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Protagonist X



Joined: 04 Jun 2002
Posts: 200
Location: A fortified bunker deep beneath the Arizona desert surface.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2003 2:31 pm    Post subject: Some random thoughts Reply with quote

1.) Shenmue (at least the first one) is plagued, much like GTA3, with the spectre of what might have been. So incredible in many ways, and yet flawed by lousy voice-acting and some uneven pacing.

1a.) I mention Shenmue because it kept me awake until 8 in the morning for several nights. The last time I came home from work and played a game until it was light out (and then STILL kept playing until eyestrain and fatigue set in and reminded me I needed to be at work in a few hours) was on FoD. So whatever the problems with the game, kudos to Yu Suzuki and his crew.

1b.) The reason I'm posting in this base is because until the rediscovery of Civ II and Shenmue, I had tried making progress on my own game, an IF piece. Here's a few of the things I learned, in no particular order:

2.) Civ II rivals heroin in its addictiveness. I finally got a spaceship win on Emperor, which means that Deity is the final great challenge left to me. Civ ii was so good in the past that I actually uninstalled it from my computer and hid the CD from myself for fear that I would do nothing else with the rest of my life.

2a.) I found the CD in late February, as I moved out of a house I shared with a few other people into my very own house, an actual home of my own. I actually remember thinking "OK, just one quick game," when I installed it. My god, what a stereotypical after-school-special moment. I can see the title now: ABC presents 'The boy who played Civilization II.'

3.) Shenmue helped me see a few of the flaws in the nascent IF piece on which I was/am working.

3a.) The environmnet in Shenmue is a show-stopper. Whatever the weak spots of the game, wandering around your house, your neighborhood, the town of Yokosuka, and the harbor feel like real places. I think my feelings of imprisonment and drudgery at my job were what triggered my delight in a game where I could just wander around and look at cool stuff, play games, and hang out in general, occasionally getting into something interesting and dangerous at odd intervals. It genuinely was like being seventeen during the summer again. And this time around I was going to enjoy it, damn it all, because as an adult I finally knew what I'd lost.

3b.) On disc 3 in Shenmue, you get a job. You have to show up and drive the damn forklift from 9 to 5. This alone killed my joy in the game. The whole reason I enjoyed it was the feeling of freedom, and to be stuck doing anything -- even if "anything" is a reasonably-interesting driving game -- was the sheer torture of inescapable minimum-wage torture all over again. It was genuinely like being NINETEEN during the summer again, earning money for college and being miserable in equal proportion.

3c.) Anyhow, in my IF piece (tenatively titled "The Day I Tried To Live," see below) I was trying to avoid the sterotype of setting a game at the college I attended. The main character has already graduated, and lives in the college town outside his old alma mater. I figured that the most interesting parts of college for me were when I was in the cool, idiosyncratic bars and shops and coffehouses outside the U. What I discovered was that I really WAS falling into the college-game-sterotype: I hadn't fleshed out the Village areas enough, and all the substantial scenes, dialogue, and puzzles were on the campus.

3d.) Another reason Shenmue works well is probably the same reason that Interstate Zero works well: the authors made a decision to ditch the usual fantasy or sci-fi trappings and present a fairly modern environment, and then worked hard to fill it with the sort of puzzles that might reasonably occur in that milieu. Same thing with Punk Points. and some others. The problem with my game was that I wasn't doing the same. I'm trying to correct that.

4.) Having a house can be a big hassle. Mortgage is a lot more expensive than the rent I was used to. Also, my commute is now 30 minutes longer each way, and I'm feeling the fatigue and the pinch in free time. Thankfully, I scored another sweet temporary gig at work that's an 8-to-5 slackfest, so I'm trying to get some game programming done there in the manner advertised by ICJ.

5.) Another discovery: I type like shit. I need to get me a Mavis Beacon CD or something, otherwise I'll never finish anything.

6.) I code worse than I type. My programming skills are so bad that analogies fail me. I initially got some IF stuff to learn how to program (recall the TADS tutorial with a PFE download that was origianlly structured as a way to teach 9th-graders programming? Yeah, that's why I started out with TADS). Now it looks like I may need to take some sort of remedial programming course to learn enough to make use of Hugo.

6a.) This is not meant to imply that Hugo is to blame -- quite the opposite. Hugo is a brilliant tool, I'm just too much of a chode to use it effectively as yet. Much like the customers who call me for tech support: they've got brand new computers with all the trimmings, yet they can't take advantage of any of that raw power until they learn to use it properly.

6b.) A friend recommended learning programming skills while doing the game, thereby realising immediate rewards and practical applications. This seems sound. Right now I'm looking at some Scheme tutorials, because they're readily available and look like they might rid me of some of the bad habits that TRS-80 BASIC instilled in me. Can anyone comment on this? On LISP in general? I've heard it described as everything from 'The One True Way' to 'an evolutionary throwback that should have gone belly-up in the 80s.' Anyone want to weigh in?

7.) And as a coda: I still blather on too much. Case in point: this rambling, verbose post.

7a.) Further example: I started writing a review of Shenmue for Trotting Krips. I did it on my spare time at work, as an email in plaintext, so I could mail it to myself and continue working. At around the 15Kb mark, I STILL hadn't gotten to the actual gameplay itself; I was describing past incarnations of what became Shenmue, and making some notes about game design theory in a general fashion. A game review should not be structured like a doctoral thesis.

7b.) Nor should an IF game. Looking over the parts of the text so far -- and bear in mind that I'm not even past the first major sequence -- it looks like I'll need to take a chainsaw to most of it. Unless I alter my prose style to something leaner, my only other option is to go overboard on a footnote-ridden David Foster Wallace parody.

8.) Just looked at 6a.), above. I compared myself to the people who call into me at work. It makes me want to punch myself in the mouth.

So, yeah, that's why I haven't posted in about 2 months.

Comments freely invited.

PTX
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Roody_Yogurt



Joined: 29 Apr 2002
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2003 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I always enjoy game design theory, unless it's way over my head or just completely brings home that this guy or lady really likes a different kind of game than I do.

It's hard for me to comment on Shenmue, as all of the little loading times for each of these every day tasks add up to the point that I've really been unable to play it for very long. I'm not sure if I'll ever play Shenmue II, but I guess I'm closer to just renting that and watching the DVD of the first game just to see all of the major points.

As far as programming goes, my confidence in my own skills waxes and wanes so much that I'm not sure if I'm in the right position to recommend anything. I'm glad that I finished one game, even if it did involve David Dyte writing all of my array code for me and the huge amount of coding questions and library tweakings (getting Inform's menu stuff to work, mainly). Even though we're learning Hugo, I'd still suggest reading over the section of the Inform Designer's Manual that goes over programming concepts. For me, at least, it was fed to me in an accessible manner that still kept me excited to write something.

I think I'd have to see the state of the game so far to judge whether it's too verbose. As long as the text's interesting, it really shouldn't be a problem (although I don't really enjoy huge descriptions if they don't instill some characterization into the piece... but some people like that). Of course, the other thing to watch out for is that it shouldn't be too hard to find the 'game.' I wouldn't support writing a huge map that the main purpose is just to give an authentic feel to the place, especially if each room is written in a way that the player will wonder, hmmm, is this where something happens, or do I have to keep looking? Both FoD and Punk Points handled useless rooms well, but I still think authors have to keep in mind that clear goals should always be in mind.

I think for modern-life based pieces, it also helps to try to twist the players' expectations as much as possible. When I played "A Change In The Weather," when the storm hit and in my mind it became this surreal dark piece, I knew right then that was what a great piece of IF can do. Same thing in "Chicks Dig Jerks" when you get to the second part and parts of your character are spelled out for you and all this wackiness comes out of nowhere (especially since the first time I played it, I missed most of the clues given in the bar).
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Ice Cream Jonsey



Joined: 27 Apr 2002
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Location: Colorado

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2003 12:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Some random thoughts Reply with quote

I was stoked when I got Shenmue. But the thing is...

There's no way to get past the first cut-scene, is there? The thing is easily five entire minutes long. I had gone a little of the way through my game and couldn't find my save game (I can't remember which thingie it's on; it was probably deleted) and the prospects of going through that entire opening sequence again ... well, I haven't been up for it.

Final Fantasy X was the same way, but that is a different and separate story.


Quote:
1a.) I mention Shenmue because it kept me awake until 8 in the morning for several nights. The last time I came home from work and played a game until it was light out (and then STILL kept playing until eyestrain and fatigue set in and reminded me I needed to be at work in a few hours) was on FoD. So whatever the problems with the game, kudos to Yu Suzuki and his crew.


I should say that comments like this provide me with all the reserves of energy that I need to actually do these things. That's quite kind of you to relate, and it's this kind of experience that I am currently hoping to duplicate with the upcoming one.


Quote:
2.) Civ II rivals heroin in its addictiveness. I finally got a spaceship win on Emperor, which means that Deity is the final great challenge left to me. Civ ii was so good in the past that I actually uninstalled it from my computer and hid the CD from myself for fear that I would do nothing else with the rest of my life.


I think you can play it without the CD in the drive, if you want to give up the music. Maybe it's best if I didn't say that.

My brother has been playing Civ II almost every weeknight for three years now. He's tried Alpha Centauri, he's tried Civ III, I think I may have even given him Warcraft II and some others... but Civ II is the one he keeps coming back to. Personally, I *can't* let myself play it -- I really would never get anything done if I started getting into the habit of playing it again.


Quote:
Right now I'm looking at some Scheme tutorials, because they're readily available and look like they might rid me of some of the bad habits that TRS-80 BASIC instilled in me. Can anyone comment on this? On LISP in general? I've heard it described as everything from 'The One True Way' to 'an evolutionary throwback that should have gone belly-up in the 80s.' Anyone want to weigh in?


I like LISP a lot. Aside from Hugo it's my favorite language to program in. I don't know if I can really quantify why, though. I'm not sure if taking six weeks to learn it would really help what I perceive you wanting to do, however.

But really, I wouldn't worry too much about what your code looks like, or how pretty it is in your first game. It just working more than anything else is what's important. The code for CDJ is a complete 'mess' but really only in a philosophical sense: nobody really cares that I used global variables to keep track of state rather than a handy (and smaller) array. Harry Hardjono's code is probably spectacular, but I don't know that many of his games are equally entertaining. I think the big thing is to identify parts of your code that seem to be unwieldly to you, and then go about fixing those issues with your second game. And then repeating the process with each successive release.


Quote:
7a.) Further example: I started writing a review of Shenmue for Trotting Krips. I did it on my spare time at work, as an email in plaintext, so I could mail it to myself and continue working. At around the 15Kb mark, I STILL hadn't gotten to the actual gameplay itself; I was describing past incarnations of what became Shenmue, and making some notes about game design theory in a general fashion. A game review should not be structured like a doctoral thesis.


We of course would love to post it, regardless of whether or not it ever actually talks about the game. When you feel confident with how it looks, definitely feel free to mail it to me. If you want to make it a two part deal, with the second part leading on into the game that could work as well.

Once I get this current beast released, I hope to take a couple months and just review things. The RFTK site is often the first thing to get cut when I am in development mode, but I don't intend for it to be abandoned.

On the other hand, you at least get your stuff up there for a good six months when a submission is made. So there's that.
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Protagonist X



Joined: 04 Jun 2002
Posts: 200
Location: A fortified bunker deep beneath the Arizona desert surface.

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2003 3:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Some random thoughts Reply with quote

Ice Cream Jonsey wrote:
I was stoked when I got Shenmue. But the thing is...

There's no way to get past the first cut-scene, is there? The thing is easily five entire minutes long. I had gone a little of the way through my game and couldn't find my save game (I can't remember which thingie it's on; it was probably deleted) and the prospects of going through that entire opening sequence again ... well, I haven't been up for it.


It's worth playing. Set up the DC (I recommend wiping all the blocks from a VMU -- always nice to have several save points) and then fire it up and just make a sandwich or something while the opening scene unfolds. You can save the game in Ryo's room immediately afterwards and continue from there.

Be warned: it's not a 'beat it in an evening' game.

Ice Cream Jonsey wrote:

Quote:
1a.) I mention Shenmue because it kept me awake until 8 in the morning for several nights. The last time I came home from work and played a game until it was light out (and then STILL kept playing until eyestrain and fatigue set in and reminded me I needed to be at work in a few hours) was on FoD. So whatever the problems with the game, kudos to Yu Suzuki and his crew.


I should say that comments like this provide me with all the reserves of energy that I need to actually do these things. That's quite kind of you to relate, and it's this kind of experience that I am currently hoping to duplicate with the upcoming one.


Looking forward to the new one. FoD is a fave because it has a soul -- too many games have "the stereotypically angst-ridded protagonist," whereas FoD had a character who I really identified with: not a hypercompetent assassin, but a nerd who's really passionate about what he loves. The awkward moments with Delarion and his girlfriend were touching.

Also, it was funny as hell in little one-liners that would blindside me out of nowhere. There was a lot to like in that one.

Ice Cream Jonsey wrote:

My brother has been playing Civ II almost every weeknight for three years now. He's tried Alpha Centauri, he's tried Civ III, I think I may have even given him Warcraft II and some others... but Civ II is the one he keeps coming back to. Personally, I *can't* let myself play it -- I really would never get anything done if I started getting into the habit of playing it again.


I'm a nonsmoker, and I believe you mentioned you are, too.

You know how when you ask somebody who smokes about it, and the first thing they usually say is "Oh, don't ever start. I wish I hadn't, even though there's times that I really enjoy it..."

Yeah. Seriously, it'll suck your free time dry like some kind of famished temporal vampire on crystal meth. It's like Tetris for me; I'll swear it off and then get caught up in it again.

Ice Cream Jonsey wrote:

I like LISP a lot. Aside from Hugo it's my favorite language to program in. I don't know if I can really quantify why, though. I'm not sure if taking six weeks to learn it would really help what I perceive you wanting to do, however.

[...]I think the big thing is to identify parts of your code that seem to be unwieldly to you, and then go about fixing those issues with your second game. And then repeating the process with each successive release.



Sound advice, and duly noted. My problem is that I'm so out-of-tune with the way programming should be done. I like to blame that on BASIC -- I remember getting a QBasic compiler for the PS/1, and I just couldn't wrap my mind around the possibility of not having line numbers. It seemed like voodoo. I was, of course, 14 at the time, but still.

By the way, I hear Scheme is better to learn in, but CL is kinda the LISP lingua franca. Any thoughts? Oh, and what LISP environment would you recommend?

Ice Cream Jonsey wrote:
Quote:
7a.) Further example: I started writing a review of Shenmue for Trotting Krips. I did it on my spare time at work, as an email in plaintext, so I could mail it to myself and continue working. At around the 15Kb mark, I STILL hadn't gotten to the actual gameplay itself; I was describing past incarnations of what became Shenmue, and making some notes about game design theory in a general fashion. A game review should not be structured like a doctoral thesis.


We of course would love to post it, regardless of whether or not it ever actually talks about the game. When you feel confident with how it looks, definitely feel free to mail it to me. If you want to make it a two part deal, with the second part leading on into the game that could work as well.
that.


I'm pretty sure I've got a copy of the text file someplace, hopefully in my saved mail at home. I'll send it to you and then you can decide for yourself -- it's a whale. A beached whale, until I tidy it up with a chainsaw.


Last edited by Protagonist X on Mon Apr 28, 2003 4:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Protagonist X



Joined: 04 Jun 2002
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Location: A fortified bunker deep beneath the Arizona desert surface.

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2003 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roody_Yogurt wrote:
Even though we're learning Hugo, I'd still suggest reading over the section of the Inform Designer's Manual that goes over programming concepts. For me, at least, it was fed to me in an accessible manner that still kept me excited to write something.


Thanks -- I'm trying to print some of it out on the workplace printer.

Roody_Yogurt wrote:
I wouldn't support writing a huge map that the main purpose is just to give an authentic feel to the place, especially if each room is written in a way that the player will wonder, hmmm, is this where something happens, or do I have to keep looking? Both FoD and Punk Points handled useless rooms well, but I still think authors have to keep in mind that clear goals should always be in mind.


Again, excellent advice, and it helps me to codify some of what I knew was wrong with the game. Time to hunker down and edit.

Roody_Yogurt wrote:
I think for modern-life based pieces, it also helps to try to twist the players' expectations as much as possible. When I played "A Change In The Weather," when the storm hit and in my mind it became this surreal dark piece, I knew right then that was what a great piece of IF can do. Same thing in "Chicks Dig Jerks" when you get to the second part and parts of your character are spelled out for you and all this wackiness comes out of nowhere (especially since the first time I played it, I missed most of the clues given in the bar).


Food for thought. I was trying to follow that advice: the game as it stands is intended to be a black comedy, a sort of Modern Bureaucratic Comedy-of-Errors. The primary goal in the game is to get someone to admit that you really graduated in 2003, not in 2008 like a stupid mistyped printout says. Naturally, everything that you do makes this trivial goal harder and harder to reach, like Kafka by way of the Marx Brothers.

It draws heavily from Douglas Adams' Bureaucracy and the excellent Terry Gilliam film Brazil, both of which I love dearly.

As for the subversion of expectations, I was shooting to have it start out comically but grounded in reality, then gradually turn up the volume on ridiculous circumstances until it crescendoes into the borderline surreal. E.g.: so many stupid forms are automatically filed and shredded because of your actions that by the endgame, there are literal 5-foot snowdrifts of shredded white paper blocking some of the locations, clogging gutters and behaving like some sort of biblical plague. By this time, there's a death warrant out for you, you're the target of a Supreme Court subpoena, a murder investigation, and three seperate audits from the IRS. And the University still can't seem to decide what your middle initial should be, let alone if you've graduated.

Why yes, some of this is based, however loosely, on actual events.

Now that I've spilled the plot outline, I'd like to add it to the list of things I'd appreciate comments on. Thanks all.
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Roody_Yogurt



Joined: 29 Apr 2002
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2003 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm intrigued by what you have to say. I'd just suggest playing Michael Gentry's Little Blue Men (Inform) if you haven't already just so you can both see how he handles paperwork surreality and to make sure some of your elements don't come off as a little too similar.
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Ice Cream Jonsey



Joined: 27 Apr 2002
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The LISP environment that I've really spent a lot of time in is the SKILL one by Cadence. It's LISP, but tailored to be used in circuit / CPU design, so there are a bunch of other handy capabilities and functions as well. Unfortunately, it's not really the right LISP to get going with if you want to learn the language, as it's not something I'd expect people to just have kicking around in a sandbox environment.

I was looking for a LISP solution for my PC a while back, but all I could find was an OS that would have run me $599. I don't know if there is a free version of LISP for Windows or not.

Also, one language I would love to write in again would be Logo. Did that ever get ported over to DOS or Windows?
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Protagonist X



Joined: 04 Jun 2002
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Location: A fortified bunker deep beneath the Arizona desert surface.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2003 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://el.media.mit.edu/logo-foundation/

Yep, looks like CMU and MIT, true to their reputation, are keeping the LISP flame alive. Looks like there's a bunch of commercial implementations and several free ones as well -- lots of the latter seem to have been implemented in Scheme. I wonder if there's a reason for that.

Funny you would mention Logo: I remembered it from grade school on a friend's Apple ][, and at the time I thought it was cool yet mostly a toy -- nobody had explained to me that it was actually a "gateway drug" for turning Apple users into Comp Sci majors, or that it was fully-featured enough to use in some relatively complex programs.

In an alternate universe, there's a version of me who went from Logo to LISP and wound up as one of those X-Emacs guys who never ever leaves emacs. I've seen guys like that; all their mail, word processing, etc. -- one of them even had this browser that could handle HTML 3.2 (I think) all done in emacs LISP. Yes, the browser was ass-slow. But according to him, that wasn't the point.

The reason I got interested in LISP was from reading some elegant essays written by Paul Graham. One of them in particular, "Taste for Makers," is quite possibly the best essay written on any large topic by anyone ever.

[Obligatory link pimpage:]

http://www.paulgraham.com/taste.html
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Protagonist X



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Location: A fortified bunker deep beneath the Arizona desert surface.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2003 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On a hunch, I finally read the FAQs on Graham's website. Please pause momentarily while I say "duh..." to myself.

Quote:
Do you know a good, free Lisp implementation?

There are several. The Common Lisp implementation I use is Clisp, but CMUCL is also well-regarded. For Scheme hacking I use Scheme 48, but PLT Scheme looks good too.


Clisp: http://clisp.sourceforge.net/

CMUCL: http://cmucl.cons.org/

Scheme 48: http://www.s48.org/

PLT Scheme: http://www.plt-scheme.org/

Of these four, PLT Scheme is the only one I've downloaded as yet. There's a "Dr. Scheme" environment in there that seems tailor-made for a newb like myself -- it came as part of the Programming Course I'm trying on and off to figure out.

As a slightly-related tangent, one of the things that initially had me looking around for LISP-y stuff to learn programming was part of this section in a rant by Jamie Zawinski:

Quote:
If you're like most people, you've never seen a good garbage collector, because, while all of the commercial Lisp and Smalltalk systems had high quality GC, just about all of the open source garbage collectors are junk (e.g., Perl, Python, and Emacs.) Perl's GC is an especially bad joke: if you have circular references, the objects won't get collected until the program exits! Give me a break! (Update: I'm told that Python's so-called GC is just as bad, since it is also merely reference-counting instead of a real GC.)

Another point that often gets overlooked is that existence of a GC doesn't mean that the programmer has to play a totally hands-off role in the allocation of objects; as with any coding, there are usually a few bottlenecks that deserve special care. A system with a good GC will provide opportunities to tune; for example, to make hints to the GC about lifetime and locality and so on.


This was, however, written 5 years ago. Has the landscape changed since then?
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Ice Cream Jonsey



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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2003 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Meant to reply last week with more info... but my knowledge of LISP and LISP like variants is very specific and Cadence-oriented. I cannot provide proper advice on other packages.

Offhand, I'm not sure... geez, I don't even know if there is a useful way for LISP code to work on a PC. Is there some sort of LISP-to-EXE converter, even?

I had nothing that I felt I could add, so I didn't add anything. This is my secret shame.
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looper



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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2003 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Protagonist X,

I know exactly what you're talking about--the TADS tutorial designed for ninth graders. I thought it would be cool to write an i-f piece, and roamed around the web seein' what language I should decide on. Most everyone said to learn a tough language like TADS or Inform as opposed to something a little easier like ALAN, because TADS or Inform was more powerful in the long run. So I decided on TADS 'cuz it seemed cooler--more up to date, could process HTML. And I downloaded that 9th-graders' tutorial. And read through some of it. And started to try to write something. It looked straightforward and logical, but when I tried to write, I was dismayed to discover that I didn't know how to do it. It was another language, basically (as opposed to just being something written in English; no, darnit, these programming languages have their own unique syntax), and I hadn't memorized it yet.

I tried Inform. Tried to read deeper this time. Really, really tried. But without that manual printed out (and doing that wasn't something I was prepared to do just then), baby, it's really hard to remember what you've read; really hard to reference the information quickly.

Ok, so I thought, to satisfy my creative urge and get a feeling of accomplishment, I'll use ADRIFT and write something really small. I'll tell you what, I'm almost finished with that game. :mrgreen:

While I was in the process of doing that, I took another look at people's opinions on the various programming languages. I took a look at the code sample in Hugo as compared to TADS and Inform, over there at Cloak of Darkness. Hugo was obviously more straightforward, syntactically. But you probably already know that. Indulge me, here.

I downloaded Hugo and the user's manual. Read through page 80 or so and started to try experimenting in Hugo. Quickly ran into a wall. Same wall as with Inform or TADS--I simply did not know the information as well as I thought I did while I was reading it. So I've gone back and read through it again (ok, I admit, I skipped over the chapter about the compiler), this time more slowly, and I'm at page 100 or so.

So all of this huge preface is to say that it seems possible that you and I could be at a comparable level of comprehension in regards to Hugo or programming in general, and perhaps we could be of help to each other.

You mention TRS-80 BASIC. I never personally even learned how to program much in (for me, ATARI) BASIC; I suspect partially this was because I did not have anyone around who already knew how to program and who was willing to show me how to do it; I was trying to do this on my own, out of books (I was around 10 at the time). A few years later, and I had given up; I was more interested in playing the games. So, anyways...

Your post was a nice kick in the pants to start reading the Hugo manual again. Thanks.
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Roody_Yogurt



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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2003 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think no one can be faulted for not having their shit together from just reading the manual. Unless you're a programmer like Robb (and maybe even then it's somewhat hard learning languages), you should also be checking out the 'examples' or whatever directory at the IF archive. No matter what language you're using, besides the manual, be sure to check out the example code. For Hugo, I've heard that the code to Gilles' Scavenger Hunt game is one of the best commented games ever, and one can't forget that there's also the code to games like Guilty Bastards on the archive available for perusal (I uploaded the code to my game 'Anne and the Terrordrome of Evil' just because it has some stripped-down following code and stuff like that in case anyone was intimidated by GB's mutliple files.... I do need to upload another version, though, since it seems like some things have changed in Hugo since I uploaded that and that version no longer compiles).

I'm drunk now so I'm not sure if I'm making sense, but the point is, don't stick to only the manuals... the more code y ou look at , the better...

says Roody, fearing the next time he actually opens up his source code again...
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looper



Joined: 24 Feb 2003
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Location: CA

PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2003 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roody_Yogurt wrote:
No matter what language you're using, besides the manual, be sure to check out the example code. For Hugo, I've heard that the code to Gilles' Scavenger Hunt game is one of the best commented games ever...I'm drunk now so I'm not sure if I'm making sense, but the point is, don't stick to only the manuals... the more code you look at , the better...


You make sense, and I'll definitely check out Gilles' Scavenger Hunt. Thank you for the helpful advice. :wink:


looper
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Protagonist X



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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

looper wrote:

So all of this huge preface is to say that it seems possible that you and I could be at a comparable level of comprehension in regards to Hugo or programming in general, and perhaps we could be of help to each other.


You're probably further ahead than I am along the road towards a workable game. Much of my time lately has been spent looking at the design documents and scaling back the monster I was imagining.

As a film student, let me use analogy to explain: I was falling into the classic film student trap of trying to make I, Claudius or Lawrence of Arabia my first time behind the camera. Better to start with a couple short films and finish them than try for some sort of massive epic when you're learning.

looper wrote:

You mention TRS-80 BASIC. I never personally even learned how to program much in (for me, ATARI) BASIC; I suspect partially this was because I did not have anyone around who already knew how to program and who was willing to show me how to do it; I was trying to do this on my own, out of books (I was around 10 at the time). A few years later, and I had given up; I was more interested in playing the games. So, anyways...


The school I went to had Trash-80s, and at home I had the BASICA cartridge stuck in my PCjr. Similar problems with learning on those machines, though: BASIC, back in the day, was (is?) really just a toy programming language to give you a taste of what it is like to type things in and run them. It's like having a little plastic toy car that you can sit in and pedal with your feet thinking thet you're driving around just like Dad does in the big car.

That sort of experience alone will not prepare one for learning to shift gears or parallel park, let along how to open up the hood and make sure the distributor cap is on if it fails to turn over some morning.

Going with the "Languages-as-cars" kick, there's a list of these on the web that compares Logo to (if memory serves) a quarter-scale Roll Royce, with a working gas engine and everything. Given the benefit of time travel, I'd probably have gone in for Logo training and learned how to do arrays properly the first time around. BASIC left me so confused, I think I was in high school before I got the concept of "programs really don't need line numbers." Hell, I had a hard time with GOSUBs in BASIC.

Al lof this is by way of saying that if you've done much programming in anything, you're probably fgar enough ahead of me that I'd need you to explain basic concepts to me to get around the black hole of my ignorance.

And yeah, I was always much more interested in playing games than writing them.

looper wrote:


Your post was a nice kick in the pants to start reading the Hugo manual again. Thanks.


Thanks in return; I was going to write the same thign about your post when I read it. :mrgreen:
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Ice Cream Jonsey



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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That BASICA cartridge was pure evil, personified. I think it set me back years, when it came to learning how to really program. Line numbers should be outlawed -- they really, really detract from the learning process when it comes time to use anything else.

I remember shaking my head when Compute! had Amiga listings in their magazine. I could not comprehend the lack of numbers. If I remember right, code for the Amiga didn't even have a semi-colon or other character there to denote the end of a line (I could be wrong). But still, that's Amiga... er, whatever it was called, AmigaDOS or AmigaBASIC or whatnot, Fortran and Hugo as the languages that I have scanned and looked over that has managed to figure out when a line ended, and even Fortran kind of cheats.

... This kind of became a rah-rah Hugo post. That was not my intent, but no matter, it still works.
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Protagonist X



Joined: 04 Jun 2002
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Location: A fortified bunker deep beneath the Arizona desert surface.

PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ice Cream Jonsey wrote:
That BASICA cartridge was pure evil, personified. I think it set me back years, when it came to learning how to really program. Line numbers should be outlawed -- they really, really detract from the learning process when it comes time to use anything else.



Amen, brother! Testify!

Ice Cream Jonsey wrote:

If I remember right, code for the Amiga didn't even have a semi-colon or other character there to denote the end of a line (I could be wrong). But still, that's Amiga... er, whatever it was called, AmigaDOS or AmigaBASIC or whatnot, Fortran and Hugo as the languages that I have scanned and looked over that has managed to figure out when a line ended, and even Fortran kind of cheats.


The Amiga IIRC had (has?) some sort of really cool scripting language, with a lot of OS-type calls. Very flexible, I was told. I want to call it Rexx, but I'm pretty sure that was the OS/2 scripting language.

Ehh, whatever: the Amigans and the OS/2 crew have a lot in common as it is. "The platform was superior, it was just persecuted by sinister forces..."
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pinback



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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have there been any good reg'lar ol' "text adventure" games released any time lately? I don't mean artistic exercises in experimental interactive fiction, I mean TEXT ADVENTURE. You know. Go north, pick up blue key, go south, put card in slot, open door, get treasure? Like that?

Should I try to play Zork again? Every time I play, I get caught at the control panel with all the colored buttons or whatever it is. Can't figure that game out! Does it get better after that?
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bruce



Joined: 04 Jun 2002
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Protagonist X wrote:

The Amiga IIRC had (has?) some sort of really cool scripting language, with a lot of OS-type calls. Very flexible, I was told. I want to call it Rexx, but I'm pretty sure that was the OS/2 scripting language.


Right on both counts.

I, by the way, still use Rexx (under VM) quite a lot.

Bruce
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Roody_Yogurt



Joined: 29 Apr 2002
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Have there been any good reg'lar ol' "text adventure" games released any time lately? I don't mean artistic exercises in experimental interactive fiction, I mean TEXT ADVENTURE. You know. Go north, pick up blue key, go south, put card in slot, open door, get treasure? Like that?


It's a little ZANY because it involves TIME TRAVEL, but I'd recommend First Things First (http://jrwdigitalmedia.com/ftf/).
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, thanks for the advice, Roody! I'll check it out!
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