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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:43 am 
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Maybe this is a good hint-type command. You may not have the energy to write hints about every single object, but there could be a marker for which things can safely be ignored.

(In Inform7, just something like: A thing is usually not important. The bed is important.)

And the player could test this:

Code:
> ignore chair
Yes, the chair is not important. 

> ignore bed
Not a good idea, the bed is an important object in this game.


Or of course expand this to a full-fledged object-based hint system:

Code:
> hint bed
Did you notice those scratches on the floor? (more hints available)

etc.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:52 am 
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I guess I'm just old-fashioned, but my feeling is that if somebody is going to play a game, they should actually play the game (as opposed to having the game play itself). A player who expects an explicit "this is not important" response, triggered just by examining, for every object that doesn't actually require doing something with it strikes me as extraordinarily lazy, and fundamentally inconsistent with the notion of interactivity. The point is not merely to type in commands, but to have to figure out what to do. To me, figuring out what is or is not important is a large part of the fun.


Robert Rothman


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:48 am 
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Robert Rothman wrote:
I guess I'm just old-fashioned, but my feeling is that if somebody is going to play a game, they should actually play the game (as opposed to having the game play itself). A player who expects an explicit "this is not important" response, triggered just by examining, for every object that doesn't actually require doing something with it strikes me as extraordinarily lazy, and fundamentally inconsistent with the notion of interactivity. The point is not merely to type in commands, but to have to figure out what to do. To me, figuring out what is or is not important is a large part of the fun.


Robert Rothman

This is the point-n-click essence of a game. You just can trigger every object over the others and the game solves itself.
By contrast, what I like in IF is the fact I may or may not be aware of what is important and what is scenery. I always thought (well, I've been thinking it when I was 16 and playing old-style games) that having a list of object in a room was rather annoying. Like a big red arrow pointing on what you have to interact with. This removes from the realism, imo.

So, I always try and "hide" objects in room description to avoid them being too obvious. Which led to some very uncomfortable puzzles in my game, according to the WHOLE audience. So, I guess it's a bad habit. And maybe a bit hardcore, too.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 4:55 pm 
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I never said it would be "just by examining it", I suggested this would be an explicit command - a type of hint when you're feeling stuck and frustrated.

I'm not really surprised if some of you feel this is provocative or just plain silly - it certainly is not hard core.

I guess for some people trying and trying to solve a puzzle is the whole fun of IF, while for others it's fun up to a point, and then you just want to call a friend. Or use a hint.

It's interesting that "guess the verb" and maybe "guess the noun" are considered anti-patterns of IF design, while "guess the thing" is considered the pure essence of gameplay.

The situation I had in mind was when you're trying to... Let's say, find a way into a building, and you have an idea that involves using a large heavy object, and there's a statue nearby, and you're trying to figure out how the heck you're going to get that statue to tumble. And after trying and trying, you just want to ask the game: ok, I'm not on the right track, am I? It's not the statue? I can just ignore it, right?


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:26 pm 
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peterorme wrote:
Code:
> ignore chair
Yes, the chair is not important. 

> ignore bed
Not a good idea, the bed is an important object in this game.

I don't know if this would make sense in an actual game, but I like the idea of an "ignore" verb. I've been thinking on and off about how to model an intoxicated or otherwise unreliable PC, and being required to "ignore" distractions might be a cool way to do that (provided it was hinted well enough to avoid guess-the-verb).


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:39 pm 
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capmikee wrote:
peterorme wrote:
Code:
> ignore chair
Yes, the chair is not important. 

> ignore bed
Not a good idea, the bed is an important object in this game.

I don't know if this would make sense in an actual game, but I like the idea of an "ignore" verb. I've been thinking on and off about how to model an intoxicated or otherwise unreliable PC, and being required to "ignore" distractions might be a cool way to do that (provided it was hinted well enough to avoid guess-the-verb).


Heh, you're right, that could be pretty fun... the world around you is really distracting, and you have to 'ignore' objects until you can focus. Anything from flashing lights, to birds, to visually detailed object. The screen would be full of messages:
Code:
>x bed
It's all too much! 
The birds sing like drunken barflies. The TV blares a vivid, overly-loud commercial. The picture on the wall is vividly bright! The refrigerator hums, an off-tune rattle. The cat purrs like a freight train on uneven tracks. The breeze blows hazy dust particles all over the furniture. [...] The cars outside roar past like angry hunting dogs. Your head is pounding."

The more distractions there are, the smaller the chance of finishing a command - one or two, you'll succeed, three of four, a small chance of failing, up to more than six, you fail almost every time.
And, to add to the "drunk think", when you ignore something, it is only a hazy memory; ignoring a chair means if you try to sit on it later, you'll get a message saying something like, "Wait... wasn't there a chair here?", until you 'remember' the object ("Oh, right, there is is!")

...I think we're a bit off topic, but I enjoy brain-storming too much :-/


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:05 pm 
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Reminds me a bit of "Kissing the Buddha's Feet"


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:03 pm 
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Jamespking wrote:
Quote:
The immense magma river flows below effortlessly, although slow and patiently. The whole cave is lit by its fiery belly. From here you can see the broken pillar rising from the flames like a finger pointing the sky -- a sky made of crumbling rocks and metal -- and the stony walls surrounding the sight like the steps of a giant arena. Below, the thin cornice cuts a distinct line on the side of it, losing itself in the distance inside a small passage to the west. The piece of quartz you are standing on has resisted the quake's onslaught and is now holding itself onto the rock like a cat on a tree trunk. Something like steps rise from here to an alcove, up above and near the ceiling. A faint cyanotic light pulsates inside it. You can reach it to the northwest


This is TERRIBLE prose. On behalf of the author, I must say he was writing it trying to think in English not being english himself. That could lead to awkwardness.

First: every other noun has an adjective before it. It gets boring really soon.


James,

What is lacking is organization to the whole passage. Description of a place needs to develop in an organized way, just as an argument needs to, and the structure of that organization must match with the way the human mind processes and understands locale.

Visual description should be organized in a way that matches the way humans organize visual information, description of embodied feeling or emotional feeling should be organized in ways that match those senses, and so forth.

To do this, consider the way that, if you were in the location, you would direct your attention from moment to moment.

If I can be forgiven for making the attempt-- Let's look at the parts.

  • The immense magma river flows below effortlessly, although slow and patiently.
  • The whole cave is lit by its fiery belly.
  • From here you can see the broken pillar rising from the flames like a finger pointing the sky -- a sky made of crumbling rocks and metal -- and the stony walls surrounding the sight like the steps of a giant arena.
  • Below, the thin cornice cuts a distinct line on the side of it, losing itself in the distance inside a small passage to the west.
  • The piece of quartz you are standing on has resisted the quake's onslaught and is now holding itself onto the rock like a cat on a tree trunk.
  • Something like steps rise from here to an alcove, up above and near the ceiling.
  • A faint cyanotic light pulsates inside it.
  • You can reach it to the northwest

The point of view this structure reveals is a DM's point of view. It's me looking in, considering the walls, the lighting, and working my way in to the player's current options.

If I were there, I would probably attend to where I am, and my attention would then move outward.

Quote:
Sweltering, you stand on a piece of red-lit quartz that has survived the quake and clings to the rock like a cat to a tree. Northwest, irregular steps rise from here to an alcove near the ceiling. Inside the alcove a faint cyanotic light pulses.

From the alcove, a cornice leads along the stony walls enclosing this huge arena. Far to the west, the cornice loses itself in some passage into the rock.

Red heat, so intense it feels solid, radiates from the patient magma river that flows below. A broken pillar rises from the flames like a finger, pointing to the ceiling of crumbling rocks and metal.


--Now, I don't mean to hold myself out as an expert IF writer. My own productivity is pretty limited. And clearly as a writer you could select from among many organizational principle. The "from where I am out" basic strategy, which I picked here, is just the one I picked. You might instead pick "the environment in," or "panning left to right," or so forth.

But do consciously pick an organizational strategy, and stick to it in your writing. Also something I like, and therefore do, is to drop one- or two-word hints early in a passage, which details are explained later. So I dropped "red-lit" well before I described the lava river.

Conrad.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:46 am 
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conradcook wrote:
James,

What is lacking is organization to the whole passage. Description of a place needs to develop in an organized way, just as an argument needs to, and the structure of that organization must match with the way the human mind processes and understands locale.

...

Conrad.

This is really, really good descriptive writing advice. Wow.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:07 am 
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ChrisC wrote:
conradcook wrote:
James,

What is lacking is organization to the whole passage. Description of a place needs to develop in an organized way, just as an argument needs to, and the structure of that organization must match with the way the human mind processes and understands locale.

...

Conrad.

This is really, really good descriptive writing advice. Wow.


Infact. I forgot to say thanks to Conrad cause I read the post yesterday in bed, via the iPhone.

I think I will think about this post every time I'll write down a locale description.

Thanks a lot.


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