ADRIFT Forum


The place to discuss the ADRIFT Interactive Fiction toolkit

Scenery is boring - A solution!

The place to chat about ideas, writing, this forum, or anything related to Interactive Fiction that isn't specific to ADRIFT.

Please also visit the Interactive Fiction Community Forum for further discussions.

Scenery is boring - A solution!

Postby Lumin » Sat Feb 08, 2014 3:51 pm

Writing descriptions for all the useless background items still remains the most tedious part of any game for me.

So I propose that any time any of us are bored, we write a few short descriptions of scenery items and collect them all together in a kind of public library.

You know what I mean: generic chairs, tables, night stands, cabinets, kitchen and bathroom appliances, couches, TVs, light fixtures, trees, skies, grass, pavement, floors, dirt...all that stuff that doesn't actually matter but players still get mad about if they don't see.

And then anytime you need to 'fill in the blanks' for the scenery in your own game you just come here and grab whatever you want and either use it straight or alter it however you need to.

If anyone's interested I'll post my own contributions later tonight, at the wrong computer right now.
Currently working on: Nada. Zip. Zilch. [Check this space later.]
User avatar
Lumin
 
Posts: 1624
Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2004 5:48 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Scenery is boring - A solution!

Postby Lumin » Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:51 am

Did I kill the forum?

...I think I killed the forum. :cry:
Currently working on: Nada. Zip. Zilch. [Check this space later.]
User avatar
Lumin
 
Posts: 1624
Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2004 5:48 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Scenery is boring - A solution!

Postby David Whyld » Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:47 am

This forum is no more! It has ceased to be! It's expired and gone to meet its maker! It's a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! It's off the twig! It's kicked the bucket, it's shuffled off the mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-FORUM!!
David Whyld
 
Posts: 6564
Joined: Sat Dec 18, 2004 5:15 pm
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Scenery is boring - A solution!

Postby Po. Prune » Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:36 pm

HELL no!!!
The forum is still here... I'm moderating it daily.
I'm one of the "old" drifters and although I'm using V.5 (I really am, I promise :angel: ) When people start talking about all those %object %&##"@" variables I must admit I back off. ( An argument that has been presented so many times that you can practically see through it by now)

I think it's a good idea and I'm all for it. But how do we go about it?
You can't just describe a chair without also having all the details described too, can you?
The kitchen chair is made of wood (player may >examine wood) one of the legs are broken (player may >examine leg) the tall back is elegantly curved in a carved pattern of a swan. Player may examine.. Well you get the picture.
D-Day V.5 in progress 79Kb so far (slowly getting there)
Anno 1700 in progress 111Kb
User avatar
Po. Prune
Moderator
 
Posts: 3959
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2002 8:18 am
Location: Denmark

Re: Scenery is boring - A solution!

Postby Hordriss » Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:03 am

Po. Prune wrote:HELL no!!!
The forum is still here... I'm moderating it daily.
I'm one of the "old" drifters and although I'm using V.5 (I really am, I promise :angel: ) When people start talking about all those %object %&##"@" variables I must admit I back off. ( An argument that has been presented so many times that you can practically see through it by now)

I think it's a good idea and I'm all for it. But how do we go about it?
You can't just describe a chair without also having all the details described too, can you?
The kitchen chair is made of wood (player may >examine wood) one of the legs are broken (player may >examine leg) the tall back is elegantly curved in a carved pattern of a swan. Player may examine.. Well you get the picture.


I'm guessing you're going a little overboard there. I certainly can't imagine going to that amount of detail.

My efforts would be something like:
Examine chair.

"It's just a bloody chair. What exactly are you expecting? It's made of wood, and is so old it's probably infested with woodworm. It's not very comfortable, and not quite big enough for your gargantuan hind quarters. You're not too happy about sitting on it any more, after a few nights ago when a bit of wood broke away from the seat and you ended up with an enormous splinter stuck in your left buttock."
Hordriss
 
Posts: 30
Joined: Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:11 pm

Re: Scenery is boring - A solution!

Postby Po. Prune » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:43 am

That's a great description :yeah: and certainly one I would be very happy to read.
What I was trying to point out was the fact that if it's mentioned in the description you can bet anything that some player will try to examine it and if you haven't written a description the player will get the response "You don't see ......" and you'll get the "Why not? It's mentioned in the text!" I've had a few of those myself.
D-Day V.5 in progress 79Kb so far (slowly getting there)
Anno 1700 in progress 111Kb
User avatar
Po. Prune
Moderator
 
Posts: 3959
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2002 8:18 am
Location: Denmark

Re: Scenery is boring - A solution!

Postby David Whyld » Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:16 am

I think there's a fine line between including a description of something that's right there in front of you, and providing a description of every single possible thing that could conceivably be there in front of you. Games don't need to be ultra realistic and sometimes are worse off when they try to be.

I'm playing a game right now and while I'm enjoying it overall, there are certain parts that make me want to tear my hair out in frustration. One puzzle involves loading a gun. LOAD GUN doesn't work. No, you need to go through 10+ actions in order to load it. Another puzzle involves rowing a boat. ROW BOAT doesn't work, instead you have to move the rudder about, paddle one way or the other, move the rudder about some more, do a bit more paddling... It all becomes very tedious. It doesn't add anything to the game other than a feeling of frustration.

Realism is important, but it shouldn't come at the price of decent gameplay.
David Whyld
 
Posts: 6564
Joined: Sat Dec 18, 2004 5:15 pm
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Scenery is boring - A solution!

Postby Hordriss » Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:18 pm

David Whyld wrote:I think there's a fine line between including a description of something that's right there in front of you, and providing a description of every single possible thing that could conceivably be there in front of you. Games don't need to be ultra realistic and sometimes are worse off when they try to be.

I'm playing a game right now and while I'm enjoying it overall, there are certain parts that make me want to tear my hair out in frustration. One puzzle involves loading a gun. LOAD GUN doesn't work. No, you need to go through 10+ actions in order to load it. Another puzzle involves rowing a boat. ROW BOAT doesn't work, instead you have to move the rudder about, paddle one way or the other, move the rudder about some more, do a bit more paddling... It all becomes very tedious. It doesn't add anything to the game other than a feeling of frustration.

Realism is important, but it shouldn't come at the price of decent gameplay.


Sounds like a bit of a mess. IF doesn't work when it's that complicated. That kind of thing can utterly ruin a game.
Hordriss
 
Posts: 30
Joined: Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:11 pm

Re: Scenery is boring - A solution!

Postby Hordriss » Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:44 pm

Po. Prune wrote:That's a great description :yeah: and certainly one I would be very happy to read.
What I was trying to point out was the fact that if it's mentioned in the description you can bet anything that some player will try to examine it and if you haven't written a description the player will get the response "You don't see ......" and you'll get the "Why not? It's mentioned in the text!" I've had a few of those myself.


I do think it's quite important to make sure you describe things if they're mentioned in the room description. It doesn't have to be anything too detailed, but I think it is one of those frustrating things that after something is in the room description, then being told you can see no such thing when you try to examine it.

I'm in the process of authoring my first ever IF game via adrift, and I am trying to be careful to make sure that no object is unexaminable if is mentioned in the room description.
Hordriss
 
Posts: 30
Joined: Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:11 pm

Re: Scenery is boring - A solution!

Postby Stephen49 » Fri Oct 31, 2014 7:01 am

Since I tend to be a bit of a wise-acre when it comes to things like this, I resolve it as following:

1. Create a static object that repesents each scenery item, e.g., "a tree"
Note that if you have trees an multiple locations you can create a "Tree Group" that has all the locations containing trees in it, then locate the tree object in the group.

Create a text array (SceneryAry) of generic answers, e.g.,
You seen nothing unusual about %Object%.Name.
If you've seen one %Object%.Name, you've seen them all.
%Object%.Name is of no interest to you at this time (nor is it likely to be any more interesting later).
You study %Object%.Name carefully, but are none the wiser for your effort.

2. Create an integer variable (SceneryLen) that represents the length of the array.
(this lets you add/remove descriptions from the aray and just adjust the length without editing each scenery item)

3. Add the following description to each scenery item
%SceneryAry[RAND(1,%SceneryLen%)]%

It won't take the player long to figure out that examining every trivial scenery item mentioned in the game is a waste of time and move on to somenting more important, like finishing the game.

--Steve
Stephen49
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 1:26 am

Re: Scenery is boring - A solution!

Postby TommoHawk » Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:33 pm

This is why massive long winded descriptions (like a book) are a waste of time..You end up having to program everything mentioned "just in case" someone wants to examine it etc. So games therefore should be kept simple and have less to clutter the discovery element of the game. I don't mind having an answer for every object, even if it has to be the odd bland repetitive "you can't do that". In the 3d gaming world we still have stupid problems like not being able to jump something at knee height (Call of Duty games etc). We all except that (sometimes with a growl). So let's not over complicate the simplistic flow of text adventures with stuff like "long long descriptions" and "pictures". Pictures were the novelty in the 1980s when they appeared and were animated etc...but games were evolving back then. The result of that progress actually made the imagination side of the text adventure almost redundant. Often one would be stuck in a location, but due to the picture not showing everything, imagination became lazified and gamers would just give up! It takes clever thinking to make a good text game that isn't boring or too difficult. My moto is simple but clever, and funny in places!
User avatar
TommoHawk
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2003 5:13 pm

Re: Scenery is boring - A solution!

Postby catman » Fri Feb 27, 2015 7:44 pm

I agree with a lot of the points. In my TAB program I used to get round that by using ordinary nouns (non-object or non-character) for the "scenery" words where I wanted to output a message such as "The %n1% is not important in the game." or "That's just scenery".
I could keep all those words in one group and use conditions in a TAB coding entry line like so:

[start]examine n1/search n1#n1>=100#n1<=140[acts]cmessThe %n1% is just scenery - not important."#done[end]

If the player typed examine, search (or their synonyms) and referenced an ordinary noun number from 100 to 140 then print a custom message. The "done" would halt execution of any further player commands (multiple inputs) and return to the input prompt for next command without the player losing a "turn" at the game.

btw, I have just returned to the TAB retro-adventure project after quite a long, long time and the other day posted a minor update (v65)
Also I have again updated the TAB Interactive Fiction youtube playlist:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... nXjQ4zD5DG

Regards,
catventure.
Author of: ThinBasic Adventure Builder (TAB)
Text Adventure/Interactive Fiction Maker for Windows 2k/Me/XP/Vista/7/8 and above platform.

Download TAB + demos + tutorial
http://tab.thinbasic.com/
User avatar
catman
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 11:12 am
Location: UK

Re: Scenery is boring - A solution!

Postby ralphmerridew » Sat Feb 28, 2015 1:57 am

TommoHawk: One common convention is to add subobjects as synonyms for the main object:

> EXAMINE TREE
Gnarled branches sprawl off from the trunk.

> EXAMINE BRANCHES
Gnarled branches sprawl off from the trunk.

This is a "blunted corner" method; it stops the player from having to search deeper without showing an obvious break.


There was an extension in I6 that made it easy to have pseudo-objects that would give a description if examined but give a "That's just scenery." response if the player tried to interact with it in any way beyond that.
Bloodhounds can make you laugh and cuss in the same breath. They are endearing, faithful, and can sling drool ten feet in any direction. -- Virginia Lanier
User avatar
ralphmerridew
 
Posts: 2503
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2002 11:56 pm
Location: Missouri

Re: Scenery is boring - A solution!

Postby Lumin » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:28 pm

Stephen49's idea was a good one for generic descriptions. Would be excellent for grass or something, for instance, or background buildings in a city area. Though I think trees themselves can be utilized to add a lot of personality to a scene and TommoHawk I like my massive long-winded descriptions, thank you very much. :P The point is to make the player visualize the scene - would you say descriptive writing in a book is wasted as well?

ralphmerridew wrote:TommoHawk: One common convention is to add subobjects as synonyms for the main object:

> EXAMINE TREE
Gnarled branches sprawl off from the trunk.

> EXAMINE BRANCHES
Gnarled branches sprawl off from the trunk.


I've been using a variation of this (when I get time to write at all, which sadly isn't often these days...).

>EXAMINE TREE

The trunk of the ancient tree bears a blackened scar from a lightning blast this past autumn, but that doesn't seem to have prevented it from joining its fellows in celebrating the spring. Gnarled branches sprawl off from the trunk and quite a ways up you can make out a bird's nest half hidden among newly budded leaves.

>EXAMINE BRANCHES

Gnarled branches sprawl off from the trunk.

>EXAMINE TRUNK/EXAMINE SCAR

The trunk bears a blackened scar from a lightning strike.

>EXAMINE LEAVES

High up in the tree you can make out a bird's nest hidden among the leaves.


It's not quite 'ffs none of that is important stop looking at it!' but I think it gets the message across in as polite a way as possible. The bird's nest would be the only thing with a slightly more detailed description there as in true adventurer fashion your job is to get up there and ransack it. No ones homes shall be spared from your desire for loot, not even that of tiny innocent birds!
Currently working on: Nada. Zip. Zilch. [Check this space later.]
User avatar
Lumin
 
Posts: 1624
Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2004 5:48 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Scenery is boring - A solution!

Postby Lazzah » Fri May 01, 2015 12:31 pm

Let's face it guys, saying "scenery is boring" is just an excuse for laziness on the part of the author. Enough said? :whistle:
OUT NOW: The Lost Children
Current W.I.P.: Magnetic Moon
Also available: The Axe of Kolt, The Spectre of Castle Coris, The Fortress of Fear, Die Feuerfaust - The Fist of Fire
User avatar
Lazzah
Moderator
 
Posts: 2021
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:54 am
Location: London, England

Next

Return to General IF

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Kennedy and 5 guests

cron