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Gameplay: Text adventure vs Graphical adventure

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giom - 10 August 2012 07:37 PM

Based on this thread, I’ve decided to give TimeQuest a try and I think I’ve hit a dead-end. I tried to take the lighter too early from Churchill and he snatched it back and left… Now I need the lighter but I can’t find any way of getting it (according to the walkthrough I’ve just checked I should have waited for Churchill to leave before taking the lighter)

I didn’t have that problem cause the first time I watched the scene I was too busy asking Churchill questions about Hitler, the war, England, Mussolini, and I tried to hit him. Smile So I noticed he left the lighter behind. But you do have a point, Churchill should put it back on the table before he leaves, or he should let you take it. It’s unfair to the player. All the more so because the developers took care to avoid dead ends in other locations. For instance, if you don’t get the bread in the grandstand before saving Caesar’s life, someone will throw it at you in the streets afterwards.

 

     

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Never played a text adventure before although it sounded interesting. Now, after reading about all the dead ends and possible deaths awaiting me, no thanks…
Still, about the original argument, I’d guess a text adventure next to a graphical one is the equivalent of a book next to a movie. You use your imagination more because you see actually nothing. So all the “graphics” come from your own head (and there’s nothing to worry about 2D, 3D, pixels etc there Tongue ).
However, you focused more on the gameplay, which sounds like the first Space Quest, where you had to type (something similar was also used a few times in Alpha Polaris recently), or the next gen of AGs with the many options to use, open, push, combine, attack and so on.
So again, it’s not actually a matter of text vs graphics, but more a matter of gameplay. It could even work like that: you see the game as usual, but instead of a cursor, you have a command line (which I’d hate personally) Smile I’d be more interested to see a new game with the many options from the past. That might make it more interesting…

     
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I am 18 years old and a new member of this website.Also since english isnt my native language I am not really good at it so please ignore some possible mistakes.The truth is that I have little to no experience with text adventure games but I love graphical adventure games and I want to
1)ask a question
2)share a suggestion

So my question is this:Why text and graphics must always be enemies on the topic of improving adventure games?Why cant we take and combine the advantages of both worlds in order to push the adventure genre into new levels?

And here comes my suggestions into the matter.In order to “demostrate” an example I will use the imaginary game from Agustin Cordes article.

Agustín Cordes - 03 August 2012 08:07 AM

Shameless plug, I know, but you might enjoy this article that I wrote for Adventure-Treff:

http://www.adventure-treff.de/artikel/features/gastkolumne.php?id=2&lang=eng

There’s a section that precisely deals with the possibilities that were offered by text adventures Smile

So as the article suggests we are in control of a man with movement disorders and the plot will be the same as in the article.Now the parts which are different.The game will be completely in 3D.You will experience the world (in this case, your apartment)through the eyes of the protagonist making it a first person game.You will have the classic WASD movement plus the mouse.So where the text comes along?The mouse except from moving the character’s field of view would also be able to highlight every object or NPC.After the object has been highlighted you will have to use text commands(such as take,examine,push,pull,throw etc..) in order to interact with it.And the same goes with the NPCs and the dialogue tree.And NPC interaction wont be limited to just talking with them but you can also use physical contact with them with commands like “wave your hand”.

I think this is a good combination of text and graphics strong points in order to create something better which will have the power of image plus the incredible amount of possibilities from text games.

I would like to hear your opinion about my thoughts.

 

     

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Thumbs Up Mostly agree with you my friend GreekInnovation (sorry for misspelling your nick). Although, in order to avoid any problems with language mistakes during command input, I’d rather have a long menu of options like in Universe or Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (I apologize for using the same example of games again and again, but as I said before I’m not a hardcore gamer, so my examples are limited). But in this way or the other, I believe it would be a step forward for AGs, rather than backwards. But what do others, more experienced players, think about it?

     
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GrEeKiNnOvaTiOn - 18 August 2012 12:28 PM

So my question is this:Why text and graphics must always be enemies on the topic of improving adventure games?Why cant we take and combine the advantages of both worlds in order to push the adventure genre into new levels?

Have you played Starship Titanic? Its parser was frustrating though.

 

     

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Interesting Agustín Cordes article!

But while I definitely wouldn’t mind more expansive options, I really don’t think a return to the parser is a good idea. The main problem with the parser is that it’s incredibly slow (even if you can type really fast, you still have to get the right verb and the right description for an object, often resulting in trial-and-error). Point-and-click is a whole lot faster, allowing you to play the game more, instead of just typing.

I mostly agree with that article concerning the expansion of dialogues. Yes, dialogues should be made more realistic, and it’d be a cool feature to be able to piss off a character, or having him yell at you for making him repeat what he’s already said twice, but this is a dangerous approach, imo.
This could potentially lead to a whole lot of dead ends. Piss off a character you’ll still need something from later on, and it’s essentially game over. That needs to be avoided at all costs!

I’m all for making the games more realistic by greatly expanding the options you have, but that also creates a lot more development difficulties and requires a lot more writing. Plus it increases the difficulty of the game.
Apparently, Agustín Cordes swears by Maupiti Island, while the only thing I’ve read here about that game is that it’s impossible to finish without a walkthrough. Agreed, not all games have to be a cakewalk, but there’s a limit to how difficult you should make a game.
The days of making games extra hard just so you’d sell more hint books, are long gone…


In other words, while I agree that the over-simplification of the gameplay (one button does all) has generally made games easier, I think a return to the parser would not only slow the games down, but would also increase the difficulty to insane levels again. We need to be looking at the middle ground instead.

In that respect, the SCUMM-system does feel like the best balance, so we should be looking to innovate on similar-depth-systems more.
The way it was handled in the Monkey Island 2 Special Edition for instance, was top notch: limiting your options to the relevant verbs, and assigning the inventory to the middle mouse button were strokes of genius.
And from what I hear, Resonance handled it superbly too, by adding a short term/long term memory system, so it’s not like we can’t evolve the adventure genre further…

     

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agreed….though you never know…maybe some ingenious writing can do with having a parser.

     
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Personally I think long lists of “commands”, especially lists of commands where many listed items are rarely or never utilized make lousy interfaces. They are annoying and lack elegance in use. Both the original version of SCUMM, as well as Legend’s point&click; “wrappers” for text input interfaces suffered from that. Sadly so does the recently released Resonance, despite trying something a bit different.

One of the cool things about the parser is that it goes directly from your thought to the command input - no browsing through the lists of available options. Another neat thing about it is that reading and understanding what the game tells you is essential for building the commands that lead to success. In the majority of todays adventures using every item from the inventory on a suspicious hotspot is a viable strategy for success.

I’ve been working on a new type of text based interface myself - I believe there’s still a lot to learn from the original Interactive Fiction formulas. The new interface will be point & click, but instead of building specific commands by direct choice of input, you’ll be building them “naturally” in the course of playing the game. It won’t be an universal interface (probably none is), but beneficial for specific kinds of adventure game narrative.

     

www.hardydev.com - blogging about indie and underground adventures

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you’ve got my curiosity in the least….check pm

     
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Ascovel - 21 August 2012 05:00 PM

Personally I think long lists of “commands”, especially lists of commands where many listed items are rarely or never utilized make lousy interfaces. They are annoying and lack elegance in use. Both the original version of SCUMM, as well as Legend’s point&click; “wrappers” for text input interfaces suffered from that. Sadly so does the recently released Resonance, despite trying something a bit different.

You have a knife, a wooden stick and a piece of rope. You can combine them to tie the knife on the stick using the rope, or you can use the knife on the stick to sharpen it. A simple example, but you can see than it can add some depth to the gameplay. Not simply click on the knife and drag it over the stick… What do you mean by “elegance” in use, by the way?  Meh

     
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Of course it can add depth to the gameplay. I had a blast playing classic games by Legend for example. I meant the lack of visual elegance (game screen getting covered up or reduced because of the interface) and the mundanity of going through those long lists to pick the action you want to perform. Similarly browsing inventories cluttered with useless junk or Lewton’s notebook in Discworld Noir (the amount of notes!) can get annoying after a while. That’s why I prefer a traditional parser, a verbcoin or a reduced SCUMM interface. Something a little bit more direct and managable in use.

     

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I can guess what you mean now. Maybe then, a solution could be a SCUMM engine with less options.
For example:

here you could combine the options Open/Close, Pull/Push, Give/Pick up. So you’d have a list of 6 commands instead of 9. You could even avoid having the look at/examine command by having it as the default left click command over an item. So 5 commands instead of 9. Still better than the simple nowadays gameplay but also not as time consuming 9 command list from the SCUMM engine

     
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Ascovel - 23 August 2012 04:02 PM

I had a blast playing classic games by Legend for example. I meant the lack of visual elegance (game screen getting covered up or reduced because of the interface) and the mundanity of going through those long lists to pick the action you want to perform. Similarly browsing inventories cluttered with useless junk or Lewton’s notebook in Discworld Noir (the amount of notes!) can get annoying after a while. That’s why I prefer a traditional parser, a verbcoin or a reduced SCUMM interface. Something a little bit more direct and managable in use.

One of the many reasons I like the classic Legend adventures so much is that you can switch between picking words from lists and the traditional typing. No need to look at those lists if you don’t want to. In some games, my beloved TimeQuest for instance, you can also click on objects in the pics to get a description.

     

Now playing: ——-
Recently finished: don’t remember
Up next:  Eh…
Looking forward to:
Ithaka of the Clouds; The Last Crown; all the kickstarter adventure games I supported

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