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Trinity: Explanation Please. (HEAVY SPOILERS)

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Daniel Giaimo

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Jul 12, 2001, 5:30:35 PM7/12/01
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I just finished Trinity after leaving it alone for several years,
and I am somewhat puzzled by the ending, so I was wondering if anyone
here has any thoughts on what it is supposed to mean. As far as I can
tell, you haven't changed anything by your actions: World War III is
still about to destroy the Earth, and you and the roadrunner are still
off to prevent Oppenheimer from making a huge calculational error. It
seems like the only thing you have accomplished is delaying the
destruction of New Mexico from 1945 to whenever the story is supposed to
take place, and even that you have to keep doing over and over again in
some sort of time-loop paradox. I'm very confused.

--Daniel Giaimo


Matthew Russotto

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Jul 13, 2001, 10:39:22 AM7/13/01
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In article <T_o37.266$jB4....@news.pacbell.net>,

Daniel Giaimo <dgi...@rgiaimo.net> wrote:
> I just finished Trinity after leaving it alone for several years,
>and I am somewhat puzzled by the ending, so I was wondering if anyone
>here has any thoughts on what it is supposed to mean. As far as I can
>tell, you haven't changed anything by your actions: World War III is

Exactly. Your actions were already accounted for in the original
timeline.

--
Matthew T. Russotto russ...@pond.com
"Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in pursuit
of justice is no virtue."

Fred M. Sloniker

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Jul 13, 2001, 9:49:37 PM7/13/01
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On Fri, 13 Jul 2001 14:39:22 GMT, russ...@wanda.pond.com (Matthew
Russotto) wrote:

>Exactly. Your actions were already accounted for in the original
>timeline.

I want to comment on this, I really do, but I've never actually played
Trinity, largely because of knowing ahead of time that the ending was
*that* kind of ending. (It's more or less the same reason I never
played 'Infidel', avoid watching 'The Outer Limits', and was rather
ticked off when I finished 'Half-Life'. Oddly enough, it didn't stop
me from playing 'Failsafe'.) Keeping that in mind...

What's the exact text of the alternate ending, the one you get if you
fail to keep the Trinity test from vaporizing New Mexico?

(I have further comments to make, but I want to make sure what I've
heard about this ending is true before I embarrass myself in public.)

Daniel Giaimo

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Jul 13, 2001, 11:26:59 PM7/13/01
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"Fred M. Sloniker" <sf...@qwest.net> wrote in message
news:cv7vktk8rulohcp2d...@4ax.com...

It depends on how you die. If you haven't made it through the alpha
door then it isn't even clear that your dying has changed history. You
just appear at The River and hand your silver coin to the oarsman before
getting the usual RESTART, RESTORE, or QUIT prompt. If you have made it
through the alpha door then there are several ways to die.
One such way is to get caught at one of the various bases in which
case the game says something depending on how you are caught and then
says:

"Within moments you're surrounded by a dozen MPs, armed and
trigger-happy. They answer your polite explanations with curt
accusations, punctuated by a few well-placed kicks.

"Eventually you're dragged off to meet somebody they call the
Lieutenant, who'll deal with you, you're promised, right after a very
important test is concluded. But the Lieutenant never appears. Minutes
later, he's obliterated by a multigigaton atomic blast, along with much
of the state of New Mexico."

Another way to die is to get bitten by the rattlesnake in the
Assembly Room of the Mcdonald Ranch. If this happens you have one move
before you fall to the ground in unbearable pain whereupon the game
says:

"The throbbing fire in your ankle overcomes you. Moaning with despair,
you sink helplessly to the floor.

"Minutes later, the windows are filled with light of startling
intensity! You jam your hands over your eyes in the awful glare; never
see the fireball closing in at many times the speed of sound; and never
feel the stellar heat that annihilates much of the state of New Mexico."

The only other way, (at least as far as I can tell), to die after
going through the alpha door is to wait until 5:30 am at which time the
test is activated and the game says:

"All at once the ??? in a flash of startling brilliance! You jam your
hands over your eyes in the awful glare; never see the fireball closing
in at many times the speed of sound; and never feel the stellar heat
that annihilates much of the state of New Mexico."

Depending on where you are the ??? will be filled with different
phrases. After dying in any of these ways you then reappear at The
River and hand your silver coin to the oarsman before getting the
RESTART, RESTORE, or QUIT prompt.

HTH.

--Daniel Giaimo


Daniel Giaimo

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Jul 13, 2001, 11:41:15 PM7/13/01
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"Daniel Giaimo" <dgi...@rgiaimo.net> wrote in message
news:T_o37.266$jB4....@news.pacbell.net...

I just wanted to add another question/observation to my statements
above. Why would sabotaging the Trinity test have any effect on the
other atomic bombs? As far as I can tell from the ending, the bomb at
Trinity still does explode, albeit in a much weaker fashion, so that the
timeline is not altered and the test is considered a success. So why
doesn't the bomb that is dropped on Hiroshima or the one that is dropped
on Nagasaki, which are identical to the Trinity bomb and which you
haven't sabotaged, explode with the force that the Trinity test would
have if you hadn't sabotaged it?

--Daniel Giaimo


Fred M. Sloniker

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Jul 14, 2001, 12:32:11 AM7/14/01
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On Fri, 13 Jul 2001 20:26:59 -0700, "Daniel Giaimo"
<dgi...@rgiaimo.net> wrote:

[text of alternate endings snipped]

Ah good. That at least doesn't contradict my hypothesis that the
message of the game isn't simply anti-nuclear. Indeed, it's more of
an 'Outer Limits' ending; humanity is wiped out *because* of your
actions. Which is only fair, considering the ends-justify-the-means,
good-of-the-many-greater-than-the-good-of-the-few attitude your
character has (as evidenced by things like his handling of the skink).
When good comes of that sort of attitude, it's generally by accident.

(I was curious if the alternate endings made any mention of people
going ahead with the super-sized atomic bombs anyway, or trying to
make them smaller rather than give up on them altogether. It didn't
say this didn't happen, but it didn't say this did either, so.)

Like "Infidel"'s ending, it's a reasonable extrapolation from the
characteristics of the protagonist. Of course, I prefer to play games
where it's clear folks *wouldn't* be better off if my character had
spent the day in bed instead (stupid Half-Life ending grr), so I'm not
likely to play either any time soon.

Daniel Giaimo

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Jul 14, 2001, 1:42:34 AM7/14/01
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"Fred M. Sloniker" <sf...@qwest.net> wrote in message
news:8eivktoqvvascnlei...@4ax.com...

> On Fri, 13 Jul 2001 20:26:59 -0700, "Daniel Giaimo"
> <dgi...@rgiaimo.net> wrote:
>
> [text of alternate endings snipped]
>
> Ah good. That at least doesn't contradict my hypothesis that the
> message of the game isn't simply anti-nuclear. Indeed, it's more of
> an 'Outer Limits' ending; humanity is wiped out *because* of your
> actions. <snip>

If it was just this I wouldn't mind so much. (I actually enjoy the
Outer Limits and often find it quite comical in an exceedingly dark
fashion.) But it wasn't at all clear to me how your actions have had
any effect on the timeline, good or bad, and the explanation that the
voice, which I assume is that of the roadrunner, gives at the end makes
no sense.

--Daniel Giaimo


Joe Mason

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Jul 14, 2001, 2:53:05 AM7/14/01
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*** SPOILERS: Half-Life ***

In article <8eivktoqvvascnlei...@4ax.com>,


Fred M. Sloniker <sf...@qwest.net> wrote:
>Like "Infidel"'s ending, it's a reasonable extrapolation from the
>characteristics of the protagonist. Of course, I prefer to play games
>where it's clear folks *wouldn't* be better off if my character had
>spent the day in bed instead (stupid Half-Life ending grr), so I'm not
>likely to play either any time soon.

You didn't *have* to take the job offer at the end of Half-Life, you know...
(And it's not at all clear that we'd be better off if you sat back and let the
aliens win, instead of helping the evil humans win.)

Joe

Daniel Giaimo

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Jul 14, 2001, 4:43:45 AM7/14/01
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"Joe Mason" <jcm...@student.math.uwaterloo.ca> wrote in message
news:9ioq8h$msa$1...@watserv3.uwaterloo.ca...

Excuse my ignorance, but what is Half-Life?

--Daniel Giaimo


Fred M. Sloniker

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Jul 14, 2001, 2:15:50 PM7/14/01
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On 14 Jul 2001 06:53:05 GMT, jcm...@student.math.uwaterloo.ca (Joe
Mason) wrote:

>*** SPOILERS: Half-Life ***

Yes, sorry, I should have put spoiler space in. Here's some now.


>You didn't *have* to take the job offer at the end of Half-Life, you
>know...

That's true. I could have chosen, instead, to have the Administrator
effortlessly banish me to a room with a dozen Alien Slaves,
understandably peeved at me, and me without any weapons. Which just
demonstrates that whatever entities he represents didn't *need* me to
deal with the alien incursion in the first place; they just used me,
like a pawn, to reduce the surplus population. And here I thought I
was saving the world; how naive.

>(And it's not at all clear that we'd be better off if you sat back
>and let the aliens win, instead of helping the evil humans win.)

I don't think the Administrator is human. For that matter, I don't
think the aliens *or* the humans are evil; he provoked that conflict
between the two worlds. The aliens reacted with fear and violence,
the same way the humans did. Yes, you encounter some SOB soldiers,
but you also overhear some who're only shooting at *you* because
you've killed about a thousand of their buddies; as for the aliens,
they think the humans *started* the fight. In the end, thanks to
Freeman, it was the aliens that lost the battle, but both sides lose
the war; the Administrator and his 'association' have gained a new
world to conquer without expending valuable resources, just useless
humans. If they're lucky, they can even intimidate Freeman into
working for them too.

So, basically, at least Freeman would have been better off if he'd
never went to work for Black Mesa... the Administrator would have
caused the breach anyway, people still would have died, and some other
poor schnook would have wound up having to deal with the problem. Or
not, and the aliens would have conquered the earth, but in that case
the Administrator'd probably be making an offer to one of *them*
instead. In any event, you haven't a hope of 'winning', because the
*real* threat... the Administrator... is too powerful to fight.

As I've already discussed at length in email, I prefer to be exposed
to materials (books, movies, games) which have happy endings... not in
the Disney sense necessarily, but where the protagonist has made a
difference for the better. I don't watch 'The Outer Limits' because
the protagonists always fail to stop the Terror of the Week, for
instance. That goes double for interactive fiction games, though, to
pull things back on topic; if you're going to give me the freedom to
go home on the first turn, then have the nerve to tell me (via score)
that I would have been better off dying sealed in a pyramid (Infidel)
or permitting the nuclear annihilation of the planet (Trinity), you
can expect me to be cranky. I'm sure they're well-written endings,
and the protagonist in Infidel is a jerk whose ultimate fate is
appropriate, but I just choose not to PLAY that jerk. If I want
futility, I know where to find it.

Fred M. Sloniker

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Jul 14, 2001, 2:21:59 PM7/14/01
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On Sat, 14 Jul 2001 01:43:45 -0700, "Daniel Giaimo"
<dgi...@rgiaimo.net> wrote:

> Excuse my ignorance, but what is Half-Life?

A first-person shooter game published by Sierra and produced by Valve.
Visit http://www.sierrastudios.com/games/half-life/ for the usual
gushing praise. It's actually quite a good game, at least for the
first 90% of it; my gripes are with the ending, both story-wise
(already covered in previous posts) and gameplay-wise (you spend most
of the game having to be smart about fights, conserve ammo and health,
use your brain as much as your trigger finger... but the final boss is
yet another ridiculously huge thing you have to pump lead into until
it falls over. But that seems to be a common failing in games of this
nature.)

Duncan Stevens

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Jul 14, 2001, 2:36:17 PM7/14/01
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Spoiler space...


"Daniel Giaimo" <dgi...@rgiaimo.net> wrote in message

news:6DP37.145$Yf3.2...@news.pacbell.net...

The game takes a shot at explaining this in the little narrative episode
after you sabotage the Trinity bomb, in the name of trying to explain why
the future that created you still occurred despite the sabotage. I don't
have the text in front of me, but it's something to the effect that, lest a
temporal paradox get created, every future atomic detonation will produce a
big "bang" and nothing else. Why that would lead to the same future, of
course, is beyond me, but maybe the theory is that they keep thinking that
next time they'll get it right.

I wouldn't say it's airtight logic, but it's something, I guess. (It
doesn't, however, solve the problem of where the umbrella came from.)

--Duncan


Joe Mason

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Jul 14, 2001, 1:56:28 PM7/14/01
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*** SPOILERS: End Line of Trinity ***

In article <spR37.156$Yf3.2...@news.pacbell.net>,


Daniel Giaimo <dgi...@rgiaimo.net> wrote:
>
> If it was just this I wouldn't mind so much. (I actually enjoy the
>Outer Limits and often find it quite comical in an exceedingly dark
>fashion.) But it wasn't at all clear to me how your actions have had
>any effect on the timeline, good or bad, and the explanation that the
>voice, which I assume is that of the roadrunner, gives at the end makes

You mean, "All Prams Lead to Kensington Gardens"?

(I assume you remember that this was written on the Japanese woman's shopping
bag at the beginning.)

My favourite explanation is the the pram (baby carriage) represents birth,
and Kensington Gardens (where the missile hits at the beginning) represents
death. So it means, "All births lead to death." (This was posted to a
thread a few years ago, but I can't remember by who.)

Another explanation (can't recall if I read this or just came up with it) is
that it's pointing out or making fun of the games circular structure. At the
beginning you used a pram to get *out* of Kensington Gardens - but all prams
*lead* to Kensington Gardens.

*twitch*

Sorry, something's coming out here.

*twitch*

I'm trying to contain it...

*twitch*

AAARRGH!

ALL YOUR PRAMS ARE LEAD TO KENSINGTON GARDENS!

So sorry,
Joe

Joe Mason

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Jul 14, 2001, 2:02:23 PM7/14/01
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In article <k5U37.225$Yf3.3...@news.pacbell.net>,

Daniel Giaimo <dgi...@rgiaimo.net> wrote:
> Excuse my ignorance, but what is Half-Life?

It's a very good first-person shooter, several years old now. It makes heavy
use of scripted events - for instance, you'll walk into a room and see a
squad of marines fighting a space creature, and unless you interrupt them
you can watch the battle play out with tactics and surprising turn-arounds,
rather than just watching them hurl fireballs at each other. Because of this
the game feels a lot more like a story than a standard action game.

The ending is notable for making both GameSpot's Top Ten Best Endings and Top
Ten Worst Endings list. (One of them by editor's choice, the other by reader
vote.)

Joe

Jonathan Penton

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Jul 14, 2001, 2:42:16 PM7/14/01
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> ALL YOUR PRAMS ARE LEAD TO KENSINGTON GARDENS!

Ouch. We're going to start seeing this in-joke in new IF.

--
Jonathan Penton
http://www.unlikelystories.org

Daniel Giaimo

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Jul 14, 2001, 3:41:31 PM7/14/01
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"Duncan Stevens" <dn...@starpower.net> wrote in message
news:9iq2r0$d44$1...@bob.news.rcn.net...

I did read that, but I was wondering why they think a paradox would
be creatd if the bombs exploded for real. Also, speaking of the
umbrella, how in the world does the little girl survive the blast? From
what I can tell, the white doors always appear almost exactly at the
point where the atomic blasts occur, so the school must be somewhere
near ground zero. I don't think I need to explain the unlikeliness of
surviving an atomic blast at ground zero.

--Daniel Giaimo


Joe Mason

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Jul 14, 2001, 4:08:55 PM7/14/01
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In article <v231ltkr5opq1cggt...@4ax.com>,

Fred M. Sloniker <sf...@qwest.net> wrote:
>On Sat, 14 Jul 2001 01:43:45 -0700, "Daniel Giaimo"
><dgi...@rgiaimo.net> wrote:
>
>> Excuse my ignorance, but what is Half-Life?
>
>A first-person shooter game published by Sierra and produced by Valve.
>Visit http://www.sierrastudios.com/games/half-life/ for the usual
>gushing praise. It's actually quite a good game, at least for the
>first 90% of it; my gripes are with the ending, both story-wise
>(already covered in previous posts) and gameplay-wise (you spend most

YMMV: I loved the ending. Thought it was the best thing about the game, and
I loved the rest of the game too.

>of the game having to be smart about fights, conserve ammo and health,
>use your brain as much as your trigger finger... but the final boss is
>yet another ridiculously huge thing you have to pump lead into until
>it falls over. But that seems to be a common failing in games of this
>nature.)

I kind of liked this, actually - because it was so different than the rest of
the game, it made it seem more climactic.

Joe

Jaz

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Jul 15, 2001, 3:26:45 AM7/15/01
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"Joe Mason" <jcm...@student.math.uwaterloo.ca> wrote in message
news:9iq1ff$q48$1...@watserv3.uwaterloo.ca...

> > Excuse my ignorance, but what is Half-Life?
>
> It's a very good first-person shooter, several years old now.

Half-Life was good but for me way too easy. Soldier of Fortune was better. I
liked the way you could use the sniper rifle to shoot someone in the back of
the head from afar.
A even more interesting first person shooter with adventure elements abound
is The Undying. Great graphics, sound and storyline.

Jaz


Jaz

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Jul 15, 2001, 3:31:32 AM7/15/01
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"Fred M. Sloniker" <sf...@qwest.net> wrote in message
news:v231ltkr5opq1cggt...@4ax.com...

>you spend most of the game having to be smart about fights, conserve ammo

and health.

That's true, as the game goes on the ammo gets very rare and I found I spent
the entire game using smaller weapons and ended the game with 100% ammo
which spoilt the use of the most powerful weapons.
There's nothing better when you not worried about ammo and can just blast
away. For me Star Wars was the best for that. Can't recall the title...
Troopers or something... Dark forces!

Jaz


Duncan Stevens

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Jul 15, 2001, 3:49:42 PM7/15/01
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"Daniel Giaimo" <dgi...@rgiaimo.net> wrote in message
news:oQ147.493$tS1....@news.pacbell.net...

> "Duncan Stevens" <dn...@starpower.net> wrote in message
> news:9iq2r0$d44$1...@bob.news.rcn.net...
> > Spoiler space...
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > The game takes a shot at explaining this in the little narrative
> episode
> > after you sabotage the Trinity bomb, in the name of trying to explain
> why
> > the future that created you still occurred despite the sabotage. I
> don't
> > have the text in front of me, but it's something to the effect that,
> lest a
> > temporal paradox get created, every future atomic detonation will
> produce a
> > big "bang" and nothing else. Why that would lead to the same future,
> of
> > course, is beyond me, but maybe the theory is that they keep thinking
> that
> > next time they'll get it right.
> >
> > I wouldn't say it's airtight logic, but it's something, I guess. (It
> > doesn't, however, solve the problem of where the umbrella came from.)
>
> I did read that, but I was wondering why they think a paradox would
> be creatd if the bombs exploded for real.

Well, a paradox would be created if Truman and the rest of the world gave up
on the whole atomic-bomb idea after the Trinity test failed. There'd be no
paradox if all the bombs after Trinity exploded for real, but then you
wouldn't have had much impact on history. Also...

Also, speaking of the
> umbrella, how in the world does the little girl survive the blast? From
> what I can tell, the white doors always appear almost exactly at the
> point where the atomic blasts occur, so the school must be somewhere
> near ground zero. I don't think I need to explain the unlikeliness of
> surviving an atomic blast at ground zero.

...perhaps the little girl doesn't survive the blast unless you create the
alternate timeline in which the blast is either entirely negated or greatly
diminished. As was noted elsewhere in the thread, the bomb you sabotage at
Trinity is way bigger than the one that was actually detonated in 1945. (Of
course, that the Trinity bomb was bigger than IRL doesn't mean that the
Nagasaki bomb would be the same, necessarily.)

But there's actually no need for that. The white door in that scene is way
up in the air somewhere, remember (accurately, since the Hiroshima and
Nagasaki bombs were rigged to detonate in the air). I don't think the game
said or implied that the door was directly over the school.

Rereading the text in question, namely "Nature doesn't know the word
'paradox.' Gotta bleed off that quantum steam somehow. Why, I wouldn't be
surprised to see a good-sized 'bang' every time they shoot off one of these
gizmos. Just enough fireworks to keep the historians happy" (hooray for TXD
the time-saver), I think there's a good case to be made that the timeline
you create when you sabotage the test is this one (the one we're currently
inhabiting), rather than one with a lot of "bangs" but no actual
destruction. (Sabotaging the Trinity test, in that theory, needn't have any
direct causal effect on Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and progeny--the Trinity bomb
was bigger than it was expected to be because of some sort of error that
wouldn't have been repeated.)

In that the light, the whole thing's kind of a nasty bait-and-switch--the
initial premise of the game seems to be oh no, WWIII is starting, let's go
back in time and change history so that atomic warfare never happens. When
we get back to 1945, for some reason, we've gotten into an alternate
timeline where the Trinity test becomes "multigigaton," and sabotaging it
seems to be necessary to create the timeline you started with in the first
place. (Unless, of course, you're in the Trinity-was-multigigaton-explosion
timeline at the beginning--it's hard to tell.) Plus, of course, you're stuck
in a time loop trying to maintain that timeline. So London's toast despite
your best efforts. You do end up avoiding the destruction of most of New
Mexico, which is fine, but it's not what you set out to do, exactly.

I also have some heretical thoughts that perhaps Moriarty didn't think this
through as thoroughly as he might have. It looks like the
alternative-timeline really-huge-Trinity-bomb idea was deliberate, since
it's repeated several times, but I'm not sure Moriarty sat down and thought
about problems like "where'd the umbrella come from?" and "why is the 1945
of the game an alternative version?"

--Duncan


Andrew Plotkin

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Jul 15, 2001, 9:23:13 PM7/15/01
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>> > Spoiler space...

>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >

Duncan Stevens <dn...@starpower.net> wrote:


> Rereading the text in question, namely "Nature doesn't know the word
> 'paradox.' Gotta bleed off that quantum steam somehow. Why, I wouldn't be
> surprised to see a good-sized 'bang' every time they shoot off one of these
> gizmos. Just enough fireworks to keep the historians happy" (hooray for TXD
> the time-saver), I think there's a good case to be made that the timeline
> you create when you sabotage the test is this one (the one we're currently
> inhabiting), rather than one with a lot of "bangs" but no actual
> destruction.

That is the way I've always read it.

> So London's toast despite
> your best efforts. You do end up avoiding the destruction of most of New
> Mexico, which is fine, but it's not what you set out to do, exactly.

Yes.

> I also have some heretical thoughts that perhaps Moriarty didn't think this
> through as thoroughly as he might have.

Yes. :) Not that this spoils my memory of the game -- I've *always*
been uncertain about how well it hangs together.

But just uncertain enough that I think it might be cooler than I am
capable of grasping. Heh.

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
* Votes count. Count votes.

Sean T Barrett

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Jul 16, 2001, 1:19:10 AM7/16/01
to
[Trinity spoilers]

Duncan Stevens <dn...@starpower.net> wrote:
>Rereading the text in question, namely "Nature doesn't know the word
>'paradox.' Gotta bleed off that quantum steam somehow. Why, I wouldn't be
>surprised to see a good-sized 'bang' every time they shoot off one of these
>gizmos. Just enough fireworks to keep the historians happy" (hooray for TXD
>the time-saver), I think there's a good case to be made that the timeline
>you create when you sabotage the test is this one (the one we're currently
>inhabiting), rather than one with a lot of "bangs" but no actual
>destruction. (Sabotaging the Trinity test, in that theory, needn't have any
>direct causal effect on Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and progeny--the Trinity bomb
>was bigger than it was expected to be because of some sort of error that
>wouldn't have been repeated.)

Ok, unfortunately I was playing Trinity with several other people
when I came home on breaks from school, and they finished it without
me so I never saw the ending, but the way it was explained to me
was that you had reduced the effects of all atomic bombs, that is,
you had created the timeline we currently inhabit; and although
you don't prevent WWIII, you presumably prevent it from destroying
the world.

I'm not sure how from the quote provided you draw the conclusion
you "needn't have any direct causal effect on Hiroshima": the
whole bit about "see a good-sized 'bang' every time they shoot
off one of these" sure sounds to me (without more context) like
this is supposed to be *different* from how it was, and "every
time" sure would apply to Hiroshima etc., especially given the
"historians" clause.

>When we get back to 1945, for some reason, we've gotten into an alternate
>timeline where the Trinity test becomes "multigigaton," and sabotaging it
>seems to be necessary to create the timeline you started with in the first
>place. (Unless, of course, you're in the Trinity-was-multigigaton-explosion
>timeline at the beginning--it's hard to tell.)

The last was the operating assumption for how I understood it,
except this doesn't make much sense either--if the explosions were
so much bigger and they made nuclear weapons anyway, wouldn't they
have scaled them down?

SeanB

Message has been deleted

mattF

unread,
Jul 16, 2001, 9:46:42 AM7/16/01
to
Perhaps this thought-provoking summary, lifted from the 'IF-a-minute'
website ( http://spatch.ne.mediaone.net/ifaminute ) will clear things
up a little. Or just annoy a whole bunch of people. Either way, I'm
good with it.


-------------------------------------


TRINITY
by Brian Moriarty
Condensed version by Zimriel

(Setting: Kensington Gardens)

ROADRUNNER
Beep-Beep!

(The setting fades to an enormous forest of mushrooms, as a
disembodied voice hums the thundering, psychedelic strains of "White
Rabbit")

PLAYER
(woozily)
Duuuuude...

(The visions change with growing intensity and sanity)

MAGPIE
Squawk! Go kill a giant bee and helpless lizard! Squawk!

(setting changes again)

PLAYER
(now babbling incoherently in a New Mexico desert)
Nukes are, like, eco-cide... we're a bunch of... little lemmings...
River Styx... walking dead... mush... room... clouds...

THE END


-------------------------------------


Ha ha ha! Well, I think we've all learned something here today.
Kinda. Well, not at all really. Damn.


-maFtt

L. Ross Raszewski

unread,
Jul 16, 2001, 3:19:15 PM7/16/01
to
On Mon, 16 Jul 2001 05:19:10 GMT, Sean T Barrett <buz...@world.std.com> wrote:
>[Trinity spoilers]

>
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>The last was the operating assumption for how I understood it,
>except this doesn't make much sense either--if the explosions were
>so much bigger and they made nuclear weapons anyway, wouldn't they
>have scaled them down?
>
>SeanB
The thought occurs that maybe the protagonist's "goal" for most of the
game is not what it seems to be. Perhaps *every* nuclear explosion is
multi-gigaton; that there is some physical law we don't have quite
right, (I recall readign that during the Manhattan Project, some
scientists believed that a nuclear bomb would cause a self-sustainign
reaction, with the explosion growing continuously larger untill it
engulfed the whole planet. Maybe Trinity supposes that somethign like
this is what nuclear weapons "really" do), and every nuclear bomb has
the potential to destroy a sizable chunk of the world.
The protagonist thinks he's trying to change history to *avert* the
nuclear war, but in actuality, he's tryign to *preserve* a history in
which nuclear weapons are, essentially, just really big bombs, not the
end of existence.
THe protagonist goes back to Trinity, in the hopes of making nuclear
warfare seem a failure, and finds that -- hey, waitaminute! -- the
nuclear bomb is, for some reason, way, way more devastating than he
had previously thought. So what he does is to tone down the
devastation. It's more than implied that the protagonist is trapped in
a time-loop by the end of the game, but perhaps this isn't quite what
we think. Maybe he does not continuously try to sabotage Trinity, but,
rather, each time through the loop, he sabotages *another bomb*. He
does not, in the end, prevent WWIII, but, by continuosuly minimizing
the effecto f ever single nuclear weapon ever used, he ensures that
the nuclear was is not planet-smashing.

Ryan Franklin

unread,
Jul 16, 2001, 3:34:04 PM7/16/01
to
L. Ross Raszewski <lrasz...@loyola.edu> wrote:
> On Mon, 16 Jul 2001 05:19:10 GMT, Sean T Barrett <buz...@world.std.com> wrote:
>>[Trinity spoilers]
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>>except this doesn't make much sense either--if the explosions were
>>so much bigger and they made nuclear weapons anyway, wouldn't they
>>have scaled them down?
>
> The thought occurs that maybe the protagonist's "goal" for most of the
> game is not what it seems to be. Perhaps *every* nuclear explosion is
> multi-gigaton; that there is some physical law we don't have quite
> right, (I recall readign that during the Manhattan Project, some

...and maybe it's the job of other people stuck in other timeloops to make
sure that all the other bombs manufactured are similarly sabotaged.
Hundreds of thousands of people following a roadrunner or peacock or
African grey parrot through white door after white door, collecting items
and performing tasks required to keep the planet from being cracked in
half.

Well, it's nice to think about, anyway. ;-)

--
peace in our time
ry...@cobweb.scarymonsters.net

Sean T Barrett

unread,
Jul 16, 2001, 3:56:42 PM7/16/01
to
L. Ross Raszewski <lrasz...@loyola.edu> wrote:
>On Mon, 16 Jul 2001 05:19:10 GMT, Sean T Barrett <buz...@world.std.com> wrote:
>>[Trinity spoilers]
>>
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>>The last was the operating assumption for how I understood it,
>>except this doesn't make much sense either--if the explosions were
>>so much bigger and they made nuclear weapons anyway, wouldn't they
>>have scaled them down?
>
>nuclear war, but in actuality, he's tryign to *preserve* a history in
>which nuclear weapons are, essentially, just really big bombs, not the
>end of existence.

I'd have said "create" not "preserve".

>It's more than implied that the protagonist is trapped in
>a time-loop by the end of the game, but perhaps this isn't quite what
>we think. Maybe he does not continuously try to sabotage Trinity, but,

Is it really implied that he's in a loop? As I said, I didn't get
to see the ending of the game, but the impression I got was that
he gets back to Kensington Gardens, and a missile descends--but
there's no mention of a white door and etc. If that's true, then one
could infer that a white door would appear, which would imply a loop;
but if he's really changed history or is in a different timeline
or whatever, why not assume that there's no more white door, and
no loop at all?

SeanB

Ross Presser

unread,
Jul 16, 2001, 4:33:23 PM7/16/01
to
"Jaz" <j...@1jason.com> wrote:

> I liked the way you could use the sniper rifle to shoot someone in
> the back of the head from afar.

There's something really scary about this statement... oh well, it's
only a game.

--
Ross Presser * ross_p...@imtek.com
"Back stabbing is a sport best played by those that can't stand face
to face with their opponent." - Danny Taddei

Duncan Stevens

unread,
Jul 16, 2001, 7:04:33 PM7/16/01
to

"Sean T Barrett" <buz...@world.std.com> wrote in message
news:GGJw3...@world.std.com...

Merely in the sense that it can just as easily be inferred that the smaller
size of Hiroshima and company was due to the avoidance of some bizarre
miscalculation which, for some reason, hadn't been avoided at Trinity
(except due to your efforts). It's no less logically coherent than the idea
that nature cosmically reined in all future nuclear explosions to avoid a
paradox.

The problem, for me, is that a world where nuclear explosions were all
"multigigaton" probably wouldn't have created the same future as a world
where they, er, weren't. If the London that you inhabit at the beginning of
the game was in some other alternate timeline where Trinity, Hiroshima,
Nagasaki, Bikini and everything else were that big, I don't see how changing
history so that they were their actual size would avoid a paradox. So either
(a) the London of the beginning of the game is in this timeline and you
touched off something somewhere that kicked you into an alternate timeline
of lots of multigigaton nuclear explosions by the time you get to 1945 (and
sabotaging the test kicks you back into this timeline), or (b) the London of
the beginning of the game is in an alternate timeline where the Trinity test
was multigigaton (due to, er, something controllable) but subsequent
explosions were smaller because the error was corrected (and sabotaging the
test changes history to save New Mexico but doesn't otherwise affect the
course of history). The second strikes me as inferior, since the little
soliloquy about paradoxes seems to imply that you've done something, but I'm
bothered by the first because there's no point in the game where you appear
to be changing history (other than sabotaging the test). Show up in the
shack in 1945, wait a lot, and you'll be killed by a multigigaton blast.

> >When we get back to 1945, for some reason, we've gotten into an alternate
> >timeline where the Trinity test becomes "multigigaton," and sabotaging it
> >seems to be necessary to create the timeline you started with in the
first
> >place. (Unless, of course, you're in the
Trinity-was-multigigaton-explosion
> >timeline at the beginning--it's hard to tell.)
>
> The last was the operating assumption for how I understood it,
> except this doesn't make much sense either--if the explosions were
> so much bigger and they made nuclear weapons anyway, wouldn't they
> have scaled them down?

Maybe, though perhaps, as LRR suggests elsewhere in the thread, they
couldn't (in the game's world). But it seems pretty obvious that in both the
London of the beginning and the London of the end, there are nuclear
explosions that are much less than multigigaton--the woman wouldn't be there
otherwise. So one way or another things do get scaled down.

--Duncan


Duncan Stevens

unread,
Jul 16, 2001, 7:16:11 PM7/16/01
to
"Sean T Barrett" <buz...@world.std.com> wrote in message
news:GGL0...@world.std.com...

> L. Ross Raszewski <lrasz...@loyola.edu> wrote:
> >On Mon, 16 Jul 2001 05:19:10 GMT, Sean T Barrett <buz...@world.std.com>
wrote:
> >>[Trinity spoilers]
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
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> >>
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> >>
> Is it really implied that he's in a loop? As I said, I didn't get
> to see the ending of the game, but the impression I got was that
> he gets back to Kensington Gardens, and a missile descends--but
> there's no mention of a white door and etc. If that's true, then one
> could infer that a white door would appear, which would imply a loop;
> but if he's really changed history or is in a different timeline
> or whatever, why not assume that there's no more white door, and
> no loop at all?

For one thing, at the end, you're running around finding soccer balls,
perambulators, and such. (The final text happens after the encounter with
the woman--you stand there staring at the umbrella in the tree before the
roadrunner comes along and a voice whispers "It's time" in your ear, at
which point the game tells you that you hurry off to find a perambulator or
soccer ball, or both or neither, depending on what you've already done
before you encounter the woman.) For another, the corpse in the crypt
appears to be you, since the name on the crypt is "Wabewalker"--and if you
die in the out-of-time world, it seems like you don't make it out of the
loop.

--Duncan


Adam Myrow

unread,
Jul 16, 2001, 10:07:47 PM7/16/01
to
Spoiler Space:


I always assumed that the player dies at the end of Trinity. My
reasoning? It talks about how you just stand their as the crowds gather,
don't move as the sirens go off, and are staring at the umbrella.
Finally, after the sirens go off and the crowds are in a panic do you go
looking for a way to get the soccer ball or whatever you missed. Also,
you end the game with 100 points and a rank of tourist. You start the
game with the rank of tourist. I don't recall, but how much time do you
have once the air raid siren goes off before you die if you hang around
in London?

The ending is my main gripe with Trinity. You go through, solving some
nasty puzzles, dying countless times because they are so unforgiving, and
get an unsatisfactory ending that doesn't make clear that you did any
good or harm. Those puzzles are just too hard for that. How are you
supposed to know what is beyond a door until you step through and find
yourself in orbit and your blood boiling because you don't have a space
suit? It's the worst example of using knowledge from previous lives to
solve puzzles. That's why I got such a kick out of Pick up the Phone
Booth and Aisle. It pokes fun at this, and just about every other
convention of IF. Yet, that particular thing is something that I fully
identify with. Bottom line is that for all my efforts, I would have
liked to know that *something* changed for the better or worse. It
almost was if to say "you did all this for nothing. Thanks for your
purchase of Trinity." I'm surprised that more people don't gripe about
the ending of Trinity given that almost everybody has something to say
about Infidel. To me they are both very similar games, but in Trinity,
you don't initially start out playing a bad person. So, the ending seems
unjust, where at least in Infidel, you sort of feel that your character
deserves his fate.

Jake Wildstrom

unread,
Jul 16, 2001, 10:21:30 PM7/16/01
to
In article <MPG.15bd59f31...@spamkiller.newsfeeds.com>,
Adam Myrow <my...@eskimo.com> wrote:
>Spoiler Space:

>
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>good or harm. Those puzzles are just too hard for that. How are you
>supposed to know what is beyond a door until you step through and find
>yourself in orbit and your blood boiling because you don't have a space
>suit? It's the worst example of using knowledge from previous lives to
>solve puzzles.

Actually, there's a fairly clear hint in the Illustrated History of
the Atom Bomb. Each of the symbols on the sundial appears somewhere in
the History, giving you a good idea of where that mushroom would take you.

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

Daniel Giaimo

unread,
Jul 16, 2001, 9:56:51 PM7/16/01
to

"Sean T Barrett" <buz...@world.std.com> wrote in message
news:GGL0...@world.std.com...

> L. Ross Raszewski <lrasz...@loyola.edu> wrote:
> >On Mon, 16 Jul 2001 05:19:10 GMT, Sean T Barrett
<buz...@world.std.com> wrote:
> >>[Trinity spoilers]
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
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> >>
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> >>
> >>The last was the operating assumption for how I understood it,
> >>except this doesn't make much sense either--if the explosions were
> >>so much bigger and they made nuclear weapons anyway, wouldn't they
> >>have scaled them down?
> >
> >nuclear war, but in actuality, he's tryign to *preserve* a history in
> >which nuclear weapons are, essentially, just really big bombs, not
the
> >end of existence.
>
> I'd have said "create" not "preserve".
>
> >It's more than implied that the protagonist is trapped in
> >a time-loop by the end of the game, but perhaps this isn't quite what
> >we think. Maybe he does not continuously try to sabotage Trinity,
but,
>
> Is it really implied that he's in a loop?

Yes. Since you haven't seen the epilogue here is what happens:
After you sabotage the bomb you suddenly appear back at the Palace Gate
of Kensington Gardens carrying a wristwatch, a seven-sided coin, and a
credit card, (Exactly what you started the game with). You can then
move about and do whatever you feel like until you return to Lancaster
Gate where you first met the old woman with the umbrella. After you
enter this location you have one turn before the wind blows the umbrella
out of the woman's hands and into the tree just as in the beginning of
the game, however, this time, the game says:

"The woman circles the tree a few times, gazing helplessly upward. That
umbrella obviously means a lot to her, for a wistful tear is running
down her cheek. But nobody except you seems to notice her loss.

"After a few moments, the old woman dries her eyes, gives the tree a
vicious little kick and shuffles away down the Lancaster Walk.

"You stare up at the umbrella.

"Passersby begin to gather, craning to see what everyone else is looking
at. You hardly notice them. Even when the sirens begin to howl, and the
crowd scatters like leaves in the east wind, you can't take your eyes
off the umbrella swaying in the branches, back and forth.

"A gentle voice whispers in your ear. "It's time."

"You bend to pet the roadrunner waiting impatiently at your feet???. But
that slogan keeps echoing over and over in your mind..."

and, depending on what you have done in the epilogue, a different phrase
will appear in place of the ???, and then the "All prams lead to
Kensington Gardens" screen appears before the game ends for good and you
get the usual RESTART, RESTORE, or QUIT prompt.

If you'd like to know, the following phrases can appear in place of
the ???:
", then hurry off to find a soccer ball"
". Then you retrieve the umbrella with the soccer ball and hurry off to
find a perambulator"
". Then you retrieve the umbrella with the soccer ball and hurry off,
pushing the perambulator before you"

The first occurs if you haven't yet gotten the soccer ball from
Flower Walk; the second occurs if you have gotten the soccer ball, but
haven't gotten the pram from Black Lion Gate; and the third occurs if
you have both the soccer ball and the pram. As far as I can tell, the
bird, bag of crumbs, and gnomon have no effect on the ending.

--Daniel Giaimo


Sean T Barrett

unread,
Jul 16, 2001, 11:15:53 PM7/16/01
to
Daniel Giaimo <dgi...@rgiaimo.net> wrote:
>> >>[Trinity spoilers]

>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>
>"You bend to pet the roadrunner waiting impatiently at your feet???. But
>that slogan keeps echoing over and over in your mind..."
>
>and, depending on what you have done in the epilogue, a different phrase
>will appear in place of the ???, and then the "All prams lead to
>Kensington Gardens" screen appears before the game ends for good and you
>get the usual RESTART, RESTORE, or QUIT prompt.

Ah, ok. I stand corrected. That does cast the whole ending
in a more negative light.

SeanB

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Jul 17, 2001, 12:01:59 AM7/17/01
to
Adam Myrow <my...@eskimo.com> wrote:
> Those puzzles are just too hard for that. How are you
> supposed to know what is beyond a door until you step through and find
> yourself in orbit and your blood boiling because you don't have a space
> suit? It's the worst example of using knowledge from previous lives to
> solve puzzles.

Does anyone know when this IF convention -- a puzzle which you cannot
possibly expect to solve the first time you play -- was first
categorized as a bad thing?

I'm certain I didn't even encounter that attitude until I started
hanging out on RAIF, and it might not have been here yet when I
arrived, either.

When I first played Trinity, not only did I not categorize that as a
bad thing, I didn't even categorize it as a thing that makes the game
harder. You walk through a door and are teleported into space? That's
not a *difficulty* -- or rather, it is a difficulty, but so is a
locked door. It's an area that I don't know how to enter yet. Restore
the game and start keeping an eye out for space suits.

--Z

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

* Call him "George the Third". (Hint: the First never told a lie.)

Sean T Barrett

unread,
Jul 17, 2001, 1:13:49 AM7/17/01
to
Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com> wrote:
>Does anyone know when this IF convention -- a puzzle which you cannot
>possibly expect to solve the first time you play -- was first
>categorized as a bad thing?

DikuMUD is a mud system which doesn't really allow programming
by its "wizards", only some kind of fill-in-the-blanks scripting
(or at least that's how it was when I played it).

One of the things it allowed creating was instant-death-rooms--
rooms where when you walked in, you died.

This was fairly obviously to me bad game design when I played
them, which would have been sometime between 1989 and 1992.

It's obviously not literally the same thing as you're describing
(especially given the huge difference between single-player
gaming and multi-player gaming--[the latter does not allow
save/restore, but then again doesn't end the game when you
die]), but it's similar enough that I suspect I would have
said learn-by-dying was bad design in 1990.

>When I first played Trinity, not only did I not categorize that as a
>bad thing, I didn't even categorize it as a thing that makes the game
>harder. You walk through a door and are teleported into space? That's
>not a *difficulty* -- or rather, it is a difficulty, but so is a
>locked door. It's an area that I don't know how to enter yet. Restore
>the game and start keeping an eye out for space suits.

There was always a big difference between Lucasarts and Sierra
adventures--Sierra adventures would kill you, and Lucasarts ones
wouldn't--you didn't need to paranoiacally save in the LA oes.
So if we focus on "it's ok to need to restore" that puts us
back to whenever Lucasarts adventures started being that way (which
might even have been from the start, I think Maniac Mansion was
pretty forgiving); it was fairly obvious to me when I played them
that this was a more user-friendly game design--which Sierra
eventually addressed by adding an 'undo' option when you died.

Obviously a matter of opinion about whether this is really
the same thing as what you're asking.

SeanB

Billy Harris

unread,
Jul 17, 2001, 1:22:19 AM7/17/01
to
As the title says, SPOILERS!!

You are definately in a time loop of some kind. My interpretation on
"true history":

The original nuke project was all set to destroy new mexico, except
that an undetected sabateur bolluxed the test. Likewise, a test on an
island and the bomb at Hiroshima/Nagasaki.

So the "paradoxes don't exist" means that we are the "true history",
where physically bombs should cause a chain reaction effect, except
that time-travel intervention took place, leaving the "alternate
history" being one untampered with time travel. A loop with no cause in
other words.

I'm on very tenuous ground with this next bit, but I like to believe
that our intervention does have some effect: instead of WWIII wiping
out all of Britain with a single bomb, we merely have London going up
in smoke. However, it is quite possible taht the nuke coming down on
London was untampered and hence a true multigigaton reaction.

Billy Harris

Daniel Giaimo

unread,
Jul 17, 2001, 1:05:12 AM7/17/01
to
"Andrew Plotkin" <erky...@eblong.com> wrote in message
news:9j0dbn$njh$1...@news.panix.com...

> Adam Myrow <my...@eskimo.com> wrote:
> > Those puzzles are just too hard for that. How are you
> > supposed to know what is beyond a door until you step through and
find
> > yourself in orbit and your blood boiling because you don't have a
space
> > suit? It's the worst example of using knowledge from previous lives
to
> > solve puzzles.
>
> Does anyone know when this IF convention -- a puzzle which you cannot
> possibly expect to solve the first time you play -- was first
> categorized as a bad thing?
>
> I'm certain I didn't even encounter that attitude until I started
> hanging out on RAIF, and it might not have been here yet when I
> arrived, either.

I'm not certain about this, but it got me thinking about the other
major reason for the old adage "Save early, save often," and that is the
possibility of locking yourself out of victory. I've noticed recently
that there seems to be a trend, (not necessarily on r*if, just in
adventure games in general), towards games in which it is impossible to
lock one's self out of victory. Has anyone else noticed this?

--Daniel Giaimo


L. Ross Raszewski

unread,
Jul 17, 2001, 3:55:08 AM7/17/01
to
On 17 Jul 2001 04:01:59 GMT, Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com> wrote:
>Adam Myrow <my...@eskimo.com> wrote:
>> Those puzzles are just too hard for that. How are you
>> supposed to know what is beyond a door until you step through and find
>> yourself in orbit and your blood boiling because you don't have a space
>> suit? It's the worst example of using knowledge from previous lives to
>> solve puzzles.
>
>Does anyone know when this IF convention -- a puzzle which you cannot
>possibly expect to solve the first time you play -- was first
>categorized as a bad thing?
>
>I'm certain I didn't even encounter that attitude until I started
>hanging out on RAIF, and it might not have been here yet when I
>arrived, either.
>
>When I first played Trinity, not only did I not categorize that as a
>bad thing, I didn't even categorize it as a thing that makes the game
>harder. You walk through a door and are teleported into space? That's
>not a *difficulty* -- or rather, it is a difficulty, but so is a
>locked door. It's an area that I don't know how to enter yet. Restore
>the game and start keeping an eye out for space suits.
>

Well, when I started in IF, i considered puzzles you couldn't solve
the first time a Bad Thing, but only because restarting was a bitch in
the c64 days.

Nowadays, I tend to have a sort of "meta" objection to it; it seems
that if the puzzle can only be solved by knowledge gained from having
alreayd played and restarted/restored back, then the puzzle is
unsolvable for *the protagonist*; it can only be solved *because* this
is a game, wherein the player can learn things by stepping out of the
protagonist's shoes. If I approach the door in Trinity and *I* know I
can't go through, since I died last time, the *protagonist* doesn't
know that, because *he* didn't die; he only gets to die the once, see.

Now, this is a different thing from "*I* solved the puzzle by
foreknowledge, but I could have solved it without." A puzzle like,
say, the Babelfish puzzle, is borderline; If I really "was" the
protagonist, I could be expected to deduce the solution, but since you
only get the description of the various impediments as you encounter
them, and, as I recall, if you actually encounter all of the
impediments in a single playing, you render the puzzle insoluble by
making too many attempts, you "need" to use past-life experience.

David Picton

unread,
Jul 17, 2001, 6:18:04 AM7/17/01
to
"Daniel Giaimo" <dgi...@rgiaimo.net> wrote in message news:<w4Q47.1423$po6.2...@news.pacbell.net>...

> "Andrew Plotkin" <erky...@eblong.com> wrote in message
> news:9j0dbn$njh$1...@news.panix.com...

> > Does anyone know when this IF convention -- a puzzle which you cannot


> > possibly expect to solve the first time you play -- was first
> > categorized as a bad thing?
> >
> > I'm certain I didn't even encounter that attitude until I started
> > hanging out on RAIF, and it might not have been here yet when I
> > arrived, either.

> I'm not certain about this, but it got me thinking about the other
> major reason for the old adage "Save early, save often," and that is the
> possibility of locking yourself out of victory. I've noticed recently
> that there seems to be a trend, (not necessarily on r*if, just in
> adventure games in general), towards games in which it is impossible to
> lock one's self out of victory. Has anyone else noticed this?

Yes - many recently-released games show this trend, particularly larger games
like Once and Future, Anchorhead and Mulldoon. Unless you do obviously
silly things like throwing objects into a river, the game design makes it
difficult to lock yourself out without it becoming obvious within a few turns.
Saving at regular intervals is still a good idea (particularly if the
interpreter doesn't allow multiple UNDO), but it is unusual to find that you
can't solve a puzzle in turn 4000 because you failed to do something in turn
250!

Dylan O'Donnell

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Jul 17, 2001, 7:36:52 AM7/17/01
to
Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com> writes:
> Adam Myrow <my...@eskimo.com> wrote:
> > Those puzzles are just too hard for that. How are you
> > supposed to know what is beyond a door until you step through and find
> > yourself in orbit and your blood boiling because you don't have a space
> > suit? It's the worst example of using knowledge from previous lives to
> > solve puzzles.
>
> Does anyone know when this IF convention -- a puzzle which you cannot
> possibly expect to solve the first time you play -- was first
> categorized as a bad thing?

Graham's Bill of Player's Rights sets a lower bound on its age:

1. Not to be killed without warning
3. To be able to win without experience of past lives
4. To be able to win without knowledge of future events

> I'm certain I didn't even encounter that attitude until I started
> hanging out on RAIF, and it might not have been here yet when I
> arrived, either.

Second edition of the Craft of Adventure is dated 1995-01-19; does
anyone have a date for the BoPR's original posting?

--
: Dylan O'Donnell http://www.spod-central.org/~psmith/ :
: "And woe betide the olivador whose olive is revoltosa." :
: -- Michael Flanders, "At the Drop of Another Hat" :

Stephen Granade

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Jul 17, 2001, 8:50:29 AM7/17/01
to
"Daniel Giaimo" <dgi...@rgiaimo.net> writes:

> "Andrew Plotkin" <erky...@eblong.com> wrote in message
> news:9j0dbn$njh$1...@news.panix.com...

> > Does anyone know when this IF convention -- a puzzle which you cannot
> > possibly expect to solve the first time you play -- was first
> > categorized as a bad thing?
> >
> > I'm certain I didn't even encounter that attitude until I started
> > hanging out on RAIF, and it might not have been here yet when I
> > arrived, either.
>
> I'm not certain about this, but it got me thinking about the other
> major reason for the old adage "Save early, save often," and that is the
> possibility of locking yourself out of victory. I've noticed recently
> that there seems to be a trend, (not necessarily on r*if, just in
> adventure games in general), towards games in which it is impossible to
> lock one's self out of victory. Has anyone else noticed this?

This was a big selling point of the LucasArts (well, LucasFilm)
graphic adventure games back in the 1980s. At a time when amusing,
wacky, and random deaths were the norm, their games wouldn't kill you.

The convention Andrew mentions was certainly categorized by Graham
Nelson's Bill of Player's Rights, and that was first released in May
of '93.

Stephen

--
Stephen Granade | Interested in adventure games?
sgra...@phy.duke.edu | Visit About Interactive Fiction
Duke University, Physics Dept | http://interactfiction.about.com

Stephen Granade

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Jul 17, 2001, 8:51:24 AM7/17/01
to
psmit...@spod-central.org (Dylan O'Donnell) writes:

> Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com> writes:
> >
> > Does anyone know when this IF convention -- a puzzle which you cannot
> > possibly expect to solve the first time you play -- was first
> > categorized as a bad thing?
>
> Graham's Bill of Player's Rights sets a lower bound on its age:
>
> 1. Not to be killed without warning
> 3. To be able to win without experience of past lives
> 4. To be able to win without knowledge of future events
>
> > I'm certain I didn't even encounter that attitude until I started
> > hanging out on RAIF, and it might not have been here yet when I
> > arrived, either.
>
> Second edition of the Craft of Adventure is dated 1995-01-19; does
> anyone have a date for the BoPR's original posting?

18 May 1993.

Lucian P. Smith

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Jul 17, 2001, 10:44:01 AM7/17/01
to
Billy Harris <wha...@mail.airmail.net> wrote in <08168A7DA1029837.FC52625B...@lp.airnews.net>:
: As the title says, SPOILERS!!

: I'm on very tenuous ground with this next bit, but I like to believe


: that our intervention does have some effect: instead of WWIII wiping
: out all of Britain with a single bomb, we merely have London going up
: in smoke. However, it is quite possible taht the nuke coming down on
: London was untampered and hence a true multigigaton reaction.

As Adam Thornton pointed out in a thread I still remember lo these ages
past (http://bang.dhs.org/if/raif/mol/msg00418.html), it's *very* hard to
say that setting things up so they work the way they worked is good,
becuase it's not just London that gets nuked, but everywhere. To re-quote
what Adam quoted, from the original area you enter in through the first
white door:

"As your eyes sweep the landscape, you notice more of the giant
toadstools. There must be hundreds of them. Some sprout in clusters,
others grow in solitude among the trees. Their numbers increase
dramatically as your gaze moves westward, until the forest is choked with
pale domes."

This can hardly be said to be 'good'. This is the nuclear holocaust.
Maybe if New Mexico *had* been destroyed lo these ages past, they wouldn't
have tried it again, and it'd be better. But maybe not. In any event,
you're required to set up (again) the actions that bring about WWIII and
nuke the earth.

There's an interesting answer to the 'knowledge required from past lives'
thing, too: If it's a time loop, maybe you saving and restoring is, in
the Trinity world, what Wabewalker is actually doing.

"A strange game. The only winning move is not to play."

-Lucian

Andrew Plotkin

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Jul 17, 2001, 11:14:09 AM7/17/01
to
Stephen Granade <sgra...@phy.duke.edu> wrote:
> "Daniel Giaimo" <dgi...@rgiaimo.net> writes:

>> "Andrew Plotkin" <erky...@eblong.com> wrote in message
>> news:9j0dbn$njh$1...@news.panix.com...
>> > Does anyone know when this IF convention -- a puzzle which you cannot
>> > possibly expect to solve the first time you play -- was first
>> > categorized as a bad thing?
>> >
>> > I'm certain I didn't even encounter that attitude until I started
>> > hanging out on RAIF, and it might not have been here yet when I
>> > arrived, either.
>>
>> I'm not certain about this, but it got me thinking about the other
>> major reason for the old adage "Save early, save often," and that is the
>> possibility of locking yourself out of victory. I've noticed recently
>> that there seems to be a trend, (not necessarily on r*if, just in
>> adventure games in general), towards games in which it is impossible to
>> lock one's self out of victory. Has anyone else noticed this?

> This was a big selling point of the LucasArts (well, LucasFilm)
> graphic adventure games back in the 1980s. At a time when amusing,
> wacky, and random deaths were the norm, their games wouldn't kill you.

> The convention Andrew mentions was certainly categorized by Graham
> Nelson's Bill of Player's Rights, and that was first released in May
> of '93.

I bet that was it, then. (I don't think I was reading the newsgroup
when Graham posted that -- I came across it a bit later, via gmd.de
and Inform documentation.)

Now I take for granted that adventure games have been moving towards
that as an ideal. (I would have said it if I thought anyone hadn't
already noticed. :-) Graphical adventure games vastly accelerated the
trend; this has been a thesis of mine for years. (Backing up and
replaying a graphical game from an earlier save point is *much* more
tedious than in a text adventure.)

However, my point is, you have to use a certain amount of split
judgement when considering Infocom games against that standard. Yes,
it's worth noting, because the modern IF audience has adopted the
idea. But Infocom's designers *and players* had not.

--Z

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

* Bush doesn't count.

Sean T Barrett

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Jul 17, 2001, 12:12:23 PM7/17/01
to
Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com> wrote:
>However, my point is, you have to use a certain amount of split
>judgement when considering Infocom games against that standard. Yes,
>it's worth noting, because the modern IF audience has adopted the
>idea. But Infocom's designers *and players* had not.

Definitely. I thought about bringing this point up a few threads
back when people were complaining about the unfairness of some of
the Infocom mystery games. Clearly, from the authors' points
of view, they were making a hard puzzle for the player, not
for the protagonist.

SeanB

Chip Hayes

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Jul 17, 2001, 12:17:32 PM7/17/01
to

"Lucian P. Smith" wrote:
>
> : As the title says, SPOILERS!!

Having playtested TRINITY for Infocom way back when, I remember
distinctly that the time-loop ending was my biggest disappointment in
the game, and was a prominent criticism in my playtesters report (I've
got all of those bug reports filed away somewhere... got to find them
some day.)

I remember wishing there had been >some< glimmer of hope in the game's
ending that made all of one's efforts worthwhile, as it really made me
feel much less enthusiastic about what was, I thought, one of Infocom's
best efforts to date.

A few months ago, I found a number of the beta versions of those Infocom
games I play-tested, and uploaded the files to the gmd. Trinity was
among them; and for those of you interested in how the game evolved in
its last few months of development, it might be worthwhile to examine
the version I uploaded. There are many subtle differences to be
discovered right off the bat (in the opening paragraph, the BBC is
instead referred to colloquially as "the Beeb," for example) and
possibly a txd dump might reveal some other nuances in the prose used
toward the ending.

Chip Hayes

Matthew Russotto

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Jul 17, 2001, 12:34:42 PM7/17/01