intfiction.org

The Interactive Fiction Community Forum
It is currently Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:09 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 26 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3
Author Message
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 9:08 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:01 am
Posts: 161
If we ever find the HP Basic version, that should tell us more about the actual 1974 content.

Whenever I work up my first Wander-playing post I'll explore more the issue of what we can theorize appears in the original and what appears later. If you actually play them you will get some alien-feeling bits here and there (for one thing all three of the full games for Wander involve some kind of mature content).

I'm not expecting _that_ much difference though -- for instance, what were you expecting other than compass directions? One of the oddest reactions I keep hearing is "nobody could possibly have made a game with compass directions before Adventure!" (Browsing the source, I can't imagine this particular thing being something that changes.) Now shortcuts, maybe -- but there's actual evidence here --

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!searc ... GD7WqH7SgJ

Code:
We have a binary of Peter Langston's adventure interpreter "wander".  I like it a lot, but it seems to have a few bugs.  The most annoying is that "s" is not an abbreviation for "south" and cannot be forced to be "south" by a pre or post action. 


Top
 Profile Send private message  
 
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 9:15 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:34 pm
Posts: 4860
Location: Burlington, VT
It'd be a little surprising to me if Langston and Crowther (Woods?) had independently hit on "inventory" for the command meaning "What am I carrying?" "Take" is a bit surprising to me too--and even "look," it's fairly natural, but it'd be odd for them all to have independently hit on the same natural expressions for these basic commands. But I could easily see these getting patched into the revision after "Adventure."


Top
 Profile Send private message  
 
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 9:39 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:01 am
Posts: 161
matt w wrote:
It'd be a little surprising to me if Langston and Crowther (Woods?) had independently hit on "inventory" for the command meaning "What am I carrying?" "Take" is a bit surprising to me too--and even "look," it's fairly natural, but it'd be odd for them all to have independently hit on the same natural expressions for these basic commands. But I could easily see these getting patched into the revision after "Adventure."


Crowther never had an inventory command. There is in fact no way to check inventory in original Adventure -- you have to take notes.

Woods added INVENTORY.

The only deviation I've ever seen is Mystery Mansion which uses LIST instead of inventory.

Incidentally, Wander doesn't accept "GET" which drives me crazy every time I play it.


Top
 Profile Send private message  
 
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 10:15 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:34 pm
Posts: 4860
Location: Burlington, VT
I'm wondering if Woods got INVENTORY from Wander. (Say that out loud!)


Top
 Profile Send private message  
 
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 10:35 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:14 am
Posts: 22
jbdyer wrote:
If we ever find the HP Basic version, that should tell us more about the actual 1974 content ... I'm not expecting _that_ much difference though -- for instance, what were you expecting other than compass directions?

It seems plausible that both Crowther and Langston could have come up with the concept of navigation-by-compass-directions independently. Crowther was a caver, and mapping cave systems with a compass was something he actually did in real life, as I understand it.

But what inspired the idea of a text-based exploration game in the first place? Do we know if Crowther and/or Woods had any specific influences in this respect? Might Wander have been one of those influences?! Would that even have been possible? Was Wander distributed widely enough pre-ADVENT for Crowther/Woods to have had access to it? If so, and if they did have access, then what inspired Peter Langston to create Wander?!

These are all tantalising questions (to me at least), but unfortunately I can only answer one of them at the moment (and that only partly) because I'm reluctant to keep pestering the parties involved for more information. I think Peter's probably had enough of me now! (And I don't blame him because if you look back through USENET archives, you'll see repeated complaints from people trying to contact him to get hold of the source code to Empire, or a copy of the PSL Games tape, etc.! I don't want to be the one to bring back the bad old days.)

The one question I did manage to sneak in and get an answer to was about the inspiration for Wander:
Peter Langston wrote:
As to Wander's inspiration, as I was writing other games, I got to thinking about the non-deterministic non-linear story experiments I had heard of the French doing in the 1920s, where the reader made choices that determined how the story went. I figured that fairytales like Rapunzel or science fiction like the Retief stories would be a good basis for such stories and computers would be the perfect way to present them, but it would require a great deal of programming skills along with the storytelling skills. So Wander was an experiment to see if the programming part could be made easier by pre-coding the common kinds of actions and consequences. I had the vague idea that I could make it easy to use and then coax some real authors like Robert Sheckley into writing some wanders. I never got that far, of course.

I don't know exactly which French writers Peter's referring to here, but his answer does seem to suggest that Wander was an idea that he got without having seen ADVENT first, as also does the date 1973-4, of course. But obviously we'd still need to see earlier releases of the code to have a clearer picture of what the first versions of Wander were really like. Or perhaps Jason's forthcoming blogposts will dig up some interesting artefacts from the code we already have.

(And btw, how much do you wish that Robert Sheckley had written a wander?! Ah, what might have been...)

Perhaps the Castle world is the closest we can currently get to the 1974 state of Wander? As Jason said, it's the oldest of the surviving worlds. Plus, in his READ_ME in the 1985 Usenix conference distro, Peter wrote, of Castle:
Peter Langston wrote:
This was the first world I put together; as a result it uses very few of the new "features" and does a few things by incredibly Rube Golberg-like contortions...
Btw, although Castle doesn't recognise the get command, the Library world does.

Peter Piers wrote:
when the game even recognised XYZZY... well, I was surprised.

Yes, so it seems pretty clear that some changes that were made to Wander were influenced by ADVENT. It might be interesting to note that Peter Langston was apparently a member of the "UNIX Adventure Tastefulness Committee", which was convened to sort out "Various design questions" during the conversion of ADVENT to UNIX.

_________________
Retroactive Fiction


Top
 Profile Send private message  
 
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 11:12 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:00 pm
Posts: 345
/I don't know exactly which French writers Peter's referring to here/

The obvious precedent is Raymond Queneau's Conte A Votre Facon of 1967, one of the very first "if you want to x, go to 3, if you want to y, go to 4" experiments with the OULIPO group. But that's 40 years after the timeframe he suggests.


Top
 Profile Send private message  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 26 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group