Re: [REVIEW/ANALYSIS] of The Dreamhold, potential SPOILERS included

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Magnus Olsson

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Dec 15, 2004, 5:33:54 PM12/15/04
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A very interesting analysis, though I'm not sure that I agree with it.

I'll try to write up my interpretation and publish it in some forum.

Meanwhile, just two comments:

1) You associate the colours of the masks with the actions required
to find them. To me, it feels far more natural to associate their
colours with the memories evoked by them (white - the innocence of
childhood, and so on). Have you got any thoughts on this?

2) While you might very well be right about Zarf's use of the tutorial
form (and there's surely *some* truth in it), I don't think the author
is outright deceiving us about the tutorial aspect - as far as I can
tell (not being a beginner myslef), it ought to work quite well for
its stated purpose. And there is irony - the tutorial voice at some
points served to draw my attention away from the esoteric side of the
game (especially when entering the dark cave - the tutorial voice made
me overlook the way to find the dagger).

As I said, I'll try return to this.

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

Magnus Olsson

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Dec 15, 2004, 5:38:28 PM12/15/04
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In article <32bseiF...@individual.net>,
Magnus Olsson <m...@df.lth.se> wrote:
>Meanwhile, just two comments:

Three comments, actually: I don't think that the third ending, the
"apotheosis", is really the preferred one. It is clearly the most
advanced one, the one an experienced player is most likely to arrive
at (because the mural makes it obvious that there is plot beyond the
portal ending) but it isn't where the story really ends, or should
end. And, BTW, I found the first ending clearly undesirable: by
restoring _everything_ the protagonist rejects the possibility of
change, hence of redemption.

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Andrew Plotkin

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Dec 15, 2004, 9:31:38 PM12/15/04
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Here, PJ <pete_...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Regarding the actual hints given, I think the tutorial is adequate, but
> only in the respect that they contribute to bringing even the advanced
> user to an understanding of the higher purposes/endings of the games.
> If you have a newbie, give them Zork I, and a list of basic commands,
> and let them have fun. While Dreamhold has a definite appeal to an
> advanced player, an enhanced on-line tutorial for a new port of Zork I
> would be far better at hooking a new user.

Why do you think this?

Can you suggest ways to make Dreamhold more effective at hooking new
players?

Since *I* was hooked by Adventure and Zork 1, I (naturally) drew on my
memories of those experiences in trying to create a good newbie game.
But I don't think they're *perfectly* suited for that purpose. There's
a lot of death and a lot of ways to get into unwinnable positions. The
maps are very large. Winning either game is a heavy undertaking, or
else a matter of looking at hint files. (Which didn't exist back then,
at least not in the trivially accessible form we have now.)

A large part of the fun is *succeeding*, and I wanted to make that
available. If the newbie wins in a few days, that's fine. The whole
point is to lead him on to *other* IF games.

For that matter, I wasn't a typical IF newbie -- I was very familiar
with logic puzzles (even at the age of ten), and I was very willing to
spend months of real time on a single game. Most people these days
aren't that patient (I'm not either!), and not everybody is an expert
puzzler. That's why I made the hints available (but avoidable).

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
I'm still thinking about what to put in this space.

ems...@mindspring.com

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Dec 15, 2004, 10:06:01 PM12/15/04
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PJ wrote:
> Zarf's new game purports to be used as a tutorial game for
> introducing "newbies" to IF. Consequently, he calls it a tutorial
> game, includes unprompted hints in the tutorial mode as well as many
> "voice over" style interrupts by the narrator. He includes the
> mechanics in the tutorial mode - intrusive hints, interruptions by
> the narrators, random voices relaying key information -that might be
> useful in getting newbies going on an "Adventure!"

I'm fairly certain that it is, in fact, intended for this purpose. Yes,
it does stick close to what might be considered standard or traditional
IF -- more so than any other Zarf game I can think of. I think the
reason is that Zarf wanted to provide newbies with the best example
IF-playing experience possible -- one that would give them a sense of
what to expect, on average, from other games. This involved not
changing the basic world model of the Inform library too severely, for
instance.

> {Note: Potential spoilers begin immediately after the spoiler space
> below, so if you haven't played it yet and desire to do so, go no
> further.}
>
> >S
> >
> >P
> >
> >O
> >
> >I
> >
> >L
> >
> >E
> >
> >R
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >S
> >
> >P
> >
> >A
> >
> >C
> >
> >E
>

> Game Theme: The term "dreamhold" is Zarf's synonym of the
> classic (though not widely known) concept of a "memory palace."

Yes. This is pretty cool stuff. (In a very vague way, I drew on some of
the neoplatonic treatment of this idea for my game Metamorphoses, but
it's not explicit enough about what's going on for the significance to
be entirely clear. Dreamhold is more explicit about it.)

I've always been intrigued by the IF potential of ideas like the
theater of memory or Lull's devices, since they involve treating
concepts as symbols or physical objects, so that they can be
manipulated within the standard IF world model. Some surreal games
("End Means Escape" comes to mind) do neat things with physical
representations of the abstract. But such games usually also run the
risk of dissolving into the incomprehensible: doing a surreal game
*well* requires a lot of discipline, or what comes out is simply
nonsense. (This was one of the problems I had with "Blue Chairs" -- I
didn't finish it, but in the portion of the game I saw, it seemed as
though the symbolism was being used vaguely or carelessly, and I had
too little grasp on what was going on or what my actions were supposed
to mean.)

> The memory palace also serves as Zarf's meta-commentary on the
> practice of adventure gaming in the first place. If you grant that
> much of IF still constitutes of wandering around in a series of
> "rooms," then the underlying memory palace theme is a not-so-subtle
> pull at the tail of that unwanted, aging elephant in IF's parlor.

Here you lose me. On the one hand, I agree that one of the appealing
things about IF is that it allows the author to share a vision of the
universe -- an interactive, explorable vision -- with the players. I'm
not convinced, though, by the multiple levels of meta here.

> --One mask requires a search of existing knowledge, surely the first
> step in any scientific approach. This mask is white, the color of
the
> innocent.

This is clever, but I think some of the assignments you make are really
a stretch. I, like Magnus, read the colors as reflections of the PC's
life up to this point.

> --One mask requires you to perform a basic act of observation using a
> scientific instrument. This mask is brown, the earth color that
> represents the basic toil required to achieve anything in this world.
>
> --One mask requires you to observe a physical process, then repeat a
> series of those processes to get your result - toppling an icon.
> This mask is gold, the color of accomplishment.
>
> --One mask requires you to observe the mysterious workings of a
> biological process, then use that process to bridge the gap to reach
> your end. This mask is green, the color of longing or envy.

Right, here's one of the ones where I'm lost. Longing or envy? This
doesn't seem to be the same kind of quality as the others, and it also
doesn't seem to have much relation to the puzzle at hand, unless you
mean that one looks at something one wants and then has to go get it.
But this is true of pretty much all the puzzles.

> --One mask requires you to watch and puzzle out the workings of a
> machine of unknown principles, then deduce how to use its physical
> properties. This mask is blue, the color of cold logic.
>
> --One mask requires you to figure out the complex engineering
> principles of a fluid system, then manipulate the plumbing until you
> get it right, including some necessary repairs. This mask is red,
the
> color of anger that can thwart observation or drive discovery.

And here again my belief is stretched... It's somewhere in here that I
began to wonder whether you weren't up to some kind of meta^4
commentary on IF criticism.

> The critique of IF in recent days on r.a.i.f. has been either (1) IF
is
> a dead art or (2) IF went wrong in ever advancing past Zork-style
> adventure games.

Hm. I don't think this in fact represents widespread opinion; it's just
that we've had these discussions before, and some of those who hold
more moderate positions have ceased to reiterate them.

Honestly, there is a huge range of IF produced, and it is (I think)
counterproductive to try to fit everything into 'traditional' or
'avant-garde' slots. I'm not sure it's useful to tell people *what* to
write, anyway -- my own personal feeling is that people should write
the kinds of things they want to write. (Or, for that matter, start the
businesses they want to start.) One of the neat things about the IF
community is that so many of the players are also authors, which means
that for any interest group represented in the IF community there is at
least one potential author able to produce material: old-skool,
experimental, conversational, surreal; AIF, romance, mystery, horror,
literary, even the odd western. Yeah, there aren't enough people out
there producing pirate swashbucklers for my taste, or games about
kick-ass female spies, but there aren't enough of those movies or
commercial games either.

[Digression: One of the reasons I like not being a commercial author is
that no one has the authority to make me change a design for marketing
reasons. That doesn't mean I don't care what people think; especially
in an interactive medium, the work doesn't *function* if its audience
finds it too intractable. It's possible for a design to be broken
because of the way the audience relates to it (or doesn't relate to
it). But the primary consideration is still about whether the thing is
what I meant it to be, and at different times I've decided I wanted to
write an experimental game or an old-school one.]

Anyway. Thanks for writing the critique, and offering the extra
background on memory palaces -- I'd forgotten the details of the memory
theater.

-- Emily

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Andrew Plotkin

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Dec 15, 2004, 11:47:23 PM12/15/04
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Here, PJ <pete_...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> I think it is as simple and as complicated as the fact that newbies, by
> definition, haven't experienced Zork. Thus they don't know the
> conventions even of traditional IF and therefore are going to miss much
> of the nuance in Dreamhold.

Nuance is bonus.

> I agree with your comments about unwinnable states, map sizes, and
> the joy of succeeding in a few days, but somehow we all got past
> that. Why deny it to others?

We're the one *who* got past it. We don't know how many 1980s-era
computer owners *didn't*. Zork is still there for people, but we tend
to see it as outdated, and that's (partially) because games have
genuinely gotten better (in some ways).

> What Dreamhold doesn't have is one of the things that gave Zork such a
> great hook, namely, it was GOOFY with a capital G.

Now that is true.

> Goofy descriptions are now totally passe

Actually, that's not true. What's passe is *inconsistent* goofiness --
the mixmaster of styles that Zork had. (Adventure had less of it.) We
like uniformity of style these days (and, indeed, since the
mid-Infocom period. Outside of the Zork games, which had turned into a
style of their own, Infocom kept each of their works consistent to
itself. Even Trinity, which had goofy magic and nuclear bombs, played
the balance deliberately.)

I value consistency a lot, and I'm not that strong with the goofy, so
of course Dreamhold came out the way it did.

> You also decided to eliminate turns and scoring. To a newbie, progress
> is all-important. Without a sense of score, minor vs. major triumphs
> are hard to estimate. Of course, these days, you just jump to Google
> for a walkthrough, but if you're trying to encourage a newbie to stay
> on board, some more distinctive sense of progress should be felt.
> Maybe when you pick up the mask, "You feel a surge of memory wash
> through you, distinct but fleeting. A fragment of your former self is
> made almost whole, but there is more left to do." Instead, your hint
> basically says "collect the masks, dummy."

That is true, and I should have mentioned it in my post about hints. I
*am* reconsidering this in the next release. I'm going to have:

- An explicit SCORE command, which shows both your mask progress (N out
of seven) and the number of "additional discoveries" you've made.
Also show this in the status line. This will be in novice mode only --
expert mode will work like the current version.

- A much clearer signal that when you've gotten all seven masks, it's
endgame time and you should go to a particular location and try stuff.
(This is an in-game signal, not a tutorial hint. It will exist in both
novice and expert mode.)

> The decision to include in-game, unprompted hints vs. menu driven hints
> was inspired, but the implementation seemed inconsistent.

See other thread. I'm looking for better algorithms, but it's tricky.

In all cases, when a hint appears "too soon", it's actually as a
response to what you're trying. So other people may not hit that hint
at all.

> A corollary to this is that many of the puzzles were unhinted, as far
> as I can tell. It would be a pain to implement, but if you started a
> counter the first time the PC entered a puzzle room and waited X turns,
> depending on the puzzle difficulty, then gave a hint, that would be
> better than having the person run to Google for an answer.

Do you mean "wait" commands, or X unproductive turns? It's hard to
tell what's productive. The player can be making good progress even if
he's using many, many turns.

Magnus Olsson

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Dec 16, 2004, 3:43:15 AM12/16/04
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In article <1103161837.9...@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
PJ <pete_...@hotmail.com> wrote:

>Magnus Olsson wrote:
>
>>1) You associate the colours of the masks with the actions required
>>to find them. To me, it feels far more natural to associate their
>>colours with the memories evoked by them (white - the innocence of
>>childhood, and so on). Have you got any thoughts on this?
>
>I think in at the basic level of the game, that is what Zarf was doing.
>If you "x __ mask," you get a look at the basic expressions that you
>are talking about.

Well, actually I was talking about the flashbacks you get when you
wear the masks. The basic expressions sketched on the masks match
the moods of those flashbacks, and the colours.

(Snipped your analysis, not because I'm dismissing it, but because I
don't have any comments right now - just wanted to clarify this
particular point).

Magnus Olsson

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Dec 16, 2004, 6:56:12 AM12/16/04
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In article <1103166360.9...@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
<ems...@mindspring.com> wrote:

>PJ wrote:
>> {Note: Potential spoilers begin immediately after the spoiler space
>> below, so if you haven't played it yet and desire to do so, go no
>> further.}
>>
>> >S
>> >
>> >P
>> >
>> >O
>> >
>> >I
>> >
>> >L
>> >
>> >E
>> >
>> >R
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >S
>> >
>> >P
>> >
>> >A
>> >
>> >C
>> >
>> >E
>>
>
>> Game Theme: The term "dreamhold" is Zarf's synonym of the
>> classic (though not widely known) concept of a "memory palace."
>
>Yes. This is pretty cool stuff.

It is.

Still, I like to think that the memory palace in _Dreamhold_ isn't
entirely within the PCs mind, but has some sort of objective, material
existence - if nothing else, because I'm getting rather tired of
stories that take place entirely inside somebody's mind, or in
subjective virtual reality. (Part of the appeal of _The Matrix_ is
that although the Matrix is a VR, it's objective and common to all
people.) ISTR that the game text hints at this at some point.

On a tangent, Katharine Kerr has a neat treatment of a wizard's memory
palace taking on some kind of lief of its own (well, kind of) in one
of her Deverry books.

>(In a very vague way, I drew on some of
>the neoplatonic treatment of this idea for my game Metamorphoses, but
>it's not explicit enough about what's going on for the significance to
>be entirely clear. Dreamhold is more explicit about it.)

Interesting that you should say this, because the game almost
immediately reminded me of three other works: _So Far_ (obviously),
_Losing Your Grip_ (because it is a symbolic/metaphorical quest for
your past with objects representing mental entities), and
_Metamorphoses_ (but I couldn't think of a reason until now).

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Matthew Russotto

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Dec 16, 2004, 10:46:37 AM12/16/04
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In article <cpr40r$2as$1...@reader1.panix.com>,

Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com> wrote:
>
>Actually, that's not true. What's passe is *inconsistent* goofiness --
>the mixmaster of styles that Zork had. (Adventure had less of it.)

IIRC, the opening to Adventure -- the parts which would suck newbies
in (and my first IF was Adventure, not Zork) -- were not goofy at all.
The goofiness I remember was "ATTACK DRAGON"; that one had my falling
off my chair laughing (OK, I was smart-ass kid, alright?).

Magnus Olsson

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Dec 16, 2004, 11:33:42 AM12/16/04
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In article <1103214728.3...@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
<robg...@yahoo.it> wrote:
>Looks like a CABAL member revision to me... ;)

Shhh... don't mention the Cabal. Which doesn't exist, by the way.

robg...@yahoo.it

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Dec 16, 2004, 11:32:08 AM12/16/04
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Looks like a CABAL member revision to me... ;)
Rob

Andrew Plotkin

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Dec 16, 2004, 1:52:43 PM12/16/04
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Here, Magnus Olsson <m...@df.lth.se> wrote:

> On a tangent, Katharine Kerr has a neat treatment of a wizard's memory
> palace taking on some kind of lief of its own (well, kind of) in one
> of her Deverry books.

Kerr's book was my first exposure to the idea of a magical memory
palace.

More recently, there's a short story by Mary Gentle -- I think it's
"Beggars in Satin", but I could have the title wrong.

ems...@mindspring.com

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Dec 16, 2004, 2:10:16 PM12/16/04
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Andrew Plotkin wrote:
> Here, Magnus Olsson <m...@df.lth.se> wrote:
>
> > On a tangent, Katharine Kerr has a neat treatment of a wizard's
memory
> > palace taking on some kind of lief of its own (well, kind of) in
one
> > of her Deverry books.
>
> Kerr's book was my first exposure to the idea of a magical memory
> palace.

My favorite fictional use of it is in _Little, Big_.

After I read that, naturally, I decided to construct my own memory
palace, but I didn't keep it up, and now the main thing still to be
found there is my French teacher from high school, holding a couple of
random objects meant to remind me of irregular verbs.

Andrew Plotkin

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Dec 16, 2004, 2:12:45 PM12/16/04
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Here, PJ <pete_...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> Emily wrote:
>
> >And here again my belief is stretched... It's somewhere in here that I
> >began to wonder whether you weren't up to some kind of meta^4
> >commentary on IF criticism.
>
> Well, the associations with the colors of the masks are the weakest
> point of my analysis I'll admit. But as to the other ...(pause,
> deadpan stare)...you don't really think I'd try to tweak the whole IF
> community by tweaking Z a bit, do you?

That would be very disrespectful. Ninjas for you, fellow.

Ross Presser

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Dec 16, 2004, 3:10:44 PM12/16/04
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On Thu, 16 Dec 2004 18:52:43 +0000 (UTC), Andrew Plotkin wrote:

> Here, Magnus Olsson <m...@df.lth.se> wrote:
>
>> On a tangent, Katharine Kerr has a neat treatment of a wizard's memory
>> palace taking on some kind of lief of its own (well, kind of) in one
>> of her Deverry books.
>
> Kerr's book was my first exposure to the idea of a magical memory
> palace.
>
> More recently, there's a short story by Mary Gentle -- I think it's
> "Beggars in Satin", but I could have the title wrong.
>

It also plays an important part in the book version of _Hannibal_, which
was my introduction to the idea.

Andrew Plotkin

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Dec 16, 2004, 5:16:32 PM12/16/04
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Here, PJ <pete_...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> PJ wrote:
> > A corollary to this is that many of the puzzles were unhinted, as far
> > as I can tell. It would be a pain to implement, but if you started a
> > counter the first time the PC entered a puzzle room and waited X
> turns,
> > depending on the puzzle difficulty, then gave a hint, that would be
> > better than having the person run to Google for an answer.
>
> Z replied:

> >Do you mean "wait" commands, or X unproductive turns? It's hard to
> >tell what's productive. The player can be making good progress even if
> >he's using many, many turns.
>
> I guess I'll try to express this in pseudocode (not meant to be any
> specific language) that matches the puzzles in Dreamhold. What I am
> thinking is something like this:
>
> --IF BalconyRoomVisits >= 3 and GoldMask IS NOT TAKEN THEN
> ----DISPLAY HINTPROMPT(GoldMask)
> ------IF UserInput = Y
> --------Then SHOWHINT(GoldMask)
> ------ELSE
> --------SET BalconyRoomVisits = 2
> ----ENDIF.
> --ENDIF.

Room visits seems like a bad counter. You can easily pass through a
room several times before you try to solve the puzzle. Contrariwise,
you can try on your first visit, get stuck, and want a hint.

Same goes for turn counters. If you spend your first N moves examining
things, you're not stuck yet. Probably.

I chose the "try to take or touch" counter because it seemed like it
would at least approximate a measure of how badly the player was
failing.

Message has been deleted

ems...@mindspring.com

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Dec 17, 2004, 12:05:30 AM12/17/04
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PJ wrote:

> PJ wrote:
> > A corollary to this is that many of the puzzles were unhinted, as
far
> > as I can tell. It would be a pain to implement, but if you started
a
> > counter the first time the PC entered a puzzle room and waited X
> turns,
> > depending on the puzzle difficulty, then gave a hint, that would be
> > better than having the person run to Google for an answer.
>
> Z replied:

> >Do you mean "wait" commands, or X unproductive turns? It's hard to
> >tell what's productive. The player can be making good progress even
if
> >he's using many, many turns.
>
> I guess I'll try to express this in pseudocode (not meant to be any
> specific language) that matches the puzzles in Dreamhold. What I am
> thinking is something like this:
>
> --IF BalconyRoomVisits >= 3 and GoldMask IS NOT TAKEN THEN
> ----DISPLAY HINTPROMPT(GoldMask)
> ------IF UserInput = Y
> --------Then SHOWHINT(GoldMask)
> ------ELSE
> --------SET BalconyRoomVisits = 2
> ----ENDIF.
> --ENDIF....

[more pseudocode along the same lines, snipped to save space]

> Obviously, every time you entered the room you would perform one or
the
> other (or both, if you really wanted to make sure they didn't give
up).
> The RoomCount and TurnCount variables would have to based on the
> puzzle difficulty. It would be hard to do this, of course, in a room
> with multiple puzzle. The other problem is that there are a lot more
> variables in memory, counting the turns and counting the room turns
and
> room visits for all your main puzzles...

It's trivial to slap counters on rooms and so on (one of my games
counts the number of turns spent in every single room, for
plot-management purposes). It's a lot more challenging to come up with
good criteria for recognizing stuck-ness in the player. There are
certain kinds of things that I try to flag when I'm looking for
evidence of player struggles, such as typing "LOOK" or "INVENTORY"
repeatedly (usually a sign that the player is looking for ideas --
doing these things two or three times in a row is a sort of idling
thing that people do when they can't think of a better action). It
strikes me that that kind of thing -- analysis of the pattern of player
input -- is likely to be much more effective than turn counts, given
that different players have different play styles. Some people like to
do a lot of exploring before they get down to the puzzle solving, for
instance, which would rack up a high turn count with no visible
"progress" from the game's point of view, and might make it think the
player was at a loss when in fact he was just polishing his map and
getting ready to get to work.

I'm not sure how to come up with really good system to recognize player
stuckness, though, other than maybe through some sort of machine
learning technique, where one trained the program by showing it a lot
of transcripts and marking them where the player was stuck.

This is starting to stray into rec.arts territory, but it's a subject I
find interesting.

Adam Thornton

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Dec 17, 2004, 12:44:02 AM12/17/04
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In article <cpsmnd$5ka$1...@reader1.panix.com>,

Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com> wrote:
>That would be very disrespectful. Ninjas for you, fellow.

There are no ninjaaaaaargh

Andrew Plotkin

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Dec 18, 2004, 1:11:02 AM12/18/04
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Here, PJ <pete_...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> Z wrote:
>
> >Room visits seems like a bad counter. You can easily pass through a
> >room several times before you try to solve the puzzle. Contrariwise,
> >you can try on your first visit, get stuck, and want a hint.
>
> Yep. That's the problem with both room and turn counters -- how do
> you know the player isn't purposely avoiding the problem? Counting
> actions not taken is harder than counting actions attempted. But --
> and here's where you pick your poison, I guess -- most players try and
> solve the puzzles as they run across them. I think, in fact,you might
> really need to go to a mixed strategy of hints to successfully help the
> newbie.

I think I might bail on the whole idea, and have the counters suggest
a "HINT" command, rather than actually giving hints. That way I can
make the counters conservative.

> The reason I suggest that that might be necessary are your cases of the
> white mask and the red mask. Newbies don't realize how important "x"
> and "search" are. They might roam through the study over and over
> again before saying "x clutter" or whatever you implemented there.

Examining just about any scenery object in the study will work,
including the desk. Also any verb involving the clutter. I'm not
worried about the white mask.

There's also a whole "how to examine" tutorial, which you probably
never saw because you got out into the hallway too efficiently. Try
starting the game, going up into the study, down the stairs, and back
up.

> The other example is the Cistern. I played originally in tutorial mode
> because, since you said the game was made for a tutorial purpose, I
> wanted to get the reaction of being tutored by your hints. So when I
> first found the cistern, I looked up and "x catwalk" and saw the mask.
> But I didn't do a "get mask" because obviously I couldn't reach
> something that far away. I did pull the lever, but as it was late at
> night, I spent a couple of turns standing on the glass platform and a
> few more going in and out of the room and searching those areas for
> clues. A newbie might not make the connection -- hear the gurgle, go
> west, then see what happens. And he would never have done a "get mask"
> because the puzzle he is working is not the mask, but how does the
> cistern work.

On the contrary -- he might try "get mask" right away, because it's
*not* obvious that you can't reach it. (It's obvious to an experienced
player, not necessarily to a newbie.) Or he might not (or he might not
examine the catwalk at all). But that area also triggers hints if you
type "up" from the platform.

> Same thing in expert mode with fixing the catwalk and the black goop.
> You're not up there doing a get mask. You figure out the spout, then
> you're climbing up and down trying to understand how to make the black
> stuff go around. So no hint.

There are no hints in expert mode.

Jon Ingold

unread,
Dec 19, 2004, 7:49:51 AM12/19/04
to
> There are
> certain kinds of things that I try to flag when I'm looking for
> evidence of player struggles, such as typing "LOOK" or "INVENTORY"
> repeatedly (usually a sign that the player is looking for ideas --
> doing these things two or three times in a row is a sort of idling
> thing that people do when they can't think of a better action). It
> strikes me that that kind of thing -- analysis of the pattern of player
> input -- is likely to be much more effective than turn counts, given
> that different players have different play styles. Some people like to
> do a lot of exploring before they get down to the puzzle solving, for
> instance, which would rack up a high turn count with no visible
> "progress" from the game's point of view, and might make it think the
> player was at a loss when in fact he was just polishing his map and
> getting ready to get to work.

"My Angel" did something along these lines - typing LOOK and INV would
generally actively advance the plot. Now that game came with a strong
notice at the beginning that the player shouldn't just type at random,
since part of the challenge was to produce coherent prose... but in the
end, most people complained. We are too well trained to type INV
repeatedly rather than use Scrollback or something.

When is stuck research? Probably when a player types something really
*useless* more than once - so not information gathering, but verbs which
generate default messages. But that's only my own personal experience of
playing... Which is why the HINT command is perhaps the only surefire
way of knowing if the player's stuck or not.

Jon

Jon Ingold

unread,
Dec 19, 2004, 7:51:41 AM12/19/04
to

> Kerr's book was my first exposure to the idea of a magical memory
> palace.
>
> More recently, there's a short story by Mary Gentle -- I think it's
> "Beggars in Satin", but I could have the title wrong.

"Peace", by Gene Wolfe - the idea is not exactly explored - certainly
not explained - but it's certainly present in the structuring of the novel.

jon

Dee

unread,
Dec 20, 2004, 8:04:44 AM12/20/04
to
Emily wrote:

>Anyway. Thanks for writing the critique, and offering the extra
>background on memory palaces -- I'd forgotten the details of the
memory
>theater.

Dreamhold does not appear to be a very good game -- it doesn't break
any new ground, puzzles aren't that exciting, memory palace concept not
totally new -- certainly not worth all the analysis that's been posted
here and elsewhere. The only purpose it seems to have is to provide a
tutorial for new players. It doesn't seem fun enough and the hints
don't work well enough, to justify all the commentary. Would people be
giving it this much thought if it weren't one of AP's games? Just
wondering.

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Dec 20, 2004, 10:21:12 AM12/20/04
to
Here, Dee <dfo...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> Dreamhold does not appear to be a very good game

I see you're posting from a brand-new hotmail account.

David Alex Lamb

unread,
Dec 20, 2004, 1:57:32 PM12/20/04
to
In article <1103547884.5...@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,

Dee <dfo...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>Dreamhold does not appear to be a very good game -- it doesn't break
>any new ground, puzzles aren't that exciting, memory palace concept not
>totally new -- certainly not worth all the analysis that's been posted
>here and elsewhere. The only purpose it seems to have is to provide a
>tutorial for new players. It doesn't seem fun enough and the hints
>don't work well enough, to justify all the commentary. Would people be
>giving it this much thought if it weren't one of AP's games? Just
>wondering.

I'm a newbie -- played Adventure 20+ years ago at college, then nothing until
last week. I knew AP only as the author of "Hunter, In Darkness" (on which
I'm currently stuck waiting for inspiration). I am playing Dreamhold because
(a) it's being discussed (b) it is advertised as a "tutorial". It has been
fun so far, so is succeeding for its apparent main target audience.
--
"Yo' ideas need to be thinked befo' they are say'd" - Ian Lamb, age 3.5
http://www.cs.queensu.ca/~dalamb/ qucis->cs to reply (it's a long story...)

Adam Thornton

unread,
Dec 20, 2004, 5:01:33 PM12/20/04
to
>It doesn't seem fun enough and the hints
>don't work well enough, to justify all the commentary. Would people be
>giving it this much thought if it weren't one of AP's games? Just
>wondering.

Sure, if it were this well written.

But that would probably mean it was an Emily Short, Adam Cadre, or
Graham Nelson game instead.

Adam


juri...@hushmail.com

unread,
Dec 20, 2004, 11:10:15 PM12/20/04
to
jon syas:

"Peace", by Gene Wolfe - the idea is not exactly explored - certainly
not explained - but it's certainly present in the structuring of the
novel.

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

Wolfe's two Latro stories (collected as Latro in the Mist) include it
explicitly, as a method taught to the memory-impaired protagonist in
5th cent BCE Athens. His memory palace is *way* cool.

The stories themselves are the normal superb Wolfean works of
craftsmanship; but the plot is even more elliptical and opaque than
Dreamhold's back-story (joke, joke).
[BTW, WTF is with this new google groups not auto-quoting on replies?]

Mark S. Cipolone

unread,
Dec 21, 2004, 11:47:05 AM12/21/04
to

Or Gareth Rees.

--
MSC

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Dec 21, 2004, 11:53:04 AM12/21/04
to

Or ten other authors I could name off the top of my head. Come on,
folks, don't do the troll's work for him.

Dee

unread,
Dec 21, 2004, 2:52:08 PM12/21/04
to
Here, Andrew Plotkin wrote:

>>Here, Mark S. Cipolone <mscipol...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>> Adam Thornton wrote:
>> > In article

<1103547884.599102.171...@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
>> > Dee <dfo...@hotmail.com> wrote:

>> > >It doesn't seem fun enough and the hints
>> > >don't work well enough, to justify all the commentary. Would
people
>> > >be giving it this much thought if it weren't one of AP's games?
Just
>> > >wondering.

>> > Sure, if it were this well written.

>> > But that would probably mean it was an Emily Short, Adam Cadre, or
>> > Graham Nelson game instead.

>> Or Gareth Rees.

>Or ten other authors I could name off the top of my head. Come on,
>folks, don't do the troll's work for him.

But that begs the question. What constitutes a good game, worthy of
discussion? Other questions:

-- Is a "well-written" game synonymous with a good game?
-- Is a game by a well-known author going to be discussed a lot,
whether it's good, bad or indifferent? (And how do you get well-known
on this site, other than writing games for the IF Comp?)
-- Does any "well-written" game -- despite the lack of visibility of
the author -- get this level of discussion?

Just curious. The troll ref notwithstanding (one slightly negative
post makes a troll?), what games (types, genres, authors, etc.) are
likely to draw the most discussion here?

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Dec 21, 2004, 4:14:07 PM12/21/04
to
Here, Dee <dfo...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> But that begs the question. What constitutes a good game, worthy of
> discussion?

Bit of an ongoing question, that. What constitutes a good book?

> Other questions:
>
> -- Is a "well-written" game synonymous with a good game?

Depends how you mean it. I've seen games with good prose writing but
poor design. But I think the quotes upthread meant "a well-written
game" in the sense of a high-quality game overall.

> -- Is a game by a well-known author going to be discussed a lot,
> whether it's good, bad or indifferent?

Yes.

I'm probably an outlying statistic, because I like this ambiguous,
elliptical style of storytelling, which incites a lot of discussion.
It's not that it's per se better than everybody else; just fun to
speculate about. Or so I assume.

Also, of course, I've been engaging the discussion about the help
system, since I want to improve it. That leads to a lot of posts.

> (And how do you get well-known
> on this site, other than writing games for the IF Comp?)

I wish I knew. Writing a lot of games still works, as far as I can
tell. I will assume the community is healthy as long as that remains
true.

> -- Does any "well-written" game -- despite the lack of visibility of
> the author -- get this level of discussion?

Do you mean "every" well-written game? No. Partially for the reasons I
mention above.

> Just curious. The troll ref notwithstanding (one slightly negative
> post makes a troll?)

I didn't necessarily mean you. I haven't decided about you yet.

Your first post was not just "slightly negative", but *prescriptively*
negative. You picked the least positive points of everything anyone
had said, distorted them (why *should* the memory palace idea have
been "totally new"? That was a discussion of influence, not a
criticism) and then presented the result as if it were the agreed
concensus of the newsgroup so far.

You also ended with "Just wondering", which in my experience is
invariably a lie wrapped around a nasty innuendo.

Adam Thornton

unread,
Dec 22, 2004, 1:29:21 AM12/22/04
to
In article <cq9kdf$ah5$1...@reader2.panix.com>,

Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com> wrote:
>Come on, folks, don't do the troll's work for him.

But if we do, then he'll be out of a job, and then he'll have to go back
to being a greeter at Wal-Mart. It's a win-win situation, except
possibly for the Wal-Mart shoppers.

Adam

Adam Thornton

unread,
Dec 22, 2004, 1:31:57 AM12/22/04
to
In article <1103658728.4...@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,

Dee <dfo...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>But that begs the question. What constitutes a good game, worthy of
>discussion? Other questions:
>
>-- Is a "well-written" game synonymous with a good game?

Nope.

>-- Is a game by a well-known author going to be discussed a lot,
>whether it's good, bad or indifferent? (And how do you get well-known
>on this site, other than writing games for the IF Comp?)

Dunno. I don't think "Common Ground" got a lot of discussion, despite
being well-written and by a well-known author.

>-- Does any "well-written" game -- despite the lack of visibility of
>the author -- get this level of discussion?

Yeah. Plenty of games get more discussion than this.

Me, I'd like to see a nice juicy _Necrotic Drift_ thread.

Adam

Anthony Mahler

unread,
Dec 22, 2004, 1:18:17 PM12/22/04
to
Magnus Olsson

> >Looks like a CABAL member revision to me... ;)
>
> Shhh... don't mention the Cabal. Which doesn't exist, by the way.

That "joke" has grown a grey beard by now.

Tobias Thelen

unread,
Dec 22, 2004, 1:44:02 PM12/22/04
to

Dee <dfo...@hotmail.com> skrev i
diskussionsgruppsmeddelandet:1103547884.5...@c13g2000cwb.googlegrou
ps.com...

I disagree. The writing is forced and heavy-handed and the back-story is
vague enough to be profound, but the playing experience was fun enough to
justify investing two hours of my time, which is more than I can say about
the majority of the comp games.

I was, however, somewhat taken aback by the author's response to your
criticism. I understand that he's some kind of big shot around here, but
calling people names just because they happen to dislike one's game is
*never* a good idea.


Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Dec 22, 2004, 5:05:48 PM12/22/04
to
Here, Tobias Thelen <thel...@utfors.se> wrote:
>
> I disagree. The writing is forced and heavy-handed

Same troll. Same ISP, same IP address.

Tobias Thelen

unread,
Dec 22, 2004, 6:28:17 PM12/22/04
to

Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com> skrev i
diskussionsgruppsmeddelandet:cqcr3s$rrb$1...@reader1.panix.com...

> Here, Tobias Thelen <thel...@utfors.se> wrote:
> >
> > I disagree. The writing is forced and heavy-handed
>
> Same troll. Same ISP, same IP address.

Andrew Plotkin, rec.games.int-fiction, 2004-11-17:

When you write a game, you have to be prepared for players to not like
it. And you do not get to write down a list of acceptable reasons for
them to dislike it. That's the player's job. :) Your job is smile and
nod and, if necessary, say "I'm sorry it didn't work for you."


Gee, it's a good thing you live as you learn.


Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Dec 22, 2004, 8:00:34 PM12/22/04
to
Here, Tobias Thelen <thel...@utfors.se> wrote:
>
> Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com> skrev i
> diskussionsgruppsmeddelandet:cqcr3s$rrb$1...@reader1.panix.com...
> > Here, Tobias Thelen <thel...@utfors.se> wrote:
> > >
> > > I disagree. The writing is forced and heavy-handed
> >
> > Same troll. Same ISP, same IP address.
>
> Andrew Plotkin, rec.games.int-fiction, 2004-11-17:
>
> When you write a game, you have to be prepared for players to not like
> it. And you do not get to write down a list of acceptable reasons for
> them to dislike it. That's the player's job. :) Your job is smile and
> nod and, if necessary, say "I'm sorry it didn't work for you."

You're not a player.

Walter S.

unread,
Dec 23, 2004, 7:40:03 AM12/23/04
to
>Here, Tobias Thelen <thel...@utfors.se> wrote:
>>
>> Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com> skrev i
>> diskussionsgruppsmeddelandet:cqcr3s$rrb$1...@reader1.panix.com...
>> > Here, Tobias Thelen <thel...@utfors.se> wrote:
>> > >
>> > > I disagree. The writing is forced and heavy-handed
>> >
>> > Same troll. Same ISP, same IP address.
>>
>> Andrew Plotkin, rec.games.int-fiction, 2004-11-17:
>>
>> When you write a game, you have to be prepared for players to not like
>> it. And you do not get to write down a list of acceptable reasons for
>> them to dislike it. That's the player's job. :) Your job is smile and
>> nod and, if necessary, say "I'm sorry it didn't work for you."
>
>You're not a player.

Elitism is never a good idea.

L. Ross Raszewski

unread,
Dec 23, 2004, 8:23:04 AM12/23/04
to
Every time you mention the Cabal, God kills a kitten.

Which, when added to the ones which dissapear mysteriously without a
trace whenever someone mentions the Cabal, is a consiterable number of
cats removed from play.

Dan Blum

unread,
Dec 23, 2004, 10:09:32 AM12/23/04
to
Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com> wrote:
> Here, Magnus Olsson <m...@df.lth.se> wrote:

> > On a tangent, Katharine Kerr has a neat treatment of a wizard's memory
> > palace taking on some kind of lief of its own (well, kind of) in one
> > of her Deverry books.

> Kerr's book was my first exposure to the idea of a magical memory
> palace.

> More recently, there's a short story by Mary Gentle -- I think it's
> "Beggars in Satin", but I could have the title wrong.

There's also Jeffrey Ford's _Memoranda_ (the sequel to _The Physiognomy_), which
is almost entirely set in a memory palace.

--
_______________________________________________________________________
Dan Blum to...@panix.com
"I wouldn't have believed it myself if I hadn't just made it up."

Richard Bos

unread,
Dec 23, 2004, 6:04:33 PM12/23/04
to
lrasz...@loyola.edu (L. Ross Raszewski) wrote:

> On Wed, 22 Dec 2004 18:18:17 GMT, Anthony Mahler <antm...@mail.com> wrote:
> >Magnus Olsson
> >
> >> >Looks like a CABAL member revision to me... ;)
> >>
> >> Shhh... don't mention the Cabal. Which doesn't exist, by the way.
> >
> >That "joke" has grown a grey beard by now.
> >
> Every time you mention the Cabal, God kills a kitten.

Cabal. Cabal cabal cabal cabal. Cabal cabal. Cabal.

Richard, trying to protect the blackbirds in his garden. Damn all cats.

Gene Wirchenko

unread,
Dec 23, 2004, 11:31:15 PM12/23/04
to
sis...@africamail.com (Walter S.) wrote:

Sure, it is. Standards of excellence are great.

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko

Computerese Irregular Verb Conjugation:
I have preferences.
You have biases.
He/She has prejudices.

Gene Wirchenko

unread,
Dec 23, 2004, 11:31:15 PM12/23/04
to
lrasz...@loyola.edu (L. Ross Raszewski) wrote:

There go two more, you #$%#$!

Walter S.

unread,
Dec 24, 2004, 7:11:28 AM12/24/04
to
Gene Wirchenko (ge...@mail.ocis.net) wrote

>>>Here, Tobias Thelen <thel...@utfors.se> wrote:
>>>>
>>>> Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com> skrev i
>>>> diskussionsgruppsmeddelandet:cqcr3s$rrb$1...@reader1.panix.com...
>>>> > Here, Tobias Thelen <thel...@utfors.se> wrote:
>>>> > >
>>>> > > I disagree. The writing is forced and heavy-handed
>>>> >
>>>> > Same troll. Same ISP, same IP address.
>>>>
>>>> Andrew Plotkin, rec.games.int-fiction, 2004-11-17:
>>>>
>>>> When you write a game, you have to be prepared for players to not
like
>>>> it. And you do not get to write down a list of acceptable reasons
for
>>>> them to dislike it. That's the player's job. :) Your job is smile
and
>>>> nod and, if necessary, say "I'm sorry it didn't work for you."
>>>
>>>You're not a player.
>>
>>Elitism is never a good idea.
>
> Sure, it is. Standards of excellence are great.

I suppose you could be right, assuming the elitist is able to achieve
those standards. Plotkin isn't. The
find-white-key-to-open-white-door-type puzzles, the awkward writing,
the generic fantasy setting, the amnesia, the faceless PC, everything
screams "Staple food!" at you.

Dreamhold is quite simply too mediocre to justify Plotkin's diva-like
bitchin'. And the assumption that you somehow have to "earn" the right
to play it is, for lack of a better word, hilarious.

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Dec 24, 2004, 11:11:18 AM12/24/04
to
Here, Walter S. <sis...@africamail.com> wrote:
>
> Dreamhold is quite simply too mediocre to justify Plotkin's diva-like
> bitchin'. And the assumption that you somehow have to "earn" the right
> to play it is

Not what I said. Anyone can play a game. You don't really think
Dreamhold is mediocre, though. You call prominent games "mediocre" (or
"bad") at random, using random false names, to annoy people.

I figure all the actual RGIF newcomers now realize this, so I can stop
pointing it out for another few months. Have fun.

Matthew Russotto

unread,
Dec 24, 2004, 1:59:41 PM12/24/04
to
In article <cqcr3s$rrb$1...@reader1.panix.com>,

Andrew Plotkin <erky...@eblong.com> wrote:
>Here, Tobias Thelen <thel...@utfors.se> wrote:
>>
>> I disagree. The writing is forced and heavy-handed
>
>Same troll. Same ISP, same IP address.

And same M.O.

Matthew Russotto

unread,
Dec 24, 2004, 2:01:08 PM12/24/04
to
In article <YEzyd.7133$L7.2457@trnddc05>,

L. Ross Raszewski <lrasz...@loyola.edu> wrote:
>On Wed, 22 Dec 2004 18:18:17 GMT, Anthony Mahler <antm...@mail.com> wrote:
>>Magnus Olsson
>>
>>> >Looks like a CABAL member revision to me... ;)
>>>
>>> Shhh... don't mention the Cabal. Which doesn't exist, by the way.
>>
>>That "joke" has grown a grey beard by now.
>>
>>
>>
>Every time you mention the Cabal, God kills a kitten.

Cabal.Cabal.Cabal.Cabal.Cabal.Cabal.Cabal.Cabal.Cabal.Cabal.Cabal.Cabal.Cabal.
Cabal.Cabal.Cabal.Cabal.Cabal.Cabal.Cabal.Cabal.Cabal.Cabal.Cabal.Cabal.Cabal.

(did I mention that I'm allergic to cats and I love it when the Big
Guy does the wet work?)

Dave

unread,
Dec 24, 2004, 3:46:38 PM12/24/04
to

"L. Ross Raszewski" <lrasz...@loyola.edu> wrote in message
news:YEzyd.7133$L7.2457@trnddc05...

> On Wed, 22 Dec 2004 18:18:17 GMT, Anthony Mahler <antm...@mail.com>
wrote:
> >Magnus Olsson
> >
> >> >Looks like a CABAL member revision to me... ;)
> >>
> >> Shhh... don't mention the Cabal. Which doesn't exist, by the way.
> >
> >That "joke" has grown a grey beard by now.
> >
> >
> >
> Every time you mention the Cabal, God kills a kitten.

So God's a Stephen Lynch fan, then?


Olaf Bickern

unread,
Dec 24, 2004, 3:55:31 PM12/24/04
to
It's quite sad. Some years ago I was very interested in IF. Recently, I
did not find much time to play new games. However, what I was interested
in were 'good' games - playing which would not kill time but be
rewarding in itself.

I did not play Dreamhold yet. I'm not sure I will. So this will be a
response to what I gather is a troll. Something one should never do.

This is, however, not just a trolling, but an attempt (maybe even a
success) to kill further discussions that would be helpful to IF.

The original author called Dreamhold a "mediocre" game, implying he/she
wants IF better that this. In truth he wants worse IF, traditional
puzzle games which would not *pretend* to be anything more. In fact, it
is exactly this aspiration which gives offence to the original author.

Calling a game 'mediocre' bans into the realm of adventure games.
Dreamhold may very well lack in some respects. I did not realize it
aimed at being avant garde. I would be quite interested to discuss the
shortcomings of good IF; while I immensely enjoyed, say, Christminster,
Mercy and Photopia, these games had quite a number of weaknesses. The
trolling, however, prevents this discussion. It establishes an
atmosphere in which harsh criticism looks like trolling and constructive
criticism read like fan boy articles.

Those who think IF is dead and playing it is a nostalgic indulgence will
not mind. Those who think its just a hobby of a couple of hundreds of
afficinados will not mind either. If, on the other hand, you think IF is
something worthwhile and promising, you better not ignore the "trolls",
but tell the hillbillies who are disturbed in their comfort of
puzzlefests to STFU and leave discussions to those who know what they
are talking about. (Indeed, I suggest discussing the trolle (while not
with them) instead of ignoring them; they are not classic trolls who'll
say anything to get a response; rather they seem to thrive upon an
attitude which need to be attacked at thoroughly dismantled).

--
ob

Walter S.

unread,
Dec 24, 2004, 4:44:21 PM12/24/04
to
Andrew Plotkin

>Here, Walter S. <sis...@africamail.com> wrote:
>>
>> Dreamhold is quite simply too mediocre to justify Plotkin's
diva-like
>> bitchin'. And the assumption that you somehow have to "earn" the
right
>> to play it is
>
>Not what I said. Anyone can play a game. You don't really think
>Dreamhold is mediocre, though.

How do you know what I *really* think, Andrew? Do you see it in your
crystal ball?

>You call prominent games "mediocre" (or
>"bad") at random, using random false names, to annoy people.

Let me give you a friendly tip. It's up to *others* to praise your
work. Calling your own game "prominent" and anyone who dislikes it a
troll smacks of desperation.

>I figure all the actual RGIF newcomers now realize this, so I can
stop
>pointing it out for another few months.

(This is borderline pathology, but what the hell, it's christmas.)

Are you saying that the people who dislike your game are in reality
one and the same person? Someone who bears you a grudge, Andrew? Is it
inconceivable to dislike "Dreamhold" on the game's merits alone? Is it
so flawless that anyone who critisizes it must, by definition, be a
hateful troll?

>Have fun.

Please don't leave. The drones like you. They look up to you.

Walter S.

unread,
Dec 24, 2004, 6:07:59 PM12/24/04
to
Olaf Bickern

[He hasn't played "Dreamhold" yet, but he doesn't think it's
mediocre.]

>Calling a game 'mediocre' bans into the realm of adventure games.

That's *your* prejudice, not mine.

[Snip of two paragraphs saying that critisizing "Dreamhold"
establishes a bad atmosphere and that anyone who does so should "Shut
The Fuck Up".]


I'm sort of curious. Did any of the comp authors who didn't make it to
the top-ten insult the voters? Did any of them brand unkind reviews as
the work of conniving trolls? I recall "Narcolepsy" receiving rather
lukewarm reviews. There were quite a few people who didn't like it,
and who openly said so. I don't recall Adam Cadre calling them names.
Why is it that virtually everyone here is able to behave like a mature
adult, except Andrew Plotkin?

Olaf Bickern

unread,
Dec 24, 2004, 6:32:27 PM12/24/04
to
Walter S. wrote:
>
>>Calling a game 'mediocre' bans into the realm of adventure games.
>
>
> That's *your* prejudice, not mine.

I replied because I am interested in IF criticism. You failed to
deliver. Judging something as 'mediocre' is postmodern mumbo-jumbo:
neither can you point out the weaknesses of a bad game nor explain what
would make a good one.

Matthew Russotto

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Dec 24, 2004, 7:07:15 PM12/24/04
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In article <3c4994a3.04122...@posting.google.com>,

Walter S. <sis...@africamail.com> wrote:
>
>I'm sort of curious. Did any of the comp authors who didn't make it to
>the top-ten insult the voters? Did any of them brand unkind reviews as
>the work of conniving trolls? I recall "Narcolepsy" receiving rather
>lukewarm reviews. There were quite a few people who didn't like it,
>and who openly said so. I don't recall Adam Cadre calling them names.

There's one IF author I know who acted like that.... and I've got a
sneaking suspicion you're him, eh Salieri?

shawn....@gmail.com

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May 7, 2014, 2:07:26 AM5/7/14
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It would be nice if we could find out more about who the silver-haired thing from the memories is. I've reached three endings so far, and I don't really feel like I understand anything about the who, what, where, when, or why of anything. Maybe a companion novel or FAQ for those of us who don't understand symbolism and those weird concepts that liberal-arts types seem to understand?

~ A Newbie
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