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Re: Playing Games

Postby P/o Prune » Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:59 am

David Whyld wrote:A lot of what appeals to me about it is cutting out the boring parts of game writing. Nothing is more tedious than providing descriptions for 15 different items the player can see, then all the other various things they might try with said items. Use a limited parser, strip out item descriptions and you get rid of a lot of that, leaving you to concentrate on the parts that actually matter.

I know it's been considered the done thing for years now that every item the player can see should carry a description and the player can interact with. I've even made this point myself a few times. But why? Why does every item need a description? Most are just scenery and don't serve any purpose. What difference does it make if the player can examine a wall he's just come across? It's not going to change the way the game plays. Aside from anything, from the player's viewpoint examining every single item they can see is boring. I don't enjoy doing it but I have to in case something important is hidden here.

On one side you have the players who will complain if they can't examine or interact with every object mentioned in the text, claiming that you can't see that (But it's right there!) or the frustrating response: You can't do that / I don't know what you want to do with "object" (indicating that it's possible to interact with said object but you are just not doing the right thing.
And on the other the authors finding it immensely irritating having to write descriptions for every little thing.
A solution could be a default response: This is just scenery / the "object" can't be manipulated, or something in those lines. How it could be implemented I have no idea, but it's a thought.
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Re: Playing Games

Postby David Whyld » Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:24 am

My idea would be to provide a generic response to EXAMINE and list all the commands used in the game at the start to avoid confusion, with a generic response if people try anything else. Instead of the default "you can't do that" it'd be something like "only the following commands (blah) (blah) (blah) can be used in this game".
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Re: Playing Games

Postby Lumin » Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:32 pm

David Whyld wrote:Aside from anything, from the player's viewpoint examining every single item they can see is boring. I don't enjoy doing it but I have to in case something important is hidden here.


Same here. In fact let me just go on the record now and say I do not enjoy looking at the nouns. I realize that's like a full 40% of the "IF experience", looking at nouns, but that's the situation all the same. Again, maybe it's just me....it's true that long ago there was a time it helped create immersion and this sense of discovery and all that, but now I'm old and dead inside and just make note of all the words I need put >x in front of in each location and then grimly, mechanically, go down the list.

Don't even try to convince me that anything happening is urgent. I won't fall for that; I know better. I'm going to scrutinize every minute detail as the sirens wail or the castle collapses around me, because it may be important.

I can't even remember what game it was, but it was some contest we had and I couldn't progress because I opted not to get out the microscope and closely examine a stain on a gross old mattress, and because of that an important cut scene didn't trigger.....and wow, I didn't realize I'd been bottling up my resentment at that all these years, what a weight off my chest.
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Re: Playing Games

Postby P/o Prune » Thu Sep 26, 2019 8:27 am

I'm afraid I'm one of those with tons of nouns in the location texts. I tend to get myself caught up in trying to create an atmosphere by describing every little detail in the room. Which, of course, leads to about a million or so objects that needs to have a description :x
I think it's a delicate act of balance. Enough text to make the location interesting but not so much that it smother the player.
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Re: Playing Games

Postby David Whyld » Thu Sep 26, 2019 9:25 am

P/o Prune wrote:I'm afraid I'm one of those with tons of nouns in the location texts. I tend to get myself caught up in trying to create an atmosphere by describing every little detail in the room. Which, of course, leads to about a million or so objects that needs to have a description :x
I think it's a delicate act of balance. Enough text to make the location interesting but not so much that it smother the player.


The issue with that is that it becomes hard for the player to know what's important and what isn't. I agree with what Lumin said above about how tedious it is to examine every single item mentioned in a location description. There might have been a time years ago, back when I was first getting into IF, when it seemed really cool to be able to examine a wall and see there was some moss on it, then examine the moss and see a spider, and examine the spider and see it had caught a fly, and examine the fly...

But that was then. Now I just find it a chore. I don't find anything interesting in the need to examine every little item on the off-chance one of them is important, and if I find out I can get different responses to searching items, looking under them, looking behind them, etc, I just despair. There might be literally one or two items in the game which need to be looked behind or searched, but the player has no way of knowing which two so you're going to have to check every single item. Or there might be no items which require looking behind or searching, it's just a feature the author decided was a good idea, or the system has it included by default, and the poor player spends hours typing out LOOK BEHIND DOOR, SEARCH SHELF, LOOK BEHIND WALL, SEARCH TABLE and gets nothing but generic responses and a lot of time wasted.

Unless you're deliberately going for the retro feel, I think it's high time IF games moved beyond this kind of thing. Strip out all the tedious stuff and just leave behind the stuff that's actually worth keeping.
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Re: Playing Games

Postby Lumin » Thu Sep 26, 2019 1:52 pm

P/o Prune wrote:I'm afraid I'm one of those with tons of nouns in the location texts. I tend to get myself caught up in trying to create an atmosphere by describing every little detail in the room. Which, of course, leads to about a million or so objects that needs to have a description :x


A room description with a lot of atmosphere is a pleasure to read and I enjoy writing them too, but the objects are always the trap. And then it gets to the point everyone is deliberately avoiding nouns and you get these sparse, lifeless things.

I'm looking forward now to reworking the game I started before, to put in all the nice details I wanted but had to avoid or else shove off into objects.
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