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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 12:19 pm 
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I have a problem with the Cloak of Darkness specification that I'm reading from here. Firstly, is this spec correct?

My problem is that, in my world model, i have correctly made the cloak light absorbent (as required). Consequently everything is dark and i can therefore not initially see things in the bar, the foyer or the cloakroom. Specifically, i cannot see the brass hook in the cloakroom. This would indeed be the case if the cloak is light-absorbent!.

If i make my world "lit", then dropping the cloak anywhere allows everywhere else to be also lit. So i don't even need to go into the cloakroom. I can just drop the cloak and go south to win.

The spec claims the bar is "unlit". If i make this also the case, the bar is still dark even without the cloak, unless a light is introduced somewhere. Where is this light?

So there seems to be, at least, three serious problems with the spec here. Perhaps it should be revised??


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 12:42 pm 
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The point of the scenario is that all rooms are lit unless they contain the cloak.

Updating the spec is a bad idea at this point, since most of the implementations would never be changed, and new parser IF systems are only rarely created any more. It is a historical artifact now.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:09 pm 
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Thanks.

Agreed. It's of historical significance only. COD is contraindicated for new systems, parser or otherwise.


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 11:26 am 
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Did you have some remaining questions about COD? It was successfully implemented a lot in the 90s, so it can't have been too obscure.


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 11:28 am 
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No, but thanks. COD is really a retro spec. I'm putting forward an idea for making a new spec for modern systems.


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 3:57 pm 
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I have implemented a CoD version a few month back, so my memory might be a bit fuzzy, but as far as I understood the spec, only the bar is unlit. The way I treated it is that in every room there's a source of light, but in the bar the only light is coming in through the open doorway. And so in my version, since the cloak is absorbing some light but not all, the player cannot see a thing in the bar, but can see things in the far better lit rooms. Does that make sense? Maybe I misunderstood the spec or just implemented it in a way that made more sense to me, but that's how I did it.

But I do agree, the spec is a little cumbersome to wrap your head around and it might seem a little contrived.


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 4:01 pm 
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It is "contrived" to make sure your IF engine can do the "standard" things IF authors expect an IF engine to do...

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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 4:07 pm 
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I would agree that it's fine to have special factors for a "magic cloak", but if so, this needs to be explained in the spec.

I think the idea of having the cloak be able to absorb "some" light but not necessarily "all" is a bad concept for, what should be, a specification for people making system tests.

There are many other points that also make COD a bad idea for new engines;

For example, if you've got pictures, what do you show at the start in the foyer. A light room, a darkened room, nothing, blackness or what? The point is that, whatever you choose, it starts the user experience wrong.

Now i know this is meant to be just a test game concept, but i think just because it's small doesn't mean it has to be lame or bad. I'm sure it's possible to design and spec something small and sweet, that's easy to understand and more suitable for modern, media-based IF.

Something I'm, suggesting in my "standard demo kit" thread.

@howtophil; i think it's contrived to support darkness in the same way existing engines do, and i think it shouldn't make that assumption.


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 5:04 pm 
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howtophil wrote:
It is "contrived" to make sure your IF engine can do the "standard" things IF authors expect an IF engine to do...


Why would one want it to be this contrived though? Who's going to make a game like this? Wouldn't it be better to demonstrate the regular stuff people actually use in their games? I'm not saying that CoD is bad -- it certainly served its purpose for many years -- but if people have a hard time even understanding how it's supposed to work, it's probably not an optimal spec and we're using it just because it's there and kind of a tradition. So if jkj is able to draft a spec that is both simple enough to understand and able to show off that an engine is capable of the things most authors expect, I'd say more power to him.


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 5:08 pm 
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Hi, I've been lurking for awhile, but I'm finally taking my cloak off...

You are right, the logic is a little faulty, but, hey, it's a magic cloak and so maybe logic doesn't apply.

I think the benefit of Cloak of Darkness spec is that it allows you to compare source code across languages/systems, which helps to inform your decision regarding choice of development tools.

At this point changing the spec doesn't really help because nobody is going to go back and rewrite their COD implementations. Also, just because a system can produce a working COD doesn't mean that it can do everything you might want to do with Interactive Fiction.

Conversely, if a system can't produce a working COD, it's probably a sign to look for something else.

So, I think COD is somewhat useful. The beauty of spec is not that it's perfect, but that it is standard.

It would also be helpful to have a laundry list of standard verbs for Infocom-style games with a definition of their standard (expected) behavior. That probably exists somewhere, but I don't know where to look.

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