problems as possible; so,
>> ideally, if the player does something smart he should not be killed.

>This sounds like "make the game really easy so the player can't screw up."
>I don't think that this is your intention,

I didn't think so. It says, "if the player does something smart". I took
that to mean if you did something reasonable that would have a good chance
of working, it should. If you do something stupid like stick a metal fork
into a live outlet or put your hand into a burning fire, there ought to
be consequences. But let's say you try to pry open a container with a
screwdriver when the intended solution is something else, maybe just
unscrewing the lid. Prying it open ought to work, too. There are multiple
ways to reach the same goal. I think that's the kind of thing that was
meant above.

>but I think that's what such a
>game would be like. I think the whole problem is the idea of "puzzle"
>doesn't fit well into "action." "Puzzle" tends to imply, "slow down and
>think" which is exactly what you _don't_ want to happen.

Exactly. Which I think is why the previous poster made note of not
putting any difficult puzzles in the middle of something you're trying to
make an action sequence. Something simple where the correct solution
should leap out at you because it's common sense would probably be OK.
But something complex will obviously break the action feel.

>I think it would be difficult to make chasing the villain across six lanes
>of motor traffic on foot _exciting_ in IF and still leave the player any
>control.

*shrug* I guess it depends on what you consider exciting. Maybe you and/or
the people who are really interested in this could make a short test game.
Try to code some action sequence scene, have people test it out, and see
what happens. Maybe you can come up with something that works well for
most players (since you can't ever please *everyone*).

>> 4. The player never has to do something stupid to win the game. Like
>> explore a burning building instead of running out.

>Is this the same as making the solutions obvious?

IMO, not necessarily.

>Seems to me that
>running into a burning building would make for a great action scene, so I
>don't know that "stupid" actions are all that clearly "stupid."

Well, it seems like a common sense issue to me, at least here. Why would
you stick around inside a burning building? Just because it would make for
an exciting action sequence? Nah. You need a really good reason to put
your life in danger like that. Maybe if your child or spouse were trapped
inside and there was still no professional help (i.e., fire fighters).
To recover some material object? Hard to justify. Material possessions
aren't worth much when compared to your life. I suppose you could put
an object required to win the game in the burning building so that if
the person doesn't stay around to get it, he/she can never win the game.
But then you're asking the player to override common sense. *shrug*
I guess it can work in a game. But usually I don't start trying stupid
solutions until I've exhausted what I think are reasonable solutions.
And that was a point made earlier -- any smart, reasonable solution
should work. It can be annoying to have to come up with the game
author's specific solution when you think you have one that's just as
reasonable and could work just as well. And if you set the building I'm
in on fire, I'm probably not going to think sticking around to continue
exploring is a good idea. I'm going to want to get out before I get
burned, suffocate, or the building comes crashing down on top of me.
Well, there are some of my thoughts, for whatever they're worth.
I haven't been following the whole thread here, but thought I'd comment
about these points here.

--
. . . . -- James Marshall (SAG) .
,. -- )-- , , . -- )-- , mars...@astro.umd.edu ,. . ,
' ' http://www.astro.umd.edu/~marshall .
"Electrons are just purple hazes with green racing stripes." , .

Dan Shiovitz

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Mar 9, 2004, 12:38:08 PM3/9/04
to
In article <404c...@news.broadpark.no>,
Jan Thorsby <no_jthor...@broadpark.no> wrote:
>
[..]

>The hero has been accidentally handcuffed to this woman who he keeps arguing
>with as government agents are trying to kill them, and they have to hang off
>a tall building, and jump from car to car on a freeway while being shot at,
>and steel a police car and drive it, with lots of cars in pursuit, through a
>mall and then drive it full speed up one of them bridges that is opening up
>and just barely make the jump to the other side as all the bad guys cars
>fall in the water. As far as I know there are no IF games like that. There
>are in fact very little action games or even action sequences in IF.

Andy Phillips has written a number of games of this general mold. They
generally have some gameplay problems but they also have some nice
action scenes that are probably what you're looking for.

--
Dan Shiovitz :: d...@cs.wisc.edu :: http://www.drizzle.com/~dans
"He settled down to dictate a letter to the Consolidated Nailfile and
Eyebrow Tweezer Corporation of Scranton, Pa., which would make them
realize that life is stern and earnest and Nailfile and Eyebrow Tweezer
Corporations are not put in this world for pleasure alone." -PGW

Default User

unread,
Mar 9, 2004, 1:53:31 PM3/9/04
to
Adam Cadre wrote:
>
> Richard Bos wrote:
> > True, but wasn't the core of the Song of Songs written before most
> > surviving Greek poetry?
>
> Sure - in fact, I believe that's another inaccuracy in the initial
> post, as my understanding is that the Song of Songs was written in
> the tenth century BCE or thenabouts, placing it outside the 2500-year
> window specified in that post. But the point is, it wasn't the first
> love poem. Great civilizations had been established in Egypt,
> Mesopotamia, India, and China long before the tenth century BCE;
> all these civilizations had writing, and poetry, and love poetry.
> You can pull examples up in your favorite search engine if you
> like. (Some of it is, er, unrefined.)


I don't think so. First Dynasty Chinese and Egyptian civilization dates
from around 3000 BCE. The only mention of anything nearly that old is
the supposed lost "high civilization" that isn't believed by most
archeologists.


Brian Rodenborn

Dott. Piergiorgio

unread,
Mar 9, 2004, 3:04:14 PM3/9/04
to
Il Tue, 09 Mar 2004 10:18:19 +0000, Adam Cadre ha scritto:

> I just
> found the off-hand assertion that love poetry began with the Bible to
> be alarmingly ethnocentric. The Judeo-Christian tradition is just
> one of many on this planet, and from the perspective of some of the
> others, it's one of the new kids on the block.

I fully agree.
Best regard from Italy.
Dott. Piergiorgio, Adventurer and Yamatologian.


Andrew Plotkin

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Mar 9, 2004, 2:51:52 PM3/9/04
to
Here, Default User <first...@boeing.com.invalid> wrote:
> Adam Cadre wrote:
> >
> > Richard Bos wrote:
> > > True, but wasn't the core of the Song of Songs written before most
> > > surviving Greek poetry?
> >
> > Sure - in fact, I believe that's another inaccuracy in the initial
> > post, as my understanding is that the Song of Songs was written in
> > the tenth century BCE or thenabouts, placing it outside the 2500-year
> > window specified in that post. But the point is, it wasn't the first
> > love poem. Great civilizations had been established in Egypt,
> > Mesopotamia, India, and China long before the tenth century BCE;
> > all these civilizations had writing, and poetry, and love poetry.
> > You can pull examples up in your favorite search engine if you
> > like. (Some of it is, er, unrefined.)
>
>
> I don't think so. First Dynasty Chinese and Egyptian civilization dates
> from around 3000 BCE.

Which is long before the tenth century BCE... what are you disagreeing
with?

Or did you read that as "tenth millennium"?

Default User

unread,
Mar 9, 2004, 4:43:11 PM3/9/04
to
Andrew Plotkin wrote:
>
> Here, Default User <first...@boeing.com.invalid> wrote:

> Which is long before the tenth century BCE... what are you disagreeing
> with?
>
> Or did you read that as "tenth millennium"?

Doh. Yes, I did.

Brian Rodenborn

Joao Mendes

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Mar 10, 2004, 7:01:00 AM3/10/04
to
Hey, all, :)

"James Marshall" <mars...@astro.umd.edu> wrote in message
news:c2krdq$sij$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu...

> Right. That's the problem. You can save to experiment or save because
> you have to go do something else. Trying to stop the first without
> stopping the second has to be extremely difficult, if not impossible.

Starflight attmpted to do something like this. You could only save when
quitting. It was easily circumvented by having multiple copies of the game
disks, but you really had to go to a lot of trouble copying those two 5.25
inch floppies...

Presumably, you could create a hidden save point (somewhere in the registry,
for example, for you windows users) and only allow save on exit and restore
on startup.

Personally, I tend to find this sort of thing mildly annoying...

Cheers,

J.


Richard Bos

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Mar 10, 2004, 10:41:51 AM3/10/04
to
"Joao Mendes" <joao-...@netcabo.pt.invalid> wrote:

> "James Marshall" <mars...@astro.umd.edu> wrote in message
> news:c2krdq$sij$1...@grapevine.wam.umd.edu...
>
> > Right. That's the problem. You can save to experiment or save because
> > you have to go do something else. Trying to stop the first without
> > stopping the second has to be extremely difficult, if not impossible.
>
> Starflight attmpted to do something like this. You could only save when
> quitting. It was easily circumvented by having multiple copies of the game
> disks, but you really had to go to a lot of trouble copying those two 5.25
> inch floppies...

Many roguelikes still do it like this - NetHack certainly does. Of
course, people who find the game "too haa-aard" do copy the save files
and copy them back when they get stuck. Oddly enough, that kind of
player never seems to get much better...

> Personally, I tend to find this sort of thing mildly annoying...

Well, it works very well for rogue-likes, where it teaches you to think
before you act. It wouldn't work as well for IF.

Richard

Paul Drallos

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Mar 10, 2004, 11:29:00 AM3/10/04
to
Adam Cadre wrote:

> Sure - in fact, I believe that's another inaccuracy in the initial
> post, as my understanding is that the Song of Songs was written in
> the tenth century BCE or thenabouts, placing it outside the 2500-year
> window specified in that post. But the point is, it wasn't the first
> love poem. Great civilizations had been established in Egypt,
> Mesopotamia, India, and China long before the tenth century BCE;
> all these civilizations had writing, and poetry, and love poetry.
> You can pull examples up in your favorite search engine if you
> like. (Some of it is, er, unrefined.)
>

No offence, but although CE and BCE are the politically correct forms
of AD and BC, they are meaningless in the sense that 'Common Era' is
a meaningless phrase which doesn't really convey any particular point
in time. Unless one regards CE to mean Christian Era. Then it sort
of defeats the politically correct purpose of taking Christ out of the
date.

Adam Cadre

unread,
Mar 10, 2004, 6:47:04 PM3/10/04
to
Paul Drallos wrote:
> No offence, but although CE and BCE are the politically correct forms
> of AD and BC, they are meaningless in the sense that 'Common Era' is
> a meaningless phrase which doesn't really convey any particular point
> in time.

"Common Era" is manifestly not a meaningless phrase, as when I mention
a date using CE or BCE, people know which years I am referring to. It
has therefore successfully conveyed my meaning.

Nor is "Common Era" meaningless on a semantic level. It is a phrase
that acknowledges that particular numbers are commonly used worldwide
to refer to certain years, even in many non-Christian cultures. Indeed,
one could argue that CE and BCE are far more meaningful that "BC" and
"AD," which are now widely acknowledged to be inaccurate and lead to
such absurdities as "The current consensus is that Christ was born in
the year 4 Before Christ."

> Then it sort of defeats the politically correct purpose of taking
> Christ out of the date.

Throwing the phrase "politically correct" around is a popular way to
chide people for showing some sensitivity to the fact that we live in
a pluralistic society.

I use "Common Era" because it is a good thing for people to have
numbers in *common* to use for enumerating the years. I am certainly
not going to use "Anno Domini," because I do not have a lord and I am
not going to declare that any particular year belongs to one.

Paul Drallos

unread,
Mar 10, 2004, 9:16:12 PM3/10/04
to
Adam Cadre wrote:


> "Common Era" is manifestly not a meaningless phrase, as when I mention
> a date using CE or BCE, people know which years I am referring to. It
> has therefore successfully conveyed my meaning.
>
> Nor is "Common Era" meaningless on a semantic level. It is a phrase
> that acknowledges that particular numbers are commonly used worldwide
> to refer to certain years, even in many non-Christian cultures. Indeed,
> one could argue that CE and BCE are far more meaningful that "BC" and
> "AD," which are now widely acknowledged to be inaccurate and lead to
> such absurdities as "The current consensus is that Christ was born in
> the year 4 Before Christ."
>

I'm sorry I don't agree with you. Please explain to me what is
uniqely 'common' about the Common Era so that it unambiguously
refers to a particular moment in time without invoking the
definitions of B.C. and A.D. At least, the birth of Christ I can
get within a year or two. Common Era could mean anything, literally.

This is the sense in which I mean the phrase is meaningless.

The A.D. and B.C. designations have been 'commonly' used for
much longer than any living memory. Whether or not some scholars
believe Christ was born in 4 B.C. is irrelevant. 1 AD is a
firmly established point in time. BE is defined in terms of it.

We commonly use many words and phrases based in Latin. But should
we stop using them since we're not all Latin? Or, what about
words based on Pagan religions or ancient rulers? Do you propose
that we should we change what we call the days of the week? The
months? The seasons?

I'm just saying that these things have been established for millenia.
But leave it to these politically correct times to find a reference
to Christ as offensive and replace it with a term that is much less
precise.

Ok. I realize this discussion doesn't really belong on this group.
I'm sorry. I wasn't hoping to get into a debate, but at the same
time, I knew it was inevitable.

Adam Cadre

unread,
Mar 10, 2004, 10:45:47 PM3/10/04
to
Paul Drallos wrote:
> Please explain to me what is uniqely 'common' about the Common Era
> so that it unambiguously refers to a particular moment in time
> without invoking the definitions of B.C. and A.D.

It's uniquely common because it's the most commonly used set of
numbers in the world for enumerating years.

> Common Era could mean anything, literally.

Anything *could* mean anything if people started pairing that
word and that meaning. "Cool" used to mean "not warm." Now
it also means "good," because people started using it to mean
that. "Diss" used to mean nothing at all. Now it means "to
show disrespect for," because people started using it to mean
that. A century ago, "Common Era" could have come to mean all
sorts of things. Now it's come to mean "the years that are
numbered 1 and above in the most commonly used system for
enumerating years."

> Whether or not some scholars believe Christ was born in 4 B.C.
> is irrelevant.

It's relevant if you believe that "BC" means "Before Christ"
and that "Before Christ" should be taken literally. Christ
could not have been born Before Christ. Therefore it is a
bad name.

(I also think it is a bad name because I don't think that
Jesus of Nazareth was a christ, but that's another argument.)

If, on the other hand, you believe that "Before Christ" is an
arbitrary signifier, then you shouldn't object to the use of
"Common Era"'s supposed lack of meaning, because, hey, it's
an arbitrary signifier.

> 1 AD is a firmly established point in time.

So's 1 CE. People have been using it for decades.

> We commonly use many words and phrases based in Latin. But should
> we stop using them since we're not all Latin?

This is not a parallel argument.

> Or, what about words based on Pagan religions or ancient rulers?
> Do you propose that we should we change what we call the days of
> the week? The months?

This, on the other hand, is a parallel argument, and an interesting
question. Hmmm. I'd have to say that I don't personally have any
objection to, for instance, the word "Thursday." This is probably
because I don't live in a society where people tell me that if I
don't turn my life over to Thor I will go to hell, or where a big
chunk of the population wants to base our laws on the Eddas.

> But leave it to these politically correct times to find a reference
> to Christ as offensive

Back to "these politically correct times," eh? I guess all I can
say is that if these times are full of people who are stopped from
being insensitive to others solely by a feeling that it would be
impolitic to do so, thank goodness for political correctness.

And as noted, yes, I'm offended by having someone else's religion
forced on me, so given the choice I'm going to use the secular
nomenclature.

J. W. McCall

unread,
Mar 11, 2004, 12:17:08 AM3/11/04
to
Paul Drallos wrote:
> Adam Cadre wrote:
>
>
>> "Common Era" is manifestly not a meaningless phrase, as when I mention
>> a date using CE or BCE, people know which years I am referring to. It
>> has therefore successfully conveyed my meaning.
>>
>> Nor is "Common Era" meaningless on a semantic level. It is a phrase
>> that acknowledges that particular numbers are commonly used worldwide
>> to refer to certain years, even in many non-Christian cultures. Indeed,
>> one could argue that CE and BCE are far more meaningful that "BC" and
>> "AD," which are now widely acknowledged to be inaccurate and lead to
>> such absurdities as "The current consensus is that Christ was born in
>> the year 4 Before Christ."
>>
>
> I'm sorry I don't agree with you. Please explain to me what is uniqely
> 'common' about the Common Era so that it unambiguously
> refers to a particular moment in time without invoking the
> definitions of B.C. and A.D. At least, the birth of Christ I can
> get within a year or two. Common Era could mean anything, literally.

It's simply the era that is commonly used. Rather than starting
numbering years from some other event or non-event in history, people
decided to keep years the same way, since many non-christians and
non-religious people (such as myself) use the same year numbers, but
remove the obviously Christian-o-centric "Anno Domini" and "Before Christ".

Not to mention the fact that this Jesus person was apparently born
before he was traditionally thought to have been. So really, BC and AD
are meaningless due to inaccuracy.

J. W. McCall

L. Ross Raszewski

unread,
Mar 11, 2004, 12:23:30 AM3/11/04
to
On Wed, 10 Mar 2004 21:16:12 -0500, Paul Drallos <pdra...@tir.com> wrote:
>The A.D. and B.C. designations have been 'commonly' used for
>much longer than any living memory. Whether or not some scholars
>believe Christ was born in 4 B.C. is irrelevant. 1 AD is a
>firmly established point in time. BE is defined in terms of it.
>

Of all the sloppy logic in this argument, the thing that really
cheeses me off is that you present yourself as having some good
understanding of these things, and then you go and write '1 AD'.
The mistake is common enough that even people who really ought to know
better do it, but it's just in poor taste to enter a discussion of the
relative merits of the naming systems when you appear not even to know
that *AD comes before the year*.

Paul Drallos

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Mar 11, 2004, 1:01:48 AM3/11/04
to
And I thought I was offended. You guys are rabid.

Richard Bos

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Mar 11, 2004, 7:53:41 AM3/11/04
to
Adam Cadre <see-website...@adamcadre.ac> wrote:

> Paul Drallos wrote:
> > Then it sort of defeats the politically correct purpose of taking
> > Christ out of the date.
>
> Throwing the phrase "politically correct" around is a popular way to
> chide people for showing some sensitivity to the fact that we live in
> a pluralistic society.

Perhaps; it's also often a way to mock sensitivity that goes skin-deep.
Not that I'm saying yours does; but using CE and BCE is, after all,
nothing but a gloss over the fact that the era so called is, whether its
users want to acknowledge this or not, based on an inaccurate estimate
of the birth of Jesus. By using CE, you _are_ still using a Christian
era; you merely try to appear as if you aren't.

Richard

Carl D Cravens

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Mar 11, 2004, 9:31:28 AM3/11/04
to
On Wed, 10 Mar 2004, Adam Cadre wrote:

> I use "Common Era" because it is a good thing for people to have
> numbers in *common* to use for enumerating the years. I am certainly
> not going to use "Anno Domini," because I do not have a lord and I am
> not going to declare that any particular year belongs to one.

Somewhat ironically, most modern Christian scholarly works use CE/BCE.

--
Carl D Cravens (ra...@phoenyx.net)

Bad Command! Bad, Bad Command! Sit! Staaaaay...

Paul Drallos

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Mar 11, 2004, 9:54:17 AM3/11/04
to
Adam Cadre wrote:
J.W. McCall wrote:
L.Ross Raszewski wrote:

Several points in defense of CE, BCE (or offence
of BC AD, depending how one looks at it.).

I respect and admire the IF related work that you guys do,
so I feel unfortable arguing about this with you. I hope
no hard-feelings result. It is with regret that I have to
make a few more comments.

Adam wrote:
>It's uniquely common because it's the most commonly
> used set of numbers in the world for enumerating years.

That strikes me very much as a tautology (hope I spelled
that right) A circular argument defining something in terms
of it self.

I'm sure you understand the point I'm trying to make. The
terms BC and AD give a sense of meaning and historical
context to the date. CE obscures this.

Someone from the future, unfamiliar with our dating system could
reasonably deduce this date to a good approximation simply
from the name. CE contains less information and a future
investigator would have to realize, 'Ah, they mean AD or BC!'.
As for absurdities, one could find all kinds of entertaining
absurdities by taking the phrase 'Common Era' literally.

You discriminately argue that 'Common Era' has

> come to mean "the years that are numbered 1 and above in
> the most commonly used system for enumerating years."

But ignore that this is equally applicable to BC and AD because
they are the commonly used dating systems on which CE is based.

If we start debating the 4 B.C. birthdate of Jesus then we will
really get off on a tangent. Let's just say it is debatable and
that A.D. 1 has a commonly understood meaning.

>I'm offended by having someone else's religion forced on me,
> so given the choice I'm going to use the secular nomenclature.

Using and Ancient Latin phrase to refer to an ancient Roman-time
event is hardly having someone else's religion forced on you.

Trying to rid the world of traditional reference because they have
a historically signifcant, but relegious connection sounds an awful
like someone forcing their secular religion on me.


J. W. wrote:
>...since many non-christians and non-religious people (such as myself)

>use the same year numbers, but remove the obviously Christian-o-centric
>"Anno Domini" and "Before Christ".

One does not have to be a believer in Christ to acknowledge the events
and the significant impact that Christianity had on Western Civilization.

It may also interest you to know that long before CE was called 'Common
Era', it was called Christian Era. This is important for several
reasons:

1. Non-Christians can refer to it without invoking "Anno Domini" or
"Before Christ".
2. The question of the actual birth of Jesus is moot.
3. The date is defined to be consistent with the commonly recognized
system of numbering our years.
4. The phrase still gives historical context to the meaning of
the date.

To me, it seems foolish and somewhat dishonest to try and ignore or
coverup the fact that Christianity does indeed exist, that it had a
significant impact on Western and World culture, and that the
commonly used numbering system of dating is rooted in a Christian
event. One does not have to be a Christian to acknowledge these
things. They simply are. 'Common Era' is a quite recent corruption
of 'Christian Era'. And I still maintain that 'Common Era' obscures
the meaning.

Finally, Ross wrote:
>the thing that really cheeses me off is that you present
>yourself as having some good understanding of these things,
>and then you go and write '1 AD'.

Now this really hurt because I have a lot of admiration for
L.Ross, and it is a really cheap shot.

It is the same as if a word in my argument was mispelled.
But as long as the word or meaning is understood (which it
was) it has absolutely nothing to do with the merits of the
argument. You are throwing out the baby with the bath water.

Also, you should have at least given me some credit for not
writing 0 AD (or AD 0).

David Thornley

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Mar 11, 2004, 10:00:38 AM3/11/04
to
In article <405060ae....@news.individual.net>,
Richard Bos <r...@hoekstra-uitgeverij.nl> wrote:

>Adam Cadre <see-website...@adamcadre.ac> wrote:
>
>> Throwing the phrase "politically correct" around is a popular way to
>> chide people for showing some sensitivity to the fact that we live in
>> a pluralistic society.
>
>Perhaps; it's also often a way to mock sensitivity that goes skin-deep.
>Not that I'm saying yours does; but using CE and BCE is, after all,
>nothing but a gloss over the fact that the era so called is, whether its
>users want to acknowledge this or not, based on an inaccurate estimate
>of the birth of Jesus. By using CE, you _are_ still using a Christian
>era; you merely try to appear as if you aren't.
>
However, the fact that this is 2004 doesn't just mean that this is
2004 years after somebody's mistaken guess about when a guy named
Jesus was born in a town called Bethlehem. It means that it is
ninety years from the start of WWI, fifty-nine years after the
first nuclear explosion, election year for US presidents, things
like that. Almost all written records in this culture are based
on that, and a heck of a lot of written records in other cultures.

Based on that, it doesn't matter how the dates got set. It matters
that they got set a long, long time ago, and that a whole lot of
people have been using them more or less consistently ever since.
This means that we have a massive amount of year information in common,
measured from an arbitrary point.

It's kind of like degrees Fahrenheit, in which zero is the coldest
that Herr Fahrenheit could get with a mixture of salt and ice.
No significance in itself, but there's a lot of records out there
with degrees Fahrenheit, and they are directly comparable. (Yes,
I know that Celcius is more widely used now. So what?)


--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
da...@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-

Adam Thornton

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Mar 11, 2004, 10:55:54 AM3/11/04
to
In article <YNN3c.307$i76.5897@attbi_s03>,

Adam Cadre <see-website...@adamcadre.ac> wrote:
>I do not have a lord

Feudalism cries!

Adam

Michael Coyne

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Mar 11, 2004, 11:46:34 AM3/11/04
to
Adam Thornton wrote:

"I told you, we're an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take it in turns
to act as a sort of executive officer for the week, but all the
decisions of that offier have to be ratified at a special bi-weekly
meeting, by a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs,
but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more major--"

"Be quiet! I order you to be quiet!"


Michael

OR

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Mar 11, 2004, 12:04:00 PM3/11/04
to
On 11 Mar 2004 15:00:38 GMT, David Thornley wrote:

> I know that Celcius is more widely used now. So what?)

Well, obviously, you should use Celsius too.

Magnus Olsson

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Mar 11, 2004, 12:08:35 PM3/11/04
to
In article <10evo16b1x7km.jke4havm9brl$.d...@40tude.net>,

Rybread, are you listening? :-)

--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se)
PGP Public Key available at http://www.df.lth.se/~mol

Adam Cadre

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Mar 11, 2004, 6:21:02 PM3/11/04
to
Paul Drallos wrote:
> That strikes me very much as a tautology (hope I spelled
> that right) A circular argument defining something in terms
> of it self.

Well, you asked what was "uniquely common" about the Common Era;
what other answer could there be? It's like asking what's so black
about a blackbird.

> The terms BC and AD give a sense of meaning and historical context
> to the date. CE obscures this.

Which is why CE is good. The "sense of meaning" provided by AD is
that the number that follows is a "year of the lord." I don't go
along with that. At the same time, if I started using the French
Revolutionary calendar or some such, not many people would understand
what I meant. So I'll use the 2004 but not the AD.

> Someone from the future, unfamiliar with our dating system could
> reasonably deduce this date to a good approximation simply
> from the name.

I suspect that anyone from the future who has any clue who this
Jesus guy was and when he was alive is going to be familiar with
our dating system. It's not like our descendants are going to be
saying, "Hmm, says here that Julius Caesar was assassinated in
44 BCE. What could that possibly mean?" "Oh, THIS text says that
the assassination was in 44 BC, which is Before Christ, and of
course Christ was born on Stardate -2.33x10^6, so Caesar must
have been assassinated in -2.37x10^6! Thank Our Lord and Savior
for that helpful hint!"

-----
Adam Cadre, Holyoke, MA
http://adamcadre.ac

20 Ventose CCXII

James Glover

unread,
Mar 11, 2004, 7:42:24 PM3/11/04
to

Pah! Real people use Kelvin. (Infact even Kelvin can't be determined to be
fully non-arbitary, although zero is set at a point with real universal
meaning the actualy divisions themselves stil depend, arbitarily, on
water.) Perhapse someone could tell me what the most non-arbitary
measurement of temperature is? Something based on hydrogen I imagine.

--
James Glover
E-mail: ja...@jaspsplace.co.uk
Web: http://www.jaspsplace.co.uk
MSN: ja...@jaspsplace.co.uk
ICQ: 75440795

John W. Kennedy

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Mar 11, 2004, 8:44:08 PM3/11/04
to
James Glover wrote:
> Pah! Real people use Kelvin. (Infact even Kelvin can't be determined to
> be fully non-arbitary, although zero is set at a point with real
> universal meaning the actualy divisions themselves stil depend,
> arbitarily, on water.) Perhapse someone could tell me what the most
> non-arbitary measurement of temperature is? Something based on hydrogen
> I imagine.

Back in the 60's, an article in Analog proposed a system based on:

Mechanical:
The electron rest mass.
Planck's constant.
The speed of light in a vacuum.
Electromagnetic:
The electron charge.
Thermal:
Boltzman's constant.
Angular:
The radian.

(Note that there are no inverse-square constants -- they lead to icky
fractional dimensions.)

--
John W. Kennedy
"But now is a new thing which is very old--
that the rich make themselves richer and not poorer,
which is the true Gospel, for the poor's sake."
-- Charles Williams. "Judgement at Chelmsford"

Rybread

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Mar 11, 2004, 9:11:25 PM3/11/04
to
m...@df.lth.se (Magnus Olsson) wrote in message news:<c2q6ej$20q01r$1...@ID-178465.news.uni-berlin.de>...

> In article <10evo16b1x7km.jke4havm9brl$.d...@40tude.net>,
> OR <fa...@fake.org> wrote:
> >On 11 Mar 2004 15:00:38 GMT, David Thornley wrote:
> >
> >> I know that Celcius is more widely used now. So what?)
> >
> >Well, obviously, you should use Celsius too.
>
> Rybread, are you listening? :-)

Yes. Always.

Andrew Plotkin

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Mar 11, 2004, 9:16:03 PM3/11/04
to

Wow, really? I think we all thought you'd vanished.

What's up?

Adam Thornton

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Mar 11, 2004, 11:19:34 PM3/11/04
to
In article <a6fbdf56.04031...@posting.google.com>,

Rybread <rste...@bennington.edu> wrote:
>m...@df.lth.se (Magnus Olsson) wrote in message
>> Rybread, are you listening? :-)
>Yes. Always.

Hallelujah!

Adam

Boluc Papuccuoglu

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Mar 12, 2004, 2:25:16 AM3/12/04
to
On Thu, 11 Mar 2004 09:54:17 -0500, Paul Drallos <pdra...@tir.com>
wrote:

>Adam Cadre wrote:


>J.W. McCall wrote:
>L.Ross Raszewski wrote:
>

[snip]


>
>>I'm offended by having someone else's religion forced on me,
>> so given the choice I'm going to use the secular nomenclature.
>
>Using and Ancient Latin phrase to refer to an ancient Roman-time
>event is hardly having someone else's religion forced on you.
>
>Trying to rid the world of traditional reference because they have
>a historically signifcant, but relegious connection sounds an awful
>like someone forcing their secular religion on me.
>
>

[snip]

In all fairness I think Mr. Cadre could only be accused of 'forcing
his secularity on others' if he was chiding another person for using
AD and BC. However, he is not doing that, he is only using a certain
nomenclature that fits in with his belief system.

Boluc Papuccuoglu

Magnus Olsson

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Mar 12, 2004, 3:53:45 AM3/12/04
to
In article <opr4p38ympi5ezju@localhost>,

James Glover <jaspS...@jaspsplace.co.uk> wrote:
>On Thu, 11 Mar 2004 20:04:00 +0300, OR <fa...@fake.org> wrote:
>
>> On 11 Mar 2004 15:00:38 GMT, David Thornley wrote:
>>
>>> I know that Celcius is more widely used now. So what?)
>>
>> Well, obviously, you should use Celsius too.
>
>Pah! Real people use Kelvin. (Infact even Kelvin can't be determined to be
>fully non-arbitary, although zero is set at a point with real universal
>meaning the actualy divisions themselves stil depend, arbitarily, on
>water.) Perhapse someone could tell me what the most non-arbitary
>measurement of temperature is? Something based on hydrogen I imagine.

Well, temperature is really a measure of the mean kinetic energy of
the molecules in ideal gas, by the formula E = 1.5 kT, where k is
Boltzmann's constant and T is absolute temperature. So the arbitrariness
of the Kelvin scale is reflected in k; setting k = 1 gives you a
temeperature scale where temperature is measured in energy units.

Of course, the energy unit is also somewhat arbitrary - a joule is
defined as 1 J = 1 kg m^2 / s^2 so it depends on the definitions of
the kilogram, the metre and the second, all of which are arbitrary.

To get a less arbitrary scale, one should use some constant of nature
as the energy unit. A popular choice is the Planck energy, which
is definied in terms of the gravitational constant (the fundamental
parameter of gravity), the speed of light and Planck's constant. This
is about as non-arbitrary as we can get today (lacking a theory that
predicts the values of those constants).

So I'd say that the least arbitrary temperature scale would be one
where the temperature unit is the Planck energy and Boltzmann's constant
is 1.

Magnus Olsson

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Mar 12, 2004, 3:57:31 AM3/12/04
to
In article <IB84c.11167$CW1.3...@news4.srv.hcvlny.cv.net>,

John W. Kennedy <jwk...@attglobal.net> wrote:
>Back in the 60's, an article in Analog proposed a system based on:
>
>Mechanical:
> The electron rest mass.
> Planck's constant.
> The speed of light in a vacuum.
>Electromagnetic:
> The electron charge.
>Thermal:
> Boltzman's constant.
>Angular:
> The radian.

But both Boltzmann's constant and the electron rest mass are
considered non-fundamental (though in the Boltzmann case that's a
matter of definition). Better to use the Planck mass (or Planck
energy) for mass/energy and to set Boltzmann's constant to 1.

Branko Collin

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Mar 12, 2004, 6:15:13 AM3/12/04
to
James Glover <jasp...@hotmail.com>, you wrote on Fri, 12 Mar 2004
00:42:24 -0000:

>Perhapse someone could tell me what the most non-arbitary
>measurement of temperature is?

That so depends on your application.

I, for one, am comfortable most of the time with the scale:

-hey, I cannot even get in the water
-hm, nice warm bath
-I am boiling!

(and some in between values)

And no, that's not an arbitrary scale, because it's correct every time
I use it.

--
"Rotterdam: /Kielschieters/, omdat zij een bootje, dat met de kiel
naar boven in de Maas dreef, voor een walvisch hielden, waarop zij
hun geweren afvuurden." uit: Nederlandsche volkskunde, JKFH Schrijnen
Help dit en andere PD-boeken te corrigeren op http://www.pgdp.net

Richard Bos

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Mar 12, 2004, 8:11:50 AM3/12/04
to
thor...@visi.com (David Thornley) wrote:

> In article <405060ae....@news.individual.net>,
> Richard Bos <r...@hoekstra-uitgeverij.nl> wrote:
> >Perhaps; it's also often a way to mock sensitivity that goes skin-deep.
> >Not that I'm saying yours does; but using CE and BCE is, after all,
> >nothing but a gloss over the fact that the era so called is, whether its
> >users want to acknowledge this or not, based on an inaccurate estimate
> >of the birth of Jesus. By using CE, you _are_ still using a Christian
> >era; you merely try to appear as if you aren't.
> >
> However, the fact that this is 2004 doesn't just mean that this is
> 2004 years after somebody's mistaken guess about when a guy named
> Jesus was born in a town called Bethlehem.

Well, yes, it does.

> It means that it is ninety years from the start of WWI,

No. The _two_ facts that it is now 2004, and that WWI started in 1914,
mean that it is ninety years from WWI. The single fact that it is now AD
2004 only means that it is 2004 years since that single event which was
important to the person who invented this reckoning. Which, like it or
not, is an event closely related to the Christian faith.

Richard

David Thornley

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Mar 12, 2004, 9:37:03 AM3/12/04
to
In article <YtadndIH1Nc...@comcast.com>,

Paul Drallos <pdra...@tir.com> wrote:
>
>I respect and admire the IF related work that you guys do,
>so I feel unfortable arguing about this with you. I hope
>no hard-feelings result. It is with regret that I have to
>make a few more comments.
>
I certainly hope we're mature enough to argue things like this
with no hard feelings. I don't have any, but I really can't
speak for anybody else.

>Adam wrote:
>>It's uniquely common because it's the most commonly
>> used set of numbers in the world for enumerating years.
>
>That strikes me very much as a tautology (hope I spelled
>that right) A circular argument defining something in terms
>of it self.
>

Nope. If we were introducing a set of numbers, it would be
tautological. However, since we have a generally used set of
numbers to represent years, they're commonly used, and can be
described as "common" without tautology.

>I'm sure you understand the point I'm trying to make. The
>terms BC and AD give a sense of meaning and historical
>context to the date. CE obscures this.
>

Except that there's a whole lot of people who really don't
care how old Jesus would be if he'd been born in 1 AD and
was still alive and kicking. AD is even less so: it means
"Year of Our Lord", not making any statement about who this
particular Lord happens to be. From the meaning, it could be
some local ruler; some cultures have dated things from the year
of the current reigning king or emperor or whoever.

As far as historical context, this is the context of one event
which is of great significance to roughly one-third of the
population of the world, and to the rest of the world it's a
convenient, widely-used, arbitrary system.

It is true that somebody raised on "AD" and "BC" might find
"CE" and "BCE" to be a bit flavorless, but that's no big deal.

>Someone from the future, unfamiliar with our dating system could
>reasonably deduce this date to a good approximation simply
>from the name. CE contains less information and a future
>investigator would have to realize, 'Ah, they mean AD or BC!'.
>As for absurdities, one could find all kinds of entertaining
>absurdities by taking the phrase 'Common Era' literally.
>

Um, you seem to be thinking that the meanings of "AD" and "BC"
will be common in the future, presumably including the mistake in
Jesus' birthdate. If "CE" and "BCE" come into play, future
generations will have to figure out "AD" and "BC".

As far as absurdities go, one can similarly find absurdities by
taking "Before Christ" and "Year of Our Lord" literally.

>If we start debating the 4 B.C. birthdate of Jesus then we will
>really get off on a tangent. Let's just say it is debatable and
>that A.D. 1 has a commonly understood meaning.
>

Why is this off on a tangent? You're the one talking about literal
meanings above; why is discussing the literal meaning of "Before
Christ" any different? As for the "commonly understood meaning",
the whole virtue of having such a system of associating years with
numbers is to create that, and it doesn't matter what it's based
on. We'd find AUC (years from the nominal founding of Rome) just
as convenient; indeed, some historians would find it much more
convenient.

>>I'm offended by having someone else's religion forced on me,
>> so given the choice I'm going to use the secular nomenclature.
>
>Using and Ancient Latin phrase to refer to an ancient Roman-time
>event is hardly having someone else's religion forced on you.
>

Some of us have picked up enough Latin over the years to understand
these things, so I don't think the language makes any difference.
While "BC" refers to an ancient Roman-time event, "AD" does not.
It refers to a claimed existing relationship, that a guy who was
born maybe 2008 years ago is "Our Lord", yours and mine.

>Trying to rid the world of traditional reference because they have
>a historically signifcant, but relegious connection sounds an awful
>like someone forcing their secular religion on me.
>

But we're talking about "an ancient Roman-time event". If that's
the case, what's the religious significance? Who cares about it?
Christians can write that Jesus was born sometime around 6 BCE to
4 BCE (or whatever the generally accepted dates are).

>J. W. wrote:
>>...since many non-christians and non-religious people (such as myself)
>>use the same year numbers, but remove the obviously Christian-o-centric
>>"Anno Domini" and "Before Christ".
>
>One does not have to be a believer in Christ to acknowledge the events
>and the significant impact that Christianity had on Western Civilization.
>

In other words, would it be equally reasonable to use AUC as a standard
dating scheme, considering the significant impact Rome had on
Western Civilization? Moreover, if one is not a member of Western
Civilization, isn't that reference a bit insignificant?

>It may also interest you to know that long before CE was called 'Common
>Era', it was called Christian Era. This is important for several
>reasons:
>
>1. Non-Christians can refer to it without invoking "Anno Domini" or
>"Before Christ".
>2. The question of the actual birth of Jesus is moot.
>3. The date is defined to be consistent with the commonly recognized
>system of numbering our years.

All of this is true of "Common Era", and is why "Christian Era" is
better than "AD".

>4. The phrase still gives historical context to the meaning of
>the date.
>

If you're a Christian, yes. If you're not, then it looks like
the Christians are trying to grab at least a millenium in which
their religion was the dominant one in a somewhat small and
backward corner of the Eurasian land mass and call it theirs.
The planet itself hasn't had any sort of "Christian Era" until
the last few centuries.

>To me, it seems foolish and somewhat dishonest to try and ignore or
>coverup the fact that Christianity does indeed exist, that it had a
>significant impact on Western and World culture, and that the
>commonly used numbering system of dating is rooted in a Christian
>event.

I take it you're opposed to Christmas trees and the accepted date
of Christmas then, since they try to ignore and cover up the
preexisting religions that used those, which also had a significant
impact on Western culture, and did exist?

One does not have to be a Christian to acknowledge these
>things. They simply are. 'Common Era' is a quite recent corruption
>of 'Christian Era'. And I still maintain that 'Common Era' obscures
>the meaning.
>

Christian Era seems to me to signify the time measurement used by
one-third of the population of the Earth. One would think that
there would be a similar Muslim Era and Hindu Era, and possibly
a Folk Religion Era and Secular Era. Since a lot more people think
it's 2004 this year than think that Jesus Christ is their Lord,
I think "Common Era" sounds more reasonable.

David Thornley

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Mar 12, 2004, 9:42:12 AM3/12/04
to
In article <IB84c.11167$CW1.3...@news4.srv.hcvlny.cv.net>,
John W. Kennedy <jwk...@attglobal.net> wrote:
>James Glover wrote:
>> Pah! Real people use Kelvin. (Infact even Kelvin can't be determined to
>> be fully non-arbitary, although zero is set at a point with real
>
>Back in the 60's, an article in Analog proposed a system based on:
>
I may be remembering one of Asimov's columns in F&SF instead, but
what I remember is:

>Mechanical:
> The electron rest mass.

Substitute the gravitational constant.

> Planck's constant.
> The speed of light in a vacuum.
>Electromagnetic:
> The electron charge.
>Thermal:
> Boltzman's constant.
>Angular:
> The radian.
>
>(Note that there are no inverse-square constants -- they lead to icky
>fractional dimensions.)
>

Not really. They don't lead to convenient units (neither does any
other system of this kind I'm familiar with), but the arithmetic
is still straightforward.

FWIW, I started reading Analog and Fantasy & Science Fiction about
1965 or so, so if you're referring to an article in the early 1960s
I'm almost certainly remembering something else.

David Thornley

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Mar 12, 2004, 9:46:20 AM3/12/04
to
In article <4051b648...@news.individual.net>,
Richard Bos <r...@hoekstra-uitgeverij.nl> wrote:

>thor...@visi.com (David Thornley) wrote:
>
>> However, the fact that this is 2004 doesn't just mean that this is
>> 2004 years after somebody's mistaken guess about when a guy named
>> Jesus was born in a town called Bethlehem.
>
>Well, yes, it does.
>
Nope; it doesn't *just* mean that.

>> It means that it is ninety years from the start of WWI,
>
>No. The _two_ facts that it is now 2004, and that WWI started in 1914,
>mean that it is ninety years from WWI.

Which makes them marks on an interval scale. Such a scale is perfectly
usable without worrying about the base point.

The single fact that it is now AD
>2004 only means that it is 2004 years since that single event which was
>important to the person who invented this reckoning. Which, like it or
>not, is an event closely related to the Christian faith.
>

Jesus' fourth birthday?

However, if you don't care when Jesus was born, 2004 is still completely
useful as an arbitrary assignment, and in conjunction with other
arbitrary assignments it is extremely useful. There are more people
in this world that find this useful than people who find this
religiously significant.

Eric Eve

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Mar 12, 2004, 11:45:12 AM3/12/04
to

"David Thornley" <thor...@visi.com> wrote in message
news:4051cd3c$0$41296$a186...@newsreader.visi.com...
Maybe Richard's point here is simply "A rose by another name..."?
Using CE and BCE rather than AD and BC doesn't alter that fact that,
historically speaking the system was adopted because someone thought
they were dating years from the birth of Christ (note, I'm neither
asserting nor denying the appropriateness of the title 'Christ' for
Jesus of Nazareth, merely noting what I assume some monk thought).
But, it seems to me, the obvious consequence of this is that it
really doesn't matter which set of initials one uses. If using AD
and BC gives offence, then perhaps one should refrain from using
them in circumstances where offence might be given, but to me it
seems quite unnecessary for anyone to take offence either at AD/BC
or at CE/BCE.

Pragmatically, AD & BC have the advantage that they're slightly more
easily to distinguish on the page (and less prone to confusion by
typo) and more familiar to many people. To my mind, it might have
been less disruptive if people who objected to the confessional
implications of Anno Domini had decided to reinterpret it as After
Datum or Anno Designato (in the sense 'defined year') or something
equally colourless. But this isn't what has happened and CE/BCE have
become the accepted norm for many purposes, not least New Testament
scholarship in which it is regarded as de rigeur for published work.
If New Testament scholars (of all shades of religious opinion,
belief and disbelief) are happy to agree in this usage (a rare
consensus in the discipline!), I'm not sure why it should be
particularly problematic for anyone else; the term 'Common Era' is
so colourless that it shouldn't really offend anyone who isn't
determined to be offended.

There is also a certain logic to CE in that it recognizes that,
whatever the origin of the dating system, for most practical
purposes it has become purely conventional. Although, IIRC, the monk
who originally made the calculations on which the AD/BC dating
system was made was later found to have made a calculation error of
6 years (which means that if he had done his sums right, he should
have reckoned Jesus' birthdate at what we now call 6 BCE), it's not
quite true to say that there's now a strong scholarly consensus that
this is the 'correct' date: the range 7-4 BCE is simply accepted by
most scholars as a plausible guess, not really worth the bother of
challenging, that is based mainly on the assumption (suggested but
hardly proved by Matthew's birth narrative) that Jesus of Nazareth
was born late in the reign of Herod the Great (who died in 4BCE). In
reality, the actual date of Jesus' birth is irrecoverable, except as
a pretty broad approximation. For all we know, BC and AD could
actually be reckoned from correct year of birth of Jesus of
Nazareth, it's just that we have no means of knowing that it is. It
could be argued, then, that the colourless CE at least avoids a
claim to a degree of accuracy in dating a particular event that is
impossible to attain.

-- Eric


Knight37

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Mar 12, 2004, 1:43:57 PM3/12/04
to
Adam Cadre <see-website...@adamcadre.ac> wrote in news:yv64c.11120
$mM.82668@attbi_s02:

> It's not like our descendants are going to be
> saying, "Hmm, says here that Julius Caesar was assassinated in
> 44 BCE. What could that possibly mean?" "Oh, THIS text says that
> the assassination was in 44 BC, which is Before Christ, and of
> course Christ was born on Stardate -2.33x10^6, so Caesar must
> have been assassinated in -2.37x10^6! Thank Our Lord and Savior
> for that helpful hint!"

ROFL.

Knight37

Rybread

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Mar 12, 2004, 3:15:19 PM3/12/04
to
Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com> wrote in message news:<c2r6h3$gs0$1...@reader1.panix.com>...

> Here, Rybread <rste...@bennington.edu> wrote:
> > m...@df.lth.se (Magnus Olsson) wrote in message news:<c2q6ej$20q01r$1...@ID-178465.news.uni-berlin.de>...
> > > In article <10evo16b1x7km.jke4havm9brl$.d...@40tude.net>,
> > > OR <fa...@fake.org> wrote:
> > > >On 11 Mar 2004 15:00:38 GMT, David Thornley wrote:
> > > >
> > > >> I know that Celcius is more widely used now. So what?)
> > > >
> > > >Well, obviously, you should use Celsius too.
> > >
> > > Rybread, are you listening? :-)
> >
> > Yes. Always.
>
> Wow, really? I think we all thought you'd vanished.
>
> What's up?

Graduated, moved to LA (god knows why) and am now PAing for g4 that
silly videogame channel. Trying to force people to make an IF
special, but people say it wouldn't be visual enough...

Just got twisty little passages, and contemplating cracking open the
designer's manual and writing a little game. Been doing some dvd
authoring and thinking about going that route as well.

David Adrien Tanguay

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Mar 12, 2004, 7:59:38 PM3/12/04
to
I know better, but I'm bored. :-)

Eric Eve wrote:
> consensus in the discipline!), I'm not sure why it should be
> particularly problematic for anyone else; the term 'Common Era' is
> so colourless that it shouldn't really offend anyone who isn't
> determined to be offended.

Of the three (AD/BC, "Common Era", and "Christian Era"), I find "common"
to be the most offensive, reeking of doublespeak. Everybody knows that the
dating scheme refers to Christianity, so calling it "common" is like saying
"my culture won, nyah nyah". It may be true, but it's still bad manners.
AD/BC can be offensive for the reasons already stated.

To me, "Christian" is entirely unoffensive since it refers to a universally
accepted historical fact: the existence of Christians (not Christ or Jesus
or god). The fuzziness of the exact epoch just reflects the fuzziness of
history/mythology. "Christian Era" also has the virtue of never becoming
anachronistic, once the Elvisites take over the world and impose their own
calendar.
--
David Tanguay http://www.sentex.ca/~datanguayh/
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada [43.24N 80.29W]

Cirk R. Bejnar

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Mar 12, 2004, 8:48:57 PM3/12/04