A (possibly idiotic) choice-based concept

To someone new to IF, one of the biggest hurdles is finding the right way to express themselves. Given slowly it automatically becomes a second nature but for a newbie, this can be a real deal breaker.
So, I had this idea of a Frotz (or whatever) extension that takes all the words from the game’s dictionary and lay them in a “Battle Menu” style (like those old school RPGs- Dragon Warrior and such). So basically, the intial menu contains, say, Move/Look/Interact/Wait. If one selects Move, a new menu pops up with N/S/E/W/U/D. On the other hand, if they select Interact, maybe this time it’ll be Kill/Pick/Push and so on depending upon which words the game supports.
I am kinda busy with my own project so if anyone ACTUALLY think it’s a good idea, feel free to implement it. I haven’t got enough time anyway.

This sounds like an interesting idea, but how will they select direct and indirect objects for their command?

the same way the parser does when you just employ two word commands: it asks for more

Anyone interested in this should also look at what Legend Entertainment did, which was similar and very, very, very detailed - so much so that many users found it unwieldy. Maybe lessons could be learned and the experience streamlined.

Also, iFrotz already does this. Double-tap the command line and you get a screen of most oft-used verbs, including compass directions.

Interact->Fight->Kill->Troll->Rusty Axe
Boinnng!!

Try The Colder Light. archimedes.plus.com/public/c … index.html

That’s a lot of needless, frustrating clicking.

Well, I guess it seems so in theory but I can’t remember being frustated by Final Fantasy 2’s Magic->Scroll 5 page down->Ultima->Enemy->repeat 3 more times
But yeah, whatever. It was just an idea. Here’s a poor joke:
What happens when a violent person asks a hacker to brace himself?

{{HIMSELF}}

Good day :slight_smile:

It seems like it would be difficult to have to choose from a list of all possible nouns in the game, which couldn’t realy be organized into menus like the verbs.

Well, you’d only need a list with all nouns for the room. The inventory could be in a separate pane. Again, I reccommend looking into Legend Etertainment games - they did it.

I remember playing text adventures back in the 80’s that had all the verbs used in the game displayed around the screen and you’d highlight them and then use them in relation to items listed in the room description. It was a pretty neat concept, but could be frustrating if you wanted to try something that the limited toolset didn’t cover (though, saying that, no more frustrating than in a modern IF game where you try to enter a command the author didn’t anticipate).

Like Deja Vu et al?

I’m doing something vaguely similar to this for my current project. A combined parser and mouse interface.

You can click or type one of the listed verbs. It will list objects in the room eligible for that action. Usually most objects in the room are selectable, though some things are removed depending on the situation and verb chosen. For people who like to type, full commands such as “take cup” still work.

Interesting, I’ve been toying with coding up something entirely mouse-based but don’t have a story for it in mind yet.

I can tell you from a player’s perspective, having just played Eric the Unready a few days ago (I’m through just the first part), I found that I never really used the mouse at all. It was fun at first to click on different parts of the pictures to see what would happen, and I tested the word lists a couple of times, but it was just plain easier and quicker to type. I used the noun list as a reference occasionally to see if I’d missed something to interact with but didn’t use the verbs at all.

I liked having the most used buttons (map, inventory, options, etc.) right to hand, though. And the compass was very useful (but took up too much space, IMO).

It’s been a while since I played Eric the Unready or games with interfaces like it. I can understand the aversion to the mouse portion if it, though. If I remember correctly, the verb and noun lists in Eric were fairly extensive at times. When making an interface like this, there is a new challenge of balancing the world and the lists. One has to give the player a suitable amount command options without also overwhelming them.

Here’s an old blog post of mine blog.textadventures.co.uk/2011/0 … -the-verb/

Hey, interesting article!

One thing I’ve really appreciated in Quest parser games is that side bar – I don’t always have as much attention to devote to a game as I’d like and it’s really nice to be able to keep my inventory “front and center” in my mind. I also like the ability to click on the nouns and get a list of drop-downs in theory, but I just find it very awkward to switch between keyboard and mouse (and my trackpad thing is basically right under my thumb so how lazy is that). So I usually use the keyboard and just use the links as guides for what to type.

Oh, absolutely. It’s a balancing act; do you provide context-sensitive commands, and give away some of the puzzles to perceptive players? Will players feel cheated if your list omits an important command? Or do you provide the same commands on every screen, just the basics, and if the player wants more they can type “about” and see the rest of them? Does that make the list useless, since it’s as quick to type “l” or “x” as it is to move your hand to the mouse? Will providing commands prevent players from trying fun things or out of the box solutions, and thus deter authors from providing responses to them?

I think a lot depends on the story one is trying to tell as well. Look at, say, “The Journey Begins”. That’s a story where the interface is entirely mouse driven (or at least I don’t remember seeing a place to type) but wasn’t easy or a matter of just clicking on everything. And the layout works very well with the story, to the point where it’d be hard to imagine another plot fitting with it as well.

Or Walker & Silhouette. The story feels much more engaging, like a novel, because we’re given the most interesting things to explore and not asked to bother with things like tables and walls and rugs (I don’t know about you, but I compulsively look under rugs whenever they’re implemented). The option to type is there, but I don’t think I used it even once. And yet there were several puzzles that required timing and clever thinking.

Anyway, I ramble. But I’ve been pondering this for a while and I think it all boils down to meeting the needs of the story effectively.

“You can turn hyperlinks off by selecting “game” from the tree, then on the Options tab deselect the “Enable hyperlinks” options. But first consider why you would want to do this – if it’s because seeing a list of verbs spoils your puzzle, it probably means it’s not a very good puzzle.”

Perhaps you are not suggesting the verb list need be comprehensive for each object, but if you are then I would caution against missed opportunities for creating interesting challenges:

I think it’s important to bear in mind that there is a difference between the rarely popular “guess-the-verb” situation, and a “guess-the-action” puzzle. Doesn’t providing a comprehensive list of employable verbs only solve the former by negating the latter?

For example, the underwater cave entrance is guarded by a giant trout. How do you get past him? Do you visit the oracle, give him some gold, ask him the right question, and get the solution…or do you bring up a list of verbs connected to the giant trout and notice “tickle” is there along with Look At and Speak To?

(Having thought of that example, I now really want to write the adventure…)

EDIT: and I just cross-posted with someone making a similar point…in my first attempt to join a conversation in the forum…

Don’t feel bad, I’ve made four posts so far and I think I’ve done that nearly every time. :slight_smile:

I like your example, by the way. One of the things I like most about parser IF is when I solve a puzzle and later find out that most people solved it a different way – it makes me feel clever. I also find that when I’m given a list of things to interact with, I think outside the box a lot less, because it’s just easier to go with what’s right there.

nobody cares for puzzles, specially the OP, who seems to just want to read a linear transcript after a friend played through and mailed it