Games you'd love to see

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David Fisher

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Jun 2, 2005, 11:51:21 PM6/2/05
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What kind of IF would you most love to be written some time (new genres,
themes, etc) ?

Just curious,

David Fisher


David Fisher

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Jun 3, 2005, 3:31:00 AM6/3/05
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"David Fisher" <da...@hsa.com.au> wrote in message
news:iwQne.17257$Le2.1...@nasal.pacific.net.au...

> What kind of IF would you most love to be written some time
> (new genres, themes, etc) ?

I found a similar question from about a year ago in the thread:

http://groups-beta.google.com/group/rec.games.int-fiction/browse_frm/thread/fec11bb140c5096a/63532ad60a7fcc70

Some of the answers were:

* Historical IF - games focusing on a specific period of the timeline,
depicting interesting people, events, or ways of life in some place in a
specific era (Jacek Lenkiewicz)

* Events that were going on behind the scenes in an existing story, eg. Dr
Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Back to the Future, Rebbeca of Sunnybrook Farm (Paul
Drallos)

* A game full of lots of "action sequences" - government agents trying to
kill you, hanging off tall buildings, jumping from car to car on a freeway
while being shot at, etc; comedy plots; fantasy in a modern day setting;
games without "examine" or "search" (Jan Thorsby)

* Serial-style games (Paul Csouls)

David Fisher


David Fisher

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Jun 6, 2005, 9:15:43 PM6/6/05
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"David Fisher" <da...@hsa.com.au> wrote in message
news:iwQne.17257$Le2.1...@nasal.pacific.net.au...
> What kind of IF would you most love to be written some time
> (new genres, themes, etc) ?

Oh, well ... maybe I'll ask again another time ...

David Fisher


JohnnyMrNinja

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Jun 7, 2005, 4:32:19 AM6/7/05
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No! Don't give up David Fisher, you crazy thread-starter you!

I would like to see more non-linear games, with independant story
elements, that could change in small ways depending on what you've done
so far. Endings depending on what you've done, descisions you've made,
and in what order. Instead of killing all the vampires and saving the
town, you could join them, or maybe go see a movie.

Or games with variable plot elements. This would be most obvious with
detective type games (but would be really cool in a normal game).
Sometimes the butler did it, sometimes he didn't, sometimes there is no
butler.

The biggest reason I see to not use variable elements is that you lose
the Director seat. Now the player (or CPU) is deciding where things are
headed, and that can make things suck. But that's why I still play
cRiMe fairly often, which is barely even IF. The random factor means I
don't know which bank is staked out, or if I can find the box before I
find the warehouse. Things like this would be harder to do well with
more complex games, but that much cooler.

David Fisher

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Jun 7, 2005, 5:44:09 AM6/7/05
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"JohnnyMrNinja" <Johnny...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1118133139....@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...

>
>> "David Fisher" <da...@hsa.com.au> wrote in message
>> news:iwQne.17257$Le2.1...@nasal.pacific.net.au...
>> > What kind of IF would you most love to be written some time
>> > (new genres, themes, etc) ?
>>
>> Oh, well ... maybe I'll ask again another time ...
>>
>> David Fisher
>
> No! Don't give up David Fisher, you crazy thread-starter you!

8^)) (*grins*)

> I would like to see more non-linear games, with independant
> story elements, that could change in small ways depending on
> what you've done so far. Endings depending on what you've done,
> descisions you've made, and in what order. Instead of killing
> all the vampires and saving the town, you could join them, or
> maybe go see a movie.
>
> Or games with variable plot elements. This would be most obvious
> with detective type games (but would be really cool in a normal
> game). Sometimes the butler did it, sometimes he didn't,
> sometimes there is no butler.

I can imagine the look on a player's face when they play through the game
the second time ... "Hey ! *That* didn't happen last time !"

Walkthroughs could be a problem ... maybe you could start the game by
entering a "codeword" that is munged into a random number seed, so you could
replay the same game again if you wanted to.

Just thinking about it - really subtle changes might be even more
interesting than obvious ones ... it would mean you really have to pay
attention to what has changed, and figure out why the changes are
significant ...

> The biggest reason I see to not use variable elements is that
> you lose the Director seat. Now the player (or CPU) is deciding
> where things are headed, and that can make things suck. But
> that's why I still play cRiMe fairly often, which is barely
> even IF. The random factor means I don't know which bank is
> staked out, or if I can find the box before I find the warehouse.
> Things like this would be harder to do well with more complex
> games, but that much cooler.

A long-term researchy idea thing of mine is to figure out how to dynamically
create an interesting plotline and allow for changes along the way ...

I love Star Wars, so I rewatched the first (last ?) three episodes (III-VI)
and wrote down all of the distinct plot elements I could work out - for
example, Luke's parents dying => "old ties being severed"; receiving his
father's light sabre from Obi Wan Kenobi => "receiving a powerful
inheritance" + "revelation about a mysterious ancestor".

You can kind of order these so that you know element X must come before
element Y, and possibly results in element Z. Then you can randomly pick a
starting element (ie. one which doesn't require another element to come
before it), a few "soon to be revealed" elements to start the story off, and
away you go ... and if the player does something that makes one of the "to
be revealed" elements impossible, replace it with some other one.

You need a huge number of plot elements to get this to work properly, I
think - but the result could be an "epic" feeling story which really seems
to have a plot and a reason for everything happening, along with freedom to
deviate from the obvious path, to interesting looking branches ...

See http://www.channelzilch.com/doug/battle.htm (which contains a
description of a game called "King of Chicago" - search for "I had a mental
image") for a slightly related idea - matching the current situation to a
set of parameters like "gang morale" and "boss reputation" to generate the
next sequence in the game.

David Fisher


PJ

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Jun 7, 2005, 10:45:18 AM6/7/05
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JohnnyMrNinja wrote:

> I would like to see more non-linear games, with independant story
> elements, that could change in small ways depending on what you've done
> so far. Endings depending on what you've done, descisions you've made,
> and in what order. Instead of killing all the vampires and saving the
> town, you could join them, or maybe go see a movie.

I would like to see this type of thing as well. The catch, however, is
that the degree of difficulty on the writing side alone is tremendous
for a single author. To get games of this complexity, I think you are
talking about some type of multiauthorship -- someone draws up the
general framework of the game and the major plot threads, then gets
others to build up a range of alternative threads through the game.
Otherwise, for one person, it would take years to write and code a
really complex game of this type. The other problem is that I don't
think any of the current IF development systems are particularly
well-suited to collaborative development.

> Or games with variable plot elements. This would be most obvious with
> detective type games (but would be really cool in a normal game).
> Sometimes the butler did it, sometimes he didn't, sometimes there is no
> butler.

The same difficulty pertains to this idea. When you have the plot vary
randomly, you essentially create a new thread through the game. One
person's ability to write/code multiple iterations of random outcomes
is always going to be somewhat limited. Unless you are able to
develop an AI engine that can generate new threads for the player to
follow (the Giant's Game, in Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card, is what
I'm flashing on at the moment), you would have to have a lot of authors
and great teamwork and excellent tools to pull this off.

I think if we still had a burgeoning commercial IF industry, this is
probably where IF games would be going: multiple authors, multiple
threads, extremely complex interactions and looping/connecting between
paths, plots shifting randomly, maybe some AI. But given IF's current
hobby/cottage industry status, it would take a real community effort to
design and develop games that do more than nod at these ideas.

PJ

David Fisher

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Jun 7, 2005, 4:19:29 PM6/7/05
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"PJ" <pete_...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1118155518.8...@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

> JohnnyMrNinja wrote:
>
>> I would like to see more non-linear games, with independant story
>> elements, that could change in small ways depending on what you've
>> done so far. Endings depending on what you've done, descisions
>> you've made, and in what order. Instead of killing all the vampires
>> and saving the town, you could join them, or maybe go see a movie.
>
> I would like to see this type of thing as well. The catch, however, is
> that the degree of difficulty on the writing side alone is tremendous
> for a single author. To get games of this complexity, I think you are
> talking about some type of multiauthorship -- someone draws up the
> general framework of the game and the major plot threads, then gets
> others to build up a range of alternative threads through the game.
> Otherwise, for one person, it would take years to write and code a
> really complex game of this type. The other problem is that I don't
> think any of the current IF development systems are particularly
> well-suited to collaborative development.

What would an authoring system that was suited to multiple authorship be
like ?

I guess you would need to be able to somehow merge additions & changes into
the code (and be informed of any conflicts) ... is that the direction you
are thinking in ?

David Fisher


aph...@altavista.com

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Jun 7, 2005, 9:41:33 PM6/7/05
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I'd love to see someone do the Price is Right.

A.P. Hill

David Fisher

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Jun 7, 2005, 9:56:44 PM6/7/05
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<aph...@altavista.com> wrote in message
news:1118194893.5...@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...

> I'd love to see someone do the Price is Right.
>
> A.P. Hill

Pray expound upon your most intriguing and perspicacious propostition ...

... or not :-)

David Fisher


Nick.B...@gmail.com

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Jun 7, 2005, 10:43:17 PM6/7/05
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That wouldn't really be necessary - thats what source control systems
such as subversion are for. And really, theres no reason why inform
code couldn't be hosted under subversion or cvs to provide for a team
effort.

I think perhaps the main thing that could be done to make inform more
suitable for team programming is perhaps tighter object orientated
models. Rather than using -> to indicate "child of" actually assigning
children to objects. Again though, thats only an ease-of-reading
thing, someone well versed in inform, or any of the languages,
shouldn't have a problem collaborating.

Perhaps a library for unit testing ala Agile Development Methodology?

John Coxon

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Jun 8, 2005, 2:45:13 AM6/8/05
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On 07/06/2005 21:19, five wild Event Maelstroms swirled in vicious storms of
unreason and David Fisher spewed up:

> "PJ" <pete_...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:1118155518.8...@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
>
>>JohnnyMrNinja wrote:
>>
>>>I would like to see more non-linear games, with independant story
>>>elements, that could change in small ways depending on what you've
>>>done so far. Endings depending on what you've done, descisions
>>>you've made, and in what order. Instead of killing all the vampires
>>>and saving the town, you could join them, or maybe go see a movie.
>>
>>I would like to see this type of thing as well. The catch, however, is
>>that the degree of difficulty on the writing side alone is tremendous
>>for a single author. To get games of this complexity, I think you are
>>talking about some type of multiauthorship -- someone draws up the
>>general framework of the game and the major plot threads, then gets
>>others to build up a range of alternative threads through the game.
>>Otherwise, for one person, it would take years to write and code a
>>really complex game of this type. The other problem is that I don't
>>think any of the current IF development systems are particularly
>>well-suited to collaborative development.
>
> What would an authoring system that was suited to multiple authorship be
> like ?

Perhaps similar to a wiki's operating system? That sounds very hard to
implement though.

--
John Coxon

"IRTA 'Virgins suck even more'." - MEow (afdaniain)

Email: john[dot]coxon[at]gmail[dot]com
Website: http://alphacentauri.8k.com
Missing footnotes: http://www.nut.house.cx/cgi-bin/nemowiki.pl?ISFN
ZZ9 - the official HHGG appreciation society: http://www.zz9.org/

PJ

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Jun 8, 2005, 6:45:23 AM6/8/05
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Right. It's really more of a development environment issue and the
presence/absence of collaborative tools for managing the code, tracking
versions of the source, testing, etc. But I can envisision other
problems with Inform, from file size to the number of file handles,
etc., that might have to be addressed. A stricter form of object
orientation -- no standalone procedures or globals -- would also help.

PJ

Nick.B...@gmail.com

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Jun 8, 2005, 7:02:18 PM6/8/05
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Possibly yeah, though there are already some tools that make inform
easier to deal with (i'm playing around with JIF at the moment, and it
makes it easier to bring structure to the program through breaking the
story file into multiple parts).

A lot of the problems of file size etc may only be relating to inform
compiled to z-code, inform compiled to gluxe overcomes a lot of
original implementation issues.

Theres no real reason why it couldn't be used collaboratively now.
Teams have built far more complicated systems with far less thought out
development tools that what are available for IF.

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