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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:19 am 
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Quote:
At a Crossroads
You stand before a weatherbeaten signpost at a junction in the Old King's Road and and survey the countryside unfolding for miles all around you. East and west, a wide, dusty path crosses the main road and leads through fields of brown stubble, graced here and there by freshly cut piles of golden hay that all but glow in the sunlight and permeate the air with their warm fragrance. Northwards the flat land begins to slope down and become dotted with trees until it runs up against the barely visible gleam of a lake, while to the south it rises into green hills, then further on and up into the distant Greyholm Mountains, wreathed as always in a smoky haze, the only thing which mars the vivid blue of the sky on this bright, cloudless day.

The above description would cause me to consider ragequitting the game.
Let's see if I can transform this to a better description:
Quote:
Crossroads
A smaller east-west path crosses the north-south main road here.
Countryside unfolds for miles all around you. You can see the Greyholm Mountains to the south, and a lake to the north.

There's a signpost here.


Yes, this is more like something a ten year old would write, but you're still there, aren't you? You can still picture the same scenario, if not even more vividly, thanks to the power of imagination. You can also spot something odd: Why is the main road going from the mountains to the lake? There is obviously a city of mountain dwelling people in those mountains, who come down to the lake every mourning to get their water. See how less is actually more? The more you describe the types of boring freaking trees there are, the more the player also feels obliged to try to chop them down or climb them, because they follow the novella rule that if it's mentioned, it's important to the story. ...so just don't describe anything more than
Quote:
Your kitchen
Your keys are lying on the table here.

Now you only need to handle the keys and the (scenery supporter) table.

_________________
Buried under a huge pile of I7 printouts you can see Andreas.
>talk to andreas
He feverishly mumbles something about upholding the integrity of the cosmos, and doesn't seem to even notice you.
>leave basement


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:10 am 
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Maybe every game should come with a tl;dr option. So instead of a wonderfully long and evocative description of everything the player can see, you could have:

Quote:
You're in a cave
You can go east and west.

> east

You're outside a cave.
You can go north and west.

> north

You're by a river.
You can go east and south.


Yes, much better.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:46 am 
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David Whyld wrote:
Maybe every game should come with a tl;dr option. So instead of a wonderfully long and evocative description of everything the player can see, you could have:

Quote:
You're in a cave
You can go east and west.

> east

You're outside a cave.
You can go north and west.

> north

You're by a river.
You can go east and south.


Yes, much better.


What I'm trying to say, is that there are no "evocative descriptions". Descriptions only serve to lock the imagination in place. Yes, your no doubt sarcastic example would be much better. See, It's not the lack of descriptions that's the problem in your game example. It's the emptiness of the world. You could describe granite rocks and dense spruces and chirping birds, but those descriptions are just going to be padding to fill out an eventless journey. Why not remove the "outside a cave" location completely, for instance? Caves are interesting, and rivers are interesting, but being outside a cave isn't.

_________________
Buried under a huge pile of I7 printouts you can see Andreas.
>talk to andreas
He feverishly mumbles something about upholding the integrity of the cosmos, and doesn't seem to even notice you.
>leave basement


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 6:11 am 
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For example, here's an example to explain my point:
Quote:
Kitchen
As you enter your kitchen, your nostrils fill with a familiar smell that smells of home.
White-painted wooden cupboards adorn the walls, containing all sorts of cooking pots and plates. There's a lot of dishes in the sink, and you wish you could hire a maid to do them for you. There's also a stove here, and a fridge and a freezer. In the middle of the room stands a wooden table, surrounded by four wooden chairs.

On the table is a salt shaker, some bills, and some stamps.

>lick stamps
(first taking the stamps)
They seem to be all used up already. You have to buy more from your dealer tomorrow.

Spoiler: show
You're currently high on LSD. That's how a kitchen looks to someone high on LSD.

_________________
Buried under a huge pile of I7 printouts you can see Andreas.
>talk to andreas
He feverishly mumbles something about upholding the integrity of the cosmos, and doesn't seem to even notice you.
>leave basement


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 6:34 am 
Actually, I agree with Andreas here, and I think I said so earlier in this thread - the original description seems, to me, to be a bit much, and given that the poster was asking "Is it really necessary to implement all these nouns?", then that description is asking for trouble.

I don't think, though, that we should lose that original description entirely. Personally, I would show it differently after the first time. Hmm, something like:

Quote:
At a Crossroads
You stand before a weatherbeaten signpost at a junction in the Old King's Road and and survey the countryside unfolding for miles all around you. East and west, a wide, dusty path crosses the main road and leads through fields of brown stubble, graced here and there by freshly cut piles of golden hay that all but glow in the sunlight and permeate the air with their warm fragrance. Northwards the flat land begins to slope down and become dotted with trees until it runs up against the barely visible gleam of a lake, while to the south it rises into green hills, then further on and up into the distant Greyholm Mountains, wreathed as always in a smoky haze, the only thing which mars the vivid blue of the sky on this bright, cloudless day.

>look

At a Crossroads
You stand before a weatherbeaten signpost at a junction in the Old King's Road and and survey the countryside unfolding for miles all around you. East and west, a wide, dusty path leads through fields of brown stubble. Northwards the land slopes downward to a lake, while to the south it rises into green hills, then further on and up into the distant Greyholm Mountains.


Or, an alternative: Pick up everything I deleted from my edit and do this:

Quote:
At a crossroads
You stand before a weatherbeaten signpost at a junction in the Old King's Road and and survey the countryside unfolding for miles all around you. East and west, a wide, dusty path leads through fields of brown stubble. Northwards the land slopes downward to a lake, while to the south it rises into green hills, then further on and up into the distant Greyholm Mountains.

You pause to consider your nest step in this peaceful place. The main, dusty path is graced here and there by freshly cut piles of golden hay that all but glow in the sunlight and permeate the air with their warm fragrance. To the north you can see the flat land become dotted with trees until it runs up against the barely visible gleam of a lake, and to the south, past the hills, are the Greyholm Mountains, wreathed as always in a smoky haze, the only thing which mars the vivid blue of the sky on this bright, cloudless day.

>look

At a crossroads
You stand before a weatherbeaten signpost at a junction in the Old King's Road and and survey the countryside unfolding for miles all around you. East and west, a wide, dusty path leads through fields of brown stubble. Northwards the land slopes downward to a lake, while to the south it rises into green hills, then further on and up into the distant Greyholm Mountains.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:02 pm 
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Quote:
Kitchen
As you enter your kitchen, your nostrils fill with a familiar smell that smells of home.
White-painted wooden cupboards adorn the walls, containing all sorts of cooking pots and plates. There's a lot of dishes in the sink, and you wish you could hire a maid to do them for you. There's also a stove here, and a fridge and a freezer. In the middle of the room stands a wooden table, surrounded by four wooden chairs.


The way you describe the scene can set mood, but also describe what the player character is interested in. The sentence "you wish you could hire a maid to do them for you" says a lot about the protagonist. Is he lazy? Poor? Too busy to do the dishes? This creates a lot of questions, just as describing the scenery will.

Describing the scenery and sunshine says other things -- the protagonist is taking his time, taking in the scenery, for whatever reason. It all depends on what story you're trying to tell. There's really no right or wrong way to do it. Having a detailed background that is simply scenery is not uncommon, and is used in every visual medium to set the tone. The matte paintings in 'Blade Runner', for example, set a tone, and are intricately detailed. In a story, these details are crafted in words, not pictures, but serve the same purpose. If the tone to your story is utilitarian and purely functional, without any flavor at all, I would assume that the protagonist is either in a constant hurry, or an android.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 6:48 pm 
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craftian wrote:
Quote:
Kitchen
As you enter your kitchen, your nostrils fill with a familiar smell that smells of home.
White-painted wooden cupboards adorn the walls, containing all sorts of cooking pots and plates. There's a lot of dishes in the sink, and you wish you could hire a maid to do them for you. There's also a stove here, and a fridge and a freezer. In the middle of the room stands a wooden table, surrounded by four wooden chairs.


The way you describe the scene can set mood, but also describe what the player character is interested in. The sentence "you wish you could hire a maid to do them for you" says a lot about the protagonist. Is he lazy? Poor? Too busy to do the dishes? This creates a lot of questions, just as describing the scenery will.

Describing the scenery and sunshine says other things -- the protagonist is taking his time, taking in the scenery, for whatever reason. It all depends on what story you're trying to tell. There's really no right or wrong way to do it. Having a detailed background that is simply scenery is not uncommon, and is used in every visual medium to set the tone. The matte paintings in 'Blade Runner', for example, set a tone, and are intricately detailed. In a story, these details are crafted in words, not pictures, but serve the same purpose. If the tone to your story is utilitarian and purely functional, without any flavor at all, I would assume that the protagonist is either in a constant hurry, or an android.


Yes, I agree, and the dishes were indeed a clue to a life in disarray, but isn't the protagonist always in a hurry? As a player, you want to get somewhere. You play games when you're bored and you want excitement or entertainment. In an IF, you could be in Australia fighting crime, just seven location leaps from the protagonists uneventful flat in England. The player is a sort of action hero by nature, out looking for progress defined by causing something to happen. Nobody (though I mean that in a loose sense) wants to just relax in a kitchen, taking in the materials of the furniture and considering the dishes, unless they're high.
I'm right now playing the old game Titan Quest, and it's a very odd game, because it sure takes its sweet time establishing scenery. It's awesome, but halfway through, you're honestly pretty sick if leafs swaying and birds chirping. You can run for ten seconds just to establish that a swamp is transitioning into a forest. The contrast of slaughtering monsters and enjoying a nature stroll, is weird.

_________________
Buried under a huge pile of I7 printouts you can see Andreas.
>talk to andreas
He feverishly mumbles something about upholding the integrity of the cosmos, and doesn't seem to even notice you.
>leave basement


Last edited by Andreas on Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:24 pm 
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Andreas wrote:
Yes, I agree, and the dishes were indeed a clue to a life in disarray, but isn't the protagonist always in a hurry? As a player, you want to get somewhere. You play games when you're bored and you want excitement or entertainment. In an IF, you could be in Australia fighting crime, just seven location leaps from the protagonists uneventful flat in England. The player is a sort of action hero by nature, out looking for progress defined by causing something to happen. Nobody (though I mean that in a loose sense) wants to just relax in a kitchen, taking the materials of the furniture and considering the dishes, unless they're high.
I'm right now playing the old game Titan Quest, and it's a very odd game, because it sure takes its sweet time establishing scenery. It's awesome, but halfway through, you're honestly pretty sick if leafs swaying and birds chirping. You can run for ten seconds just to establish that a swamp is transitioning into a forest. The contrast of slaughtering monsters and enjoying a nature stroll, is weird.

The "always in a hurry" bit is true in general, but not always. Curses springs to mind as a counterexample, at least at the beginning. Same with Trinity.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:26 pm 
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Posts: 292
Hi,

A simple text description for cover art on IFDB could be implemented, I think, if the graphic were given a description in its HTML tag. Screen readers read out these tags for graphics. For descriptions of art in games, I think a designer could print a description whenever the cover art is shown, or implement a command like "describe cover" and tell the player that a description of the cover is available by typing the command. Making a description part of the cover itself won't help, because screen readers can't read text that is part of a graphic.

Neil


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:40 pm 
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Neil wrote:
Hi,

A simple text description for cover art on IFDB could be implemented, I think, if the graphic were given a description in its HTML tag. Screen readers read out these tags for graphics. For descriptions of art in games, I think a designer could print a description whenever the cover art is shown, or implement a command like "describe cover" and tell the player that a description of the cover is available by typing the command. Making a description part of the cover itself won't help, because screen readers can't read text that is part of a graphic.

Neil


This seems to be the second time that you just suddenly want to derail the topic into being about screen readers, instead of creating a seperate topic. It's the other post button you're looking for, so stop it.

_________________
Buried under a huge pile of I7 printouts you can see Andreas.
>talk to andreas
He feverishly mumbles something about upholding the integrity of the cosmos, and doesn't seem to even notice you.
>leave basement


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