So, all this discussion about Cleverbot has got me thiking about “On the Other Side” (a nifty curio where you play the computer/parser in a text adventure), and that in turn about Sleep is Death.
And I’ve started idly wondering about an IF version of “Sleep is Death”, to wit, a 2-player IF story told in real-time. A player typing the commands, a writer writing responses and making the commands happen, and maybe yanking the rug from under the player’s feet.
So I started thinking about it. The most tedious chore is map-keeping and keep having to write the default responses, but what if the program could remember the default responses and keep track of the map?..
Sort of inspired by Inform 7, I started imagining a system where the “designer” would be able to, in his turn, select from some options: say default message, move to a new room, write response to command, write event, add to inventory… little more than this, designed to be quickly selected. The program would take care of map-keeping, so as to avoid keep having to re-type room descriptions: it would only prompt the designer about changing anything before completing the move, and maybe the option to change anything (permanently or one-off) in the room description. Objects wouldn’t really have to be implemented - if I write scenery and the player interacts with it, I need only write a response. Then the program could ask me simply, "make this the default response to “eat chair”? Make this the default response to “eat "? Make this the default response to " chair”? Then, evrey time the player wrote a command that matched a previously-defined default, the program would show the designer “Default msg: . Display?”, and if not simply write a new one, with the option to “Replace Default msg?”
There could even be a separate window where, for those simple one-response commands, were kept the command and the response. That way, if the player tried to “eat chairs”, the designer would have only to copy/paste the same text he’d written for “eat chair” (if, of course, it’s not already been set to a default “eat *” that happens to cover the plural as well as the singular).
At most, some items would need to be in inventory. So the program would keep track of inventory.
Theoretically, with something this bare-bones, an IF version of “Sleep is Death” could be achieved. A two-way dynamic story/game/experience. An extra mile would be the ability to then output it all into source code for a system, but that’s prpbably overkill.
I dunno, I was just wondering. Does this spark anyone’s interest? Not that I could program it, you understand, just checking to see if anyone else would be interested by this.
EDIT - Overkill number 2 would be the player-side option of dynamic map, if so desired. If the designer could manipulate the map in a similar way to ADRIFT’s system, it could create awesome effects. Overkill number 3 would be the possibility of displaying images and sounds, but that’s tricker to do in a real-time system because we’d either be limited to things already on the net, or would have to take the time to actually upload them.
EDIT 2 - A scoring system would be optional but probably wouldn’t really fit the concept. Save/load, on the other hand, might - as long as it’s only to save and quit, and to load previous session, like a roguelike. “Undo” would probably be right out as well, but again, conceptually it probably wouldn’t be necessary - I don’t envision great elaborate cruel puzzles being done in this way. Though if necessary, I suppose it might be possible for the player to “Restart” back to what was defined as the beginning; if the program remembered everything that the designer had written, the designer wouldn’t even have to repeat himself.
But this is probably overkill number 4…