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PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:17 am 
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Hey! Sorry but i just saw this thread. You might be interested in an article I wrote in SPAG#64 :)

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 5:56 pm 
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Hello :)

I'm working on something similar at the moment - in fact, I asked a similar question about a year ago: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=19855 (Also, I just realised I'm mentioned in Hugo's article. Sorry for not responding to your e-mail, Hugo, I've been too busy...)

At the moment I'm working on a library that would simplify access to various IF games: https://github.com/MikulasZelinka/pyfiction
To be more precise, I've been working on some algorithms that I've only been testing on two games and now that I've got something promising, it's time to extend the library and support more games that will be used for testing the agents more extensively.

Anyway, I would really appreciate any tips for the games with following features:

- hyper-text or choice based game (no parsing of player's input)
- multiple endings
- it is possible to find all the endings and assign a reward to them (can be done manually)

I did try going through the ifdb using tags and found these:

The Space Under the Window: http://ifdb.tads.org/viewgame?id=egtt6j8vif0plzrc
howling dogs: http://ifdb.tads.org/viewgame?id=mxj7xp4nffia9rbj

The thing is that I can't think of a simple way to (ideally automatically) find all endings and assign some rewards to them. One way to overcome this would be to simply have the author (or anyone that knows the game well) write down all the game endings and determine how 'good' or 'bad' the ending is.

Do you guys have any tips on any more suitable games or, perhaps more importantly, could anyone help me with the ending annotation for the two games mentioned (or for any other suggested games)?

Thank you all very much! :)


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:38 pm 
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Some choice-based games with multiple endings of varying reward:

The Play - http://ifdb.tads.org/viewgame?id=ytohfp3jetsh1ik4

16 Ways to Kill a Vampire at McDonalds - http://ifdb.tads.org/viewgame?id=s8oklhvdqoo5dv4l

There's a long list of multiple ending hyper-text here:
http://ifdb.tads.org/search?sortby=rcu& ... tag%3Acyoa


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:45 am 
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What rewards are you trying to assign? Are they something inside the program, or are they rewards that the player would get for completing the game, like a trophy?

I ask because there are lots of games were rewarding the player with trophies would feel inappropriate. howling dogs is one game like that. It doesn't have "good" and "bad" endings. Plugging the game into a library that rewards trophies would be a little too much like modifying the game itself. And if Porpentine wanted the game to have rewards, she most likely would've included them.

Personally, I wouldn't want people to get rewards for reaching different endings in my games. I try my best to write them so that players don't feel the need to collect all the endings.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:49 am 
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"Trophies" aren't appropriate in every game. I know some people enjoy completionism, and sometimes it's a good idea to mark endings they've reached (without calling it a "trophy" - "achievement" may be more appropriate or not). It's even a better idea to hide it somewhere, like in the options in case someone doesn't want to play that way. I know when I like a game I like to be able to know how much of it I have and haven't seen once I'm past the avoid spoiler point.

Per usual, every game, and your mileage, may vary!

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:53 am 
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I think the point is to assign machine-readable values for "good" or "bad" endings, so that the algorithm can become better at finding "good" ones.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:31 am 
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That's what I thought at first, but since the result is supposed to be a "library that would simplify access to various IF games," I wasn't sure how the rewards would figure into the final user experience. If they're purely mechanics under the hood, it probably won't be an issue.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:37 am 
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zarf wrote:
I think the point is to assign machine-readable values for "good" or "bad" endings, so that the algorithm can become better at finding "good" ones.


Exactly. I didn't mean something like "trophies" or "achievements", but rather "feedback". The agent needs to have some feedback supplied to him. This feedback is what actually drives the learning.

I do realise that this whole concept of "good" and "bad" doesn't quite make sense in a lot of IF games. Still though, does anyone have any tips for games with the features mentioned beforehand? If the rewards would actually correspond to how "good" or "bad" the ending is, that would be a plus. But for research purposes, it is not completely necessary (we want to find out whether it is possible to learn anything at all).

So far I've successfully tested the agent on 'Saving John' and 'Machine of Death', meaning games with similar formats would come in handy. Ideally, the game would also have a walkthrough/author's notes that would contain a list of all possible endings so the simulator could work with them easily.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:03 pm 
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Choicescript games are choice-based games that track statistics throughout the game. The scores are often displayed at the end or accessible via a menu at any time. You could use the stats to assign scores.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:24 pm 
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Thank you, the Choicescript games look great for this purpose!

However, I don't unfortunately have much time to play around with the more complex games at the moment. I'd appreciate any tips on simple choice-based games with purely textual states and actions (i.e. no inventory, no health, no map, etc.) and multiple endings –– ideally similar to Saving John and Machine of Death in this regard and ideally in an HTML format (exported from one of the engines, probably). I'll assign rewards to the various endings manually shoud they not be present in the game (their presence is just a bonus and would make it easier for me).

I'm looking to take a a few of these games and try some transfer learning (learn by playing all but one text-game and then observe the behaviour on the previously unseen game).

I managed to write a simple interactive parser/player for HTML choice-based games in Python that I plan to use. I have no idea why I didn't do this from the start and instead tried to work with the source codes of various game engines :(

Anyways, thank you all again for helping me out and I hope I'll be able to share some results in about a month.


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