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Too much detail? or not?

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Postby AndrewF » Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:16 pm

What is considered too much detail in a game?

Let's say you have a kitchen in your game...

Do you fill it with all the normal kitchen stuff, eg cupboards, cooker, fridge, microwave, kettle, toaster, draws, etc?
And within the draws and cupboards, do you add pots, pans, plates, bowls, cups, knives, forks, spoons, etc?

And implement each of these as an object, static or dynamic as required, with their own description?

Or simply put in the bare minimum?

And which do you prefer as a player?

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Postby phkb » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:27 am

Ah, kitchens. Next to bathrooms they are the bane of every IF writers existence. If you have to include a kitchen (because it's a house and all houses have kitchens), then players (particularly players who are picky) will want to interact with every element in the kitchen. Can you open the oven? Can you turn on the tap and get water? In the real world you could do all that. But in IF kitchens are largely used as a prop. Action might take place here, but mostly the kitchen is just background.

So, what do you do? As you point out, you can define everything. At the barest minimum, if it's mentioned in the room description, there should be a static object to match.

How much real-world modeling you do will be dependent on the the game itself. Is the game doing a lot of real-world modeling elsewhere, creating the expectation that all objects should be fully implemented? If so, it's better to dive in and do the implementation to maintain trust with the player. If the game is using rooms like props on a stage, making them simply places to be while other action takes place, then a simpler implementation is called for.

Can you have too much detail? It depends on whether you are beating the player over the head with it, or whether it's there if needed. That is, if the player walks into the kitchen, looks at a couple of objects and leaves, all the extra detail you added was unnecessary. If the player walks into the kitchen and you proceed to describe, in detail, every piece of equipment you put there, then yes, you've probably done too much.

My 2 cents worth, anyway.
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Postby Hensman Int'l » Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:24 am

The kitchen where an item needs to be found (a corkscrew)...

Here may be cabinets and drawer: find the junk drawer, search through it to find the corkscrew. Lots of detail with both static and dynamic objects. Maybe some tasks which gives the impression of an object (though not really there).

The kitchen as a passing through point...

Is it an abandoned room? Keep the objects to a bare minimum and let the responses be "You really aren't interested in the rusty old stove".

But what if it is a room used by your NPC's or ambience for the game? Perhaps some red herrings may be placed here, or simply let the player explore the room with some interaction.

I debated that myself with "Ba'Roo!" and decided to keep it and some of the objects. Whatever we recommend, it is still at the author's discretion to add however much detail they want. If you want to have full interaction with everything in your kitchen, never mind the critics, it's your game.
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Postby AndrewF » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:15 pm

Thanks for the replies...

As I've been implementing everything mentioned so far in the less detailed locations, I guess I need to continue, even where there are large numbers of objects... :oh-no:
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Postby jankupila » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:55 pm

I would like to see lot of details and that you can put spoon in the cup if you want in a kitchen. And, if you are skilled enough you can pick a lock with the spoon else where.

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Postby Thingamus » Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:06 am

Focus on your story, not your simulation. If the kitchen isn't important to your story, you could just cut the room out. Instead of actually having to walk through it, you could just tell players in a message that they pass through the kitchen on their way to wherever it is that's actually important to your story. What does your story have to lose if you remove the kitchen?

If a character has to cross a bridge to get across a river, but there's nothing interesting about the bridge, just implement the two sides of the river. Or, if the other side of the river isn't important at all, but the creepy mansion on the hill above it is, then maybe you'd want the next step to take the players all the way to its front door.
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