missed commands?

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JAN THORSBY

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Oct 27, 2003, 7:41:30 PM10/27/03
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I am considering writing a game and was wondering: is there a command you
often try, but which is never or seldom is implemented? (Or more
realistically you don't try it all that often cause you don't expect it to
be implemented).

Personally I have occasionally wanted to hold an object up in the air, or
close to another object, but never been able to. I also sometimes try to
dance, sing and smile.

dgr...@cs.csbuak.edu

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Oct 27, 2003, 10:14:22 PM10/27/03
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It seems traditional to have verbs "plugh" and "xyzzy" do something, even
if it's only to reply "A hollow voice says "Fool!".".

Here are some goodies I put into my rendition of "Shadowgate":

Vs lbh fbzrubj znantr gb qb fbzrguvat "vzcbffvoyr", lbh znl raq hc
fhzzbavat gur Vzcyrzragbe jub jvyy fpbyq lbh sbe qbvat fb. Guvf jnf
znvayl sbe zl bja nzhfrzrag juvyr pbqvat. Vg fubhyqa'g or cbffvoyr gb
qb gurfr guvatf hayrff lbh unir n "qroht" ohvyq.

Gurer ner gjb bgure jnlf gb fhzzba gur Vzcyrzragbe. Bar vaibyirf
jvaavat gur tnzr va na habegubqbk znaare. Gur bgure vaibyirf jryy-xabja
zntvp jbeqf.

Gur gebyy vf dhvgr gnyxngvir.

Lbh pna rira hfr ehqr trfgherf.


--
David Griffith
dgr...@cs.csbuak.edu <-- Switch the 'b' and 'u'

Anders Hellerup Madsen

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Oct 28, 2003, 5:48:23 AM10/28/03
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It seems that no matter what game I play, I often find myself trying to
examine walls, for one reason or another. And in almost every single
game, walls are not implemented.

If you don't get some sort of "I don't see any wall here" message, you
get the standard message about which wall you want to examine, and that
there is nothing special about any of them.

Anders


Drakore

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Oct 28, 2003, 12:28:45 PM10/28/03
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JAN THORSBY

"The night sky is sprinkled with stars."

>touch stars

You feel nothing unexpected.

>taste stars

You taste nothing unexpected.

>rub stars

You achieve nothing by this.

>search stars

You find nothing of interest

>light stars

This dangerous act would achieve little.

>jump over stars

You would achieve nothing by this.


Maybe I'm being pedantic, but things like this can spoil a game for me.

Mike Roberts

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Oct 28, 2003, 1:50:23 PM10/28/03
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"Drakore" <d...@mail.com> wrote:
> "The night sky is sprinkled with stars."
> >touch stars
> You feel nothing unexpected.
> [etc]

>
> Maybe I'm being pedantic, but things like this can spoil a
> game for me.

That sentiment is expressed around here pretty often, but it makes me
wonder: if this sort of thing spoils a game for you, why do you bother with
text IF at all? Seriously. I don't think I've seen a game that doesn't
have some of this, and I think it's just plain impractical to eliminate it
from anything but the most trivial game, at least with present and
foreseeable technology. I don't see how you can hope to enjoy any IF if
you're unwilling to collaborate with the author to some extent by accepting
the limits of the simulation.

I know I'm going to kick off fifty replies about how I want to ruin IF by
making players lower their standards, about how I'm thinking inside the box,
how I'm not visionary enough to see how much better IF could be if authors
would just stop being so darn lazy or the development systems would just use
the proper AI techniques. So let me emphasize that I'm talking about
present and foreseeable technology; yes, full-blown AI would solve these
problems, but if you're holding out for that, I think you have a long wait.

--Mike
mjr underscore at hotmail dot com

Andrew Plotkin

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Oct 28, 2003, 2:35:28 PM10/28/03
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Here, Mike Roberts <mjrUND...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> "Drakore" <d...@mail.com> wrote:
> > "The night sky is sprinkled with stars."
> > >touch stars
> > You feel nothing unexpected.
> > [etc]
> >
> > Maybe I'm being pedantic, but things like this can spoil a
> > game for me.
>
> That sentiment is expressed around here pretty often, but it makes me
> wonder: if this sort of thing spoils a game for you, why do you bother with
> text IF at all? Seriously. I don't think I've seen a game that doesn't
> have some of this, and I think it's just plain impractical to eliminate it
> from anything but the most trivial game, at least with present and
> foreseeable technology.

It's impossible to eliminate *all* of it, but "stars" is an
egregious example. You don't need full-blown AI to make the stars be
out of reach.

Here, these are the stars in Inform:

Object stars "stars"
with
name 'star' 'stars' 'night' 'sky',
description "The night sky is sprinkled with stars.",
before [;
Examine: rfalse;
default: "The stars are beyond your reach.";
],
has scenery;

It bugs me, too, when distant or sky objects are missing that two-line
"before" clause. Maybe I'm being pedantic, but if you leave it out,
*you're* being sloppy.

I place those nine lines of code in the public domain.

--Z

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

Mike Roberts

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Oct 28, 2003, 3:01:23 PM10/28/03
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"Andrew Plotkin" <erky...@eblong.com> wrote:
> > "Drakore" <d...@mail.com> wrote:
> > > "The night sky is sprinkled with stars."
> > > >touch stars
> > > You feel nothing unexpected.
> > > [etc]
> > >
> > > Maybe I'm being pedantic, but things like this can spoil a
> > > game for me.
> >
> > That sentiment is expressed around here pretty often, but it
> > makes me wonder: if this sort of thing spoils a game for you,
> > why do you bother with text IF at all?
>
> It's impossible to eliminate *all* of it, but "stars" is an egregious
> example. You don't need full-blown AI to make the stars be
> out of reach.

No, of course not; my point was about catching all of these, not about
catching any one. You can always eliminate any individual bug or seam in
the simulation; you can, after the fact, fix a problem that someone's found;
what you can't do is ensure that every possible command has a good response.
If you can't do that, any given player is likely to find at least a few of
these nonsense responses in any given game - certainly my own experience is
that I always find at least a few. So: if this sort of thing spoils a game
for a given player, I think that player will find every text IF game
spoiled.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with someone if this sort of thing
spoils IF for them; I'm only saying that IF probably isn't their cup of tea
if it does, that they'd probably get more enjoyment out of other kinds of
games. If you like playing IF, it seems to me, then you must see this sort
of bug as detracting from, but not spoiling, a game. The cumulative amount
of detraction might well amount to spoilage if a game has lots of these
problems, but it seems like you have to have a non-zero tolerance for
visible seams to enjoy playing IF.

Drakore

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Oct 28, 2003, 6:48:35 PM10/28/03
to
Mike Roberts

> That sentiment is expressed around here pretty often, but it makes me
> wonder: if this sort of thing spoils a game for you, why do you bother
with
> text IF at all?

If badly written dialogue spoils a film for you, why do you bother watching
movies? Sorry, I just don't follow your line of thought.

> Seriously. I don't think I've seen a game that doesn't
> have some of this, and I think it's just plain impractical to eliminate it
> from anything but the most trivial game, at least with present and
> foreseeable technology. I don't see how you can hope to enjoy any IF if
> you're unwilling to collaborate with the author to some extent by
accepting
> the limits of the simulation.

It's up to the author, and not the player, to limit the simulation. It's
near to impossible to implement a realistically functioning micro-wave oven
in a reasonably large game. Knowing that, the prudent author simply avoids
putting it in the game or limits its functionality. What the author
shouldn't be doing is getting testy and accusing the player of lack of good
will and collaboration when she puts a bottle of coke in the micro and gets
a silly response. (Was it Lurking Horror?)

> I know I'm going to kick off fifty replies about how I want to ruin IF by
> making players lower their standards, about how I'm thinking inside the
box,
> how I'm not visionary enough to see how much better IF could be if authors
> would just stop being so darn lazy or the development systems would just
use
> the proper AI techniques. So let me emphasize that I'm talking about
> present and foreseeable technology; yes, full-blown AI would solve these
> problems, but if you're holding out for that, I think you have a long
wait.

As Andrew Plotkin already pointed out, the stars aren't all that difficult
to fix. What I would like to add is that a well-implemented distant object
can contribute a lot to depth and perspective. It's not a trifle that can be
overlooked.

Mike Roberts

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Oct 28, 2003, 8:09:09 PM10/28/03
to
"Drakore" <d...@mail.com> wrote:
>mjr:
> > if this sort of thing [nonsensical responses to particular commands]

> > spoils a game for you, why do you bother with text IF at all?
>
> If badly written dialogue spoils a film for you, why do you bother
> watching movies? Sorry, I just don't follow your line of thought.

My point was that it's impossible, with current technology, to create a game
that's completely free of the sorts of defects you pointed out. It follows
that a player who's sufficiently sensitive to simulation errors won't be
able to find any games that aren't spoiled by simulation errors. On the
other hand, it's quite within the reach of current scriptwriting technology
to create a film free of bad dialog, thus a person could be very picky about
writing quality and still find some films they can enjoy.

My more speculative idea is that there seem to be people drawn to IF because
they like the idea, but they really can't get past the practical
limitations - it really does spoil the experience for them if there's
anything missing or not quite working right. You see this idea here from
time to time that games could be free of bugs and seams and limits if
authors would just try harder.

> It's up to the author, and not the player, to limit the simulation.
> It's near to impossible to implement a realistically functioning
> micro-wave oven in a reasonably large game. Knowing that, the
> prudent author simply avoids putting it in the game or limits its
> functionality.

If you pursue that strategy to its logical conclusion, though, you end up
with a game with no text and no objects at all; obviously not very
interesting, but at least it can't produce any nonsense responses. As soon
as you start adding text, you need interactive objects to back up the text -
if you leave them out, you get a different sort of bug, where the games says
"you see no x here" too often. And as soon as you start adding the objects,
you're adding opportunities for bugs to slip in. As you point out with your
"stars" example, even simple objects can be programmed wrong.

> As Andrew Plotkin already pointed out, the stars aren't all that
> difficult to fix. What I would like to add is that a well-implemented
> distant object can contribute a lot to depth and perspective. It's
> not a trifle that can be overlooked.

I'm not suggesting that it is, and in fact I've spent a fair amount of
effort implementing degrees of distant objects in my own work. Please don't
take my comments as dismissive of the particular type of bug you raised - I
completely agree that your "stars" example is a bug. If I ran into it while
playing a game, it would detract from the experience, although it probably
wouldn't all by itself ruin the game for me.

Adrien Beau

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Oct 29, 2003, 3:29:34 AM10/29/03
to
On Mardi 28 Octobre 2003 19:50, Mike Roberts wrote:
>
> "Drakore" <d...@mail.com> wrote:
>> "The night sky is sprinkled with stars."
>> >touch stars
>> You feel nothing unexpected.
>> [etc]
>>
>> Maybe I'm being pedantic, but things like this can spoil a
>> game for me.
>
> That sentiment is expressed around here pretty often, but it
> makes me wonder: if this sort of thing spoils a game for you,
> why do you bother with text IF at all?

Maybe spoil was too strong a word, but I think many people here
enjoy getting customized answers to such "unexpected" input. As
you said, an author cannot provide an answer for every possible
input, but that doesn't mean that he can get away with providing
none.

I find myself trying a lot of such actions when I get stuck in a
game. Sometimes it brings in some clues about a puzzle, sometimes
the answer is funny and helps dissipate a bit of the tension that
builds up when I get stuck, sometimes the answer keeps building
on the universe or atmosphere of the game, and this is great.

I certainly don't expect an author to provide thousands of
customized messages, but a game without a few of them can feel
very bland, especially in Drakore's example, where the default
message is illogical.

As a non-author, it feels a bit awkward to say this but: if you
only have so much time to implement custom, unimportant messages,
concentrate on putting them where the player might get stuck;
also, be sure that major "unactive" scenery elements (typically
the sky, in Dracore's example) have sensible default messages.

--
spam....@free.fr
You have my name and my hostname: you can mail me.
(Put a period between my first and last names).

Richard Bos

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Oct 29, 2003, 3:53:15 AM10/29/03
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"Mike Roberts" <mjrUND...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> "Drakore" <d...@mail.com> wrote:
> > "The night sky is sprinkled with stars."
> > >touch stars
> > You feel nothing unexpected.
> > [etc]
> >
> > Maybe I'm being pedantic, but things like this can spoil a
> > game for me.
>
> That sentiment is expressed around here pretty often, but it makes me
> wonder: if this sort of thing spoils a game for you, why do you bother with
> text IF at all? Seriously. I don't think I've seen a game that doesn't
> have some of this, and I think it's just plain impractical to eliminate it
> from anything but the most trivial game,

While I agree with you in the general case, it must be pointed out that
in this case the stars were mentioned explicitly by the author. If you
write a text like that, it's bad service to your player if you don't
allow at least trivial interaction with the mentioned scenery. Of
course, OTOH, if you have "a kitchen with all the mod cons", no player
need expect to be able to use said mod cons individually - again, unless
the author mentions them individually.

Richard

Anssi Raisanen

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Oct 29, 2003, 4:10:01 AM10/29/03
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"Mike Roberts" <mjrUND...@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<G_ynb.27$sF1...@news.oracle.com>...

> "Drakore" <d...@mail.com> wrote:
> > "The night sky is sprinkled with stars."
> > >touch stars
> > You feel nothing unexpected.
> > [etc]
> >
> > Maybe I'm being pedantic, but things like this can spoil a
> > game for me.
>
> That sentiment is expressed around here pretty often, but it makes me
> wonder: if this sort of thing spoils a game for you, why do you bother with
> text IF at all? Seriously. I don't think I've seen a game that doesn't
> have some of this, and I think it's just plain impractical to eliminate it
> from anything but the most trivial game, at least with present and
> foreseeable technology. I don't see how you can hope to enjoy any IF if
> you're unwilling to collaborate with the author to some extent by accepting
> the limits of the simulation.
>
>

In ALAN, I have extended the standard library (for my own purposes) by
adding the default attribute 'reachable'. It's quite simple to then
code e.g.

OBJECT stars IN outdoor_container
IS NOT reachable.
...
END OBJECT.

and in the library add the check to all necessary verbs:

VERB touch (kick, taste..)
CHECK obj IS reachable
ELSE "You can't reach that."
DOES "You feel nothing unexpected (etc)"
END VERB.

It shouldn't be very hard to accomplish this in the other systems?
-Anssi

Jason Brown

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Nov 1, 2003, 2:02:52 AM11/1/03
to

Many times after dealing with a particularly helpful NPC, it seems only
polite to thank them for their help. It drives me nuts when after I "thank
marion" the game tells me "That's not a verb I recognise." instead of,
"Marion smiles and says, 'You're welcome.'"

OK, so I'm a little neurotic. Aren't we all? ;)

-J. Brown

Roberto Grassi

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Nov 1, 2003, 5:23:32 AM11/1/03
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The command REMEMBER so that the virtual player will expose all
the plot that he as discovereds at the moment like some sort of clues.
Rob


--
Posted via Mailgate.ORG Server - http://www.Mailgate.ORG

Weird Beard

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Nov 1, 2003, 11:26:40 PM11/1/03
to
"JAN THORSBY" <jtho...@c2i.net> wrote in
news:_Winb.23663$BD3.4...@juliett.dax.net:

> I am considering writing a game and was wondering: is there a command
> you often try, but which is never or seldom is implemented? (Or more
> realistically you don't try it all that often cause you don't expect
> it to be implemented).
>

I hardly ever see the verb USE accepted in a text game, as in "use key with
door" "use pump with raft" etc.

Daniel Barkalow

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Nov 3, 2003, 1:14:39 AM11/3/03
to
On Tue, 28 Oct 2003, Drakore wrote:

> JAN THORSBY
> > I am considering writing a game and was wondering: is there a command you
> > often try, but which is never or seldom is implemented? (Or more
> > realistically you don't try it all that often cause you don't expect it to
> > be implemented).
> >
> > Personally I have occasionally wanted to hold an object up in the air, or
> > close to another object, but never been able to. I also sometimes try to
> > dance, sing and smile.
>
> "The night sky is sprinkled with stars."
>
> >touch stars
>
> You feel nothing unexpected.

At first you are impressed. You've actually managed to reach up and touch
the stars! A feat beyond the abilities of mere mortals, and so easily
accomplished for one such as yourself. Then a sense of
disappointment; something special was supposed to happen. What good are
super-human abilities if nothing comes of them? In the end, though, you
get over it, and get on with your life. Sure, it's unusual, but there are
so many more practical things to do. So many sensations, but easily
predictable if you stop to think about it. In short, you feel nothing
unexpected.

> Maybe I'm being pedantic, but things like this can spoil a game for me.

It seems odd to me that you try them, then. It's not like you could expect
anything productive to come of it. I reserve my annoyance for cases where
some action that it makes sense for the character to try is not
implemented; if something I wouldn't expect to work fails to work with a
foolish message, it's a failure in communication between the game and the
user, not a failure in the game world, and not a miscommunication that
gets in the way of the game.

-Iabervon
*This .sig unintentionally changed*

Daniel Barkalow

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Nov 3, 2003, 1:31:26 AM11/3/03
to
On Tue, 28 Oct 2003, Anders Hellerup Madsen wrote:

> JAN THORSBY wrote:
> > I am considering writing a game and was wondering: is there a command you
> > often try, but which is never or seldom is implemented? (Or more
> > realistically you don't try it all that often cause you don't expect it to
> > be implemented).
> >
> > Personally I have occasionally wanted to hold an object up in the air, or
> > close to another object, but never been able to. I also sometimes try to
> > dance, sing and smile.
>
> It seems that no matter what game I play, I often find myself trying to
> examine walls, for one reason or another. And in almost every single
> game, walls are not implemented.

I do the same thing. I particularly find it annoying when there are
interesting or important things which should be clearly visible through
some exit, but there's no way to see them. For some reason, Jigsaw in
particular made me want to look in various directions.

I suspect that the reason this is so rarely implemented is that the
library makes it somewhat inconvenient to give per-room descriptions to
directions.

Gene Wirchenko

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Nov 3, 2003, 2:59:24 AM11/3/03
to
Daniel Barkalow <iabe...@iabervon.org> wrote:

>On Tue, 28 Oct 2003, Drakore wrote:
>
>> JAN THORSBY
>> > I am considering writing a game and was wondering: is there a command you
>> > often try, but which is never or seldom is implemented? (Or more
>> > realistically you don't try it all that often cause you don't expect it to
>> > be implemented).
>> >
>> > Personally I have occasionally wanted to hold an object up in the air, or
>> > close to another object, but never been able to. I also sometimes try to
>> > dance, sing and smile.
>>
>> "The night sky is sprinkled with stars."
>>
>> >touch stars
>>
>> You feel nothing unexpected.
>
>At first you are impressed. You've actually managed to reach up and touch
>the stars! A feat beyond the abilities of mere mortals, and so easily
>accomplished for one such as yourself. Then a sense of
>disappointment; something special was supposed to happen. What good are
>super-human abilities if nothing comes of them? In the end, though, you
>get over it, and get on with your life. Sure, it's unusual, but there are
>so many more practical things to do. So many sensations, but easily
>predictable if you stop to think about it. In short, you feel nothing
>unexpected.

Beautiful! The tone is perfect! The only flourish I can add is:
[Your sense of world-weary ennui has gone up by 10 points.]

[snip]

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko

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

Drakore

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Nov 3, 2003, 7:41:35 AM11/3/03
to
Daniel Barkalow

> > Maybe I'm being pedantic, but things like this can spoil a game for me.
>
> It seems odd to me that you try them, then. It's not like you could expect
> anything productive to come of it.

A simple "The stars are out of reach." would certainly be a productive
response. It would have enriched the simulation and told me that the author
has invested some time and thought in his game. The only thing the default
response does here, is to leave the player with a stale taste in her mouth.

> I reserve my annoyance for cases where
> some action that it makes sense for the character to try is not
> implemented; if something I wouldn't expect to work fails to work with a
> foolish message, it's a failure in communication between the game and the
> user, not a failure in the game world, and not a miscommunication that
> gets in the way of the game.

One of the few things that distinguishes a text adventure game from a
crossword puzzle is the element of simulation. If simulation isn't important
to you, then I suppose stars that can be touched and windows that can be
taken won't annoy you. I have a feeling, however, that many people here
consider simulation an integral part of IF.

Eytan Zweig

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Nov 3, 2003, 10:14:47 AM11/3/03
to

"Jason Brown" <reverse_th...@oohay.moc> wrote in message
news:pan.2003.11.01...@oohay.moc...

Ah, but NPC interaction commands open a whole other can of worms. In the
"touch stars" example made earlier in the thread, the case is simple -
either the author implemented a response or not. It's good if she did, bad
if she didn't. End of story. But in the NPC case, if I thank an NPC
without the game giving me a reason to, and they respond "you're welcome",
the response feels even more out of place than a parser error. And if I
thank someone ten times in a row, and they respond with "you're welcome"
ten times in a row, that also makes me lose faith that I'm talking to a
real person.

Now, you could make thanking the NPC depend on game state, so that they
respond differently if they already helped you or not. But that's a whole
lot more work than just adding a line to make the sky out of reach.

Basically, NPC interactions are a field in which I'm a *lot* more
forgiving than interaction with inanimate objects, because even a
relatively simple case like thanking people is extremely complicated.

Eytan


James Glover

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Nov 3, 2003, 1:10:52 PM11/3/03
to
On Mon, 3 Nov 2003 01:31:26 -0500, Daniel Barkalow <iabe...@iabervon.org>
wrote:

I recently produce an inform libary extension called walls.h which solved
this problem. However, there seemed little interest so I didn't bother
uploading it anywhere. However, I can E-mail a copy to you if you are
interested.

(Unfortnately it doesn't currently solve the >x wall Which wall do you
mean... problem. Although it does allow you to give a default description
to all walls. I may improve on this in a later version but this will
probably not be until Christmas as I am currently very busy.)

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

Stephen Granade

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Nov 3, 2003, 11:21:26 PM11/3/03
to
Daniel Barkalow <iabe...@iabervon.org> writes:

I don't do it because then I have to remember to alter wall
descriptions in every room where I might say, "Bookcases line the
north wall."

Stephen

--
Stephen Granade
ste...@granades.com

Daniel Barkalow

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Nov 4, 2003, 1:40:44 AM11/4/03
to
On Mon, 3 Nov 2003, James Glover wrote:

> On Mon, 3 Nov 2003 01:31:26 -0500, Daniel Barkalow <iabe...@iabervon.org>
> wrote:
>
> > On Tue, 28 Oct 2003, Anders Hellerup Madsen wrote:
> >
>
> > I suspect that the reason this is so rarely implemented is that the
> > library makes it somewhat inconvenient to give per-room descriptions to
> > directions.
> >
> > -Iabervon
> > *This .sig unintentionally changed*
> >
>
> I recently produce an inform libary extension called walls.h which solved
> this problem. However, there seemed little interest so I didn't bother
> uploading it anywhere. However, I can E-mail a copy to you if you are
> interested.

I actually implemented the same thing a while ago (somewhat badly), then
implemented it again in Platypus style for use with Platypus (Platypus,
instead of having a bunch of direction properties, has a single
"dirs" property which contains an array of alternating direction constants
and destinations, which is much more compact).

> (Unfortnately it doesn't currently solve the >x wall Which wall do you
> mean... problem. Although it does allow you to give a default description
> to all walls. I may improve on this in a later version but this will
> probably not be until Christmas as I am currently very busy.)

I'm not sure if I accept "x wall" at all. I'm more interested in "look
north"; I'd probably respond to "x wall" (if I handled it) like "go".

Daniel Barkalow

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Nov 4, 2003, 1:53:53 AM11/4/03
to

If you've mentioned the bookcases in the room description (which I'd
assume you would, if you were putting them in the room at all), "You see
nothing special about the north wall" would be perfectly appropriate,
presuming there wasn't anything all that special about the bookcases. In
fact, I think the only case where these descriptions are significant is
when you logically ought to be able to see something outside of the
room. It seems to me that anything in the room is either obvious, and
mentioned in the room description, in which case the direction description
can take it for granted, or is not obvious and requires actually looking
at the object involved.

I tend to want direction descriptions when faced with a hallway or when
outdoors. If there's nothing logically blocking my view to the north, I'd
like to be able to see things to the north if there's anything in that
direction to see.

Daniel Barkalow

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Nov 4, 2003, 2:15:32 AM11/4/03
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On Mon, 3 Nov 2003, Drakore wrote:

> Daniel Barkalow


>
> > I reserve my annoyance for cases where
> > some action that it makes sense for the character to try is not
> > implemented; if something I wouldn't expect to work fails to work with a
> > foolish message, it's a failure in communication between the game and the
> > user, not a failure in the game world, and not a miscommunication that
> > gets in the way of the game.
>
> One of the few things that distinguishes a text adventure game from a
> crossword puzzle is the element of simulation. If simulation isn't important
> to you, then I suppose stars that can be touched and windows that can be
> taken won't annoy you. I have a feeling, however, that many people here
> consider simulation an integral part of IF.

The simulation is important to me, but I tend to limit my commands to what
I can imagine the character doing. I'm interested in how the game world
responds tothe character's actions, but not in how the game responds to
the player trying to get the character to do something obviously
impossible.

I think letting the player take a window is significantly worse than
giving a default response to touching distant objects, however. If
something is clearly impossible, I don't much care what the game says
about it, so long as it does not then go on to behave like the action had
actually had some effect on the game world.

On the other hand, I'm now tempted by the idea of letting the player
wander around with a window, through which the player can see the room
he's in, and look foolish in a Tick sort of way. This may be partially due
to the fact that we had a window removed from my house this summer and
replaced with a door.

Graham Holden

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Nov 4, 2003, 7:44:44 AM11/4/03
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On Mon, 3 Nov 2003 10:14:47 -0500, "Eytan Zweig" <eyt...@oook.cz>
wrote:

<snip>

>Ah, but NPC interaction commands open a whole other can of worms. In the
>"touch stars" example made earlier in the thread, the case is simple -
>either the author implemented a response or not. It's good if she did, bad
>if she didn't. End of story. But in the NPC case, if I thank an NPC
>without the game giving me a reason to, and they respond "you're welcome",
>the response feels even more out of place than a parser error. And if I
>thank someone ten times in a row, and they respond with "you're welcome"
>ten times in a row, that also makes me lose faith that I'm talking to a
>real person.

I appreciate what you're saying (especially about the added complexity
of NPCs); and this is slightly tounge-in-cheek, but if someone who
says 'you're welcome' ten times in a row doesn't feel like a real
person, what does that make someone that says "thank you" ten times in
a row, especially if for no reason?

I think I'm broadly in agreement with Daniel Barkalow:

>The simulation is important to me, but I tend to limit my commands to what
>I can imagine the character doing. I'm interested in how the game world
>responds tothe character's actions, but not in how the game responds to
>the player trying to get the character to do something obviously
>impossible.

If you push the PC too far beyond "reasonably normal" behaviour, then
it's (a) in a limitedly-modelled world, it's not surprising that the
world will respond in an odd way, and (b) I'm less concerned about it.
I'd much rather see the bulk of the author's effort put to dealing as
sensibly and completely as possible with "normal" behaviour... of
course, it's always nice to come across responses that make you think
"I didn't expect the author to think of that!", but only after the
rest of the work is fairly solid.

In a sort of analogy, I really hate the "Candid Camera on steroids"
sort of TV shows that include segments where stupid situations are
played-out to unsuspecting members of the public, just so that they
can go "let's have a really good laugh at people trying to act
normally and politely to abnormal events" -- I don't consider it a
failure of people of IF if they don't respond "well" to being pushed
unreasonably.

Of course, the hardest part is the definition of "unreasonable".

David Thornley

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Nov 5, 2003, 9:27:31 AM11/5/03
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In article <Xns9426E411D8B0we...@204.127.36.1>,

What would you gain by that, really? What you seem to be doing is
allowing "use" to substitute for any verb, and allowing the direct
and indirect objects to be put in either order.

The use of "use" does cut down on potential guess-the-verb problems,
but it has problems both when an object has a non-obvious use and
when it has multiple potential uses. I'm not against it, but it
seems to me that it may have an unwanted effect: a player may
just start using "use" as a verb and be jarred when it doesn't
work.

Moreover, "use key with door" makes no idiomatic or grammatical
sense. The key and door are not equal things to be used together
to create something greater. "Use key on door" would make much
more sense in English: it means that you want to do something
to the door with the key. There was an argument earlier in the
thread that it doesn't really matter what the game says when the
player does something nonsensical (like "touch stars"), and I'd
apply it to saying that it doesn't really matter if the game
doesn't accept ungrammatical constructions. (OK, "inventory"
sounds odd, but most of the other standard verbs are legitimate
if terse imperatives.)

If there is a particular IF language that works best with the
"use lace with shoe" syntax, then I can see how one might
become used to it, but that's an artifact of the particular
system and I don't see that it's worthwhile translating it
into other IF systems.

Let's look at "use key with door" from an implementation
perspective. "Unlock door with key" is grammatical, and if it's
clear what key should be used can usually be abbreviated to
"unlock door" (realistically, one would use a key to unlock the
door rather than the dead fish, the jock strap, or - if the PC
has looked into the suit of armor - the whoopie cushion).
Adding "use key with door" could result in doubling the amount
of work to implement that action, and may require duplicating
code, which makes the game harder to change and debug.

Those are some of the reasons why I would not expect "use fish
with polish" to be implemented in a game.

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

Stephen Granade

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Nov 6, 2003, 10:10:16 AM11/6/03
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Daniel Barkalow <iabe...@iabervon.org> writes:

> On Tue, 4 Nov 2003, Stephen Granade wrote:
>
> > Daniel Barkalow <iabe...@iabervon.org> writes:
> >

> > > I suspect that the reason [looking through exits] is so rarely


> > > implemented is that the library makes it somewhat inconvenient
> > > to give per-room descriptions to directions.
> >
> > I don't do it because then I have to remember to alter wall
> > descriptions in every room where I might say, "Bookcases line the
> > north wall."
>

> I tend to want direction descriptions when faced with a hallway or when
> outdoors. If there's nothing logically blocking my view to the north, I'd
> like to be able to see things to the north if there's anything in that
> direction to see.

Aha, I misread your original statement.

Yeah, I never do that because then I have to remember to update each
associated direction description when I alter a room's description or
what's going on in there. Mind you, it's a lot easier to do now in T3.

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