I have been reading The Craft of Adventure and find the Players Bill of Rights interesting.
( Found under Other Works on Graham Nelson’s Wikipedia page en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham_Nelson
Direct link: mirror.ifarchive.org/if-archive/ … enture.pdf )
My question is since Gram Nelson invented Inform, and wrote the Players Bill of Rights, is Inform coded in such a way as to make you adhere to the Players Bill of Rights, or at least make it easier for you to stay within the Players Bill of Rights rules?
Almost all of these are design choices - the only thing authors don’t have a powerful hand in is the “decent parser” bit. It is certainly possible to make a game adhering to the bill of rights, but it’s not inherent to the system. Quite a few of the things listed are pure puzzle design - the admonition not to expect unlikely things, for instance.
A lot of the things being protested against require active work on the part of the author (and possibly a beta team) to fix. I7 is all I’ve used, so I can’t compare it to other systems, but I’d say that features like easy synonym creation are aimed at making it easier for authors to make fair games. And none of them leap out as difficult inherently - a lot depends on the game you’re programming. But it still requires a boat load of work.
I can also think of a half dozen exceptions to the rules that actually work pretty well, so I think it boils down to asking authors to consider their work from players’ perspectives, and be kind to those players.
Thank you for your reply gravel.
I didn’t think the system was designed that way but wanted to be sure.
I agree with your last statement, " I can also think of a half dozen exceptions to the rules that actually work pretty well, so I think it boils down to asking authors to consider their work from players’ perspectives, and be kind to those players."
I have seen some of those things in games and depending on the context they worked pretty well. I’m trying to read everything I can about the ins and outs of writing IF so I can formulate the best approach I’m comfortable with. Some types of writing like screenplays can follow rigid formulas that are proven to work well. These formulas are expected to be seen by potential movie makers. I assume all genres have their own style in this sense. . I have played IF since the 80’s and am finding writing IF is far removed from any other popular style of writing - the same rules do not apply.
My suggestion is you start making your game and find your own approach in the process, rather than try to work out a pile of theories in advance and subject your ideas to them - especially if you haven’t made one game yet.
I don’t think it’s a bad idea to read around and find out what resonates with you. Nor is it a bad idea to have some idea what the genre expectations tend towards. (It’s a pretty old article, so some of the things Graham talks about have shifted; some have not.)
I mean, if an enterprising designer decides to put a maze into his/her IF game, I wouldn’t want beta to be the first time he/she discovers that those have fallen somewhat out of favor.
I’d say particular rules are unimportant in comparison to what they tell you about the experience that Graham (and many players) want to have with an IF. They’re specifics, which are helpful, but they’re really just extensions of a couple general principles: the player shouldn’t have to wrestle with the game, the game should represent its winnability in a fair way, the designer should be on the side of the player rather than designing to screw them over. And that may mean making a very American game, or having little freedom, or any number of things, but the designer should be aware of the issues those bring up for many players so that the game can represent itself to players fairly (so people feel good about their choice to play), and perhaps address some of the problems with those particular strategies (so players aren’t unfairly broadsides by, say, the expectation that you know how baseball works).